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Starfield Unarmed Build: Best Skills, Traits & Background

Craig Robinson

Bethesda has clocked on that players loved running around punching things to death in Fallout 4, and so, they have decided to add even more fun perks and features to Starfield to promote that monk playstyle. If you intend to make a Starfield Unarmed Build, we have the recommended skills, backgrounds and features for you.

Starfield Unarmed Build Guide

Punch your enemies to death and with ease using our Starfield Unarmed Build, featuring backgrounds, skills and traits, and other suggestions. Image via Bethesda.

So, you want to make an Unarmed build in Starfield? The best thing we can suggest for the build from level one is the following:

Bouncer is a solid starting background for unarmed builds, thanks to the key skill, "Boxing" iconBoxing. The Boxing skill grants 25% more damage to unarmed attacks, and uses 25% less oxygen on powerful attacks, which is essentially an energy bar for combat purposes. You also get "Security" iconSecurity to hack terminals and doors, which is a decent exploration skill, and "Fitness" iconFitness, which grants more Oxygen, which means more attacks.

Meanwhile, Gangster gets Boxing, "Shotgun Certification" iconShotgun Certification and "Theft" iconTheft. We’ve already explained Boxing, which is a key skill. However, this one gets Shotgun certification, which is a 10% boost to shotgun damage. You also get Theft which enables pickpocketing. Shotgun cert is useful, as you have a fallback card in more dangerous moments, and pickpocketing is there if you want more crime. Both Starfield backgrounds are helpful, so pick whichever one gives you more of what you want.

As for the Traits, these are largely optional and are more for role-playing. However, Serpent’s Embrace is a religious trait that grants you combat buffs when jumping enough times. So, it’s a silly and annoying trait, but it does boost your build. You can also run Empathy, which grants combat buffs when you do things your companions approve as another more companion-oriented buff option. We also recommend running Extrovert and playing with companions, as going up close and personal with unarmed strikes is dangerous, so, having those extra companions is going to help you out in tough combat scenarios. It also helps with health and Oxygen buffs too!

Best Unarmed Starfield Skills

Now for the meat and the bones of this Starfield Unarmed Build, you are going to need appropriate skills to make it stronger.

The main skills you want to look at is as follows:

  • Boxing: Max rank grants 100% more unarmed damage, 75% less Oxygen use, and can knock enemies down.
  • Fitness: Max Rank grants significantly less Oxygen used for both sprinting and power attacks.
  • "Wellness" iconWellness: Max rank grants 40% bonus HP
  • Any Row 2 option. "Gymnastics" iconGymnastics could be good for power slide and O2 generation, as can "Nutrition" iconNutrition for better food buffs for your build.
  • "Martial Arts" iconMartial Arts: 15% crit chance with unarmed and melee attacks, 15% chance to disarm opponents, 10% less damage taken while unarmed or using melee weapons and 50% chance to reflect damage while blocking.
  • "Neurostrikes" iconNeurostrikes: 20% chance to stun an NPC with an unarmed strike, fists now do additional EM damage, and when you stun an enemy, you can knock down enemies within close range too.

Feel free to grab the tier 1 physical skills in any order, but make sure to level one to rank 4 so you can progress down to Martial Arts and Neurostrikes as fast as possible, as their defensiveness and utility make this build a lot more viable. You’ll be around the mid level 20’s by the time the core build is complete.

After that, you then want to consider skills like:

  • "Medicine" iconMedicine: "Med Pack" iconMed Packs Trauma Kits, and Emergency Kits restore 50% additional health 50% faster and have a chance to cure affliction.

The remaining skills can be spent however you want. There’s not much else that makes you tankier and more durable or improves your unarmed build directly. Instead, consider opting for crafting skills, or social skills. "Intimidation" iconIntimidation, "Diplomacy" iconDiplomacy and "Instigation" iconInstigation seem very appropriate for a tough guy bouncer persona, and they help handle hordes of enemies when you’re stuck in with fisticuffs.

Also, "Gastronomy" iconGastronomy and "Chemistry" iconChemistry are likely good ideas. These help you create better food and drink recipes, and the Chems can help you with drugs. We all know Buffout was popular for melee builds in Fallout 4, so you’ll likely find performance-enhancing drugs to aid your Octogon-level prowess to be useful in Starfield too. Don’t forget some of the CC grenades to make closing the gap or beatdowns much easier too.

This concludes the build profile of the Starfield Unarmed build and playstyle. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what you can do to make an unarmed build work in Starfield, and the sort of powers, upgrades, crafting and social opportunities you have to make this dangerous playstyle much friendlier and easier for all.

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Guide Information
  • Platforms,
    PC, XB X|S
  • Genre
    Action Adventure, Action RPG, Shooter
  • Guide Release
    30 August 2023
  • Last Updated
    18 October 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Starfield is an action role-playing game from Bethesda Game Studios set in a futuristic interpretation of space exploration and colonization. Earth has long been abandoned, but there are plenty of other planets in different star systems where humans have ventured and settled. You have the freedom to create your own character with a unique background, but the main story will take you through a series of adventures as you uncover more information about mysterious artifacts which create gravitational anomalies. Along the way, you can build and customize your own space ship, establish your own outpost, befriend and romance new companions, and more. As a Bethesda game, you can also expect to see a lot of creative mods which have the potential to change your experience of the base game, or take it in an entirely new direction.

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