Monk: Way of the Brewmaster

Though on the surface a monk following the way of the brewmaster might look like a simple alcoholic, they hide a mastery in combat behind their drunk facade. They use their mysterious brews to infuse themselves with power and overpower their foes. A brewmaster monk believes that they can find enlightenment through their ki infused brews. They can fight through the heaviest of blows, find patterns in the midst of combat and with enough training they can even invoke spectral companions to aid them. making them truly a force to be reckoned with.

bonus proficiencies: You gain proficiency with the brewing supplies. If you already have proficiency with the brewing supplies, you gain expertise, which means your proficiency bonus is doubled for ability checks you make with it. you are also exceptionally good at keeping your cool with alcohol, and thus do not feel the negative effects from excessive alcohol consumption.

stagger: Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, your brews have numbed your senses to physical harm, only realizing later the severity of your injuries. While conscious, you have resistance against all damage except psychic, but the damage prevented this way is stored into a seperate pool. At the end of each of your turns in combat, half of the current amount of damage stored in the pool (rounded up) is removed from the pool and dealt to you as psychic damage that can't be reduced or prevented in any way aside from the Spectral Ox. If you fall below 0 Hit Points with stagger damage remaining in the pool, you gain one failed death save and the pool will be emptied, if the damage in the pool exceeds your maximum health, you die outright. At the end of combat the remaining damage in the pool will be dealt to you after 6 seconds.

brewmaster: Additionally at 3rd level, you've learned a new way of brewing that makes your brews a vital addition in hand to hand combat when infused with Ki. During a long or short rest, you can spend one hour making your brew with your brewing kit. When finished, you have up to 20 chugs worth of brew inside a flask you keep on your person. While brewing, you determine the brew's potency by rolling a 1d20+ your proficiency with the brewing kit. while you have a flask with at least one chug of brew in it you gain the following ki features:

  • purifying brew:

As a bonus action you can chug this infused brew, you can use 1 Ki point to remove half of the damage currently stored by stagger (rounded down)

  • Celestial brew:

As a bonus action you can chug this infused brew, choose an amount of ki points, you gain temporary hit points equal to 5 times the ki points used.

  • fortifying brew:

As a bonus action you can chug this infused brew, you can use 4 ki points to turn the resistance from stagger into immunity, the prevented damage will still be stored like normal.

  • engulfing brew:

As an action you can chug this infused brew, and exhale it as a breath of fire in a 15 feet cone, choose a number of ki points, Each creature in a 15-foot cone must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw equal to your brew's potency or take 1d6 fire damage per Ki point spent on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The fire ignites any flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried.

potent brews: these brews are highly intoxicating to others, when someone other than you drinks from your brews, they must succeed on a constitution save equal to your brews potency or become incapacitated. they must succeed on the saving throw again if they decide to drink more.

drunken assault: At 6th level your behaviour aggravates and mock your opponents, when you strike someone with an unarmed attack they become fixated on you. The creature has disadvantage on attack rolls against targets other than you, and cannot willingly move more than 30 feet away from you. only one creature can be affected this way at a time, attacking a new creature removes this effect on the previous creature.

Elusive Brawler: At 11th level, you learn to find patterns in a creature’s fighting style in the midst of combat. When a creature hits you with an attack, you gain a +4 bonus to AC against all subsequent attacks made by that creature for the rest of the turn.

Spectral Ox: At 17th level, you learn how to invoke the specter of an ancient ox. As an action, you can summon the spectral ox to fight alongside you for 1 minute or until it dies. it follows your mental commands that you want it to do on its turn. The ox cannot be targeted by any spells or attacks, and is immune to area of effect damage. Instead, any time you take damage from stagger, the spectral ox takes this damage instead. It shares your initiative and takes its turn right after your turn ends.

Once you use this feature, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest.

Spectral Ox companion: Large Fey, unaligned stats: Hit Point: 5 + five times your monk level Speed: 40 ft. Senses: darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception: equal to yours. Languages: understands you mentally.

Charge: If the spectral Ox moves at least 20 ft. straight toward a creature and then hits it with a Stomp Attack on the same turn, it must succeed on a DC 19 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Stomp: Melee weapon attack: (+11), reach 5ft., one target. Hit: (2d10+5) magical bludgeoning damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Clarification please: With Stagger is the resistance applied before the damage is put in the pool or are you considered 'resistant' because only half of the damage is dealt to you at the end of your turn? E.g. I take 20 damage, is there now 10 in the pool and I take 5 at the end of my turn or is there 20 in the pool and I take 10 at the end of my turn? \$\endgroup\$
    – Steve
    Jun 27, 2021 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi steve, good question, i knew it would cause some confusion. Say a creature hits you for 20, you would take 10 outright, and the resisted 10 damage would go into the pool. at the end of your turn, you would take 5 dmg (half of the dmg in the pool) and 5 dmg would remain in the pool to be dealt to you in later turns. but say in the following turn that creature hits you for 30, 15 would be dealt to you outright and the other 15 would go into the pool together with the remaining 5 damage, meaning there is now 20 dmg in the pool, meaning at the end of your next tun you would then take 10 damage. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2021 at 23:15
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1 Answer 1


I find this class to be poor design for multiple reasons.

First of all this class easily becomes very tanky, especially once the potions start to kick in. This in itself is not a poor thing, but consider that many players would rather want a class that adds new cool options/moves, rather than spending the entire power budget on becoming tanky. This is especially true in DnD where combat can really slow down to a halt if both combatants have a lot of damage mitigation. I would suggest finding more offensive options for the drunken style, rather than defensive ones.

The second is that the core mechanic (The stagger) feels like a very poor design. Having to have an entire extra health pool to keep track of, constantly halving all damage and make sure to remember which health pool to round up/round down, then constantly having to do the same at the end of each round is a lot of math and complexity that adds no real depth. In other DnD versions this would have been a sin as generally complexity and math should reward deep choices, but in 5e this is doubly so, since 5E specifically focuses on trying to make the system, the math and the crunch as light as possible.

I find that this design would feel tiresome and unrewarding and go against the entire design philosophy in 5e.

My first point is a matter of personal opinion, but I feel the second point weights much more.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Makes sense a the base inspiration is a tank specialization in WoW, and that the stagger in WoW is also one the most complicated resource to keep an eye on in-game (but it doesn't mean something as complicated fit well in D&D5). \$\endgroup\$
    – Zoma
    Jun 28, 2021 at 9:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zoma Ah, I did suspect it was the tank specialization but I didn't know the stagger mechanic came from WoW, thanks so much for the info. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 28, 2021 at 9:36

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