Monks have a problem when it comes to grabbing feats in that they are highly dependant on ability score improvements (ASIs) to function. They need good Dexterity, Wisdom, and Constitution to function, and if you don’t improve those numbers, you’ll quickly fall behind. That means the only time I can really recommend taking a feat on Monk is as a 1st level Variant Human/Custom Lineage. (Or if you have an odd-numbered Dex or Wis and take a feat that boosts either stat by +1).
With that being said, there are several stellar feat options if you go ahead and do that. Let’s go over some! (Note: These are all from Player’s Handbook or Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, which I can’t directly link to. You’ll have to find the content descriptions on your own.)
This is probably the most-recommended Monk feat on the internet. I see people vouching for it everywhere, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does your already-impressive speed increase, you become immune to opportunity attacks from every creature you attack. You don’t even have to successfully hit them, you can just give it a go and zip off on your way! This creates a very unique hit-and-run playstyle that lets you zip around the battlefield chiming into various skirmishes. If you want to make the most use of your commendable mobility, Mobile’s the way to go.
2. Fighting Initiate (Unarmed Style)
Tasha’s added this feat, which was hand-carved for Monk’s niche. You know all those unarmed strikes you’ve been making since 1st level? Imagine they all deal d8 damage instead of only d4. This is a gigantic damage boost for the early levels, essentially removing the need for any weapon whatsoever. The main downside is that your martial arts die will slowly catch up and make the feat obsolete at level 11. But then at level 12 you can retrain it into a new fighting style! (I prefer Blind Fighting.) This is basically the only feat in the game that includes retraining, and is ideal for any player who wants to lean into the “unarmed warrior” archetype.
3. Magic Initiate
Speaking of stealing gimmicks from other classes, my favorite feat makes a reappearance on this list as well. Monks, like all martial classes, gain a ton of utility from learning a few spells. You’re gonna want Druid or Cleric spells because they scale off Wisdom, and the options are staggering. Guidance is incredible for passing skill checks, ranged attack or AoE spells can fill your deficiencies in those combat areas, and healing word can make you a dimestore battlefield medic. There are so many spells, it won’t be hard to find a few that complement your favorite playstyle.
To be honest, I prefer this feat over Mobile. First you get +1 Constitution, letting you sneak in a (secondary skill, admittedly) ASI. Then you get to knock people 5 feet after hitting them with a bludgeoning attack (likely quarterstaff or fist.) This is another way to prevent opportunity attacks, but also works as a battlefield control mechanic. Knock enemies into environmental hazards, free up room around a surrounded ally… Any attack that manipulates enemy positioning is a versatile one.
A Gunner monk has one of the coolest playstyles I can think of. You could use Tasha’s optional “Dedicated Weapon” feature to gain musket proficiency without the feat, but with its powerful additional features you’re essentially a Napoleonic soldier. d12 ranged damage with no penalties for melee combat is incredibly versatile, especially if your DM lets you equip a bayonet and treat it (historically accurately) like a spear. And, just as a treat, you get +1 Dexterity so you might not even lose an ASI! Fiction loves “lone man with a gun” protagonists, and this is your chance to play one.
I know I ragged on monk in my last article about the class, but I just can’t stop playing them! There’s something so badass about running around the battlefield unarmed and unarmored. Even if you’re something of a ‘master of none’, there are still plenty of ways to shine in a tabletop setting. And if you wanted to fill one of the gaps in monk’s troubled toolkit, well…that’s what feats are for!