Can I make an unarmed strike while holding a two handed weapon?

My barbarian Gus uses a Greataxe, a two handed weapon. While raging in combat against harpies, a round passed without Gus taking damage. On his turn, all harpies were out of his melee range, and he had used all his javelins. To maintain his rage, he slapped the fighter with an unarmed strike. The DM ruled that Gus could not make a unarmed strike, as he was wielding a 2 handed weapon. I argued that he was not wielding the 2 handed weapon, just holding it; my DM didn’t see the difference, and as long as Gus held a 2 handed weapon his weapon attacks must be made with that weapon. In the end I dropped the weapon, slap the fighter, then pick up the weapon as a free object interaction. Then he reminded me that rage is only maintained by attacking a hostile opponent, but that’s not important here.

I understand that a 2 handed weapon only requires 2 hands when you attack with it, and my DM agrees with that. The only debate is whether you can, while holding the weapon with 1 hand, make an unarmed strike with your other hand. The description for unarmed strikes seems to imply that you could make an unarmed strike with full hands:

Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon Attack, you can use an Unarmed Strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow.

Even if I did have full hands, could I have head butted the fighter here? enter link description hereWas my DM correct in this ruling, or was I?

How can I increase my Monk’s unarmed damage?

I’m pretty new to D&D, and I just started an Evil campaign. I am a wood elf, Chaotic Neutral aligned, 3rd level Monk(Open Hand).

Our party has a couple of barbarians, a few rogues, and a trickster.

I realize that fist fighting isn’t going to get a 1d10 or even a 1d8, but 1d4 is pretty useless unless you’re brawling in a bar. If there’s a way I can use a feat or something to get a small bonus (I already have a Dex bonus of +4) I would appreciate it

I have noticed that my damage output is considerably lower than my friends’ damage. We are trying to escape a mining complex. I didn’t notice the damage difference until everyone got better weapons than rocks and pickaxes.

I can make a bonus attack but with only 1d4+4 damge per hit, I do nothing to the guards, who have an ac of 12 and 14 hp.

Should unarmed melee weapons like fists and claws have the *finesse* and *light* traits? [closed]

In DnD 5e you find under Melee Attacks:

Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons). On a hit, an unarmed strike deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes.

Also Martial Arts for monks, and Claws for tabaxis and tortles deal with unarmed strikes.

All use Strength for the attack and damage roll, with the exception of the Martial Arts for monks, which accepts Dexterity too.

Should "unarmed strikes with these natural weapons" have the finesse and light traits, because wrestling and boxing are not only based on strength but also dexterity like wushu or bujutsu, and there is no reason to use two daggers but can’t do so with claws or fists, feets etc.? The monk still has more damage and would gain two-weapon fighting with its body. So it would not unbalance in game, but give the tabaxi and tortle non-throwable natural daggers.

Can I use two feats affecting unarmed strike at the same time?

Is there anything preventing a character from using, for example, Stunning Fist on the same attack as he uses Befuddling Strike, Perfect Strike (with a Ki Focus weapon), Scorpion Style, or similar feats?

As far as I can tell from the descriptions the only limit on them is that you can only use each once per round, or in the case of Scorpion Style, as a standard action.

Does “Magic Weapon, Legion’s” affect the monk’s unarmed strikes as the normal “Magic Weapon” does?

"Magic Weapon, Legion’s", states the following (emphasis mine):

This spell functions like magic weapon (see page 251 of the Player’s Handbook), except as noted above and as follows. It affects only weapons held by allies when the spell is cast. It has no effect on ammunition.

and "Magic Weapon" states the following:

You can’t cast this spell on a natural weapon, such as an unarmed strike (instead, see magic fang). A monk’s unarmed strike is considered a weapon, and thus it can be enhanced by this spell.

Therefore, does the Legion’s version also consider the monk’s unarmed strikes are weapons held or not?

Does unarmed proficiency get downgraded in Pathfinder 2e polymorph spells (animal form etc.)?

Every polymorph spell that grants you special attacks in your battle form notes that you are trained with these attacks. They are also always unarmed attacks. Does your proficiency bonus for these attacks get a downgrade if you are usually an expert with unarmed attacks, and now you are only trained?

Arguments for:

  • "Trained" is not just proficiency in general, but the name of one of the proficiency levels in particular. The descriptions could have said "You apply your proficiency for unarmed attacks" or just nothing, because every class is at least trained with unarmed attacks.
  • Animals are not usually very educated (see also: elephants with high strength and medium athletics)
  • This could be meant to keep you from getting too powerful with these attacks or exploit monk abilities with them, as the attacks allow you to use your own attack modifier if it is higher than the (relatively high) modifier included in the spell.

Arguments against:

  • I seem to vaguely remember errata saying that yes, every class is trained in unarmed attacks. These descriptions could be a holdover from the time where that wasn’t clear.
  • There aren’t many skill downgrades in the game, and those are always described as obvious drawbacks (literally, in the case of the silvertongue elixir.) It seems strange to limit your character’s powers here and only here.
  • If you did just want to say that players don’t need to worry about proficiency penalties, should they want to use their own attack modifier, I guess that would be a concise way to say it.

Do Lizardfolk unarmed attacks have a weapon specialization group?

The Lizardfolk ancestry grants an unarmed attack, and two more can be gained with ancestry feats. These three attacks are described as follows:

You have a claw unarmed attack that deals 1d4 slashing damage and has the agile and finesse traits.

You gain a fangs unarmed attack that deals 1d8 piercing damage.

You gain a tail unarmed attack that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage and has the sweep trait.

Then the Iruxi Unarmed Cunning feat comes along and explicitly allows you to apply the critical specialization effect for the above attacks. It does nothing else, and it is concise enough to quote entirely:

You make the most of your iruxi unarmed attacks. Whenever you score a critical hit with a claw or an unarmed attack you gained from a lizardfolk ancestry feat, you apply the unarmed attack’s critical specialization effect.

Critical specialization effects are defined by the attack’s group, and there isn’t a default group. These Lizardfolk attacks don’t have a group, so there is nothing to apply.

So is this feat useless? Or is there a general rule that I don’t know, like "every weapon or unarmed attack with no group listed is in the brawling group"? What am I missing?

Further thoughts: Some spells or activities grant unarmed attacks and specifically state their group, and some don’t. The Advanced Player’s Guide replaces the Tusk Orc feat, which grants an attack without group or traits, with one that grants an attack WITH a group and traits – so somebody must have wanted to clear that up, but the Lizardfolk feats didn’t get an update. And then all weapons in the rule book have a group, but not all armors. It all seems like if Paizo wanted an attack to have a group, they would have said so.

For a basic unarmed strike, is only the proficiency bonus included in the attack roll, or is the Strength modifier also added?

The Player’s Handbook, Chapter 9, states about attack rolls:

The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack is Strength

A bit later on it also states about melee attacks:

Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons). On a hit, an unarmed strike deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes.

I’m not sure whether an unarmed strike is considered a “melee weapon attack.”

For a basic unarmed strike (i.e. no Monk, Tavern Brawler or anything else that enhances unarmed strikes), is only the proficiency bonus added to the attack roll, or is the Strength modifier also added?

Clearly the Strength modifier is added to the damage, but I’m asking about the attack roll.

How much damage should a Rogue lvl5/Monk lvl6 be able to do with unarmed strike in 5e?

One of the PC’s in my campaign is playing a 5th lvl rogue/6th lvl monk. he uses unarmed strikes but has 2 magic items to boost his damage a bit: a set of bracers that add 1d6 slashing and a ring that adds 1d4 green fire damage.

In last night’s session, he did 84 pts of damage against an abominable yeti. His attack action (attack + extra attack) netted him 16 pt bludgeoning dmg + 10 pts slashing/fir from magic items. He followed with a sneak attack for 19 dmg (unfortunately, this is my first campaign to run and I hadn’t played D&D since AD&D, so I let him use sneak attack with unarmed strike when we started wihtout knowing better and it seems unfair to take it away now that he’s getting up in levels) plus 4 points magic dmg. He then burned a ki point for flurry of blows in his bonus action for 2 attacks dealing 9 points (incl. magic dmg) in the first hit and a critical hit on the second one dealt 26 dmg total. That’s a grand total of 84 points for the monk in one round.

Did I mention he’s a ghostwise halfling? A few session ago he beat an adult copper dragon to death with his bare hands. By himself. (okay, the dragon was trapped in a cave where he couldn’t fly and I wasn’t rolling the best that night and the halfling made his save against the dragon’s breath weapons and frightful presence, but still!).

Aside from allowing the sneak atack, am I doing something wrong here or did he just know how to build a monk that approaches OP?

Only good thing about this is that the ring he wears for the green fire damage is cursed. When he deals out a total of 125 points of green fire damage it’s going to explode, dealing him an amount of damage between 50% and 100% of the accumulated dmg. It happened once already with a lower damage trigger, but he didn’t get it taken care of, he decided to keep using it anyway, so…..