The Monk in D&D4e is very much a melee combatant, as most Monks tend to be. Generally, this is okay because he should have the support of a Controller or other ranged combatant in his party. Unfortunately, there are some cases in which he may be separated from that support, or those supporting characters are preoccupied with other tasks in the battle.

Is there anything that can/should be done to make a Monk more effective against flying/ranged monsters in these situations?

  • \$\begingroup\$ What level range? The answer at epic is probably much different from the answer at heroic. \$\endgroup\$ – J. Strange Mar 3 '11 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Particularly looking at 1-4 right now, but bottom-to-top solutions would be nice to see. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Mar 3 '11 at 13:17

Barring any fancy feats or abilities, a Monk has two main options against a flying creature: 1. Ranged basic attacks with a thrown weapon. 2. Ready an attack.

The latter is probably the more effective - you can use better abilities, and the monsters have to come to you eventually (even if they have fly-by or some other ability that allows them to move-attack-move back out of reach). If they are flying and ranged, then you'll be throwing things while your ranged companions do the heavy lifting.

If they're just ranged, then in most cases a Monk has enough movement abilities to close the distance and go for a "quarterback sack".


Outside of trivial answers like: hybrid, multiclass, half-elf (especially in paragon), there are some potentially interesting item combinations.

While far more appropriate for an essentials character, a Farslayer Weapon provides an excellent backup-weapon for the monk (with melee training), as monk bonus-damage comes from flurry of blows. The far far more cheesybroken version is the Blade of the Eldrich Knight which provides reach 5 for standard action attacks. A bow (if offered racially) or dagger is not at all a bad backup option. While it's not huge-striker damage, it keeps you contributing to the fight if everyone's ranged. The Fey Strike Weapon is a fantastic "Get Over Here!" pseudo-pull. Magnetic Armor provides a similar service. The Net Snare offers a flavourful grab+pull, though it needs standard forced movement improvement for it to be a useful lockdown for the monk. It synergizes with the net multiclass exceedingly well, however, because slow + grabbed + pull/slide = one unhappy enemy. For that matter, with the World Serpent's Grasp feat, an action point on this netted enemy will knock the flyer prone, and it will be difficult for the flyer to escape the netted slow/grab.

Masterful Spiral + longspear/staff expertise/transcendent ki-focus gives you reach 3. While not a supremely good reach, enemies would have to fly quite high to avoid that. (I'm not sure if staff expertise and the transcendent ki focus sack, I'm pretty sure they don't.

Bracers of Brachiation give you a climb speed which can be handy for lowering the volume of untenable terrain. Technically you can fight while climbing normally, but you don't actually want to engage in combat without a climb speed. The Wilden [Clinging Vines] is one o the better options here.4

At higher levels, it's fairly trivial to gain a fly speed.


Well I think a bit out of the box, but I've played with a Monk and this is my improvised solution for flying monsters.

Run, Jump, Flurry of Blows
A monk can jump a good distance. With a running start, I assume you can make about 4-5 squares with a good roll. There are also Monk Full Disciplines that allow you to make this leap more easy. Once you match the height of the target then perform an attack. This is where your Flurry of Blows comes in. I normally slide the creature under me. The DM has two choices, either allow you to weigh the creature to the floor or make you perform either a acrobatics or athletic to stay on top of the creature.

Run, Jump, Grab
This is the same as above except, you grab the target but I assume your highest ability score is Dexterity.

Flying Target Meets Flying Dagger
A monk can use a dagger and the good think is that you can use your "Weapon" attacks and throw your dagger 5/10. This is good for those targets that are around 10 squares height. You can make a running jump and at the peak of your jump throw the dagger, but you'll take 1d6 falling damage for every 2 squares, or just take the -2 for long range. The knife will fall back to the ground. Make a minor action to pick it up and repeat.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Get any old cheap magic dagger, it will return to your hand every time :) \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Mar 13 '11 at 7:43

There is a warlord in our group who plays quite like a monk. He's never used a ranged weapon, but has a reach weapon and a high Athletics and Acrobatics. We are in the paragon tier now and encountering plenty of flying monsters.

Between a jump, character height, and the reach weapon, he can typically smack anything within 5 squares of the ground or a square you can climb to, which covers most situations.

You can also ready to intercept a flyby attack, or jump and hit with an ability that knocks creatures prone to bring them to the ground.

While a ranged weapon seems the obvious choice, jumping around like Spider-man is typically much more fun, and is the monkly thing to do.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that jumping to attack is technically not legal within the rules unless you're using an attack that includes a move action: "High Jump: Part of a move action." "You can end your first move in midair if you double move" (PHB: Page 182). Still... It might be worthy of a house rule (or perhaps custom monk-only feat) due to how flavorful it is. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 3 '11 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Noted. If you want to stay within the rules you can always charge (assuming you can move closer with each square) and get a melee basic off before landing with your remaining move action. Throw in an action point and things get interesting! \$\endgroup\$ – dpatchery Mar 3 '11 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Charge probably doesn't work from a strict rules perspective either... The only way to end movement in the air is in the middle of a double move (page 284), which precludes you from charging. The resulting action would be: Jump->Fall->Attack. What you would need is something that allows you to attack during a move, like the Ranger power Attacks on the Run. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 3 '11 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Disclaimer: This assumes you don't interpret "part of a move action" as literally being part of an action of type move (which would prevent jumping from being used with most movement powers). And of course, house rules and other considerations are valid, especially for such a silly bit of rules text. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Mar 3 '11 at 20:07

The obvious choice would be to get a ranged weapon, either with a penalty or get a trained feat in that weapon.

Another option would be to have a magic item or weapon that gives a reach for melee combat. One example is Spear of the Skylord which gives the wielder a reach 3 with this weapon.

Another would be to choose a feat like Net Specialist (which is a 10th level multi-class feat giving reach 5) or Staff Expertise which extends your reach by 1.

Remember there is a point where some classes have innate weaknesses and become dependent on other party members.


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