top of page
  • Writer's pictureArbitrary 20

What’s the Best D&D Build Without Equipment?

Original Video:

*This article is an edited version of the script for this video


Shadar-Kai, we are going to want to pick up Elven Accuracy in this build and the Shadar-Kai is probably the best elf race

Ability Scores(point buy):

Str: 8

Dex: 15(+2)

Con: 14

Int: 8

Wis: 14

Cha: 12(+1)

Ability Score Priorities:

#1 Dex

#2 Wis

#3 Con

#4 At least 13 Cha for Multiclassing

Ideal Equipment:


Level 1: Fighter 1

-Fighting Style: Unarmed Fighting. This is pretty much the best fighting style we can use without equipment and will help us keep up with weapon users.

-Second Wind: A d10 plus our fighter level in healing we can use once per short rest. If you’re about to take a short rest make sure you use this if you haven’t already.

Levels 2-6: Monk 1-5

-Unarmored Defense. Eventually our AC will be decent with this feature, right now its not great but its the best we can do, especially with no equipment.

-Martial Arts. We obviously won’t be using monk weapons but this will let us make an unarmed strike as a bonus action each turn after we take the attack action.

-Ki. Flurry of Blows is our best damage option at level 2 but once we get our subclass that will change, at least until we’re about level 11 in monk. The other two options, Patient Defense and Step of the Wind, are ok and will be good in certain situations.

-Unarmored Movement. A welcome increase to our speed that we will make good use of when we go into melee

-Monastic Tradition: Way of Mercy

—Hands of Healing: If you use this feature along with Flurry of Blows, which you usually should, this is pretty much just a Healing Word spell with touch range. Nice to have if one of your allies goes unconscious near you

—Hands of Harm: This feature is much better than Flurry of Blows in terms of damage since it has a much higher chance to hit. Each of our attacks has a 60% chance to hit, assuming we’re up against a 16 AC, and we only need one of three of them to hit to apply this damage. Our chance to hit at least once with three attacks is 93.6%, which is much higher than 60%, which would be our chance to hit with the extra attack from Flurry of Blows. Hands of Harm is still better even if we have advantage. If you really need to do a lot of damage you could do both this and Flurry of Blows in the same turn but it will usually be better to just use this and conserve our Ki Points.

-Deflect Missiles. Could be an ok option for reducing damage but will rarely be worth the Ki Point to throw back.

-ASI or Feat: Elven Accuracy, +1 Dex. A nice boost to our damage when we have advantage

-Extra Attack

-Stunning Strike. While it looks great on paper this actually isn’t a very good feature since most monsters have Constitution as one of their highest saving throws. If a monster has a low Con score this can be very strong but otherwise usually you’d have to spend 3-4 Ki Points to get this to stick once and that will rarely be worth it.

Level 7: Warlock 1

-Otherworldly Patron: Genie

—Genie’s Wrath: This is the main thing we’re here for, we get to deal our proficiency bonus in extra damage once per turn. It doesn’t really matter which damage type you choose.

—Bottled Respite: This is an easy way to get a short rest when your in a dungeon or something and it’s hard to find a safe spot.

-Spells: Hex would be nice but unfortunately it has material components so it doesn’t work for our no equipment challenge. Just pick whichever spells you’d like.

Levels 8-9: Cleric 1-2

-Divine Domain: War

—Domain Spells: Divine Favor. This is the main reason we’re here. This spell adds damage to our attacks but doesn’t require material components like Hex and Hunter’s Mark

—Guided Strike: This ability isn’t bad, giving us a +10 to one attack roll per short rest. If we somehow miss all 3 attacks this should be able to make one of them a hit so we can apply our Hands of Harm and Genie’s Wrath

-Spells: Healing Word and Guiding Bolt. We’ll usually just be casting Divine Favor but Healing Word will be nice to have when one of our allies falls unconscious and Guiding bolt is something we can do if we get stuck at range.

Damage Per Round Vs 18 AC:

Hands of Harm No Advantage: 22.04

Hands of Harm With Advantage: 34.29

Divine Favor + Hands of Harm No Advantage: 26.17

Divine Favor + Hands of Harm With Advantage: 41.92

Levels 10-15: Monk 6-11

-Ki-Empowered Strikes: Our attacks now count as magical for overcoming resistance to non magical attacks. This is good as it will start to come up a lot at these levels

-Evasion: A very strong defensive ability making it so we take less damage or no damage from anything that requires a Dexterity saving throw.

-Purity of Body: Immunity to poison is another great defensive bonus.

-ASI or Feat: +2 Dex

-Flurry of Healing and Harm: A great damage increase at no additional ki cost. The healing buff is ok, this is still only really worth using on an unconcious ally.

Levels 16-17: Fighter 2-3

-Action Surge: A nice way to get some burst damage in or if we have to use our first action to do something else this could let us attack when we usually wouldn’t be able to

-Martial Archetype: Rune Knight

—Giant’s Might: This is one of the few fighter subclass features that increase damage with unarmed strikes and not just weapon attacks.

—Rune Carver: I would go with Cloud Rune and Frost Rune since the others are a save DC based on our Con which isn’t one of the main stats we’re focusing on.

Levels 18-20: Cleric 3-5

-Spells: The Main one we want is Spirit Shroud, its slightly better in terms of damage than Divine Favor

-ASI or Feat: +2 Wis or War Caster. +2 Wis is probably better but you could consider War Caster or maybe even Resilient: Con to help keep concentration on Divine Favor

Damage Per Round Vs 20 AC:

Flurry of Harm No Advantage: 37.22

Flurry of Harm With Advantage: 52.32

Spirit Shroud + Flurry of Harm No Advantage: 48.92

Spirit Shroud + Flurry of Harm With Advantage: 71.74

Like what you see here? Consider supporting us on Patreon, You'll receive early access to guides like this one and each month we release a D&D 5e homebrew pack containing:

-A subclass

-A magic item, 2 different kinds of printable cards are provided

-A feat

-A spell, a printable handout is provided

-A wild card, which is additional homebrew content we make each month that could be just about anything. An additional subclass, an adventure, etc.

-You'll get access to all the previous homebrew packs as well. Currently, this is 90+ pages of content at the highest tier.

We hope you'll consider supporting but regardless we appreciate you reading this guide and/or watching the video on it and hope you found it helpful!

17 views0 comments


bottom of page