Dhampir Fangs: Attack or Free Bonus Damage?


Rules Questions


I'm a bit confused about the dhampir's "Fangs" alternate racial trait. If I succeed at a grapple check to damage, am I dealing fang damage IN ADDITION to the "damage" option from successfully maintaining a grapple, or is it simply the source of the damage I'm using to inflict damage a per a normal "maintain a grapple --> damage" action?

* Fangs Rules: "Whenever the dhampir makes a grapple combat maneuver check to damage an opponent, he can choose to bite his opponent, dealing 1d3 points of damage as if using a natural bite attack."

* Damage rules for maintaining a grapple: "You can inflict damage to your target equal to your unarmed strike, a natural attack, or an attack made with armor spikes or a light or one-handed weapon."

* Armor spike rules for comparison: "Armor spikes deal extra piercing damage (see “spiked armor” on Table: Weapons) on a successful grapple attack."

I've always played armor spikes as "free bonus damage" on a successful grapple, and I'm wondering if Fangs behave similarly. If I'm grossly misreading both the fangs and the armor spikes rules, please feel free to call me unflattering names.


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Fangs is not bonus damage like armor spikes. It is the base damage for his "bite" attack, which can only be used on a grappled or otherwise helpless target.

The benefits of this, are it is a 1d3 lethal piercing attack, as opposed to 1d3 non-lethal bludgeoning from a standard grapple. Of course grapple builds generally require Improved Unarmed Strike, so this can seem redundant.

It becomes more useful when you take Dhampir blood drinking feats, granting everything from temp HP to damage, as the fangs provide the piercing/slashing damage requirement.

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