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Unarmed Vesk


Rules Questions


I was contemplating a build for a vesk soldier that makes use of the vesk claws. I have a couple of questions though.

Would the armor storm 1st level ability work with the vesk weapon specialization. It says treat it an unarmed attack made in heavy or powered armor as being made by a battleglove. Is it still an unarmed strike? Does it still gain the 1 1/2 level damage bonus? How would improved Unarmed Strike work here?

as a more general question, would this build fall behind other melee builds? I feel like it would be very strong with large amounts of static damage but the dice would be low.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Improved Unarmed Strike explicitly does not work with Armor Storm. You're already getting the scaling damage - you don't get it again.

As far as the weapon specialization from Vesk, I'd say it wouldn't apply. You're treating your unarmed strike as a battleglove attack - not as an unarmed strike. On top of that, the bonus Vesk receive at 3rd level is not with unarmed attacks, but with their "Natural Weapon". This is an important distinction, although official clarification on this would be nice (although I believe such a thread has already come up at some point). You're already getting a pretty decent boost to damage at level 1, though, and get an even further boost at level 3 if you take the gear boost.

I think this shapes up pretty well compared to a lot of other melee builds. Provided you're armored, you always have a weapon, and your weapon scales with your level by a substantial amount. I wouldn't say it's the best, but it can certainly hold it's own, and if you feel you're falling behind you can always pick up a different weapon no problem.

Liberty's Edge

Sadly, Vesk get no bonus when using this trick due to the clause at the end of Hammer Fist:

"These unarmed attacks don't benefit from other abilities that apply specifically to unarmed attacks (such as the Improved Unarmed Strike feat)."

The Vesk Specialization is obviously such an ability. Which relegates the whole ability to being a backup option rather than a good primary attack strategy.

Heck, even if you didn't have that restriction, you'd max out at 5d10+39 (average 67.5 damage) around 17th level, which is significantly less than the 12d8+29 (average 83 damage) you can get with an Apocalypse Devastation Blade around the same level.

As is, the difference in damage is 8 points higher and even more striking.

If you want to use unarmed strikes as a Vesk, grabbing Improved Unarmed Strike and using an Unwieldy weapon gets you using them as AoO, which can be handy and worth it if you don't get too many full attacks. Or simply take Improved Unarmed Strike and have a permanent backup weapon if somehow unable to use your normal one on any Vesk.

Liberty's Edge

gigyas6 wrote:

Improved Unarmed Strike explicitly does not work with Armor Storm. You're already getting the scaling damage - you don't get it again.

As far as the weapon specialization from Vesk, I'd say it wouldn't apply. You're treating your unarmed strike as a battleglove attack - not as an unarmed strike.

This is true.

gigyas6 wrote:
On top of that, the bonus Vesk receive at 3rd level is not with unarmed attacks, but with their "Natural Weapon". This is an important distinction, although official clarification on this would be nice (although I believe such a thread has already come up at some point).

This however, is not really true. Unlike in Pathfinder, nothing ever separates unarmed strike from natural weapons on a mechanical level. An unarmed strike thus, by logic, is a natural weapon. At least, it is if you can attack with it while counting as armed (as all Vesk can).

gigyas6 wrote:

You're already getting a pretty decent boost to damage at level 1, though, and get an even further boost at level 3 if you take the gear boost.

I think this shapes up pretty well compared to a lot of other melee builds. Provided you're armored, you always have a weapon, and your weapon scales with your level by a substantial amount. I wouldn't say it's the best, but it can certainly hold it's own, and if you feel you're falling behind you can always pick up a different weapon no problem.

As I go into above, the damage is very unimpressive as a primary attack strategy in the long run. It's a fine backup for someone who focuses on ranged combat or has an alternative main weapon, but nothing you should rely on as a primary attack methodology.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:


gigyas6 wrote:
As far as the weapon specialization from Vesk, I'd say it wouldn't apply. You're treating your unarmed strike as a battleglove attack - not as an unarmed strike. On top of that, the bonus Vesk receive at 3rd level is not with unarmed attacks, but with their "Natural Weapon". This is an important distinction, although official clarification on this would be nice (although I believe such a thread has already come up at some point).
This however, is not really true. Unlike in Pathfinder, nothing ever separates unarmed strike from natural weapons on a mechanical level. An unarmed strike thus, by logic, is a natural weapon. At least, it is if you can attack with it while counting as armed (as all Vesk can).

While generally I'd agree with you, I've an issue:

Here, Natural Weapons aren't being separated as a weapon type, but rather the weapon provided by the ability. See the Natural Weapons ability:

Quote:
Vesk gain a unique weapon specialization with their natural weapons

Implying that the Natural Weapons is a separate weapon as provided by this ability.

That said, the same ability block also says "they can deal 1d3 lethal damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn't count as archaic" So at the very least I think clarification is in order.

Quote:
As I go into above, the damage is very unimpressive as a primary attack strategy in the long run. It's a fine backup for someone who focuses on ranged combat or has an alternative main weapon, but nothing you should rely on as a primary attack methodology.

I think the issue shown however is that the weapon your provide is 410,090 credits more expensive than the battleglove, can be disarmed, and doesn't allow you to grapple an opponent (presumably the goal of an unarmed fighter). Also, you can knockback and deal free damage with your hammer fist.

That said, frankly, I don't even really think you can focus on an "unarmed build", beyond taking up Improved Grapple. The Hammer Fist ability is just a good ability that you always have access to. I'd agree that if you're looking for a good melee weapon, you can just pick one up and start doing more damage (as is by design). But I wouldn't count the unarmed damage out for that. The great thing about Armor Storm is that you can have both, but I'd agree that you shouldn't necessarily "focus" on it.

Liberty's Edge

gigyas6 wrote:

While generally I'd agree with you, I've an issue:

Here, Natural Weapons aren't being separated as a weapon type, but rather the weapon provided by the ability. See the Natural Weapons ability:

Quote:
Vesk gain a unique weapon specialization with their natural weapons

Implying that the Natural Weapons is a separate weapon as provided by this ability.

That said, the same ability block also says "they can deal 1d3 lethal damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn't count as archaic" So at the very least I think clarification is in order.

I think it's pretty clear. That quoted bit encompasses Unarmed Strikes since they are a type of natural weapon. It would just also apply to any other natural attacks the Vesk gained...and is intended to, hence the wording.

gigyas6 wrote:
I think the issue shown however is that the weapon your provide is 410,090 credits more expensive than the battleglove, can be disarmed, and doesn't allow you to grapple an opponent (presumably the goal of an unarmed fighter). Also, you can knockback and deal free damage with your hammer fist.

Sure. But that's a sorta niche strategy to be relying on as a primary combat ability, and what else are you spending the money on than weapons, as a Soldier?

Though I am confused by the grapple comment. Unarmed Combat gives you no advantage to grappling beyond the use of a one handed weapon.

gigyas6 wrote:
That said, frankly, I don't even really think you can focus on an "unarmed build", beyond taking up Improved Grapple. The Hammer Fist ability is just a good ability that you always have access to. I'd agree that if you're looking for a good melee weapon, you can just pick one up and start doing more damage (as is by design). But I wouldn't count the unarmed damage out for that. The great thing about Armor Storm is that you can have both, but I'd agree that you shouldn't necessarily "focus" on it.

Agreed. Like I said, it's a solid backup and nice to have.


I'm now wondering how a Vesk uses their claws while in a vacuum.
I think punching while wearing environmentally sealed armour should still get the extra (and lethal) unarmed strike damage because Vesk are used to fighting with their hands as well as weapons.


I'd say the best way to incorporate Vesk natural weapons into a Soldier build is to focus on using two-handed ranged weapons (heavy weapons or longarms) and use your unarmed strikes primarily against enemies who close the distance. After all, with Improved Unarmed Strike, you don't need to have a hand free to headbutt, stomp, or tail-slap a fool.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is there any mention (or picture, for that matter) anywhere of Vesk having tails?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Core Rulebook page 53 wrote:
In addition, they also have long, powerful tails—while these are primarily used for balance, some vesk martial arts incorporate formidable tail slaps.


Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

You can also see a tail in the picture on that page.


I had a additional questions for this. I am making a Vesk Mystic. I will either be doing a healer or star shaman. I'm leaning toward star shaman and plan to take improved unarmed feat at level 4.

Question: would a Vesk be able to make a attack of opportunity unarmed before taking the feat since Vesk are always considered armed and the attack doesn’t count as archaic? The feat dose specify that normally you can not make AOP while unarmed.

Liberty's Edge

They would indeed.

The Ring of Fangs is also a really excellent item for anyone intending to use this strategy, since it jacks up your Weapon Specialization even more than Vesk does already. To the point where a melee character using the Ring and unarmed attacks is a valid primary combat strategy.


I thought so just wanted to see if I was missing a rule somewhere. i also did the mystic strike feat for overcoming resistances to make it have a lot more versatility


Deadmanwalking wrote:

They would indeed.

The Ring of Fangs is also a really excellent item for anyone intending to use this strategy, since it jacks up your Weapon Specialization even more than Vesk does already. To the point where a melee character using the Ring and unarmed attacks is a valid primary combat strategy.

Where can I find info on the ring of fangs?

Liberty's Edge

Part 2 of the Dead Suns AP 'Temple of the Twelve'. It's a very cool item that actually makes unarmed combat viable as a primary tactic. And fairly cheap, too.


Is there any consensus on if/how Natural Weapons racial ability and Ring of Fangs specialization bonuses stack? These are the rough arguments I've seen:

2x:
Natural Weapons and Ring of Fangs both give a modified specialization bonus. You just apply the higher of the two.

2.5x:
You breakdown the bonuses from specialization, natural weapons, and ring of fangs. Specialization adds character level, natural weapons adds half character level, Ring of Fangs adds your chatacter level again.

3.5x:
Natural Weapons and Ring of Fangs stack completely so you apply your full specialization bonus from both.

--

Natural Weapons: Vesk gain a unique weapon specialization with their natural weapons at 3rd level, allowing them to add 1–1/2 × their character level to their damage rolls for their natural weapons (instead of just adding their character level, as usual).

Ring of Fangs: You automatically gain a special version of the Weapon Specialization feat that adds double your level to the damage of these unarmed attacks (rather than adding your level).

The Exchange

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Patryn- wrote:

Is there any consensus on if/how Natural Weapons racial ability and Ring of Fangs stack? These are the rough arguments I've seen:

2x:
Natural Weapons and Ring of Fangs both give a modified specialization bonus. You just apply the higher of the two.

It's definitely this one, while there's no other instances of competing specializations I can think of, its pretty clear that if you have two versions of specialization they are meant to replace not stack.

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