Monk (character class)

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The monk is a character class in a number of role-playing tabletop and video games. In those games which follow the Dungeons & Dragons traditions, monks are characters with excellent martial arts skills and who specialize in unarmed, unarmored combat.

Many role-playing video games include warrior classes similar to the Dungeons & Dragons monk. The monk class has also found its way into NetHack and Linley's Dungeon Crawl, which borrow elements of the class from Dungeons & Dragons.

Conversely, in Guild Wars released in 2005, the monk is similar to the cleric class of other popular games, using spiritual powers to heal and purge disease.

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

The monk is a character class in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game which is typically portrayed as a master of martial arts. It is loosely based on the stereotype of Shaolin Buddhist warrior-monks. The Dungeons & Dragons monk specializes in unarmed combat, with no use of armor and only special "monk weapons", such as kama or nunchaku. The monk class, as with other classes of the Dungeons & Dragons game, utilizes a spiritual element, Ki, that augments their fighting through the use of special abilities gained with experience. These powers and abilities are not traditional magic spells as would be gained from other similar character classes such as clerics and rangers (which also rely heavily on the wisdom attribute). Attacks by an unarmed monk are soon treated the same as a strike from a weapon with magical enhancements.

Monks gain increased speed, attacks per round, high saving throws against special attacks, and immunities unique to the class as experience grows. Monks become increasingly difficult to hit because of their dexterity and armor class bonuses. Monks can gain high spell resistances, making them dangerous to mages, but, in some circumstances, can be overwhelmed when attacked by many enemies at once.


Diablo 3 features a monk character class as a melee attacker, using martial arts to cripple foes, resist damage, deflect projectiles, attack with blinding speed, and land explosive killing blows. It combines the melee elements of Diablo II's assassin class with the "holy warrior" role of the paladin. Blizzard has stated that the monk is not related in any way to the monk class from the Sierra Entertainment-made Diablo: Hellfire expansion. The monk is fueled by spirit, which has defensive purposes and is slowly generated through attacking, though it does not degenerate

World of Warcraft[edit]

In World of Warcraft, Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Gnomes, Draenei, Orc, Forsaken, Tauren, Trolls, Blood Elves, and Pandarens can be Monks as of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion. Monks rely on bare-handed combat and use their weapons for a finishing strike.


In the game EverQuest, the monk class can be chosen only by the human, lizardman (Iksar), Froglok, or drakkin races. Monks have hand-to-hand combat skills, and can fight with or without weapons, using fists or staves, and able to use only leather armor and lighter because of their weight limit restriction.

Monks gain the ability to feign death. This gives the Monk the ability to drop to the ground and cause enemies to forget about his presence, or in MMORPG terms, lose aggro. This technique is useful for pulling, or bringing monsters to a party of player characters to be killed. The monk class also has the capability to mend wounds, which can heal a quarter of his or her total hit points or an ally's.

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes[edit]

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was created by the same executive producer as EverQuest, and so Vanguard Monks share many of the qualities as the EverQuest Monk. In addition, Vanguard adds a healer class called the Disciple, which is similar to a Monk who also can use unique healing techniques.

The primary difference in Vanguard is that the monk's "signature" area of expertise is delivering area of effect (AOE) damage via melee, a role not present in most games except, sometimes in some limited way due to a particular special ability or talent.

Final Fantasy[edit]

In Square Enix's Final Fantasy series of role-playing video games, the Monk (Japanese: モンク) is a character class (or "job"). It is frequently also referred as the Black Belt. In Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy III an upgraded, more powerful form of the class appears, named Karate Master or Karateka (からてか). In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Bangaas have the ability to become a Monk.

Final Fantasy games that don't use the job-system usually have a representative for the Monk class. Examples of this representative character are Sabin Rene Figaro of FFVI and Tifa Lockhart of FFVII.

Ragnarok Online[edit]

In Gravity Corp's MMORPG Ragnarok Online, Acolytes can choose their second job as a Monk. The monk is a physical/melee class that can, although rarely, provide secondary support in the absence of a priest (for the buffs blessing and agi up)". It is most noted for an ability called "Asura Strike" (sometimes called Guillotine Fist, or Extremity Fist); an attack some consider the most powerful ability in the game, which may result in damage exceeding possible character health. With the right weapon and appropriately built stats, Asura Strike can do massive amounts of damage in a single hit. Their roles in PvE is either to be the main source of damage to a boss monster, or to let to boss and his minions hit him while other players provide the damage. In War of the Emperium (WoE), they are mostly used for ground control, staying in the backlines and taking out enemy characters that get too close.

Five types—called "builds"—of the Monk character class are the Combo Monk, Spirit Monk, Dasher Monk, Asura Monk, and Diamond Monk. Each class requires certain stats combined with specific skills in order to reach their effectiveness.

  • Combo Monk: Usually the fastest attacker of the five types. The Combo Monk utilizes the "Raging Trifecta Blow," "Raging Quadruple Blow," and "Raging Thrust" abilities to string together multiple attacks. A fast leveling build, although it lacks somewhat in player versus player situations due to lack of burst damage skills and accuracy.
  • Spirit Monk: Uses Spirit Spheres to power its skills. The Spirit Monk is often feared by higher defense builds, as the skill "Occult Impaction" does more damage to more resistant targets. Versatile, and also capable of killing most players with "Asura Strike," though not generally nearing the damage of a monk dedicated to the skill.
  • Dasher Monk: Makes use of the skill "Snap" (sometimes called Dash Like a Bullet) to get around the battlefield quickly. Considered a hybrid between combo and spirit, but is often difficult to play, owing to the widely spread skill tree required to receive the "Snap" skill.
  • Asura Monk: Asura monks utilize the Asura Strike skill to deal massive amounts of damage in one blow. In PvP, the idea is to take out a target in one blow (thus preventing them from regaining hp either via potions or heals from allies). The damage of the skill is based on the users attack, and remaining amount of SP. The skill instantly uses up all remaining SP, and prevents regeneration for five minutes after use. SP can be regained afterwards either by using SP regenerating consumables (such as blue potions, or strawberries), or by the aid of an allied professor via the skill Soul Exhale. Properly geared and buffed Asura Monks can deal upwards of 200,000 to 300,000 damage, which is very useful for boss battles. Generally, these monks have high STR and DEX, depending on whether they were meant for PvP or PvE, and moderate amounts for INT.
  • Diamond Monk: Taken from the Japanese name for the "Mental Strength" skill, the Diamond Monk is built to withstand massive amounts of both physical and magical damage. The skill is not interruptible, and reduces all incoming damage by 90%. The reduction further stacks with the users MDEF and DEF, as well as the priest skill Assumptio, making a Mental Strength champ undeniably the best tank in the PvE world. It is used almost exclusively to take damage while other players attack, as while the Mental Strength state, all of the user's active skills are disabled. The hardest type of monk to create, owing to its lack of offensive capabilities. Leveling such a monk usually requires the help of allies, in a method known as leeching.

Fire Emblem[edit]

In the Fire Emblem games, the Monks are usually exclusively male Light Magic users able to defend themselves through Light-related spells while Priests are the male-counterpart to Clerics being only able to use staves. When they're promoted to Bishop class through the Guiding Ring or Earth Seal items, they add staves, or Light magic in the case of Priests, to their arsenal.

Monks, and their promoted forms Bishops excel in Speed, Magic and Resistance while occasionally having high luck and skill. They often have the highest Resistance caps in their respective game and have high Luck and Skill in order to gain high critical rates, which makes up for their low Magic in relation to other magic users. Also, they almost always have poor growths in defense and HP which makes them vulnerable to magic-resistant melee units such as Pegasus/Falco(n) Knights, a characteristic shared by all magic-users in the franchise.

Heroes of Might and Magic[edit]

In Heroes of Might and Magic IV, the monk is both a class for heroes and a basic unit:

  • The basic unit is a magical ranged fighter.
  • The hero class is reached by learning both Life Magic and Order Magic, and has the special ability to take less damage from Chaos attacks.

Guild Wars[edit]

In Guild Wars Prophecies, monks are spellcasters, without engaging in physical combat. There are three general type of monks: Healing, Protecting, and Smiting.

  • Healing monks are used primarily to restore lost hitpoints to oneself or allies.
  • Protection monks are similar to healing monks, but they specialize in preventing damage opposed to restoring it.
  • Smiting monks are offensive based, and can deal Holy damage to their foes. Undead-type creatures take extra damage.

Linley's Dungeon Crawl[edit]

As with all other classes in Linley's Dungeon Crawl, a character beginning as a monk is free to progress in any other skill throughout their career.[1] A monk typically begins with several skill ranks in the unarmed combat, fighting, and dodging skills. In earlier versions,[2] the unarmed combat skill even allowed armed fighters to sometimes make free attacks, such as kicks and headbutts, during normal combat,.[3] Back then it may have been more convenient to start in this class and pick up a weapon skill later rather than disarming oneself with an armed fighter in order to build the skill from scratch.