A monk is typically unarmored. Some of their features are based around this. Specifically, Unarmored Defense, Unarmored Movement and Martial Arts explicitly state this.

From Unarmored Defense, PHB pg 78:

Beginning at 1st level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.

From Martial Arts, PHB pg 78:

You gain the following benefits while you are unarmed or wielding only monk weapons and you aren’t wearing armor or wielding a shield:

From Unarmored Movement, PHB pg 78:

Starting at 2nd level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you are not wearing armor or wielding a shield.

However, I want to know whether other features of the monk class are also implicitly disabled whilst wearing armor. For instance, Flurry of Blows allows you to make two unarmed strikes after taking the Attack action, much the same as Martial Arts allows (although only the one unarmed strike in that case).

There's also Deflect Missiles, which doesn't specifically say that it doesn't work with armor, but the flavour implies it's something that is only possible due to how fast monks can move.

Is there anything I've missed that states that other monk features are disabled whilst wearing armor, or is it only those I've quoted above?


2 Answers 2


Those are indeed the only monk features that are restricted by armor

Keep in mind though that Flurry of Blows and other such features will use the basic Unarmed Strike since you can't use Martial Arts (Strength modifier for 1 bludgeoning damage).

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a good point about the basic Unarmed Strike, I would have otherwise assumed the d4+ Str/Dex out of habit... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:53

5e is pretty-good in how it lists its effects, and when they work and do not work. If an effect is not stated not to work in a situation, you assume it works.

Flurry of Blows reads:

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 1 point of Ki to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.

Nothing in this ability says you can't use Flurry of Blows while wearing armor, so you assume that you can.

It's the same with Deflect Missiles:

Starting at 3rd level, you can use your reaction to deflect or catch the missile when you are hit by a ranged weapon attack. When you do so, the damage you take from the attack is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your monk level.

If you reduce the damage to 0, you can catch the missile if it is small enough for you to hold in one hand and you have at least one hand free. If you catch a missile in this way, you can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged attack with the weapon or piece of ammunition you just caught, as part of the same reaction. You make this attack with proficiency, regardless of your weapon proficiencies, and the missile counts as a monk weapon for the attack, which has a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure about the part where you claim the Dexterity modifier "is reduced when that character is wearing medium or heavy armor". As far as I know this only applies to AC calculations. Could you clarify where you are getting this from? \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sdjz You're right. I mixed-up the rules a bit. It's interesting, though, that wearing Heavy Armor doesn't impose any real negative bonuses except to Stealth Checks. You would expect that a Rogue in leather armor or a Monk in no armor would be more agile than a Paladin in full-plate simply because of the way the armor works. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2018 at 12:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ The agile nature of a low armor rogue or monk is expressed through the armor class which narratively equates to be able to dodge attack rolls as opposed to just letting it hit the armor \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2018 at 12:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SeraphsWrath Let the Rogue use a mithril full plate and even if he has only 10 DEX for some reason with Expertise in Stealth he would still hide pretty well, even more so if having advantage (maybe from Boots of Elvenkind). A Rogue which focuses on Strength and armor use might make sense in certain cases like for an Inquisitive, who works for a city or is part of the military as Investigator or Judge. \$\endgroup\$
    – Drake
    Mar 19, 2018 at 16:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to note that while you can get 2 bonus unarmed attacks using flurry of blows, they would both be 1+STR mod, as the armor would negate the Martial Arts advantages... \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2018 at 19:29

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