Can you "wield" your unarmed strikes as weapons?


Rules Discussion

Sovereign Court

PF1 is notorious for not being able to decide what wielding means.

In PF2, you get feats like:

CRB, p. 144 wrote:

DOUBLE SLICE [two-actions]

FIGHTER FEAT 1
Requirements You are wielding two melee weapons, each in a different hand.
---
You lash out at your foe with both weapons. Make two Strikes, one with each of your two
melee weapons, each using your current multiple attack penalty. Both Strikes must have
the same target. If the second Strike is made with a weapon that doesn’t have the agile trait,
it takes a –2 penalty.
If both attacks hit, combine their damage, and then add any other applicable effects
from both weapons. You add any precision damage only once, to the attack of your choice.
Combine the damage from both Strikes and apply resistances and weaknesses only once.
This counts as two attacks when calculating your multiple attack penalty.

It seems like you can't do this with unarmed strikes?


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I don't remember where, probably in the weapons chapter, but there is text explicitly saying that unarmed strikes aren't weapons and aren't usable with feats which say weapons instead of including unarmed strikes.

So, no, you can't wield unarmed strikes as weapons.


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They went so far as to make a separate table in the equipment section for unarmed attacks just to make it clear that they're not any type of weapon.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't remember where, probably in the weapons chapter, but there is text explicitly saying that unarmed strikes aren't weapons and aren't usable with feats which say weapons instead of including unarmed strikes.

So, no, you can't wield unarmed strikes as weapons.

Unarmed isn't even a particular strong way of attacking, cutting it off from so much combat support feels almost punitive.


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Squiggit wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't remember where, probably in the weapons chapter, but there is text explicitly saying that unarmed strikes aren't weapons and aren't usable with feats which say weapons instead of including unarmed strikes.

So, no, you can't wield unarmed strikes as weapons.

Unarmed isn't even a particular strong way of attacking, cutting it off from so much combat support feels almost punitive.

Pretty weird that unarmed, daggers, and wet noodles don’t get much combat support except from a class designed around using unarmed that comes with some flavor surrounding it to justify punching things being as effective as hitting them with a magic sword.


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Xenocrat wrote:
Pretty weird that unarmed, daggers, and wet noodles don’t get much combat support except from a class designed around using unarmed that comes with some flavor surrounding it to justify punching things being as effective as hitting them with a magic sword.

I mean it's a fantasy game where you can chop an elephant in half with a short sword and blow people up with bat poop and magic words. I don't think it'd be that big of a deal if someone could build an unarmed paladin or rogue a little more competently. Though I guess if you do that's fine.


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I figure multiclassing monk to get one of the d8 (or d10) unarmed styles available at level 1, and flurry at level 12 (I believe) will work well for anybody else who wants to punch people.

I'm not sure how proficiency in unarmed strikes is figured though. Do rangers, barbarians, and champions all get master unarmed?


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figure multiclassing monk to get one of the d8 (or d10) unarmed styles available at level 1, and flurry at level 12 (I believe) will work well for anybody else who wants to punch people.

I'm not sure how proficiency in unarmed strikes is figured though. Do rangers, barbarians, and champions all get master unarmed?

According to an allegedly comprehensive proficiency chart, fighters get legendary, barbarians, monks and mutagen alchemists get master, druids get expert, and everyone else is trained in unarmed attacks.


That seems like a weird oversight. Only three classes can ever be good at unarmed without multicasting into a specific flavor of character. Maybe four with a warpriest of the right god?

Not being able to use most of your class feats even if you multiclass? That's got to be a mistake.


Xenocrat wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figure multiclassing monk to get one of the d8 (or d10) unarmed styles available at level 1, and flurry at level 12 (I believe) will work well for anybody else who wants to punch people.

I'm not sure how proficiency in unarmed strikes is figured though. Do rangers, barbarians, and champions all get master unarmed?

According to an allegedly comprehensive proficiency chart, fighters get legendary, barbarians, monks and mutagen alchemists get master, druids get expert, and everyone else is trained in unarmed attacks.

Monks don't get Legendary in unarmed, one of their signature specialties, but Fighters do?


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Jesikah Morning's Dew wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figure multiclassing monk to get one of the d8 (or d10) unarmed styles available at level 1, and flurry at level 12 (I believe) will work well for anybody else who wants to punch people.

I'm not sure how proficiency in unarmed strikes is figured though. Do rangers, barbarians, and champions all get master unarmed?

According to an allegedly comprehensive proficiency chart, fighters get legendary, barbarians, monks and mutagen alchemists get master, druids get expert, and everyone else is trained in unarmed attacks.
Monks don't get Legendary in unarmed, one of their signature specialties, but Fighters do?

Nope. They get legendary in unarmored, so they're the best dodgers, and they get the best saves (with their choice of any one in Legendary), but instead of getting the best accuracy with their unarmed attacks they have to settle for lots of feats that make their unarmed attacks much better than the fighter's.


Xenocrat wrote:
Jesikah Morning's Dew wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figure multiclassing monk to get one of the d8 (or d10) unarmed styles available at level 1, and flurry at level 12 (I believe) will work well for anybody else who wants to punch people.

I'm not sure how proficiency in unarmed strikes is figured though. Do rangers, barbarians, and champions all get master unarmed?

According to an allegedly comprehensive proficiency chart, fighters get legendary, barbarians, monks and mutagen alchemists get master, druids get expert, and everyone else is trained in unarmed attacks.
Monks don't get Legendary in unarmed, one of their signature specialties, but Fighters do?
Nope. They get legendary in unarmored, so they're the best dodgers, and they get the best saves (with their choice of any one in Legendary), but instead of getting the best accuracy with their unarmed attacks they have to settle for lots of feats that make their unarmed attacks much better than the fighter's.

Hm. Well, I suppose I'll have to see how it plays out!

If only the PDFs would drop early! Siiiiiiiiigh. Two more days? I don't think I have enough HP to survive the deprivation....


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Squiggit wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't remember where, probably in the weapons chapter, but there is text explicitly saying that unarmed strikes aren't weapons and aren't usable with feats which say weapons instead of including unarmed strikes.

So, no, you can't wield unarmed strikes as weapons.

Unarmed isn't even a particular strong way of attacking, cutting it off from so much combat support feels almost punitive.

I don't see it as punitive, but as learning from past mistakes.


Monks still get that "can't roll less than a 10 with an unarmed attack" at higher levels right? I imagine that's there to balance monks vs. fighters in terms of unarmed combatants- fighters are going to crit more, monks are going to miss less and basically never crit fail.


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That also opens up a ton of design space for Monks and other unarmed attack focused classes/archetypes


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Monks still get that "can't roll less than a 10 with an unarmed attack" at higher levels right? I imagine that's there to balance monks vs. fighters in terms of unarmed combatants- fighters are going to crit more, monks are going to miss less and basically never crit fail.

Yes, but realistically fighters aren't even going to try except as a desperation move when disarmed, lacking the monk stances to enhance their unarmed weapon damage die and traits.


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breithauptclan wrote:
I don't see it as punitive, but as learning from past mistakes.

I mean I'd argue that's an extension of the same philosophy. Treating unarmed as a discrete category with entirely different rules than weapons is part of the reason there are so many weird issues like that one in the first place.

As it stands now Champions will need a special archetype to be able to do Paladin of Irori type stuff, because they can't use a bunch of class features with fists because they aren't weapons.

Needing unique archetypes or classes just to make weapons work was one of the criticisms of 1e. It's bizarre to intentionally bring that back.


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The source of the disagreement in Starfinder was the question of whether an unarmed strike was a weapon or not. At the very least PF2 comes down explicitly on the matter.

Whether you like the decision they decided on or not, it at least is not causing confusion.

I haven't seen the rules early, but I would expect that there is an unarmed strike feat somewhere in the general feats. If so, then you wouldn't need a multiclass archetype to get better unarmed strikes that work as weapons. Just one feat. So at that point, it feels like the system is simply making you pay for your weapons in some way. Either with currency by buying an actual weapon object, or with a feat or class choice to pay for the ability to use your own body.


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breithauptclan wrote:


I haven't seen the rules early, but I would expect that there is an unarmed strike feat somewhere in the general feats. If so, then you wouldn't need a multiclass archetype to get better unarmed strikes that work as weapons. Just one feat. So at that point, it feels like the system is simply making you pay for your weapons in some way. Either with currency by buying an actual weapon object, or with a feat or class choice to pay for the ability to use your own body.

There is not, and unarmed users still have to buy an item to hold weapon enchantments for the sake of system math, so your feats vs gold example isn't really on point either.

Sovereign Court

On the plus side, the item that gives you weapon enchantment bonuses to unarmed strikes no longer costs more than enchanting a regular weapon. For 2WF builds there's Doubling Rings, which basically give your second weapon the same bonuses (but not special features) as the first, so you're not spending double the money compared to a 2H build anymore.

I agree with the "unarmed strikes really aren't weapons anymore" reading. It seems part of a subtle bunch of railings to prevent some abilities from working together, like monk flurry and ranger hunted target/flurry that would otherwise be exceedingly good.

Iroran paladins will be tricky, but then again Irori never liked the easy way.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
On the plus side, the item that gives you weapon enchantment bonuses to unarmed strikes no longer costs more than enchanting a regular weapon.

Which is nice, but that really only puts them on equal footing... which they promptly lose again anyways because of all the aforementioned proficiency and ability restrictions.


I dunno, there aren't that many things you lose. The one thing I've spotted that would be an issue is the Champion's Divine Ally, which doesn't seem to work with a fist and I suspect might be an oversight. (The Cleric Deadly Simplicity feat got language to explicitly make it work for fists for Irori, and I suspect it should have been present on the Champion as well.) Otherwise most classes seem fine? Like, there are certain feats you want to avoid, especially fighter feats which often specify what kind of weapon you are using, but you probably wanted to spend your class feats on monk stuff anyway.

A fighter who takes the monk dedication winds up with better accuracy while punching than the monk. A ranger winds up with a flurry that loses almost all of its penalties on follow up strikes. A rogue can flurry with sneak attack. A barbarian... actually barbars don't really need to multiclass, they have incredible support for unarmed fighting in class.


Captain Morgan wrote:
A ranger winds up with a flurry that loses almost all of its penalties on follow up strikes.

Just as a note on this one specifically. While you're right, that's pretty much at best a wash given the aforementioned proficiency issue. Rangers can never get past Trained in unarmed.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

I dunno, there aren't that many things you lose. The one thing I've spotted that would be an issue is the Champion's Divine Ally, which doesn't seem to work with a fist and I suspect might be an oversight. (The Cleric Deadly Simplicity feat got language to explicitly make it work for fists for Irori, and I suspect it should have been present on the Champion as well.) Otherwise most classes seem fine? Like, there are certain feats you want to avoid, especially fighter feats which often specify what kind of weapon you are using, but you probably wanted to spend your class feats on monk stuff anyway.

A fighter who takes the monk dedication winds up with better accuracy while punching than the monk. A ranger winds up with a flurry that loses almost all of its penalties on follow up strikes. A rogue can flurry with sneak attack. A barbarian... actually barbars don't really need to multiclass, they have incredible support for unarmed fighting in class.

I'm not sure it's an oversight. Divine simplicity seems to be just about training. while divine ally is that an inanimate item is inhabited by a divine spirit.

so I could see how they could draw a distinction. personally I hope they do errata it to allow paladins of koroda and irori to be able to have divine ally abilities with their fists.


Xenocrat wrote:
According to an allegedly comprehensive proficiency chart, fighters get legendary, barbarians, monks and mutagen alchemists get master, druids get expert, and everyone else is trained in unarmed attacks.

Mutagenists only get Expert to simple weapons and unarmed attacks btw.


Xenocrat wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figure multiclassing monk to get one of the d8 (or d10) unarmed styles available at level 1, and flurry at level 12 (I believe) will work well for anybody else who wants to punch people.

I'm not sure how proficiency in unarmed strikes is figured though. Do rangers, barbarians, and champions all get master unarmed?

According to an allegedly comprehensive proficiency chart, fighters get legendary, barbarians, monks and mutagen alchemists get master, druids get expert, and everyone else is trained in unarmed attacks.

Important note regarding fighters: It's only *ever* versatile legend (level 19) that improves fighter's unarmed strikes, the rest all say simple/martial weapons, and you improve with all of the weapons in a weapon group... seems like an oversight.

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