Skyrim Unarmed Build Guide (2023)

Punching a dragon in the face isn't how this game is supposed to be played! But it's fun!

Skyrim is an ever-popular Elder Scrolls saga where players constantly find new and innovative ways to play. The game is very popular in modding circles, but you can always find interesting and alternative ways to have fun without touching the game files. One such way is taking on opponents barehanded. This guide will help you achieve a viable bare-fisted build that will leave your opponents battered and bruised!

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Barefisted Bruiser Build Guide in Skyrim

Making a bruiser build that focuses on bare-knuckle fighting is a complex challenge because Skyrim focuses on weapons and magic fighting. Developers allow you to fight only with your fists, but they had it in mind only as a last resort. It's still doable; however, you will need to lower the difficulty and build your character completely around it. This is the only way to achieve this build without modding the game.

Choosing the Race for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim

Argonian and Khajit are the two most favorable races for this type of build in Skyrim. Starting as any of those two races gives you a bonus for unarmed damage. These are the starting unarmed damage points for each:

  • Argonian: 20
  • Khajit: 22

Your choice between the two is not mandatory on this matter, but it will help things a lot, especially early on in the game.

Related: How to get the Bow of Shadows in Skyrim

Choosing the Armor for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim

The armor choice for the bare-handed build in Skyrim should always be Heavy Armor. A Heavy Armor skill tree perk called Fists of Steel will grant you additional unarmed damage points based on your heavy armor glove rating. This perk will be your main source of damage in this build. Also, the Unarmed build is not optimal in any way, so you will definitely benefit from the Heavy Armor protection.

Blacksmithing Skill Choice for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim

You will need to invest in Blacksmithing if you opt for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim. This skill will grant you access to the best possible Heavy Armor set and gloves without resorting to a random draw of luck while looting. The best armor sets become exceedingly rare as you progress in the game, and fighting unarmed will be an uphill battle, even without the sub-optimal gear to aid you. Needless to say, you will want to reach the Dragonplate Armor eventually.

Picking the best Follower for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim

The main choice comes down to picking a melee, ranged, or a mage as a follower. Each has its pros and cons. Since, for this build, you will be playing a melee character, it would probably make sense to pick Faendel or Jenassa as archers or a mage such as Marcurio. They will be able to take care of any opponents you will have a hard time getting to, but you will also have to look out after them.

Using Shouts for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim

Related: Skyrim – In My Time of Need Quest Guide

Shouts are an integral part of a game mechanic and a distinctive ability that sets apart Skyrim from the rest of the franchise. While they can be used to damage opponents, you can choose to use them defensively as a form of crowd control if you feel like you don't want to cheat.

  • Elemental Fury: using this Shout will give you an attack speed boost of 50% if you know a single word or 100% attack speed if you know all three.
  • Become Ethereal: this is a very useful dodging Shout when evading Dragon breath or wanting to get to the enemy ranks quicker without taking damage.
  • Whirlwind Sprint: a great juking Shout when you want to run away from dangerous ranged combatants.
  • Unrelenting Force: this is a great crowd-control Shout. It works by knocking the opponents down, creating a window of opportunity to either start dishing out damage or back off when you get overwhelmed.

Obtaining the Gloves of the Pugilist for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim

You can get the Gloves of the Pugilist by slaying an imperial thief called Gian the Fist. You can locate him in the Ratway of Riften. When you kill him, you will be able to loot the Gloves of the Pugilist, which give you a boost to unarmed attacks.

One-Handed weapon Tree Perks for the Bare-handed Build in Skyrim

If you're going for the Bare-handed Build, you'll want to use every advantage the game gives you because there aren't many. Two Perks in the One-Handed weapon tree also boost your unarmed damage:

  • Dual Flurry
  • Dual Savagery

Both of these attacks boost dual-wielding usage, and the game counts your fists as a dual-wielded weapon.

Are you looking for more Skyrim guides? We have what you need; check out Skyrim Alchemy Guide – Best Recipes List and How to cure Vampirism in Skyrim here on Pro Game Guides!

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About the Author

Luka Rakocevic works as a full-time staff writer at Pro Game Guides and is a new-generation gamer. Backed with old-school gaming knowledge, his oldest gaming memories are on SNES, trying to beat Super Mario. Games are his big inspiration, and he frequently draws from that well to create new art. He prefers narrative-driven games like God of War, Killzone, Half-life, Uncharted and similar. Luka mainly writes science fiction in his free time. When he's not home banging away at his computer keyboard, you will most likely find him at a local pub or a metal concert in the middle of a mosh pit.
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Skyrim Unarmed Build Guide (2023)

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