Level: 6
Race: Wood Elf
Class: Monk, Way of the Kensei
Monk Kensei Weapons: Longsword, Longbow
Str: 8
Dex: 18 (14 point buy, 2 wood elf, 2 ASI)
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 16 (15 point buy, 1 wood elf)
Cha: 10

Way of the Kensei Agile parry states:

If you make an unarmed strike as part of the Attack action on your turn and are holding a kensei weapon, you can use it to defend yourself if it is a melee weapon. You gain a +2 bonus to AC until the start of your next turn, while the weapon is in your hand and you aren’t incapacitated.

RAW, I take that, at level 5, you can:

  • Make an attack with your monk weapon (I.e. Versatile long sword for 1d10+Dex)
  • Make an unarmed attack with your extra action for 1d6+dex
  • Use flurry of blows for 2 additional unarmed attacks for 1d6+dex each. Or use martial arts for just one additional unarmed attack.
  • Use Agile Parry for a +2AC until next turn.

With a +4 Dex and +3 Wis that will result in:

  • +7 attack, AC 19 and 1d10+2d6+12 to 1d10+3d6+16

That is 24.5 to 31 average damage per turn, every turn, while maintaining a high AC.

Is this interpretation and build correct?

It feels like it fights better than a fighter, it’s as hard to hit as a fighter if not more, has slightly lower HP, but moves way more and deals considerably more damage, which is what makes me doubt whether I’m interpreting the rules correctly.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you just want an answer to explain whether your calculations are correct or also to compare this build to a Fighter? I'm afraid the latter may not be possible as there are many things to consider in a FIghter: weapons, shield, fighting style, and subclass come to mind \$\endgroup\$ Apr 1, 2020 at 20:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I want a yes/no answer in the sense of: that build is valid and you can use the agile parry in that way. I’m not sure if yes/no answers are on topic as they are pretty straight forward so answer may just be, yes you can do that and yes, those calculations are correct. Note about fighter was only to explain why I’m doubting my interpretation of the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 1, 2020 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note it is fine if a yes/no answer is outside the recommended rules for posting. I checked the FAQ though and according to it the question is on topic so that should be updated if the question is considered “too specific” which made me doubt about whether to post it TBH \$\endgroup\$ Apr 1, 2020 at 20:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Y/N questions can definitely be on topic, mainly because they often involve a good bit more than a flat Y/N. For example, this other question on Agile Parry is a flat "No" answer just with some extra details \$\endgroup\$ Apr 1, 2020 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


You're right on all counts.

  • You've generated your ability scores correctly using point buy.
  • You've correctly applied the ASI's for being a wood elf and for turning level 4.
  • A longsword is neither Heavy nor Special so is a valid choice for a Kensei Weapon, making it a monk weapon, which applying Martial Arts you can wield with Dexterity, even though it lacks the finesse property.
  • You calculated your base AC of 17, based on Unarmoured Defense correctly.
  • Thanks to gaining extra attack at level five you can make two attacks as part of your attack action, and as long as one of those is unarmed you'll get an extra +2 to your AC, until your next turn thanks to Agile Parry.
  • You'll then be able to use a bonus action to make an additional unarmed strike thanks to Martial Arts, or an additional two unarmed strikes, if you spend a ki point, thanks to Flurry of Blows.

All of that will give you, as you stated, 19 AC and, assuming all your attacks hit, allow you to deal either 1d10+2d6+12 damage (single bonus action unarmed strike) or 1d10+3d6+16 damage (Flurry) each round. Tasty.

Does all that blow Fighters out of the water? Not necesserily

As just one exmaple, and sticking to point buy (15, 15, 12, 12, 9, 8) a level 5 Champion Fighter with 18 Str and 18 AC (Plate armour), wielding a greatsword, could deal 4d6 +8 each round.

That's worse than your damage but they'd also be critting on 19's as well as 20s and rerolling any 1's and 2's on their damage die (Great Weapon Fighting). And once per short rest they could do all of that twice (8d6 +16 as a base) in a single turn.

Their AC would be marginly worse but their hit dice would be better, and they'd likely have a starting 16 in Con too so they'd have an average of 11 more health.

If Variant Human is allowed then they could start with a feat on top of all this too, such as Great Weapon Master (more damage) or Heavy Armour Master (more survivability).

I'm not saying this build is definitively superior, but nor do I think it's clear cut as you were suggesting either.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Personal milestone klaxon: This is my 100th answer :). \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiggerous
    Apr 2, 2020 at 9:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ making it a monk weapon, which applying Martial Arts you can wield with Dexterity, even though it lacks the finesse property. I forgot monks got this ability, OOF. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2020 at 14:45

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