DND Monk Weapons [Stats, Chart, Ultimate Guide]

Monks in Dungeons & Dragons (DND) are the epitome of martial arts mastery. They blend agility, strength, and mystical ki energy to become formidable combatants.

But what really confuses people about Monks? Their weapons.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll deep dive into the world of Monk weapons, exploring official, magical, and homebrew options. Whether you’re a player or a Dungeon Master, this guide will equip you with all the knowledge you need.

Master Chart of DND Monk Weapons

Below is a chart listing DND Monk weapons, including their damage, properties, and any special effects:

(This post may have affiliate links. Please see my full affiliate disclosure)
WeaponDamagePropertiesSpecial Effects
Shortsword1d6 piercingFinesse, lightNone
Quarterstaff1d6/1d8 bludgeoningVersatileNone
Darts1d4 piercingThrown (range 20/60)None
Dragonbone Quarterstaff1d6 bludgeoning + 1d6 fireVersatileFire damage
Shadow Dagger1d6 piercing + 1d6 necroticFinesse, lightAdvantage on stealth checks
Ki-Focused Knuckles1d4 bludgeoning + 1d4 radiantLightStores ki points
Thunder Fists1d6 bludgeoning + 1d6 thunderLightCreates a shockwave
Whirlwind Nunchaku1d4 bludgeoning + 1d4 bludgeoningLightCan knock enemies prone
Ice-Forged Sai1d4 piercing + 1d6 coldFinesse, lightCan freeze targets on a critical hit
Chart: DND Monk Weapons (Source: DND Player’s Handbook & More)

Official Monk Weapons

DND monk with quarterstaff faces beast rising from mist in forest - DND Monk Weapons
I made this image with AI – DND Monk Weapons

Monks are proficient with simple weapons and short swords.

They also get access to a unique set of weapons known as Monk weapons. Here’s the official weapons you’ll encounter.


A classic choice.

It deals 1d6 piercing damage and benefits from the finesse property, allowing you to use Dexterity for attack and damage rolls. It’s versatile and straightforward, fitting perfectly with the Monk’s combat style.

Why I Love It: The shortsword is the bread and butter of Monk weapons. It’s reliable and pairs well with many martial arts abilities.


This versatile weapon can be wielded with one or two hands.

In one hand, it deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage; in two hands, it deals 1d8.

It’s also a great tool for flavor and roleplaying, often used by more traditional or monkish characters.

Why I Love It: The quarterstaff offers flexibility in combat. Its two-handed option allows for higher damage, which can be a lifesaver in tough battles.


Monks aren’t just melee fighters.

Darts offer a ranged option, dealing 1d4 piercing damage. They use Dexterity for attack and damage rolls, aligning perfectly with a Monk’s abilities.

Why I Love It: Sometimes you need to hit from a distance. Darts provide that option without sacrificing your Monk’s efficiency.

Martial Arts and Weapons

Monks benefit greatly from their Martial Arts feature, allowing them to use Dexterity instead of Strength for attack and damage rolls and dealing more damage with unarmed strikes and Monk weapons.

This feature is a game-changer.

Unarmed Strikes

While not a weapon per se, unarmed strikes are a cornerstone of Monk combat. With Martial Arts, your unarmed strikes can deal more damage than some weapons and gain extra attack options.

Why I Love It: The feeling of delivering a flurry of punches is immensely satisfying. Plus, it’s what Monks are known for!

Magical Monk Weapons

Magic weapons elevate a Monk’s combat potential, adding extra damage or special effects. Here are some magical weapons perfect for Monks:

Dragonbone Quarterstaff

This quarterstaff deals an additional 1d6 fire damage. The extra damage type can be incredibly useful against enemies vulnerable to fire.

Why I Love It: Combining the quarterstaff’s versatility with extra fire damage is a recipe for success in many encounters.

Shadow Dagger

A shortsword variant that deals 1d6 necrotic damage on top of its normal damage. It also grants advantage on stealth checks.

Why I Love It: The Shadow Dagger is perfect for Monks who prefer a stealthy approach. It enhances both damage and sneaky capabilities.

Ki-Focused Knuckles

These enchanted brass knuckles deal 1d4 extra radiant damage and can store ki points for later use.

Why I Love It: They turn your fists into weapons of divine power, perfect for a Monk aiming to blend spirituality with combat.

Homebrew Monk Weapons

Homebrew weapons can add a personal touch to your campaign.

Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

Thunder Fists

Magical gauntlets that deal an extra 1d6 thunder damage. They also have a special ability to create a shockwave, pushing enemies back 10 feet.

Why I Love It: Thunder Fists add an element of crowd control to a Monk’s arsenal, making them great for disrupting enemy formations.

Whirlwind Nunchaku

Nunchaku that create a small tornado with each hit, dealing 1d4 additional bludgeoning damage and possibly knocking enemies prone.

Why I Love It: The added knockdown effect makes combat more dynamic and can turn the tide of battle in your favor.

Ice-Forged Sai

These sais deal an extra 1d6 cold damage and can freeze targets on a critical hit, reducing their movement speed.

Why I Love It: The ability to control an enemy’s movement is invaluable, and the cold damage adds a nice thematic touch.

Monk Weapon & Fighting Tips for Players

Before we close out this guide, I want to share some tips for both my fellow DND players.


Monks excel in versatility.

While it’s tempting to rely on a favorite weapon, true mastery comes from adapting to the situation.

Use a quarterstaff when you need reach and versatility, switch to darts for ranged attacks, and never underestimate the power of unarmed strikes.

This flexibility allows you to handle a variety of enemies and scenarios.

Example: Imagine you’re facing a group of archers on a cliff. Switching to darts allows you to engage from a distance, closing the gap without taking unnecessary damage. Once you’re close, you can switch to a quarterstaff or unarmed strikes to finish the job.

Ki Management

Ki points are the lifeblood of a Monk’s abilities.

They power Flurry of Blows, Step of the Wind, and Patient Defense, among other skills.

Plan your usage carefully. In a prolonged battle, conserving ki for critical moments can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Outside of combat, use ki for mobility and stealth to gain strategic advantages.

Example: During a boss fight, you might want to save your ki for stunning strikes to incapacitate your enemy at crucial moments. Outside of combat, using Step of the Wind to cross difficult terrain quickly can save time and resources.


A Monk’s weapon choice is more than just a tool for combat; it’s a reflection of their training, philosophy, and backstory.

Incorporate this into your roleplaying.

Maybe your Monk uses a quarterstaff because it was their first training weapon, or they might like using daggers because they used to be an assassin before becoming wise and peaceful.

Example: If your Monk trained in a secluded mountain monastery, they might favor the quarterstaff, a symbol of their disciplined upbringing. In contrast, a Monk with a background as a street fighter might lean towards brass knuckles or unarmed strikes.

For Dungeon Masters: Balancing Monk Weapons

We can’t leave out our illustrious Dungeon Masters (DMs).


Keep your campaign fresh by introducing a mix of official, magical, and homebrew weapons.

This variety keeps players engaged and excited about potential new gear.

Presenting different weapon types allows Monks to explore various combat styles and strategies.

Example: Start with standard weapons like the shortsword and quarterstaff. As the campaign progresses, introduce magical weapons like the Dragonbone Quarterstaff or the Shadow Dagger. For a twist, add homebrew weapons such as the Thunder Fists or Whirlwind Nunchaku to surprise and delight your players.


Design encounters that push Monks to utilize their full range of abilities.

Create scenarios where they need to switch between melee and ranged combat or use their ki points strategically.

This ensures that Monk players remain engaged and feel challenged.

Example: Set up an encounter where the Monk faces off against both melee and ranged enemies, forcing them to switch between weapons and tactics. Or, design a scenario with environmental hazards that require the Monk to use Step of the Wind to navigate safely.


Monks thrive on progression and mastery.

Reward their efforts with meaningful upgrades and magical weapons that enhance their capabilities.

This not only keeps them engaged but also gives them a sense of accomplishment and growth.

Example: After a particularly tough dungeon crawl, reward your Monk with the Ki-Focused Knuckles, allowing them to store ki points. Or, after defeating a powerful foe, grant them the Ice-Forged Sai, adding a new layer of strategic depth to their combat style.

Why Do People Assume That Monks Don’t Need or Want Weapons?

The misconception that Monks don’t need or want weapons often stems from popular culture and media portrayals.

In many movies and shows, Monks are depicted as martial artists who rely solely on their fists and feet. This image is reinforced by the Monk’s unarmed combat abilities in D&D.

However, while Monks are incredibly effective with unarmed strikes, weapons play a crucial role in their versatility and overall combat effectiveness.

Cultural Influences

Many people picture Monks as Shaolin monks or martial arts masters from films who perform incredible feats without weapons.

This imagery is powerful and shapes our understanding of what a Monk should be.

However, these depictions are only part of the story. Historical martial arts traditions include extensive weapon training, from staffs and swords to more exotic tools.

Example: The Bo staff, a staple in many martial arts, is a symbol of how Monks use weapons to complement their unarmed skills. It provides reach and leverage that fists alone cannot.

Game Mechanics

D&D rules reinforce the idea that Monks excel at unarmed combat.

The Martial Arts feature allows Monks to deal significant damage with their fists, which can overshadow their weapon use.

Players might overlook weapons in favor of unarmed strikes because the rules make them very effective.

Example: A Monk’s unarmed strike damage scales with their level, making it an attractive option. However, weapons like the quarterstaff or shortsword can provide additional versatility and options in combat, which can be crucial in different scenarios.

Roleplaying Preferences

Some players choose to focus on unarmed combat for roleplaying reasons.

They might envision their character as a disciplined martial artist who eschews weapons in favor of personal mastery. This can be a powerful narrative choice but doesn’t mean that weapons aren’t useful or desired.

Example: A Monk who has taken a vow of simplicity might avoid weapons as part of their character arc. However, they could still use a staff or dagger if the situation demands it, adding depth to their story.

Does It Matter What Weapons a Monk Uses?

Yes, the choice of weapons can significantly impact a Monk’s effectiveness in different situations.

While Monks are designed to be proficient with unarmed strikes, their weapon choices can enhance their combat abilities, provide strategic advantages, and add variety to their roleplaying experience.

Combat Effectiveness

Different weapons offer different advantages.

For instance, a quarterstaff provides versatility with its two-handed option, while a short sword offers finesse for precise strikes. Darts allow for ranged attacks, which can be critical in certain encounters.

Choosing the right weapon can maximize damage output and tactical options.

Example: Against heavily armored foes, a Monk might use a shortsword for its finesse property, targeting weak points with precision. Against a swarm of weaker enemies, a quarterstaff’s reach and two-handed damage can be more effective.

Strategic Advantages

Weapons can also provide strategic benefits.

Magical weapons add special effects like extra damage types or unique abilities, enhancing a Monk’s combat repertoire.

Homebrew weapons can introduce new mechanics and interactions.

Example: A Monk wielding the Dragonbone Quarterstaff can deal extra fire damage, making it a valuable asset against enemies vulnerable to fire. The Shadow Dagger can help a Monk maintain stealth and deal necrotic damage, perfect for a stealthy or shadow-themed character.

Roleplaying Depth

Weapon choice can reflect a Monk’s background, philosophy, and personal journey.

Integrating weapon use into your roleplaying can make your character more complex and interesting.

A Monk’s weapon can be a family heirloom, a token from their master, or a symbol of their path.

Example: A Monk who uses a quarterstaff might have trained in a traditional dojo, valuing the staff for its simplicity and effectiveness. Another Monk might prefer daggers, reflecting a past life as an assassin before finding enlightenment.

Flexibility in Combat

Monks can switch between weapons and unarmed strikes seamlessly, adapting to the needs of the moment. This flexibility allows them to be effective in a wide range of combat scenarios, from close-quarters brawls to ranged skirmishes.

Example: In a battle that starts at a distance, a Monk can begin with darts to soften up enemies before closing in with unarmed strikes or a quarterstaff for melee combat. This adaptability makes Monks one of the most versatile classes in D&D.

Here is a video about DND Monk Weapons that you should really watch:

YouTube Video by CinderBlockSally — DND Monk Weapons

Final Thoughts: DND Monk Weapons

With these DND monk weapons and tips, your Monk will be well-equipped to face any challenge, and your campaign will be all the more exciting for it.

Read This Next


DND Player’s Handbook
Personal Experience (and my grand imagination)