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I'm trying to use the Item list on D&D beyond to find appropriate magic items for an unarmed Monk. Note that I haven't played any tabletop D&D 5e before, so I'm unfamiliar whether such items even exist in D&D 5e or on the site.

I have played some high-magic videogames that use D&D 3.0 and 3.5 (mainly Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2), but my assumption would be that the items from the games, like Monk robes that grant AC bonuses without counting as armor for monk features (Such as Robes of the Shining Hand), gloves that add attack or damage rolls to unarmed attacks (such as Gloves of the Long Death), and other such items, are based on content that's a default part of 3e, and that even with the reduced emphasis on strong magical items there would still be at least SOME items that can give bonuses to Monks, but I can't seem to find them on 5e, at least not as official content. There seems to be plenty of homebrew content, but considering that's essentially fan-made, it feels less appropriate for mainline campaigns.

I would assume that D&D 5e actually has items of this sort, because I'm not sure what else a DM would give to a monk for their armor reward, considering Monks don't use armor...

How can I find such items on D&D Beyond?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi there! What do you mean by "appropriate equipment for an unarmed Monk"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Aug 16, 2022 at 10:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage Mostly just equipment that plays into the strengths of Monks, like bonuses to unarmed attack and damage rolls, equipment that doesn't cause them to lose access to their class abilities that don't work with certain equipment,... \$\endgroup\$
    – Nzall
    Aug 16, 2022 at 10:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related Q&A is here \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2022 at 14:11

5 Answers 5

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You can't

Not systematically find monk exclusive items, anyway.

As a conversion note; D&D has a distinction between equipment and magic items. Equipment would be normal weapons and armour, rope, rations, etc. Wheras items with bonuses and upgrades are magic items. As such, you're looking for magic items specific to monks.

D&D Beyond has some amount of tagging etc., though not detailed and consistent enough to be fully useful, as part of its magic item listing. And attunement requirement (eg. "Requires attunement by a Monk") isn't filterable at all.

Not there are any (certainly not many) magic items which are monk specific anyway. I'm certainly not aware of any, and I've looked. (Thomas Markov points out the Dragon Hide Belt from Fizban's as the sole entry).

That doesn't mean there aren't magic items which work for monks, they just aren't monk specific. The well known cloak and ring of protection work for anyone, and bracers of defence work for anyone without armour.

You can filter for items which give AC bonuses or other benefits using the Effect Type and Effect Subtype filters (eg. "Bonus" and "Unarmored Armor Class"), though note that it has a bunch of filters for which there are no magic items (they are presumably an artefact of other features and rule-sets). That can get you armour-y effects which may (or may not) be applicable to a monk, but not efficiently.

You can use the general search as well, which is better for certain effects, but isn't terribly convenient to use either. It's a fairly simple search engine, giving potentially a lot of false positives, and in my experience false negatives as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What page can I use to filter for such items as you describe in your second to last paragraph? The main thing I'm after is a set of clothing/robes that don't count as armor but give an appropriate bonus. It appears the Barrier Tattoo is the only thing that gives AC, but maybe there are other more appropriate Monk bonuses? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nzall
    Aug 16, 2022 at 10:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nzall Their page for magic items, at /magic-items (link added). \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Aug 16, 2022 at 10:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I missed that "advanced filters" option... \$\endgroup\$
    – Nzall
    Aug 16, 2022 at 11:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I assume you're remembering the Claws of Insignia, which one of the two items with a bonus to unarmed attacks \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Aug 16, 2022 at 14:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Insignia of the Claws, yes, but it's not monk specific as far as I can tell by digging through old Q&A. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2022 at 14:10
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Use an expected search term and filter by items.

There isn’t a great way to do this; D&D Beyond’s search function is pretty bad. The best you can do is to search for a term you expect to be in the item description, and then filter by items. For example, this search for “unarmed” yields six magic items mentioning “unarmed”.

The only magic item that is unique to monks (requires attunement by a monk) is the dragonhide belt, published in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons.

I’ve run into a similar issue with rewarding monks with magic items – magical weapons and armor aren’t really their cup o’ tea. Instead, I’ve had great success with rewarding my monk players with wondrous items that have good utility.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why wouldn't a monk appreciate a good magic weapon? They might not be able to use it for every attack they make in a turn, but having a +1 magic quarterstaff or club is a straight upgrade on just attacking unarmed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Aug 16, 2022 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer yeah, but at the cost of devaluing every interaction they have with unarmed strike, which feels kinda bad \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Aug 17, 2022 at 12:15
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Slight frame challenge - you don't have to use D&D Beyond

That information is out there elsewhere - one great source of knowledge is rpgbot. It ranks how powerful different items would be for a class and some reasoning behind why, whether these are class specific or just an all round good item. This is great because, as a DM, you don't necessarily have time to go through and assess every item - it'll save you time and give some good suggestions ranked by item rarity.

Personally, I've used this a fair bit both when trying to reward my players and when searching for some good items to give my BBEG an edge in the fight. Another benefit it has over D&D Beyond is that it'll give you a rundown of the item regardless of the source (though it'll tell you which book they're from) - D&D Beyond will withhold those details until you've bought the book. This way you can find the item you want first and then buy the book (or just the item) on DnD Beyond once you know what you want.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure how legal that site is, but I do know that their ratings are pretty unreliable. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Aug 16, 2022 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri Not saying you're wrong, but do you have anything in particular to back up the claim "their rating are pretty unreliable"? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2022 at 21:52
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I would assume that D&D 5e actually has items of this sort

Your assumption is incorrect. 5e's default position on magic items is they are entirely optional.

Monks do get a 6th level class feature to bypass resistance to non-magical damage with their unarmed strikes, so they don't need a item for that.

There isn't anything monk-specific in the DMG, so you could look at e.g. Bracers of Defence for extra AC.

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You can construct a search term like this:

https://www.dndbeyond.com/search?q=monk&f=equipment

The q= will look for anything that mentions monk, the f= will focus you on equipment. There however seems to be none1. Compare this to

https://www.dndbeyond.com/search?q=wizard&f=equipment

which will give you a list of wizard-specific equipment items. (These are not exclusive for the search term - some of these items also work for other classes).

Equipment is mundane in 5e, normal swords, armor, bedrolls and such. If you want to reward your monk with AC-enhancing magic items, you could give them magic items such as a ring of protection or a cloak of protection, or bracers of defense.

You can search for monk and focus on "magic-items" to find monk-related items, which dreges up the lonely dragonhide belt.


1 As Someone_evil points out, this does not mean there really are none - it relies on things being consistently tagged. They are not, so you may miss something. You may want to try general search instead, for "attunement" and "monk", the dragonhide belt comes up there, too.

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