Martial Arts Handbook - handwraps


Rules Questions


So it looks like unarmed strike can now, finally, incorporate special materials (cold iron, silver, etc) via the handwraps introduced in the Martial Arts Handbook; which seems like a complete reversal of previous precedent. So that's a "yay".

But I feel like the handwraps in the Martial Arts handbook are lacking some necessary detail.

They don't seem to be in a weapon group (like monk or close) so I don't think they are an actual weapon - they just modify unarmed attacks? Which means a PC would use weapon focus: unarmed with them?

The item is called handwraps - which seems plural and describes plural hands/ fists. Does this mean that one pair with a single cost of special materials/enchantments affects both hands? Can a creature with one hand or four hands benefit? Do they work on a tentacle, foot or hoof?

If a fighter has one or both of their hands wrapped - can they use the hand to manipulate (e.g. open a lock), or hold other things (a torch), or to wield other weapons or a shield?

How does disarming or sundering of handwraps work?

Are the handwraps "in hand" for purposes of the Training enchantment?

How do they interact with a emei piercer, rope gauntlets, brass knuckles?

Any additional questions I've not yet thought of?


I think that they're ruled like gauntlets, minus the protection from harmful contact effects.

You punch a Fire Elemental with handwraps, you're gonna get burned, unlike punching it with a gauntlet.

Paizo Employee Developer

20 people marked this as a favorite.

Hand wraps are an interesting case for weapons. They are similar to gauntlets or brass knuckles in that you wear them rather than wield them, but Pathfinder is a very particular game and "wearing" and "wielding" items mean very specific things. Unfortunately, there's just not a lot of space to explain the nuance of how the hand wraps (and, admittedly, a lot of rules content) interact with the rest of the game. Luckily, I can provide some clarification and intent here.

1. Hand wraps modify your unarmed attacks. As such, Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike) would be the correct way to go here. Similarly, you would want to chose the close or monk weapon groups with weapon training, even if you're going to be wearing hand wraps.

2. The default assumption is that purchasing hand wraps nets you enough material to wrap two hands, as most of PF's races are two-handed. Enchanted hand wraps would affect both hands equally. (i.e. you don't have to pay for a +1 on your left hand and a separate +1 for your right hand) This is mostly to account for the fact that we can't know which hand a character will use for an unarmed strike. A PC could choose to only make left-handed punches for whatever reason and hand wraps are okay with that. A character with a differing number of hands could definitely use hand wraps, though every pair of hands would require hand wraps. The rule of thumb is that a set of hand wraps can modify up to two hands each. Hand wraps specifically work with hands only.

3. Hand wraps keep your hands free for use with anything else (manipulation, holding items, wielding items). However, as soon as one hand is holding or wielding an item, it is no longer free to do an unarmed strike.

4. It works normally. I would describe the disarming of hand wraps as unraveling the wraps so they fall free. Sundered wraps would be cut or torn, making a proper wrapping impossible once destroyed. Luckily, if your hand wraps are enchanted, they have extra hit points to survive sundering!

5. Yes, Training would work normally. In this instance, your hands must be wrapped with the hand wraps to satisfy the "drawn and in hand" requirements.

6. All three of these are unique weapons, separate from unarmed strikes. Because of the nature of how one uses these weapons, you wouldn't be able to use them simultaneously with hand wraps.

Here's a few questions I foresee coming up:

7. Can we use hand wraps on feet, elbows, etc.?
By design, no. This is why the entry specifies attacks with hands. However, I can definitely see that such wraps would make lots of sense, so you have my blessing to ask your GM to let you do so. :)

8. What action is it to wrap my hands?
It's a move action. It takes a move action to draw a weapon. Similarly, it takes a move action to wrap both hands with hand wraps. It's not very realistic to wrap two hands in the span of a second or two, but hey, you're a fantasy hero!

Grand Lodge

No flying kicks with them...but otherwise pretty awesome addition to the game IMHO.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

My question is how are these in anyway worse than an Amulet of Might fists? Since they are enchanted like a weapon, they cost half as much, and they don't take up your neck slot.

I am hoping I am missing something, and that there is still and advantage to using an AOMF.

To be clear,I am ok with monks/brawlers/unarmed users no longer have a tax on enchanting their weapons, but I want to make sure that is the case before I go running off with the idea.


Partizanski wrote:

My question is how are these in anyway worse than an Amulet of Might fists? Since they are enchanted like a weapon, they cost half as much, and they don't take up your neck slot.

I am hoping I am missing something, and that there is still and advantage to using an AOMF.

To be clear,I am ok with monks/brawlers/unarmed users no longer have a tax on enchanting their weapons, but I want to make sure that is the case before I go running off with the idea.

AOMF works with kicks and natural attacks. If you only use fists, this is better.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Luis Loza wrote:
Luckily, I can provide some clarification and intent here.

THANK YOU!!! It is absolutely awesome that you've taken the time to comment on the RAI behind these. I wish I could grant rep or something! May the dice grant all of your characters 10,000 gold!

The Exchange

Specifically AoMF works with any attack you make with your body, feet, knees, elbows, hands, headbutt, bite, claw, gore....

I definitely do see a high number of monks start saving some $$$ and maybe getting a basic Ghost Touch AOMF or something like that, then running handwraps for all their normal stuff.

Which would bring up another question. If you wear an AoMF with a specific bonus added, Ghost Touch/Holy/Flaming... Lets got with Flaming in this specific example, and wore Handwraps that were say straight +2 would your fist attacks be +2 Flaming or just +2? Certainly all other natural/unarmed attacks beyond fists would be Flaming only.

This has the potential to make unarmed fighters very powerfull very quickly!

My personal assumption would be they do not Stack, Fist/Hands would be the Handwraps only, All other attacks would be Flaming (Whatever is on the AoMF) only!


Hand wraps specifically don’t stack with the amulet.


Yup. They come with big downsides, but those handwraps will make some characters quite happy.
Amusingly, monks will likely end up getting the least out of those.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't know if I want to celebrate that such an item is finally in the game, or lament that it took Paizo nine years and pretty much the end of PF1 to give it to us.

@Glorf: The handwraps description is already aviable on AoN. "A character can’t benefit from both handwraps and other items that provide enhancement bonuses or weapon special abilities (such as an amulet of mighty fists) on the same attack."
The wording is even well-written enough to not stack with Ascetic Style affected weapons. *tips hat to the writer*

Nyerkh wrote:
They come with big downsides

Actually, I'd say they mostly just remove benefits unarmed attacks had in exchange for removing one of the biggest disadvantages. The "downsides" you speak of are basically those that other melee weapons have as well.

Nyerkh wrote:
Amusingly, monks will likely end up getting the least out of those.

In a way, that's true, as they won't affect 100% of an unMonk's attacks. In a different way, at least in a situation where Ascetic Style/Form isn't allowed, unMonks gain the most, as they are the ones most dependant on natural attacks. Suddenly, unarmed playstyles (Dragon Style, Jabbing Style, or simply using a bunch of singular feats) are on par with Ascetic Style!

For other classes, going unarmed is a stylistic choice.


If you were only planning on doing unarmed strikes, then you're pretty safe. And for the most part, monks can get by with that. The only problem it causes is with flying kick. The rest of the abilities that specify using body parts besides fists are mediocre (IMO).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nyerkh wrote:

Yup. They come with big downsides, but those handwraps will make some characters quite happy.

Amusingly, monks will likely end up getting the least out of those.

The handwraps are aimed at unarmed combatants such as monks and brawlers, and anyone who attacks with natural attacks is likely to prefer the Amulet of Mighty Fists.

The core monk is reliably covered by this item, and the unchained monk is hindered only in using those style strikes that don't use fists (about half of them).


David knott 242 wrote:
Nyerkh wrote:

Yup. They come with big downsides, but those handwraps will make some characters quite happy.

Amusingly, monks will likely end up getting the least out of those.

The handwraps are aimed at unarmed combatants such as monks and brawlers, and anyone who attacks with natural attacks is likely to prefer the Amulet of Mighty Fists.

The core monk is reliably covered by this item, and the unchained monk is hindered only in using those style strikes that don't use fists (about half of them).

Is that really RAI? To finally let unarmed combatants benefit from enhancement bonuses/special abilities with unarmed attacks at the same cost effectiveness as with any other weapon, only to turn right around and deny their benefit on style strikes that just so happen to have the misfortune of specifying that they don't use fists, especially given that the UnMonk was written long before the handwraps and their apparent hands-only specificity came into being?

What happens if we're fluffing the style strikes as something different? A flying kick that, appearance-wise, is a Muay Thai Superman Punch?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tectorman wrote:
What happens if we're fluffing the style strikes as something different? A flying kick that, appearance-wise, is a Muay Thai Superman Punch?

It wouldn't be a re-fluff but a houserule, as the description of the mechanic is explicit: "The attack made after the movement must be a kick."

A more interesting case is Elbow Smash, because the elbow part of the description could easily be flavor.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don’t apply the damage from my deliquescent gloves to flying kick, either, for the same reason.


Derklord wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
What happens if we're fluffing the style strikes as something different? A flying kick that, appearance-wise, is a Muay Thai Superman Punch?

It wouldn't be a re-fluff but a houserule, as the description of the mechanic is explicit: "The attack made after the movement must be a kick."

A more interesting case is Elbow Smash, because the elbow part of the description could easily be flavor.

But my question still stands: did the writers of the Unmonk, somehow anticipating that these handwraps would be written years down the line and anticipating how they would be written to be fist-specific, intentionally make certain style strikes be fist-exclusive just to force a handwrap-kick incompatibility?

Or from the other direction, did the writers of the handwraps intend for these "weapons" to finally be the cost-effective alternative to the AoMF for unarmed combatants, one of the most prominent of which is the Unmonk, only to do so at the expense of some of the Unmonk's style strikes?


If handwraps are 1 cost per set, I say they are getting a bargain. Afterall, every other class (that doesn't get free twf enchantments) has to pay 2 times to get effects.

Applying it to kicks doed make for a good custom item (which roughly costs same as AoMF) when used with the handwraps.


Temperans wrote:
If handwraps are 1 cost per set, I say they are getting a bargain. Afterall, every other class (that doesn't get free twf enchantments) has to pay 2 times to get effects.

Only if you're using (regular) TWF with unarmed strikes. Monks and Brawlers don't profit from having both hands bandaged.

Which kinda makes me wonder whether unarmed strikes with handwraps count as "attack[ing] with a weapon in her other hand" for Swashbuckler's Precise Strike.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The bigger question is, can you mix and match? Can you wear one cold iron hand wrap on your off hand, and an adamantine one on your other hand? Can they have different enhancements (provided you buy two sets)?


Nothing says you need to wear both for them to be in effect (unlike glove slot wondrous items tend to do).

Going by the description, you might even use different materials for a single set of handwraps (one metal for each hand), but how special materials actually work with the handwraps is up to the GM anyway.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Clearly the UC Monk wraps one hand and his leg with a set.


My best guess is that special materials do everything that makes sense. Ex: Mithral does not reduce the weight of your fist it increases it, even if its just a fraction of a pound.

Btw last time I checked, most would have no weird interaction with handwraps.


Derklord wrote:

Nothing says you need to wear both for them to be in effect (unlike glove slot wondrous items tend to do).

Going by the description, you might even use different materials for a single set of handwraps (one metal for each hand), but how special materials actually work with the handwraps is up to the GM anyway.

Going by the description, a set is 2 handwraps.

I'd imagine to keep the bonuses of said set, keeping them matched would be the idea of it.


Cavall wrote:

Going by the description, a set is 2 handwraps.

I'd imagine to keep the bonuses of said set, keeping them matched would be the idea of it.

The description doesn't say anything like that. If the rules don't say you need to wrap both your hands, you don't.

Going by Luis Loza's words, "the rule of thumb is that a set of hand wraps can modify up to two hands each." Emphasis mine.

Temperans wrote:

My best guess is that special materials do everything that makes sense. Ex: Mithral does not reduce the weight of your fist it increases it, even if its just a fraction of a pound.

Btw last time I checked, most would have no weird interaction with handwraps.

The weird parts are weight, cost, and whether you can change the materials. Special materials presume that you're replacing existing stuff, no purely adding things.


Nothing you stated disagrees with me. A set is up to 2 hands. 2 different wraps means 2 different sets.


What he is saying is that you can buy 2 sets and each modify 1 hand.


Are the special materials ‘weaved in’ when they are put on, or when they are crafted?

Liberty's Edge

This may be a silly question, but for the cases of monks and brawlers should attacks made using handwraps do your enhanced unarmed strike damage? Maybe i'm missing something, or maybe HeroLab is incorrect, but I'm working on a 4th level unchained monk and HeroLab has his unarmed strikes as doing 1d8 but attacks with handwraps as only doing 1d3 nonlethal.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Handwraps do not modify your unarmed damage dice whatsoever. You should be getting 1d8 with your unarmed strikes.


HeroLab probably has handwraps hardcoded as a 1d3 weapon, but that's totally wrong. In fact you never use handwraps as weapons (which is why they don't have a listed damage) - handwraps merely enhance your unarmed strikes. They're weapons, and you (presumably) wield them, but you never actually attack with them.

Basically, for attacks made with the hand(s), handwraps work pretty much exactly like an AoMF.


Handwraps are basically Paizo saying, "Remember all that crap we gave everybody about gauntlets? Let's relive those wonderful memories all over again".


I think it's more like, "Whatever, we're moving on to the next system anyway."


Melkiador wrote:
I think it's more like, "Whatever, we're moving on to the next system anyway."

: (


blahpers wrote:
Handwraps are basically Paizo saying, "Remember all that crap we gave everybody about gauntlets? Let's relive those wonderful memories all over again".

This is not true. The previous problematic weapons (brass knuckles, cestus, dan bong, emei piercer, gauntlet, rope gauntlet) all have the issue that they talk about your unarmed strikes and how they modify them, but then they present full weapon statistics, which means you should attack with them as weapons usign the given staticstics, and it's left in the air how things that modify unarmed strikes interact with them. You obviously can't attack with both a weapon and an unarmed strike at the same time, so you would have to choose, but they still affect your unarmed strikes even if you don't attack with them as weapons, e.g. by dealing lethal damage.

The handwraps sidestep that entire bog of unclearness by not having any weapon staticstics, which means you can't possibly attack with them as weapons. They tell you exactly how they affect your unarmed strikes (materials and weapon enchantments), indeed they literally state that they don't alter the damage you deal with unarmed strikes.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Martial Arts Handbook - handwraps All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.