In this article, we’re giving you our list of the top 10 magic items for monks in 5E D&D!
The article focuses on magic items from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, presented in no particular order, but we’ll also include a bunch of flavorful magic items for monks from newer official releases at the end of the list.
1. Staff of Striking
A staff of striking is arguably one of the best magic items for monks in 5E D&D. This very rare staff (one of the few types of weapons a monk can put to good use!) comes with a +3 bonus to your attacks and damage rolls made with it, which would already place it among the best magic items for monks in 5E. But that’s not all!
The staff also comes with 10 charges, regaining 1d6 +4 charges daily, and whenever you hit with this weapon you can expend up to 3 of these charges to deal an extra 1d6 force damage for each charge expended, which is a pretty decent amount of additional damage you can quickly burst out when the situation calls for it.
Just be careful if (when) you expend the last charge as that requires you to roll a d20 – turning your priced magic weapon into a mundane staff on a nat 1!
2. Staff of Thunder and Lightning
Next up on the list, we have another amazing staff for monks – a very rare staff of thunder and lightning!
Aside from a solid +2 bonus to your attack and damage rolls, this staff gives you a bunch of cool options you can use once per day each. From adding an additional 2d6 lightning damage on a hit or causing a booming wave of thunder that can stun a target to shooting a beefed-up lightning bolt from its tip, this staff is an amazing and super flavorful magic item for monks!
3. Bracers of Defense
Since you’re (hopefully!) not wearing any armor as a monk, you don’t have a lot of ways to improve your AC – but out of the few magic items that do, nothing beats a pair of bracers of defense, which gives you a +2 bonus to AC.
A significant buff and an overall great if somewhat boring magic item for monks!
4. Cloak of Displacement
A cloak of displacement is a fantastic magic item if your AC is already high as it gives your opponents disadvantage on attack rolls made against you – however, as soon as you take damage, this benefit is suppressed until your next turn, so if your AC isn’t really that good, and you’re the favorite target of an evil DM who also likes to bypass your defenses with magic missile or other sneaky spells, this cloak becomes a much less powerful magic item for you.
5. Ring of Free Action
Snippet of magic item card handout from our 5E Magic Item Card Deck!
For a master of mobility such as the monk, a ring of free action is a wonderful magic item. This ring lets you completely ignore difficult terrain while also making you immune to magic that would reduce your speed, cause you to be restrained, or inflict the horrifying paralyzed condition.
If I were to recommend another ring, it’d probably say ring of evasion, which lets you expend 1 of its 3 daily charges to turn a failed Dexterity saving throw into your successful one. While failing on a Dexterity saving throw probably isn’t something you have to deal a lot with in the first place, you are bound to do so at some point – but with this ring, and your Evasion feature, chances are you’ll never again take any damage from a fireball!
6. Amulet of Health
Monks usually want to focus on Dexterity for their AC and attacks, Wisdom for their (unarmored) AC and ki-powered abilities, and finally Constitution to stay alive. Having to juggle between three ability scores (alongside various optional feats) means you’ll likely have to give up on something – unless your DM bestows you with an amulet of health! This amulet sets your Constitution score to 19. Now, Ì know that isn’t a nat 20, but it’s certainly better than 12 or 14, and with this magic item you’ll become a lot more durable and be able to focus on other stuff!
7. Boots of Speed & Winged Boots
As a monk, you’re already super fast reaching for Usain Bolt levels of speed due to your Unarmored Movement feature – and that makes a pair of boots of speed a perfect match! With these boots, you can use a bonus action to double your base speed (which is already at least 40 feet!) and give creatures disadvantage on opportunity attacks against you, which is great.
You can use the boots for a total of 1o minutes per day, but that’s plenty if you only use them during combats.
A pair of winged boots are another great magic item that also fits perfectly with the monk by doubling down on an already insane base move speed. What makes these boots truly amazing is – as their name would indicate – that they let you fly instead of walking. The downside is that flying makes your ability to run to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids somewhat redundant.
8. +1–+3 Monk Weapons
Any monk weapon (simple weapons and shortswords) that grants a bonus to attack and damage rolls is a great magic item for a monk. If the Dedicated Weapon optional class feature is a thing in your game, you can even use martial weapons that you’re proficient with as monk weapons as long as they don’t have the heavy property or other special properties, including a sun blade, which is on par with but much more badass than a +2 staff!
9. Ring of Protection & Cloak of Protection
A ring of protection and cloak of protection each give you a +1 bonus to your AC and saving throws. They aren’t the most exciting magic items, but it’s a pretty great buff for monks, so I think they deserve a spot on the list!
10. Belt of Giant Strength
I think most of us have a mental image of a monk as a kung-fu ninja warrior relying on chakra and sacred flows of energy rather than big biceps. And while it’s true that monks usually benefit the most from raising Dexterity and dumping Strength, a monk can also use Strength for its unarmed strikes. So, a belt of storm giant strength that raises your Strength to 29 is actually a pretty insane magic item for monks. Just make sure you put it on before you start wrestling your party’s barbarian for the ownership rights of the belt!
In all seriousness though, while a belt of giant strength can be a great magic item for monks, it’s likely even better for your party’s fighter, barbarian, or paladin.
I often end up with a few items that didn’t make the list for one reason or the other – usually by virtue of the items being ridiculously powerful, boring, or not featured in the Dungeon Master’s Guide – and this article isn’t an exception to that rule as I have a handful of items I feel I ought to mention. Here goes!
Manual of Quickness of Action & Manual of Insight
The Dungeon Master’s Guide features a bunch of magic tomes/manuals that each raise a different ability score by 2. For the monk, you’ll want to study a manual of quickness of action (Dexterity) and a manual of insight (Wisdom). Personally, though, I don’t really like the concept of gaining +2 to an ability score simply by reading a book – and would prefer such an epic boon to be bestowed by a powerful entity, and probably to the whole party.
This belt is an amazing monk-only (the first?) magic item that gives you a bonus to the saving throw DCs of your ki features, such as Stunning Strike. The bonus depends on the belt’s rarity, with the uncommon version giving a +1 bonus, the rare variant a +2 bonus, and the very rare one a wobbling +3 bonus. As icing on the cake, once per day, you can also use an action to roll your Martial Arts die to regain ki points equal to what you roll, which is sweet.
The only reason it’s not on the list is that it’s from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons!
Insignia of Claws
Insignia of Claws from Tyranny of Dragons is another sweet magic item for monks that simply grants a +1 bonus to your attack and damage rolls with unarmed strikes and natural weapons. Attacks made while wearing the insignia are also considered magical, but that’s already the case for your unarmed strikes at level 6 (Ki-Empowered Strikes).
Also, an insignia of claws doesn’t require attunement, which is great if you’re swimming in magical loot.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything gave us a bunch of magic tattoos, which I think are pretty awesome. For a monk, it’d wish for a barrier tattoo or the super powerful and deservedly legendary blood fury tattoo. An eldritch claw tattoo is also a great fit for a monk as it grants you a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with your unarmed strike plus the option to deal extra force damage and gain a range of 15 feet for 1 minute once per day. This makes it more powerful than an insignia of claws mechanically speaking – except that it requires attunement.
That’s our picks for the top 10 best magic items for monks in 5E D&D featured in the Dungeon Master’s Guide – with an additional bunch of honorable mentions from various newer official releases.
As always, let us know in the comments if you agree with the magic items we’ve highlighted for monks – and share your own favorite magic items in the comment section.
And, if you’re as much a fan of magical loot as we are here at Eventyr Games, don’t forget to check out our deck of printed magic card handouts for all of the most iconic 5E D&D magic items!
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