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Unarmed Strikes: One Weapon or Multiple Weapons?


Rules Questions

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Weslocke wrote:
I apologize Neo2151. Would referring to them as Primary side and off-handed side as TWF does help? The last thing I want is to perpetuate a misunderstanding. I siezed on that terminology because Lab Rats explanation was so simplified and clear.

If you were under the assumption that I was calling you out, I apologize. That wasn't my intent. ;)

But unfortunately no, that wording would not clear things up at all. Because the descriptive text very clearly states that a monk does not have an off-hand when making an unarmed strike.

An unarmed strike is one attack option that every creature possesses. If I headbutt/bodyslam/punch/kick/etc it doesn't matter, because it all does the same damage (Med 1d3, higher for a monk) with the same crit rating (20/x2). It is considered a light weapon for the purposes of the Weapon Finesse feat.
Suggesting you can TWF with your unarmed strike is like suggesting you can TWF with a single short sword by using free actions to swap it from hand-to-hand.

Treating unarmed strikes as if they have a right and left side (or main and offhand, if one prefers) does, in fact, make Sean's rule more clear. The problem is that Sean's rule by itself is what's causing the distortion in the first place, considering how it interacts with previously established rules. There's a rather crude saying about "polishing a turd" that applies here. You can force Sean's clarification to work, but at the end of the day, if you have to force it, it's probably not a good fix/rule.


Here is an idea: remove the line, unarmed strikes have no off hand. Keep Nine that you get full Str bonus regardless.

There now no argument about if Flurry/TWF is possible.


The arguement cones due to strict reading of means strict reading of the other. That's all part of the whole two weapon model of the PF monk, it was a non issue before this.


Neo suggesting someone can TWF with their unarmed strike is not like suggesting you can TWF with a shortsword by switching hands. Within the rules it is clearly definable that some one can throw the "ole one-two punch"

Assuming for even one second that learning real martial arts takes away this abilit is a fallacy. Getting better at something doesnt make you lose abilities you had before.

Also following your logic if the monk ends up with TWF as how flurry works not only must they start using weapons (since they can't attack with an unarmed off-hand) but the will be forced to always use those weapons as off-hand if they choose to make even a single unarmed strike.


So I decided to look at the beta release of Pathfinder, and I was a bit surprises to see that flurry was the 3.5 version. The change was done late in the game and wasn't thoroughly tested and which is why we inconsistent interpretations of the ability. Making it two weapon with a 1/1 bab was more less a way to up there hit without actually giving them the bab.

So what now? I say go back to the beta version and add monk warriors training that say they get a +1 hit and damage at 5th and every 4 after.

It simple and effective.


Talonhawke wrote:

Neo suggesting someone can TWF with their unarmed strike is not like suggesting you can TWF with a shortsword by switching hands. Within the rules it is clearly definable that some one can throw the "ole one-two punch"

Assuming for even one second that learning real martial arts takes away this abilit is a fallacy. Getting better at something doesnt make you lose abilities you had before.

Also following your logic if the monk ends up with TWF as how flurry works not only must they start using weapons (since they can't attack with an unarmed off-hand) but the will be forced to always use those weapons as off-hand if they choose to make even a single unarmed strike.

People in this thread are attempting to follow the logic of SKR, who is the one saying that this craziness is how it works. That every line should be read as literally as possible.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Developers stated they were looking into making an actual ruling. Has this happened yet?


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Developers stated they were looking into making an actual ruling. Has this happened yet?

Nope. And if Jason is looking for a FAQ that time forgot, this would be be a good one.

MA


This and many others maybe they should poll which ones to start with.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just to throw some gas on a smouldering fire...

IF we have to go to the point of each type of unarmed strike being a separate attack with separate enchantments required (IE: Head butt, punch, punch, elbow strike, elbow strike, knee, knee, kick, kick), then Monks are actually going to get VERY nasty and scary.

Why? Because their unarmed strikes are considered natural weapons, and you can attack with every natural weapon you have in a full attack action, and all at maximum BAB. Granted, it wouldn't be the flurry BAB, but who cares if you're getting 5 attacks per round (head butt, punch, punch, kick, kick, would be more, but you can't make more than one natural attack per limb), and 6 for Vanara monks with tails. :)


Hence why a good thought out clarification is needed. Personally I think going with the body = double weapon theory would be the best fix.


why dont they say unarmed strike is one weapon but you can TWF and choose what limb to attack with?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Or just declare it a special case, TWF gets you the extra attacks but not necessarily with particularly different parts of the body, but because it's a large multi-faceted weapon you need Greater Magic Fang to effect all of it.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

We could just call it one weapon, and that flurry is something special.

It would make things easier, and the Monk would get something special, that no one else can do.

Let the Monk have it, he deserves it.


mdt wrote:

Just to throw some gas on a smouldering fire...

IF we have to go to the point of each type of unarmed strike being a separate attack with separate enchantments required (IE: Head butt, punch, punch, elbow strike, elbow strike, knee, knee, kick, kick), then Monks are actually going to get VERY nasty and scary.

Why? Because their unarmed strikes are considered natural weapons, and you can attack with every natural weapon you have in a full attack action, and all at maximum BAB. Granted, it wouldn't be the flurry BAB, but who cares if you're getting 5 attacks per round (head butt, punch, punch, kick, kick, would be more, but you can't make more than one natural attack per limb), and 6 for Vanara monks with tails. :)

No, because a monks unarmed strikes are natural weapons for the purposes of enchantments and the like, not for determining the number of attacks they get per round.

It makes no sense to think of unarmed strikes as single weapons because you can't TWF with a single weapon. And, as I stated in the other thread, this completely undercuts the entire purpose of the Brutal Pugilist archetype, in particular, the Greater Brawler rage power which specifically allows unarmed strikes and TWF.

There are no corner-case conundrums that I see if you treat unarmed strikes akin to double weapons.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

We could just call it one weapon, and that flurry is something special.

It would make things easier, and the Monk would get something special, that no one else can do.

Let the Monk have it, he deserves it.

But if it's one weapon then we are back to asking why one unsunderable weapon (locking gauntlets cover disarm for everyone else) cost 2.5x to enchant. Sure it balances with flurries TWFingness but not with the pugilist barb who now can only make half his attacks unarmed or with the brawler fighter who is in the same boat.


Dabbler wrote:
Or just declare it a special case,...

Unarmed strike is already a special case, because it provokes attacks of opportunity. No weapon attack does that. Perhaps we should just throw it in with most of the other special cases, the combat maneuvers.

Consider how much combat maneuvers have in common with unarmed strike:
1. If the character lacks the appropriate Improved feat, combat maneuvers provoke an attack of opportunity.
2. Combat maneuvers do not threaten.
3. Combat maneuvers do not require weapons.
4. Trip, disarm, and sunder combat maneuvers can be made in place of a melee attack.
5. Sunder deals damage (though the rules for sunder fail to mention how much damage, which leads players to conclude that sunder must be performed with a weapon).

Imagine declaring unarmed strike to be a combat maneuver that uses a light-weapon melee attack bonus instead of CMB against AC instead of CMD and can be used in the place of a melee attack. Its effect is attack damage as if it were a light melee weapon that deals 1d3 bludgeoning damage.

The merit is that:
1. If unarmed strike is a combat maneuver, the answer to "Are unarmed strikes one weapon or many weapons?" becomes, "It is a combat maneuver that is treated as using a light weapon."
2. With a little tweaking of Agile Maneuvers and Weapon Finesse, we can get both to apply to unarmed strike, giving unarmed dexterity fighters a choice of feats.
3. With a little tweaking of the monk's third-level Maneuver Training ability, we can get it to apply to all of the monk's unarmed strikes.
4. Trip combat maneuvers can use trip weapons, disarm combat maneuvers can use disarm weapons, etc. By extension, we can give an "unarmed" property to weapons such as brass knuckes allowing them to be used for unarmed strike combat maneuvers.
5. We can declare that the Amulet of Might Fists boosts natural attacks and combat maneuvers, giving that overpriced magic item more value when worn by a humanoid.

Sigh, fully treating unarmed strike as a combat maneuver requires too many "as if" phrases and rules tweaking. Nevertheless, I believe that the best way to handle unarmed strike is to treat it as a special attack that is halfway between a melee attack and a combat maneuver.


mdt wrote:

Just to throw some gas on a smouldering fire...

IF we have to go to the point of each type of unarmed strike being a separate attack with separate enchantments required (IE: Head butt, punch, punch, elbow strike, elbow strike, knee, knee, kick, kick), then Monks are actually going to get VERY nasty and scary.

Why? Because their unarmed strikes are considered natural weapons, and you can attack with every natural weapon you have in a full attack action, and all at maximum BAB. Granted, it wouldn't be the flurry BAB, but who cares if you're getting 5 attacks per round (head butt, punch, punch, kick, kick, would be more, but you can't make more than one natural attack per limb), and 6 for Vanara monks with tails. :)

Flurry of blows already state the numbers of attack per round, there is not way (besides magic)to improve the numbers of attack. I would say In this case the specific (FoB) trumps the general rule (attack with every natural attack)


Nicos wrote:
mdt wrote:

Just to throw some gas on a smouldering fire...

IF we have to go to the point of each type of unarmed strike being a separate attack with separate enchantments required (IE: Head butt, punch, punch, elbow strike, elbow strike, knee, knee, kick, kick), then Monks are actually going to get VERY nasty and scary.

Why? Because their unarmed strikes are considered natural weapons, and you can attack with every natural weapon you have in a full attack action, and all at maximum BAB. Granted, it wouldn't be the flurry BAB, but who cares if you're getting 5 attacks per round (head butt, punch, punch, kick, kick, would be more, but you can't make more than one natural attack per limb), and 6 for Vanara monks with tails. :)

Flurry of blows already state the numbers of attack per round, there is not way (besides magic)to improve the numbers of attack. I would say In this case the specific (FoB) trumps the general rule (attack with every natural attack)

It's even simpler than that. Monks' unarmed strikes are only treated as natural weapons for the purposes of enchantments and the like. They're not actually natural weapons for the purposes of determining number of attacks, etc.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
fretgod99 wrote:
It's even simpler than that. Monks' unarmed strikes are only treated as natural weapons for the purposes of enchantments and the like. They're not actually natural weapons for the purposes of determining number of attacks, etc.

The talk up thread was that the consequence of the having each part basically needing to be enchanted separately would make them a different natural attack, which was what I was commenting on.

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