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You don't need anything to fight unarmed. On the other hand, there are aids to increase damage dealt.

Unarmed fighting uses the fighting.unarmed.striking skill for hitting targets and the damaged dealt.

Preparing the special attacks kick, punch, trip, shove, bob and feint (while unarmed) uses the fighting.special.unarmed skill.

Trip and shove use the fighting.unarmed.grappling skill for its effectiveness. Although they are special unarmed attacks, they can also be used with melee weapons.

Links to weapons tables:

Melee ~ Axes | Daggers | Flails | Heavy-swords | Misc weapons | Polearms | Swords | Maces ~ Unarmed
Ranged ~ Fired | Thrown     Weapons w e    < Shields w e > < Armours w e > < Scabbards >

Unarmed aids

Aids can increase the damage dealt with unarmed attacks that use them, but not all attacks. For example, attacks with your feet or hands (not claws) while wearing lion paws will not be increased.

All aids on the same part are incompatible, you can only use one of them.

Some items included are thought to increase damage, but research did not detect a measurable increase. They are included here for completeness. Please add your experience in the relevant research pages and summarize here.

Aid On Type Notes
Lion paws hands Armour With extended claws increases damage in the new attacks that are pure sharp. It is a quest item that cannot be traded. Thought to be doing the most damage.
Squirming black tentacle hands Item Arm turns into a large tentacle dealing pure blunt damage, cannot hold or wear anything on the arm/hand used with it active. Thought to be doing the most damage after lion paws.
Old Bellicus' Brazen Knuckles hands Spell Increases damage, attacks are blunt damage. Weak attacks are not more powerful.
Iron gauntlets hands Armour Unclear damage increase, possibly only from strength boost. Stat item +2 strength. Takes 30 gp every 30 to 60 seconds, on average using 1 or 2 gp per heartbeat.
Knuckle-dusters hands Armour Unclear damage increase, possibly none. Reduces melee skills while worn.
Leather-strap gloves hands Armour Research did not detect increase to damage dealt while wearing these.
Clompy boots feet Armour Research did not detect increase to damage dealt while wearing these.

More information

  • The statue of Cas'leb the Merciless in Sto Lat grants the special ability of knee attacks when fighting unarmed.

See also