Way of the Surprising Fist

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Way of the Surprising Fist is the Fall 2011 special challenge path, introduced on August 15, 2011. This path adds variant rules and restrictions to an ascension run. Its description in The Bureau of Reincarnation reads, "You follow the teachings of the Ancient Masters of the Surprising Fist. You'll have to register your hands as deadly weapons, but it might be tricky to pay the registration fee on account of your vow of poverty."

While in a Way of the Surprising Fist run, players may not equip any weapons or off-hand items. Meat gains are significantly reduced in many areas of the game, and certain special combat skills can be unlocked.



  • Note that you cannot shop in the black market afterwards; instead you get a message:
"The Black Market is empty, because you beat up the guy who ran it."
  • It was briefly possible to accidentally autosell your paint to charity: that has been fixed. If you try to use the black paint as a potion, you'll get the following message:
Your teachings forbid the use of black paint.

Teachings of the Fist

Surprising Fist Techniques
# Skill Type MP Cost Effect
1 Flying Fire Fist Combat 0 Deals Hot Damage. Can be boosted by turns of Salamanderenity
2 Salamander Kata Noncombat 5 (3X) turns of Salamanderenity
regenerate 3-4 MP per turn
3 Drunken Baby Style Combat 0 Deals damage based on inebriety level.
4 Stinkpalm Combat 0 Deals Stench Damage.
5 Worldpunch Noncombat 11 (X) turns of Earthen Fist
+10 damage to Fist techniques.
Allows you to mine.
6 Knuckle Sandwich Combat 0 Deals damage and reduces monster attack by 3X.
7 Seven-Finger Strike Combat 0 Deals X damage and hits 7 times in a round.
8 Miyagi Massage Noncombat 5 (3X) turns of Retrograde Relaxation
regenerate 8-10 HP per turn
9 Chilled Monkey Brain Technique Combat 0 Deals Cold Damage and stuns your opponent.
10 Zendo Kobushi Kancho Combat 0 Deals Sleaze Damage and reduces monster defense by 3X.
11 Master of the Surprising Fist Passive 0 Allows you to attack with your Surprising Fist
X is # of Teachings of the Fist used.
  • Only Master of the Surprising Fist is able to be permed. Even if Master of the Surprising Fist is permed, you "learn" it again from the eleventh scroll. Permed Master of the Surprising Fist does not add to the base effect of other techniques (The "X" in the above chart) until it is relearned in the current ascension.
  • If you drop your path and revert to an ordinary Normal/Hardcore run, all of the above skills will be forgotten.


  • Skills:
    • Kung Fu Hustler is very, very useful on this run. Even if you don't need the damage boost, the extra initiative and item drop will help.
    • A spell or two will help in the early game, especially for moxie classes.
    • Entangling Noodles will help throughout the run; remember that you have no shield to reduce damage.
    • Skills that provide initiative boosts such as Overdeveloped Sense of Self Preservation, Slimy Shoulders, and Springy Fusilli are useful for the same reason.
    • Since this challenge path came into existence, the Accordion Thief skill Five Finger Discount was implemented. Having items from NPC stores cost 5% less Meat will undoubtedly make quite a difference in meat management for those on the Way of the Surprising Fist.
    • Passive Meat drop increasing skills such as Expert Panhandling help mitigate the Meat shortage -- the increase is small, but will add up to a few hundred extra Meat over a run.
    • However, Polka of Plenty and Meat drop familiars are not recommended given the extremely low returns for the costs, opportunity or otherwise, and there still being decent ways to farm Meat from noncombats.
      • Not everyone agrees with this point.
    • Despite being a Mr. Store skill, Summon Clip Art can be a great tome to have because of the unarmed-only equipment.


  • The name of this path references the oft-parodied fact that the martial arts disciplines often have silly names when translated directly to English.


  • When this path was first introduced, Hagnk's would give you all of your stored Meat once you finished Ronin in a Normal Run. Now, you can only take your stored items -- your Meat stays in storage until you break the prism.
  • Prior to August 17 (2011), the guild's nemesis quest giver used to give you 1000 Meat. Now you get nothing.


Ascension Paths
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Teetotaler Boozetafarian Oxygenarian
Special Challenge Paths
Spring Summer Fall Winter
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Bees Hate You
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Way of the Surprising Fist
2012 Trusty.gif
Avatar of Boris
Bugbear Invasion
Zombie Slayer
Class Act
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Class Act II: A Class For Pigs
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Avatar of Sneaky Pete
Slow and Steady
Heavy Rains
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Actually Ed the Undying
One Crazy Random Summer
Community Service
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Avatar of West of Loathing
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The Source
Nuclear Autumn
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Gelatinous Noob
License to Adventure
Live. Ascend. Repeat.
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Pocket Familiars
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Disguises Delimit
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Dark Gyffte
Two Crazy Random Summer
Kingdom of Exploathing
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Path of the Plumber
Low Key Summer
Grey Goo
Not released yet