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Improved Unarmed Strike (Kick, Elbows, etc...)


Rules Questions

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Does Improved Unarmed Strike allow a non-monk to kick with knees, elbows, etc... like a monk?

If so, what are the consequences of being able to do so?


You don't even need Improved Unarmed Strikes. Almost everyone can make Unarmed Strikes with almost any bodypart.

Well, a Fighter armed with sword and shield can 2 weapon Fight with Unarmed Strike as his Off Hand weapon.


I get the impression this is a kind of grey area. First look at the texts:

From http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/coreRulebook/combat.html

Unarmed Attacks wrote:
Unarmed Attacks: Striking for damage with punches, kicks, and head butts is much like attacking with a melee weapon, except for the following...

From http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/coreRulebook/classes/monk.html

Unarmed Strike wrote:
At 1st level, a monk gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. A monk's attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full...

Improved Unarmed Strike doesn't actually factor into the question. It does 3 discrete things, which are all modifications of basic Unarmed Attacks:


  • "You are considered to be armed even when unarmed" this primarily lets you threaten/take attacks of opportunity with your unarmed strike reach.
  • "You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you attack foes while unarmed" self-explanatory, even if it says "unarmed" despite the last one.
  • "Your unarmed strikes can deal lethal or nonlethal damage, at your choice" you can actually do this anyway, but now without a -4 penalty.

To take your question literally, "Does Improved Unarmed Strike allow a non-monk to kick with knees, elbows, etc... like a monk?", the answer is definitely no. Whether or not you are able to will be determined by the underlying Unarmed Attacks rules that Improved Unarmed Strike builds on.

Beyond this, I've seen differing opinions on how to infer the rules from the text in the above 2 sections. To give one run of how it can go:


  • Unarmed Attacks explicitly lets you kick and head butt, simple
  • But the monk text says "This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full", that wouldn't be there if EVERYONE could
  • The monk text also says "A monk's attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet", if we're being literal monks also can't head butt huh?
  • The monk text adds to the Unarmed Attacks rules, not replaces them, are you going to say the monk can't breathe because it's not in their class description that they can?
  • No, but if it's in addition I am going to ask you if an awakened octopus with monk levels can make attacks with "fist, elbows, knees, and feet", because I don't see a "provided they have these in their anatomy" clause in there, do you?
  • X people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I could offer my own interpretation, but last I heard, it's still open.


Oh, that is what I needed to know. The matter is before Paizo and they have yet to rule on it.

My opinion, the text for the monk is not telling us what a monk can explicitly do with IUS. It just says, a monk has IUS and as a result of the monk having IUS

1) it adds its full strength to unarmed strikes
2) has no off hand for two weapon fighting; and whatever else.

That is just my opinion, but I sure would like to hear from Paizo.


Artificial 20 wrote:
the monk text says "This means that a monk may make unarmed strikes with his hands full", that wouldn't be there if EVERYONE could

One would think so, and this is a minor point, perhaps, but I am pretty confident this is false. The ability to make Unarmed Strikes with sundry body parts is in the general description of Unarmed Strikes.

Core Rulebook, Combat wrote:
Unarmed Attacks: Striking for damage with punches, kicks, and head butts is much like attacking with a melee weapon,

While the general description of Unarmed Strikes does not specifically include the ability to make attacks with full hands, the description of Monks says that this ability merely arises out of the ability to make Unarmed Strikes with sundry body parts, and everybody can do that.


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I don't disagree with you Scott. That wasn't my own opinion, but rather an example of the points you can hear in back-and-forth on this topic, in my experience. My own interpretation lies on the side of being able to make unarmed strikes with your hands full in the same way (and with the same limitations) as off-hand attacking with armour spikes. I just aimed to convey that there are competing views that can each employ citations.


Unfortunately, this grey area in the rules leaves a dangerous if rarely utilized exploit. If unarmed strikes are not limited by body part, how is the number of unarmed strikes limited?

Three feats factor into this question:

  • Improved Unarmed Strike (IUS)
  • Two-weapon Fighting (TWF)
  • Multiweapon Fighting (MWF)
Although technically MWF is a substitution for TWF that accounts for having more than two combat-ready body parts.

IUS removes the risk of provoking an AoO during unarmed strikes.
TWF and/or MWF reduce the penalties for both primary and off-hand attacks to -2 each when using light weapons. (Unarmed Strike is treated as a light weapon.)

A first-level human takes IUS. Since any body part can be used to make unarmed strikes, which are treated as weapon attacks, they qualify for MWF rather than TWF. (Maybe they qualify even without IUS.) They can now make unarmed attacks of an undefined maximum quantity by taking -2 on all attack rolls. At first level.

Okay, so there are some holes in this theory. You need DEX 13 and three or more hands to take MWF, and DEX 15 to take TWF. So they have to take TWF, not MWF, and it only affects the penalty on an off hand. With this interpretation, the benefits of these feats aren't critical, unless the person or creature involved has at least three hands. (A few such examples came up in previous iterations of this discussion.)

With just the IUS feat and nothing else, the penalties on multiple unarmed attacks would be -4 on the primary hand, and -8 with all other unarmed attacks. Without a limiter on the maximum number of unarmed attacks, this means as many attacks as they can name body parts, taken at -8 penalty, dealing lethal damage.

My own suggested solution is to limit the number of unarmed strikes one can make to equal the number of weapons they could wield, i.e. the number of hands (or prehensile limbs) included in the person's or creature's anatomy. (Unless they're a monk using flurry of blows, which has its own rules in this regard.)


Yaba, you are confusing the rules for Unarmed Strike with the rules for Natural Weapons, but Unarmed Strike is not a Natural Weapon.

UE wrote:
Unarmed strikes do not count as natural weapons (Core Rulebook 182).

A first level Fighter with IUS gets one attack per round with IUS exactly as she would if she was using a sword.

The Fighter can use two weapon fighting to make two Unarmed Strikes (FAQ). The TWF feat would reduce the penalties as usual.

Multiweapon Fighting is a monster feat that requires that you have three or more hands, so I don't see the relevance.


Gisher wrote:

Yaba, you are confusing the rules for Unarmed Strike with the rules for Natural Weapons, but Unarmed Strike is not a Natural Weapon.

UE wrote:
Unarmed strikes do not count as natural weapons (Core Rulebook 182).

A first level Fighter with IUS gets one attack per round with IUS exactly as she would if she was using a sword.

The Fighter can use two weapon fighting to make two Unarmed Strikes (FAQ). The TWF feat would reduce the penalties as usual.

Multiweapon Fighting is a monster feat that requires that you have three or more hands, so I don't see the relevance.

Gisher, that interpretation doesn't work. No, I am not confusing unarmed strikes with natural weapons. If I were, it would simplify things, because natural weapon attacks are already adjudicated by the rules.

A first-level fighter without two-weapon fighting can still make two weapon attacks if they are wielding two weapons (one in each hand). They just take fairly large penalties for doing so. If one applies the same logic to unarmed strikes (as you appear to be doing), a combatant could therefore make as many unarmed strikes as they have body parts capable of making unarmed strikes, incurring those same penalties. Thus looping back to the original dilemma.


Yaba wrote:
A first-level fighter without two-weapon fighting can still make two weapon attacks if they are wielding two weapons (one in each hand). They just take fairly large penalties for doing so. If one applies the same logic to unarmed strikes (as you appear to be doing), a combatant could therefore make as many unarmed strikes as they have body parts capable of making unarmed strikes, incurring those same penalties. Thus looping back to the original dilemma.

The bolded part is where your argument is going awry. Simply having multiple ways to deliver Unarmed Strikes does not let you get more attacks per round with Unarmed Strikes.


Gisher wrote:
Simply having multiple ways to deliver Unarmed Strikes does not let you get more attacks per round with Unarmed Strikes.

Yet wielding multiple weapons does give you the ability to make multiple attacks per round, with no other influencing factors.

Spinning leap attack: Strike with (in order) fist, elbow, foot, shoulder, back of head, other shoulder, other elbow, other hand, knee, other knee, forehead, other foot. Then fall prone because both legs were in the air making attacks. First fist is at -4 penalty, all 11 other attacks at -8 penalty. It's technically legal. Stupid, but legal.

And I don't like it.

Gisher, please find the official ruling that proves this wrong. Because I have been unable to do so.


Gisher is correct.

Unarmed strikes don't work like natural weapons. They are limited by BAB so even if you are a Katasha with 4 arms

Unarmed strikes just allow you to use different body parts, but you are still limited to BAB for the number of attacked you can make.

Only natural attacks allow you to make a number of attacks based on the number of natural attacks available.

There is no rule that says you get an attack for every body part you have that is capable of making an unarmed strike.

Gisher never claimed that every unarmed strike was allowed to make an attack in the same vein as natural attacks. His claim is that "A first level Fighter with IUS gets one attack per round with IUS exactly as she would if she was using a sword.", and since swords follow BAB the IUS would be just as limited by BAB as a sword would.

Since Gisher limited the IUS attacks to the number of sword attacks he is also linking IUS to BAB, not the rules that natural attacks use.


wraithstrike wrote:
His claim is that "A first level Fighter with IUS gets one attack per round with IUS exactly as she would if she was using a sword"

Except that you're not using a sword. You're using lots of swords.


Yaba wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Simply having multiple ways to deliver Unarmed Strikes does not let you get more attacks per round with Unarmed Strikes.

Yet wielding multiple weapons does give you the ability to make multiple attacks per round, with no other influencing factors.

Spinning leap attack: Strike with (in order) fist, elbow, foot, shoulder, back of head, other shoulder, other elbow, other hand, knee, other knee, forehead, other foot. Then fall prone because both legs were in the air making attacks. First fist is at -4 penalty, all 11 other attacks at -8 penalty. It's technically legal. Stupid, but legal.

And I don't like it.

Gisher, please find the official ruling that proves this wrong. Because I have been unable to do so.

I have never seen Spinning leap attack. It looks like some 3rd party thing to me in which case it is legal if a GM allows it.


Doesn't the 'hands' FAQ answer all his questions? No matter how many weapons you can wield, you only have 2 hands of effort after all.


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I agree that IUS is limited by BAB (and TWF feats), not by "number of body parts".

An 11th level fighter with greater TWF can make 6 attacks with a full attack, and she can attack with her right hand, left hand, right elbow, left elbow, right knee, and left knee... or she can make 3 punches and 3 headbutts.

The "You can make unarmed strikes with any body part" is simply to allow people to still make unarmed strikes if certain parts of their body are occupied (you're holding a priceless vase in your hands, your ankle is chained to the wall, whatever) because you can always find something to hit people with. Whether you're attacking with your elbow or your knee or your forehead or your fist is pretty much just fluff anyway.


wraithstrike wrote:
I have never seen Spinning leap attack. It looks like some 3rd party thing to me in which case it is legal if a GM allows it.

It's not a rule. It's a description. A physical motion that causes all these body parts to hit something.

I'm looking for the rule, if one exists, which makes it not work.

graystone wrote:
Doesn't the 'hands' FAQ answer all his questions? No matter how many weapons you can wield, you only have 2 hands of effort after all.

Text please. Link preferred, quote acceptable.


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As for creatures with multiple hands having several attacks that is because Pathfinder gives monster with more hands more attacks, but their unarmed strikes still follow the BAB model.

As an example. the primary hand can get up to 4 attacks if the BAB is high enough, and each additional hand gets an attack, but for most humanoid creatures with only two hands they don't get all of those extra attacks.

Each knee, elbow, etc etc does not grant an extra attack.

Knees and elbows are not their own weapons. Unarmed Strike is the weapon. Knees and Elbows are ways to use the weapon.

With natural attacks, each natural attack is actually its own specific weapon. They just fall under the natural attack category.

That is why you can have weapon focus(bite), and weapon focus(wing), but not weapon focus(knee). You can however have weapon focus(unarmed strike).


Yaba wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
His claim is that "A first level Fighter with IUS gets one attack per round with IUS exactly as she would if she was using a sword"
Except that you're not using a sword. You're using lots of swords.

Having lots of weapons doesn't, in itself, get you more attacks. Let's assume that our first level Fighter is holding a sword in one hand, a dagger in the other, has a boot blade on each foot, and is wearing a barbazu beard on his head. That is five different weapons using five different body parts.

So how many attacks can the Fighter make with a full-attack action? She gets one attack per round because of her BAB. She can opt to engage in two weapon fighting to get a second attack with a second weapon in exchange for taking some attack roll penalties. Thats it.


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Yaba wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I have never seen Spinning leap attack. It looks like some 3rd party thing to me in which case it is legal if a GM allows it.

It's not a rule. It's a description. A physical motion that causes all these body parts to hit something.

I'm looking for the rule, if one exists, which makes it not work.

graystone wrote:
Doesn't the 'hands' FAQ answer all his questions? No matter how many weapons you can wield, you only have 2 hands of effort after all.
Text please. Link preferred, quote acceptable.

There is no rule that allows it to work. There is a rule that allows for natural attacks to get an attack per existing natural attack.

Unarmed strikes are also listed as a weapon, and all weapons follow the BAB method of working.

So someone would need to prove that despite being listed as a normal weapon, not a natural attack, that they get treated as a natural attack.
--------------------

Equipment chapter wrote:

Light, One-Handed, and Two-Handed Melee Weapons: This designation is a measure of how much effort it takes to wield a weapon in combat. It indicates whether a melee weapon, when wielded by a character of the weapon's size category, is considered a light weapon, a one-handed weapon, or a two-handed weapon.

Light: A light weapon is used in one hand. It is easier to use in one's off hand than a one-handed weapon is, and can be used while grappling (see Combat). Add the wielder's Strength modifier to damage rolls for melee attacks with a light weapon if it's used in the primary hand, or half the wielder's Strength bonus if it's used in the off hand. Using two hands to wield a light weapon gives no advantage on damage; the Strength bonus applies as though the weapon were held in the wielder's primary hand only.

An unarmed strike is always considered a light weapon.

So we know from this unarmed strikes are considered as a light weapon, just like a manufactured weapon. Unarmed attacks are listed as a normal attack according to the chart, and unarmed strikes fall under unarmed attacks.

There is also this.

combat chapter wrote:
Unarmed Attacks: Striking for damage with punches, kicks, and head butts is much like attacking with a melee weapon, except for the following:

If you go to the chapter and read the "except for the following section" getting an attack per knee, elbow, etc is not a listed option. Since it is not a listed exception, then the exception does not exist.


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Gisher wrote:
Yaba wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
His claim is that "A first level Fighter with IUS gets one attack per round with IUS exactly as she would if she was using a sword"
Except that you're not using a sword. You're using lots of swords.

Having lots of weapons doesn't, in itself, get you more attacks. Let's assume that our first level Fighter is holding a sword in one hand, a dagger in the other, has a boot blade on each foot, and is wearing a barbazu beard on his head. That is five different weapons using five different body parts.

So how many attacks can the Fighter make with a full-attack action? She gets one attack per round because of her BAB. She can opt to engage in two weapon fighting to get a second attack with a second weapon in exchange for taking some attack roll penalties. Thats it.

This is correct and was covered in an FAQ. A fighter can have access to multiple weapons but BAB will still limit his attacks.


wraithstrike wrote:
This is correct and was covered in an FAQ. A fighter can have access to multiple weapons but BAB will still limit his attacks.

Please provide a link to the specified FAQ. Every source I have found indicates that you can take one attack with each weapon you wield (i.e. all five of the weapons listed can be used to make attacks in one full attack action). You just take massive penalties for doing so, as specified in the "normal" line of the two-weapon fighting penalties chart. If someone without the two-weapon fighting feat can't take attacks with off-hand (or non-hand) weapons, why even list the penalties for taking attacks with two weapons without the requisite feat? The penalties would be infinite, not -6/-10 or -4/-8.

Note that I have not read the text for boot blade and barbazu beard, so if these items specifically define rules for their use, then that would apply in the case of those particular weapons, and might be extrapolated to make a ruling on non-hand limb combat.

PRD Combat wrote:

Two-Weapon Fighting

If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon. You suffer a –6 penalty with your regular attack or attacks with your primary hand and a –10 penalty to the attack with your off hand when you fight this way. You can reduce these penalties in two ways. First, if your off-hand weapon is light, the penalties are reduced by 2 each. An unarmed strike is always considered light. Second, the Two-Weapon Fighting feat lessens the primary hand penalty by 2, and the off-hand penalty by 6.

Table: Two-weapon Fighting Penalties summarizes the interaction of all these factors.

Double Weapons: You can use a double weapon to make an extra attack with the off-hand end of the weapon as if you were fighting with two weapons. The penalties apply as if the off-hand end of the weapon was a light weapon.

Thrown Weapons: The same rules apply when you throw a weapon from each hand. Treat a dart or shuriken as a light weapon when used in this manner, and treat a bolas, javelin, net, or sling as a one-handed weapon.

Table: Two-Weapon Fighting Penalties
Circumstances / Primary Hand / Off Hand
Normal penalties –6 –10
Off-hand weapon is light –4 –8
Two-Weapon Fighting feat –4 –4
Off-hand weapon is light and Two-Weapon Fighting feat –2 –2


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Yaba wrote:


If someone without the two-weapon fighting feat can't take attacks with off-hand (or non-hand) weapons, why even list the penalties for taking attacks with two weapons without the requisite feat? The penalties would be infinite, not -6/-10 or -4/-8.

I never said you can't make attacks with off-hand weapons. I said your attacks are limited by your BAB.

As an example if you have 2 swords, and spiked armor that is 3 weapons.

If your BAB is 1, then you can take one attack with your primary weapon, and you get one off hand attack.

What you can not do is with a BAB of 1 is take both sword attacks, and make the spiked armor attacks.

The rules I posted about BAB limiting attacks already shows that. What rule do have to show that you can ignore BAB and make an attack with every weapon you hold.

In addition to this, if you wielding a two-handed weapon you can't make any off-hand attacks, even with a weapon such as spiked armor that is not literally occupying your physical hand.

Paizo doesn't care about how many weapons you use, but the number of attacks is limited by BAB, and your one offhand attack, assuming you dont take the extra TWF feats.

That is why they said the penalty for TWF kicks due to the extra attacks, not for using an extra weapon.


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Just to be clear I am talking about creatures with 2 arms to keep this simple.


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Yaba wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I have never seen Spinning leap attack. It looks like some 3rd party thing to me in which case it is legal if a GM allows it.

It's not a rule. It's a description. A physical motion that causes all these body parts to hit something.

I'm looking for the rule, if one exists, which makes it not work.

graystone wrote:
Doesn't the 'hands' FAQ answer all his questions? No matter how many weapons you can wield, you only have 2 hands of effort after all.
Text please. Link preferred, quote acceptable.

This is probably the hands quote that he is referring to.

hand limits

FAQ wrote:

Armor Spikes: Can I use two-weapon fighting to make an "off-hand" attack with my armor spikes in the same round I use a two-handed weapon?

No.
Likewise, you couldn't use an armored gauntlet to do so, as you are using both of your hands to wield your two-handed weapon, therefore your off-hand is unavailable to make any attacks.


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Yaba wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
This is correct and was covered in an FAQ. A fighter can have access to multiple weapons but BAB will still limit his attacks.
Please provide a link to the specified FAQ.

I suspect that he specifically meant the infamous Armor Spikes FAQ. This states that you can't attack with armor spikes while you use two hands to wield a weapon. This is despite the fact that armor spikes don't require a physical hand to wield it. The justification given was that you only have the two 'hands of effort' mentioned earlier by Graystone. This means that that you can only use the equivalent of two hands regardless of whether you are using more than two physical hands.

Yaba wrote:
Every source I have found indicates that you can take one attack with each weapon you wield (i.e. all five of the weapons listed can be used to make attacks in one full attack action).

What are these sources?

Yaba wrote:
You just take massive penalties for doing so, as specified in the "normal" line of the two-weapon fighting penalties chart. If someone without the two-weapon fighting feat can't take attacks with off-hand (or non-hand) weapons, why even list the penalties for taking attacks with two weapons without the requisite feat? The penalties would be infinite, not -6/-10 or -4/-8.

The rules tell us that BAB sets the basic number of attacks. The two weapon fighting portion of the Combat Rules says that you can opt to take attack roll penalties to make one additional attack with a second weapon. There is no such thing as three weapon fighting or four weapon fighting. Two is all you get. Note that this matches with the 'two hands of effort' concept.

What usually causes confusion on this topic is that there is also a feat named Two Weapon Fighting. You do not need the Two Weapon Fighting Feat to engage in two weapon fighting. Its only function is to lower the penalties for engaging in two weapon fighting.

Yaba wrote:
Note that I have not read the text for boot blade and barbazu beard, so if these items specifically define rules for their use, then that would apply in the case of those particular weapons, and might be extrapolated to make a ruling on non-hand limb combat.

The barbazu beard is just a mask with a built in blade, and the blade boots are just boots with built in knives. If you choose to make an attack with any of those five weapons then you can use two weapon fighting to make an extra attack with one of the other four. Then you don't have any more attacks to use, and you don't have any more 'hands of effort' to deliver them. (The exception, of course, would be the ability to use any natural weapons associated with limbs that you haven't used yet. Those would then act as secondary attacks.)


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wraithstrike/Gisher: You were both correct so thanks for the links and explanations. I was on a mobile device and couldn't take the time/put in the effort to expand on "hands of effort' but I thought it'd be relevant to the debate. I'll let you guy go back to your posting now. ;)


Try looking over this.


Direct link to FAQ entry.
Thank you. It's not a perfect reference, but I'll take it. At least it indicates that the number of attacks is limited based on the number of hands, not the number of equipped weapons. (This does not count natural weapons, but does count unarmed strikes.)

Just to be clear, this limit for a human is two attacks: main hand and off hand. However, as specifically stated in the FAQ entry, a two-handed weapon occupies two hands, thus eating both of the wielder's hand slots.

As far as races with more than two hands are concerned, I still need to refer back to the wording found in the Multiweapon Fighting feat. This also ties number of attacks to number of hands, and provides the only definitive confirmation I've seen that extra hands provide extra off-hand attacks. No mention of unarmed strikes, of course.

For clarification, is anyone still arguing that an empty-handed first-level PC with the IUS feat can only make one unarmed strike attack, despite having two hands?


Knight who says Meh wrote:
Try looking over this.
PRD wrote:
Unarmed Strike Damage: An unarmed strike from a Medium character deals 1d3 points of bludgeoning damage (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). A Small character's unarmed strike deals 1d2 points of bludgeoning damage, while a Large character's unarmed strike deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage. All damage from unarmed strikes is nonlethal damage. Unarmed strikes count as light weapons (for purposes of two-weapon attack penalties and so on).

I think this supports my point.


The FAQ was already linked earlier.

Quote:

Unarmed Strike: Can I use two-weapon fighting to make two unarmed strikes in one round?

Yes.


Yaba wrote:
For clarification, is anyone still arguing that an empty-handed first-level PC with the IUS feat can only make one unarmed strike attack, despite having two hands?

Without using two weapon fighting the character is limited to one attack. When using two weapon fighting the character can make two attacks.


Yaba wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Try looking over this.
PRD wrote:
Unarmed Strike Damage: An unarmed strike from a Medium character deals 1d3 points of bludgeoning damage (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). A Small character's unarmed strike deals 1d2 points of bludgeoning damage, while a Large character's unarmed strike deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage. All damage from unarmed strikes is nonlethal damage. Unarmed strikes count as light weapons (for purposes of two-weapon attack penalties and so on).
I think this supports my point.

It really doesn't.


Yaba wrote:
My own suggested solution is to limit the number of unarmed strikes one can make to equal the number of weapons they could wield, i.e. the number of hands (or prehensile limbs) included in the person's or creature's anatomy.

Looks like I shot myself in the foot with my own wording. Was trying to tie number of attacks to number of hands. Just as well, the subsequent clarification regarding worn weapons is helpful.


Gisher wrote:
Yaba wrote:
For clarification, is anyone still arguing that an empty-handed first-level PC with the IUS feat can only make one unarmed strike attack, despite having two hands?
Without using two weapon fighting the character is limited to one attack. When using two weapon fighting the character can make two attacks.

Wait, are you talking about two-weapon fighting as in the feat, or as in the action? Because if you mean that you need the feat in order to take the off-hand attack, then we are still arguing. All the TWF (or MWF) feat does is reduce penalties, not grant access to actions. Anyone with two empty hands can make two unarmed strikes. Even with no feats at all. (It's just generally a bad idea to do so. Penalties of -4/-8, nonlethal damage, and provoke AoO.)

One does not need to have the TWF feat to take the TWF action.


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Yaba wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Yaba wrote:
For clarification, is anyone still arguing that an empty-handed first-level PC with the IUS feat can only make one unarmed strike attack, despite having two hands?
Without using two weapon fighting the character is limited to one attack. When using two weapon fighting the character can make two attacks.

Wait, are you talking about two-weapon fighting as in the feat, or as in the action? Because if you mean that you need the feat in order to take the off-hand attack, then we are still arguing. All the TWF (or MWF) feat does is reduce penalties, not grant access to actions. Anyone with two empty hands can make two unarmed strikes. Even with no feats at all. (It's just generally a bad idea to do so. Penalties of -4/-8, nonlethal damage, and provoke AoO.)

One does not need to have the TWF feat to take the TWF action.

I'm getting the distinct impression that you haven't been reading any of my posts.


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Yaba wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Yaba wrote:
For clarification, is anyone still arguing that an empty-handed first-level PC with the IUS feat can only make one unarmed strike attack, despite having two hands?
Without using two weapon fighting the character is limited to one attack. When using two weapon fighting the character can make two attacks.

Wait, are you talking about two-weapon fighting as in the feat, or as in the action? Because if you mean that you need the feat in order to take the off-hand attack, then we are still arguing. All the TWF (or MWF) feat does is reduce penalties, not grant access to actions. Anyone with two empty hands can make two unarmed strikes. Even with no feats at all. (It's just generally a bad idea to do so. Penalties of -4/-8, nonlethal damage, and provoke AoO.)

One does not need to have the TWF feat to take the TWF action.

Earlier in this very thread...

Gisher wrote:

Yaba, you are confusing the rules for Unarmed Strike with the rules for Natural Weapons, but Unarmed Strike is not a Natural Weapon.

UE wrote:
Unarmed strikes do not count as natural weapons (Core Rulebook 182).

A first level Fighter with IUS gets one attack per round with IUS exactly as she would if she was using a sword.

The Fighter can use two weapon fighting to make two Unarmed Strikes (FAQ). The TWF feat would reduce the penalties as usual.

Multiweapon Fighting is a monster feat that requires that you have three or more hands, so I don't see the relevance.


Yaba wrote:


For clarification, is anyone still arguing that an empty-handed first-level PC with the IUS feat can only make one unarmed strike attack, despite having two hands?

I dont think anyone was making that argument. If they were I didn't see it.


Yaba wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Yaba wrote:
For clarification, is anyone still arguing that an empty-handed first-level PC with the IUS feat can only make one unarmed strike attack, despite having two hands?
Without using two weapon fighting the character is limited to one attack. When using two weapon fighting the character can make two attacks.

Wait, are you talking about two-weapon fighting as in the feat, or as in the action? Because if you mean that you need the feat in order to take the off-hand attack, then we are still arguing. All the TWF (or MWF) feat does is reduce penalties, not grant access to actions. Anyone with two empty hands can make two unarmed strikes. Even with no feats at all. (It's just generally a bad idea to do so. Penalties of -4/-8, nonlethal damage, and provoke AoO.)

One does not need to have the TWF feat to take the TWF action.

He stated several posts ago, that the feat was not needed. It only reduces the penalties if someone does use TWF.


Gisher wrote:
I'm getting the distinct impression that you haven't been reading any of my posts.

Actually I read most of them, but missed the one at 3:31 PM (EST?). Turns out that one was important.

Also I got hung up on people making the BAB argument, because it isn't actually relevant to the question. BAB defines iterative attacks with the main hand, and eligibility for feats. It doesn't directly influence the number of off-hand attacks at all. Off-hand attacks are based on number of off hands, as supported by rules & FAQ. This is true regardless of weapon choices, with the notable exception that a two-handed weapon reduces the number of available off-hand attacks by one. (Which, if you only have two hands, is all you'd get.)

It also doesn't help that I'm mentally referencing the previous topic from the OP, which specifically asked about a non-monk with six hands, two claws (not sure if on arms or legs), and an Amulet of Mighty Fists. I avoided bringing that up until now, in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid confusion.

So I'm guessing this is squared away. I would like to thank all of you for refuting the scenario that concerned me before.


Yaba wrote:
Also I got hung up on people making the BAB argument, because it isn't actually relevant to the question. BAB defines iterative attacks with the main hand, and eligibility for feats.

That is wrong. People keep bringing up BAB because it is absolutely relevant. Your need to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a 'main hand' unless you are engaging in two weapon fighting. If the Fighter from my previous posts reaches 11th level then her BAB will grant her three attacks. She can make them with any weapons that she is wielding. So sword, dagger, bootblade works as does dagger, dagger, dagger. So does sword, sword, barbazu beard or boot blade, boot blade, barbazu beard. There is no 'main hand' or 'off hand.' The BAB tells you the total number of attacks you can make with all of your weapons.

If you decide to use two weapon fighting then, and only then, you are locked into (wait for it) two weapons. Then one is designated 'main hand' and the other as 'offhand.' Now your three attacks from BAB must be made with the 'main hand' weapon and the extra attack must be made with the 'off hand' weapon. Note that neither weapon has to actually use a hand. She could make three attacks with her barbazu beard as her 'main hand' weapon and use a boot blade to make the extra attack. In that case, she would not be able to make attacks with her sword, dagger, or second boot blade because she is limited to two 'hands.' If she takes Improved TWF or Greater TWF then she is still locked into making those extra attacks with the same 'off hand' that she used for the first extra attack.

Yaba wrote:
Off-hand attacks are based on number of off hands, as supported by rules & FAQ.

Every single person here has told you that this is incorrect. When not using two weapon fighting you don't have an 'off hand.' When you are using two weapon fighting you have exactly one 'off hand.' You never have more than one 'off hand.' You have repeatedly stated that you have rules to back up your unique interpretation, but despite our requests you have not cited any such rules. I'm at a loss.


Gisher wrote:
Yaba wrote:
It doesn't directly influence the number of off-hand attacks at all. Off-hand attacks are based on number of off hands, as supported by rules & FAQ.
Every single person here has told you that this is incorrect. When not using two weapon fighting you don't have an 'off hand.' When you are using two weapon fighting you have exactly one 'off hand.' You never have more than one 'off hand.'...
Read this.
PRD wrote:

Multiweapon Fighting (Combat)

This multi-armed creature is skilled at making attacks with multiple weapons.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, three or more hands.

Benefit: Penalties for fighting with multiple weapons are reduced by –2 with the primary hand and by –6 with off hands.

Normal: A creature without this feat takes a –6 penalty on attacks made with its primary hand and a –10 penalty on attacks made with all of its off hands. (It has one primary hand, and all the others are off hands.) See Two-Weapon Fighting in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.

Special: This feat replaces the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for creatures with more than two arms.

If the limit was ALWAYS one off-hand attack, this entry would be irrelevant, unnecessary, redundant, and/or not published. Is this sufficient, or do I need to waste time looking for something else?

Because if this is relevant, and everyone agrees that unarmed strikes are treated as light weapon attacks for this purpose, then I would hope that's everything. And don't tell me this is a 'monster only' rule that is somehow not relevant to PCs (such as Kasatha or Eidolons). If something from RAW or FAQ overrides this text, I haven't seen it.

To recap, we're looking at:

  • Iterative attacks for primary hand, determined by BAB, minimum 1
  • Non-iterative attacks for off hand(s), determined by the number of hands (prehensile limbs?) capable of wielding (not just holding) weapons
  • Possible additional attacks based on feats
  • Penalties applied to all attack rolls if off-hand attacks are made (refer to TWF/MWF feats)


We have already established that we are discussing characters with two hands. Multiweapon Fighting isn't relevant to such a character since it requires at least three hands.


Gisher wrote:
We have already established that we are discussing characters with two hands. Multiweapon Fighting isn't relevant to such a character since it requires at least three hands.

No. We have not established that. One person said they were talking about people with two hands, to simplify. I am not trying to simplify. I am trying to establish definition. If we were only talking about people with two hands, the number of off hands would be 1, and there would be no further discussion on the matter, because both descriptions would be correct in that scenario.

We have already established that the unlimited attacks case will not happen. I am glad to have been refuted on that concern. Now the point of contention is whether additional 'hands' allow access to additional 'off-hand' attacks.


This raises other odd questions. I just thought of them. If a human's shield arm is cut off at the shoulder, do they still get access to an off-hand attack? If so, would a one-armed race have access to two-weapon fighting (the action, not the feat)? What about somene with a magical or mechanical third arm? (Is there a published magical or mechanical third arm?) What about using Alter Self to become a Kasatha?

I suppose this is why simplification seemed like a good idea. And also why it's probably a bad idea in the long run.


Ok. I'm done.


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@Yaba: There is nothing that I know of that allows for additional off-hand attacks, except for the Improved and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting feats. They are all tied to BAB, however.
There are quite a few ways of gaining multiple additional arms/appendages. But that does not have anything to do with number of weapon attacks or off-hand attacks possible. On the contrary, multiple sources to these additional arms specifically state that they won't grant you any extra actions or attacks.

EDIT: A one-armed man can still use and wield two weapons and make off-hand attacks, as long as it doesn't require more than one arm: He can't wield two swords with one arm/hand but he can kick.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Yaba wrote:
Gisher wrote:
We have already established that we are discussing characters with two hands. Multiweapon Fighting isn't relevant to such a character since it requires at least three hands.

No. We have not established that. One person said they were talking about people with two hands, to simplify. I am not trying to simplify. I am trying to establish definition. If we were only talking about people with two hands, the number of off hands would be 1, and there would be no further discussion on the matter, because both descriptions would be correct in that scenario.

We have already established that the unlimited attacks case will not happen. I am glad to have been refuted on that concern. Now the point of contention is whether additional 'hands' allow access to additional 'off-hand' attacks.

I said earlier that we would stay with characters with two hands. Nobody disagreed.

I said that because there is confusion about how characters with more than 2 hands work, and so far Paizo won't resolve the issue.


The Kasatha discussion has been had several times with no concensus, so I am bowing out at this point.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Just to be clear I am talking about creatures with 2 arms to keep this simple.

*opens can of worms*

What about an alchemist or any class with access to the "Vestigial Arm" Discovery?!

One thing that nobody has mentioned is- enemies with multiple attacks take a -5 penalty to hit with anything other than their primary.
Be grateful that player characters are "restricted" to thier BAB and Tw-weapon fighting rules.

*places can of worm on table and leaves.*

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