A Complete Guide to the Monk’s Flurry of Blows in DnD 5e 

Last Updated on February 21, 2023

If you want to bring your love for wuxia fantasy, John Woo, or Kill Bill to your next Dungeons & Dragons 5e character, chances are you’ll be wanting to play a Monk. Monks are the ultimate martial artists, able to dish out a dizzying series of attacks with their fists, feet, and monk weapons. 

When you play a Monk, your special abilities are powered by a resource called Ki. Ki is a mystical energy source that allows you to push your body beyond its normal limitations to accomplish feats of true physical and martial prowess. Spending Ki points lets you, among other things, run up walls, catch arrows in mid-air, and unleash a blindingly fast series of attacks, also known as a Flurry of Blows

How Does Flurry of Blows Work in DnD 5e? 

Immediately after taking the attack action, you can spend one Ki point to make two additional unarmed strikes as a bonus action. 

You roll a separate attack roll for the original attack and for each unarmed strike using your Dexterity modifier instead of Strength (thanks to your Martial Arts ability). 

Your unarmed strike damage is determined by your Monk level, starting at a d4 and increasing to a d6 at 5th level, a d8 at 11th level, and a d10 at level 17. Thanks to the Monk’s Martial Arts ability, Unarmed Strikes also deal additional damage equal to your Dexterity modifier, as though you had the two-weapon fighting style.  

Is Flurry of Blows Good? 

Flurry of Blows is definitely the Monk ability that gets new players excited when they first pick up their character sheet. Being able to make three attacks at first level and then four at level 5 feels seriously powerful. This is especially true after 5th level, when you can burn a Ki point to use Stunning Strike on your first attack, then take your extra attack and two more unarmed strikes with Flurry of Blows with advantage against a stunned target. 

However, there are two major drawbacks to Flurry of Blows as an ability — big enough issues that I’m inclined to think of it as a trap to trick new players into wasting all their Ki. 

First, as a Monk, you already get to make an attack with your bonus action (and apply your Ability Score modifier to the damage as though you had two-weapon fighting) thanks to Martial Arts. This means Flurry of Blows at 1st level isn’t actually buying you a potential 2d4 + modifier + modifier bludgeoning damage — it’s just 1d4 + modifier. For an ability that’s only off cooldown a couple of times per short rest, that’s a little underwhelming.

Obviously, at higher levels, you’ll have loads more Ki to play around with, and your unarmed strikes will deal more damage, meaning you can throw out your Flurry of Blows with less thought for resource management. 

Secondly, none of this extra damage you’re laying down is guaranteed. You have to roll to hit every one of these attacks. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing (more d20 rolls means more chances for crits, after all), but the Monk is a highly MAD class — maybe the biggest offender in the game. Multi Ability Dependence means you need good scores in multiple Ability Scores to be useful, and Monks need at least a 14 in three Ability Scores (DEX, CON, WIS), or they start to suffer. 

This means, especially if you’re using point buy to generate Ability Scores, you’ll probably have a character with mostly “okay” Ability Scores rather than someone with an 18 in their Dex at 1st level. Lower Ability Scores mean smaller bonuses to hit, which means Flurry of Blows gets less valuable.  

However, pick the right moment (and get a bit lucky), and this can be a devastating way to lay out one or more enemies with a barrage of punches and kicks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Flurry of Blows Need To Target the Same Creature as the Original Attack? 

No. You can break up your attacks between as many different enemies as you like. Because of how movement works in 5e, you can even attack one target, activate Flurry of Blows, move, then use your bonus action to make two unarmed strikes against a different enemy. 

Can I Use Monk Weapons for Flurry of Blows? 

No. Flurry of Blows explicitly relates to unarmed attacks. 

Can Stunning Strike Be Used With Flurry of Blows? 

Yes. Stunning Strike affects the Attack action, and Flurry of Blows is a bonus action. Since there’s no limit on the amount of Ki points you can spend in one round, if you have enough, go for it. 

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