Beginner question on negative weapon stats

First of all, I feel really bad making a post about this as I couldn’t seem to find it asked before but most people seem to be pretty late game. Sorry

Can someone explain why melee weapons have such negative effects with little to no benefit? I just started playing but am incredibly confused. Is it better to just not run weapons till I can find some without effects like “-8 Strength +5 Enemy Defence”?

Again I’m so sorry for asking as no one else seemed to be confused.


I was confused by this at first as well. I guess I would have expected unarmed to be the baseline, and then any weapons you add increase those stats. I don't remember seeing an explanation anywhere about how it works, but I'll also admit that I didn't go looking for one, I just muddled through.

Intuitively, it doesn't make sense that your strength will be penalised for simply not having a weapon - if I have strength 25 listed on my profile, I expect that to be the strength I hit with (modified by whatever the enemy has).

Weirdly, I do get why a weapon would reduce my initiative, if it's a big bulky axe or whatever that gives me a bonus in another stat. I guess it's seeing only reductions on the weapon profile that's odd.