AD&D 2nd edition Monk
Based on the 1st edition Monk

Of all the character classes available in AD&D 1st edition, I played (and liked) the MONK character best. This character was dropped in 2nd edition (much to my chagrin). In an attempt to be true to the old class, and maintain compatibility with 2nd edition rules, I have written my own version of a 2nd edition monk. It is *not* my invention, per se. It is mostly an act of pure translation of the existing 1st edition monk (actually its Dragon Magazine #53 incarnation) into 2nd edition rules, specifically incorporating the Complete Psionics Handbook.

This document was created by Drexxell over the course of 1995-1996 and finished 12/1/1996. Preliminary versions distributed before this date contain known errors.

This document was rejected by TSR for publication, and was later submitted to MPG-NET, where it resides now.

You may contact the author for corrections, comments, criticism etc through e-mail at:

New Class: Monk (2nd edition AD&D)
Within the class group of "Psionicist"
The monk was a class originally developed for OD&D in the white box version, but was later dropped in the blue/grey basic box and pink/blue basic/expert boxed sets. It was picked back up when AD&D (1st edition) came out, re-written from its OD&D version, and printed in the Player's Handbook. Later it was re-written and published in Dragon Magazine (#53, reprinted in "Best of Dragon", Volume III). Finally, it was again re-printed (but ignoring the Dragon Magazine re-print) in the Oriental Adventures (1st edition) hardback book.
Second edition AD&D dropped the monk, and made no true attempt to resurrect it, though there was a non-similar priest kit called the "fighting monk" published in the Complete Priests Handbook.
The origin of monks seems to come from eastern (oriental) cultures, but this doesn't prevent their use in a typical AD&D world. In fact, the idea of eliminating monks from AD&D because they wouldn't "realistically" exist in a typical "western" (occidental) game world seems a bit odd, considering that "reality" has little to do with how people play a "fantasy" game!
Thus, in response to my own desire to resurrect the original class of monks, and those others who empathize, this essay is an attempt to translate the Dragon Magazine version of the 1st edition monk into AD&D, 2nd edition. (The Dragon version of the Monk is chosen over any others due to its popularity in games which I have played. Without exception, I have never witnessed anyone play the OD&D Monk, nor the Oriental Adventures Monk, and only have I seen people playing the PHB version before the printing of Dragon #53). Due to the significant amount of psionic powers granted to the 1st edition monk (especially the Dragon Magazine version), it was seen as logical to make monks a class of psionicist. Remember that psionicists were the 5th group of classes, introduced in the Complete Psionics Handbook (the first four being warrior, priest, wizard and rogue, from the Player's Handbook). Every effort has been made to include all of the 1st edition (Dragon Magazine version) abilities of the monk, while staying within the rules of 2nd edition AD&D (as outlined by the Player's Handbook and the Complete Psionics Handbook).
For the most part, descriptions that were not dependent upon the edition used, have been used either verbatim from 1st edition, or heavily relied upon, herein.

The Monk

Monks, of all the classes in AD&D, are the hardest to qualify for. A monk must meet minimum requirements (usually exceptional) in strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence and wisdom! These minimum requirements will prevent a large number of monks from appearing in any campaign. This is good and bad -- monks are unquestionably powerful at high levels (not, of course, without certain weaknesses as well), but they add a flavor of mysticism that is interesting in any game.
Monks are monastic aesthetics who are all psionic. However, unlike typical psionicists, monks follow a rigorous regiment of daily diet, exercise and meditation that attempts to focus on linking their minds to their bodies, and to link both of these to the overall consciousness of the universe, and subsequently to "become one with the multiverse". As such, the psionic abilities that they learn are in a specific order (this order being linked to a long tradition within monastic orders). This fusing of mind and body gives the monks certain additional abilities (such as using their hands as powerful weapons, exceptional speed, naturally lower armor classes) but also yields their weaknesses (severe self-inflicted poverty, limitations on usable magic items, no THAC0/damage bonuses for high strength, no AC bonuses for dexterity, inability to wear any form of armor).
The outline format of this essay will follow closely that of the psionicist from the Complete Psionics Handbook.


To qualify to be a monk, a character must meet the following minimum requirements:

        Ability Requirements:  Strength         15
                               Dexterity        15
                               Constitution     11
                               Intelligence     12
                               Wisdom           15
                               Charisma         None

Prime Requisites: None (thus no XP bonus) Races Allowed: Human Alignments Allowed: Lawful

Ability Requirements: To be eligible for the monk class, characters must have ability scores equal to or greater than those listed above.
Prime Requisites: Considering the necessity of mental and physical discipline which monks need, no single quantity can suitably be considered "prime". As such, monks have no prime requisite.
Racial Restrictions: Although many races can be psionicists, only humans have been initiated into the ranks of monks. Humans guard the secrets of their order, claiming that only humans can fully understand the necessities of being a monk. Whether or not this is true can be left to the option of the DM.
Multi-Classing and Dual-Classing as a Monk: The rigors of daily meditation and exercise prevent a character from ever being multi-classed or dual-classed as a monk.
Racial Level Limits: Each monastic order (there can be no more than 3 in an area of about one large country) will only have a limited number of monks between levels 13 and 21, and no monks are known to exist above 21st level. Humans are known to achieve this limit. Due to a lack of any information about possible non-human monks, there is no information about any possible level limits that might be imposed upon them.
Alignment: Monks follow a strict set of rules for daily living, including sleep patterns, diet, exercise, mediation, mental exercise, etc. As such, monks must always be lawful. Any deviation from lawfulness on the part of a monk will result in a full loss of abilities, until such time as the monk may return to lawfulness.
Orders of Monks: Within the outlook of lawful alignment, each monastic order will have it's own bent toward Good, Neutral and Evil tendencies. Within any given area (a country, or group of countries, if they are small - DM's Option), there will be no more than 3 monastic orders -- one for Lawful Good, one for Lawful Neutral and one for Lawful Evil. Each order will have one central school (a building or group of buildings, generally called a monastery), where monks of levels 1 through 11 come for training. Each central school will be organized differently, with some having active high-level monks on hand for teaching, some having retired high-level monks on hand for teaching, and others not having any monks above 11th level, where the teaching is primarily through self-discipline (this allows for both DM creativity, as well as removing any unnecessary teaching requirements on a high level adventuring monk's career). In addition to these central schools, the unique high-ranking monks (12th level or higher, see later) may have their own monasteries, where they may choose to teach their specific followers. Even if no high-ranking monks have established their own monasteries, there will always be the central school for each order.
The lower level monks (1st through 11th) of each monastic order can be of any Lawful alignment, but the unique monks (levels 12 through 21) will always be of the same alignment, within any one order. For example - the Lawful Neutral order might teach Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil monks of levels 1 through 11 at the central school, but will only allow the Lawful Neutral monks to proceed into the higher orders (levels 12 through 21). For a Lawful Good or Lawful Evil monk to proceed beyond level 11, he/she must seek out the monastic order of his/her own alignment and seek initiation (which generally requires a small quest on the part of the initiate). This allows for monks to train at any of the 3 possible monastic orders, and "flip flop" on their alignment as they grow and learn. It is assumed that a monk will be quite set in their alignment by level 12. In fact, if a monk is quite certain of his/her alignment at a level below 12, he/she may seek out the proper monastic order (assuming they realize that they are training at the wrong one) and ask for initiation.

Initial Funds

Monks inflict a form of poverty upon themselves in order to cleanse their minds of the diversion of greed. However, they are not unaware of the necessity of money in the world, and keep what little they need to survive. A new monk (1st level), will be assumed to have finished his/her apprenticeship in the monastery, and will be given a robe, a blanket, and a small purse containing 5-20 (5d4) gold pieces, with which they are expected to buy whatever "survival gear" they feel they will need (usually this means a weapon or two, and some simple survival gear -- monks are trained from the beginning to rely on their bodies and minds first, and material weapons second).

A Psionics Primer for Monks

Monks, like psionicists, learn various disciplines over their careers (with sciences, devotions and defense modes), but learn them in a rigid, unchanging way. This order of progression of learning is a necessary part of the discipline of being a monk, and may not be altered.
Psionic Strength Points: Monks gain, spend and re-gain Psionic Strength Points at the same rate as true psionicists.
Differences from True Psionicists: Monks have certain other differences from true psionicists. First of all, they learn less total sciences/devotions/defense modes than psionicists (part of their training). In addition, monks do not choose which psionic powers they will learn each level. The order of psionic powers learned is a rigid, unbending schedule that is the same for all monks. Lastly, monks never gain all 6 psionic disciplines. The most they ever learn is 5 (metapsionics is never learned).
These psionic drawbacks are offset by a number of advantages of monks -- namely their combat and thieving abilities, to be discussed later. For full information on psionics, consult the Complete Psionics Handbook.


Experience Levels and Awards: Monks, like all other classes, earn experience points and advance in levels. The minimum # of experience points needed to advance to each level is given in Table 1.
Advancement to 12th level: In addition to XP values, Table 1 contains the # of monks, per order, which exist at any one time, and the % chance that the particular level to have a vacancy. In order for a monk to advance to 12th level, the 11th level monk must first reach the minimum XP required for 12th level. Then, if there is a vacancy in the next level, the monk may immediately fill that vacancy. However, more than likely, there will not be a vacancy, and the monk must therefore seek out one of the three 12th level monks of his order (3 per order, and 3 orders per large country means 9 unique 12th level monks per large country, 3 of each Lawful alignment), and challenge him/her to single combat, in an effort to take his/her position. The particular 12th level monk to be sought out must be the one who has been in his/her rank longest. This way, a single monk cannot "sit" at 12th level, unchallenged. Every new monk who wishes to advance beyond 11th level must seek the next monk "in rotation".
At the time of the duel, the 11th level monk gains, temporarily, the abilities of the 12th level monk. The duel must take place in a mutually agreeable arena, and no weapons (other than hands and minds) and no magic items are allowed to be used. The combat must be purely one-on-one with no outside interference. The rules for resolving the duels for each particular order are as follows:
Lawful Good: These monks do not actually harm one another. Rather, all damage is "subdual" (as per the "subduing a dragon" rules). Thus, hit points lost and actual death do not occur. However, subdual hit point losses are tallied, and the monk who first loses all of their hit points to "subdual damage" by the other, is declared the loser. The winner of the battle maintains the position of 12th level monk, and his/her experience points. The loser of the battle becomes an 11th level monk, with exactly 600,000 XP, and may not challenge a reigning 12th level monk for at least 1 year.
Lawful Neutral: These monks actually inflict damage in their duels. It is up to each individual monk to know when he/she is near death. If the losing monk concedes defeat before his death, he is the loser, and becomes an 11th level monk with 600,000 XP and may not challenge a reigning 12th level monk for 1 year, with the winning monk maintaining the position of 12th level, and keeping their XP. If nobody concedes defeat, this truly is a fight to the death, with the surviving monk staying at 12th level.
Lawful Evil: These duels are always to the death. There is no "concession of defeat". The surviving monk stays at 12th level.
For the Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil orders, a monk who has died in a monkish duel at 12th level, and who is raised from the dead, comes back as an 11th level monk with 600,000 XP. It should also be noted that even Lawful Evil monks realize the importance of a fair fight, and that any use of weapons, magic, or outside interference will result in not only their immediate loss of the battle, but a removal from the monkish order (in game terms, this means that the monk will have their XP frozen at 600,000, and be unable to gain XP until a quest is fulfilled for re-instatement to the monastic order).
Advancement to 13th through 21st level: In the same way that the multitudes of 11th level monks will attempt to achieve one of the three 12th level positions within his/her order, the three 12th level monks will eventually attempt to fill the unique position of the 13th level monk in his/her order. Only one monk of each level from 13 through 21 may exist in any order at any time. If, a monk wishes to advance into the 13th through 21st levels, he/she must first have the minimum number of XP to achieve the next level. Then, as they did for 12th level, the monk must either fill a vacancy (if one exists -- again, a slim, but not impossible, chance), or else find the single monk of the next level in their order, and challenge them to a duel. The duels for each order are the same as those listed for advancement to 12th level. The challenger temporarily gains the powers of the next level, and the winner keeps the higher level, with the loser (if he/she lives) dropping to the lower level, and their XP dropping to the minimum of that level. Again, a monk who dies in one of these duels and is raised, comes back as though they had lost and lived (i.e. they are of the lower level, with minimum XP for that level).
Advancement beyond 21st level: No monks have ever been reported to exist beyond 21st level. However, like the druids, there are rumors of a separate order of monks above the so-called "maximum" level. The existence or non-existence of such an order is left to the discretion of the DM.
Leaving the monastic orders: At any time, a monk may leave the monastic ways and still acquire XP through adventuring. What this means, effectively, is that they voluntarily choose to cease going up in levels. If a monk chooses this option before 12th level, they may always resume their upward movement at a later date. If, however, a monk leaves the order from 12th through 21st levels, they create a vacancy in their position, and will be unable, ever, to regain their position (though a wish may allow an exception to this rule). This option is occasionally chosen by monks who are tired of chasing their superiors for duels, while constantly being dogged by their underlings. However, the most common example of such a choice is by the 21st level monks. These, often venerable, old men and women usually disappear from the world with nary a word to their underlings. If they go out to seek final adventures before old age catches them, or if they are taken up to the gods (through divine ascension), or if they actually join a new, higher-order of monks, no tales say. Certainly this is the realm of the DM's discretion.


Monk Level Experience
Hit Dice (d6) # of Monks
per level
% chance of
vacancy per year
1 0 2 unlimited N/A
2 2,200 3 " "
3 4,400 4 " "
4 8,800 5 " "
5 16,500 6 " "
6 30,000 7 " "
7 55,000 8 " "
8 100,000 9 " "
9 200,000 10 " "
10 400,000 11 " "
11 600,000 12 " "
12 800,000 13 3 3%
13 1,000,000 14 1 1%
14 1,200,000 15 1 1%
15 1,500,000 16 1 1%
16 1,800,000 17 1 1%
17 2,100,000 18 1 2%
18 2,400,000 19 1 2%
19 2,700,000 20 1 4%
20 3,000,000 21 1 6%
21 3,300,000 22 1 10%

Gaining Disciplines, Sciences and Devotions: Monks, like their psionicist cousins, gain psionic powers that belong to one of the six psionic disciplines. However, unlike psionicists, monks follow a rigid schedule of new disciplines, and new psionic powers at every level (effectively giving them no choice in what their next new power will be -- it is always the same for every monk). Table 2 shows how many (and which) disciplines are gained per level. In addition, Table 2 also shows how many sciences, devotions and defense modes a monk will have each level. Note that the monk always has less total disciplines, sciences, devotions, and defense modes than a true psionicist. This disadvantage is offset by the monks' numerous other abilities. The actual sciences, devotions and defense modes that a monk will know each level listed as A-U and are described below Table 2.
Raising Psionic Power Scores: Monks never have this option. As part of their rigid course of training, they will not forgo any new devotions for the chance to raise a power score.


Exp.Level Total Disciplines Total Sciences Total Devotions Defense Modes Psionic Ability
1 1 (Psycho-Metabolism) 0 1 1 (Mind Blank) A
2 2 (Telepathy) 0 3 1 B
3 2 0 4 1 C
4 2 0 6 1 D
5 2 0 8 1 E
6 2 0 9 1 F
7 2 0 10 1 G
8 3 (Psycho-kinesis) 0 11 1 H
9 3 1 11 1 I
10 3 2 12 1 J
11 3 2 13 1 K
12 3 3 13 1 L
13 4 (Psycho-portation) 3 14 1 M
14 4 3 15 1 N
15 4 3 16 1 O
16 5 (Clairsentience) 4 16 1 P
17 5 4 17 1 Q
18 5 4 18 1 R
19 5 5 18 1 S
20 5 5 18 3 (Tower of Iron Will & Intellect Fortress) T
21 5 6 18 3 U

Total Disciplines is never more than 5. Monks learn their disciplines, sciences, devotions and defense modes in a rigorous, inflexible order. They never gain the discipline of "metapsionics".
Total Sciences/Total Devotions/Defense Modes show the current totals per level (note that they are significantly less than a typical psionicist). These totals are not open to flexibility, but rather reflect the specific Psionic Abilities of monks (A through U).

Psi Abilities (New abilities marked with *)
A)      Suspend Animation (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
        Mind Blank (Defense Mode)
B)     *Mind Mask (Telepathy, Devotion)
        Contact (Telepathy, Devotion)
C)     *Speak With Animals (Telepathy, Devotion)
D)      Cell Adjustment (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
       *Control Metabolism (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
E)      Body Equilibrium (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
        Mind Over Body (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
F)      Empathy (Telepathy, Devotion)
G)      Invisibility (Telepathy, Devotion)
H)      Molecular Manipulation (Psychokinesis, Devotion)
I)     *Resist Charm (Telepathy, Science)
J)     *Retarded Aging (Psychometabolism, Science)
       *Neutralize Poison (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
K)      Body Control (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
L)     *Quivering Palm (Telepathy, Science)
M)      Dimensional Door (Psychoportation, Devotion)
N)     *Speak With Plants (Telepathy, Devotion)
O)      Mind Bar (Telepathy, Devotion)
P)      Object Reading (Clairsentience, Science)
Q)      Dimension Walk (Psychoportation, Devotion)
R)      Astral Projection (Psychoportation, Devotion)
S)      Precognition (Clairsentience, Science)
T)      Tower of Iron Will (Defense Mode)
        Intellect Fortress (Defense Mode)
U)      Probability Travel (Psychoportation, Science)

Psionic Strength Points

Monks gain and recover PSP's in the same way as a true psionicist.

Defense Modes

Monks, unlike psionicists, are not masters of psionic combat. While they have numerous ways to defend themselves, the actual "defense modes" that they learn are few. Monks begin by knowing "Mind Blank" at 1st level, but after that, their studies take them away from the concept of "fighting" with their minds. Only the most devoted of monks eventually learn how to properly defend their finely tuned minds from attack -- at 20th level, the monk will learn both Tower of Iron Will and Intellect Fortress.

Special Abilities

Monks have numerous special abilities, over and above their psionic powers, that make them truly formidable opponents and generally useful companions to any adventuring party. Each ability is outlined below.

Thieving abilities: In their daily regiment of exercise, monks acquire certain pseudo-thieving abilities. Note that the lawful nature of monks prevents all but the most evil of them from using these abilities for pure thievery. Rather, they are usually used for general exercising and adventuring purposes. The only thieving abilities that monks learn are those of Move Silently, Hide In Shadows, Detect Noise, and Climb Walls. The base scores in each of these four skills are the same as for thieves. However, the number of points that a monk gains per level, for distribution amongst these skills, every level is 12 (unlike 30 for thieves). In a way similar to their psionic abilities, monks do not have a choice in how these points are distributed. Each of the 4 skills will receive exactly 3 percentage points for every level the monk attains.

Movement: Monks gain an uncanny speed as they progress in levels. This is, once again, due to their rigid daily exercise and training. Starting at 1st level, they move at a rate of 15 (equal to a Heavy Horse), and eventually achieve a move rate of 30 (faster than most riding horses). See Table 3a.

Combat: Monks have seven special advantages in combat:
1) Monks have the ability to use their open hands (and/or feet) as weapons which are much more powerful than a typical "swinging fist". Monks learn early in their careers to focus their power in their hands and feet and to release that power by striking deadly blows with them. As such, as monks go up in levels, the number of attacks per round and the damage per attack with "open hand" (that is, hands and/or feet, as necessary) will increase. Even if a monk is grappled, pummeled or overborne in weaponless combat, he/she may continue to use their open hand attacks until stunned or unconscious. This is detailed in Table 3a.
2) Monks become so adept with their open hands, that at 10th level, their hands (and feet) are considered the equivalent of +1 weapons with regard to creatures that require "+1 or better weapon to hit", although their hands and feet remain non-magic weapons. Similarly, at 18th level, the monk's hands (and feet) are considered the equivalent of +2 weapons, while remaining non-magical.
3) Monks have the ability to stun, or even kill, an opponent when they successfully strike an open-hand attack. The size of the opponent is limited, and is shown in Table 3a. An opponent is stunned for 1d6 melee rounds by the monk if the monk's attack roll exceeds the minimum number required to hit by 5 or more, i.e. if a Monk is level 14, with a 14 THAC0, and is fighting an opponent with an armor class of -1, then the monk needs to roll a 15 just to hit (THAC0 minus Opponent's AC). If the monk rolls a 20 (5 more than the minimum roll needed to hit), then the monk has stunned the opponent for 1d6 rounds, assuming that the opponent is under the size requirements of Table 3a, and is susceptible to stunning (see "Important" later in this section). As mentioned in the "Restrictions" section later, monks NEVER gain bonuses to their "to-hit" rolls for having high strength.
The ability to kill an opponent with an open hand attack is a percentage which equals the armor class of the opponent plus the number of levels of the monk above 7. Thus, in our example above, the monk has a 6% (-1 + (14-7) = 6) chance of killing the opponent. Note that (a) The monk must score a hit, (b) the hit must stun the opponent, and (c) the percentile dice score must be equal to or less than the armor class of the stunned opponent, modified by the monk's level over 7th, in order to score a kill. (DM Option: While this ability in 1st edition was NOT given a saving throw, some DM's may opt to allow a save versus Death Magic against the monk's killing blow).
Important: Monks' stunning/killing ability can only apply to living things. Undead cannot be affected (and an open hand hit on an undead creature could be very undesirable from the monk's standpoint in any event - especially if the creature causes damage by touch, for the monk touching the undead creature then is the same as the reverse). Golems and dopplegangers cannot be affected. In addition, creatures which do not have definable central nervous systems, such as slimes, jellies and cubes are similarly not affected by the stun/kill ability. It should be noted, however, that even if an opponent is immune to stuns and kills, damage from open hand attacks still accrues if the monster can be so hit otherwise.
4) Monks use their detailed study of human anatomy to strike additional damage with weapons other than their open hands. As monks go up in levels, they learn more and more about "weak spots" of other living creatures, and inflict 1/2 hp of extra damage per level (rounded down). This damage is not inflicted upon animated creatures, undead, non-living creatures, or creatures with no apparent "anatomy" (gelatinous cubes, gibbering mouthers, ochre jellies, etc.). These bonuses are shown in Table 3a.
5) Monks, through their study and rigorous exercise, have a natural (that is, clothed or unarmored) armor class (AC) that is below the usual 10. As monks go up in level, this natural armor class goes down. This is shown in Table 3a. This AC may be modified by magical means, but a monk will never wear armor, shields or helms (even psionically endowed ones). As will be mentioned in the "Restrictions" section, monks gain no bonus to their Armor Class due to high dexterity.
6) Surprise: Due to their highly tuned minds, monks are almost constantly alert to their surroundings. As such, they are less likely to be surprised than other characters. The bonus to a surprise roll made for an adventuring party that contains a monk is listed in Table 3b.
7) Dodging missiles: Monks are exceptionally quick in their response to potentially lethal flying missiles. With a successful saving throw against petrification, a monk may dodge out of the path of a non-magic missile (arrow, bolt, bullet, thrown dagger, thrown javelin, thrown spear, etc.) that would have normally scored a hit on the monk.

Falling: Monks are able to fall large distances, yet slow their decent, if they are able to periodically make contact with a surface (such as a wall or cliff face). As long as a monk is within 5' of the wall, he/she may fall 10' per level, unharmed (up to 210 feet at 21st level). This is tabulated in Table 3b.


Level Natural Move Rate Natural Armor Class Open Hand Attacks per round Open Hand Damage per attack Maximum Opponent Height for stun/kill Maximum Opponent Weight for stun/kill Additional damage done with weapons (hp)
1 15 6 1 1d4 6'6" 300# 0
2 15 5 1 1d6 6'8" 350# +1
3 16 4 1 1d6+1 6'10" 400# +1
4 16 3 3/2 1d6+1 7' 450# +2
5 17 3 3/2 2d4 7'2" 500# +2
6 17 2 3/2 2d4+1 7'4" 550# +3
7 18 2 2 2d4+1 7'6" 600# +3
8 18 1 2 2d6 7'8" 650# +4
9 19 1 2 3d4 7'10" 700# +4
10 20 0 5/2 3d4 8' 750# +5
11 20 0 5/2 3d4+1 8'2" 800# +5
12 21 -1 5/2 4d4 8'4" 850# +6
13 22 -1 3 4d4 8'8" 1000# +6
14 23 -2 3 4d4+1 9' 1100# +7
15 24 -2 3 5d4 9'4" 1200# +7
16 25 -3 3 4d6 9'8" 1300# +8
17 26 -3 4 4d6 10' 1400# +8
18 27 -4 4 6d4 10'4" 1500# +9
19 28 -4 4 5d6 10'8" 1600# +9
20 29 -5 4 8d4 11' 1700# +10
21 30 -5 4 6d6 11'4" 1800# +10


Level Modification to party surprise roll Max. Height for falling without damage*
1 0 10'
2 0 20'
3 0 30'
4 0 40'
5 0 50'
6 0 60'
7 0 70'
8 +1 80'
9 +1 90'
10 +1 100'
11 +1 110'
12 +1 120'
13 +2 130'
14 +2 140'
15 +2 150'
16 +2 160'
17 +2 170'
18 +3 180'
19 +3 190'
20 +3 200'
21 +3 210'
* - Monk must be within 5' of a wall or cliff face for this ability to function

Maintaining Powers: Like psionicists, monks have certain powers that can be "maintained" through a "maintenance cost". See the Complete Psionics Handbook for details.

THAC0 and Saving Throws: In 1st edition, as here, a rule that monks "hit like thieves and save like clerics" will prevail. The monks THAC0 and Saving Throws are outlined in Tables 4 and 5 below:


Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
THAC0 20 20 19 19 18 18 17 17 16 16 15 15 14 14 13 13 12 12 11 11 10


Level Paralyzation, Poison, or Death Magic Rod, Staff, or Wand Petrification or Polymorph 1 Breath Weapon 2 Spell 3
1-3 10 14 13 16 15
4-6 9 13 12 15 14
7-9 7 11 10 13 12
10-12 6 10 9 12 11
13-15 5 9 8 11 10
16-18 4 8 7 10 9
19-21 2 6 5 8 7
1 Excluding polymorph wand attacks
2 Excluding those which cause petrification or polymorph
3 Excluding those for which another saving throw type is specified, such as death, petrification, polymorph, etc.

Followers (nearly verbatim from the 1st edition PHB)

When a monk character attains the 12th level of experience, he or she will gain a number of monks as followers upon defeating the monk which held the 12th level position that the character has now gotten. He or she will attract from 2-5 1st level monks, if the character has a monastery or monastery-like building to use as a headquarters. These followers may be worked upwards in levels of experience. The character will continue to attract 1 or 2 additional monks of 1st level for each additional level of experience the character gains.
While followers of a monk are as loyal as his or her other henchmen, they automatically leave service when they attain the 11th level.
All followers (unlike the students at the 3 established central schools) will be the exact same alignment as the monk character. If he or she changes alignment, the current followers will desert, but new ones can still be gained by advancement in level.
The monastery or monastery-like headquarters of the monk can be that of the character he or she defeated to attain 12th, or higher level, or it can be a building specially constructed by the monk character after attaining the 12th or higher level. In the latter case, the monk may retain up to 250,000 gold pieces value in treasure in order to finance construction of the place. He or she may also retain sufficient funds thereafter to maintain such a place.
If the character defeats a monk who happened to be teaching at the central school, the character is not obligated to stay at the central school and continue teaching. However, if they do so, they may still gain XP through their daily classes, and can still work upwards in levels. Monks who choose to stay as teachers, without retiring, will be given a room, but they are not allowed to claim the central school as their own. In addition, without retiring, they will still be susceptible to upwardly mobile monks in levels below them.
Note that monk followers require no support, upkeep, or pay of any sort.


Monks, of all character classes, have an above average number of special abilities. These are, however, offset by quite a few restrictions that all monks must live by.
Armor Class: Monks cannot function in their class abilities if they are in armor, or a helm, or are carrying a shield. Because all monks must have a naturally high dexterity, and gain a naturally low AC, they never gain a dexterity bonus to their armor class.
Strength Bonuses: Due to their high strength requirement, and their special fighting abilities, monks do not gain the "to-hit" nor the "damage" bonuses for having a high strength.
Money and Treasure: Monks make every attempt to rid themselves of the distraction of greed. As such, a monk who does not have his/her own monastery will never own more treasure then he/she can physically carry unencumbered. In addition, monks will never own more than 5 total magic items (being no more than 2 magic weapons, and 3 other magic items). If a monk is attempting to build a monastery, he/she may acquire wealth beyond carrying capacity (such as in a bank) but will spend it all to build the monastery. Once built, the monk will not use the monastery as a vault for treasure, but will rather only retain as much wealth as he/she can carry, plus enough money in the monastery's vault to keep it running without profit.
Use of Magic Items: Monks can use all magic varieties of weapons with which they may be proficient. In addition, magic rings and those miscellaneous magic items available to rogues and psionicists are also usable by monks (excluding any psionically endowed helms).
Henchmen and Hirelings: From 1st through 8th level, monks may not have any henchmen nor hirelings. Once they are 9th level, they may hire one person for short-term (one or two adventures) use. For each level thereafter, the monk may add one more person to the number they may hire (up to the maximum number allowed by their charisma).
Limited Monks at high levels: As previously detailed, there are only 3 monks for each order at 12th level, and for the 13th through 21st levels, there is only one monk per order. Advancement is through hand-to-hand combat from 12th through 21st levels.
Psionic Powers: Monks learn their psi powers in a specific order, and will not deviate from it. In addition, the total # of powers they learn will be less than a typical psionicist. This is all part of the monks rigid schedule to fuse his/her mind and body with the multiverse.
Daily Schedule: Monks must have 4 hours of undisturbed rest, and 2 hours of undisturbed meditation/exercise every day. In addition, they must eat a "healthy" amount of food (DM's discretion) daily. For every day that the monk does NOT fulfill all 3 of these requirements (whether they lack sleep, meditation/exercise or food doesn't matter), the monk will effectively function at one level lower than their actual level. To remove this effect, the monk must get back on schedule, regaining a functioning level for every day that they eat, sleep and exercise properly. (Note that this restriction may be temporarily removed through the monk's ability of "mind over body").
Weapons: While restricted, the number of weapons a monk may use is extensive. While the higher level monks tend to rely on open-hand combat, they realize that this is only a useful combat method for certain applications. As such, the number of weapons a monk may become proficient with grows quickly (one per 2 levels). The weapons a monk may use are:
aklys, atlatl, axe (hand), bo stick, caltrop, club, crossbow (any), dagger, garrot, javelin, jo stick, knife, lasso, pole arm (any), sap, scimitar, spear, staff, sword (falchion)


Monks are skilled at combat, but use it primarily as a form of exercise. Still, that knowledge of combat is useful in a real fighting situation. In addition, however, monks are learned scholars, who exercise their minds as hard as their bodies. As such, monks have a quick advancement in both weapons and non-weapon proficiencies. This is outlined in Table 6.
Initial: Refers to the number of weapon and non weapon proficiency slots received by monks at 1st level.
# Levels: Indicates how many levels a monk must advance before receiving a new weapon or non weapon proficiency. Thus monks receive new weapon proficiencies at 1,3,5,7,9... levels, and non weapon proficiencies at levels 1,4,7,10,13, etc.
Penalty: Is the modifier to a monks attack roll when fighting with a weapon with which he/she is not proficient. Note that monks are automatically proficient in "open hands" and need not expend a weapon proficiency slot to fight unpenalized with their open hands.


Group Weapon Proficiencies Non weapon Proficiencies

Initial # Levels Penalty Initial # Levels
Monk 1 2 -3 2 3

The Monk Group: Table 7 lists 11 non weapon proficiencies from which a monk may fill his non weapon proficiency slots. These proficiencies are an extension of Table 37 in the AD&D 2nd edition Player's Handbook.


Proficiency # Slots Required Relevant Ability
Astrology 2 Int - 1
Harness Subconsciousness 2 Wis - 1
Hypnosis 2 Wis - 1
Juggling 1 Dex - 1
Jumping 1 Str + 0
Languages, Ancient 1 Int + 0
Meditative Focus 1 Wis + 1
Musical Instrument 1 Dex - 1
Reading/Writing 1 Int + 1
Religion 1 Wis + 0
Tumbling 1 Dex + 0

New Psi Abilities

Some of the 1st edition monk abilities were not easily defined as "Psionic" and some of their "psionic powers" didn't easily match any existing ones from the Psi Handbook. In addition, some near-matches existed and the question arises as to whether to maintain the power as written (1st edition), or of translating it into a new 2nd edition power, or to write a new power altogether. If a power isn't new, it can be found in the complete Psionics Handbook. New powers (marked with a "*" in the list below Table 2) have descriptions given below, with possible alternatives for the DM to implement, if he/she feels the powers described here are too powerful.

Mind Mask (Telepathy, Devotion)
Power Score:            Wis - 3
Initial Cost:           10
Maintenance Cost:       5/day
Range:                  0
Preparation Time:       0
Area of Effect:         personal
Prerequisites:          none

Mind mask is the ability to mask the mind of monk and prevent probing from any form of ESP (magic or psionic). While this power is active, the monk only has a small chance of being affected by ESP (even if psionic contact is established). This chance is equal to 30% at 2nd level and drops by 2% for each level after that (to -8% at 21st level).
This ability need not be restricted to monks alone. Note that this simple ability may be maintained 24 hours a day for only 5 PSP's, but this will mean the monk is constantly engaging in "psionic activity", which may mean the attraction of certain unwanted visitors (cerebral parasites, intellect devourers). The monk need not use this power (to avoid being "psionically active" all the time), but if he/she chooses to maintain it indefinitely, he/she need only pay the 5/day maintenance cost.

Power Score - The mind masking feels instinctual and therefore has no initial cost
20 - Monk broadcasts his/her thoughts to those within 100 yards for 1 hour

Speak With Animals (Telepathy, Devotion)
Power Score:            Int - 3
Initial Cost:           contact plus 5
Maintenance Cost:       1/hour
Range:                  unlimited
Preparation Time:       0
Area of Effect:         unlimited
Prerequisites:          contact

Speak with animals gives the monk a basic understanding of the languages of any animals with which he/she has telepathically contacted. There is no range, so long as the creature has been contacted and is within communication range of the monk, then speech is possible.
This ability need not be restricted to monks alone.
(DM Option: Rather than introduce this ability, the DM might opt for the monk to gain the power of "Animal Affinity")

Power Score - Monk is so fluent in the animal's language that the animal has an automatic liking for the monk and will offer to do one simple task for him/her.
20 - Monk frightens away any animals with which he/she has contact.

Control Metabolism (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
Power Score:            Con - 2
Initial Cost:           15
Maintenance Cost:       N/A
Range:                  0
Preparation Time:       0
Area of Effect:         personal
Prerequisites:          none

Control Metabolism is used by monks to maintain control of their own bodies if they find themselves the victim of either a haste or slow spell. A monk who is the involuntary target of either of these two spells, and who has failed the requisite saving throw, may attempt to retain control of his/her body through this devotion. If the Power check succeeds, the situation is treated as if the monk had made his/her saving throw. The monk MUST cease all other activity (including attacking and defending, both physically and psionically, though not including the maintenance of already operating psionic powers) in order to attempt this power.
The DM is advised not to allow this ability to normal psionicists.
(DM Option: Rather than introduce this new ability, as well as the ability of "Cell Adjustment", the DM may opt to give the monk the single ability of "Complete Healing")

Power Score - The PSP cost is only 5 PSP's.
20 - Monk is under the effects of the spell for double duration.

Resist Charm (Telepathy, Science)
Power Score:            Wis
Initial Cost:           15
Maintenance Cost:       N/A
Range:                  0
Preparation Time:       0
Area of Effect:         personal
Prerequisites:          none

Resist Charm is a monkish ability to focus his/her mind on tasks at hand and resist the effects of beguiling, charms, hypnosis and suggestion spells. When such an effect is attempted upon the monk, the monk may choose to initiate this power before making any saving throws. If the power score is successful, the monk effectively gains a temporary (single application) "resistance" (similar to "magic resistance") of 50% at 9th level (toward beguile, etc., only) and adds 5% to that resistance every level after 9th (up to 110% at 21st level). Should this resistance fail, a normal saving throw is allowed.
The DM is advised not to allow this ability to normal psionicists.

Power Score - Monk adds an additional 5% to his resistance for this check.
20 - Monk falls under the attacking spell for double duration.

Retarded Aging (Psychometabolism, Science)
Power Score:            Con - 5
Initial Cost:           100
Maintenance Cost:       20/day
Range:                  0
Preparation Time:       1 day
Area of Effect:         personal
Prerequisites:          none

Retarded Aging is the ability of a monk to slow down his natural aging process. With it, he/she is able to live for 12 months while his/her body only ages 9 months. While the initial cost is high, once the monk initiates this ability he need only pay the daily maintenance cost to age slowly. This power, unlike many other "maintainable" powers does NOT constitute continual "psionic activity" for the monk. Rather, it is an inward focusing on the body, and less of a purely psionic ability. Still, the daily cost will come off of a monk's daily PSP total every morning, should the monk choose to initiate this power.
Once initiated, no power external to the monk, short of a limited wish, will prevent the daily continuation of this power, so long as the monk has the required 20 PSP's each morning.
As a side effect, this power MUST be "shut off" and "re-started" once every year by the monk, requiring a full day of meditation and a new Power Score check. The monk is not ever required to use this ability, but if they choose to do so, may not let it run for longer than 1 year at a time.
The DM is advised not to allow this ability to normal psionicists.

Power Score - Monk will only age 6 months, instead of 9 months, in the next year.
20 - Monk ages 1 year and loses consciousness for 1d4 hours.

Neutralize Poison (Psychometabolism, Devotion)
Power Score:            Con - 3
Initial Cost:           40
Maintenance Cost:       N/A
Range:                  0
Preparation Time:       0
Area of Effect:         personal
Prerequisites:          none

Neutralize poison is exactly what it says. The monk uses his/her mind-body fusion to overcome the effects of any poisons (natural or magical) that are introduced to his/her system. Immediately upon the introduction of the poison, the monk must make the required saving throw. If it fails, he/she may choose to initiate this devotion. If they choose to do so, all psionic and physical activity (aside from maintaining currently operational psi powers) must cease.
The DM is advised not to allow this ability to normal psionicists.

Power Score - No special ability
20 - The monk immediately dies, even if the poison was a non-lethal variety

Quivering Palm (Telepathy, Science)
Power Score:            Wis
Initial Cost:           contact plus 30 (at time of 
                        successful open hand attack)
Maintenance Cost:       1/day
Range:                  touch
Preparation Time:       0
Area of Effect:         creature touched
Prerequisites:          contact plus successful open 
                        hand attack within 3 rounds 
                        of contact

The dreaded "quivering palm" is that most deadly ability of monks to set up a neurological imbalance in a target through a combination of telepathy ("contact") and an open hand attack (range = "touch"). By first contacting a target's mind, and following up with an open hand attack WITHIN 3 ROUNDS OF (mental) CONTACT, the monk is able to shock the central nervous system of the target, and start up vibrations, or violent fits of shaking (thus the name "quivering palm") in the target. By themselves, these shaking fits have little game influence, and are not deadly (they will, in fact, stop of their own accord after a set period of time, described below). However, during the time that the vibrations are in the target's body, and as long as the monk maintains (mental) contact, the monk may give a single thought of "die" to the target, and the target will fall over dead, no save.
The following restrictions apply to this power:
1) It can only be attempted once per week
2) Once contact is established the monk may announce at any time that he/she is attempting to set up the quivering palm in the contacted victim. Once this announcement is made (to the DM), the monk has 3 rounds to make a successful open hand attack (at which time the "Power Score" roll is attempted) to initiate the "quivering palm" in the target. The monk MUST announce that they are attempting to set up a "quivering palm" in order for this ability to work (The monk may be in mental contact, and open hand melee with the target but wait to announce the quivering palm attempt. However, once the announcement is made, the monk is set to that course of action). Once contact is made, and the announcement of "I am now attempting a quivering palm" has been done, the monk has 3 rounds to successfully strike the target with open hand and make his Quivering Palm power score. Failure to do so wastes the effort, and it may not be attempted again for one week. If the monk successfully strikes, but fails their power score, they pay the 15 (1/2 of 30) points for failure, but may still attempt to finish the quivering palm if the 3 rounds have not expired (each failed attempt costs 15 PSP, while the successful attempt costs 30. In theory, a monk with 4 open hand attacks per round could make up to 12 attempts to set up the vibrations in the victim, once contact is made, and the announcement made to the DM that a quivering palm attack is being attempted. The first 11 of these could fail, costing 11x15=165 PSP's, while the 12th might succeed, costing another 30 PSP's).
3) The victim cannot have more hit dice than the monk.
4) The victim cannot have more than twice the hit points of the monk.
5) The victim cannot be undead, animated, creatures with no clear central nervous system (slimes, jellies, cubes, anything with no "brain". Creatures with multiple brains such as ettins and hydra ARE affected by this power) and the creature must be susceptible to an open hand attack (note that some creatures that are "hit only by magic weapons" can be struck by monks of sufficient level with their open hand attack. See earlier)
6) The command to die must be given while (mental) contact is maintained, and must be given within one day per level of the monk. If the command to die is not given in that time, the vibrations cease of their own accord and do no damage.
7) The monk may not initiate any new psionic activity between the announcement of the attempt and the 3 rounds during which they are trying to set up the quivering palm. That is, the monk may not psionically attack others, nor attempt any of their other psi powers, but may psionically defend him/herself in psionic combat, while attempting to set up the quivering palm.
The DM is advised not to allow this ability to normal psionicists.

Power Score - Double the duration of the quivering palm (i.e. 2 days per level of the monk)
20 - The monk is stunned for 1d4 hours

Speak With Plants (Telepathy, Devotion)
Power Score:            Int - 5
Initial Cost:           contact plus 10
Maintenance Cost:       2/hour
Range:                  unlimited
Preparation Time:       0
Area of Effect:         unlimited
Prerequisites:          contact

Speak with plants gives the monk a basic understanding of the languages of any plants with which he/she has telepathically contacted (whether or not it makes sense -- i.e. there may not be any generally known language of "roses", but this ability will allow a monk to intelligently communicate with a rose bush). There is no range, so long as the plant has been contacted and is within communication range of the monk, then speech/communication is possible.
This ability need not be restricted to monks alone.

Power Score - No special effect
20 - No special effect (aside from failure)

Rules that were completely dropped from 1st edition
Reduction of sustained damage: Monks who need to make a saving throw against a magic attack will receive no damage from that attack if the save is successful. In addition, Monks who are 14th level and higher will receive only 1/2 damage from any attack form that requires a saving throw, if the save fails, while still receiving no damage if the save is made.
This ability was simply seen as far too powerful for any character to have.