The monk is a character class based on historical, mythological, and popular images of Asian monks who practice martial arts. The main influences are Zen Buddhist and Taoist monks, particularly as depicted in popular legend.
The monk first appeared in the Blackmoor supplement in 1975, and later appeared in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The monk was adapted as the mystic for the Rules Cyclopedia. The monk was omitted from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2e, later appearing in a modified form as a priest or cleric kit. In Dungeons & Dragons 3e the monk reappeared as a core class. It was included in both 4e and 5e.