It has recently come to my attention that monks suck in 5e D&D. Thanks to Treantmonk for the thorough breakdown.

Now let me start by saying that I don’t have a dog in this fight. The sum total of my experience with the class is giving a few Way of Shadow levels to Glabbagool the gelatinous cube. (It was as hilarious as it sounds.) So for the sake of argument, let’s take the premise for granted: monks are underpowered in 5e. The question then becomes what you want to do with this knowledge.

Let’s say you’re a player. You’ve got the full works of Bruce Lee on VHS, a Kill Bill katana signed by Uma Thurman on your wall, and you’re counting the days until Season 4 of Cobra Kai drops. In this scenario, reflavoring the mechanically superior fighter class as “martial artist with bo staff” probably isn’t going to cut it. You want stunning fist and deflect missiles and your very own ki pool because it’s cool. The theme is strong, and you’re willing to bite the bullet. You’re willing to be suboptimal.

Now let’s say you’re a GM in this situation. Your buddy shows up with a pair of nunchucks hanging around his neck, ready and willing to kicks ass in the grand wuxia tradition. Possessing your own secret wisdom, you realize that the player is at a disadvantage from the outset. How do you handle it? Is it time for preferential treatment? Perhaps more monk-themed magic items show up than you might expect. Do you tinker with a little homebrew? Maybe you add a few extra points of ki to the daily total. Or do you just let it ride, and hope that the monk player enjoys himself despite dealing 2.15 less average damage per round?

These are the questions that try GMs’ souls. They also happen to be our daily discussion! When you find that you’ve got a party with a variety of tiers, do you try and fix it somehow? Does the responsibility lie with the GM or the player? Sound off with your most opinionated opinions down in the comments!


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