Dungeons & Dragons Playtest Totally Revamps Monk Class and Fans Love It

Dungeons & Dragons is testing out some major changes to its Monk class. Today, Wizards of the Coast released its latest Unearthed Arcana playtest for Dungeons & Dragons’ upcoming 2024 Core Rulebooks. The new playtest contained reworked rules for the Barbarian, Druid, and Monk classes, with the Monk in particular receiving an extensive rework with an eye towards making the class more versatile and able to deal damage on par with other martial classes. While many previous playtests have received mixed ratings from online Dungeons & Dragons players, almost all of the changes showcased in today’s playtests were received positively by fans.

Many Dungeons & Dragons have criticized the Monk’s abilities as either underwhelming, underpowered, or too reliant on ki points, which have been renamed discipline points in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 2024 rulebooks. The new rules attempt to address that with several base level changes to the Monk. For instance, the Monk can make an Unarmed Strike as a Bonus Action even if they don’t use their Action to Attack, while the Patient Defense and Step of the Wind abilities now have basic functions that still work even without expending a Discipline Point. The Monk’s signature Stunning Strike also received an upgrade, with the Strike dealing Force damage even when the target makes their Saving throw. Several high-level abilities were either re-worked or added, with Deflect Missiles becoming Deflect Attacks and adding the ability to deflect melee attacks and spell attacks at higher levels and the monk receiving a new capstone ability at Level 20 that increases a Monk’s Dexterity and Wisdom scores by 4 (to a maximum of 26.)

The Barbarian also received some notable buffs, with the class regaining one use of its signature Rage ability on a Short Rest. Additionally, the much criticized Brutal Critical ability has been replaced by a Brutal Strike ability which lets Barbarians remove advantage from their Reckless Attacks to apply various effects to an enemy. This ability provides Barbarians with some additional versatility and tactical moves within combat.

The Druid also received some notable changes, with the much criticized Wild Shape revamp abandoned in favor of a more traditional approach that allows the Druid to know more Wild Shape forms (with Druids choosing from Beast statblocks found in the Player’s Handbook) and the Wild Shape form gaining temporary HP.

As with previous playtests, there’s no guarantee that the changes showcased in the new playtest document will remain intact when Dungeons & Dragons releases its 2024 Core Rulebook. However, the changes seem to actually address some of the lingering problems with the Monk and Barbarian classes instead of just making minor tweaks to the classes. More importantly, fans have reacted much more positively to these changes than what we’ve seen in previous playtests, showing that the D&D Design Team is actively listening to feedback.

The Playtest is available on D&D Beyond now, with a feedback survey opening next month.