Stunning Strike 5e is the Monk’s signature ability. See what makes it so stunning.
“The Monk’s arm coiled and snapped, and the enemy went limp.”
What is Stunning Strike 5e?
Stunning Strike is a powerful Monk ability that stops an enemy from taking action for the rest of their turn, and also grants your party advantage against them.
The Player’s Handbook reads:
Starting at 5th Level, you can interfere with the flow of ki in an opponent’s body. When you hit another creature with a melee weapon Attack, you can spend 1 ki point to attempt a Stunning Strike. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be Stunned until the end of your next turn.
Basically, you make a precision blow that really messes up your opponent’s energy and makes them a sitting duck for a whole round!
How does Stunning Strike work in 5e?
You can try for a Stunning Strike every time you hit with a melee attack, as long as you have a ki point. If you hit on the Stunning Strike, your opponent receives the “Stunned” status effect:
A stunned creature is incapacitated, can’t move, and can speak only falteringly. The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity Saving Throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
This effect lasts until the end of your next turn. That means your whole party can choose the higher of two attack rolls for a whole round!
The only conditions for Stunning Strike are:
- You hit
- It’s a melee weapon attack
- You spend 1 ki point
Is Stunning Strike a good ability?
Yes! Stunning Strike is crucial for a Monk, and is the most powerful of a Monk’s basic abilities. Some DnD players even think it’s overpowered since it’s cheap to use and has such drastic effects.
Stunning Strike also pairs well with Flurry of Blows 5e, which gives you two free Unarmed Strikes. If you miss on the first Unarmed Strike, you might hit on the second. Both Step of the Wind and Flurry of Blows consume ki though, so make sure you have enough to spare.
Stunning Strike works best on casters and smaller skirmishers you encounter. It’s hard to Stunning Strike huge creatures since they usually have high HP, and thus high Constitution.
How do you calculate Stunning Strike?
A Stunning Strike is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier. The opponent has to roll higher than this with a d20 + their Constitution ability modifier to save themselves from your Stunning Strike. You must also use a ki point to activate Stunning Strike.
Stunning Strike is a saving throw for the target you’re using it against. That means the target uses one of their ability scores to “save” themselves against your power. Monks use “Ki” instead of spells, so for Monks it’s called Ki Save DC.
Your Ki Save DC is always 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier. The ability score the target uses to “save” themselves depends on the spell or ability. Constitution is an ability that measures toughness and resistance.
Stunning Strike breaks down an opponent’s resistance, so it makes sense to “save” themselves with a Constitution saving throw!
GameCows Tip: It’s always worth it to burn a few ki to stun a mage! If a mage is spamming you with spells from far away, use Step of the Wind 5e to close the distance.
Stunning Strike 5e FAQ
Can you Stunning Strike twice in a row?
Yes. There’s no rule stating that you can’t “re-stun” a stunned enemy. As long as you have the ki, you can attempt to stun an enemy indefinitely!
Can I use Stunning Strike on a reaction?
Yes, you can react with Stunning Strike for an Opportunity Attack! A well-placed Stunning Strike will make enemies pay for trying to flee your grasp.
Don’t forget to have fun while you stun!
Kendra has always been a hardcore fantasy nerd. Growing up in the worlds of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, and Abercrombie, DnD & board games just came naturally. She and her husband, Bryan, started GameCows.com in 2018 as a fun passion project that just took over their lives. An avid board gamer since childhood and chronic DnD chronicler for more than two decades, she loves to play, write, travel, and learn dead languages.