D&D’s Monks of the Way of the Long Death use their training to understand how death itself works so they can manipulate it for their own ends.
One of the most exciting things about building a Dungeons and Dragons character is all options offered to players. When choosing a class, there are so many different subclasses that allow players to really branch out and explore a variety of different skills. The Monk class offers players several paths to choose from, but none are more intriguing (and macabre) than the Way of the Long Death.
Monks who follow this tradition not only try to understand the nature of death, but try to master its mechanics so that they can be manipulated. These monks have more than just a fascination with the macabre — it becomes an obsession with them that leads to bizarre and sometimes torturous experiments on creatures just so they can observe and learn from their deaths.
Focus on Wisdom and Agility for the Way of the Long Death Monk
Wisdom is one of this monk’s core stats as it defines their unique abilities. Abilities such as Touch of Death allow the Monk to transfer their enemies’ life force, and when the target reaches zero hit points within five feet, the Monk gains temporary HP equal to their WIS modifier plus their Monk level. Many of their other exclusive abilities rely on WIS-saving throws, so the higher the Monk’s WIS modifier, the more likely they are to succeed when trying to scare enemies with Hour of Reaping
Monks are also often incredibly agile, moving their bodies with speed and agility that the armored warrior can’t quite match, meaning they need to focus on their agility. Unarmored Monks are allowed to add their DEX modifier to attack and damage reels, so getting that to 20 ASAP is imperative. DEX also contributes to some of the monk’s key skills, such as Acrobatics, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand.
Best Races for the Way of the Long Death Monk
One of the most intriguing races to consider for a Way of the Long Death Monk is the Kenku, which has +2 DEX and +1 WIS straight out of the gate. Monks tend to be lawful in nature, but the Kenku’s chaotic disposition is befitting for a character who needs to experiment with the mechanics of death. They also have useful skills such as forgery, mimicry, and Kenku training. Kenku Training gives them proficiency in two of the following skills: Acrobatics, Stealth, Deception, and Sleight of Hand, all of which are incredibly useful to a monk performing secret, experimental work.
Likewise, the Aarakocra is also a good choice as it offers the same core stat boosts. Aarakocra also has access to flights, which, regardless of class, always comes in handy.
Best Achievements for the Way of the Long Death Monk
When it comes to choosing achievements, it is important to consider how they will assist the monk in the field and in their work. Since achieving a feat often requires the sacrifice of a stat boost, the ideal options are those that offer a +1 stat boost along with an added perk. Athlete, for example, awards +1 to Strength or Agility, negates using extra movement to climb, increases a character’s ability to make long jumps without extra movement, and decreases the amount of movement they need to expand to get up from the supine position.
Fey Touched is a handy feat that not only increases Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma by one, but it also gives the player access to the Misty Step spell, which can take him out of a tricky situation with just one bonus action. They can also choose another first level spell from the school of enchantment or divination. These spells can be cast once per day without using a spell slot, and the ability to cast spells is determined by the stat the player has chosen to increase.
Likewise, Shadow Touched increases one of the aforementioned stats by +1, and it gives the monk the ability to cast the Invisibility spell and one first-level spell from the school of Necromancy of Illusion. Given this monk’s penchant for necromantic knowledge, having access to magic that goes hand in hand with their macabre studies will only make them more powerful.
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