Monks get the Flurry of Blows ability as part of the Ki feature at 2nd level (PHB, p. 78):

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

It seems that this means the bonus action has to happen immediately, implying that the monk can't move between the attack and the bonus action. That's fine, but what if the monk is surrounded by enemies? Can the Flurry of Blows be targeted at a different target than the original attack action? How about each individual hit of the FoB, can they each target a different enemy?

My DM seems to think that because it is considered to be only one bonus action that it can only affect one target. I know that in the end his ruling is law, but wondered if anyone had any insight into how this is actually supposed to be ruled.


3 Answers 3


No, Flurry of Blows is not limited to one target, but they must all be in reach without moving.

Two facts rule this issue:

  1. Normally, multiple attacks from the same action can be targeted however the attacker wants.
  2. Bonus actions can only be taken when they say so and can't be "saved" for later than when they are triggered.

Since Flurry does not impose any extra limits on these attacks (except that they be unarmed), they can be targeted at whoever you like, as normal (from #1). Since Flurry specifies that the bonus action is optional ("can be taken") but the choice is immediately after attacking, it must be taken without moving to reach additional targets (from #2).

Basically, you get to hit a lot, all at once, divided among as many targets in reach as you like.


My conclusion goes like this:

  • You can target each of your attacks against any target you choose that is valid at the moment you make that attack. Nowhere in the rules exist any restrictions regarding that.
  • You can move between the Attack action and either the Martial Arts bonus action or the Flurry of Blows bonus action, and
  • you can move between the two Flurry of Blows attacks too.

My reasoning for the latter two is the following: The flip side of Specific Beats General is General Applies Unless There's Specific. Basic Rules state that the general case is that you can split your movement before, after and between your actions; that is: you could move > bonus action > move > action > move, or viceversa, or any combination.

A specific subset of that is having two or more attacks in the same action (e.g. Multiple Attacks or Eldritch Blast); Basic Rules state the general case for this is that you can also split your movement between attacks within the same action too.

The text for Flurry of Blows, as written, doesn't mention movement at all and therefore doesn't add any Specific case, thus the General rule above mentioned would apply. The only possible point of contention would be the "immediately after you take the Attack action" part, which could be interpreted either as being meant to apply only to the trigger, or as starting the bonus action immediately. I think that the former adds less "moving parts" to the rules, so Occam probably favours that one; but even if the latter is correct we already can use our Movement within an action with attacks, so it isn't any stretch to think that RAW probably allows using move after declaring your bonus action but before making a Flurry attack itself.

This is softer evidence but it's still worth mentioning: Mike Mearls has stated (twice) that the monk can move "in between his additional unarmed attacks or his Flurry of Blows". Mearls may not be the "Official Rules Expert" so his words aren't as binding (FWIW) as the 5E designer's, but it's still interesting insight on what Rules As Intended are likely to be.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Since you mention that Mearls isn't the official rules expert: Jeremy Crawford confirms here that you can move between the hits of Flurry of Blows. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 7, 2018 at 21:54

Flurry of Blows, has always been to my knowledge been a Class Feature of the Monk class. Since 3.0 at least, which is when I started playing, it was supposed to boost the monk. Lots of attacks, for a little less accuracy? Ok, it's flavorful at least. Here's the thing though. Actions != Attacks. A bonus Action should be read as a separated entity from the first Attack Action. Think of Cleave. Cleave is basically an Attack that gets executed while using an Action called Attack Action. If there was some hidden rule about there being a limit of One Bonus Action == One Target, there would be a lot of abilities (like Cleave) that either wouldn't work or wouldn't be worth using at all. Similarly with Flurry, it says you can use Ki points after an Attack Action to take two more Attacks, which if you have other attacks per turn from multiclassing or something else, (like one of the Bard Colleges that allows two Physical Attacks per turn), then you could start adding even more attacks!

As you said, the basic rule of thumb is, if the DM says it, it's so. But there's always room for making a case, and in my experience the DM is more likely to change his mind if you do at least one of two things: 1.) Make a clear, concise case in 6 sentences or less, with at least one example to support your mode of thought. 2.) Bring pizza.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to consider changing the example of Cleave since there is no such thing in 5e and using its mechanics does not directly applicable to OP's situation. \$\endgroup\$
    – sadaqah
    Jan 12, 2015 at 20:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the College of Valor does not give the Bard two Attack Actions per turn, it gives them two attacks per Attack Action. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12, 2015 at 20:50

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