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This question already has an answer here:

A human has no natural attacks, so I'll use him, but any humanoid character without damage features works too. No magic. Let's exclude any character class that can earn a damage bonus. Monk, barbarians, etc...

Anyone can do an unarmed melee attack. It deals 1 + STR modifier bludegoning damage.

An unarmed person with STR 7 should do 1 -2 points of damage. Nothing. Even if it is a critical.

Is the person above unable to kill anything in combat without a weapon?

Regarding the concerns about the purpose of the question:

Are you only interested in killing via reduction of HP? I.e. are you looking for ways to kill as an unequipped weakling, or are you looking to confirm your reading of low-STR unarmed strikes? – nitsua60♦

Kill can be achieved by any combat option that does not involve the use of weapons (improvised or otherwise) or environment. Does not have and cannot pickup any object.

  • Looking for ways to kill as an unequipped weakling, without class features.
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marked as duplicate by Please stop being evil, Szega, user17995, KorvinStarmast dnd-5e Sep 24 '17 at 23:08

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/73522/… \$\endgroup\$ – Manner Sep 24 '17 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ A MM bog standard Commoner has a strength of 10. Where is this strawman coming from? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 24 '17 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not a duplicate. Since there is no minimum damage, the unarmed strike deals zero damage. \$\endgroup\$ – gburton Sep 25 '17 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not quite; there is a minimum and it is zero, which is what the linked question explains. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Sep 26 '17 at 18:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree on this close. The querent is inquiring about killing someone with a Strength of 7 or less and includes discussion of environment. The cited duplicate is more restricted to just focus on minimum damage being part of the RAW. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Sep 26 '17 at 19:10
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Yes

In normal turn combat, the person you describe is incapable of causing harm through unarmed strikes.

They'll have to find some other way of dealing damage.

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No, not incapable.

There are plenty of ways. You're correct that this character cannot punch/headbutt/kick someone to death, but that doesn't stop them from:

  • shoving target off a high place,
  • pouring a vat of corrosive liquid onto target,
  • flipping lever that fills room with water and shutting the door,
  • grappling and dragging target into lava,
  • &c.

Your imagination is literally the only thing limiting the possibilities.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that and the fact that they'd likely be pretty terrible at many of the other options as well. "grapple and drag" in particular is not useful against most foes when you're medium-sized with strength of 7 and no real grapple training. Shoving also gets a bit dubious. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Sep 26 '17 at 18:44

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