Can a dragon use an axe?


Rules Questions


Here's a combo for a 6th level draconic sorcerer/9th level dragon disciple

Round 1: Cast form of the dragon II
Round 2: Cast transformation
Round 3: Go to town

Let's see

Start with 14 Strength
Add 4 from boosts from dragon disciple
Add 6 size bonus from form of the dragon
Add 4 enhancement from transformation
So, 28 Strength

Start with 0 natural armor (let's say 4 from mage armor)
Add 4 from 15th level draconic resistances power
Add 3 from dragon disciple
Add 6 from form of the dragon
Add 2 dodge from transformation
So, 29 AC (plus however much Dex you started with)

So, the crux question: can a dragon use a manufactured weapon? Or would it be better just to invest in an amulet of mighty fists and boost natural attacks?

That's either boosted 1 bite, 2 claws, 2 wing buffets, and 1 slap, or 1 less claw and 3 extra whacks with a large (2d6) axe, correct?

Hmm...I guess the question should be: if a dragon gains proficiency with martial weapons (while in dragon, not humanoid, form), can he use one in a claw?

By the way, this build is called: I am tired of wizards who specialize in being invisible, rogues who hide from every fight, and pacifist healer clerics.

Liberty's Edge

ohako wrote:


Start with 0 natural armor (let's say 4 from mage armor)
Add 4 from 15th level draconic resistances power
Add 3 from dragon disciple
Add 6 from form of the dragon
Add 2 dodge from transformation
So, 29 AC (plus however much Dex you started with)

This is wrong, Natural armor does not stack in this fashion, You go with the highest of the given bonuses much in the same way that wearing 2 shields or trying to use mage armor with full plate does. You would be getting a max of 6 from the form, and 2 from the dodge, assuming you aren't wearing magic armor that can handle transforming forms you would want to use the Mage armor for +4 giving you a 22 at best before dex bonus

In the reading of it, it appears deceptive indeed but after rechecking my sources I am confident in my analysis as PFC had done nothing to overwrite the existing precedents with stacking AC's You also have to keep in mind the -1 AC and Hit from being large size


In my own games I probably would restrict the use of weapons by creatures like dragons. Less for balance reasons and more because I don't see their claws being able to get a good hold on them (that and it makes them look a tad silly in my opinion).

I would say that it should be up to your GM on whether a certain type of monster should be able to hold something.


Themetricsystem wrote:
ohako wrote:


Start with 0 natural armor (let's say 4 from mage armor)
Add 4 from 15th level draconic resistances power
Add 3 from dragon disciple
Add 6 from form of the dragon
Add 2 dodge from transformation
So, 29 AC (plus however much Dex you started with)

This is wrong, Natural armor does not stack in this fashion, You go with the highest of the given bonuses much in the same way that wearing 2 shields or trying to use mage armor with full plate does. You would be getting a max of 6 from the form, and 2 from the dodge, assuming you aren't wearing magic armor that can handle transforming forms you would want to use the Mage armor for +4 giving you a 22 at best before dex bonus

In the reading of it, it appears deceptive indeed but after rechecking my sources I am confident in my analysis as PFC had done nothing to overwrite the existing precedents with stacking AC's You also have to keep in mind the -1 AC and Hit from being large size

Possible. I haven't checked the spell in question, but an actual natural armor bonus (such as that many monsters have) stacks with an ENHANCEMENT bonus to natural armor.

For example if the Form of the Dragon spell grants an enhancement bonus to Natural Armor then it will stack with the natural armor granted from Dragon Disciple.

(Compare it to the Armor Bonus you get from fullplate and the Enhancement bonus to Armor Bonus you get from adding magical +X to the fullplate)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Not the manufactured weapon you were probably thinking of, but The Draconomicon mentions a magic item for dragons called the Claws of the Ripper. These metal blades fit over a dragon's claws and increase the damage the dragon's claws do with a critical hit to x4. Beyond something like that, I'd say no. If you take a close look at the dragon claws in the bestiary or the monster manual, you'll see they resemble a cat's paw more than they resemble a hand so they probably wouldn't be able grasp a weapon.


Velcro Zipper wrote:
Not the manufactured weapon you were probably thinking of, but The Draconomicon mentions a magic item for dragons called the Claws of the Ripper. These metal blades fit over a dragon's claws and increase the damage the dragon's claws do with a critical hit to x4. Beyond something like that, I'd say no. If you take a close look at the dragon claws in the bestiary or the monster manual, you'll see they resemble a cat's paw more than they resemble a hand so they probably wouldn't be able grasp a weapon.

For what it's worth, it was a different system, but I HAVE had dragons wield an axe in it's tail, and it was really epic.

Dark Archive

what about a "mouthpick" (IIRC) weapon. its 3.5 an in lords of madness. long story short is its a +2 enhancement that lets you replace a bite with a manufactured weapon and lets you get the extra attacks from bab with it.

easiest way IMHO


wow, about that natural armor not stacking thing...I learn something every day!

As for mouthpick...nah...mouthpick and breath weapon really don't mix, I think.

As for dragon claws not having opposable thumbs (for the holding of axes, hammers, and very sharp guitars), this sorta gets back to TMNT and the whole 'mutant level' thing: how different from human standard are you?

I see a lot of dragons clutching things: orbs, skulls, let's say large gems, that sorta stuff. Not to mention....

I just want to make sure: is there anything, in RAW, that talks about what a dragon can and can't do with its hands?


Yep. The draconomicon.

Quote:

Limbs

To a scholar who knows something about the natural world, a dragon’s powerful legs are decidedly nonreptilian, despite their scaly coverings. A dragon’s legs are positioned more or less directly under its body, in the manner of mammals. (Most reptiles’ legs tend to splay out to the sides, offering much less support and mobility than a dragon or mammal enjoys.)

A dragon’s four feet resemble those of a great bird. Each foot has three or four clawed toes facing forward (the number varies, even among dragons of the same kind), plus an additional toe, also with a claw, set farther back on the foot and facing slightly inward toward the dragon’s body, like a human’s thumb.

Although a dragon’s front feet are not truly prehensile, a dragon can grasp objects with its front feet, provided they are not too small. This grip is not precise enough for tool use, writing, or wielding a weapon, but a dragon can hold and carry objects. A dragon also is capable of wielding magical devices, such as wands, and can complete somatic components required for the spells it can cast (see Spellcasting, below). Some dragons are adroit enough to seize prey in their front claws and carry it aloft.

A dragon can use the “thumbs” on its rear feet to grasp as well, but the grip is less precise than that of the front feet.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dragons don't use manufactured weapons. They're built to be pretty dang tough and powerful as it stands—sacrificing one claw attack to gain a weapon attack (likely several weapon attacks) would allow them to deal far too much damage.

Also, thematically speaking, the image of a dragon using an axe is kind of silly. Manufactured weapons are things built by people who don't have significant natural weapons, after all—there's no reason for a dragon to want to use a weapon, and there shouldn't be.

So in the Pathfinder rules, while dragons can certainly manipulate things with their claws, their claws do NOT work like hands and don't allow them to wield weapons. If a dragon wants to be able to use a weapon, he needs to cast a spell like alter self to assume humanoid form.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

In "Masters of the Wild" there is a weapon enhancement that provides "thumbs" so animals, druids in animal form, familiars, etc., can use weapons. It was called "opposable" and was a +1 enhancement ability. Page 28.


Okay, okay, uncle! No need to starting quoting rules from 3.0 on me!

James Jacobs wrote:
Also, thematically speaking, the image of a dragon using an axe is kind of silly. Manufactured weapons are things built by people who don't have significant natural weapons, after all—there's no reason for a dragon to want to use a weapon, and there shouldn't be.

Silly?! Haven't you ever seen some of those record labels on heavy metal music? ...yeah, okay, it's pretty silly.

Maybe that opposable thumbs thing would come in handy, but not to wield a weapon. I love how all the dragons have all these wildly different personality types, except that they all tend to hoard gold and live in caves (or assimilate into humanoid society).

I think if I were a dragon with a bug pile of cash, the way to get _really_ rich is to build a castle or a city. And honestly, if you have to rely on _kobolds_ to pick up tools and carry around stuff, you know, they're just going to build half of the corridors way too small. Not to mention, they'll starting building a lot of really unnecessary booby traps, which is just hell on insurance.


Now, obviously, James was nice enough to come and clear this up from a developer/RAW point of view, however, if this came up and was a sticking point for a player's happiness, I might rule it the following way:

I believe dragons DO have opposable thumbs; possibly even four. Thumbs are an evolutionary step towards tool-making, fore-thought, self-awareness, etc. Most art I've seen gives dragons the ability to grasp things in a very human-like manner.

The dragon can use his natural attack routine {Claw/Claw/Bite/Wing/Wing/Tail} OR substitute a normal axe attack routine {Swing/swing-minus-5/swing-minus-10... etc}, but not a combination of both. This would also allow for a particularly prehensile tail to wield an axe in much the same way {but this might be a stretch}.

And I think James's interpretation is correct, because why would a dragon attack with one hand? "Ok, you PC's.... I'm gonna tie one hand {and both wings, and my tail, and my mouth} behind my back an KILL YOU DEAD with my +27 Vorpal Keen Axe of Fool Cleaving!" This can give a reason for a dragon's hoard to contain high-end weaponry; they use their hoarded weapons to entertain themselves during burglary attempts.

my couple coppers

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Themetricsystem wrote:
ohako wrote:


Start with 0 natural armor (let's say 4 from mage armor)
Add 4 from 15th level draconic resistances power
Add 3 from dragon disciple
Add 6 from form of the dragon
Add 2 dodge from transformation
So, 29 AC (plus however much Dex you started with)

This is wrong, Natural armor does not stack in this fashion, You go with the highest of the given bonuses much in the same way that wearing 2 shields or trying to use mage armor with full plate does. You would be getting a max of 6 from the form, and 2 from the dodge, assuming you aren't wearing magic armor that can handle transforming forms you would want to use the Mage armor for +4 giving you a 22 at best before dex bonus

In the reading of it, it appears deceptive indeed but after rechecking my sources I am confident in my analysis as PFC had done nothing to overwrite the existing precedents with stacking AC's You also have to keep in mind the -1 AC and Hit from being large size

While I mostly agree, I think the Dragon Disciple Natural AC stacks.

The spells and the bloodline ability all say they give a +X "Natural Armor Bonus." But the Dragon Disciple class ability says it gives an "increase to the character's natural armor." I'd let it stack if I were the DM.

I'm not sure where the OP got "+2 Dodge bonus from Transformation," unless he means the +2 to AC you'll get from having a higher DEX. But that's not a dodge bonus, that's a dex bonus. And you lose one AC from becoming Large. At least FotD doesn't give you a Dex penalty for size, so you still net 1 AC from the spell combo.

So, I'd go with
6 from the dragon form
3 from Dragon Disciple
4 from Mage Armor
2 higher Dex
-1 Size

Net gain: +14AC assuming no armor to begin with. But you do add whatever dex bonus the character started with, as well as deflection items the PC may have.

As for the OP's question, I'd say it's really up to the DM. I'd allow a dragon to use an axe in my game if he were a polymorphed humanoid, because humanoids are tool-users by nature. Yeah, it can do a crapload of damage, but you spent 3 rounds setting up this combo and used two sixth level spell slots. Either you spent 3 rounds letting the fighter slash away at the guy, or you pre-cast them all knowing what you were walking into, but either way, it represents a significant amount of resources. Checking out the SRD, your PC can do this once a day, or twice with a high CHA...

Actually, the PC in question (Sorc6/DD9) can't do this. He only knows one 6th level spell. You need another Sorcerer level. Did I miss something?

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Check out this thread:

Dragons & Weapons.


Christopher Dudley wrote:
Actually, the PC in question (Sorc6/DD9) can't do this. He only knows one 6th level spell. You need another Sorcerer level. Did I miss something?

drac sorc6/dragon disciple9 gets his normal 6th level bloodline spell at 15th level (form of the dragon II), and he's _just_ enough of a spellcaster to cast it. I think?

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ohako wrote:
Christopher Dudley wrote:
Actually, the PC in question (Sorc6/DD9) can't do this. He only knows one 6th level spell. You need another Sorcerer level. Did I miss something?
drac sorc6/dragon disciple9 gets his normal 6th level bloodline spell at 15th level (form of the dragon II), and he's _just_ enough of a spellcaster to cast it. I think?

Yeah, you're right. That's what I missed: that it was a Bloodline spell.

Sovereign Court

Themetricsystem wrote:

This is wrong, Natural armor does not stack in this fashion, You go with the highest of the given bonuses much in the same way that wearing 2 shields or trying to use mage armor with full plate does. You would be getting a max of 6 from the form, and 2 from the dodge, assuming you aren't wearing magic armor that can handle transforming forms you would want to use the Mage armor for +4 giving you a 22 at best before dex bonus

In the reading of it, it appears deceptive indeed but after rechecking my sources I am confident in my analysis as PFC had done nothing to overwrite the existing precedents with stacking AC's You also have to keep in mind the -1 AC and Hit from being large size

Natural Armor, especially that from a DD is a bit odd. There are potentially three types of Natural AC bonuses at play here.

1) The +X Natural AC from the Dragon Bloodline Sorcerer powers, and from various DD level features, all stack. This is an additive progression reflecting how the character is gaining more and more draconic features (i.e. the thick armor hide of a dragon).

2) The Natural Armor of alternative forms, achieved from the various Transmutation spells (or class features and SLA that mimic them), do NOT stack with the above. I've seen this ruled two ways:
(a) the two Natural Armor bonuses overlap, with the character gaining the benefit of whichever is higher (this is the 2 shields or full plate with mage amor example above)
(b) upon changing forms, you lose some of the characteristics of your original form, including your thick hide, thus you lose your Natural Armor bonus and inherit that of your new form (this arguement is akin to if a Sorc 5/DD9were to cast Elemental Body to become an earth elemental, he couldn't fly any more because he no longer has wings) (personally, this is how I would rule it)

3) Amulets of Natural Armor provide an Enhancement BONUS to a characters existing Natural Armor. This means that it would stack with any existing Natural Armor acquired through either 1 or 2 above.

Clear as mud?


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that _most_ of the cool dragon shapes you earn as a draconic sorcerer can be instantiated

Not: you have claws. It's: you _grow_ claws

So, as a free action, you can grow claws. As a standard action, you can grow wings.

So, a draconic sorcerer who transmogrifies into an earth elemental can spend a standard action to grow wings and fly. Great for when you need to infiltrate someone else's flying castle, I must say.

Interestingly enough, the natural armor bonuses (and the energy resistances) of the draconic resistance power are not included to work like that. So I agree with other folks: you turn into something else, you can kiss your starting +4 (or maybe +7) nat armor goodbye, and you get the nat armor of whatever you turned into.

Sovereign Court

ohako wrote:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that _most_ of the cool dragon shapes you earn as a draconic sorcerer can be instantiated

Not: you have claws. It's: you _grow_ claws

So, as a free action, you can grow claws. As a standard action, you can grow wings.

So, a draconic sorcerer who transmogrifies into an earth elemental can spend a standard action to grow wings and fly. Great for when you need to infiltrate someone else's flying castle, I must say.

Interestingly enough, the natural armor bonuses (and the energy resistances) of the draconic resistance power are not included to work like that. So I agree with other folks: you turn into something else, you can kiss your starting +4 (or maybe +7) nat armor goodbye, and you get the nat armor of whatever you turned into.

Okay, point taken, the wings were a poor example. My point was that natural armor is like opposable thumbs, if you turn into a giant fluffy bunny, you potentially lose both.

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