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Can monsters full attack?


Rules Questions


10 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

So last night I ran my first game and full attacking seems like it's just always a good option due to the fact that monsters have such a high to hit. It only caused me to miss completely once, and I got 2 attacks to hit more than once.

However on Core Rulebook page 420:

Core Rulebook: Game Mastering: How to read stat blocks wrote:

MELEE

The creature’s melee attacks are listed here, each starting on a
separate line. The attack roll modifier appears after the attack’s
name, followed by the attack’s damage, damage type, and critical
effects in parentheses.
MULTIATTACK
If the creature can make multiple melee attacks with a full action
(usually with different weapons), the attacks and attack roll
modifiers are listed in this entry, followed by the attack’s damage,
damage type, and critical effects in parentheses.
RANGED
This entry lists the creature’s ranged attacks in the same format
the Melee entry uses for melee attacks.

Bold for emphasis.

Now one interpretation is that only monsters that have a multiattack section would be able to full attack. Another interpretation is that full attack is a basic combat action that anyone can do. Having yet another rule difference for what PC's can do vs what NPC's can do is going to cause quite a bit of consternation with one of my players. However the full attack option just seems too good on NPCs due to their high attack bonus.

Anyone know for sure how the rule works? How have people been ruling it?


I think this might be a reference to monsters with multiple natural attacks, covering something like a bite/claw/claw routine that breaks the normal full attack = two normal attacks formula. Can someone with Alien Archive confirm?


Xenocrat wrote:
I think this might be a reference to monsters with multiple natural attacks, covering something like a bite/claw/claw routine that breaks the normal full attack = two normal attacks formula. Can someone with Alien Archive confirm?

That's what I thought as well. But someone in another thread posted the alternate interpretation so I figured I'd double check. Full attack just seems to be something everyone should always do unless they're trying to use cover or special attacks.

Sovereign Court

I find it simpler, you can look at a stat block and know exactly what it can do, without having to parse through feats/bab/etc.
Monsters do what they say they do, no need to look up additional rules. I don't have Alien Archive maybe its a little clearer there.


Yes, they can full attack (as it stands now).

This is unfortunate, as they do have those higher attacks. But it does explain why some battles were easy for our group that I've heard are hard for others.

This doesn't mean NPCs always do so, as tactics might say otherwise for balance purposes. I've already come across some strong NPCs with bad tactics written in which helped us quite a bit.

The reasoning goes that Full Attack is just a combat choice, like attacking defensively. The stat block doesn't show the AC & attack mods for that because they're universal. Same for Full Attack.
I think the only way for an NPC to not be able to choose full attack would be if regular combat options were only open to PCs, and that'd be lame.

The stat line for multiple attacks muddies the issue though.
If a monster has an inferior second attack listed, could they just use their primary twice (if not natural)?
Are natural attacks able to be used twice in a turn (unlike in PF)?

The Exchange

Full attack,drops your to,hit by 4. If it's the enemies best to hit mod, that still leaves them hurting in trying to beat high AC (especially with cover in play)

If its their worst to hit mod then it's really not worth trying (unless your fishing for criticals).


Good question, this topic came up at our table as well. FAQ'd. :)

Dark Archive

Wrath wrote:

Full attack,drops your to,hit by 4. If it's the enemies best to hit mod, that still leaves them hurting in trying to beat high AC (especially with cover in play)

If its their worst to hit mod then it's really not worth trying (unless your fishing for criticals).

But that isn't really the case. I have been seeing modifiers in the low teens at low tier. My vesk wears Heavy armor with max dex for it, and he would get hit 75% of the time. Letting them attack twice is begging to kill half your party every fight.

Dark Archive

Sorry for most players but yes monsters can full attack as far as I can see core rule book combat chapters lays out full attack and nothing I've seen in any book says monsters can't. Best grab some cover :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Well, remember one big difference between starfinder and all past editions of DND and Pathfinder is that you're actually expected to go down every now and then. Half your hit points are refillable instantly with the expenditure of 1 RP during a 10 minute rest (Stamina points, just to be clear). Getting zero'd out, unless you get hit with massive damage (or an enemy that just constantly whales on you), you can instantly recover, again provided you have the RP. While I don't know what your regular group's playstyle is, in SFS play, GMs are encouraged NOT to go for the insta-gib or TPK, so I don't see this happening too often unless you've got a particularly vicious game master.

The balance in this game seems more akin to certain video games. You have a certain number of "lives", use them wisely, as opposed to certain players being tougher to kill, and only having one life. Getting zero'd happens more often, but is more merciful when it comes to recovering from it.

The Exchange

Backpack wrote:
Wrath wrote:

Full attack,drops your to,hit by 4. If it's the enemies best to hit mod, that still leaves them hurting in trying to beat high AC (especially with cover in play)

If its their worst to hit mod then it's really not worth trying (unless your fishing for criticals).

But that isn't really the case. I have been seeing modifiers in the low teens at low tier. My vesk wears Heavy armor with max dex for it, and he would get hit 75% of the time. Letting them attack twice is begging to kill half your party every fight.

Yeah, I've seen that for a few level 5 critters but that's about it. When you're taking on big guys, normal tactics are not going to work. In this case, cautious move every round should mitigate full attack and then you work,the group advantage to take it down.

I mean, if you're up against a APL+2 or +3 creature, then full attacks are going to hurt. But the majority of times I'm not seeing much benefit to it. Crit farming is a thing though, and I know of DM's who do it.

Meh, these are all just suggestions and generalisations though.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is the multiattack universal creature rule from the Alien Archive (pg 155):
"When making a full attack, the creature can make all the
listed attacks, instead of two attacks, at the attack bonuses
indicated. It can make the attacks in any order."
so basically any creature can full attack, but if it has multiattack it can attack with all it's natural weapons rather than just 2.

Liberty's Edge

Luke Spencer wrote:

This is the multiattack universal creature rule from the Alien Archive (pg 155):

"When making a full attack, the creature can make all the
listed attacks, instead of two attacks, at the attack bonuses
indicated. It can make the attacks in any order."
so basically any creature can full attack, but if it has multiattack it can attack with all it's natural weapons rather than just 2.

And it looks like the monster alien does not take a penalty for using their multiattack option during a full round. They would if they choose to full-round with their single attack.


I've had this happen in other games too. Not sure if it means spelling out tactics better in NPC slots or not, but...

Commando-style tactics are great...for commandos. Not every NPC has the battle training necessary to hold up and be flawlessly tactical in battle. Take a miner from Akiton - would they display the same tactics as a group of soldiers? Likely not.

Just because rules allow, doesn't mean you should.

Not sure how this gets communicated or messaged in a SFS module though.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gary Bush wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:

This is the multiattack universal creature rule from the Alien Archive (pg 155):

"When making a full attack, the creature can make all the
listed attacks, instead of two attacks, at the attack bonuses
indicated. It can make the attacks in any order."
so basically any creature can full attack, but if it has multiattack it can attack with all it's natural weapons rather than just 2.
And it looks like the monster alien does not take a penalty for using their multiattack option during a full round. They would if they choose to full-round with their single attack.

Most monster with a listed multi attack have the attacks at 4 lower than their single attack bonus

Liberty's Edge

Name Violation wrote:
Most monster with a listed multi attack have the attacks at 4 lower than their single attack bonus

Interesting. Looks like the designers are looking out for us.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Name Violation wrote:
Gary Bush wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:

This is the multiattack universal creature rule from the Alien Archive (pg 155):

"When making a full attack, the creature can make all the
listed attacks, instead of two attacks, at the attack bonuses
indicated. It can make the attacks in any order."
so basically any creature can full attack, but if it has multiattack it can attack with all it's natural weapons rather than just 2.
And it looks like the monster alien does not take a penalty for using their multiattack option during a full round. They would if they choose to full-round with their single attack.
Most monster with a listed multi attack have the attacks at 4 lower than their single attack bonus

I just wanted to put the complete rule into the post... AA p. 155

Alien Archive p. 155 wrote:


MULTIATTACK (EX)
When making a full attack, the creature can make all the
listed attacks, instead of two attacks, at the attack bonuses
indicated. It can make the attacks in any order.
Format: Multiattack bite +10 (3d6+5), 2 claws +10 (2d8+5).
Guidelines: Use the appropriate damage column for the
creature’s array, and impose a –6 penalty on these attacks
instead of a –4 penalty.
[\quote]


At the moment, where I've been playing at (Home & PFS) we've come to the opinion that NPC & Monsters do not get Full Attacks.

Reasoning why -
NPC & Monsters use a completely different rule set for the creation and action economy of them. No where in those rules could we find anything on them getting the Full Attack action that players do. The closest to player Full Attack we could find is the MULTIATTACK rule.

So till there's a FAQ on this, monsters & NPC do not get the Full Attack option that players do on our tables.

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The rule for ,multiattack specifically mentions that a creature can full attack!

It stays that if it does so, and has multi attack, it can make all of its listed ones, "instead of two attacks"

This isn't open to interpretation.

Monsters and NPCs are built with different rules to player charcater creation, and that's it for differences.

The combat rules are universal, so the option to full attack aplies to everything

If you guys are going to start saying that enemies can't full attack, then you better start applying that interpretation to every action listed in the combat section. Which of course means there is no combat.

You can't cherry pick which rules apply in PFS.
For your home games, go wild.


I believe there is some guidance in the current AP that says those specific NPC's don't full attack. I haven't looked at the text as I'm playing the AP, but that was something that our GM mentioned when we were discussing starfinder mechanics in general. Maybe someone who has read the AP can chime in.

Anyways my point is there's no reason to give guidance to GMs that these particular NPCs don't full attack unless they are capable of doing so.


This was a helpful read. I'd been trying to find out whether monsters with many natural attacks could full attack with all of them or only 2.

My assumption was full attack with all (like the natural attack vs BAB attacks in pathfinder).


Wrath wrote:

The rule for ,multiattack specifically mentions that a creature can full attack!

It stays that if it does so, and has multi attack, it can make all of its listed ones, "instead of two attacks"

This isn't open to interpretation.

Monsters and NPCs are built with different rules to player charcater creation, and that's it for differences.

The combat rules are universal, so the option to full attack aplies to everything

If you guys are going to start saying that enemies can't full attack, then you better start applying that interpretation to every action listed in the combat section. Which of course means there is no combat.

You can't cherry pick which rules apply in PFS.
For your home games, go wild.

The SFS GM can certainly cherry pick whether to full attack or not. The players certainly can't tell a SFS GM he can't full attack, but there's nothing wrong with a GM deciding to do so or not.

Just because the optimal choice is to full attack, that may not be the best course for the fun of the group, unless you always want to kill your parties. I don't know if scenarios are balanced around enemies always full attacking.

The Exchange

baggageboy wrote:

I believe there is some guidance in the current AP that says those specific NPC's don't full attack. I haven't looked at the text as I'm playing the AP, but that was something that our GM mentioned when we were discussing starfinder mechanics in general. Maybe someone who has read the AP can chime in.

Anyways my point is there's no reason to give guidance to GMs that these particular NPCs don't full attack unless they are capable of doing so.

Nope. Nothing states they don't full attack.

There are given tactics for most of the scenarios in the first part (which is the only one I've read). They describe the general tactics (eg, randomly target PCs and other NPCs, or engage in close combat until too damaged, then drop back for ranged special attacks).

And that's it. Just like every AP Paizo releases these are guides to the way the enemy acts. Then you apply the combat rules as needed.

Eg. The baddies are in cover caught in a fire fight between the players and a rival,gang. One of the enemy has targeted a player randomly. This is the suggested tactics for this scenario.

Since the baddy is in good cover, he chooses not to move. This lets him full attack (at -4 to both shots). Or he could Harry, or he could move for a better angle first or .....any of the combat options indicated in the combat section. The only restriction the scenario has placed in the NPC is he has to randomly target each round.

Sovereign Court

Wrath wrote:

The rule for ,multiattack specifically mentions that a creature can full attack!

It stays that if it does so, and has multi attack, it can make all of its listed ones, "instead of two attacks"

This isn't open to interpretation.

...

You can't cherry pick which rules apply in PFS.
For your home games, go wild.

Funny, that rule is from a book that isn't availble yet(PDF anyway) and more importantly isn't actually legal (yet) for SFS. Is it really strange that someone attempting to play SFS with the ruleset that is currently legal would have some confusion about the matter?

I consider the matter settled (once alien archive is out) and will expect SFS GMs to allow monsters to double attack as PCs can (and expect a lot more downed PCs).

The Exchange

Firebug wrote:
Wrath wrote:

The rule for ,multiattack specifically mentions that a creature can full attack!

It stays that if it does so, and has multi attack, it can make all of its listed ones, "instead of two attacks"

This isn't open to interpretation.

...

You can't cherry pick which rules apply in PFS.
For your home games, go wild.

Funny, that rule is from a book that isn't availble yet(PDF anyway) and more importantly isn't actually legal (yet) for SFS. Is it really strange that someone attempting to play SFS with the ruleset that is currently legal would have some confusion about the matter?

I consider the matter settled (once alien archive is out) and will expect SFS GMs to allow monsters to double attack as PCs can (and expect a lot more downed PCs).

Please tell me where in the core rule book it says the NPCs and monsters don't use the same rules as the players for combat?

Because until people were told that the monsters are built with a different design focus they had no idea. That isn't mentioned in the core rules any where. People thought the stats were wrong, then got pointed to a book called the introductory bestiary which explains monster stat blocks don't work the same as player stat blocks.

So, if you're going to start using core book only, you're completely off the mark.

Sovereign Court

Wrath wrote:
Please tell me where in the core rule book it says the NPCs and monsters don't use the same rules as the players for combat?
Please tell me where in the core rule book it says the NPCs and monsters DO use the same rules as the players for combat?
Wrath wrote:
Because until people were told that the monsters are built with a different design focus they had no idea. That isn't mentioned in the core rules any where. People thought the stats were wrong, then got pointed to a book called the introductory bestiary which explains monster stat blocks don't work the same as player stat blocks.

Yep, I agree. We know they don't follow attack rolls/AC/hit dice/static damage bonuses anywhere near where players are at. All we know about monster stat boxes from just the core rulebook is "they do what they say they do, no idea how they get their bonuses."

Wrath wrote:
So, if you're going to start using core book only, you're completely off the mark.

What we DO have in the core rule book says "MULTIATTACK: If the creature can make multiple melee attacks with a full action ..." implying that if it doesn't have a multiattack line, it can't make multiple attacks.

Like, full circle back to the top of the thread. My earlier point was that the core rulebook implies no multiple attacks for monsters (absent a multi-attack line). This is fixed in Alien Archive, but until its legal... table variation.

The Exchange

Full attack works for ranged weapons as well as melee.

So the rules your discussing mention full attack, with melee weapons.

In other words, an addendum to the usual full attack rules.

What the rule is saying is multi attack allows a creature with more than one type of melee attack available, to use all of them.

Unlike every other creature that uses full attack, which can only make two attacks with the same weapon.

You're seriously misreading a rule to add far more to it than should be. You're taking one addendum which gives more ability to a creature, and making it take away everything from all creatures.

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