- HAND TO HAND: -2 base damage per level, -30% attack bonus
- DIAMOND BODY: +50% to starting physical resistance cap
- DISCIPLINE: Health regeneration rate is doubled
The Monk's a rather complicated class. The Monk's reliant on "regen-fighting", and requires to make the most out of your tiles. Although the Monk's natural damage penalty would suggest you to build a Monk as a magic-oriented class, he really benefits more from damage boosts.
The Discipline trait is the most essential part of the Monk. The Monk's combat strategy involves whittling down a monster as low as it can before you die from it, retreat and regenerate health, and beat it up some more. Discipline allows the Monk to outpace most monsters' natural health regenerations, sans higher level monsters and trolls. Smart management of tile regeneration lets the Monk kill higher level monsters. Unlike most classes, Monks should start fighting the boss early as possible due to this trait.
Unfortunately, while the Monk handles some monsters with ease, he has a difficult time with other monsters. First and most obviously, monsters with magical attacks are a big obstacle for the Monk, due to his lack of natural Magic resistance. Luckily, magic resistance is easier to obtain than physical resistance. Worshipping Binlor Ironshield allows the Monk to get his magic resistance to reasonable levels, so that he can tackle magical monsters.
Another one of the Monk's worst enemies are monsters that apply Corrosion or Weakness. For other classes, these monsters can be taken care of by finishing them off as fast as possible. This is a more difficult task for the Monk, due to his natural tendency to finish off enemies slowly. This is why boosting the Monk's damage is essential. It may be advisable to prep a Fortitude Tonic or Burn Salve if there are many such monsters in the dungeon.
The third worst enemies are Cursed enemies. Cursed enemies remove all sources of damage reduction, thus removing the Monk's greatest strength. Like corroded and weakening monsters, the best way to kill cursed monsters is to kill them as fast as possible, which monks are not as easily able to do.
One approach to tackling monsters that cause problems in melee is to use BLUDTOPOWA in combination with a small amount of exploration, leveraging the Monk's high life regeneration into mana for more fireballs (which do full damage, unlike the Monk's melee attacks). You should be careful not to rely too heavily on this tactic, however, as BLUDTOPOWA will use up your precious blackspace.
Monks benefit greatly from base damage, since they have a base damage penalty per level up. One conversion from Orcs allows you to overcome one level of base damage reduction, making them great choices for Monks. Humans work well as Monks, too, although the reduced base damage means human monks could be weaker in the long run.
The two best gods for the Monk are Taurog and Binlor Ironshield. Taurog provides desperately needed damage boosts to monks, this effectively negating their weakness. Binlor works well since his boons provide natural magic resistance, so monks won't be as gimped when fighting magical monsters. Glowing Guardian is an okay choice for monks, since his Prayer Beads provides a small amount of magic resistance, and Enlightenment doubles the amount, as well as an HP boost. Dracul is a good deity to worship in the late game, providing considerable extra healing and resists that will be sorely needed once you have run out of blackspace and potions. The Earthmother's Greenblood boon can help with the monk's low damage, especially in the early game. Jehora Jeheyu is usually not the best choice as the usual monk fighting style benefits more from the resistances and damage boosts that other gods can provide rather than a flat HP increase, and an early Weakness hurts a lot.
Items that provide resists and damage boosts are very important to monks. Martyr Wraps are made for monks, and aid in the Monk's regen fighting by providing corrosion. Dragon Shield works nicely with the monk as well. If you want to play a more spellcasting focused monk, Avatar's Codex is practically made for this purpose as monks can soak up the retaliation damage better than any other class.