Monks are different than other classes in that they aren't quite as dependent on equipment as others during low character levels, thanks to many elemental attacks they can apply through ki alone.
In fact, attempting to use any armor other than clothing or any weapons other than kamas or quarterstaffs (excluding certain Ninja Spy and other enhancements or feats) will uncenter your character, effectively stripping them of many of their monk abilities.
Light monks should get any items that help their Healing Ki. Dark monks should look for weapons and handwraps that increase their punch power. Both types need support that aid in their saves, concentration, resists, and armor class.
Outfits are the monk garments. There aren't many specialty or unique outfits in the game. You may find yourself switching between robes and outfits depending on the quest. For instance, you may enter a quest that have beholders. It's time to wear that deathblock outfit. Going against a bunch of ogres? Try on that Light, Moderate or Heavy Fortification outfit. Fiery dungeon? Go for the Robe of Winter. Update 8 introduced the Garments of Equilibrium, an impressive outfit that also improves a monk's attacks by one die step.
You may find that robes are a better fit for your gameplay. There are many unique versions of these that offer abilities not found on some outfits—and the artwork of these robes really bring out the "kung-fu" nature of the monk, such as the Robe of Duality.
Sadly, there is no "monk vendor" in the game. You may find that the Auction House is your friend as many players drop the otherwise worthless handwraps and kamas there—sometimes one man's trash is another man's treasure. Luckily, you'll also be amassing lots of armor and weapons that are worthless to you, which you can auction off to offset the costs of what little you require. The Auction House often has great (but dreadfully expensive) handwraps with impressive combinations of Pure Good, Metalline, Weakening, Crippling, Paralyzing, Bleeding, Seeker or Stunning.
As with other classes early on, new monks need to get Proof against poison, Disease Immunity, , Detect Secret Doors and Water Breathing/Underwater Action items to help in the first quests. By the time you hit Level 11, you you will gain immunity to poisons and disease, and can later fall from farther distances without injury as the Slow Fall feat matures, thus allowing more experienced monks to remove those items.
Recommended or Helpful Items through Level 10
Here is an incomplete but healthy starter list of worthy items for a monk to get to aid them on their way to Level 10.
- Devoted Necklace and Devoted Goggles that form the Devoted Set (Korthos quests): Add to saves, WIS and Healing Ki. (This is a very poor choice compared to the Anger's or Pathfinder's sets, since the benefits of the Devoted set are obsolete as soon as the character reaches Stormreach)
- Soren's Handwraps and Min's Handwraps (Korthos quests): Starter fire and acid handwraps that get you going nicely.
- Charged Gauntlets from Chronoscope (adds electric damage on natural 20) or Brawling Gloves (from Crystal Cove) are gloves that add additional damage on some hits.
- Straw Hat (end reward from the Stopping the Sahuagin quest in Korthos): +3 to Concentration, not to mention that much-needed "Raiden from Mortal Kombat/Big Trouble in Little China" kung-fu look for the aspiring martial artist. (If it looks too much like a lampshade, that's what "/showhelmet off" is for.)
- Ring of Feathers (The Seal of Shan-To-Kor quest): Continuous feather falling. Combined with Slow Fall, monks look coolest when falling than any other.
- Black Widow Bracers (Waterworks): +4 to your Armor.
- Shadow Star and Snowstar: Returning shurikens that are better than nothing for enemies out of melee range. Find Shadow Star as an end-quest item in The Seal of Shan-To-Kor, and Snowstar as end-reward from Cult of the Six.
- Robe of Duality (The Catacombs): False Life and some of the coolest art found on any robe. A dark monk's trademark.
- Eternal Rest handwraps (The Catacombs): These Ghost Touch, silver-laced handwraps make defeating undead, vampires and ghosts more manageable. Highly recommended.
- Mask of the Asylum (The Catacombs): +5 to your concentration, boosting your ki.
- Pillar of Light (The Catacombs): Nothing says pwnage more than a +1 quarterstaff of Pure Good against Ghostly Skeletons in the hands of a monk in The Mystery of Delera's Tomb story arc. A good early weapon until you find handwraps with Pure Good of your own for faster attacks. (Despite their name, the Ghostly Skeletons aren't ghosts, so Ghost Touch weaponry does not apply to them.)
- Visor of the Flesh Render Guards (Assault on Splinterskull story arc in Tangleroot Gorge): One item that gives you a 7-minute Death Ward spell. You need both Deathblock items and Death Ward if confronting beholders. One is nice, but re-run Splinterskull to get additional ones.
- Devotion (Delera's Tomb story arc): This end-quest reward are a light monk's dream handwraps. Not only are they Holy to fight undead and Flametouched Iron help against some outsiders, but you get Improved Devotion I to aid in Healing Amplification. Devotion has a Good alignment requirement.
- Devout Handwraps: Available only in the end-quest of the Necropolis Part 2 story arc, The Shadow Crypt. These are the only named handwraps in the game with Metalline and Pure Good attributes together—essential for some Golems or very powerful demons to bypass their damage reduction for some unarmed monks. (Randomly created Metalline of Pure Good handwraps do drop, however, those found in the Auction House tend to be extremely expensive.) The handwraps are Bound to Character, so trading is impossible. These wraps are notoriously difficult to farm. Devout Handwraps have no alignment requirement.
- Fernian Wraps (Ruins of Threnal): These add extra damage to your Breath of the Fire Dragon finishing move as well as Flaming Burst damage.
- Nicked Kama (The Sharn Syndicate): With tendon slicing and shock damage, this is an easy-to-get slashing ki weapon.
- Rahl's Wrath (Ruins of Threnal): Cold resistance built into a weapon designed to severely damage anything non-Lawful
- Torn Chitin Bracers (Sentinels of Stormreach story arc from House Deneith): +5 to Armor, +1 to Will Save. Use Visbane's Folly and the collected Sigils of the Goat, Lion and Dragon from that quest to form the monk's best mid-level friend, the Jidz-Tet'ka bracers that heavily augment all of your stances (as well as +5 to Armor, +2 to Will saves) -- and can be upgraded later to Epic versions as you approach level 20. Get the Torn Chitins from the end chest or one-time reward after The Tide Turns. Fortunately they are Bound to Account at the start, so you can have other characters you own run the quest to trade them (and sigils) to your monk. The Jidz-Tet'ka bracers will be Bound to Account once created.
- Skin of the Mockery (Cult of the Six): The Human Bane addition may be helpful in early quests such as The Sharn Syndicate.
- Staff of Nat Gann (The Chronoscope): While this staff is generally geared to Thief-Acrobat Rogues, this quarterstaff does respectable damage while keeping a Monk centered. Along with Chieftain's Spear, both staves allow a DEX-based monk to get DEX-to-hit and DEX-to-damage out of low level staves.
- Wraps of Endless Light: These handwraps were available during the Mabar Endless Night Festival. These incredible wraps are designed to destroy undead, especially as they are successfully upgraded with the festival's collectibles to add Undead Bane and Disruption abilities, up to Epic versions as well. Sadly, these wraps are Bound to Character and cannot be traded.
- Outfits or robes with Invulnerability give a 5 Damage Reduction against any non-magical physical attack. They work great at lower and even mid levels. Weapons with magic (even a +1 weapon) can bypass your DR without such apparel.
- Items with Moderate or Heavy Fortification reduce the damage caused by critical hits and sneak attacks
- Anything that gives persistent Deathblock. Robes and outfits can be easily found in the Auction House. The better ones also supply additional protection, such as Moderate or Heavy Fortification (saving damage for critical hits). Often you can find this clothing with elemental resistances included.
- Robe of Winter - 20 damage reduction vs fire at all times, cannot be dispelled (for those pesky fire elementals). A better outfit or robe will have Greater Fire (or other elemental) Resistance: 30 points are ignored with these items.
- Seeker + X items - gives bonus to both your DCs to Stunning Fist[ ] as well as confirmations to critical hits and damage. One sought-after trinket that gives Seeker +6 to any attack when worn is the Bloodstone.
- Voice of the Master - Trinket. +1 good luck bonus to saves and skills, +5% to Experience (Delera's Tomb, always appears in story arc end reward), and...
- Mantle of the Worldshaper - Cloak. Regeneration (+1 hp/min), +5% to Experience, Spell Absorption (Ruins of Threnal end reward, always appears). The spell absorption ability is very helpful when encountering enemies that attempt negative energy or level drain on you, such as beholders.
- Having the Mantle and Voice of the Master equipped together gives the wearer True Seeing.
- Stunning + 10 Wraps - These are going to be your bread and butter wraps against almost 80% of the stuff that you face. The preferred wraps to get would be Force Burst with Icy Burst added using recipes from the Winter Festival, combined with a pair of ToD rings (see below).
- Tower of Despair rings (aka ToD rings) at Level 18 crafted using Incredible Potential to add Shocking Burst or Holy Burst (preferably one of each).
- Icy Raiment - Next to the Garments of Equilibrium, perhaps, this is among the penultimate Monk outfits. The additions to resistances and AC require only that you add a Fortification item to be a highly-untouchable foe.