Monk's unarmed strike damage and Brass knuckles / Cestus?


Rules Questions

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The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

seebs wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
But PF is a social game, and that means there is a social contract between players, and that social contract includes the idea of "I'm not going to try to cheat the system." In other words, "the rules don't say I can't" is a weak argument for your actions if you know the rules aren't supposed to let you do that, even if the rules don't explicitly say you can't do that. Doing so puts the player into an adversarial relationship with the GM, trying to twist the intent of the rule while observing the letter of it, which is the same sort of thing that leads to GMs twisting interpretations of wish spells [...]

Can we get this paragraph or so as a sticky, please?

I seriously think this is a really important thing about the rules discussions

Are we in agreement? If your suggestion means there would be an official "don't twist rules in silly ways because we don't write them with people intending to do so", then I'm on board.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
seebs wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
But PF is a social game, and that means there is a social contract between players, and that social contract includes the idea of "I'm not going to try to cheat the system." In other words, "the rules don't say I can't" is a weak argument for your actions if you know the rules aren't supposed to let you do that, even if the rules don't explicitly say you can't do that. Doing so puts the player into an adversarial relationship with the GM, trying to twist the intent of the rule while observing the letter of it, which is the same sort of thing that leads to GMs twisting interpretations of wish spells [...]

Can we get this paragraph or so as a sticky, please?

I seriously think this is a really important thing about the rules discussions, which people tend to keep overlooking. I love arguing about rules pedantically because that helps me understand the rules. And I will joke with my GM about these things. The other week, I said "so I found a funny thing in one of the rule books", and she said "I did not know what fear was until I started playing with you guys."

And I will cheerfully tell her about the idea of doing astral projection while carrying 125k of diamond dust, meeting a friend who plane shifted to another plane, wishing one of their stats up by five, and then returning to the non-duplicate-copy of your body which still has its gear and possessions. But I would never, ever, try to do that, or the simulacrum of an efreet, or anything like that, because that's stupid.

I think this is a nonsense argument in the context of this rules discussion.

Disregarding stated developer intent that goes against a reasonable reading of the revised rules is not an individual trying to "cheat the system" and does not break the social contract of gamers coming together in order to play a fun game as a group.

We are simply discussing a minor rules interpretation that does not lead to significant game unbalancing one way or the other.

Whether a weapon that interacts to enhance unarmed strikes can be used as part of a monk's unarmed strike is minor in its implications and does not impact the gamer social contract as planar binding efreeti for unlimited free wishes, simulacrum nonsense, and astral exploits would.

This is not players trying to cheat the system leading to DMs being adversarial and screw over in game wishes.


Bandw2 wrote:
hmmm... can brass knuckles be used in a style feat that requires an unarmed strike?

Three interpretations:

1) Of course, they specifically allow use with unarmed strikes so they can be used with any unarmed strike.

2) Yes, but only in a limited way. They allow unarmed strike damage to be lethal damage so their only use with martial art unarmed strikes is turning it lethal, they do not allow the martial art unarmed strike to use their special material for DR purposes, enhancement bonuses or magical qualities, etc.

3) Of course not, the stated intent is that they are their own manufactured weapons and can not be used as part of unarmed strikes. This is a clarification and not errata, the reference to unarmed strikes should be removed for clarity, and the developer's stated in 2011(?) on the forums that it will be corrected in the future.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Voadam wrote:
Disregarding stated developer intent ... does not break the social contract of gamers coming together in order to play a fun game as a group.

To you maybe, but it breaks my social contract with you and being frank If you don't accept "no it doesn't work that way" then I don't want you at my table.


James Risner wrote:
seebs wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
But PF is a social game, and that means there is a social contract between players, and that social contract includes the idea of "I'm not going to try to cheat the system." In other words, "the rules don't say I can't" is a weak argument for your actions if you know the rules aren't supposed to let you do that, even if the rules don't explicitly say you can't do that. Doing so puts the player into an adversarial relationship with the GM, trying to twist the intent of the rule while observing the letter of it, which is the same sort of thing that leads to GMs twisting interpretations of wish spells [...]

Can we get this paragraph or so as a sticky, please?

I seriously think this is a really important thing about the rules discussions

Are we in agreement? If your suggestion means there would be an official "don't twist rules in silly ways because we don't write them with people intending to do so", then I'm on board.

Good luck getting everyone to agree on what counts as twisting rules in silly ways.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Chengar Qordath wrote:
Good luck getting everyone to agree on what counts as twisting rules in silly ways.

Not required.

Since this would all be worked out at the tables.

A sticky like that would go a long way to stamping out the "this is the one true RAW and your interpretation isn't RAW" back and forth.

Basically what I got from his post was:
There should be a sticky note saying "there is no such thing as only one way to read a rule that could have multiple interpretations", so work it out at your tables.


James Risner wrote:
If you don't accept "no it doesn't work that way" then I don't want you at my table.

In the context of a specific game I was playing in I would absolutely accept the DM's stated interpretation as to the applicable rules they were using to run the game.

Does not change what I think the RAW indicate and I might discuss it with them though. :)

And in the context of a forum discussion about the specific rule the statement "no it doesn't work that way" without more is not much of a helpful statement.


James Risner wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Good luck getting everyone to agree on what counts as twisting rules in silly ways.

Not required.

Since this would all be worked out at the tables.

A sticky like that would go a long way to stamping out the "this is the one true RAW and your interpretation isn't RAW" back and forth.

Basically what I got from his post was:
There should be a sticky note saying "there is no such thing as only one way to read a rule that could have multiple interpretations", so work it out at your tables.

The post does not read to me as saying work it out at your table. It says don't cheat the system by following the RAW but going against RAI.

Quote:
"the rules don't say I can't" is a weak argument for your actions if you know the rules aren't supposed to let you do that, even if the rules don't explicitly say you can't do that.

This is not "work it out at your table", it is "don't argue RAW when you know RAI is different" and suggesting that those who do are effectively cheating and violating social contracts.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Voadam wrote:
This is not "work it out at your table", it is "don't argue RAW when you know RAI is different" and suggesting that those who do are effectively cheating and violating social contracts.

No it is more like "there are two RAW's, one that matches RAI and one that match non-RAI so work out at your table which one you want to use."


graystone wrote:
I find it amusing that the PRD STILL has this line in it about the brass knuckles. "Monks are proficient with brass knuckles and can use their monk unarmed damage when fighting with them" APG Gear

Because the APG has not been errata'd, BUT Ultimate Equipment which has the latest update of the brass knuckles has that line removed. That is why we are saying it does NOT work per RAW with the monk's unarmed strikes.

Scarab Sages

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What I find especially irritating is that a Warpriest with sacred weapon (Brass knuckles) or Fifth level Brawler can get a scaling damage increase with the brass knuckles, but the monk can't.

Shadow Lodge

Sometimes i picture myself and a monk and a rogue getting drunk and remembering when their classes di actually filled a niche

Liberty's Edge

ElementalXX wrote:
Sometimes i picture myself and a monk and a rogue getting drunk and remembering when their classes di actually filled a niche

Do you mean them getting drunk and remembering a dream they had?

Barbarian kinda steals all of the monk's thunder in terms of being a mobile warrior and a Barbarian uses combat maneuvers better than a monk.
Ranger stole stealthy TWFer from rogue. Wizard and bard stole skill monkey from rogue. Wizard by using spells and having high intelligence, Bard by strumming on a guitar and spells.

Shadow Lodge

Emperor Point wrote:
ElementalXX wrote:
Sometimes i picture myself and a monk and a rogue getting drunk and remembering when their classes di actually filled a niche

Do you mean them getting drunk and remembering a dream they had?

Barbarian kinda steals all of the monk's thunder in terms of being a mobile warrior and a Barbarian uses combat maneuvers better than a monk.
Ranger stole stealthy TWFer from rogue. Wizard and bard stole skill monkey from rogue. Wizard by using spells and having high intelligence, Bard by strumming on a guitar and spells.

I tought it was clear your sense of reality is specially compromised when you are drunk

Shadow Lodge

Not sure that the stealthy TWFer was ever the Rogue's to steal.

Way, way back in the day Rangers didn't get TWF, but neither did Thieves. I honestly can't remember if there was a specific rule or a common house rule that a Thief could fight with two daggers (and only a pair of daggers), but that's about it. The only reason that the Rogue/Thief was a "skill monkey" was because up to 3.0, they got exclusive skills, no one else could take them. And the Bard was basically a Rogue/Fighter/Druid/Wizard prestige class, (as in you had to be all of those classes to eventually become a Bard).

:P

Scarab Sages

DM Beckett wrote:

Not sure that the stealthy TWFer was ever the Rogue's to steal.

Way, way back in the day Rangers didn't get TWF, but neither did Thieves. I honestly can't remember if there was a specific rule or a common house rule that a Thief could fight with two daggers (and only a pair of daggers), but that's about it. The only reason that the Rogue/Thief was a "skill monkey" was because up to 3.0, they got exclusive skills, no one else could take them. And the Bard was basically a Rogue/Fighter/Druid/Wizard prestige class, (as in you had to be all of those classes to eventually become a Bard).

:P

You are getting you 1st edition and 2nd edition bards mixed up. 1e was a class you could only take after dual classing Fighter and Thief, and it had druid spells.

2e was a character that used Thief EXP, Saves, and THAC0, Wizard Spells, half of the Thief Skill list, and Songs.


I've never understood the convoluted interpretations of monk hand weapons.

If I throw punches that deal 1d12 damage, putting on Brass Knuckles (or anything else I am TRAINED in) is not going to *lower* the amount of damage I deal. If anything it should augment it with a bonus.

Honestly though, I've always ran with these items being purchased with enchantments in mind. Rather than the arbitrary restrictions on the AoMF of +5 max bonus and an overly inflated price, adding a basic enchantment like Flaming triggers on *all* your natural attacks (hands, feet, head, knees etc etc.)

Instead you just pick up some Flaming Brass Knuckles. Sure the flaming now only applies to your fists, but you've spent far less money and can take them to +10 to boot. Take them to +3, get a pair forged from Adamantine. You're still coming in cheaper than an AoMF. If you get one, use the AoMF bonus for straight up accuracy so FOB isn't such a wiff-fest.

The Pathfinder ORD still lists Monks applying their damage to use of Brass Knuckles, how often is it updated?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DM Beckett wrote:

Not sure that the stealthy TWFer was ever the Rogue's to steal.

Way, way back in the day Rangers didn't get TWF, but neither did Thieves. I honestly can't remember if there was a specific rule or a common house rule that a Thief could fight with two daggers (and only a pair of daggers), but that's about it. The only reason that the Rogue/Thief was a "skill monkey" was because up to 3.0, they got exclusive skills, no one else could take them. And the Bard was basically a Rogue/Fighter/Druid/Wizard prestige class, (as in you had to be all of those classes to eventually become a Bard).

:P

Way back the TWF was modified only by the character dexterity and raising it was fairly difficult (unless you were a cavalier). So thieves, that generally had a good dexterity, where the characters that used it more.


FrozenLaughs wrote:

I've never understood the convoluted interpretations of monk hand weapons.

If I throw punches that deal 1d12 damage, putting on Brass Knuckles (or anything else I am TRAINED in) is not going to *lower* the amount of damage I deal. If anything it should augment it with a bonus.

Honestly though, I've always ran with these items being purchased with enchantments in mind. Rather than the arbitrary restrictions on the AoMF of +5 max bonus and an overly inflated price, adding a basic enchantment like Flaming triggers on *all* your natural attacks (hands, feet, head, knees etc etc.)

Instead you just pick up some Flaming Brass Knuckles. Sure the flaming now only applies to your fists, but you've spent far less money and can take them to +10 to boot. Take them to +3, get a pair forged from Adamantine. You're still coming in cheaper than an AoMF. If you get one, use the AoMF bonus for straight up accuracy so FOB isn't such a wiff-fest.

The Pathfinder ORD still lists Monks applying their damage to use of Brass Knuckles, how often is it updated?

Actually they changed it with the ultimate equipment book, but it is still not written well. It should take place in the next update for the advanced players guide also.

Scarab Sages

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As for doing less damage with brass knuckles, cestus, or whatever: You hit so hard that to you, those items actually cushion your blows, like boxing gloves.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Imbicatus wrote:
As for doing less damage with brass knuckles, cestus, or whatever: You hit so hard that to you, those items actually cushion your blows, like boxing gloves.

This made me smile, though honestly, it isn't far off of the only interpretations of that ruling that ever made sense to me. I always kind of assumed that since you've got body parts that can punch through material-based DR the equipment is either preventing the fine manual positioning that allows you to strike exactly right, or it's interfering with the flow of ki that amplifies the damage dealt by your strikes.


How would people feel if Paizo reversed their earlier ruling about being able to flurry with a single weapon, and instead said that brass knuckles, cesti, etc dealt monk unarmed strike damage or weapon damage (whichever is beter, usually monk) but now required two weapons to do so?

They could be enhanced like like a normal weapon, but in order to get the full benefit you would have to buy two for it to apply to all Flurry Attacks, and it ends up the same effective price (to have both at same enhancement, you could choose not to enhance equally). This would give monks back their neck slot.

Scarab Sages

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I'd rather Monks keep the one weapon to flurry, but apply Monk-4 unarmed damage to all monk weapons, like brawlers get with close weapons.

This would allow Cestus/Unamred builds, but would also allow you to be a good Staff monk, and make Shuriken useful.


Claxon: Personally, I have to say I wouldn't be crazy about that. It means monks would have to spend significantly more money to benefit from Flurry of Blows, which is already restricted to sub-par weaponry compared to normal TWF.

I think giving monks a more economically competitive way of enchanting their unarmed strike is a great idea, but I don't think wearing brass knuckles should be the default option for the monk - I consider brass knuckles as more of a thug weapon, and think they clash with the thematics of a class that's all about skillful martial arts and fighting with their entire body.

I took a stab at designing an item a while back - it's rough since I typed it up on the spot and could definitely use some clean-up and balancing, but I think the general idea comes across. I wanted to give monks a viable way to enhance their unarmed strikes and make them less reliant on monk-specific gear, like the AoMF or the Bodywrap.

I really like the idea of giving monks unarmed strike damage -4 with all monk weapons. That'd make a lot of monk weapons like the quarterstaff or nunchaku more interesting when you get up in the middle levels.

Shadow Lodge

Warpriest playtest proved that altering weapon damage as per unarmed strike is not unbalanced at all


You CAN enchant unarmed strikes already. Just chop off an arm and replace it with a Clockwork Prosthesis. 6,400 gp then go-go-weapon enchantments.


ElementalXX wrote:
Warpriest playtest proved that altering weapon damage as per unarmed strike is not unbalanced at all

It's okay for them to get nice things, they're spell casters.


You lot DO realise that you don't need a weapon or an Amulet of Mighty Fists to enhance a monks unarmed strike right? A monks unarmed strike counts as both a natural and manufactured weapon for the purpose of enhancement. No brass knuckles needed.


brightshadow360 wrote:
You lot DO realise that you don't need a weapon or an Amulet of Mighty Fists to enhance a monks unarmed strike right? A monks unarmed strike counts as both a natural and manufactured weapon for the purpose of enhancement. No brass knuckles needed.

Yeah you can use the permanency spell, but that is subject to dispel magic. You can't enhance it like you would a permanent magic weapon because it would have to be masterwork first. Then again there is a spell that makes weapons into masterwork weapons, but I dont remember exactly how it is written.


wraithstrike wrote:
brightshadow360 wrote:
You lot DO realise that you don't need a weapon or an Amulet of Mighty Fists to enhance a monks unarmed strike right? A monks unarmed strike counts as both a natural and manufactured weapon for the purpose of enhancement. No brass knuckles needed.
Yeah you can use the permanency spell, but that is subject to dispel magic. You can't enhance it like you would a permanent magic weapon because it would have to be masterwork first. Then again there is a spell that makes weapons into masterwork weapons, but I dont remember exactly how it is written.

If such a spell exists, it is basicly assumed that any magic weapon smith would have that spell as a staple of his trade. Just walk into a shop point at your hands and say "give me the magic touch" and your done.

Even then, I don't think a weapon has to be masterwork to become magical. magic weapon spells automaticly apply the masterwork quality. Though I could be wrong on this bit.

Lantern Lodge

Magical weapons need to be masterwork in the first place.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kudaku wrote:


I think giving monks a more economically competitive way of enchanting their unarmed strike is a great idea, but I don't think wearing brass knuckles should be the default option for the monk - I consider brass knuckles as more of a thug weapon, and think they clash with the thematics of a class that's all about skillful martial arts and fighting with their entire body.

I <3 Rope Gauntlets.


I simply houserule that fist-based weapons always deal the listed damage or your unarmed-damage, whichever is higher.
This allow monks to go after enchantments that could be useful to them.

On the point of fist and enchantments, there was already some wraps that counted as a weapon for the purpose of enchantments back in 3.x, and in pathfinder they got two ways of doing it:
Amulet of Mighty Fists (Neck slot)
Body Wrap of Mighty Strikes (Body slot)


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I actually have a question regarding that. The weapons like Rope Gauntlets and Cestus state they allow you to deal different damage with the unarmed strikes, but the Emei Piercer and Dan Bong state they "Enhance" and "Augment" unarmed strikes.

Emei Piercer
This weapon is used to augment unarmed martial techniques.
It consists of an 8- to 10-inch-long, dual-pointed steel spike
set on swivels and mounted on a ring, so that it can be spun
around at high speeds when slipped over the wielder’s ring
finger. The ring prevents the wielder from being disarmed and
turns unarmed strikes into piercing attacks.

Dan Bong
These short, blunt sticks are held in
the hands to enhance unarmed martial
techniques and secured by a cord
looped over the thumb. They provide
the wielder with the ability to lock an
opponent and target pressure points,
granting you a +2 bonus on combat
maneuver checks to grapple.

If they are enhancing or augmenting unarmed strikes instead of replacing them, wouldn't they use the unarmed strike damage?

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