Skyrim: The Best Mods for a Monk Build

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When hearing the word “monk,” most people will think of a priest living in a monastery – but RPG fans have an entirely different definition.

In role-playing games, monks are masters of the mind and the fist.

They mix the idea of spiritual practitioners with Eastern martial artists to create one of the most mysterious and exciting fantasy archetypes in the modern imaginary.

Unfortunately, Skyrim wasn’t designed with monks in mind. So if you want to successfully role-play a monk, you have to check out these mods!


1. Ordinator – Perks of Skyrim

Ordinator – Perks of Skyrim / Skyrim mod

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Ordinator is the go-to mod for all things perk-related. That includes introducing a new class/job archetype into Skyrim, such as the monk.

This mod overhauls each perk tree to make character building a more in-depth and rewarding experience.

It adds 469 new perks designed to make as many alternate builds as possible 100% viable.

Ordinator packs a ton of unarmed combat bonuses into the Light Armor perk tree, which will become the basis of your monk build.


2. Fists Don’t Alarm People

Fists Don't Alarm People / Skyrim mod

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One of the benefits of playing a monk is that you carry your weapons everywhere.

Nobody can take away your fists. Whether in a meeting at the Thalmor Embassy or trying to escape the Windhelm jailhouse, violence is always an option – sword or no sword.

In real life, you’d also have the benefit of surprise. Swords make loud clanging noises when they smash into one another, but hitting someone’s pressure points as a monk should be dead silent.

Regrettably, this isn’t the case in vanilla Skyrim. To fix it, you’ll need this mod.

Fists Don’t Alarm People sets the “Detection Sound Level” of hand-to-hand combat to Silent, allowing the Dragonborn to go full Solid Snake on their foes.


3. Monk Prayer Beads

Monk Prayer Beads / Skyrim mod

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No fantasy clothing is more characteristic of the monk than some comically large prayer beads.

These items of spiritual significance are essential for the monk, who rejects the safety of Heavy Armor in favor of agility and spiritual protection.

The Monk Prayer Beads mod introduces this iconic monk staple into Skyrim. They’re a deep brown color with a beautiful polished sheen.

You’re free to keep the custom enchantment – which makes all spell types cheaper to cast – but there’s also a plain version to which you can add your own enchantments.


4. Elemental Fist

Elemental Fist / Skyrim mod

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Monks are all about unarmed combat – but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a couple of tricks up their enlightened sleeves.

These mystics are known to use magic to bolster their own strength or cast protective auras.

Elemental Fist will help make your brawls more fun and visually striking by adding elemental magic to your strikes.

The mod introduces 14 new “weapons” you can equip to grant your fists greater damage and special effects, including Fire, Poison, and Absorb Health.

They’re all 100% silent, and you can’t be disarmed because your weapons are literally your hands, which would be way too gruesome.


5. Phenderix Arcane Brawler

Phenderix Arcane Brawler / Skyrim mod

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Another option for magic-powered fists is Phenderix Arcane Brawler, from the creator of the massively popular Phenderix Magic World.

Like the previous mod, it focuses on bringing the power of the elements to the palm of your hands, which you’ll then curl into a fist to deal devastating damage.

The main difference has to do with scaling.

These arcane fists will not only deal more raw damage as you level up your one-handed skills but their magical effects will also be updated.

It also includes some interesting new elements not present in Elemental Fist, including Wind, Earth, and Water.


6. Alpha Jab – Unarmed Combat Sounds Rework

Alpha Jab – Unarmed Combat Sounds Rework / Skyrim mod

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To make hand-to-hand combat satisfying, you must help the player feel every blow they land on their enemy.

Besides visual cues and force feedback through controller vibration, the #1 most important way to achieve this is through masterful sound design.

Vanilla Skyrim isn’t terrible in this regard, but if you’re putting this much effort into a melee-only character, you want it to be as good as possible.

Alpha Jab offers three different audio reworks for melee hits, including a “Vanilla Rework,” a satisfying “Alpha Jab” version, and the realistic “True Jab.”


7. Unarmed Warfare – New Animations for Hand-to-Hand Combat

Unarmed Warfare – New Animations for Hand-to-Hand Combat / Skyrim mod

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Something else that needs an urgent rework is the animation range for melee combat.

A regular Skyrim brawler might make do with punches, but as a monk, you want to add flashier moves.

Unarmed Warfare introduces a variety of new moves to your control scheme, including a roundhouse kick, a spinning back heel kick, and an acrobatic butterfly kick.

You can also check out Unarmed Fighter Animations and Cross & Jab to find more cool unarmed animations.


8. Clanggedin’s Skyrim Auras

Clanggedin's Skyrim Auras / Skyrim mod

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As shown in games like Dungeon Defenders, a monk’s deep understanding of themselves and the nature of reality can create a powerful aura around them.

Clanggedin’s Skyrim Auras bring 80 custom auras to Skyrim for your monk Dragonborn to showcase their vast power level.

You’ll gain access to these auras through enchanted rings, though these can be disenchanted, so you learn how to apply the aura to other armor pieces.

These auras are purely cosmetic, but adding a mod like Enchanting Freedom could allow you to mix the auras with whatever enchantment feels appropriate.


9. Custom Skills – Hand to Hand

Custom Skills – Hand to Hand / Skyrim mod

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The core aspect of any build has to be the perks you choose to spend your points on.

Vanilla Skyrim and Ordinator put some hand-to-hand damage-boosting perks at your disposal, but more is needed to keep things interesting for someone focusing on fistfights.

Custom Skills – Hand to Hand adds a new perk tree dedicated to unarmed combat. It’s over 20 all-new perks that’ll slowly turn your Dragonborn into Mohammad Ali.

Couple this with Illusion or Restoration spells, and your monk build will start taking shape.


10. Way of the Monk – Unarmed Combat Extended

Way of the Monk – Unarmed Combat Extended / Skyrim mod

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The most fleshed-out monk-oriented mod ever made for Skyrim has to be Way of the Monk.

To make the monk playstyle viable in Skyrim, author SirTurdle built a collection of new armor, perks, and enchantments to help fledgling monks find their power.

Instead of modifying the existing perk trees, this mod adds an alternate progression system dedicated to unarmed and unarmored combat.

In addition, it introduces new quests and locations where your new skills will come in handy. You’ll also receive monk-themed rewards more often!

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.