Dungeons & Dragons: Build an Effective Way of Shadow Monk

Become a deadly assassin with the way of shadow monk, a new subclass in the latest D&D 5e supplement, in order to slay your foes in the shadows.

Dungeons & Dragons: Build an Effective Way of Shadow Monk
Published by Mason @ PC Game Spotlight 10 months ago

Want to make the most of your way of shadow monk build in Dungeons & Dragons?

A deadly assassin capable of eliminating targets in the dark, these holy warriors can strike without being seen. Their methods may be controversial, but the way of shadow is a tempting path for those seeking to protect others from harm.

Most monks in the world of Dungeons & Dragons dedicate their lives to training, honing their bodies and minds to be as effective a weapon as possible. The way of the shadow turns this training toward an entirely new purpose, and it can be one of the most effective monk subclasses in the game. While you may need to use a d20 dice to determine initiative, your stealth and deadly combat abilities will more than make up for the disadvantage.

Creating a way of shadow monk

The way of shadow monk can strike in the blink of an eye, and they have access to a number of spellcasting spells in order to protect themselves in combat.

To create a way of shadow monk, you first need to pick your martial arts training and class, as these two decisions lock in your other choices. You can specialize in the Way of Shadow at level three, after which point you gain the following features:

  • You can cast Darkness, Darkvision, Pass Without Trace, or Silence using ki points. You can also learn the Minor Illusion cantrip.
  • You gain proficiency with one type of artisan’s tools, and you can cast the Silent Image spell using ki points.
  • At level six, you gain the Shadow Step ability, which lets you teleport in dim light or darkness and gives you advantage on your first melee attack that turn.
  • At level 11, you gain the ability to Cloak of Shadows, which grants you invisibility in dim light or darkness until you attack, cast a spell, or step into bright light.
  • At level 17, you gain the Opportunist feature, which lets you make a reaction melee attack against a creature that another creature hit that turn.

Way of shadow monk subraces

There are a number of subraces that can fit well with way of shadow monks. Astral Elves provide several advantages against being charmed, as well as perception proficiency, which can be helpful for a stealth-focused character. They also have teleportation abilities, which can be helpful for a character who spends a lot of time travelling.

Bugbears strike fear into the hearts of their enemies due to their size, strength, and extended reach. They also have a damage bonus, which can be potent in combat, and they can shove opponents prone more easily.

Fairy are a delightfully fun option, as they can fly and possess useful spells like Faerie Fire and Enlarge/Reduce, which can be fun party tricks for the right character. They also provide a fun option for stealthy characters due to their ability to cast Druidcraft, which lets them create a magical sensor that can be placed and left in order to detect the presence of creatures.

Giff are perhaps the most fun option, as they have the Astral Spark feature, which grants them extra damage on their next attack and can also push a target away if they are adjacent to one. Additionally, they can use firearms as a bonus action, which can be useful for ranged attacks.

Goblins are smaller stealth-focused characters, as they gain a hide action. Perhaps their most potent attacks come from Fury of the Small, which grants them extra damage after killing a target with a weapon attack.

Half-Elf are a necessary choice for attribute bonuses and for their skill proficiencies.

Owlins provide a fun option as they can fly and have stealth proficiency, as well as Darkvision.

Plasmoids can go through locked doors and can attempt to grapple creatures from a distance, granting them advantage on those checks.

Tabaxis provide the Feline Agility trait, which grants them immediate combat range and grants them an additional bonus to their next attack if they move at least 20 feet before making the attack. They also have perception and stealth proficiencies, which can lend themselves to a stealth-based character.

Way of shadow monk attributes

Way of shadow monks need to focus on three important attributes. Firstly, they need high Dexterity to increase their armor class and empower their attacks. Secondly, they need a high Wisdom to take advantage of the ki-based abilities, and finally, they need a high Constitution to increase their hit points. Secondary considerations include Strength for situations where it’s useful, and both Charisma and Intelligence are unnecessary for this build.

These are the recommended starting attribute spreads for way of shadow monks:

Way of shadow monk skills

Way of shadow monks need to focus on the following skills:

The recommended skills are mostly stealth-based, as this character is designed to be sneaky.

Way of shadow monk equipment

Your equipment choices will largely depend on your playstyle, but for the most part, you want to be as stealthy as possible.

Dungeons & Dragons players are finding the way of shadow monk subclass to be a trending choice in the latest D&D 5e supplement. Why not strike fear into the hearts of your foes and make them think twice about attacking you?

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