Baldur's Gate 3 minmaxer finds terrifying 240 damage-per-turn Monk build, carrying on D&D's long tradition of rules-based ultraviolence

Baldur's Gate 3 - Monk character in creation screen poses
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

It was only a matter of time, right? While technical tricks like stacking a thousand explosive barrels or leveraging fall damage for Owlbear elbow drops are impressive in their own way, I've yet to see anything truly representing Dungeons & Dragons' frightening powergaming underbelly from Baldur's Gate 3's community. That is, until now.

In a thread titled "I Think I Broke Unarmed Strike on Monk. 168-320 DMG per turn", Reddit user OrkoTheMage has shown their working and—yeah. It all checks out. This is due to how Bonus Actions work in Baldur's Gate 3, and how they interact with the Monk feature Flurry of Blows.

Flurry of Blows lets you spend Ki points—the Monk's main resource—to do two Unarmed Strikes as a bonus action. OrkoTheMage took three levels into Rogue's Thief subclass, which grants you another bonus action as standard. The Monk subclass Way of the Open Hand also has a feature named Wholeness of Body, which grants you an extra bonus action for three turns.

That's one half of the equation, which leads to an already terrifying 8 unarmed strikes in a single round. The other half comes from a min-maxer's wet dream of stacking modifiers to amp up those punches:

  • The Tavern Brawler feat lets you add your Strength modifier (which is +6 for OrkoTheMage at 22 Strength) to every hit.
  • A level 6 Way of the Open Hand feature adds 1d4 + Wisdom modifier damage to every unarmed strike.
  • A magic item, the Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo, adds that Wisdom modifier again.
  • Lastly, a late game magic item from Act 3, the Gloves of Soul Catching, hurl an extra 1d10 force damage on top. 
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This leads to unarmed strikes which deal 1d8 + 1d10 + 1d4 + 18 damage, for an average of 30 a pop. That's around 240 damage a turn once the engine's up and running. Mystra help me, my inner power gamer is drooling.

While a build like this utterly breaks the game's intended difficulty curve over its knee—a point PC Gamer's Robin Valentine made a while back—seeing these kinds of fiddly, sweaty, powergaming builds come together and click gives me this sick sense of satisfaction.

Even in tabletop Dungeons & Dragons, I'm conceptually obsessed with absurd builds like the Coffeelock, a Warlock-Sorcerer hybrid that never has to Long Rest, and can generate infinite spell slots. These busted characters speak to the inventiveness of gamers when they're given a rule set to play with. 

I don't play those kinds of characters, though, because they can spoil the fun for your fellow players, and your DM (unless you're all min-maxers, in which case, go hog wild). But there's no one to upset here, it's a single-player game—and since Larian Studios went absolutely wild with house rule tweaks and magic items, I've got a dark urge for more.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.