Does an Unarmed Strike with Improved Trip become a "Trip Weapon"?


Rules Questions

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With original rules was the same, using the sword or the not didn't give you a bonus. In fact, you cannot use a non trip to make a trip.
You had to use a trip weapon to make a trip, and this gave 2 advantage: bonus on CMB (because you add bonuses from all effects appropriate to the weapon you are using) and the possibility to drop the weapon (and this utility goes away when you take the feats).
If you don't have one, you use what every person uses when try to trip someone: your body, and a unarmed attack is done with every part of your body (obviously, not eyes or testicles).

Now faq state that you can add the bonus only with the trip weapon. The shape influences the magic properties.
With this rule someone who use natural attacks is nerfed. I'm not speaking only for druid, but for monk also. So maybe with this faq we'll se something like this: a monk that fight unarmed with right hand and both legs, but never hit with his left hand because he has a kama, and he use it only to trip the target the get the bonuses. Now, imagine this monk. He hit you with bare hand (just one) or kick, then he use a little scyte to trip you instead of cutting. The opposite of what happens in a realistic fight. Ok, this is a fantasy game but this sounds a little ridicolous.
Oh, and you can use a sword to make a trip attack now! And this what means? Nothing, don't change nothing. You still don't take bonuses, you can't drop it (why I can drop a whip and not a sword?), and you take attack of opportunity as normal if you don't have the feat.


AlecStorm wrote:
Now faq state that you can add the bonus only with the trip weapon.

This was always the case. You are just now allowed to trip with more weapons. Before the FAQ you could only trip with weapons that were marked as having the Trip Property and unarmed (which had no bonuses).

AlecStorm wrote:
With this rule someone who use natural attacks is nerfed. I'm not speaking only for druid, but for monk also.

A monk or druid who used unarmed/natural attack forms never added bonuses to their trip attempt (since these forms are not trip weapons) so I am not understanding your outrage. An unarmed trip is not a trip weapon and functions exactly the same during a trip as a sword which is also not a trip weapon.


Before the FAQ you could trip with trip weapon or was not specified. Common sense says that if you fight bare hands and trip someone, you use your body, so we can say this:
Before the faq you could trip with trip weapon or natural attacks.
Rules didn't say nothing about adding the bonus regarding trip ability.

But, always before the faq, the general rules about manouvers said clearly that you had to use every bonuses or maluses appropriate for the weapon you were using.
So if you use a unarmed strike or a weapon this don't change, if the attack is legit. Since you cannot use a sword to trip, sword didn't add its bonus. You could use unarmed attack, so you add unarmed attack bonus.

Pretty clear, and a good general rule for ALL manouver. What you use? This weapon /natural weapon. Rules permits that you use? Yes, add the bonus. No, you don't use SO you don't add the bonus.

Now there's this faq (never in my game).

You can trip someone with everything, but using hands or a greataxe don't change nothing (ook... if you say that).
Are you using your weapon to trip? Yes.
Can I add the bonus? Only if it has the trip ability. Why?
We can only suppose that a weapon with the trip ability is designed to use his bonus, the others not.
So, tripping with a broken sword or with bare hands will be effective as tripping with your +5 rapier in wich you have grater weapon focus.

This faq it's not an upgrade.


Again, adding the bonus was always the special clause of the Trip Property... and only those weapons could trip (pre-faq).


You're repeating something that I wrote, and that supports what I state.
If you could use only weapons with trip ability, nothing change for weapon use. This faq change only natural attacks.
Maybe you need an explanation. Even if you have both hand occupied, like weapon (without trip) and shield, you could trip the same, maybe sweeping with a leg (just like judo or thai boxe).
So there's no need to do this changes.

Now plz I'd like to pose a question to the developers.

What's the purpouse of this FAQ? Is a nerf of natural attacks?

Because it's the only effective change from original rules.

I have already mentioned the change that we could see in play style (the monk example) but we can discuss later.


If they're looking at revamping the rules. I think bringing the improvised rules into maneuver weapons would clear up a lot of issues and simplify rules across the board.

You'd have to make some edits too:

Disarm weapons shouldn't have an inherent +2, just the disarm characteristic. Disarming with other weapons would be done at a negative instead.

Trip would stay as is, maybe adding a few like unarmed strike. Plus, any weapon that can't be disarmed, also can't be dropped. Removing that from the benefit of a trip weapon. Common sense rules that it should be all weapons that you can let go of. [edit: or maybe this becomes part of Improved Trip? You gain the reflexes to drop your weapon?]

Sunder is pretty much any weapon, with a few exceptions - mostly common sense. Sap, whip, net, etc. Some are especially good, like the swordbreaker dagger though and have the sunder quality. This seems like something that could be handled in the description on an individual basis, while most carry the flat quality of being able to sunder.

Bullrush is the opposite, few weapons and mostly brute force. Might be worth adding as maneuver description. Improvising with a weapon to aid in a bullrush wouldn't help in most cases and could even hinder, your body does the work.

Grapple is a new weapon maneuver with just a few entries in UC. In fact many of the new properties would have to be considered across the board. Could you improvise with any weapon to help grapple? I could come up with scenarios to improvise with most - snagging armor for instance.

For Unarmed Strike, it could come without descriptors except trip (sunder is inherent in almost all). Improved Unarmed Strike could add the disarm quality to unarmed (since you're no longer "unarmed").

And you could loose the confusing rules about when enhancement and inherent bonuses apply. They work all the time, just like any other attack. The -4 for improvised weapons should cover that. The maneuver weapons will always be superior, from day one out of the scabbard. The idea that a dagger can help you trip as much as a flail (as base weapons) doesn't make much sense. If the dagger were improvised, the flail would be superior from level 1 to level 20.


This is changing the rules, I thinked that the purpose of developer was just explain better.

If you want to give a malus to non disarm weapon, maybe is better giving a bonus to trip weapons. This is more simple and resolve the problem.

Or you can use original rules, and nothing change a lot :)


i hear you, but it sounded like the rules were in review from what Sean said.


I have nothing against a review. However, this changes are not about trip and not trip weapons, this influences only unarmed attack, and it's not an unarmed attack review.

I suggest you to apply the original rules.
You can't trip with a non trip weapon (with this FAQ you can, but don't change nothing ^_^), and apply all modifiers appropriate for weapon you are using.
In your situation, and it's the only situation that change in every case, add the bonus from magic fang. It is proper and honest.

If you want to equalize disarm and trip give a +2 to trip weapons and let character trip with all weapon (and this would let add the bonuses from a longsword).

This FAQ is a complicated way to say: only trip weapon can have bonuses in trip attempt. And we will say the monk i described before... not very nice.


It's definitely a revamp of the rules. This is not just a quick fix, but it fixes quite a bit and does it within the confines of rules that already exist. It does a lot more than equalize disarm & trip, but that is one benefit. And this idea influences the entire maneuver weapon category, not just unarmed.

To me, the biggest change is equalizing these attacks and any other attack form. Bonuses could apply across the board, the negatives for improvised weapons balance out the weapons designed for the task. Just like a mace is designed to damage, but a table leg could also do the job (just at a negative). The same applies to tripping with a longsword vs tripping with a tool designed for the job.


In all honesty, Alec, I don't understand your concern. Really, all the FAQ response does is state a character can trip with a non-trip weapon. It changes nothing else.

Though I do anxiously await an answer to how this changes the polearm master ability; a single clarification flies in the face of a class mechanic, to the point of not only eliminating some of its intended benefit, but causing it to be a hindrance. As pointed out, now a polearm master is less effective at tripping opponents with his weapon of choice than an average fighter. That makes absolutely no sense, and reeks of really poor game design choices.


The problem is that: trying to explain a rule, this faq creates confusion and nerf character that already can trip someone, while doesn't change nothing for weapon wich need a clarification. The example you bring it's just a further evidence that the rule don't work like stated in the FAQ.

To ironnic: it's not a big fix, and it's not even necessary. All weapon ability like disarm show how also trip could work. If you don't like, use the original rule and you'll not be able to trip. It's very very simple.
You bother about drag, or push? Ok, when you pull or push something, what you use? A sword? No, you use your hands.

You can use a weapon to make a manouver? Add modifiers. You can't? Add unarmed modifiers.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LilithsThrall wrote:
The rules have always said the exact same thing (ie. that non-trip weapons can be used to trip).

Or to spell it more completely for the determinedly dense.

A longsword can be used to trip in the sense that you don't have to drop it to trip someone, and you don't provoke while doing so. Save for that it contributes nothing to your success or failure at tripping because it does not have the trip property. Nor does it have any thing that helps you from recovering from a massively failed attempt.

A +3 flail which DOES have the trip property adds it's bonus to your chance of success. Because it is a trip weapon, if you massively fail in tripping someone you have the option of letting it go before you get knocked down. You don't with the longsword because by the time you think of doing so, you're already kissing the dirt.

If you take a look at the physical differences between a flail, a whip, and a longsword, it becomes fairly obvious which of these weapons have a trip property and which would not.


You provoke if you trip with all sort of weapon and you are without the improved trip feat (with the exception for trip & reach weapon, if your target can't reach you).


LazarX wrote:

A longsword can be used to trip in the sense that you don't have to drop it to trip someone, and you don't provoke while doing so. Save for that it contributes nothing to your success or failure at tripping because it does not have the trip property. Nor does it have any thing that helps you from recovering from a massively failed attempt.

A +3 flail which DOES have the trip property adds it's bonus to your chance of success. Because it is a trip weapon, if you massively fail in tripping someone you have the option of letting it go before you get knocked down. You don't with the longsword because by the time you think of doing so, you're already kissing the dirt.

If you take a look at the physical differences between a flail, a whip, and a longsword, it becomes fairly obvious which of these weapons have a trip property and which would not.

I agree with the principles of what you are saying, and yes, the rules work to this effect when you're talking about a longsword. I get that you shouldn't have to drop your weapon to make the maneuver. Where it becomes a problem is when you obviously are using the non-trip weapon to make the trip. A longspear can now make a trip maneuver and often without an AoO due to reach. Suddenly it doesn't make sense any more. It also doesn't make sense why your +5 longspear wouldn't be any better than a non-enhanced one. Attacks and maneuvers should be linked.

The other problem is that it becomes the enhancements of weapons that make them better instead of the weapons themselves. Like your example of the flail, whip and longsword, it's obvious which are better at the job. [edit: but currently there is no difference except what the enhancement bonus applies to. This also skews enhancement bonuses. Suddenly enhancing a flail is enhancing 3x what the enhancement of a sword effects. Trip, disarm and attack/damage vs just att/dam.]

I know this is an evolving game system, and I appreciate all the work these guys have put into this game. It's by far the best thing going. This is one area though that I (and many) think could use some adjusting. The difficulty of course is that it's already on the market and it effects everything done since release. I get that. I don't know a simple fix. I guess what Sean updated works with the existing system, but it feels more like a bandaid than a fix.

AlecStorm wrote:
You can use a weapon to make a manouver? Add modifiers. You can't? Add unarmed modifiers.

The updates to the FAQ makes it even more obvious that unarmed does not have the "Trip" descriptor so you would not add and enhancement modifiers to the maneuver.

Another flaw in my opinion. Weapon enhancements should apply across the board to any attack made with them. It's a superior weapon - even if that's an unarmed strike or natural attack. Just my opinion, but makes sense to me.


FAQ is wrong :) Forget it for a moment.

You can't trip with a spear. You don't have to drop a weapon that has not the trip ability to make a trip manouver, but you don't use it to trip.
A fighter with shield and sword don't drop his weapon or shield, but can trip.
The trip ability should be considered only for manifactured weapons, not natural. Better, natural weapon don't need the trip ability, because you can already trip, natural weapon or unarmed attacks are the "default" weapon for character that trip without a weapon with trip ability.
They are used to trip more often than the weapon with trip.

Use all modifiers that weapon (natural or not) has when you use it.
Check in the weapon description if you can use for that manouver.
Natural weapon and unarmed attack don't need this ability, because you can already trip with them.

OR

Follow the FAQ, and the only thing that change will be:
unarmed attack will not use the bonuses;
using a broken weapon in wich you are not competent will be equal to using the +5 long sword in wich you are focused.


Other people's viewpoints can be dizzing sometimes... O.o

Ok, If I have a Spear which is magically enchanted to +3... It is a piercing weapon. It's designed to pierce the toughest of armors...

WHY would all these properties activate when I hook a guys leg and make him fall over?

Same thing with a sword, It's designed to cut and stab. the edge is magically sharp and super hard. Even in disarms Smacking someones wrist or swinging the sword at their weapon is EXACTLY how it was designed to be used. Hooking a guy's shoulder and pushing him off balance does not USE the weapon the way it was designed. Honestly you may as well have it in the sheath. You don't get the magic bonus if you beat someone with a sheathed sword do you?

A Whip that is enchanted to be used when snapping out and wrapping around things... doesn't care if it's an arm, a neck, a tree or a leg. Therefore, it's doing EXACTLY what it was enchanted to do. Thus it gets the bonuses.

This is pretty much the same as trying to Disable device with a +2 dagger... You don't get the bonuses for that either...


AlecStorm wrote:


Follow the FAQ, and the only thing that change will be:
unarmed attack will not use the bonuses;
using a broken weapon in wich you are not competent will be equal to using the +5 long sword in wich you are focused.

Unarmed attack NEVER was a trip weapon, and thus you NEVEr got the bonuses for that either...

Honestly the FAQ is just a clarification for what half the people on this thread said from the beginning. There's no actual change to the rules.


It's not the trip ability that permits to add bonus. And I never stated that unarmed attack had the trip ability.

I would like that people stop attributing me things that I never wrote.

The trip ability let you use a weapon to trip, then, as general manouvers rules, you add all modifiers appropriate for the weapon in use.

Maybe adding the enanchment bonus of a weapon to disarm or trip it's questionable, but it's written at page 199 of the core rule book.
I think it's correct. Weapon enanchment act not only on the sharp of a blade, but also on its balance, etc.

Thus, a longsword never added the bonus to trip because you can't use it to trip. Never. Rules are clear. Your weapon has trip ability? No. You can't use it. Polearm fighter archetype support this, since it has an ability to use a non trip weapon to trip. Wonder why...

Instead, you can use unarmed attacks (since you can trip without a weapon), and rules are clear. You add all modifiers.

It's not strange. Or maybe someone think that a judoka that trip someone is not using his unarmed attacks?

Trip ability has nothing to do with the bonus, but just with WICH WEAPON you can use to trip.

I try to explain it more simple.

1) Wich bonuses / maluses I add? You add as appropriate for the weapon in use.

2) Can I use a weapon to trip? Only if it has the trip ability, so yes for a flail, not a longsword. Thus, you add the bonus of a trip weapon because you are using to trip, not because its shape influence the enanchment bonus.

3) Can I trip with a unarmed attack? Yes, indeed its one of the best way human being knows to trip someone. So, add the modifiers.

Now faq creates an exception for trip from all maneuvers, and you could trip with a spear from reach without provoke an attack, despite of competence and quality of the weapon.
Monk should buy an enchanted kama, and will use bare hand for damage and a blade to trip, because they could not add the bonus they have on unarmed attacks.

Ok, faq updates the official rules. But I can still say that this change for me it's wrong.


phantom1592 wrote:
This is pretty much the same as trying to Disable device with a +2 dagger... You don't get the bonuses for that either...

I agree that there are some similarities here. I like the idea of treating a spear as an improvised trip weapon, similar to how that dagger is an improvised tool. Not exactly the same, but similar. It's the spear that deserves the negative though, not the enhancement. Just as a dagger would get a negative at disable device. Not apples-to-apples since a skill check isn't a type of attack like a maneuver is and obviously wouldn't get an enhancement bonus.

My party hasn't been including any enhancement bonuses for maneuvers. The way we looked at it, you don't get to add enhancement for your CMD (from armor) so why would you get it for CMB from a weapon? This fixes the problem of a flail or whip getting more enhancement bang for the buck. But we also haven't yet discussed how we're going to handle this FAQ clarification. Now that any weapon can be used in a trip, the only benefit (minus enhancement) to it being a trip weapon is that you can drop it. We'll probably keep the rules from a year ago and make trip weapons and unarmed the only way to trip. That seemed to work just fine for us.

I would like to test the idea of improvised trip weapons though (or other maneuvers). We are all old though and only get together once a month, so we'll probably just stick with the old rules.


It would be correct, but there's no rules that say that you can add the ench bonus of a weapon to disarm a trap or something, while it's written clear, you add for a combat manouver, if you can use the weapon, and spear has not the trip ability. If you hit the target's leg is a called shot, not a trip. You do damage, and if damage is enough maybe he will fall. A chain instead can wrap and trip the target.


AlecStorm wrote:
It's not the trip ability that permits to add bonus. And I never stated that unarmed attack had the trip ability.

This is where we are having a disconnect with you. Actually, it is the Trip ability that allows you to add the weapon bonuses to the roll.

AlecStorm wrote:

Maybe adding the enanchment bonus of a weapon to disarm or trip it's questionable, but it's written at page 199 of the core rule book.

I think it's correct. Weapon enanchment act not only on the sharp of a blade, but also on its balance, etc.

This is a general rule... that is superceeded by the Trip property (and FAQ's) specific wording.

The trip ability is assigned to certain weapons. These weapons are best suited to trip in the pathfinder universe and were made to specifically to aid the wielder perform a trip.

That is not to say you could not improvise a trip maneuver by slapping someone in the back of the leg with a longspear/longsword/staff.

AlecStorm wrote:
3) Can I trip with a unarmed attack? Yes, indeed its one of the best way human being knows to trip someone. So, add the modifiers.

Honestly, I'm having trouble with your logic that an Unarmed Strike can add the bonus (in your house ruled version) but a staff does not. There are many martial arts that teach the art of using a staff to effectively trip, disarm or otherwise subdue the opponent.

That's just not how the staff or unarmed strike works in Pathfinder.


Indeed, it's possible to use a quarterstaff to trip someone, you need just some skill (in real life). In PF you need some feats, and this is ok for me.

It's different for a normal non trip weapon, like a greataxe. You can make a CALLED SHOT to target's legs, but is different.

I can understand that if you use a weapon in an improper way you don't add the bonus, just like using a +2 shield to bash. But this don't need another rule. The bonus is added only if an ability specifically permit you to use the weapon (like the polearm fighter archetype).

I would like to emphasize that I never stated that you can add unarmed strike bonus and not for a quarterstaff. According to rules at page 199 of the core rulebook I add the bonus for all weapon used in the manouver. If some ability let you use a sword to trip, then, add the bonus.
This is good, because if someone want to trip a target with a broken non magic weapon it will be more difficult than using a +5 weapon.

Adding the bonus for un unarmed strike it's not an house rule. It's just good reading the original rules. I have not interest in this FAQ, that doesn't add nothing to handle the use of weapon in combat. The only thing that change is for unarmed strike, so this should be a FAQ about unarmed strike. I'm also curious about the necessary correction to the polearm fighter, that was created correctly with the right original rules.

In conclusion, GM has to decide what manouvers in wich you use an unarmed strike and according to the rule adding the modifiers.
For example, if you push someone. I would even permit to use a shield (in this situation, the bonuses would be added only if elegible to weapon use, not the shield bonus).


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Waitwaitwait WHAT? So non-disarm weapons don't apply their bonuses to disarm attempts either?

I am suggesting that they probably shouldn't. A whip shouldn't be able to help you bull rush someone, so it shouldn't matter that it's a +5 whip or that you have Weapon Focus (whip). A sap shouldn't be able to help you sunder, so it shouldn't matter that it's a +5 sap or that you have Weapon Focus (sap).

But for now, that's just my interpretation, and I'm going to talk to Jason about it on Monday to see if he agrees.

This really did make me scratch my head when I saw your Trip FAQ, as much as I appreciate it for clearing up the `possibly confusing implication` of the Trip Weapon Qualtity...

Disarm (as a Weapon Quality) has a mechanism make non-Disarm weapons not as good at Disarming: the +2 bonus.
From Trip to come out of left field and institute another mechanism to create such a difference,
but one that is wierdly weighted to make NO difference at low levels (when you don`t have enchanted weapons)
and ALOT of difference at high levels (when you do, although ironically when Trip is least useful given the higher number of Flyers) strikes me as just very complicated and confusing - re-using rules mechanics seems to be a good idea, and I`m just not sure why Disarm`s +2 mechanic isn`t good enough for Trip.

Not to mention that since the Trip FAQ, all other maneuvers seem to have been in a limbo - obviously there`s nothing that would give THEM an exception re: weapon enhancement/other specific bonuses, but if one thinks of the RATIONALE for Trip, you wonder why not... Then again, Disarm already HAS such a difference, so another one isn`t really needed on top.

There is an issue of certain weapons not being appropriate for certain maneuvers: Whip and Bullrush for example should not merely be penalized (ala Trip/Disarm) but NOT ALLOWED by common sense (while Spear or Shield Slam are more than appropriate for Bullrush, and applying Enhancement Bonus to those seem spot-on). I don`t know if that needs hard rules for each maneuver/weapon(class), or just a line saying that not all weapon can deliver every maneuver (and give an example).

I used to not know if Grapple (per RAW) could be delivered via UAS (with bonuses), but that seems ruled out given that there is separate Weapon Focus: Grapple and UAS - although there is separate Weapon Focus: Trip and Weapon Focus: Your Favorite Trip Weapon, so that situation maybe isn`t so clear . Specifically with Grapple, I`m not sure why Grapple isn`t listed a weapon amongst the Close Weapon Training Group and something benefitted by Magic Fang, etc, if it IS `distinct from UAS`.

At least in one point in the Trip/Trip Weapon debate (before your FAQ), there was bandied about the concept of a `weaponless maneuver`, i.e. some maneuvers don`t have, and possibly can`t have, a weapon to deliver them (and share their attack bonuses). There are always exceptional abilities changing the base rules, but it seemed as if Grapple was one of these, and possibly Bull-rush etc (except when Charging, where it mentions the `in place of attack` magic words). THen again, Grapple IS listed under Weapon Focus even if other stuff (Magic Fang) doesn`t seem available to boost it... Does Grapple`s presence on list of possible Weapon Focus`es mean that ALL Maneuvers can have a WEapon Focus taken in them? (how does that affect stacking both Focus:CMB and Focus:weapon used to deliver that CMB?)

`Attack substitutable` maneuvers seemingly can always use a weapon, since Reach weapons provide the case where you can make an attack but ONLY thru a weapon, and if a Reach weapon can, why not a Longsword? Other maneuvers with `special action requirements` don`t have the `they must be!` quality that attack-substitutable maneuvers have re: being able to be delivered via a weapon, but there`s nothing else to suggest that they either CAN or CAN`T BE be deliverd via a weapon (Grapple, Bullrush, etc)

Again, if the rule is just to be `common sense`, that`s fine (if it at least should be stated), but people can and will make arguments like `I`m Grappling him with the Dagger, `pinning` him against the wall`, which is not really clear-cut as something totally allowable or disallowable.

There is also the matter of maneuvers delivered via a non-standard method.
If non-Trip Weapons don`t apply their Enhancement bonus, does that mean Wolves (or those in Wolf form) don`t apply their Amulet of Mighty Fist bonus to Natural Attacks (and the triggering Bite attack) to a triggered Trip ability attack? Likewise for Tripping Strike/Bullrush Strike (Crit Triggered) or Barbarian Knockback/Knockdown (in place of attack).

And re: `Unarmed` Trip attacks (with all that may imply re: weapon-less maneuvers), should you still provoke an UAS if you have Improved Trip but are otherwise Unarmed (for using UAS to deliver the Trip)?

NOTE: Alot of people are still confused about the Trip Weapon thing, mainly whether you actually use the non-Trip Weapon to deliver the Trip or not... basically stemming from your FAQ saying `it`s basically the same as UAS`. Of course, Reach is a huge quality of weapons, but these people don`t think you can actually do that... I would just suggest switching your example case to one where somebody WOULD want to use a weapon to deliver Trip instead of just using Imp UAS, i.e. using weapon reach is helpful.


SKR's latest blog post answers this subject.

http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lcom


As I said. This explain better original rules, and extend to new manouvers.

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