Power armour altering Improved Unarmed Strikes feat.


Rules Questions


Hey all,

So I'm playing a Vesk Guard soldier whose unarmed attacks currently do 2d6+19 dmg (woo, unarmed strikes feat), thinking of getting Power Armour because I get prof as part of my class so why not!

I'm curious if putting it on will reset my damage dice with said unarmed strikes to that of the power armour, or if it'd stay at 2d6 if it's more!

If I put on a personal submersible for instance, does it become 1d10+19 instead of 2d6+19?

Thanks for all and any answers :)


My personal take is that you decide which dice you’re using (so, if you want to do an unarmed attack, you use whatever dice the feat gives you for your level) but nothing stacks or interacts.

So in your case, you’d have 3 choices:
Unarmed strike using the power armor would be whatever dice that armor uses, plus your strength mod, plus regular weapon specialization.
Vesk natural attack would be 1d3+strength mod+1.5 x level for special vesk natural attack
Unarmed strike using the feat, so whatever dice your level would use, plus strength, plus regular weapon specialization.

But, there’s been a fair amount of debate on this, and there’s no real consensus or actual rules, so your mileage may vary, depending on your GM.


No consensus on how it works.

The issue has been raised before.

The bonus weapon specialization damage from natural weapons, power armor damage dice, and unarmed strike bonus damage are all a question on how they interact with one another.

Unfortunately, the 1.5 weapon specialization is so good that until weapon damage dice really start to jump you're typically better off just relying on weapon specialization damage.


Honestly, once I was able to wear a set of power armor that had 2 weapon mounts, I just started carrying the hardest hitting 2-hand weapon that targeted EAC that I could find/afford anyway. It really solved a lot of the mathematics-induced decision paralysis.

I'm a Vesk Armor Storm, by the by.


Right, but even at level 10 the bonus damage you get from natural attack weapon spec bonus is so much that even though your damage dice would be behind, it's still better than virtually another other weapon. Even two-handed energy weapons.

The benefit energy weapons have is lower AC target, which shouldn't be overlooked. But it's just kind of lame if you can't combine it with other things.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Insofar as I can tell unarmed strikes and natural attacks are the same thing, it's just that natural attacks tack on a few extra rules mods.

I don't think unarmed melee attacks made with your powered armor interact with either of those though. You choose which one you're using with any given attack.


I'm pretty sure you can let your tail hang out and whack people with that instead of the power armor, but they won't combine.


Claxon wrote:

Right, but even at level 10 the bonus damage you get from natural attack weapon spec bonus is so much that even though your damage dice would be behind, it's still better than virtually another other weapon. Even two-handed energy weapons.

The benefit energy weapons have is lower AC target, which shouldn't be overlooked. But it's just kind of lame if you can't combine it with other things.

There's a lot of variation, given all the individual weapons, weapon types, how you value special abilities, etc. What's good for me may not be what someone else is looking for.

But, from a straight damage perspective, at level 6, I'm doing 3d6+10 with a 2h weapon that hits vs EAC (a paramagnetic storm hammer.) At level 6, my natural attack would be 1d3+13. When does that get better? Even if I don't get a weapon early, at level 11 if I take the next best storm hammer, I'm doing 6d6+16 (I decided I'll be wearing Iron Bulwark by then.) Natural attack then is 1d3+21. I could roll all ones on a 6d6 and still do more damage than a max natural attack roll.

So, no, unless I really messed up that math (which is possible. It's early, and it's math) natural attacks aren't better than 2h weapons.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Natural weapons are not better than 2 handed weapons. It's the piling on of natural weapons (to remove the archaic property), the ring of fangs bite attack (for 2x level specialization) and improved unarmed strike (to increase damage dice a bit) that beats out real weapons for too long of a stretch.

Also, storm hammers hit KAC, not EAC. A weapon that deals partially kinetic damage is a KAC weapon.


Pantshandshake wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Right, but even at level 10 the bonus damage you get from natural attack weapon spec bonus is so much that even though your damage dice would be behind, it's still better than virtually another other weapon. Even two-handed energy weapons.

The benefit energy weapons have is lower AC target, which shouldn't be overlooked. But it's just kind of lame if you can't combine it with other things.

There's a lot of variation, given all the individual weapons, weapon types, how you value special abilities, etc. What's good for me may not be what someone else is looking for.

But, from a straight damage perspective, at level 6, I'm doing 3d6+10 with a 2h weapon that hits vs EAC (a paramagnetic storm hammer.) At level 6, my natural attack would be 1d3+13. When does that get better? Even if I don't get a weapon early, at level 11 if I take the next best storm hammer, I'm doing 6d6+16 (I decided I'll be wearing Iron Bulwark by then.) Natural attack then is 1d3+21. I could roll all ones on a 6d6 and still do more damage than a max natural attack roll.

So, no, unless I really messed up that math (which is possible. It's early, and it's math) natural attacks aren't better than 2h weapons.

Well, with the ring of fangs (which is probably something I failed to specify in my post) you have double weapon specification damage. That's my bad. I had it in my mind, but didn't specify it. So your natural attack would deal 1d3+12+1.5 * strength at level 6. And potentially be modified by improved unarmed strike or power attack attack or other things.


HammerJack wrote:

Natural weapons are not better than 2 handed weapons. It's the piling on of natural weapons (to remove the archaic property), the ring of fangs bite attack (for 2x level specialization) and improved unarmed strike (to increase damage dice a bit) that beats out real weapons for too long of a stretch.

Also, storm hammers hit KAC, not EAC. A weapon that deals partially kinetic damage is a KAC weapon.

Whoops, my bad on the EAC vs KAC business, good catch.

Well, I hadn't included a bunch of stuff in that initial calculation, let me see how it looks.

So... Imp. unarmed strike at level 6 is 1d6, which would be... +12 with ring of fangs, and +4 from str, so 1d6+16 vs 3d6+10? Man, that is super, super close. I guess it would come down to if you value fusions and other stuff more than the slight swing in possible damages,

So level 11 would be 2d6+27 for natural attacks with all the things, vs 6d6+16, which is still a really close average damage output.

So I guess, in the levels between weapon upgrades, unarmed strikes with all the trimmings probably go from better than a weapon to worse than a weapon (based on the levels your damage dice increase)?

Does that seem about right?


Pantshandshake wrote:
HammerJack wrote:

Natural weapons are not better than 2 handed weapons. It's the piling on of natural weapons (to remove the archaic property), the ring of fangs bite attack (for 2x level specialization) and improved unarmed strike (to increase damage dice a bit) that beats out real weapons for too long of a stretch.

Also, storm hammers hit KAC, not EAC. A weapon that deals partially kinetic damage is a KAC weapon.

Whoops, my bad on the EAC vs KAC business, good catch.

Well, I hadn't included a bunch of stuff in that initial calculation, let me see how it looks.

So... Imp. unarmed strike at level 6 is 1d6, which would be... +12 with ring of fangs, and +4 from str, so 1d6+16 vs 3d6+10? Man, that is super, super close. I guess it would come down to if you value fusions and other stuff more than the slight swing in possible damages,

So level 11 would be 2d6+27 for natural attacks with all the things, vs 6d6+16, which is still a really close average damage output.

So I guess, in the levels between weapon upgrades, unarmed strikes with all the trimmings probably go from better than a weapon to worse than a weapon (based on the levels your damage dice increase)?

Does that seem about right?

That seems about right to me.

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