Can an Aegis Brawler using Hardened Strike or Cestus astral suit mod use Bleeding Attack feat without Improved Unarmed Strike?

Hardened Strikes: The aegis is considered to be armed even when unarmed, does not provoke attacks of opportunity when making unarmed strikes, and his unarmed strikes deal lethal damage. In addition, the aegis’s unarmed strikes can deal slashing or piercing damage, chosen at the time the customization is selected, instead of bludgeoning damage.


Benefit: While wearing a cestus, you are considered armed and your unarmed attacks deal normal damage. If you are proficient with a cestus, your unarmed strikes may deal bludgeoning or piercing damage. Monks are proficient with the cestus.

Bleeding Attack (Combat)

Your unarmed strikes cause your opponent to bleed.

Prerequisites: Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: When you damage an opponent with an unarmed strike, you deal an extra 1d4 bleed damage.

Special: This ability does not stack with other special abilities, attacks, or items that allow theyou to deal bleed damage.


1 Answer 1


Technically “no,” but in my experience most GMs will allow it—and all of them should.

Hardened strikes and the cestus give an effect identical to Improved Unarmed Strike, but they don’t give that feat itself, just an identical effect. The prerequisite on Bleeding Attack is that you have the feat itself, not an effect like the feat. So the identical effects of hardened strikes or of the cestus do not meet the prerequisite for Bleeding Attack.

But they should. Making characters take absolutely-pointless feats is bad for the game. In theory, you could imagine effects that are “so good” that they “deserve” to be “taxed” by requiring, effectively, two feats, but 1. that’s also bad for the game, 2. I can’t think of any actual cases deserving that in practice, and 3. if nothing else, Bleeding Attack definitely isn’t one of them. Bleed damage isn’t terribly great, 1d4 bleed damage isn’t exactly incredible, and a feat is a large cost. Two feats is just too much. Besides, it is so easy to get Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat; it’s not as though most people are expected to actually pay that cost.


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