Best Way Of The Four Elements Monk Build In Baldur’s Gate 3

Earth. Water. Fire. Air. These are the four pillars of the Way of the Four Elements monk, but in Baldur’s Gate 3, there’s no earth because those spells don’t appear in the tabletop game until level 17—five levels later than Baldur’s Gate 3 allows at the time of this writing.


THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Related

Baldur’s Gate 3: How To Deal With The Hag

Dealing with the hag in Baldur’s Gate 3 requires foresight and planning, and here are a few tips to get you started with this ordeal.

However, even though you’re completely missing an element, the Way of the Four Elements monk still accomplishes the same goals as the tabletop version. You get strong ranged attacks for a normally melee-oriented class and you achieve unparalleled battlefield control. Read on to learn how to master these four (but actually three) elements.


Way Of The Four Elements Monk Overview

Baldur's Gate 3 monk surrounded by enemies

Hit Points Per Level

5 plus Constitution modifier

Saving Throw Proficiencies

Dexterity, Strength

Weapon Proficiencies

Simple Weapons, Shortswords

Armor Proficiencies

None

Skill Proficiencies (Choose Three)

History, Insight, Religion, Acrobatics, Stealth, Athletics

Spellcasting Ability

Wisdom

Followers of the Way of the Four Elements channel their ki into Elemental Disciplines that mirror the spellcasting of other classes. Unfortunately, Way of the Four Elements monks get those spells many levels later than actual spellcasting classes such as wizards, sorcerers, or warlocks, making these Elemental Disciplines less impressive overall.

Thankfully, the Way of the Four Elements monk has several unique “spells” that are not only an efficient use of ki, but also offer a useful niche in battlefield manipulation.

Monks can begin their journey on the Way of the Four Elements starting at level three. At this point, you may choose three Elemental Disciplines from a limited list. Many of these abilities have direct analogs with sorcerer or wizard spells, such as Blade of Rime being Ice Knife, Fist of Four Thunders being Thunderwave, and Sphere of Elemental Balance being Chromatic Orb.

Unlike true spellcasters, however, you gain access to these spells several levels later than characters with spell slots. Additionally, you can’t up-cast these Disciplines as true spellcasters, meaning they lose efficacy as you level up.

Some of these Elemental Disciplines are just plain bad. Touch of the Storm is actually just Shocking Touch; a cantrip for other classes, but something that costs a Way of the Four Elements Monk a whole ki point to cast.

Instead of opting for those Disciplines with spellcasting analogs, this build will focus on abilities unique to the Way of the Four Elements monk, notably, Fist of Unbroken Air, Water Whip, and Fangs of the Fire Snake. These Disciplines are not only efficient uses of ki points, but they also offer notable benefits to the monk class.

All three Disciplines provide a ranged attack, something the core monk lacks. Fangs of the Fire Snake provides a potent fire attack and an additional d4 to every unarmed strike, while Fist of Unbroken Air and Water Whip can push or pull enemies to further increase your damage (or sometimes even eliminate enemies by pushing/pulling them off cliffs).

Starting Ability Scores

Strength

Dexterity

Constitution

Intelligence

Wisdom

Charisma

8(-1)

16(+3)

14(+2)

8(-1)

16(+3)

12(+1)

Wisdom and Dexterity are your two most important stats in equal measure. Dexterity determines your ability to hit with your attacks, while Wisdom improves the spell save DC of your Elemental Disciplines. Both provide armor class thanks to Unarmored Defense.

Monks aren’t the most durable of classes. They can achieve surprisingly high armor class with a few notable items, but your hit points are on par with the likes of warlocks and bards. Constitution at 14 provides a hit point buffer over the origin characters that you’ll be grateful for.

Charisma is at 12 simply to help with the many conversation checks you’ll have throughout the game, which should be further enhanced with a background that provides either Deception or Persuasion. Strength and intelligence are both negative because they don’t provide anything beyond saving throws. You can get the skills associated with these ability scores from other characters.

Leveling The Build And Elemental Discipline Choices

There are remarkably few choices to make as a monk. You’ve got nothing to decide until level three when you embark on the Way of the Four Elements. Here, you’ll choose three Elemental Disciplines: Fangs of the Fire Snake, Fist of Unbroken Air, and Water Whip.

Fangs of the Fire Snake is likely to be your bread-and-butter Discipline. It provides a measurable bonus to every unarmed strike you make for the rest of the round, and it offers a ranged attack for when you can’t quite make it into melee range.

Water Whip and Fist of the Unbroken Air are essentially the same. They both provide a 30-foot range, deal 3d10 bludgeoning damage and cause your opponent to make a saving throw to avoid being moved. Fist of Unbroken Air pushes your opponent, while Water Whip pulls.

Use Water Whip and Fist of Unbroken Air strategically to maximize your party’s damage output. Push enemies over cliffs with Fist of Unbroken Air, or pull enemies to within range of your party with Water Whip.

You’re never going to feel like you have enough ki points. Harmony of Fire and Water helps, but with Flurry of Blows and Fangs of the Fire Snake best used together, you’re going to run out of ki in almost every battle. Be sure to take frequent short rests.

At level four, increase your Dexterity to 18. This might seem counterintuitive for a “spellcasting” monk, but you’re still going to be making plenty of unarmed attacks in early levels, and Dexterity both boosts your damage and attack rating.

The next decision comes at level six, where you’re offered the monk equivalent of Scorching Ray, Shatter, or Hold Person. Pick Clench of the North Wind (Hold Person) as both Shatter and Scorching Ray can be acquired through equipment, and Hold Person can’t.

At level eight, boost your Wisdom to 18, and then at level 11, we have another three spells to choose from. Fireball at this level is woefully underpowered and Gaseous Form is situationally useful, but those situations have likely come and gone by now. Pick Ride the Wind for some easy traversal of certain areas.

Finally, boost your Dexterity to a maximum of 20 at level 12 for that little bit of extra damage and attack rating.

Related

Baldur’s Gate 3: All Secret Patch 5 Changes

What’s better than the update you don’t know?

Best Races For A Way Of The Four Elements Monk

a custom Wood Elf Monk from Baldur's Gate 3

Several races provide beneficial bonuses to a Way of the Four Elements monk. Below we have the potential races ranked best to worst.

Elf

Woof Elf provides more of everything that a monk loves: extra movement, some crucial skill proficiencies, Darkvision, and sleep immunity.

Drow

Very close to being an elf, but instead of the extra movement, you get super Darkvision and some useful spells.

Gnome

Having advantage on every mental saving throw can be a huge boon for monks who can’t afford to be disabled in combat. It’s enough to make up for the movement speed penalty compared to other races.

Tiefling

Fire resistance and Darkvision are both good. Asmodeus and Mephistopheles tiefling provides some useful spells (Asmodeus might edge out Mephistopheles here), but Zariel Tiefling should be avoided as those spells require weapon attacks.

Half-Orc

Savage Attacks is less useful as it requires a melee weapon, but Intimidation proficiency, Darkvision, and Relentless Endurance are all good things to have.

Half-Elf

Half-elves give up Perception for armor proficiency. For a class that doesn’t use armor, it’s not a good trade.

Dwarf

Dwarves all provide poison resistance, which monks receive innately at level nine. Weapon and armor proficiencies aren’t very useful, leaving gold dwarf for extra hit points of duergar for Enlarge and Invisibility spells.

Dragonborn

An elemental resistance and a breath attack are fine, but you can do better.

Githyanki

All the weapon and armor proficiencies are wasted, leaving Astral Knowledge and Githyanki Psionics. Not bad, but not the best fit for the class.

Human

All those weapon and armor proficiencies don’t help much, leaving one skill and some extra carrying capacity.

Halfling

Brave is useless after you receive Calmness of Mind, and poison resistance becomes obsolete later too. That leaves lightfoot halfing for advantage on Stealth checks and Halfling Luck, but that’s not enough to offset losing five feet of movement.

Related

Baldur’s Gate 3: Where To Find All Counting House Vault Keys

Learn the locations of all nine High Security Vault keys and what happens when you get all of them.

Early Game Equipment Build For A Way Of The Four Elements Monk

Human monk wearing bloodguzzler garb in baldur's gate 3

In the early game, focus on enhancing your mobility (because it hasn’t naturally enhanced itself as of yet) and improving your damage and defense. Best of all, you can get most of this set up extremely early in Act 1.

Haste Helm and Crusher’s Ring boost your movement speed, while Boots of Genial Striding prevent difficult terrain from slowing you down. Amulet of Misty Step is there to get you the last few feet to your target or to escape as needed.

Bracers of Defense are the perfect way to boost your defense as you won’t be using armor or a shield. Corellon’s Grace adds some extra damage to your unarmed strikes and also +2 to every saving throw.

There aren’t many good armor (or rather, non-armor) options in the early game. Bloodguzzler Garb can be obtained from the Underdark, but the best option is The Graceful Cloth, which can be obtained from Lady Esther on the Rosymorn Monastery Trail. It provides a Dexterity boost and several Dex-based bonuses, and since this build is extremely hungry for stats, it will likely be your best armor option for most of the game.

Ring of Color Spray is a nice way to blind opponents, but you can honestly replace it with your preferred ring.

Related

Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Battle Master Fighter Build

It’s time to master being a Battle Master.

Late Game Equipment Build For A Way Of The Four Elements Monk

Cacophony, Gloves of Soul Catching, and Darkfire Shortbow, from Baldur's Gate 3

As you gain monk levels, you’ll gain additional movement speed to the point where you can start replacing gear that enhances your movement with gear that enhances damage and defense.

Gloves of Soul Catching adds 1d10 force damage to every unarmed strike, while Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo adds your Wisdom modifier on top of your Dexterity modifier to unarmed strikes. Cacophany adds a d4 to your main-hand attack. Mask of Soul Perception adds two to your attack and initiative, which can really help get combat off on the right foot.

On the defensive side, Cloak of Displacement makes you harder to hit, while Vest of Soul Rejuvenation, Gloves of Soul Catching, and Ring of Regeneration add AC and hit point regeneration during combat. Ring of Protection adds one to AC and saving throws.

Sentient Amulet will help you recoup those ki points. You can actually get a lesser version of this amulet in Act 1, but don’t use the in-built Shatter spell unless you want to risk falling into fits of laughter.

Darkfire Shortbow really isn’t for dealing ranged damage; it’s just there for fire and cold resistance and to self-cast Haste if you don’t have a spellcaster who can do it for you.

Next

Baldur’s Gate 3: Complete Guide And Walkthrough

All of our Baldur’s Gate 3 guides in one convenient place!

Leave a Comment