|Skill: Hand to Hand
Hand to Hand is the skill that governs how well your character can attack enemies using only fists. Hand to Hand attacks damage both the opponent's Health and Fatigue, unlike other types of melee attack. Improving your Hand to Hand skill allows you to deliver more damage with your fists, and gives you access to power attacks.
In-game Description: Attack without weapons to damage and fatigue opponents.
- A Novice does a basic power attack with a damage bonus (2.5 times more damage) in all directions.
- An Apprentice gains damage bonuses with a Mastery Standing Power Attack (3 times more damage).
- A Journeyman gains the Mastery Left and Right Power Attacks, which do 2.5 times more damage and have a 5% chance to disarm.
- Journeymen also gain the ability to damage creatures that are immune to normal weapons (e.g., Ghosts, Wraiths, etc.)
- Journeymen also cause enemy attacks to recoil when blocking.
- An Expert gains a Mastery Backwards Power Attack, which does 2.5 times more damage and has a 5% chance of a knockdown.
- Experts also gain a chance of a knockback attack when blocking.
- A Master gains a Mastery Forward Power Attack, which does 2.5 times more damage with a 5% chance to paralyze. This Paralyze effect ignores Resist Paralysis.
- Masters also gain a chance of a disarm on a knockback attack when blocking.
Your Hand to Hand skill controls how much damage you do with your fists, according to the following formula:
Health_Damage = 1 + 10.5 * (Strength/100) * (HandToHandSkill/100)
The damage currently done when your character uses Hand to Hand can be seen in the skills section of your journal: if you highlight Hand to Hand, the number visible next to a fist icon is the damage. Like all weapon skills, Hand to Hand is constrained to the normal 100 Strength limit in the damage formula. The target's Fatigue is also damaged by:
Fatigue_Damage = 1 + 0.5 * Health_Damage
See The Complete Damage Formula for more information on melee damage, including additional modifications made by your character's Luck and Fatigue, for instance. It should be noted that normally Hand to Hand damage maximum is 11 points, but by fortifying fatigue 200 points the total damage maximum goes up to 15 points. After that further fatigue increase does not improve damage output.
Your Hand to Hand skill increases by 0.6 experience points each time you hit a living target with your fists, regardless of the amount of damage inflicted. Using a power attack will not increase the amount of experience gained. Hits on inanimate targets (such as those in the Fighters Guild training rooms) do not provide any experience. Hand to Hand experience is gained somewhat more rapidly than the other melee combat skills (Blade and Blunt).
General tips on how to increase your Hand to Hand skill are provided at General Combat Strategies.
- Increasing Skills: General tips on how to improve your skills semi-naturally.
- Trainers: Pay for Hand to Hand lessons.
- Hand to Hand Training: A Master of unarmed combat wants you to try to hurt him to prove you deserve his training.
- Skill Books: Books that provide lessons in Hand to Hand.
- Increasing Attributes: Tips on training skills to improve the Strength attribute.
- Free Skill Boosts: There are a couple opportunities to receive free Hand to Hand skill boosts.
- Magic Items: There are multiple generic items with the fortify hand to hand enchantment.
- Unique Items: A list of unique items, several of which fortify the hand to hand skill. These items do not include Leveled Items such as those received from quests, or Artifacts.
- Unique items include:
- Bands of Kwang Lao are unique light bracers (they are equipped in the gauntlet slot), that fortify hand to hand by 20 points. They can be found in the Arena District in a locked chest.
- Hands of Midnight are unique light gauntlets that are sold by M'raaj-Dar in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctum. Among other things, these gauntlets fortify hand to hand by 10 points.
- Helm of Ferocity is a unique heavy helm that can be bought from Agnete the Pickled at the Hammer and Tongs. Among other enchantments, it fortifies hand to hand by 5 points.
When your skill reaches 70 or higher, NPCs will start saying: "Seems you've bloodied your knuckles a few times."
The following races provide initial skill bonuses in Hand to Hand:
The following standard classes include Hand to Hand as a major skill:
The following table provides the messages that are displayed when your Hand to Hand skill levels up.
|Thick calluses cover your knuckles and joints from long hours of punching and kicking. At long last you are an Apprentice in Hand to Hand combat. You have a new Standing power attack, which does extra damage. Press and hold the attack button to use this power attack.
|Thick calluses cover your knuckles and joints from long hours of punching and kicking. At long last you are a Journeyman in Hand to Hand combat. Your Sidestep power attack now has a chance to disarm your opponent. Press and hold Attack while moving left or right to use this power attack.
|You are now an Expert in Hand to Hand combat. You gain the Sweeping power attack, with a chance to knock down your opponent. Press and hold Attack while moving backwards to use this power attack.
|At long last you are a Master of Hand to Hand combat. You now have the Rushing power attack, which has a chance to paralyze your opponent. Press and hold Attack while moving forward to use this power attack. Blocking has a chance to disarm your opponent.
- Unlike with Blade or Blunt weapons, if you hit an opponent who is blocking while you use Hand to Hand, you will recoil, but still be able to move. This allows you to keep in constant motion and makes it nearly impossible for the enemy to counter your blocked attacks.
- There is no way to apply additional magical damage while using hand to hand combat. For example, a dagger can be enchanted to add magical fire, frost, or other damage types. Hand to hand combat does not permit this. Wearing magical gauntlets will not make any difference to your combat or damage ability unless they are specifically enchanted with an effect that fortifies Hand to Hand, Strength, or Luck. Additionally, there is no way to apply poison to your fists to use during combat. The upside is that weapon maintenance is much simpler, since you do not have to worry about repairing or recharging your fists. You also don't have to worry about the weight of your weapon when in your inventory, or the weapon slowing you down when carried. Using Hand to Hand also means that your damage output doesn't rely on items; whereas a Blade character, for example, would have to find a new weapon to upgrade their offensive potential, your damage output increases on its own as your Hand to Hand skill levels up.
- You cannot use a shield while using your fists. If you have an equipped shield, you will not receive the shield's Armor Rating unless you are using a one-handed weapon. However, you will still receive the benefits of any enchantments on the equipped shield. You can, however, use a torch with your fists. This makes Hand to Hand useful for dungeons if you don't want to use magic. Your character will only use your right hand to punch with except while doing power attacks. Note that this will slow your rate of attack down a bit, so for best effectiveness, cast a Light or Night Eye spell.
- Should a weapon reach 0 health, it will be unequipped automatically and your fists will become your current weapon. Therefore, some degree of competency in Hand to Hand may be useful. Furthermore, enemies with sufficient skill in their equipped weapon, Hand to Hand, or Block may be able to disarm you, knocking whatever weapon you have equipped away, reverting you to your fists.
- One benefit of Hand to Hand combat is that you damage your opponent's fatigue directly, potentially knocking them down in extended fights. Reducing your opponent's fatigue also means reducing their physical damage dealt.
- If you visit the Warrior birthsign doomstone you can receive the greater power War Cry. One of several benefits of this power is that it fortifies your Hand to Hand skill 10 points once a day for 120 seconds.