Unarmed attacks while armed

Corwin

Explorer
So his my proposal:

Let's say I am fighting with a one-handed weapon and nothing in the other hand (basically a duelist/swashbuckler type). Now, let us presume that I want to make an off-hand attack with my emply hand. I do not possess the Improved Unarmed feat or monk levels. I do not have a gauntlet, etc. The associated attack penalties (with or without ambidexterity/2-weapon) are not the issue here.

Would the opponent get an AoO? The quandry lies with the fact that I am still armed. Normally, I would suffer an AoO when I am unarmed. But that is not the case here.

What say you?

I picture the typical cinimatic style of pinning the opponent's weapon out of the way and punching him. Or drawing him off by forcing him to parry and then getting a kick in. Stuff like that.
 

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Zhure

First Post
Yes, you'd still draw an AoO because you lack IUS/guantlet.

To overcome this, perhaps Disarm them first? Or use a variant of Disarm to "pin" their weapon? See the Pin Shield Feat in S&F for a similar mechanic.

Greg
 

jontherev

First Post
Corwin said:
So his my proposal:

Let's say I am fighting with a one-handed weapon and nothing in the other hand (basically a duelist/swashbuckler type). Now, let us presume that I want to make an off-hand attack with my emply hand. I do not possess the Improved Unarmed feat or monk levels. I do not have a gauntlet, etc. The associated attack penalties (with or without ambidexterity/2-weapon) are not the issue here.

Would the opponent get an AoO? The quandry lies with the fact that I am still armed. Normally, I would suffer an AoO when I am unarmed. But that is not the case here.

What say you?

I picture the typical cinimatic style of pinning the opponent's weapon out of the way and punching him. Or drawing him off by forcing him to parry and then getting a kick in. Stuff like that.

No you wouldn't suffer an AoO since you are still armed in your primary hand. It isn't the ACTION itself (attacking unarmed) that provokes the AoO. It is the fact that are unarmed that provokes the AoO.

However, for your approach, it seems like you want to disarm your foe first, as there is no rule for pinning weapons. You might want to look at the feat in Sword and Fist that lets you pin someone's shield, rendering it ineffective. Perhaps you could transform that into a weapon pinning feat and show it to your DM.
 

Artoomis

First Post
I think you provoke an AoO because you making an unarmed attack.

It's really even worse than that, for you are attacking with your off-hand, so appropriate penalties apply for that, as well.

You can do it, though, but's it hard to be totally successful.
 

Corwin

Explorer
OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

First I want to clarify that I am not going off on anyone with this reply. I am not ranting. I just want to be clear about some of the direction you are going in your responses.

Yeah, I realize the whole off-hand thing and ability to disarm, etc. I already know all the feats in all the splat books. I'm not an amature here. I know the rules pretty damn well. Those are not the issues. This is not about "how to smackdown a duelist" either.

This is a debate strictly about the rule on AoOs agains unarmed attackers, how they interface when still armed and what seems fair as a ruling on this situation.

Not disarming, S&F feats, or disarming.

The last part of my first post was about flavor text and in-character reference to how I picture this type of thing happening. That was it. If you don't recieve an AoO because you are armed when doing it, the flavor text I gave was an effort to describe the reasons for it. If that confused some of you, I am sorry.

Sorry if any of this sounds chiding. I am just trying to keep the discussion on target here.

Thanx so far for your responses.
 

Corwin

Explorer
Quick aside...

Just to be complete, here is the SRD:

If the combatant is attacking an armed opponent while unarmed, the combatant provokes an immediate attack of opportunity from the target which is resolved before the combatant's attack. Note that under certain circumstances, a combatant attacking without a weapon is still considered "armed".
 


Vaxalon

First Post
Given what is in the SRD, I'd say that holding a sword in your hand makes you "armed" and therefore making an unarmed attack would not provoke an AoO, even though you're not using it.

I say no AoO.
 

SpikeyFreak

First Post
I say you provoke an AoO.

Trying to punch someone while they are wielding a sword is a bad idea, whether-or-not you are also wielding a sword.

Think about two fencers. What would happen if one tried to punch the other.

But then again, by a strict interpretation of the SRD, no, you wouldn't provoke an AoO.

--Wrong Spikey
 

Xahn'Tyr

First Post
Interesting question, and from what you quoted I think that you would be safe (no AoO) by the letter of the rules. However, I believe that they meant for you to take an AoO even if you have a weaponin your other hand. As evidence of this, I present the following excerpt from the Improved Unarmed feat:

the character still gets an opportunity attack against any opponent who makes an unarmed attack on the character.

To me, this indicates that anyone who is armed is allowed an Attack of Opportunity against anyone who makes an unarmed attack on them. Doesn't matter what is in their other hand when they swing their fist.
 

jontherev

First Post
Re: OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

Corwin said:
First I want to clarify that I am not going off on anyone with this reply. I am not ranting. I just want to be clear about some of the direction you are going in your responses.

Yeah, I realize the whole off-hand thing and ability to disarm, etc. I already know all the feats in all the splat books. I'm not an amature here. I know the rules pretty damn well. Those are not the issues. This is not about "how to smackdown a duelist" either.

This is a debate strictly about the rule on AoOs agains unarmed attackers, how they interface when still armed and what seems fair as a ruling on this situation.

Not disarming, S&F feats, or disarming.

The last part of my first post was about flavor text and in-character reference to how I picture this type of thing happening. That was it. If you don't recieve an AoO because you are armed when doing it, the flavor text I gave was an effort to describe the reasons for it. If that confused some of you, I am sorry.

Sorry if any of this sounds chiding. I am just trying to keep the discussion on target here.

Thanx so far for your responses.

Jeez, relax. If you know the rules so damn well, why do you need us to find the rule that I found in less than 1 minute off the SRD that proves you don't get an AoO. I was only trying to give you an idea on actually using your cinematic in-game using the rules. It had nothing to do with a smackdown. No one was claiming you were an amateur dude. If you took it that way, then that's your deal...no reason to go off on us.
 

Corwin

Explorer
Interesting views coming from all angles. Good.

I have a few replies...

Spikey: I wanted to readress the point you made about punching someone with a sword even if you have one as well. As countless cinematic swordfights have shown, there are numerous ways to use your weapon to gain a moments advantage to take a punch at your opponent. I cited two of the most common in my first post. I assume you have seen these done a hundred times on countless movies or TV shows. As have all sci-fi/fantasy fans. That was the whole point of this topic. Has everyone who ever tried this tactic taken the Improved Unarmed feat first? I doubt it. BTW, I came up with this idea after having watched Count of Monte Cristo and it dawned on me that the rules may support it.

Xahn'Tyr: Hmmm. I'm not sure of the point of your quote. Are you saying that the Improved Unarmed feat is trying to be more specific than the actual rules on unarmed combat? I'm thinking maybe they are just generalizing a bit to simplify their point for the purposes of writing up the feat. That would be my guess. Not the other way around. The quote is just a short-hand to illustrate the advantage of taking the feat. I think this comes from the fact that, in almost every situation, an armed character is going to attack with thier weapon. So the assumption by the feat's description is that an unarmed attacker is making the unarmed attack. Not an armed attacker making one. But that's just my take on it.

As a DM, I have already decided how I will rule on this. I think it is fairly evident by my arguments. I just wanted to toss it up here for all to think about and discuss. I'm sure each DM will rule how they see fit for their own games. After all, that's the way it should be.
 

Xahn'Tyr

First Post
If the combatant is attacking an armed opponent while unarmed, the combatant provokes an immediate attack of opportunity
With regards to the use of the word "unarmed" above, I think this comes from the fact that, in almost every situation, an armed character is going to attack with thier weapon. So the assumption by the description is that an unarmed attacker is making the unarmed attack.
 
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Corwin

Explorer
Re: Re: OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

jontherev said:


Jeez, relax. If you know the rules so damn well, why do you need us to find the rule that I found in less than 1 minute off the SRD that proves you don't get an AoO. I was only trying to give you an idea on actually using your cinematic in-game using the rules. It had nothing to do with a smackdown. No one was claiming you were an amateur dude. If you took it that way, then that's your deal...no reason to go off on us.

Um? Huh? Nevermind, jontherev. Feel free not to respond anymore if you don't feel like it. I don't know what your problem is but you obviously didn't read anything I've written this entire thread. Even if your seem to agree with me.

Since you seem to want to get into it a little, I will comment on your first post specifically.

Yes, you gave the opinion that there would be no AoO. Fine. Great even. But you then start going into disarming them first or using S&F feats to acomplish something not related to the question at hand. My premise was simply taking an off-hand unarmed attack while armed in the primary hand. I was quite clear about that. When you started to stray, I made an effort to keep the thread on track. I did so with multiple caveats about not trying to upset anyone or pick on anyone. You took offense anyway. Go figure.

Then there is this comment:
"If you know the rules so damn well, why do you need us to find the rule that I found in less than 1 minute off the SRD that proves you don't get an AoO."

And I argue that, though the rules seem to imply what you and I believe, it is not sound and clear. That is precisely why I posted it here. If it was so obvious, why are there conflicting opinions? There seem to be two sides to this and both make good points. Yet you are sure the SRD proves it. If that were the case, I wouldn't have bothered to mention it in the first place.

Have a nice day.
 

jontherev

First Post
Re: Re: Re: OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

Corwin said:


Um? Huh? Nevermind, jontherev. Feel free not to respond anymore if you don't feel like it. I don't know what your problem is but you obviously didn't read anything I've written this entire thread. Even if your seem to agree with me.

Since you seem to want to get into it a little, I will comment on your first post specifically.

Yes, you gave the opinion that there would be no AoO. Fine. Great even. But you then start going into disarming them first or using S&F feats to acomplish something not related to the question at hand. My premise was simply taking an off-hand unarmed attack while armed in the primary hand. I was quite clear about that. When you started to stray, I made an effort to keep the thread on track. I did so with multiple caveats about not trying to upset anyone or pick on anyone. You took offense anyway. Go figure.

Then there is this comment:
"If you know the rules so damn well, why do you need us to find the rule that I found in less than 1 minute off the SRD that proves you don't get an AoO."

And I argue that, though the rules seem to imply what you and I believe, it is not sound and clear. That is precisely why I posted it here. If it was so obvious, why are there conflicting opinions? There seem to be two sides to this and both make good points. Yet you are sure the SRD proves it. If that were the case, I wouldn't have bothered to mention it in the first place.

Have a nice day.

Well, perhaps I over-reacted, but I did take slight offense to the perceived haughtiness that I found unnecessary in some of these statements: "I'm not an amature here. I know the rules pretty damn well. Those are not the issues. This is not about "how to smackdown a duelist" either." Considering, that we were taking the time to reply to you and help out. Also, even considering your caveats. If I somehow misinterpreted that, then my bad.

Unfortuneately, I researched this further and found we were both incorrect. Pg. 122 PHB, look at the chart. It says Unarmed Attacks may provoke AoOs. So now, on the next page, it refers you to page 140. Under the section of Unarmed Attacks on this page, in the subsection of Attack of Opportunity, after stating what it does in the SRD about how attacking unarmed provokes AoO's, it further details that "You provoke the attack of opportunity because you have to bring your body close to your opponent."

So, being armed would not help you, because it's your body that is coming close to the foe that provokes the AoO. Your weapon won't help you.

Also, in the next section, "Armed" Unarmed Attacks, it specifically details the instances where someone could, by the rules, make an unarmed attack but still count as being armed. "A monk, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat (page 83), a spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, and a creature with claws, fangs, and similar natural physical weapons all count as armed." So, it would've included in this list the one weapon fighter making an offhand unarmed strike if they counted as being armed for the purposes of avoiding an AoO while making an offhand unarmed attack.

In short, by the rules, offhand unarmed strikes from a character weilding a weapon in his primary hand, still provoke AoO's from the foe he is striking. At least, that appears to be the only interpretation I can see, given the rules I've cited.
 

Corwin

Explorer
Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

Real quick, before I get into the meat of your post, I want to comment on the "precieved haughtiness" you mentioned. It's interesting because that was the perception I got from your first post as well. You seemed to be coming across with a "there are rules for disarming you may want to read and there is a book called Sword and Fist that has a few feats you should look into" attitude. Basically, it was like you were assuming I had no clue. Again, perceptions what they are on the internet, that was the feeling I got. That was precisely why I wanted to put a halt to that particular frame of post early and explain that I wasn't looking at those things. Anyway, on with the discussion...

jontherev said:

"You provoke the attack of opportunity because you have to bring your body close to your opponent."

I am inclined to catagorize this part of the PHB as "flavor text". Though it's technically more a victim of "sloppiness". The problem with it is that it assumes that the [/i]reason[/i] you are drawing the AoO is because you have to get close. But do you not have to get just as close to deliver a touch attack? Same with natural attacks forms (like claws). And does the length of a small knife (or ridges of a spiked gauntlet) really mean the difference beween the AoO or not?

I completely agree that an unarmed character draws an AoO. But if that same character is armed, I don't see it as quite the same thing. With that weapon in hand, the character can do all the things I have previously described: parry, distract, etc. to ally him to get in close long enough to pop the guy in the face (or whatever).

I guess, what it really comes down to, is a matter of judging it for game-balance/rules-fairness. You are taking a minimum of a -2/-2 penalty to your attacks (assuming all the necessary feats) for an additional 1d3 subdual damage. I was originally looking at it from a "cool/style" angle of cinematic fighting. If the PC wants to do it, I think that's alright with me.
 

jontherev

First Post
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

Corwin said:
I am inclined to catagorize this part of the PHB as "flavor text". Though it's technically more a victim of "sloppiness". The problem with it is that it assumes that the [/i]reason[/i] you are drawing the AoO is because you have to get close. But do you not have to get just as close to deliver a touch attack? Same with natural attacks forms (like claws). And does the length of a small knife (or ridges of a spiked gauntlet) really mean the difference beween the AoO or not?

I completely agree that an unarmed character draws an AoO. But if that same character is armed, I don't see it as quite the same thing. With that weapon in hand, the character can do all the things I have previously described: parry, distract, etc. to ally him to get in close long enough to pop the guy in the face (or whatever).

I guess, what it really comes down to, is a matter of judging it for game-balance/rules-fairness. You are taking a minimum of a -2/-2 penalty to your attacks (assuming all the necessary feats) for an additional 1d3 subdual damage. I was originally looking at it from a "cool/style" angle of cinematic fighting. If the PC wants to do it, I think that's alright with me.

I actually wasn't considering whether it was balanced or not. That's a judgement call. But, what about the other quote I provided that listed the few conditions that it is allowed to make an unarmed strike without provoking an AoO? It specifically does not mention making an offhand unarmed strike while weilding a weapon in the primary hand (or the reverse, making the unarmed strike with your primary hand). The only time you can make an unarmed attack without provoking an AoO from the foe you are striking is:

1. If you are a monk
2. If you are a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat (page 83)
3. If you are a spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, OR
4. If you are a creature with claws, fangs, and similar natural physical weapons all count as armed.

That's it. No one else can do this. Anything else would be a house rule, and that's fine.
 

Pielorinho

Iron Fist of Pelor
Corwin, I think Jontherev has made it clear (with the SRD quote of times that an unarmed attack is considered armed) that, strictly rules-speaking, the unarmed attack in this circumstance draws an AoO. Your ruling otherwise seems like a cool houserule to me, however -- it does indeed allow for a great swashbuckling move.

I could even imagine a great move in which a PC batted aside an opponent's blade, moved in close, used the quickdraw feat to draw his opponent's dagger, and stabbed the opponent with it. I'd deny the opponent his DEX bonus for such a maneuver, in appreciation of its coolness.

But we are in houserulesland at this point, even if it's the kind of houserule that I heartily enjoy. And I do think your post about "I know what I'm doing" is a good way to turn people off giving you additional responses; Jontherev is being mighty gracious by continuing to offer good advice in this thread, I think.

I'd suggest that people who want to try moves like this discuss them with their DM first. Tell the DM that, in exchange for his giving you more leeway in combat, you'll try to make combat more exciting and cinematic. I know I as a DM would be delighted if a player approached me like that.

Daniel
 

Corwin

Explorer
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

jontherev said:

But, what about the other quote I provided that listed the few conditions that it is allowed to make an unarmed strike without provoking an AoO? It specifically does not mention making an offhand unarmed strike while weilding a weapon in the primary hand (or the reverse, making the unarmed strike with your primary hand).

Well, not having my books here, I have to make a guess. But is it listed as a finite list or as examples? I would think they are examples and not specified as the only instances where it applies.

And quite frankly, I would not be surprised if it just never occured to them. All this time playing the game, and I'm the first one to think of it, AFAIK. At least with regards to all the gamers I know. And a lot of us are "veterans" and frequent D&D players/enthusiasts.
 

Zhure

First Post
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I really don't want to sound "ranty" here.

Corwin said:

And quite frankly, I would not be surprised if it just never occured to them. All this time playing the game, and I'm the first one to think of it, AFAIK. At least with regards to all the gamers I know. And a lot of us are "veterans" and frequent D&D players/enthusiasts.

This exact same topic came up a little over a year ago. Same resultant: unarmed attacks provoke AoO except for the given criteria.

Greg
 

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