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Deepblue706
2008-12-16, 04:15 PM
I wanted to resolve a tripping issue, which does not actually make use of the Improved Trip feat; rather, it is tripping without the feat, and attempting it with only use of the feat Improved Unarmed Strike. I have seen arguments for and against such use; I'd like to have your opinion. To begin, I will cite a page from the SRD:



Trip
You can try to trip an opponent as an unarmed melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is one size category larger than you, the same size, or smaller.

Making a Trip Attack
Make an unarmed melee touch attack against your target. This provokes an attack of opportunity from your target as normal for unarmed attacks.

Avoiding Attacks of Opportunity
If you have the Improved Trip feat, or if you are tripping with a weapon (see below), you donít provoke an attack of opportunity for making a trip attack.

Tripping with a Weapon
Some weapons can be used to make trip attacks. In this case, you make a melee touch attack with the weapon instead of an unarmed melee touch attack, and you donít provoke an attack of opportunity.


Now, under the introduction, it states that a Trip counts as an Unarmed Attack. In "Making a Trip Attack", the rule states "as normal for unarmed attacks". Normally, when using an unarmed attack, one provokes an attack of opportunity. Yet, by obtaining Improved Unarmed Strike, there is no-longer any AoO for such an attack.

"Avoiding Attacks of Opportunity" and "Tripping with a Weapon" appear to do nothing to support or deny this. The complete exclusion may mean that it is to be taken that any means other than what is described provokes an AoO; but the first two clauses I cite are what makes me wonder.

Now, let's look at Improved Trip:



Benefit
You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when you attempt to trip an opponent while you are unarmed. You also gain a +4 bonus on your Strength check to trip your opponent.

Normal
Without this feat, you provoke an attack of opportunity when you attempt to trip an opponent while you are unarmed.


Although the benefit states that you do not provoke an AoO when unarmed, it does not address the issue of this being an exclusive method to obtaining such ends. It is not until that it states the Normal uses of Trip that it tries to confirm that one really needs Improved Trip. But, as you saw above, the Trip tactic seems to be displayed in a different light.

So, if I wanted to Trip someone after acquiring Improved Unarmed Strike but not Improved Trip, could I do it without provoking an AoO (albeit not getting a free attack upon success)?

Who_Da_Halfling
2008-12-16, 04:21 PM
By your interpretation, it does seem that Improved Unarmed Strike removes the Trip AoO just as well as Improved Trip does. Obviously, you don't get the extra attack or the Strength bonus that Improved Trip bestows.

This leads one to wonder why a monk would take Improved Trip.

-JM

Eldariel
2008-12-16, 04:22 PM
Strictly speaking, Unarmed Strike isn't listed as usable for tripping, so you'd still provoke an AoO. Of course, it's reasonable to houserule the AoO. But by RAW, since Unarmed Strike specifically isn't stated to be a weapon that can be used to make a Trip-attack and the AoO specified in Trip is a specific AoO rather than the generic AoO from attacking with Unarmed Strikes without IUS, IUS doesn't remove the AoO. If the "This unarmed touch provokes an AoO as normal" was worded like that, or was a footnote or something, the AoO would indeed be removed though.

AslanCross
2008-12-16, 04:24 PM
Wow, that is an odd way of wording it. However, tripping with a weapon (you can only trip with some of them anyway), doesn't provoke AOOs either. So I guess you are correct in that the AOO comes entirely from making an unarmed attack.

Improved Trip gives a +4 to the attempt, though, so I don't see a reason why not to get it.

Tacoma
2008-12-16, 04:27 PM
One you forgot:



Improved Unarmed Strike [General]
Benefit
You are considered to be armed even when unarmed óthat is, you do not provoke attacks or opportunity from armed opponents when you attack them while unarmed. However, you still get an attack of opportunity against any opponent who makes an unarmed attack on you.

In addition, your unarmed strikes can deal lethal or nonlethal damage, at your option.

Normal
Without this feat, you are considered unarmed when attacking with an unarmed strike, and you can deal only nonlethal damage with such an attack.

Special
A monk automatically gains Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat at 1st level. She need not select it.

A fighter may select Improved Unarmed Strike as one of his fighter bonus feats.



The monk's hands no longer provoke attacks of opportunity when making attacks because they count as a weapon. They do not count as a specific weapon, nor do they gain the special qualities of a specific weapon.

Tripping with a weapon requires that the weapon be one especially suited for tripping. Your unarmed attack, or a Longsword, or a Crossbow are not specially suited for tripping. As such your unarmed attack can be used to trip but it cannot take advantage of the tripping with weapons rule.

So I'd rule that your unarmed trip counts under "making a trip attack" unarmed, provoking an AoO. And apparently you simply cannot trip with a weapon other than one especially suited for tripping.

It makes sense. No tripping with thrown darts.

Tacoma
2008-12-16, 04:30 PM
Also note that you're reaching for a "it doesn't say I can't do this" moment. I assume the result of your new rule:

"When I have Improved Unarmed Strike, I can perform maneuvers unarmed without provoking AoO, even where not specifically stated in the text."

I'm sure you recognize the unintended consequences of removing many sources of AoO provocation just because you have nothing in your hands while you do it.

Telonius
2008-12-16, 04:40 PM
Why a Monk is tripping with hands rather than a Quarterstaff is beyond me...

woodenbandman
2008-12-16, 04:52 PM
You're considered armed with a weapon when you gain the benefit of Improved Unarmed Strike. Plus, it says "as normal when making an unarmed strike," and now that you have this feat it is normal for your unarmed strikes to not provoke an attack of opportunity. Also, technically you are incapable of making unarmed touch attacks since you are considered armed even when not wielding a weapon, so you're really making a touch attack with your weapon, which just happens to be named Unarmed Strike.

Although this begs the question of why? Why would you try tripping without improved trip, seeing as how you don't get an additional attack after tripping when you make a trip without that feat, and you don't get an additional +4 which is pretty necessary for actually making the trip consistently, so it's really rather pointless.

Deepblue706
2008-12-16, 05:13 PM
Also note that you're reaching for a "it doesn't say I can't do this" moment. I assume the result of your new rule:


Yeah, I sort of felt like it was a bit...graspy. I didn't want to make any real solid rulings on this until I got some outside input.

Deepblue706
2008-12-16, 05:15 PM
Although this begs the question of why? Why would you try tripping without improved trip, seeing as how you don't get an additional attack after tripping when you make a trip without that feat, and you don't get an additional +4 which is pretty necessary for actually making the trip consistently, so it's really rather pointless.

Not enough INT for Combat Expertise pre-req, and not a Monk, yet strong enough so that a +4 doesn't really matter, and used in such a manner that the act of knocking someone prone is far more important than the bonus attack. Also, not wielding a Spiked Chain, Guisarme or Flail.

More specifically, it'd be for a Fighter of which I'd want to have Improved Grapple. I want to make the most use of each feat he has.

I think it'd be cool to have him be able to Trip solely with Unarmed Strikes as he two-handed a Greatsword. Or, alternatively, he could use a Heavy Flail and two-weapon fighting to deliver lots of trip attacks, and still get 2:1 on his power attack.

I mean, right now, saying he can't means he can effectively poke someone in melee combat (melee touch attack) with no negative repercussions, but can't kick-out someone's legs to drop them to the ground, even if it means no damage.

woodenbandman
2008-12-16, 06:33 PM
If you're running a monk, take the combat style passive way for both combat expertise and improved trip, both of which win way harder than improved grapple and combat reflexes, because you can't normally qualify for them.

EDIT: Oh, not a monk. Nevermind.

Stephen_E
2008-12-16, 06:51 PM
Having read through the rules I'm inclined to agree that unarmed improved strike does allow trip attacks without attracting an AOO (my initial reaction was "no way").

Basically you are treated as armed when making unarmed attacks, and the trip rules make clear that unarmed attacks are a weapon capable of making trip attacks, and that armed trip attacks don't cause an AOO.

As a sensible build (without other factors - see below) it fails in my book (take Spiked Chain proficincy instead of Improved unarmed strike and if your trip fails you can avoid getting tripped back) but RPGing is always about been sensible, and if you take a few levels in theirf acrobat it actaully works because if they do trip you back, unless they also have improved trip, you can continue to fight from ground without penalty or get up as a free action that doesn't attract AOOs.

Stephen E

Tacoma
2008-12-16, 06:59 PM
It doesn't say that at all.

Here are the premises:

1: If you Trip unarmed, they get an AoO
2: Certain weapons can be used to trip.
3: Normally, when you attack unarmed they get an AoO.
4: Improved Unarmed makes your unarmed attack count as a weapon.

Result: Improved Unarmed attack makes your unarmed attack count as a weapon, but not as a weapon specifically well suited for tripping (glaive, flail, something else). As such, you cannot use your unarmed attack under the tripping with weapons rule. Your unarmed attack is not specially suitable for tripping.

All you're left with is the standard tripping rule, which doesn't care whether your unarmed attack normally doesn't provoke. It just cares if you're unarmed.

Taken absolutely literally, once you take the Imp. Unarmed feat you cannot trip unarmed, since it counts as a weapon which cannot be used for tripping. But that's just silly.

Stephen_E
2008-12-16, 07:29 PM
All this has made me think of a build.

Rase = Ogre
Build = 32pts
Str 16 - 26
Dex 14 - 12
Con 14 - 18
Int 16 - 12
Wis 8 - 8
Cha 8 - 4

4 Ogre levels
2 Monk levels
2 Thief Acrobat levels
1 Fighter
+2 lev adj

1st lev feat-Dodge
3rd lev feat-Mobility
4th lev Stat bonus +1 Int (Int 13)
5th lev Flurry of Blows, Imp Unarmed Strike, Imp Grapple
6th lev feat-Combat expertise, Combat Reflexes, Evasion
7th lev Kip up, steady stance,
8th lev Agile fighting +1/+2 (no penalty when prone, +1 dobge bonus to AC)
Stat bonus +1 Str?
9th lev Imp Trip, Elusive Target.
ECL = 11 (1 more lev and you can buy off 1 lev adj)

You can now make touch attacks to hit, trip and follow up. You can do this with flurry of blows as well. If your trip fails and you're tripped back it makes no difference to your fighting.
You can also run past targeta attracting AOOs and for every AOO that misses (NAC, Magical Mithral Breastplate, Mobility, ect) you get a free trip which you can't be tripped back on and can make a follow up attack via Imp Trip on any successful trips.

Stephen E

Stephen_E
2008-12-16, 07:37 PM
Result: Improved Unarmed attack makes your unarmed attack count as a weapon, but not as a weapon specifically well suited for tripping (glaive, flail, something else). As such, you cannot use your unarmed attack under the tripping with weapons rule. Your unarmed attack is not specially suitable for tripping.



Where do you get your assumption that unarmed attacks aren't a weapon suitable for tripping with?

The rules make quite clear that unarmed attacks are the default trip weapon. The list of weapons used for tripping does not claim to be an absolute exclusive list (indeed it makes clear it;s not) and there is no particular reason to mention unarmed strikes with imp unarmed strikes because it has already made clear that unarmed strikes are the default trip weapon.

Stephen E

Tacoma
2008-12-16, 07:42 PM
Read the weapon descriptions. Every weapon usable in a trip (one especially suitable for it) has that listed in its weapon description. Conspicuous in its absence from the Unarmed Strike entry, though it mentions the Imp Unarmed feat, we must assume that Unarmed Strike is not a weapon usable for tripping.

Otherwise, heck, just say every weapon is usable for tripping. I don't care.

Stephen_E
2008-12-16, 07:50 PM
Read the weapon descriptions. Every weapon usable in a trip (one especially suitable for it) has that listed in its weapon description. Conspicuous in its absence from the Unarmed Strike entry, though it mentions the Imp Unarmed feat, we must assume that Unarmed Strike is not a weapon usable for tripping.

Otherwise, heck, just say every weapon is usable for tripping. I don't care.

So let me get this straight, Because it doesn't say that you can trip with an unarmed attack in the weapons section you're saying you can't use it for tripping despite the tripping section of the rules specifically saying that you can trip with unarmed strikes. Indeed the basic trip rules are based on unarmed tripping and it's merely a note at the end that says you can do it with some weapons as well.

Interesting interpretation..........

Stephen E

Curmudgeon
2008-12-16, 08:01 PM
All you're left with is the standard tripping rule, which doesn't care whether your unarmed attack normally doesn't provoke. It just cares if you're unarmed.

Taken absolutely literally, once you take the Imp. Unarmed feat you cannot trip unarmed, since it counts as a weapon which cannot be used for tripping. But that's just silly.
Indeed, this line of reasoning is silly. So let's try to work up an interpretation that isn't silly.
Make an unarmed melee touch attack against your target. This provokes an attack of opportunity from your target as normal for unarmed attacks.
You are considered to be armed even when unarmedóthat is, you do not provoke attacks of opportunity from armed opponents when you attack them while unarmed. The "considered to be armed even when unarmed" statement does not make you incapable of unarmed attacks. Unarmed attacks are not weapons (leaving Kensai out of this discussion) and do not magically become weapons when you take IUS. You are still unarmed, and follow the unarmed trip rules.

Now, unarmed strikes do have their own rules. As an example of specific rules trumping general rules, the specific exception to AoOs that Improved Unarmed Strike provides must override the standard rule about unarmed trip attacks. The conditional statement "as normal for unarmed attacks" obviously has to change when what's normal for unarmed attacks changes. Without IUS it's normal for uanrmed attacks to provoke; with IUS it's normal for them not to provoke. So you don't get as much benefit from Improved Unarmed Strike for trip attacks as you do from Improved Trip, but it will save you the AoO.

Rather less silly, don't you think?