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< Morrowind: Skills
Skill: Hand-to-hand
Governing Attribute:
Successful Attack: +1.0

The Hand-to-hand skill is the martial art of unarmed combat. Hand-to-hand attacks damage only the Fatigue of a standing opponent, but they damage Health when a target has been knocked unconscious by Fatigue loss.

Character CreationEdit

The following races receive bonuses to their Hand-to-hand skill:

The following classes have Hand-to-hand as a Major skill:

The following classes have Hand-to-hand as a Minor skill:


Only the Quarra Clan vampires include Hand-to-hand as one of their favored skills.


The Master Trainer of Hand-to-hand is Taren Omothan at Holamayan Monastery. The only other notable trainer is Caius Cosades at his house in Balmora (up to 70). See Hand-to-hand Trainers for the complete list.


  • Your fists are not a normal weapon, and will do full damage to undead and werewolves.
  • Knocking an NPC unconscious is sometimes a viable alternative for many quests which would otherwise involve killing.
  • If the punch that reduces a foe's fatigue to 0 is in the back they will be knocked out longer.
  • At high levels, Hand-to-hand is very powerful against single, isolated opponents, as even the strongest single enemies will be continuously stagger-locked with no ability to respond when punched repeatedly.
  • Beast races will use Hand-to-hand differently; they use a different stance and scratch with their claws instead of punching (similar to what werewolves do) but they will still damage fatigue.
  • When in the form of a werewolf from the Bloodmoon expansion, your Hand-to-hand attacks damage your target's health, rather than their fatigue.
  • When your target is paralyzed, your Hand-to-hand attacks damage your target's health, rather than their fatigue.
  • Effects such as Absorb Fatigue and Damage Fatigue speed up the process of lowering an opponent's fatigue in a Hand-to-hand fight, as can Burden and Damage Strength. Enemies rendered immobile by Damage Strength will still try in vain to run towards you, resulting in rapid fatigue loss and making them easier to knock out.
  • When fighting a land-based opponent in the ocean or in a shallow pool of standing water, rendering them unconscious will subsequently cause them to start drowning, as they will be out of breath and will become submersed. Obviously, this will deliver a large degree of added damage allowing you to effectively drown your opponents using Hand-to-hand.
  • This skill is most useful for disabling opponents more so than damaging them, as the damage for fists is extremely low compared to using weapons. Once an opponent is unconscious, it is almost always more effective to switch to a weapon in order to deal actual damage, only briefly switching back to fists when the opponent tries to get up again. For this reason, it is viable, recommended even, to pair Hand-to-hand with a weapon skill.
  • Unlike weapon damage, Strength does not affect Hand-to-hand at all. Instead, damage from Hand-to-hand (both fatigue and health) can be increased by boosting the Hand-to-hand skill directly.
    •   Both the Morrowind Code Patch and OpenMW have an option to make Hand-to-hand damage factor in Strength. OpenMW lets you decide whether to make this change affect werewolves, while the Code Patch explicitly does not affect werewolves.
  • Just like you, NPCs lose fatigue quickly from running. If a quest requires you to knock out a foe and you have low Hand-to-hand, you can wear down their fatigue much faster by forcing them to run around first.