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Portrait zahua lg.png
Zahua, a human monk.
42 (+14 per level)
Skill bonuses

Monks are one of the playable classes in Pillars of Eternity. Monks belong to a variety of fighting orders that have sprung up in Ixamitl and the Eastern Reach over the past few centuries. While many monastic orders can trace their teachings to the Enduring Founder, Tletac, individual orders vary greatly in their focus, morality, and ethics. Common folk respect the incredible discipline of monks but see them as an odd, unpredictable bunch who may not be entirely sane. Even mercenaries and other adventurers aren't sure what to make of them.

Background[edit | edit source]

Centuries ago, one man founded the fighting monastic disciplines. He was an old warrior who had knocked on death's door many times and had endured numerous periods of captivity and torture. He discovered a method of mentally focusing on his pain to invoke power from his soul. When he left the service of his lord, he devoted his time to developing these techniques and teaching them to other warriors. He believed that mortification of the flesh not only made warriors more powerful, but that it strengthened the souls of its practitioners, making it more likely that their souls would remain intact when they died, rather than fragment. He advocated fighting with bare fists and without armor to emphasize a fighting monk's personal suffering.

Because the founder of these disciplines was old when he began teaching and died only a few decades later, there are now many different monastic orders. Some are more secluded, some are mendicant travelers, some are mercenaries. They all tend to believe, like their founder, that combat is the ideal path for pursuing their particular brand of mortification of the flesh. Some choose to pursue this in dedicated service, some become mercenaries or assassins, and others devote their lives to dangerous wandering and exploration. There are other groups that also practice mortification of the flesh, but they are not "fighting" monks.

Known monk orders include:

Suggestions[edit | edit source]

Monks consists of the most well rounded melee specialists available. You can shape them to become incredibly tanky, intense damage dealers, or some thing in between. They also offer the best ability choices available for slipping behind into the enemy's back line in a fight to lock down a tactically important enemy caster. They sort of could be considered the Commando class, when you need some thing taken care of while the battle rages. You can literally mix any Weapon, Armor, and Shield combination with this class and perform well as long as you respect what goes well with each other. A Monk will default to using Un-Armed Combat for using a melee ability against a close opponent if you have a single ranged Weapon equipped, so you will not generally suffer an Accuracy penalty in that regard. Normal melee attacks will still incur the Accuracy penalty and slow speed, while you have the ranged Weapon equipped. If you want to choose a character that is easy to play on the front line, then Monk makes the best choice before Fighter. How ever if you want a tankier character for your group, then Fighter makes a some what better choice.

If you want to Multi Class, then Monk / Fighter is hard to beat. You can get all the goodness from Fighter Stances while knocking some one around silly with Monk abilities. Monk / Rogue (Trickster) can prove especially nasty at dealing damage to an opponent while keeping them tactically locked down. While Monk provides superior combat abilities, the class mostly win through attrition. This means it can take a long time for them to gain victory, but they almost always come out a bit better in an equal fight. If you Spell buff them properly, then they can even wander into a crowd, cause some havoc, and then leave with little trouble, buying you some time for the rest of your team. In any situation, a Monk survives by disrupting; not by tanking. If you leave them in a group of melee enemies, then they might not fare so well. How ever with some proper Resistances and bit of healing, they can handle spell casters with little trouble as the rest of your group works on the enemy's front line. A strange mix of Multi Class involves Monk / Wizard. With the defensive and Weapon type Spells, they could wreck some serious damage. Spell Reflection alone could make it worth it.

Attributes[edit | edit source]

Highly Recommended:


Abilities[edit | edit source]

The Monk has unarmed attacks, high mobility, special attacks which deal status effects, and can resist/confound status effects on themselves.

Wounds[edit | edit source]

Items in italics are quoted directly from the game.
Some monk abilities require and consume Wounds on use. A monk typically begins with no Wounds, until they have received enough damage to generate a Wound. Certain monk subclasses may alter this rule.
Items in italics are quoted directly from the game.
Monks can convert incoming damage into Wounds. As monks take damage, they build up their Wound resource. Wounds are the resource that powers many of the monk’s abilities. Some of these abilities require a minimum number of Wounds present in order to activate. Talents or traits can impact this ability in positive ways.[1]

Wounds are a resource that Monks use to cast certain abilities or get passive bonuses. Wounds can be accrued by taking damage in combat, and are spent when casting Wound-specific abilities.

When a Monk takes damage from any source (after Damage Reduction), the amount of damage taken is added to a Wound counter. When the counter reaches a certain threshold (10 by default), the monk receives a Wound.[2] If they are not used immediately, Wounds can accumulate until a certain point (10 Wounds by default) after which you cannot gain new Wounds. At the end of combat all Wounds are removed.

In Pillars of Eternity

During combat, Wounds disappear after a certain amount of time if they are not used (20 seconds, affected by Intellect).Verify

In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
  • Helwalker monks start combat with 1 more Wounds.
  • Nalpazca monks gain additional Wounds while under the influence of Drugs, where they generate 1 Wound every 6.0 sec. While they don't have a drug effect, they lose 1 Wound every 3.0 sec.
  • Shattered Pillar monks gain Wounds by dealing melee damage (instead of taking damage). This works in the same way, but the counter uses the final damage dealt to an enemy instead. The threshold is increased to 30 damage, and their max Wounds is reduced to 5.
  • Forbidden Fist monks do not gain Wounds by taking damage. Instead, they gain 1 Wound when a hostile effect expires.
  • Sister of the Reaping Moon monks (Xoti only) gain 3 additional Wounds when they defeat an enemy with a melee attack.
  • Abilities that grant Wounds:

Mortification[edit | edit source]

Items in italics are quoted directly from the game.
Some monk abilities require and consume Mortification on use. Outside of combat, a monk's Mortification is restored, ready to be used in the next encounter.

Mortification is an additional "power pool" resource added in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Monks begin combat with full Mortification (the amount of which is relative to their current level) and spend points to cast certain abilities, with more powerful abilities costing more points. Unlike Wounds, Mortification is not typically regenerated during combat, but some abilities/enchantments (such as Soulkeeper, or an empower) enable this. After an encounter, Mortification is replenished.

All power pool resources scale identically. At Power Level 1, the Monk has 3 Mortification, and they gain 1 point for every additional power level, capping out at 11 points.

Character level Power
Single Multi
1 1 1 3
2 3 4 4
3 5 7 5
4 7 10 6
5 9 13 7
6 11 16 8
7 13 19 9
8 16 22 10
9 19 25 11
10 22 28 11
11 25 - 11
12 28 - 11

List of monk abilities[edit | edit source]

Select one ability on each odd level. Transcendent Suffering is learnt automatically by all monks at level 1. Its effects are automatically upgraded at level 4, 7, 10, 13 and 16.

Ability Acquirable
at level
Activation Effects Speed Interrupt Duration Description
Monk passive icon.png Transcendent Suffering 1 Passive Monks achieve greater understanding of their bodies' capabilities through enduring the hardships of existence. Their base Unarmed Damage starts much higher than other characters and increases permanently every three levels they gain.
Swift strikes icon.png Swift Strikes 1 Active Instant 10.0 seconds The monk's hands become a frenzied blur of attacks, increasing their Attack Rate for a brief period.
Torments reach icon.png Torment's Reach 1 Active Average 20.0 seconds This ability exploits the shared bonds of universal suffering between all beings. The initial target is hit with a powerful blow that does additional Crush damage. Enemies in a cone behind the target suffer Crush damage and have their Might reduced.
Force of anguish icon.png Force of Anguish 3 Active
  • Foe Target: 7.0m Push (Accuracy vs Fortitude)
  • Foe Target: If successful: Prone (Accuracy vs Fortitude)
  • User: Primary Attack (Accuracy vs Deflection)
Average 0.5 sec (Average) 10.0 seconds A powerful attack that knocks the target back a significant distance if the attack is successful. Target bumps others out of the way and bounces off hard surfaces like walls before ending up Prone.
Monk passive icon.png Long Stride 3 Passive Intense practice and years of study enable the monk to move with confident fluidity in battle. During combat, the monk's Movement Rate is significantly increased.
Monk passive icon.png Turning Wheel 3 Passive
  • Self: +5% Burn damage per Wound
The monk is able to channel physical pain into pure energy and redirect it at his or her attackers. While the monk has Wounds, he or she adds a proportional fire bonus to Melee Damage.
Monk passive icon.png Transcendent Suffering 2 4 Passive Monks achieve greater understanding of their bodies' capabilities through enduring the hardships of existence. Their base Unarmed Damage starts much higher than other characters and increases permanently every three levels they gain.
Clarity of agony icon.png Clarity Of Agony 5 Active
  • -50% duration of hostile effects
Instant 10.0 seconds Through pain the monk is able to cleanse his or her body, reducing the duration of incoming and existing hostile effects by half.
Monk passive icon.png Soul Mirror 5 Passive Calls upon the power of the monk's psyche, reflecting half of ranged missiles targeting only the monk back to their point of origin. Only attacks resulting in a Miss have a chance to be reflected back.
Stunning blow icon.png Stunning Blow 5 Active Average 0.5 sec (Average) 3.0 seconds A head-targeting strike designed to disrupt enemies' ability to react. Enemies hit by a successful attack are Stunned.
Monk passive icon.png Transcendent Suffering 3 7 Passive Monks achieve greater understanding of their bodies' capabilities through enduring the hardships of existence. Their base Unarmed Damage starts much higher than other characters and increases permanently every three levels they gain.
Monk passive icon.png Crucible Of Suffering 7 Passive 20.0 seconds The monk gains temporary insight through endurance, gaining a temporary bonus to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will whenever a hostile effect expires.
Duality of mortal presence ab icon.png Duality of Mortal Presence 7 Passive The monk gains two modal abilities that allow him or her to switch between a bonus to Deflection and a bonus to all other defenses.
Monk passive icon.png Rooting Pain 7 Passive
  • Foe AoE: 10-15 Crush damage
Average 0.5 sec (Average) Generates a shockwave around the monk each time he or she gains a Wound, inflicting a small amount of damage to and possibly calling an Interrupt on all enemies in the area of effect.
The long pain icon.png The Long Pain [WM2] 7 Active Average 30.0 seconds The monk becomes capable of projecting force from his or her fists, inflicting damage at long range.
Monk passive icon.png Enervating Blows 9 Passive 15.0 seconds By targeting certain points on an enemy, the monk is able to inflict physical weakness. Melee Critical Hits cause the target to become Weakened.
Monk passive icon.png Transcendent Suffering 4 10 Passive Monks achieve greater understanding of their bodies' capabilities through enduring the hardships of existence. Their base Unarmed Damage starts much higher than other characters and increases permanently every three levels they gain.
Flagellants path icon.png Flagellant's Path 11 Active
  • Foe Target: 20-30 Crush damage
  • Foe Target: -10 All Defenses
Average 0.5 sec (Average) 8.0 seconds In the blink of an eye, the monk streaks toward a distant target, inflicting terrible Crush damage and penalties to all defenses on anyone in his or her path.
Monk passive icon.png Iron Wheel [WM1] 11 Passive The pain from the monk's wounds allows him or her to build Damage Reduction against incoming attacks.
Skyward kick icon.png Skyward Kick [WM2] 13 Active Average 0.5 sec (Average) 3.0 seconds The monk launches a target into the air, slamming them back down to the ground and leaving them Prone.
Dichotomous soul icon.png The Dichotomous Soul [WM1] 13 Active Average 15.0 seconds The monk meditates briefly on his or her pain, summoning two physical manifestations of suffering, one made of flame, the other of ice.
Resonant touch icon.png Resonant Touch [WM2] 15 Active Average The monk's strikes generate a sympathetic resonance between the monk and his or her target. Successive strikes increase the intensity of the resonance. At a time of the monk's choosing, the monk can cause the resonance to inflict devastating Raw damage to anyone currently carrying them.

Talents[edit | edit source]

  • Lesser Wounds – Lowers the monk's Wound threshold, allowing him or her to gain Wounds at a faster rate.
  • Lightning Strikes – Energizes the monk's Swift Strikes, causing anyone hit by the attack to take additional Shock damage.
  • Mortification of the Soul – The monk can cause enough Raw damage to gain a wound.

Related items[edit | edit source]

Icon Name Item type Enchantments
Glove blood testament icon.png Blood Testament Gloves
Quarterstaff greenstone staff icon.png Greenstone Staff [WM1]
The long pain icon.png Long Pain Fists
Club war club of the mataru icon.png War Club of the Mataru [DP]
Breastplate ryonas breastplate icon.png Ryona's Breastplate [WM2]

Notable characters[edit | edit source]

Pillars of Eternity
The White March - Part I
The White March - Part II
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

1 Minute Guide[edit | edit source]

References[edit source]