Nano's Build Guide: King of the Clouds

Written by IyeNano

Header art by Michael See

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“Well, some people ask if I'm really a king. And I always wonder why no one asks if I'm really a monkey.”

High on the clouds of the Tia’kal Empire, in the misty peaks of Q’barran’s Shield, lives a legend near worthy of deification. A single Wular has faced foes and conquered challenges with might and trickery alike, but there has been one problem this force of nature has yet to resolve: boredom. Their apathetic mind in tow, this legendary Wular journeys to the west in search of a challenge worthy of affixing their name into the annals of history.

Goals

That’s right. We’re not just making any monkey; we’re making THE monkey. This build seeks to try to closely emulate the skills and prowess of the mythical creature Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. The Monkey King is capable of many things in the Journey to the West. Unfortunately, immortality to the level he was able to reach just isn’t feasible in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, but you can be surprised just how much of his abilities you can copy with some level of creativity.

  • Martial Prowess

Journey to the West emphasizes that the Monkey King is able to support two mountains on his shoulders while running “with the speed of a meteor”. This is an extremely tall order, one that no build or magic item can achieve, though we can certainly achieve some otherworldly inner power through a strong start in Monk. In addition, a lot of Sun Wukong’s modern depictions utilize his iconic quarterstaff, Ruji Jingu Bang. While we can’t make it weigh the estimated 17,550 lbs. that the novel described it as, we can at least make it hit hard and the added reach of a Wular means we can extend our staff’s threat range a little.

  • 72 Bian and Cloning

In addition to his skills as a fighter, Sun Wukong is often portrayed as a keen trickster who is able to transform into a plethora of animals and objects. He also has hair that he can rip strands out to create copies of himself to either help him in a fight or disorient his enemies as they decide which one is the real one. A solid mix of Druid and Cleric will allow us a good number of transformations and cloning capabilities.

  • Weather Manipulation and Magic

Lastly, the Monkey King is able to cast a certain degree of magic. He is mainly able to use divine magic to trick foes, hold people in place, and some limited weather manipulation. Same as above, this can be solved with Druid and Cleric. If you need an Erenel deity to worship, Natsuko is a good bet though Thayriel and Hrólfr are good options as well depending on how you want to spin it.

Starting Stats and Proficiencies

Starting Race: Tarsi Wular

Starting Faction: Sunderwolf

Alignment: Any Chaotic

STR: 13
DEX: 15 + 1
CON: 12
INT: 8
WIS: 14 + 2
CHA: 10

Armor: None

Weapons: Simple weapons, Shortswords

Tools: Drum, Woodcarver’s Tools

Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity

Languages: Common, Dwarvish, Elvish

Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Perception, Stealth, and Survival

Starting Equipment

  • A Quarterstaff
  • An Explorer’s Pack
  • 10 darts
  • Traveler’s Clothes
  • Woodcarver’s Tools
  • A Hunting Trap
  • 1-slot Satchel
  • Pouch with 10 Gold

Level Progression

Level 1: Monk 1

  • Unarmored Defense
  • Martial Arts

Level 2: Monk 2

  • Unarmored Movement (+10 ft)
  • Ki

Level 3: Monk 2/Cleric 1

  • Spellcasting (Access to 1st Level Cleric Spells)
  • Divine Domain: Trickery Domain
    • Trickery Domain Spells (1st Level)
    • Blessing of the Trickster

Level 4: Monk 2/Cleric 2

  • Channel Divinity (Turn Undead)
  • Divine Domain Feature: Channel Divinity (Invoke Duplicity)

Level 5: Monk 2/Cleric 2/Druid 1

  • Druidic
  • Spellcasting (Access to 1st Level Druid Spells)

Level 6: Monk 2/Cleric 2/Druid 2

  • Wild Shape
  • Druid Circle: Circle of the Moon
    • Combat Wild Shape
    • Circle Forms

Level 7: Monk 3/Cleric 2/Druid 2

  • Monastic Tradition: Way of the Sun Soul
    • Radiant Sun Bolt
  • Deflect Missiles

Level 8: Monk 4/Cleric 2/Druid 2

  • Ability Score Improvement: +2 CON to 14
  • Slow Fall

Level 9: Monk 5/Cleric 2/Druid 2

  • Extra Attack
  • Stunning Strike

Level 10: Monk 5/Cleric 2/Druid 3

  • Spellcasting (Access to 2nd Level Druid Spells)

Level 11: Monk 5/Cleric 2/Druid 4

  • Wild Shape Improvement
  • Ability Score Improvement: +2 WIS to 18

Level 12: Monk 5/Cleric 2/Druid 5

  • Spellcasting (Access to 3rd Level Druid Spells)

Level 13: Monk 5/Cleric 2/Druid 6

  • Druid Circle Feature
    • Primal Strike
    • Circle Forms Improvement

Level 14: Monk 6/Cleric 2/Druid 6

  • Ki-Empowered Strikes
  • Monastic Tradition Feature
    • Searing Arc Strike

Level 15: Monk 7/Cleric 2/Druid 6

  • Unarmored Movement Improvement (+15 ft)
  • Evasion
  • Stillness of Mind

Level 16: Monk 7/Cleric 3/Druid 6

  • Spellcasting (Access to 2nd Level Cleric Spells)
  • Trickery Domain Spells (2nd Level)

Level 17: Monk 7/Cleric 3/Druid 7

  • Spellcasting (Access to 4th Level Druid Spells)

Level 18: Monk 7/Cleric 3/Druid 8

  • Wild Shape Improvement
  • Ability Score Improvement: +2 WIS to 20

Level 19: Monk 7/Cleric 3/Druid 9

  • Spellcasting (Access to 5th Level Druid Spells)

Level 20: Monk 7/Cleric 3/Druid 10

  • Druid Circle Feature
    • Elemental Wild Shape

Finalized Spell List

Cleric

Cantrips: Light, Sacred Flame, Thaumaturgy

1st Level: Charm Person, Command, Cure Wounds, Disguise Self, Healing Word, Shield of Faith

2nd Level: Aid, Hold Person, Lesser Restoration, Mirror Image, Pass Without Trace

Note: Clerics are preparation-based spellcasters and can change their leveled spell lists at the end of a long rest. Feel free to change any of the leveled spells not provided by your Divine Domain in accordance to need or want.

Druid

Cantrips: Druidcraft, Mold Earth, Shape Water, Shillelagh

1st Level: Absorb Elements, Earth Tremor, Fog Cloud, Goodberry, Jump

2nd Level: Beast Sense, Dust Devil, Earthbind, Enhance Ability

3rd Level: Call Lightning, Tidal Wave, Water Breathing

4th Level: Falling Mountain, Ice Storm

5th Level: Control Winds

Note: Druids are preparation-based spellcasters and can change their leveled spell lists at the end of a long rest. Feel free to change any of the leveled spells in accordance to need or want.

Final Thoughts

Pros: Incredibly fast and nimble, a respectable AC that can be used in all forms, incredible spell versatility with at least some access to both Cleric and Druid spell lists, dependent on only Wisdom.

Cons: Jack of all trades; master of none, a lack of spells past 5th level is detrimental for 13 levels into full caster classes, level progression isn’t clean.

The build seems all over the place, nevertheless we are fortunate that all three of the classes used in this build rely on Wisdom to some extent. If you were to look at it at base value and see it as too much to handle, that’s understandable. All three of the classes that this build takes from can be a handful on their own, especially for new players, but clever players make for clever characters and this build does not shy away from the insane range of versatility that multiclassing provides. Any adventuring party worth half their weight would want someone like you on their side.

…Just be careful if you run into a lizard that has a purple orb for a head and is named after a kitchen appliance.