Monks. In D&D, they’re often mysterious people from distant lands trained in the martial arts. Some monks focus on honing their martial arts to deadly levels, striking fear in the hearts of their enemies. Other monks prefer a pacifist approach, de-escalating conflict when able and resolving things quickly when violence is the only answer.
A monk’s main stat should always be Dexterity. Races that increase Dexterity, such as Tabaxi, Aaracokra, and Halfling all make excellent choices. Many of your main abilities rely on this stat, as do Acrobatics. Incidentally, many of your main skills should be Dexterity-based skills. Acrobatics, Stealth, Sleight of Hand are all great choices.
The second highest stat should be Wisdom. Many of your abilities require a saving throw, which will be determined by your Wisdom modifier. One of the most important of which is Unarmored Defense, the ability that keeps monks competitive with other melee classes at higher levels. Medicine, Insight, and Survival can all be great skills to take as well.
Martial Arts die and about a dozen different options for attacks keep the monk competitive damage-wise as well, without sacrificing its trademark versatility. Flurry of Blows allows the monk to make two extra attacks as a bonus action, on top of whatever attacks are granted through the monk class.
Monks have the most abilities of any single base class, receiving a new ability or feature every two levels, on average. That being said, these abilities all come together to make the monk nigh unstoppable at higher levels. Stunning Strike can function as a semi-permanent stun if you’re willing to spend the ki points, allowing your team to capitalize as well. Ki-Empowered Strikes keeps damage competitive against higher CR monsters with magic attacks as well.
The rest of the base abilities mostly buff the monk in some way or another, but one of the best abilities is Diamond Soul, granting the monk proficiency in all saving throws. This includes death saving throws as well! Keep in mind most campaigns never go above level 10.
The monk subclasses are what provide the most flavor for a monk. Way of the Drunken Master monks strike their foes with the unexpectedness of a drunkard. Monks of the Way of Tranquility seek to offer counsel and guidance when necessary, using their skills in diplomacy to settle fights before they begin. Way of the Shadow monks can be flavored as traditional assassins, sticking to the shadows to strike a deadly blow when least expected.
Though a bit difficult to run for beginners, the monk is an incredibly flavorful class with a lot of combat potential as well, be sure to pick it up!