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BEST Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build (+Equipment)

Want a top tier, super powerful Monk in Baldur’s Gate 3? This Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build will teach you how to make the ultimate Monk.

When you’re playing Baldur’s Gate 3 you need to gather a party and make decisions about who to include. There are a lot of popular builds out there, but in Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk builds are generally considered to be one of the best, if not the best, melee damage dealers in Baldur’s Gate 3. This Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build will teach you everything you need to know to make the perfect Baldur’s Gate 3 Monk.

At the time of writing this, I have 261 hours in Baldur’s Gate 3 and I’ve done five playthroughs. I’ve used Monks in 4 of them, so I’ve had time to perfect this build over several playthroughs.

Screenshot 2023 09 05 195734 BEST Baldur's Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build (+Equipment)

I tried several different variations, and I’m going to tell you what I’ve concluded is the best way to make this character. There are some tradeoffs, and I’ll point those out when we get there. All the screenshots in this guide come from my own personal Karlach.

Without further ado, let’s get into the Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build class selection

Why the Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build is So Strong

Fists are a relatively weak weapon. They do 1-4 damage to start out with and max out at 1-8 damage at level 9. So why are Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monks so strong?

The answer is because they get a ton of attacks and scale insanely well with damage modifiers.

By the end of the game, this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build will be getting 6-8 attacks per round, and each attack will get 2x Strength modifiers, 2x Wis modifiers, and around ~20 elemental damage added on. It’s a truly insane build that demolishes enemies.

Additionally, between the Monk’s special dash ability and the crazy movespeed bonus you get from Unarmored Mobility, this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build is incredibly mobile.

Normally, the drawback is the Monk’s overall squishiness, but we’re going to address that in this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build. This character will be as tanky as it is offensively strong. This character will end up with 21 AC unarmored, with the option to wear one of the 3 AC shields at the expense of movespeed if you want to get to 24.

Abilities – Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build

There are two variations here. One is going to be for endgame, and one is going to be for leveling. This Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build is pretty ability hungry.

You need Strength for your attacks and for the Tavern Brawler Feat to add extra damage. You need Dexterity for Armor and Initiative. You need Wisdom because you’ll wear boots that add your Wisdom modifier to your attacks. You need Constitution because you’re a frontline fighter. Also, including a level we’re going to take in Barbarian, all those stats also increase your AC.

So, unlike the Gloom Stalker, which can dump all its stats except Dexterity and Con, you need Strength, Dex, Wisdom and Constitution all as high as you can get them.

So, later on, we’re going to reserve the Amulet of Greater Health that gives 23 Con to this character, so you can dump Con. Just keep that in mind. Your 23 Con amulet you get in Act 3 is gonna go to this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build.

That said, here are the Endgame Abilities you want for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build:

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build abilities
  • Strength: 17
  • Dexterity: 15
  • Constitution: 8
  • Intelligence: 8
  • Wisdom: 16
  • Charisma: 8

Before you get that Constitution Amulet, you’re going to want some Constitution, and you also don’t need Wisdom as much until Act 3 when you get the Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo, which add your Wis modifier to your damage.

For Early/Mid-Game, go with this:

  • Strength: 17
  • Dexterity: 14
  • Constitution: 14
  • Intelligence: 8
  • Wisdom: 12
  • Charisma: 10

You will be kind of squishy until Act 3. There is a way around this. You can take your first level of Fighter (you’ll get 2 levels of Fighter later in total) for Heavy Armor and Shields if you want. I prefer not to. Later on we’ll have 21-24 AC without armor depending on whether or not we choose to wear a shield.

The thing is, the first 6 levels of Monk is where all the good stuff is. Having tried both the 1 Fighter / 6 Monk path and the straight Monk 6 path on two different playthroughs, the pure Monk was better. Monks don’t really come online damage-wise until level 6, so it’s best to not delay that.

But, if you find your Monk is too squishy early game, be aware you can take one of your Fighter levels to start to get Heavy Armor and Shields.

The Build Overview – Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build

There are a lot of ways people do a Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build. Some go 9 Monk / 3 Rogue. Some go 6 Monk / 4 Rogue / 2 Fighter. Some go 10 Monk / 2 Fighter.

We’re going to do 6 Monk / 3 Rogue / 1 Barbarian / 2 Fighter. And I’ll explain the tradeoffs here, as there are some considerations and you may want to make a different choice because of personal preference.

With this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, we only get 1 Feat, compared to any of the other common builds listed above. That means we can only get 22 Strength, not 24. However, we’re also getting Rage, which adds 2 damage, plus all the defensive benefits of Rage, and we’re getting Barbarian’s unarmored defense, which lets us add our Constitution modifier to our armor. Since we’re wearing the Amulet of Greater Health, that ends up being a huge bonus.

I mentioned earlier that I’d done a Monk on 4 playthroughs. I’ve tried Monk 9 / Thief 3, I tried Monk 9 / Fighter 3, I tried Monk 6 / Thief 3 / Fighter 3. This build, Monk 6 / Thief 3 / Fighter 2 / Barbarian 1 is the best, in my opinion. This is fine-tuned.

Also, a lot of people like to start with a the first level in Fighter for the Armor proficiency. You can do that. I tried that. It was alright. Monks are super frontloaded. Every level is Christmas morning through level 6, and then they get barely anything for the next 6 levels. My personal experience is that delaying the early Monk levels isn’t worth it, and you don’t need exceptionally high AC for Act 1 anyway.

In the end, I prefer to keep this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build unarmored because they get +4.5m of movement speed for staying unarmored and their natural AC (21) is competitive with the high end heavy armors. But if you prefer higher AC, you can trade in the movespeed to equip a shield and get it up to 24 with one of the +3 AC shields (there are two that I’m aware of).

Level Progression – Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build

Here’s the high level for the Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build. Then we’ll go more in depth.

  • Levels 1-6 Monk
    • At level 3 take Way of the Open Hand
    • At Level 4 take Tavern Brawler
    • Extra Attack at level 5
    • Passive elemental damage on fists at level 6
  • Levels 7-9 Rogue
    • At Rogue level 3, take Thief
  • Level 10 Barbarian
    • Rage
    • Constitution AC Bonus
  • Levels 11-12 Fighter
    • Action Surge

Levels 1-6 Monk

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build monk subclass

At level 3 you get to pick your Monk subclass. For this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, pick Way of the Open Hand. The other two subclasses get interesting options, but Way of the Open Hand gets passive elemental damage on unarmed attacks at level 6 and its Flurry of Blows can inflict Stagger and Prone.

For your Feat, take Tavern Brawler. Tavern Brawler doubles your Strength bonus damage on attacks. So, if you have 18 Strength you’ll get +8 damage on attacks instead of +4. It also gives you an extra Strength ability point, which will take your Strength from 17 to 18.

At level 5 you get an Extra Attack, which is a big power spike for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build. Then at level 6 you get Manifestation of Body, which lets you add 1d4+Wisdom Modifier to your attacks in the form of elemental attacks. This doesn’t automatically turn on, make sure to go into your passives tab on your skill bar and turn it on.

Levels 7-9 Rogue

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build rogue subclass

There aren’t any choices to make here. In fact the first two levels in Rogue are almost completely useless to you, though you’ll get a small amount of situational extra damage from Sneak Attack. You can change your proficiency bonus if you want. If you already have a Rogue in your party you probably don’t need a Sleight of Hands bonus for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build.

At level 9, pick Thief. That’s the whole reason we came here. You get a Fast Hands, which is an extra Bonus Action, which is so good it’s worth three levels. Extra Bonus Action is especially good for Monks, as your Flurry of Blows — a double attack — is a bonus action. So now you get 4 attacks in a round just from bonus actions, and two more attacks from your main attack and your extra attack.

Level 10 Barbarian

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build barbarian rage

At this point, for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, I like to dip 1 level into Barbarian to pick up Rage and Unarmored Defense, which applies your Constitution modifier to AC.

You could do the Fighter levels first if you prefer to have Action Surge earlier. I think the Rage and AC bonus feels like a bigger upgrade than Action Surge so I like to do it first.

Levels 11-12 Fighter

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build action surge

There are no choices to make here. You can pick a Fighting Style, but none of them are useful to you. Pick the shield one if you’re going to use a shield.

You get Heavy Armor if you start with a level in Fighter at level 1, which may be useful to you early on or in Act 2. Having done this, it definitely makes your character tankier, but pushing back Extra Attack, Manifestation of Body and Fast Hands is not worth it in my opinion.

You get shields which you can equip at the expense of movement speed, up to you.

The whole reason we’re going into Fighter for our Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build is that Monk doesn’t really have much left to offer after level 6 except a 0-2 base fist damage increase and Ki Resonance, which is interesting but not great. Further Rogue levels offer us nothing. So might as well pick up Action Surge. We’re missing out on a Feat to get Rage and Action Surge, but it’s worth it.

Options & Personal Preference

Unlike my Gloom Stalker build, which is pretty clear cut about decisions that are definitely better or more optimal than other choices, there’s some flexibility to the Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, which you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been reading along.

I’m going to point out some personal preference things.

  • If you want higher AC early on at the expense of delaying your damage, take a level of Fighter early for the armor proficiency
  • If you don’t want Action Surge, you can take Barbarian to 3 instead and get one of the Wildheart Rages. Bear is probably the best for this build. That’d be a more defensive build, Action Surge would be more offense-oriented.
  • You could ignore Fighter/Barbarian altogether and take Monk to level 9 for Ki Resonance, a Feat and the Fist damage upgrade. I think this is objectively inferior, but it is an option.
  • If you’re going to wear Heavy Armor, it’s probably not worth it to take the Barbarian level. Take a level in Thief instead for the Feat.

When the Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build is complete, equipment-wise, you have a choice of being unarmored or wearing heavy armor and a shield.

I prefer being unarmored because your endgame unarmed AC will be on par with Heavy Armor, plus you get a Monk-specific counterattack ability from the best Monk clothing and a significant movespeed bonus. Also, in end game, with 144 Health, 21 AC and a character that kills half the battlefield every turn, I’m not sure you need another 2-3 AC from a shield.

This also frees up your Legendary and Purple Heavy Armors for other people to use and lets you make use of the best Monk robe, which no one else can get any use out of.

Getting 22 Strength – Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Build

It’s actually possible to get not just 22 Strength, but 24 Strength, but we’re not going to get 24 Strength with this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build because we’re skipping a Feat. Here’s what you need in order to max out your strength.

  • Tavern Brawler (+1 Strength)
  • Potion of Everlasting Vigor (+2 Strength)
  • General’s Memory (+2 Strength)

You don’t need to give yourself Auntie Ethel’s Hair for this build, you’d end up with an odd number. If you altered this build and took an extra feat, you could get to 24 Strength, but it’s not necessary, what you gain from Action Surge + Rage more than makes up for an extra 2 damage on attacks.

The Potion of Everlasting Vigor is acquired in Act 2 by going to Moonrise Tower with Astarion in your party and talking him into drinking the woman’s blood in the alchemy lab.

The General’s Memory is obtained in Act 3 by going to the House of Grief and praying to the Mirror of Loss at the end of the dungeon there. You need to pass a 25 Religion check and then curse another stat (which you can then fix with Remove Curse) for a permanent bonus to Strength.

Best-in-Slot Equipment – Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build

Helmet

There are a few options when it comes to helmet for the Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build. I recommend Horns of the Berserker, but here are the contenders.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build horns of the berserker
  • Horns of the Berserker: +2 necrotic damage on unarmed attacks, +2 attack rolls on creatures who have taken damage, bought at Danthelon’s Dancing Axe in Wyrm’s Crossing
  • Helldusk Helmet: Prevents blind, prevents critical hits, +2 bonus to spell saving throws, found in the House of Hope
  • Bonespike Helmet: When you Rage, surrounding enemies take 2-8 psychic damage. Purchased in the Lower City Sewers in Act 3.

If you’re wearing armor with this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, add the Helmet of Grit on that list as an option, which gives an extra bonus action when you have below 50% health. That one is found in Cazador’s mansion in the room with the death spell effect.

Cloak

There are no groundbreaking cloaks that are specifically good for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, so we’re left with the usual suspects.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build cloak of protection
  • Cloak of Displacement: once per turn, enemies have disadvantage on you until you get hit
  • Cloak of Protection: +1 AC / Saving Throws

There aren’t any super great choices. Most of my Monks are rocking the Cloak of Protection, so that’s the conclusion I seem to keep coming to.

Armor

Vest of Soul Rejuvenation is your best bet for armor when it comes to this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build vest of soul rejuvenation

I’d give you a list of other options, but nothing else really competes. Vest of Soul Rejuvenation gives +2 AC on top of all your crazy unarmored AC stat bonuses and a very, very useful passive counter attack skill that pretty much results in most enemies running at this character and dying to counter attacks.

It’s also available fairly early on in Act 3, since you just buy it in a store in the Lower City. It’s at the Sorcerer’s Sundries shop in the middle of the map.

In Act 2 there are a bunch of Monk and Barbarian cloth armors that give +2 to a particular stat, so you can pick one of those and roll with that until you get to Act 3. They’re purchased in the various shops in Last Light Inn and Moonrise.

If you’re wearing Heavy Armor, and this is partly why I don’t like using Heavy Armor on this character, the Vest of Soul Rejuvenation is still your best option. If you swapped it out for the Helldusk Armor, your AC would stay the same, you’d get the Heavy Armor damage reduction and you’d lose the Vest’s ridiculous counter attack reaction.

Gloves

This is the best equipment section for Monks because they get some great stuff here. First, as far as best-in-slot, there’s a very clear winner, and it’s a pair of legendary gloves that are tailor made for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build gloves of soul catching

You get the Gloves of Soul Catching from saving Hope in the House of Hope. They add 1-10 Force damage to your unarmed attacks, heal you for 10 points a turn, and add +2 to your Constitution (although we’re wearing the Amulet of Greater Health for max Con, so that doesn’t make a difference).

These gloves are fantastic for this particular character, far and away better than any other gloves in the game, borderline useless on anyone else. So these are gonna be the gloves for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build.

House of Hope is pretty late (although you can do it pretty early in the middle of Act 3, there’s nothing stopping you). Monks also have a lot of good options for gloves while leveling.

  • Flawed Helldusk Gloves: Attacks deal +1-4 elemental damage, unarmed attacks can inflict bleeding. You get these from trading Infernal Iron in to Dammon (have to do it a few times to get all the Flawed Helldusk items)
  • Gauntlet of the Tyrant: Unarmed attacks deal +1-4 force damage. Get these from beating Gortash.
  • Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle: Unarmed attacks deal +1-4 fire damage. Buy these from the woman in the Mountain Pass.
  • Helldusk Gloves: Attacks deal +1-6 elemental damage, unarmed attacks can inflict bleeding. (Same as the Flawed Helldusk Gloves, but better). You get these from looting the Incubus in the House of Hope.

There’s a lot of competition for Helldusk Gloves, as they’re best-in-slot for most martial characters (except this one). I’d recommend slapping on the Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle, which are only slightly weaker than the Flawed Helldusk Gloves, and using those until you can upgrade to the Gloves of Soul Catching from the House of Hope.

Boots

There’s only one option for boots when it comes to this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, and those are the Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build boots of uninhibited kushigo

The Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo drop off the Githyanki in the Astral Plane during the story sequence early in Act 3.

These boots give you a big damage boost if you have a high Wisdom modifier. It’s yet another reason we don’t go Heavy Armor with this build — because we need to have high Wisdom anyway to get damage from these boots.

Manifestation of Body, your Monk skill that gives passive elemental damage on unarmed attacks, also scales with Wisdom. So between the boots and that skill, you’re getting your Wisdom modifier twice on attacks, just like your Strength modifier with Tavern Brawler.

Until Act 3, boots-wise, it kind of doesn’t matter. Aside from these boots, which give a sizable damage increase, all other boots mostly give bonuses to movespeed and resistance to movement impairing effects. Just equip whatever you have at the time.

Ranged Weapon

Very rarely, you’ll plunk at something out of range with your ranged weapon. That doesn’t happen often since usually you can dash and jump into range of almost anything. Since you’re rarely using your ranged weapon, the one I’d recommend is the Darkfire Shortbow, because it lets you cast Haste.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build darkfire shortbow

You buy this from Dammon early in Act 2. Slap it on your Monk, don’t worry about your ranged weapon for the rest of the game.

Shield

Shield is a bit more of a contained choice than Heavy Armor or not. If you wear any armor, like the Helmet of Grit for instance is Light Armor, you’ll lose all your unarmored AC bonuses, which means you can’t wear the Vest of Rejuvenation without having like 14 AC.

However, you can wear a shield with this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build and all you lose is the +4.5m bonus movement speed from Unarmored Movement.

If you want to wear a shield, I’d recommend one of the two +3 AC shields. One is the Iron-Banded Shield +1, which you find in Moonrise Towers, and the other is Viconia’s Walking Fortress, which you get in the House of Grief and is probably the best shield in the game overall, for anybody.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build iron-banded shield

If this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build is your MC or no one else in your party is using a shield, go ahead and give them Viconia’s Walking Fortress. If someone else has a better claim to that, I’d go with the Iron-Banded Shield +1. Or no shield.

Amulet

Your Amulet for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build is going to be the Amulet of Greater Health, which boosts your Constitution to 23. This is a popular item that’s useful for everyone, but this build gets the most out of it because it also scales their AC and lets them use Constitution as a dump stat.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build amulet of greater health

Note that the Barbarian Unarmored Defense (Constitution applies to AC) and Monk Unarmored Defense (Wisdom applies to AC) do not stack, you get whichever bonus is higher. However, you still want high Wisdom because it adds to your damage.

Amulet of Greater Health comes from the House of Hope. You steal it from the display room.

Rings

There aren’t a lot of rings that are specifically good for this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build, so your options are the same usual suspects that are good on everyone.

best baldur's gate 3 tavern brawler monk build ring of regeneration
  • Ring of Protection: +1 AC / Saving Throws, steal the Druid Idol and give it to Mol in Act 2
  • Killer’s Sweetheart: Guaranteed critical hit after defeating an enemy once per long rest. You get it from the Self-Same Trial in the Gauntlet of Shar in Act 2.
  • Eversight Ring: Blind Immunity, found in the House of Healing in Act 2.
  • Ring of Regeneration: Gain 1-4 HP per turn. Bought at Sorcerous Sundries in the Lower City in Act 3.

Take your pick. Most martial users like to equip the Caustic Band, which gives +2 Acid Damage on weapon attacks, but that doesn’t work with unarmored attacks so it’s useless for you. I’d go with the Ring of Protection and the Eversight Band.

How to Use This Build – Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build

The Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build is pretty straight forward in terms of its playstyle. You run up and you punch things.

Because Flurry of Blows, which is a double attack, is a Bonus Action, you get Thief so you can get an extra Bonus Action and do it twice per turn for a total of four attacks. Then you get another two attacks from your main action and your Extra Attack.

Since you have Tavern Brawler, the Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo, and Manifestation of Body, both your Strength and Wisdom modifiers are added all your attacks twice for a grand total of +18 damage. To top it off, you get another 1-10 Radiant damage from your gloves and 2 Necrotic damage from your helmet.

Altogether, with this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build you’re hitting 6 times per round for 23-40 damage, plus another 2 attacks from Action Surge if something not dead after your initial 138-240 damage.

On top of all that crazy offense, you also have 24 AC (or 21 AC and +4.5m movespeed if you’re not wearing a shield), 144 HP and you counterattack melee and missile attacks with a full damage unarmed attack.

I highly recommend this Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk build. This is a top tier build for sure, it’s very popular, and it’s a lot of fun as well.


That about covers it when it comes to the Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Tavern Brawler Monk Build. Be sure to check the Baldur’s Gate 3 section for more content like this and check out the main page for a full list of RPGs we’ve covered on our site.

Ryan Night is a lifelong RPG fan and a professional writer. His favorite games include Final Fantasy 7, Xenogears and Metal Gear Solid. He’s been writing RPG guides since the early 2000s and has been a veteran of the games industry for over two decades. His new sci-fi novel, Draconis, is coming out soon. He also has a YouTube channel, where he talks about RPGs and movies.