The Unarmed Combat skill determines the effectiveness of all attacks made with your character's fists (or tentacles in the case of octopodes), increasing the damage, accuracy, and speed of your unarmed attacks. Although there are many non-punch auxiliary attacks you can make with the rest of your body, these are not affected by the UC skill whatsoever. Training this skill is only advisable if you intend to engage in melee while unarmed or while leaving your off-hand empty.
For many species, fighting without a weapon is not a very appealing prospect. Leaving your weapon and/or shield slot open means that you cannot take advantage of weapon brands, miss out on the defensive value of a shield, and have two fewer slots for wielding artifacts that may provide useful resistances or other bonuses. However, unarmed combat allows for some of the fastest attacks in the game, deals competitive damage to weapon wielders at high skill levels, and allows you to take advantage of the many Transmutations spells which grant you powerful unarmed capabilities. Also, some species have natural aptitudes or innate mutations that make unarmed combat a much more tempting choice.
The average aptitude of all species, excluding coloured draconian, is -0.259.
Unarmed combat specialists are capable of making some of the fastest attacks in the game, on par with the speed of most short blades wielders. Couple this with the fact that UC attacks have a much higher base damage than any short blade, and you can see why they're capable of doing very significant amounts of damage very quickly. However, it requires much more unarmed combat skill to reach maximum attack speed than it does for a weapon fighter to reach their maximum. Bear in mind that this only applies to main-hand punches; auxiliary offhand punches occur along with your main hand attacks.
Bonuses From Skill
Compared to melee weapons, unarmed combat requires much more skill to reduce attack delay, but is faster to begin with; your attack delay starts at 1.0 and is reduced by 0.1 for roughly every 5.4 skill levels, reaching a delay of 0.5 at UC skill 27. (As an aside, unarmed skill also increases damage more than weapon skills do.)
Characters in bat form receive a special bonus to unarmed combat, making attacks in 60% of the normal time (though at a significant penalty to damage). Other effects that can influence attack speed (such as Haste, Slow, Statue Form, etc.) apply as normal, with a hardcoded limit at 3 which you cannot exceed.
Finally, your attack delay can never be a fraction of the decimal place of an aut. If your calculated speed falls between two decimal place numbers, the game will round up or down based on the remainder (0.72 would have a 20% chance of being rounded to 0.8 and an 80% chance of being 0.7).
|UC||Avg delay||UC||Avg delay||UC||Avg delay|
The base damage of your primary unarmed combat attack is determined through the following factors:
|Bat Form||1||60% Attack Delay|
|Vampire Bat Form||2||60% Attack delay|
|Fungus Form||12||Confusing Touch|
|Blade Hands||8 + (STR + DEX) / 3||-|
|Statue Form||6 + STR / 3||-|
|Dragon Form||12 + (2/3) STR||-|
|Claws mutation||+2 × Claws ranks||Wearing gloves negates this|
Your base damage is then increased by by 1 for each skill level you have in unarmed combat (though this bonus is divided by 5 when in Bat Form). This base damage is then further modified by your strength, Fighting skill, and other factors.
Offhand punches are significantly less powerful, using the following calculation:
|Offhand Punch||5 + (UC / 3) +(1d3 × Claws ranks) or +(6 if Blade Hands)||Wearing any shield negates this|
Octopodes get tentacle slaps instead of offhand punches, and may still make tentacle slaps while wearing a shield, making it generally best for unarmed octopodes to use a shield. Indeed, regardless of which items are equipped, octopodes are never denied this off-hand tentacle slap attack. For all other species however, the off-hand punch is negated not only by the wearing of a shield, but also the wielding of two-handed weapons, making this particular use of a unarmed combat skill a viable long-term strategy only if one is to remain limited to one-handed weaponry.
Prior to 0.17, unarmed combat attack delay was penalized by shields and armour. Also, trolls' claws could inflict the now-removed bleeding status.
In earlier versions of Crawl, Unarmed Combat improved the performance of your non-punch auxiliary attacks, giving all melee fighters a reason to train it.
|Melee||Short Blades • Long Blades • Axes • Maces & Flails • Polearms • Staves • Unarmed Combat|
|Ranged||Bows • Crossbows • Throwing • Slings|
|Physical||Fighting • Armour • Dodging • Stealth • Shields|
|Magical||Spellcasting • Invocations • Evocations|
|Spell Schools||Air • Charms • Conjurations • Earth • Fire • Hexes • Ice • Necromancy • Poison • Summoning • Translocations • Transmutations|