TWF and Unarmed Strikes


Rules Questions

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Hmmm, so if I have a greatsword and a blade boot, my attack can look like this:

Greatsword/Blade boot

Now, for whatever reason, some peps seem to think that if I have a greatsword and an unarmed strike, I am not allowed to perform the following attack.

Greatsword/unarmed strike

And the reason that I can't perform the above attack is because...why?

Is there some magic rule that I have overlooked that clearly disables my ability to two-weapon fight with unarmed strikes. Does the fact that I am using my greatsword somehow cause my legs to stop working (thus preventing me from using unarmed strike [kick])?

*scratches head*

Well...I don't think so.

Last time I checked, an unarmed strike was still a 'light simple bludgeoning melee' weapon. So...yea...not sure why this wouldn't work.


That could be greatsword/shoulder slam, greatsword/footstomp, greatsword/headbutt, gw/knee strike..

Though, I love the idea of Gw/Foot stomp and giving an opponent a -2 to Ac for a round.

"Ow! My foot!" *grabs it out of instinct*...*gets ganked by party rogue*

Liberty's Edge

Rathyr wrote:
HangarFlying wrote:

BBT: when SKR says that it is a fundamental assumption of the game, why do we have to expect anything more?

EDIT: furthermore, what SKR is saying is consistent with the printing of the rules in the CRB & Bestiary.

Because we play a game of written rules, not guessing at Dev RAI.

There is no rule that states you can only use two limbs. This isn't a grey area that was clarified by a Dev. This is completely new information springing from the void, and was stated to be RAI.

And Blade Boot isnt alone. Boulder Helm. Armor Spikes. Barbazu beard. Is Blade Boots really the exception? Or are YOU making an exception for Unarmed Strikes?

Yes, we play a game of written rules—rules that need to be interpreted. Fortunately, the rules developer, one who has extensive knowledge with the 3.x rules system, has provided us with direction on how we are to interpret the rules in this situation. There is no need to guess on what he is intending. And this isn't new info that just popped up. If a game developer states that the core rules of the game has a basic assumption on how the game is played, I think you can be pretty confident that it has always been this way.

Do you really need a FAQ entry to understand the obvious, or can you just take the developer's comments at face value and move on.

As far as the boot-blade, I knew there were more examples talked about earlier in the thread but I couldn't remember what they were.


I love it when people claim an issue is "obvious"... in a thread that is 553 posts long. Never mind the other threads.

This isn't new info? A creature can only ever use 2 limbs total for attacking? (only not in some circumstances, such as natural attacks, tonnes of specific weapons and so on. HOWEVER the two limb restriction DOES apply when using UAS as a kick with a 2hander. That's different, see?).

Yeah. Sure. SUPER obvious. No conflict of rules in there at all.

And for the record... he never spelled out the exact formula that PCs were supposed to be limited by. So telling us "there's a limit!" and not telling us what that limit is... doesn't actually help us figure out what this magically obvious limitation is (but only on UAS, remember?). But hey, no need to guess, right? It's obvious.

There are no actual rules to "interpreted". That's the problem. It was all complete opinion that was not reflected in the written rules of the game.

Thankfully, for the 99.9% of the game not reading the forums and that rely on their rulebooks, they won't have to be tripped up with this "obvious" RAI answer and just play the game as it was written.


Manufactured Weapons
Natural Weapons
Unarmed Strikes

As per the RAW, these are three totally different things. As such, they have different rules interpretations.

Yes, you can make a "common sense" argument that, since you have two hands, you can TWF with UAS. You could make the exact same "common sense" argument with a pair of claws. You would be utterly wrong on the claws, but somehow it's so far-fetched to think you could be wrong on the UAS too?


Since SKR has now said it can be done, albeit unofficialy at this point, I'm gonna say yes there is standing to say that I'm probably not wrong about how it works.


Link?


Talonhawke wrote:
And here is a lengthy post by SKR talking about natural attacks and unarmed strikes in which he used examples of TWF with unarmed strikes.

Here it is again for those that missed it.


Considering the back-and-forth goes on quite a while, I'd say it's still a pretty unclear issue. (And as long as UAS counts as it's own thing, it always will be.)
(Not to mention, the RAW is pretty clear that you can combine natural attacks and iterative attacks as long as they don't use the same limb, but SKR seems to be arguing against that option whenever possible. -Edit- It looks like he opened a nice big can of worms and then left it sitting on the table... <_<)


That's why I said unofficialy but its clear he believes that two punches or kicks is just fine.


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Rathyr wrote:

Found this gem the other day. Poisoner's Gloves, UE, pg 239.

"The wearer can deliver the dose to a target as a melee touch attack or as part of an unarmed strike or natural attack with the hands (such as a claw or slam attack). The wearer can use both gloves in the same round using two-weapon fighting or multiple natural attacks (such as two claws or two slams)."

There you go. Another nail in the coffin that is people arguing you can't TWF with Unarmed Strikes. Unlike the barbarian rage power, there is no wiggle room for what is intended with this game element. As the gloves can only be used with unarmed attacks (or natural weapons), there is zero room for misreading this paragraph when it refers to two weapon fighting. It HAS to be used with unarmed strikes.

every one of you is missing this item above which clearly states you can TWF with UAS.

Liberty's Edge

Rathyr wrote:

I love it when people claim an issue is "obvious"... in a thread that is 553 posts long. Never mind the other threads.

This isn't new info? A creature can only ever use 2 limbs total for attacking? (only not in some circumstances, such as natural attacks, tonnes of specific weapons and so on. HOWEVER the two limb restriction DOES apply when using UAS as a kick with a 2hander. That's different, see?).

Yeah. Sure. SUPER obvious. No conflict of rules in there at all.

And for the record... he never spelled out the exact formula that PCs were supposed to be limited by. So telling us "there's a limit!" and not telling us what that limit is... doesn't actually help us figure out what this magically obvious limitation is (but only on UAS, remember?). But hey, no need to guess, right? It's obvious.

There are no actual rules to "interpreted". That's the problem. It was all complete opinion that was not reflected in the written rules of the game.

Thankfully, for the 99.9% of the game not reading the forums and that rely on their rulebooks, they won't have to be tripped up with this "obvious" RAI answer and just play the game as it was written.

Remember, we're talking about standard BAB +0/+1 (i.e. non-iterative attacks) PC race humanoids (elf, dwarf, human, etc). These creatures are only allowed to make one attack in normal situations. If they want to make a second attack, they must do so with a second "hand" as an "off-hand" attack—the limiting formula; not rocket science. Heck, it's even printed in the book. SKR does say that the game supposes "hands" to be hands, but adds that there is no reason why they can't be hand-waved as something else (kick, headbutt, etc).

When we are talking about attacking with a greatsword, both the primary hand and the off-hand are being used to make the attack. This is why the bonus is 1.5 STR: the bonus from the primary hand and the bonus from the off-hand are added together. You would need to have the ability to make an additional off-hand attack to be able to TWF with a greatsword. Where do the rules say that you get a second off-hand attack? If the creature had three or more hands, then we have something. Unfortunately, that doesn't apply here because we are talking about standard PC races.

Everything is interpreted. When you read something, you are attempting to understand an idea that the author is trying to convey to you. Sometimes it is fairly easy. Other times it s more difficult. There are reasons why technical manuals are dry and monotonous: the authors are attempting to prevent any ambiguity in the message they are trying to convey.

While Pathfinder (and other games) are not technical manuals by any means, they are documents that are written with the understanding that the readers can read them and then be expected to behave in a certain way (certainly, this assumption doesn't take into account house rules). Obviously, there is some ambiguity, or else there would be no need for a rules forum/FAQ or what-have-you. Fortunately, we have the developers available to give us their opinions (yes, even the FAQs are opinions on how the developers think you should read the rules or their opinions on what should change). They have the ability to tell us: "when we wrote this rule, we intended you to use interpretation A, and not use interpretation B". So, while it may not be an "official" opinion posted on a blog or in a FAQ, we at least have insight into how the developers expected us to behave when they wrote what they wrote. Notice he doesn't say "this is how I would do it..." or "if this were my table, I would do..." He is offering an authoritative opinion.

Your dismissive attitude towards his professional opinion, merely because you didn't read it by pushing the "Help/FAQ" button brings your sincerity of playing the game by author intent (what you refer to as RAW) into question. If you truly are trying to play RAW (which I can only assume because you are participating in the rules forum), you need to be accepting of non-FAQ/Blog opinions to help guide your understanding of how the developers are trying to get you to read and interpret the rules. To do otherwise is disingenuous.


Again, an "authoritative opinion" that springs from nothing isn't nearly as helpful as you might think. It casts previous rules into confusion and doesn't clarify as much as it muddles other issues.

Keep in mind his entire post was in reference to natural weapon and TWF/unarmed strikes... and falls completely flat when dealing with ALL non-claw natural weapons. The idea that Claw/Claw/UAS/UAS (kick) is munchkiny but Bite/Gore/UAS/UAS(punch) is fine does not sit well with those that don't question a single thing a developer says.

He also says
"The answer is no, your legs didn't stop working, but you're still running up against the game's assumption that you're making up to two attacks per round using TWF."

Last time I checked, 2hander + UAS (kick) was still only 2 attacks a round. Whoops! Which is it? 2 limb limit? Or 2 attacks from TWF limit?

Again, I am a huge fan of clarifications of grey areas. I understand how the tentacle now works, for example. But I am not in blind favor of that TWF post, because as you can see from the following posts, there is a large amount of "WTF rules are we playing by". You can chalk it up to a "dismissive attitude towards his professional opinion" if you'd like, but that is quite far from the case. Being critical of a clarification that does not mesh at all with a variety of other rules should be expected on the rules forum.

Oh, and author intent and RAW are NOT the same thing. Ideally, they are. In this case, they are nowhere close.

Liberty's Edge

You must be reading a different SKR quote than the one I am referring to.

First, to address the natural attack thing you're talking about:

Off-Topic Natural Attack Discussion:
No where does he say that nat/nat/kick/kick is bad but nat/nat/punch/punch is good. The paragraph in which he says that is him quoting a hypothetical situation, not him commenting on how things should be. The next paragraph provides his explanation on the situation: no, your legs don't stop working but you are limited in the number of attacks you have available.

He declares that the intended interpretation of the rules are that you can make nat/nat attacks, weapon/nat attacks, weapon/UAS attacks, UAS/UAS attacks, nat/UAS attacks, etc. because these combinations fall within the allowed number of attacks provided by the rules.

He then says that it is incorrect to interpret the rules to have additional attacks above what you are allowed just because you have legs and a head.

Finally, he concludes that you can't make iterative attacks with the same natural weapon. Natural weapons don't get iterations.

Nothing he wrote is inconsistent with the rules as they are currently printed in the book.

Now, to the greatsword/TWF thing:

SKR wrote:
The core rules assume that you're a humanoid creature and you only have two "limbs" to attack with each round if you're using the "fighting with two weapons" option.

You have two things limiting you: two limbs and two weapons. If you hold a weapon in each hand, both limiting factors are satisfied. Unfortunately, attacking with a greatsword and an UAS, while meeting the two weapon limitation, exceeds the two limbs limitation and is, therefore, an invalid attack combination.

As far as the RAW/author intent thing: how can what is written not be the intent of the author? The author isn't going to say "I'm going to write 'roll 1d20', but I really intend for them to roll 2d10". He is going to write with the understanding that what he writes is going to be interpreted in a certain way. Granted, he may not be clear in his description, which could lead to ambiguity, but that doesn't change the fact that what is written down is the intent of the author.


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Read that entire post, would you?

"The answer is no, your legs didn't stop working, but you're still running up against the game's assumption that you're making up to two attacks per round using TWF. And you are making two attacks per round: 2 claw attacks. And you're doing it at a better attack bonus than you were with two (unarmed strike) punches"

What does this even mean? The intent is because you have 2 claws, you can't TWF, because you are running up against the game's assumption that you're making up to two attacks per round? This is what I am talking about when I say "rules from the nothing". This is just... what? SKR continues to talk about intent, and then goes on to say "And yes, the rules say that if you're using a manufactured weapon or unarmed strikes, you CAN use them in conjunction with natural attacks, "so long as a different limb is used for each attack." Ok, great, so the rules explicitly allow it, but we are supposed to know about this RAI limit?

Anyways, I tire of seeing that post taken out of context, when he is talking about "two limbs" and "two attack", he is referring to not getting 4 attacks a round for having 2 arms and 2 legs. YOU are choosing to take it out of context and interpret it as "You can't TWF with a 2 hander and a kick, because that is THREE LIMBS". Rubbish. Is a shield/sword + kick fine then? Needlessly making exceptions for some things when the rules themselves are fine the way they are.

Two weapon fighting requires one thing: Two weapons. Paizo needs to not publish off slot weapons and/or state that you can't use two handers if this is not the intent. Because the rules certainly don't prevent it, and an obscure post about tentacles and UAS is not sufficient grounds to completely ignore a huge portion of the published rules.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
HangarFlying wrote:

If you argue that way, then the fighter could not use a boot-blade and greatsword in the the same round.

The problem there is that the boot-blade is an actual defined weapon, not an unarmed strike. The fact that the attack is being made by kicking your foot is mechanically irrelevant. Making such a distinction is just the same as saying hand(unarmed strike) or hand(long sword) should not be treated different.

The rule is: a standard race BAB +0 creature may not use more than two limbs in a single round. The boot-blade is an exception to that rule, because it allows a 2H-weapon fighter to get in an extra off-hand attack with a weapon when they would normally not be able to do so.

EDIT: organization

i'd argue that boot blade + greatsword with two weapon fighting would be the same as kick + greatsword. you're using three limbs to attack because the greatsword occupies two "hands".

if you're going to use that logic, you can TWF with a longsword and boot blade or longsword and kick, but not if you're going to use the longsword two handed. and you're looking to account for two "hands" per SKR, loosely defined first-hand and off-hand attacks.

if you're attacking with a two-handed weapon already, you're out of hands. Natural attacks like a bite however, specifically can be added. A kick, since its not a natural weapon, cannot.


So why can't it be two attacks per BAB when TWFing?
TWF with +1 BAB? Two attacks. One or both could be UAS.
TWF with +6/+1 BAB? 4 attacks. One or all could be UAS.
And so on and so forth.
Haste give an extra attcack with full BAB? That attack with TWF would be two attacks.

Why can't that be the limit of attacks when using UAS? Why do we have to nitpick about how many more extra attacks we get with however many limbs we have?


So I came across this thread and I'm very confused by all this arguing.

The first page quote on two weapon fighting makes it very clear.

The combat maneuver specifically says "If you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you can get one extra attack per round with that weapon." It's very specific. A weapon, in your off hand. The combat maneuver does not say, if you wear a weapon on your body, you get an extra attack. It specifically says, weapon in off hand = extra attack via this combat maneuver.
Now, two handed weapons have a tiny bit of breathing room for argument. "Two hands are required to use a two-handed melee weapon effectively." When quoted by itself, you could argue that it doesn't specify main and off hand, but when you read the entire article about the "light, one-handed, two-handed" quality of weapons, it makes it fairly clear that two-handed weapons require your main hand and your off hand, since only 2 hands are referenced in the article. The only exception to this I could see is if you start dealing with characters who have more than 2 hands, but then again adding a 3rd arm mucks up all of the rules. Such racism.

Now, two weapon fighting states that an unarmed strike is a light weapon. So simple enough, your off hand is armed with the light weapon UAS, and you're good.
This unfortunately means that in order to TWF your UAS, you must make your extra attacks with your off-hand, otherwise the combat maneuver will not grant you an additional attack.

All these arguments about boot blades (not an off hand slot, it's a foot.) and using knees and heads are all completely wishful thinking.
Rules as written, for the combat maneuver, is you get an extra attack for striking with a weapon from your off-hand.

Personally this revelation is disappointing. I like the idea of sweeping my greatsword into my foe and then following-through with a spiked shoulder strike, but sadly this cannot be in RAW.


So your saying that boot-blades, boulder helmets, and armor spikes ALM of which aren't wielded in hand can't be used in TWF?

How about kicking must I hold my foot to kick someone after I stab them with a sword?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This, again?


Sorry didn't see that his post was from two weeks ago when I saw the thread had new post since I checked it last.


Talonhawke wrote:

So your saying that boot-blades, boulder helmets, and armor spikes ALM of which aren't wielded in hand can't be used in TWF?

How about kicking must I hold my foot to kick someone after I stab them with a sword?

No, I'm saying that you have to consider attacks made by those weapons as attacks made with your main hand mechanic or your off hand mechanic. They're not bonus attacks just because they use a different appendage.


Iorthol wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:

So your saying that boot-blades, boulder helmets, and armor spikes ALM of which aren't wielded in hand can't be used in TWF?

How about kicking must I hold my foot to kick someone after I stab them with a sword?

No, I'm saying that you have to consider attacks made by those weapons as attacks made with your main hand mechanic or your off hand mechanic. They're not bonus attacks just because they use a different appendage.

Then I misunderstood sorry. I thought you were saying the weapons had to be in hand.

No I agree with you there is a main and off hand. It would probably work better if it were named primary and secondary attacks instead of attacks.


'Primary' and 'Secondary' are already claimed by natural attacks (in which the terms mean something completely different from Main-hand and Off-hand with TWF). The idea of "linking" offhand such that using your off-hand to wield a 2-h precludes using any other off-hand attack is ridiculous; who would use a boot blade or barbazu beard exclusively for TWF with a 1-h weapon when there are so many better weapons to utilize? Not to mention that Barbazu Beard explicitly calls out its purpose is to be able to TWF with it while also wielding a 2-h weapon.


Even if it was main attack and off attack ( needs better name) it would at least get people past the thought of needing hands

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