New Magic Items for Monks


I don’t know how it goes in your campaigns, but in my 5e campaign, no one is as burdened with cool magic items as the monk. Some of these I designed to be coolest with monk class features, while others were less intentional. A magic spear… well, almost no one other than a monk finds a spear useful. (Houserule fix: If you have proficiency in all martial weapons, you deal 1d8 [Versatile 1d10] damage with a spear.) Even so, monks are cool and the game could use more content that targets them, so here we are.

Anyway, I’ve done class- or subclass-targeted magic items for paladins, druids, rangers, and sorcerers, so today it’s monks.

Iron Rain

Dagger, rare (requires attunement)

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. When you use the Attack action, you can replace one attack with hurling the dagger and using its command word. All creatures within a 30-ft cone of you roll a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures that fail this saving throw take damage equal to a weapon attack from the dagger.

Boots of the Lightning Path

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

While you wear these soft, calf-high boots, your walking speed increases by 10 feet. The boots have 9 charges, and regain all expended charges at dawn. When you use the Dash action and expend a charge, your steps crackle with lightning, and you deal an additional 1d6 lightning damage with your next successful weapon attack within the next minute. You can have up to 3d6 extra damage from these boots at a time.

Dragon Armlets

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement by a monk)

These two silver bracelets have dragon decorations. They are connected by five fine chains, meant to be worn on the same arm. While you wear them, you can use your Deflect Missiles feature against a ranged spell attack as if it were a ranged weapon attack. The armlets can be used this way once, and can’t be used again for 10 minutes.

Wisdom-Writing of Mortality

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

This sacred scroll is a lengthy text that offers enlightening truths about the nature of mortality. You must read from at least once every 24 hours, during short or long rests, in order to maintain attunement. Your attunement lasts 24 hours past your death, and no other creature can attune to the scroll in that time. You can spend 4 ki points to cast revivify and 6 ki points to cast raise dead. You must still expend the normal material component for those spells. You can cast one of these spells with the scroll once, and regain the ability to do so at dawn.

When you have been dead for 24 hours, the scroll casts reincarnate on you unless you choose to remain dead. Your remains are immune to animate dead during that 24-hour span.

Lion Wraps

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls on unarmed attacks made while wearing these cloth wraps on your forearms and lower legs. The cloth wraps are painted with elaborate depictions of lions. You can choose to deal slashing damage rather than bludgeoning damage with your unarmed attacks. When you end the frightened condition on yourself by succeeding a saving throw or using the Stillness of Mind feature, you regain 1 ki point.

Staff of Vaulting

Quarterstaff, common

This quarterstaff is unusually limber. When you use it as part of a jump, your jumping distance is doubled. If you use the Step of the Wind feature to double your jumping distance at the same time, you triple your jumping distance instead.

Belt of Emerald Mastery

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement by a monk)

This braided green silk belt denotes an early stage on the path of mastery in a certain monastic order. When you have 0 ki points remaining, you can use a bonus action to regain 1d4+1 ki points. The belt can do so once, and you regain the use of this ability the next day at dawn.

Belt of Ruby Mastery

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement by a monk)

Made of braided red silk, this belt denotes an intermediate stage on the path of mastery in a certain monastic order. You can use a bonus action to regain 1d4+1 ki points. The belt can do so three times, though not more than once per hour, and regains all uses each day at dawn.

Belt of Onyx Mastery

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement by a monk)

Braided black silk is the mark of exalted mastery, at least for one noted monastic order. The maximum size of your ki pool increases by 4.

Design Notes

The first two are in my campaign right now. The boots of the lightning path – inspired by the cool midair fire-stepping thing in Doctor Strange – have been through some tweaks, and I’m not completely sure these are the same as the one the monk in my game uses now. He’s managed some absolutely meteoric entrances into fights, when he’s had to run from a long way off first.

The dragon armlets and lion wraps are because I think hands and forearms are some of the best places to display cool magic items.

Wisdom-writing of mortality is me thinking about a 4e item, ineffable secret of death, but not looking up what that item does in 4e. (It’s from Dragon Magazine 404, where it’s a ki focus item.) I expect that a lot of monks wouldn’t care about being the party’s source of revivify/raise dead, but “every monk wants this the most” isn’t my design goal.

Staff of vaulting… yeah, Kainenchen has been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Anyway.

I’m hoping that the progressive format of the belts of mastery feels good. I think the onyx belt is probably underpowered for a very rare, but then getting rarities right is the thing I care about least in magic item design. I’m frequently skeptical that it’s a top priority for official releases.

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