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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - a vanilla unarmed tip

Tags: #Tips and Tricks Hints  #Tips and Tricks Magic  #Unarmed  #Dragon Aspect  #Shadow Warrior 
  • February 7, 2018

    I thought I'd share this tip, it's fairly minor but as far as I have seen it's currently unreported - and it adds a slight boost to vanilla unarmed legitimately. Due to the minor nature of the tip I haven't made the post very fancy, sorry! Three things, the first one which has been covered before in james' original detailed unarmed guide: 


    1) Dragon Aspect works with unarmed power attacks, making them x1.25 stronger. This makes the triple power attack (both power attack keys/buttons held at the same time) the strongest attack with Dragon Aspect on - see the post from james for more details.

    2) Something you might not know - unarmed triple power attacks can be performed from stealth. Your character stands up to perform them and goes through the same animation, and then crouches like normal at the end. Your character counts as in stealth through this entire period, though naturally as you're flailing your arms around it's much easier to be spotted as the enemy turns to face you.

    3) Something which also doesn't also seem to be common knowledge - the Shadow Warrior sneak attack manouveur works with these unarmed triple power attacks.


    All in all, bearing in mind that the triple hit power attack does three separate standard hits boosted by Dragon Aspect, this leads to a situation where your standard damage using Necromage Khajiit with all the right stuff (see the thread by james for the numbers) is:

    First hit of the triple attack power attack from stealth from stealth = 91.5 x 1.25 (Dragon Aspect) x 2.0 (Sneak Attack) = 228.75

    Next two hits when you've likely been spotted (especially using Shadow Warrior) = 91.5 x 1.25 (Dragon Aspect) x 2.0 (you're hitting twice) = 228.75

    Total damage = 228.75 + 228.75 = 457.5


    The main advantage of all of this is, beyond Necromage Vampire, you don't have to use anything fruity to up your damage (Resto-crafting exploit, gauntlets stacking exploit, fortify marksman exploit, and what have you). You don't even really need to use Necromage Vampire either to be honest if you're going to go Khajiit, though you'll still want to be a vampire for Ring of the Beast I'd say. 

    The main drawback is with this is the reach of unarmed sucks, so trying to make you power attacks land probably requires you to be a bit of a ninja master in the first place! Slow Time helps a lot though.


    Looking at james' post again, a single blast of Marked for Death gives an additional 540% damage after the 60 second length of the shout has elapsed. By the end of that, you'll be doing:

    457.5 x (1 + 5.4) = 2928 damage, or 732 damage on Legendary - sounds perfectly fine to me!


    I'm currently playing a no-crafting unarmed Khajiit on Legendary and having a lot of fun (no Fists of Steel, just Gloves of the Pugilist, Ring of the Beast and Necromage vampire Khajiit - using Harmony to steal enemy weapons with Misdirection, then using Mayhem to make them all fist fight, giving them a single blast of Marked for Death then weighing in myself with Slow Time. Almost like using thievery as a combat style, very fitting for a Khajiit) - so you don't need to go that crazy optimal to make unarmed viable. I've started writing the build up, hopefully it won't be too long before I post it.

  • Member
    February 7, 2018

    Good info, was not aware. Still have yet to play a proper, dedicated unarmed character so if and when that happens, I'll likely be referring back to this. Your project sounds cool, too.

  • February 7, 2018

    Thanks! Good to know it wasn't old information, but after searching for a little while I couldn't find anything. I suspect seeing as things like Backstab don't work with unarmed people wrote it off as a strategy - but it definitely seems like a legit way to squeeze some extra damage if you were keen on vanilla unarmed.

  • February 7, 2018

    Sounds fairly interesting in general, don't think I ever really thought about Sneak + Unarmed to be honest, which might sound a bit weird but yeah, just never thought about it. Cool tip Jojobobo, cool tip indeed.

  • February 8, 2018

    Cheers! But yeah, I think it's something that most of the time flies under the radar seeing as unarmed builds tend towards heavy armor due to Fists of Steel, and heavy armor doesn't feel like a very natural pairing with stealth. As I'm going for the weird style of stealing everyone's weapons before I fight them and then using Mayhem (which is incredibly fun to watch people beat the hell out of each other and start performing unarmed finishers on one another), it was something that occured to me to test out.

    Personally I've never really enjoyed things like fortify marksman to boost unarmed damage, because there's not really anyway you can twist that to make sense and so I can't really enjoy myself roleplaying that kind of character (though I'm sure some people think that about vampire Necromage too). By contrast this all feels like it's inside of intended game mechanics, so it seems like a more natural way to go about play unarmed.