Foundling Monk (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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The monastic orders are not just a place to seek enlightenment; they are a refuge for those cast off by society; the unwanted, the forgotten. So when a baby wrapped in burlap was found at the gates emitting a lusty cry, the monks did not hesitate to take it in and raise as one of their own. He wasn't quite like the other kids . . .


Player's Handbook Version 3.5 (PHB 3.5)

Oriental Adventures (OA)

Unearthed Arcana (UA)

Savage Species (SS)

Game Rule Components[edit]

This build requires Lawful alignment.

Race and Templates[edit]



This build uses the Monk (PHB v3.5), the Tattooed Monk (OA), and the Half-ogre (SS).


See below


Aggressive (+2 initiative, -1 AC)

Quick (base speed +10ft., -1 hp per level)


Murky-eyed (role miss chance for concealment twice)

Shaky (-2 to ranged attacks)

Spells, Powers, Items[edit]

Kawanaga (tripping tool; has reach and can also be used in close fighting)

Sai (2) (As a disarming tool and throwing weapon of last resort)


This build makes use of several optional rules from Unearthed Arcane including the use of traits, the use of flaws, and fractional BAB+ advancement.

This build also makes use of the "monster class" rules. The build takes two levels of Half-ogre (SS) over the course of its development in lieu of LA. If +2 LA races are allowed in your campaign, you can simply start with a Half-ogre Monk 1.


Initial scores (28 point buy):


At ECL 1: Str: 20 Int: 8 Wis: 14 Dex: 14 Con: 16 Cha: 6

ECL Class/HD/LA Feats Special
1st Half-ogre 1 Half-ogre base traits, natural armor +1, feat
2nd Half-ogre 2 Large size (10 ft. reach), +2 Str
3rd Half-ogre 2/Monk 1 Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Trip, Sunder monk abilities
4th Half-ogre 2/Monk 2 Fists of Iron (or Improved Grapple) Evasion, +1 Str (4th level)
5th Half-ogre 2/Monk 3 Still Mind
6th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4 Improved Natural Attack Ki strike, slow fall
7th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4/Tattooed Monk 1 Mountain tattoo (+4 Str., +4 Con while immoble (# of tats/day))
8th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4/Tattooed Monk 2 +1 Str (8th level)
9th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4/Tattooed Monk 3 Eagle Claw Attack Wasp tattoo (haste (# of tats/day))
10th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4/Tattooed Monk 4
11th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4/Tattooed Monk 5 Crab tattoo (dmg. resistance 2 per tat)
12th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4/Tattooed Monk 6 Ki Shout +1 Str (12th level)
13th Half-ogre 2/Monk 4/Tattooed Monk 7 Phoenix tattoo (spell resistance 15 + class level)


With Large size, Empty Hand Mastery, Improved Natural Attack, and a Monk's Belt, the build's unarmed strikes do a base 9d8. Add the Flying Kick feat, or use your Fists of Iron ability, to do even more damage. In the meantime, use your kawanaga (weighted chain, a special monk weapon) for devastating trip attacks. This build can also be converted into a dangerous grappler by substituting Improved Grapple, Choke Hold, and Grappling Block for Fists of Iron, Sunder, and Eagle Claw Strike.

The build's AC is helped by the +3 natural armor.

And, of course, Str. 25 has its advantages. Consider the monster feat Awesome Blow.

Munchkin-Size Me[edit]

That's not the point.

Side Notes[edit]


Monks never have enough feat slots, and this build is extremely feat-deprived. +10 Str. and Large size don't come cheap.

DM Counters[edit]

The first chance he or she gets, the player is going to want to pick up a spiked chain. Remember this is an exotic weapon and the monk cannot flurry with it.

The Tattooed Monk prestige class requires 8 levels of Knowledge (religion). If the player wants the tats, they've got to do the time (meditating, studying koans). He or she is already skills-poor, so this is a notable limitation.

I love flaws, but allowing them gives 2 extra feats at first level, which goes a long way to making this build possible.


You can play this serious (Can a person rise above their birth? Are we defined by our worst instincts? Does it matter who our parents were?) or you can play it light and say that despite all the monks' hard work, an ogre is an ogre is an ogre (think Chris Farley's "White Ninja.")

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