Unarmed Attack Question


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As in Pathfinder, unarmed attacks are nonlethal. However, when possessing Improved Unarmed attack, is that still so, or does the increased damaged still considered to be "nonlethal"? It doesn't really say under the feat description.

Silver Crusade

Its still nonlethal, I'm afraid.


The only way to deal lethal damage with your unarmed strikes at the moment is by being a Vesk.


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The flavor of Improved Unarmed Strike implies you can automatically deal lethal damage, but the actual mechanical benefits do not state this. Unfortunately, this means it is ambiguous at best, and that your attacks remain non-lethal at worst. Not only that, they are still archaic, and thus deal -5 damage against anyone in normal armor. You can still deal lethal damage with them, but it gives you a -4 attack penalty, as per P. 252.

The vesk get around this, as the Natural Weapons racial ability explicitly removes both the nonlethal and archaic qualities from their unarmed strikes.


I imagine there might eventually be a feat, Greater Unarmed Attack or whatnot, which lets you remove the Archaic property, and switch out Nonlethal for Stun. I mean, its existence would horrify the munchkins, since its so clearly an inferior option compared to Blitz Soldier wielding an Advanced Melee Weapon, but it'd make good logical sense.

I think the real absence is that Unarmed does not count as an Operative weapon. It really should.

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This is pretty annoying as it's impossible to have an unarmed combat character unless you're vesk.

I hoped unarmed combat would leave the shadow of Pathfinder, but it's actually gotten worse. Why would you ever take Improved Unarmed Strike? Not only does it fail to do what you absolutely need the feat to do (let your unarmed strikes deal lethal damage), but also you're infinitely better off taking Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency feat and buying a pulse gauntlet. It's one of the weakest feats in the game.


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Cyrad wrote:

This is pretty annoying as it's impossible to have an unarmed combat character unless you're vesk.

I hoped unarmed combat would leave the shadow of Pathfinder, but it's actually gotten worse. Why would you ever take Improved Unarmed Strike? Not only does it fail to do what you absolutely need the feat to do (let your unarmed strikes deal lethal damage), but also you're infinitely better off taking Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency feat and buying a pulse gauntlet. It's one of the weakest feats in the game.

It allows you to use melee attacks while your hands are full saving action economy since you dont need to put your gun away or change grips.

Also non leathal and leathal arent calculated seperatly in Starfinder like they were in pathfinder. They both deal damage and the non leathal vs leathal only comes into play for the final knockout/killing blow.

The REAL issue with Improved Unarmed is it doesnt remove the archaic property which is alright if you never fight people wearing armor (monster hunter style games) or are tavern brawling.


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Lethal unarmed damage in general and monks in particular are super goofy and I'm glad to not see people punching through robots and head-to-toe armor designed to protect against plasma blasts.


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Metaphysician wrote:
I think the real absence is that Unarmed does not count as an Operative weapon. It really should.

I think this is a terrible idea. It would dramatically reduce a martial artist's damage output, making unarmed strikes borderline useless.

Essentially, it would go from Vesk only to Vesk and Operatives only.

Slag that! It should be much more general.

Liberty's Edge

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A Feat to make it an Operative weapon, deal lethal damage, and remove archaic, and a separate mutually exclusive Feat to make it lethal, remove archaic, and, say, double it's damage would be a nice pair of available Feats to add on top of Improved Unarmed Strike.

Those two would very neatly make it an actual viable (but not optimal) combat style for everyone. Which would be nice.


I like the idea that deadman has proposed with the two mutually exclusive feats.


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Why should Unarmed Strike have a viable build around it?

In fantasy, yes, that's a common archetype, but in space-fantasy, not so much. As much as Kirk engages in fisticuffs, the phaser remains the far superior weapon. It's not like Spock uses his nerve pinch (non-lethal, perhaps psychic in nature) on armored enemies or monsters, and superior enemies, like new Khan, resist it. As for Star Wars, even fans mock that the armored elite soldiers get punched out or killed by archaic weapons.
Because it defies reason even in fantastic genre that requires little.
Author Steve Perry has integrated lots of martial art themes into his science fiction, but generally even his heroes are armed with advanced weaponry or facing unarmored enemies.

And I'm not saying there couldn't be a space martial artist tied to cosmic (or other) forces that power a hero beyond human limits, but in essence there is such an option: Solarions
The weapon can be any form one wishes, even an Iron Fist ball you punch people with. And they do lots of lethal damage, arguably the most, and look good doing it.


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RAW technically Improved Unarmed doesn't make unarmed lethal. But given the feat description,

Quote:
You have trained to make your unarmed attacks LETHAL and strike with kicks, head-butts, and similar attacks.

that seems like an accidental omission. I can't imagine NOT houseruling for RAI.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
baggageboy wrote:
I like the idea that deadman has proposed with the two mutually exclusive feats.

Not a bad idea for a start.

Would you really need to double the damage though, if you got your full weapon specialization bonus?

Maybe something more inline with what the Vesk gets would be more balanced, rather than doubling it.

Liberty's Edge

Ravingdork wrote:

Not a bad idea for a start.

Would you really need to double the damage though, if you got your full weapon specialization bonus?

Maybe something more inline with what the Vesk gets would be more balanced, rather than doubling it.

I meant specifically doubling the dice. That nets you 14d6 at 20th, which is lower than the good weapons of that level, but at least in the same ballpark.

Specialization would work normally, providing an advantage to Vesk who took this Feat.

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Castilliano wrote:
Why should Unarmed Strike have a viable build around it?

1) It's cool.

2) Martial artists exist in plenty of science fiction and science fantasy media, including the Matrix, Star Wars (Rogue One), Ghost in the Shell, and Outlaw Star. Even Shadowrun has multiple ways you can be a martial artist.

3) There's no adequate reason why it can't exist both mechanically and thematically in a setting full of magic, cybernetics, and gods.

4) It's cool.


It's actually really silly and lame.

indianajonesshootingtheswordguybutwithalaserpistolandfists.gif


Xenocrat wrote:
It's actually really silly and lame.

"It's silly" is a wildly subjective statement though. Sure it's fine to have an opinion, but deciding what should or should not be in the game based on what some arbitrary person decides is or is not cool enough is a pretty bad precedent, IMHO.

Options are a good thing.


Xenocrat wrote:

It's actually really silly and lame.

indianajonesshootingtheswordguybutwithalaserpistolandfists.gif

So are guys who claim to be teachers but never actually teach classes, and we give them a pass.


swoosh wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
It's actually really silly and lame.

"It's silly" is a wildly subjective statement though. Sure it's fine to have an opinion, but deciding what should or should not be in the game based on what some arbitrary person decides is or is not cool enough is a pretty bad precedent, IMHO.

Options are a good thing.

The developers working off their published list of inspirations aren't arbitrary people, though.

Options are good up to a point. I don't want childish options like killing a Starfinder opponent through a blown kiss, schoolyard taunt, or punch.


Ventnor wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:

It's actually really silly and lame.

indianajonesshootingtheswordguybutwithalaserpistolandfists.gif

So are guys who claim to be teachers but never actually teach classes, and we give them a pass.

But we don't.


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There should be an add on to the improved unarmed feat. It should automatically remove the archaic or there should be a minor item like brass knuckles that give you a +2 to damage and removes the archaic from punches so you can use it. Otherwise it is just a feat for role playing/character concept reasons at low level. It's a little better at higher level but pales in comparison to the advanced weapon feat.


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You can have a guy who builds magical swords (Soldier Arcane whatever path), a guy who uses magic through technology (Technomancer) but gods forbid you have a guy who can be good a punching things. This argument is the same for those who don't like having Psionics in fantasy. I like options. I definitely like unarmed warriors (though not the "chi" stuff) but I don't get mad at Monks. I don't ban them from my games. I love Brawlers. There are plenty of examples of Martial Arts in Sci-fi as listed above. I am making an adept class which gives three "viable" path so far. The "Cosmic Rage" brawler, learns to control his adrenal dumps and focus into "Controlled Rage" scaling in power and speed. Basically as Space Age Barroom brawler or Pit Fighter Uses a barbarian rage mechanic initially toned down and without a "use limit". Second a Cybernetic Warrior, an Augmented Cybernetic Athlete or Bodyguard that uses cybernetics to kick butt in fisticuffs. Then the "Studied Adept" basically a Monk or Stuntman, who uses skill and natural Toughness and maybe a little "chi" to even the playing field.

Started it, but I haven't gotten real far. I scaled the unarmed damage below the Solarian damage. Didn't want to steal their thunder. Basically each "framework" will allow you to access different offensive and defensive abilities and a seperate mechanic will allow them to focus on maneuvers, skill based mechanics (Intimidate, Bluff, etc..) or damage. So you can have several build options and make for really distinct characters.


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Xenocrat wrote:
Lethal unarmed damage in general and monks in particular are super goofy and I'm glad to not see people punching through robots and head-to-toe armor designed to protect against plasma blasts.

Its a fantastic setting. How is lethal unarmed damage monks "goofier" than invincible barbarians or mystics making peoples' heads explode?


Metaphysician wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Lethal unarmed damage in general and monks in particular are super goofy and I'm glad to not see people punching through robots and head-to-toe armor designed to protect against plasma blasts.
Its a fantastic setting. How is lethal unarmed damage monks "goofier" than invincible barbarians or mystics making peoples' heads explode?

Invincible barbarians are goofy, too. Magic isn't goofy if you accept it at all, because it inherently rewrites expectations for what is possible.

Solarions punching things to death with their plasma or singularity fist are not goofy.


We can believe in magic, we just can't let it flow though our fists (unless you are Solarian)...got it. No fun for unarmed tropes.


Gonff wrote:

We can believe in magic, we just can't let it flow though our fists (unless you are Solarian)...got it. No fun for unarmed tropes.

Not as an (Ex) feat you can't.


I can see an addition to the rule that states it can be used only against lightly armored foes (ie those not in heavy armor or powered armor) and the equivalent monsters.

IRL, there is a reason people train in martial arts now and in the past . Now not so much armor and in the past a lot more.

MDC


Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

I can see an addition to the rule that states it can be used only against lightly armored foes (ie those not in heavy armor or powered armor) and the equivalent monsters.

IRL, there is a reason people train in martial arts now and in the past . Now not so much armor and in the past a lot more.

MDC

Ninjas. Ninjas LITERALLY came into being to kill the "heavily armored Samurai". Their unarmed combat styles were developed to fight armored opponents. That's why they used, locks, eye gouges, trips and flying kicks. Yeah, they weren't punching through armor, but they also didn't cast spells. Reality isn't mean to be part of a Fantasy game. So yes, I want to see a guy who goes toe to toe with a power armor suit with nothing but his bear hands and skills. No, I don't think he can destroy the thing in punch, but maybe he can throw it off balance and disable joints or other critical components yes, bare handed. Again, I am giving my class abilities that would fall in Supernatural catagories, (like the Solarian) but come from more mundane sources. Because, some people want to play the punchy-kicky characters.


Gonff wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

I can see an addition to the rule that states it can be used only against lightly armored foes (ie those not in heavy armor or powered armor) and the equivalent monsters.

IRL, there is a reason people train in martial arts now and in the past . Now not so much armor and in the past a lot more.

MDC

Ninjas. Ninjas LITERALLY came into being to kill the "heavily armored Samurai". Their unarmed combat styles were developed to fight armored opponents. That's why they used, locks, eye gouges, trips and flying kicks. Yeah, they weren't punching through armor, but they also didn't cast spells. Reality isn't mean to be part of a Fantasy game. So yes, I want to see a guy who goes toe to toe with a power armor suit with nothing but his bear hands and skills. No, I don't think he can destroy the thing in punch, but maybe he can throw it off balance and disable joints or other critical components yes, bare handed. Again, I am giving my class abilities that would fall in Supernatural catagories, (like the Solarian) but come from more mundane sources. Because, some people want to play the punchy-kicky characters.

I agree,

I generally like this option for games and I can see a hand to hand style (in my mind) that would be able to be used against powered armor but less effective vs other types of armor.
The issue I have here is that from my perspective this is not the path that I see the devs wanting to go. ie my impression as to how the devs want the game to be played vs any house rules (HR), GM Table Decisions (GMTD or GTD) on rules.
I could be very very wrong.

Again I like martial art rules in my games and like to see them in some way effective but all designers do not see it that way.
I also agree there is limited space in a Core book and you often have to pick and chose what gets in and what does not.

I hope there are good rules released for hand to hand or martial arts combat as the option it gives me for RP encounters is huge vs it not being there.

MDC


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I think the bigger problem here is, the idea that characters in Starfinder can be divided into "magic" and "not magic". Bluntly, that isn't the style the game is going for. *All* PCs ( and PC-equivalents ) are extraordinary, there is no privileging of magical ones over non-magical.


In another thread I said I preferred martial arts to be included in the core book and another book have all of the vehicle, starship and mech rules. So 2 core books not one.
But I also understand why that did not happen because of organised play rules.

IMHO this would have also allowed for some expanded descriptive text in areas that could have benefited from it.

MDC


Its an understandable position, but that means 3 required corebooks rather than 2. I suspect if they could at all get away with it, Paizo would *really* have preferred to get down to just one corebook, since every extra required book is an extra obstacle in the way of adoption.


Metaphysician wrote:
Its an understandable position, but that means 3 required corebooks rather than 2. I suspect if they could at all get away with it, Paizo would *really* have preferred to get down to just one corebook, since every extra required book is an extra obstacle in the way of adoption.

The issue I tend to see is a core book then some really excellent content books that are very ground breaking and then are treated as core.

I know that at times this arises over time, ie after the game has been around for a time some people have a house-rule or designer an idea that really alters the in a profound and good way, but there is also the case where designers intentional do this.
The intentional thing idea, sort of stealthily create more core books then would be suggested on a order form or invoice.

I also fully agree that deciding on what material is to go where and in what book can be a huge factor on the design side as well as the game adoption side or game acceptance side.

MDC


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Xenocrat wrote:

Lethal unarmed damage in general and monks in particular are super goofy and I'm glad to not see people punching through robots and head-to-toe armor designed to protect against plasma blasts.

-----
Invincible barbarians are goofy, too. Magic isn't goofy if you accept it at all, because it inherently rewrites expectations for what is possible.

Doesn't "fantasy" kinda rewrite expectations for what is possible, not just magic? These role-playing games are not reality simulators. You have your "fantasy" and other people have their "fantasy".

I personally have always thought it was a little goofy that someone could learn a few chants, hold some bat guano in their hand, make some gestures and launch a tiny red ball that explodes in someone's face. Hell even Dim Door & Teleport are only verbal, so just saying "Bibbity bobbity boo" and you are 1,000 miles away from where you were 6 seconds ago. But I still enjoy playing spellcasters as much as unarmed warriors.


Well as far as the question of whether their should be good unarmed options I wish to direct your attention to summer Glau's character in fire fly, lelo from 5th element, equlibirum (altough I guess not super future sci fi), riddick (although I guess he prefers knifes still gets his unarmed on.), Dune, even star trek and star wars have broken out the martial arts and unarmed (star wars more in extended universe.)

I just want to see it be tricksy. like attack deal damage unarm them and trip them all at once kind of stuff. not as much damage but useful tricks to even it up.


Zero the Nothing wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:

Lethal unarmed damage in general and monks in particular are super goofy and I'm glad to not see people punching through robots and head-to-toe armor designed to protect against plasma blasts.

-----
Invincible barbarians are goofy, too. Magic isn't goofy if you accept it at all, because it inherently rewrites expectations for what is possible.

Doesn't "fantasy" kinda rewrite expectations for what is possible, not just magic? These role-playing games are not reality simulators. You have your "fantasy" and other people have their "fantasy".

I personally have always thought it was a little goofy that someone could learn a few chants, hold some bat guano in their hand, make some gestures and launch a tiny red ball that explodes in someone's face. Hell even Dim Door & Teleport are only verbal, so just saying "Bibbity bobbity boo" and you are 1,000 miles away from where you were 6 seconds ago. But I still enjoy playing spellcasters as much as unarmed warriors.

Those are EXTREMELY goofy! Psionics and psychics are really the only classes anyone should play in Pathfinder, which is to say you shouldn't have played Pathfinder without third party or until they published Occult Adventures.


I can't tell if your being serious anymore. . .


This just in: Paizo realizes how unrealistic martials are and now may only take 1 attack/round and have 3hp+con ever (have you ever seen anyone survive a clean greatsword hit to the face?). Monks also only ever do 1 damage a round to anything with an armor or Natural armor bonus.

Spellcasting remains the same.


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Guys tone it down, some people like the idea of lethal unarmed strike some people don't, that's ok. Personally I think that the designers intended for the improved unarmed strike feat to make damage lethal due to the flavor text. If they only wanted it to do more damage they could have instead said something like this feature makes your unarmed strike "more damaging."

Also I'd like to see mystic strike as a way to remove the archaic descriptor (I acknowledge that it does not.) This would be a good way to allow characters to us unarmed strike, and limits the craziness of it for those that think such things are silly. You have magic hits now, so magic, no more complaining it doesn't make sense. (As if half the game makes sense).


Does anyone feel that removing the archaic descriptor for unarmed strike for a person who has taken mythic strike as a feat would be unbalancing?


baggageboy wrote:
Does anyone feel that removing the archaic descriptor for unarmed strike for a person who has taken mythic strike as a feat would be unbalancing?

No.

As I said above, I think, that I would have liked improved unarmed strike to remove the archaic descriptor and or allow a skill roll to remove it.
I would also like to see an operative ability chain based on improved unarmed strike/hand to hand martial arts that also removed the archaic descriptor and added the operative descriptor to unarmed strike.
MDC


I'm glad you agree, but I was more wondering if those that dislike the idea of lethal unarmed strikes in starfinder, find that this idea that the character is magical (because of mystic strike) makes the whole concept more palatable.


I think their should be style feats like in PF and they would remove archaic and give you some bonus for doing unarmed.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think their should be style feats like in PF and they would remove archaic and give you some bonus for doing unarmed.

I could also see this, so you have a style/style chain more like, that is specifically designed to work against heavy armor and maybe one for powered armor.

MDC


baggageboy wrote:
I'm glad you agree, but I was more wondering if those that dislike the idea of lethal unarmed strikes in starfinder, find that this idea that the character is magical (because of mystic strike) makes the whole concept more palatable.

Given that its a fairly absurd position that goes contrary to most of the core style of the setting, why would it matter? Neither Starfinder nor Pathfinder requires a 'Magic' tag for an action to go beyond GURPS-level gritty realism.


I'd like to see a feat that gives Unarmed Strikes an Item Level that scales with the damage and allows you to add fusions. Kind of surprised no one mentioned the fact that Unarmed Strikes currently do not qualify for weapon fusions.


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Why the fuss over nonlethal damage? It still takes an opponent out of the fight. In fact, in Starfinder, nonlethal damage would seem to be superior, as you can control whether you want your opponent merely pacified or fully dead. Knock them out, and you can always Coup de Grace later at your leisure.

The only real problem is, lethal or not, Improved Unarmed Strike doesn't take away the "archaic" quality, which is the real killer to an unarmed combatant. Reducing 5 damage per shot is a killer until about 15th level.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I think their should be style feats like in PF and they would remove archaic and give you some bonus for doing unarmed.

Exactly -- get rid of this wonky DR5/non-archaic limitation, and add in weapon specialization (or even 1/2 specialization like small arms), and you're in business.


Undead and constructs are immune to nonlethal, if I remember the type abilities in the first AP correctly. So they would take no damage from a punch, ever.


I think improved unarmed strike should add the option of lethal damage not remove the option of nonlethal damage. As it is you would have to take the -4 penalty to do lethal damage which, as xenocrat pointed out is important.

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