[Top 5] D&D Best Unarmed Builds That Are Fun To Play

d&d, dungeons and dragons, monk, unarmed build, d&d builds, fighter, druid
Up close and personal.

You want to get up close and personal with your enemy? The slice of a sword is not enough, you want to feel bones cracking underneath your fingers? You want to just mindlessly punch things to death?

Then you need to take a look at these 5 different and fun Unarmed Builds for D&D 5e, breaking the cliché of Swords in Swords and Sorcery.


5. Circle of The Moon Druid

You may be wrong about exactly which one of them is the druid.

Guardians of the wild, the Moon Circle of Druid takes one of the core abilities of the class, wildshape, and makes it better.

Giving you the ability to break out of the CR (Challenge Rating) limitations to some degree, the Moon Druid can shapeshift into stronger creatures which allow them to be more effective fighters in combat.

Making you incredibly tough especially at lower levels, the Moon Druid excels in truly using its wildshapes to its advantage. Melee combat being one of them, gaining hit dice and ability modifiers according to the shape chosen, the fact that you are not limited by CR gives an incredible boost. Also, you are virtually almost always ready for battle, since the wildshape is now a bonus action instead of a full action. Combined with a preparation phase with your spells, it is very, very strong.

You can find some more tips and tricks and information about how to build this on this page; https://www.dndbeyond.com/posts/629-druid-101-circle-of-the-moon?ref=tfr...


  • Race: Wood Elf or Hill Dwarf
  • Stats (In priority order): Wisdom, Constitution, Mental Attributes
  • Skills: Perception, Nature (Essentials)
  • Equipment: As a druid you rely on yourself rather than your equipment, except magical items. Up to you.
  • Feats: Use ability score improvements instead to max your Wisdom first and then others.


4. Battlemaster Fighter

If you haven't had a tavern brawl yet, you are missing out.

Ah, our fighters. The classic, the basic, yet when it comes to building one of the most versatile. Especially with the introduced subclasses in 5e, fighter is flavored in many fun ways;

One of them being the Battle Master. This build is the real deal if you want to play a brawler without needing to go through the spiritual roleplay of a monk. Opening up various pathways for you to actually be viable at punching, the addition of extra maneuvers to your combat style is precious for unarmed builds. As it says in the name, a battle master is an expert at what it does, and can be an expert in unarmed fighting as well. Your strongest suit with this is grappling.

You can find some more tips and tricks and information about how the class works on this page; https://www.dndbeyond.com/posts/641-fighter-101-battle-master


  • Race: Half-Orc, Dragonborn
  • Stats (In Priority Order): Strength, Constitution, Wisdom (Optional)
  • Skills: Athletics (Must), Acrobatics…
  • Equipment: If you can talk your DM into giving you magical gloves/bracers that do not count as weapons but make your attacks enchanted? Yes. Definitely yes.
  • Feats: As a fighter you get two extra ability score improvements, or feats if you want to. Grappler is recommended. Skill Expert for Athletics.
  • Fighting Style: Unarmed Fighting
  • Maneuvers (In Order): Grappling Strike(Must), Feinting Attack, Bait and Switch(Important), Parry, Commander’s Strike, Quick Toss and you can choose different ones depending on your taste.


3. Rune Knight 

Definitely much more cooler than normal fighters.

Similar to the one above, but also gigantic differences-… get it? Well, Rune Knights are warriors with the secrets of giants granted to them. Ability to activate runes and bring some flavor to the combat of fighter, it’s what one dreams of when thinking of an epic warrior.

This build specifically uses runes and the Giant’s Might ability of Rune Knight to enhance and optimize your unarmed fighting. The once-per-turn 1d6 damage to unarmed attacks is no joke.

If you want to crush your enemies’ skulls with your bare hands like a giant would, this is your chance. The added magical runes will also make you unique amongst your party.

You can read the class details here; http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/fighter:rune-knight


  • Race: Dragonborn, Half-Orc, Anything with Strength and/or Constitution Bonus
  • Stats (In Priority Order): Strength, Constitution, Wisdom (Optional)
  • Skills: Athletics (Must), optional rest
  • Equipment: Same as above, if you can find rune-specific items either homebrew or official, or gauntlets to make your unarmed attacks magical, you are golden.
  • Feats (Recommended): Grappler, Skill Expert Athletics
  • Fighting Style: Unarmed Fighting
  • Runes(In Priority Order): Frost Rune (Must), Cloud Rune, Hill Rune, Stone Rune, Storm Rune


2. Monk of the Open Hand

Nothing wrong with this classic.

We cannot have an unarmed build list without monk. It is clearly always the most superior class when it comes to punching your enemies to death, and rightly so. The class is specifically designed to be this, so you won’t run into any optimization builds when you play an Open Hand Monk.

Spiritually charged warriors of mind and soul, Open Hand Monks are masters of martial arts more than everyone else.  In this build, you get options to customize your attacks, manipulate your enemy’s ki, and better heal yourself.

You can read more of the details here: https://www.dndbeyond.com/classes/monk#MonasticTraditions


  • Race: Anything with Dexterity/Wisdom and if not Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity is a must.
  • Stats (In Priority Order): Dexterity, Wisdom, Constitution
  • Skills: Athletics, Acrobatics
  • Feats: If you start human with the variant human that gives an extra feat, take the Mobile feat. Otherwise use Ability Score Improvements to max out your Dexterity and Wisdom.


1. Raging Tortle Monk


I had to finish this list off with this build. I just had to. Unarmed build, most fun… well, would you like to live your fantasy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dreams?

…you can play a Barbarian/Monk Tortle.

Now, this build is definitely a bit more tricky than the others. First it requires your DM to accept it, and you might have to use non-core rulebook features. While I try to mostly stick to the core rulebook for the sake of easy access, this is too good to pass on.

The gist of this build is that, you take 3 levels of Barbarian, specifically, Beast Totem Barbarian for that sweet sweet damage resistance. You do not need to worry about your AC and Dexterity due to the Tortle’s base 17 AC. Then you continue with monk, and while the most optimized Monastic Order is the Open Hand (see the 2nd build for more information) you could I guess mix and match with other orders to your desire. (Drunken Master can be really, really hilarious in combination with the rest.)

Now you just need a few more Tortles, a Ratfolk mentor and the invention of pizza.


  • Race: Tortle
  • Stats (In Priority Order): Strength, Wisdom, Constitution
  • Skills: Athletics, Acrobatics
  • Feats: You don’t really need any, Ability Score Improvement is better.


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Pulled into the world of magic, sword and might at an early age, Misha has levelled up to be a skillfull baker, planes traveller, merciless Dungeon Master and found her greatest enemy; lactose.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
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