The Age Old, Enchanting a Monk's Unarmed Strikes.


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

Can we do it? Is it doable? Anybody done it yet? Does everybody ask this question at a certain point?

Thank you.


No, you can't. Its not debatable, you can't enchant natural weapons or unarmed strikes. Your instead expected to buy this thing called an Amulet of mighty fist. You have four or more primary attacks and hey, it might be worth your time! If not... You should start looking for a temple sword.

In order... RAW No, RAW no, in a home game 100 times, And probably. In a homegame your free to enchant away(find a way to make two weapon enchanting cheaper too while your at it). I wouldn't mind it if someone enchanted their fist. In particular I want to see flaming fist, if only for cinematic moments. Best i could ever do was enchant a guys burned man bandages. He wore it on his head instead though.


The price on the Amulet of Mighty fists is now equal to the price of two weapons. This makes it competitive for Monks vs TWF builds.

Alternately, you can get Greater Magic Fang permanently cast upon a monk.

- Gauss


The AoMF also can only be enchanted to a certain level, and your still stuck paying twice as much as the guy with a 2 handed sword. He can have the same enhance as you, armor just at the same enhance level, and about a quarter of your payment plan in whatever else he chooses. Its still a little on the pricey side, as is two weapon fighting.

Scarab Sages

So... Hold up, let me get this straight! This is even better than paying 8000 for the first special ability. All I have to do is pay 4000 and I can have all my natural weapons and unarmed strikes have the AGILE enchantment on them? Wicked!!!!!


Yes, but they won't be magic and they are subject to DR magic. Unless you have Eldritch claws(lvl 7), also 16k for the next upgrade.(12k if your upgrading). and as you go up in levels the difference between you and other people gets worse. Also it can't go above +5.


AoMF is very good if you have multiple natural attacks.

However, if you're just a regular unarmed monk you're basically paying twice as much as a weapon user.

Scarab Sages

MrSin wrote:
Yes, but they won't be magic and they are subject to DR magic. Unless you have Eldritch claws(lvl 7), also 16k for the next upgrade.(12k if your upgrading). and as you go up in levels the difference between you and other people gets worse. Also it can't go above +5.

So, after paying 16 for a Furious enchantment on the Amulet, I would have magical +2 claws while raging. Is that two to attack and damage or just one to attack and 2 to damage?


+2 to both, and it would qualify as magical damage. If I'm thinking correctly anyway.


Ninja, that really isnt correct. FoB is effectively Two-Weapon Fighting. AoMF is priced the same as two weapons (up to +5). So if we compare apples to apples (FoB to TWF) the Monk is paying the same amount as a TWF build.

- Gauss


Heres a good question for you, can you put courageous on it? Can you put courageous on it and then wield a magic greatsword? What are the consequences?

Its two weapon fighting you can do with one hand or weapon. If you use a temple sword you can attack as many times as a person wielding two weapons and the featline, but with that one temple sword. Its a much cheaper alternative to enchanting with the AoMF. I think power attack can still get its bonus damage as if using it 2 handed also, which is very nifty! but I may be wrong. I know it still uses a set strength bonus that doesn't change.


Then why does The Monk entry in The Core Rulebook state...

Core Rulebook wrote:
A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

Does a weapon enhancement somehow not count as a spell or effect that enhances or improves a manufactured weapon?

I was always under the impression that the reason this was added to the Unarmed Strike section because it allowed the Monk to circumvent the rule stating you cannot enhance natural weapons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Quick Question on this.....I did not think the Flurry of Blows was consider Two weapon fighting....I mean by the rules you can do it with a two handed weapon. So since not all monk weapons are either one handed or double it would seem strange that your need two of them. A Tiger Fork is two handed (not a double weapon) and is consider a monk weapon, meaning you can flurry with it but you are not allowed to flurry with a single kama? Seems like it might be up to the monk they could wield one or two weapons depending on his choice and style....at least that is the way I read it.

PRD
A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands.


Slamy:

CRB p57 Flurry of Blows wrote:
When doing so he may make one additional attack using any combination of unarmed strikes or attacks with a special monk weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham) as if using the Two-Weapon Fighting feat (even if the monk does not meet the prerequisites for the feat).

So yes, it is considered TWF even if it is a strange version of it that can be used with a single weapon.

I think of it as TWF that you can save yourself money if you use a single weapon and forgo the monk's unarmed strike damage.

Personally, I would build it towards the weapon early and then, when unarmed strike damage gets large enough and I have enough money, replace the weapon with AoMF and unarmed strike damage.

- Gauss


I'm not sure if the weapon damage ever adds up high enough to make the difference between wielding a temple sword and power attacking with it. It isn't until 12th that the fist finally hit for more weapon damage, and even then the price of the AoMF is twice as much as just enchanting the sword. If power attack works with it as if it were held in two hands, then its even longer until the fist hit harder.


MrSin, I didnt say what the break point was, I just said when that break point is achieved I would switch.

Note: I would include the extra cash spent on AoMF in the calculations. If the extra cash adds up to more damage on the temple sword side of the equation then the temple sword is the winner.

- Gauss


I know, I'm clarifying when the break point is. I'm not one to go through and peak at all the math for it. Just look at the charts in the book. I can leave the math to someone else.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gauss wrote:
The price on the Amulet of Mighty fists is now equal to the price of two weapons. This makes it competitive for Monks vs TWF builds.

Not really, as the TWFer does not have to have both weapons enchanted to the same enhancement with the same properties, even if it's a double weapon, but you do. He isn't capped at +5 total for enhancement and properties combined, you are. In other words, he has more potential and greater flexibility, as well as better weapons.

Gauss wrote:
Alternately, you can get Greater Magic Fang permanently cast upon a monk.

That has it's own problem, dispel magic being among them. Also, there is still confusion as to whether GMF will grant your unarmed strike more than a +1 bonus based on how many 'weapons' it is.

Slamy Mcbiteo wrote:
Quick Question on this.....I did not think the Flurry of Blows was consider Two weapon fighting....I mean by the rules you can do it with a two handed weapon.

Mechanically it is for attack bonus. It isn't for other things. A Temple Sword, used two-handed with power attack (which still grants a +3 for every -1 you take) is your best weapon.


Just house rule your AoMF to +10 cap.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Which would help, yes. The only issue is that it would help the druid and his animal companion more than the monk. Plus you can't use house-rules in a PFS game.


Dabbler wrote:
Gauss wrote:
Alternately, you can get Greater Magic Fang permanently cast upon a monk.
That has it's own problem, dispel magic being among them. Also, there is still confusion as to whether GMF will grant your unarmed strike more than a +1 bonus based on how many 'weapons' it is.

This has a FAQ now:

Official Paizo FAQ wrote:

Unarmed Strike: For the purpose of magic fang and other spells, is an unarmed strike your whole body, or is it a part of your body (such as a fist or kick)?

As written, the text isn't as clear as it could be. Because magic fang requires the caster to select a specific natural attack to affect, you could interpret that to mean you have to do the same thing for each body part you want to enhance with the spell (fist, elbow, kick, knee, headbutt, and so on).
However, there's no game mechanic specifying what body part a monk has to use to make an unarmed strike (other than if the monk is holding an object with his hands, he probably can't use that hand to make an unarmed strike), so a monk could just pick a body part to enhance with the spell and always use that body part, especially as the 12/4/2012 revised ruling for flurry of blows allows a monk to flurry with the same weapon (in this case, an unarmed strike) for all flurry attacks.
This means there is no game mechanical reason to require magic fang and similar spells to specify one body part for an enhanced unarmed strike. Therefore, a creature's unarmed strike is its entire body, and a magic fang (or similar spell) cast on a creature's unarmed strike affects all unarmed strikes the creature makes.
The text of magic fang will be updated slightly in the next Core Rulebook update to take this ruling into account.

—Pathfinder Design Team, 03/01/13

Source


Meh, by the time you can afford the +6 enchantment the druids ac is starting to fall behind on effectiveness. If the druid is building him/herself to be a melee character, then I don't see the issue. Buying two AoMF's to plus ten would be ridiculously prohibitive in terms of cost.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Cool. Doesn't stop it being dispelled, though, and it doesn't get past any DR the way a magic weapon does. Granted the monk has a boost in this direction now, but he's still stymied by DR/alignment (except DR/lawful, if you can find it).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

That FAQ certainly answers the "two weapon fighting with unarmed strikes only" question.


Dabbler, just have a ring of Counterspell with Dispel Magic stored. Thatll stop Dispel Magic. :)

As for the difference between Two weapons vs AoMF I think the actual use is that the two weapons will have the same enhancement bonus or be within 1 point of each other. Thus the difference between two weapons and AoMF is going to be minimal.

Regarding the +5 limit of AoMF, I agree that is an issue and frankly, it shouldn't be limited to +5. I also houserule it as a +10 max limit. Still, since many games never reach +6 does that really matter? I have yet to play a Pathfinder game past level 15 (note, I have played 3.X games up to Epic although usually those capped at around level 15 too). At level 15 you are just barely able to purchase 2 +5 weapons and call them reasonable purchases.

- Gauss


The 1 point difference could be... 2000, 6000, 10000, 14000, or 18000 going up to +5. Thats the number difference between each tier. A monk uses one weapon not 2 though, so the difference is much wider than that, being 2k at +1, and being 50k at +5. At +2 you could buy a +2 headband and belt of whatever for the price difference. Money is good for things in dnd.


MrSin, that is the point of the breakpoint. After all of the bonuses have been accumulated and there is excess money eventually there might be a point where unarmed damage exceeds that of a 2handed monk weapon.

I am not going to crunch the numbers to determine where the breakpoint is. Once, I would have done so but now I am busy. :)

But, I can readily show if at maximum level which of the two options has a greater potential for damage.

Assuming:
Seven Branched Sword (1d10 2handed damage)
A starting strength of 20 (just because, we are pushing absurdity of course).
Every level point is placed into strength (+5)
+6 enhancement bonus to strength (36,000gp)
+5 inherent bonus to strength from a friendly wizard (125,000gp)
(Total Strength is now 36)
+5 enhancement bonus to either 1 weapon (50,000gp) or from an Amulet of Mighty Fists (100,000gp).
Power Attack. (-6/+12 or -6/+18)

Unarmed: 2d10+13str+5enhancement+12 = 41avg
Sword: 1d10+19.5+5+18 = 48avg

As shown, breakpoint is never achieved.
Note: If the Unarmed combatant had Dragon Style then the damage would be 47.5 vs 48 which is almost parity but not worth the price tag.

If the GM house ruled that anything which increased strength bonus to 1.5 also increased Power Attack then it might at that point be worth it. But probably still not since that would only increase the damage to 5.5 average points over the sword for a price tag of 50,000gp.

Again, I had not stated I believed that Unarmed Strike was better. I stated that compared to TWF it is comparable. I also stated that if the breakpoint between single weapon and unarmed strike were to ever be achieved I would switch. I also believe that, in general, TWF is subpar at best.

- Gauss


Gauss, I was under the impression that using Flurry of Blows means you only at 1x your strength and Power Attack mod to damage, even if you use a weapon in two hands?

"A monk applies his full Strength bonus to his damage rolls for all successful attacks made with flurry of blows, whether the attacks are made with an off-hand or with a weapon wielded in both hands."

So your sword damage would look like this:
Sword: 1d10+13+5+12 = 35.5 avg

Certainly no one forces you to use FoB with your sword, you can make normal attacks with it, for 48 dmg per hit.
However you will attack only half as often and at a -5 to hit penalty because your BAB is now lower.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Power Attack has nothing to do with strength. It is the weapon, and how you wield it that matters.


Gauss wrote:

Ninja, that really isnt correct. FoB is effectively Two-Weapon Fighting. AoMF is priced the same as two weapons (up to +5). So if we compare apples to apples (FoB to TWF) the Monk is paying the same amount as a TWF build.

- Gauss

One of the primary benefits of FoB is that the monk can choose to make all attacks with one weapon (or any combo of weapons). Forcing the monk to then pay TWF prices (without the ability to stagger the upgrades, at that) to upgrade his unarmed attack negates that benefit.

So you come out far ahead money wise if you're just enchanting one primary weapon (probably a temple sword) and using it for all of your attacks. So, again, the unarmed monk is effectively paying twice as much to upgrade his weapon.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gauss wrote:
Dabbler, just have a ring of Counterspell with Dispel Magic stored. Thatll stop Dispel Magic. :)

Only the first one, if an enemy is de-buffing the party he'll spam them.

Gauss wrote:
As for the difference between Two weapons vs AoMF I think the actual use is that the two weapons will have the same enhancement bonus or be within 1 point of each other. Thus the difference between two weapons and AoMF is going to be minimal.

Actually they can have very different properties, making them useful against different kinds of foes. You also have the option of NOT using both weapons to gain an effective +2 to hit with the remaining attacks (useful against very high AC targets). Two weapon shave more flexibility than the AoMF.

I've seen TWFers max out one weapon while leaving the other at just +1 or +2. Why? Gives them better odds of some attacks landing, particularly on standard actions.

Gauss wrote:
Regarding the +5 limit of AoMF, I agree that is an issue and frankly, it shouldn't be limited to +5. I also houserule it as a +10 max limit. Still, since many games never reach +6 does that really matter? I have yet to play a Pathfinder game past level 15 (note, I have played 3.X games up to Epic although usually those capped at around level 15 too). At level 15 you are just barely able to purchase 2 +5 weapons and call them reasonable purchases.

What I would prefer to see is this class that is allegedly the least dependent on equipment by concept actually be able to fulfil that promise in design.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Power Attack has nothing to do with strength. It is the weapon, and how you wield it that matters.

Debatable but ok, lets assume that's true.

Still Strength does not get multiplied:

Sword: 1d10+13+5+18 = 41.5 avg

Slightly better now than the unarmed strike, but not by such a wide margin anymore.
However still cheaper, so yes it remains better.

However I know GMs that say "if you Str gets 1x bonus then PA only gets the onehanded mod either", so it's still a valid point i guess.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Then you have DMs that don't know the rules, or defy them with houserules.

Power Attack has nothing to do with strength.

It is the weapon, and how you wield it that matters.

This is RAW.


BBT, I am not sure why you corrected me regarding Power Attack since in the numbers portion I followed the rules on it.

If you check what I wrote you will see that I said: "If the GM house ruled that anything which increased strength bonus to 1.5 also increased Power Attack then it might at that point be worth it.".

Quatar, regarding the 1x or 1.5x strength mod, it is debatable but to not get into that debate I went with the 'least favorable to unarmed strike' interpretation. I should have included that statement in my comparison but as you stated, it still doesn't help enough.

- Gauss


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Power Attack states specifically:

"This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls."

This bones is not directly linked to the strength bonus to damage when wielding a 2-handed weapon, ergo there is no treason not to apply it for the monk using flurry of blows.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes you can enchant your fists...in a way.

You just have to pay 7500 gold and have someone to cast greater magic fang and Permanency on you.


Dabbler wrote:

Power Attack states specifically:

"This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls."

This bones is not directly linked to the strength bonus to damage when wielding a 2-handed weapon, ergo there is no treason not to apply it for the monk using flurry of blows.

The debate is regarding where you parse that clause.

A) ...if you are making an attack with (a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon) that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls.

B) ...if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or (a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls).

Personally, I think reading (B) makes the most sense because if it were reading A, all they needed to say was "...making an attack that adds 1.5x Str mod on damage." and the rest of the verbiage is superfluous.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

(B) makes the most sense because grammatically that is how the good old Oxford comma after "two hands" breaks up the sentence. It's not how it may be interpreted, it's how it IS written.

@Banecrow: Greater Magic Fang/Weapon merely gives you an attack and damage bonus, the enhancement bonus does not count for overcoming DR. It is also susceptible to dispelling, which then leaves you crippled if you were depending on it.

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