Rules Clarification for a Player


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

This is probably going to seem like a simple question to most, but it made for a lot of opposed discussion within our group.

The other night a player brought up the Multiattack feat in reference to a monster in a scenario. The monster in question was a Ghoul, whose stat block reads: Melee bite +3 (1d6+1 plus disease and paralysis) and 2 claws +3(1d6+1 plus paralysis). The stats do not mention the Multiattack feat anywhere.

The player was arguing that the Ghoul should be taking -5 to its secondary attacks in a fullround action, by his interpretation of the Multiattack feat.

In addition to this, after the session, there were also some opposing opinions as to the difference between the way attacks are written. Confusion regarding attack stats that specifically use "and" (like the example above "bite and 2 claws") and stats that specifically use commas (such as, I suppose, a Grizzly Bear: Melee 2 claws +7 (1d6+5 plus grab), bite +7 (1d6+5)).

Can I get some brief/simple rulings to point this player to?

Thanks in advance.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4

Natural Attacks
Bite and claws are primary attacks, which do not suffer the -5 penalty that secondary attacks do (unless you use a manufactured weapon attack).
Multiattack reduces a secondary attack penalty from -5 to -2

Scarab Sages

MillerHero wrote:

Natural Attacks

Bite and claws are primary attacks, which do not suffer the -5 penalty that secondary attacks do (unless you use a manufactured weapon attack).
Multiattack reduces a secondary attack penalty from -5 to -2

Thanks! Hopefully this will be enough to satisfy him for the initial problem.

What can I point him to in regards to the differences between "and" and "commas" used to separate attacks?


cobalt123 wrote:
The player was arguing that the Ghoul should be taking -5 to its secondary attacks in a fullround action, by his interpretation of the Multiattack feat.

As MillerHero says, your players are technically correct. If the Ghoul was making secondary attacks, they should be at -5.

cobalt123 wrote:
Confusion regarding attack stats that specifically use "and" (like the example above "bite and 2 claws") and stats that specifically use commas (such as, I suppose, a Grizzly Bear: Melee 2 claws +7 (1d6+5 plus grab), bite +7 (1d6+5)).

I'm not sure what the question is here. They're functionally the same. The ghoul can make a total of three attacks during a full attack action (one bite, one claw, one other claw). The bear can do the same. They can both only make one attack with a standard action, though the Ghoul will usually prefer to bite instead of claw, while the bear would claw instead of bite.

As to why some are worded with "and" and some without, I don't know. My guess is different people wrote/copied various parts.

Liberty's Edge

Bestiary from PRD wrote:

Natural Attacks Most creatures possess one or more natural attacks (attacks made without a weapon). These attacks fall into one of two categories, primary and secondary attacks. Primary attacks are made using the creature's full base attack bonus and add the creature's full Strength bonus on damage rolls. Secondary attacks are made using the creature's base attack bonus –5 and add only 1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls. If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature's full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls. This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one. If a creature has only one type of attack, but has multiple attacks per round, that attack is treated as a primary attack, regardless of its type. Table: Natural Attacks by Size lists some of the most common types of natural attacks and their classifications.

Some creatures treat one or more of their attacks differently, such as dragons, which always receive 1-1/2 times their Strength bonus on damage rolls with their bite attack. These exceptions are noted in the creature's description.

I believe that if the Bestiary stat block for the creature lists it as you described, then both attacks are considered primary. The only time an attack would get a -5 is if it is a secondary attack.

The stat blocks in the Bestiary account for the -5 and the correct damage modifier should they apply.

Scarab Sages

Grick wrote:
cobalt123 wrote:
The player was arguing that the Ghoul should be taking -5 to its secondary attacks in a fullround action, by his interpretation of the Multiattack feat.

As MillerHero says, your players are technically correct. If the Ghoul was making secondary attacks, they should be at -5.

cobalt123 wrote:
Confusion regarding attack stats that specifically use "and" (like the example above "bite and 2 claws") and stats that specifically use commas (such as, I suppose, a Grizzly Bear: Melee 2 claws +7 (1d6+5 plus grab), bite +7 (1d6+5)).

I'm not sure what the question is here. They're functionally the same. The ghoul can make a total of three attacks during a full attack action (one bite, one claw, one other claw). The bear can do the same. They can both only make one attack with a standard action, though the Ghoul will usually prefer to bite instead of claw, while the bear would claw instead of bite.

As to why some are worded with "and" and some without, I don't know. My guess is different people wrote/copied various parts.

The Player in question thought the Ghoul's attacks (the bite and 2 claws) should be suffering from the penalty described in Multiattack (without having the feat). From MillerHero's response, it sounds like there should be no penalty to begin with in this case, as the bite and claws do not suffer the -5 penalty (EDIT: primary, not secondary attacks like the player thought). Or did I misunderstand his response?

In regards to the "and"/"comma" question, the player did not think they were functionally the same, as you put it. I just wanted something to show him to explain that? I guess? I honestly have no idea why that didn't make sense to him (other than perhaps "they look different, so they must BE different" in his reasoning). I think he thought that the "and" implied you get to do those as a full attack action, and the "commas" were merely "choices" or something. But I'm not sure.

Thanks!

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

cobalt123 wrote:
MillerHero wrote:

Natural Attacks

Bite and claws are primary attacks, which do not suffer the -5 penalty that secondary attacks do (unless you use a manufactured weapon attack).
Multiattack reduces a secondary attack penalty from -5 to -2

Thanks! Hopefully this will be enough to satisfy him for the initial problem.

What can I point him to in regards to the differences between "and" and "commas" used to separate attacks?

I don't think you need a description of comma vs. "and" usage, you need this table that describes natural attacks.

Scarab Sages

gbonehead wrote:
cobalt123 wrote:
MillerHero wrote:

Natural Attacks

Bite and claws are primary attacks, which do not suffer the -5 penalty that secondary attacks do (unless you use a manufactured weapon attack).
Multiattack reduces a secondary attack penalty from -5 to -2

Thanks! Hopefully this will be enough to satisfy him for the initial problem.

What can I point him to in regards to the differences between "and" and "commas" used to separate attacks?

I don't think you need a description of comma vs. "and" usage, you need this table that describes natural attacks.

Thanks!


cobalt123 wrote:

This is probably going to seem like a simple question to most, but it made for a lot of opposed discussion within our group.

The other night a player brought up the Multiattack feat in reference to a monster in a scenario. The monster in question was a Ghoul, whose stat block reads: Melee bite +3 (1d6+1 plus disease and paralysis) and 2 claws +3(1d6+1 plus paralysis). The stats do not mention the Multiattack feat anywhere.

The player was arguing that the Ghoul should be taking -5 to its secondary attacks in a fullround action, by his interpretation of the Multiattack feat.

In addition to this, after the session, there were also some opposing opinions as to the difference between the way attacks are written. Confusion regarding attack stats that specifically use "and" (like the example above "bite and 2 claws") and stats that specifically use commas (such as, I suppose, a Grizzly Bear: Melee 2 claws +7 (1d6+5 plus grab), bite +7 (1d6+5)).

Can I get some brief/simple rulings to point this player to?

Thanks in advance.

Yeah multiattack is for secondary attacks. Natural attacks aren't limited by bab or anything, rather how many attacks they can make normally. So if it said claw, bite, tail, gore, and pincers it could do all of those on a full round action. Keep in mind that some are secondary and others are primary. Also I thought medium sized creatures have claws that do 1d4 damage? That or your bite needs to be scaled higher.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
cobalt123 wrote:


The Player in question thought the Ghoul's attacks (the bite and 2 claws) should be suffering from the penalty described in Multiattack (without having the feat). From MillerHero's response, it sounds like there should be no penalty to begin with in this case, as the bite and claws do not suffer the -5 penalty. Or did I misunderstand his response?

You are correct, creatures can now have more then one kind of primary attack, in fact claws and bite are to my knowledge laways primary. So are gore and slam attacks.

Quote:


In regards to the "and"/"comma" question, the player did not think they were functionally the same, as you put it. I just wanted something to show him to explain that? I guess? I honestly have no idea why that didn't make sense to him (other than perhaps "they look different, so they must BE different" in his reasoning). I think he thought that the "and" implied you get to do those as a full attack action, and the "commas" were merely "choices" or something. But I'm not sure.

Thanks!

Your play overestimates paizo's (or any grou of mortal's) ability to maintain consistency in as many stat blocks as are present in the bestiary. He is over thinking it, there is no mechanical difference here, just a grammatical/formatting difference. Secondary attacks are listed as such in stat blocks. In this case they are not, so they aren't secondary attacks they are primary. comma or 'and' dont make a difference.

Liberty's Edge

Grick wrote:
cobalt123 wrote:
The player was arguing that the Ghoul should be taking -5 to its secondary attacks in a fullround action, by his interpretation of the Multiattack feat.

As MillerHero says, your players are technically correct. If the Ghoul was making secondary attacks, they should be at -5.

cobalt123 wrote:
Confusion regarding attack stats that specifically use "and" (like the example above "bite and 2 claws") and stats that specifically use commas (such as, I suppose, a Grizzly Bear: Melee 2 claws +7 (1d6+5 plus grab), bite +7 (1d6+5)).

I'm not sure what the question is here. They're functionally the same. The ghoul can make a total of three attacks during a full attack action (one bite, one claw, one other claw). The bear can do the same. They can both only make one attack with a standard action, though the Ghoul will usually prefer to bite instead of claw, while the bear would claw instead of bite.

As to why some are worded with "and" and some without, I don't know. My guess is different people wrote/copied various parts.

Actually that is incorrect. Unless the attack is considered secondary, it is always primary. Almost all animals and magical beasts have all attacks considered as primary.

A Demon, Babau, however, has primary claws and secondary bite. This is noted in the stat block by the Claws being +12 to hit and the Bite being +7 to hit.

Follow the Bestiary stat blocks, they account for how primary and secondary attacks relate to each other, and also will account for multiattack feat should the creature have it.

Scarab Sages

Kolokotroni wrote:

...

Your play overestimates paizo's (or any grou of mortal's) ability to maintain consistency in as many stat blocks as are present in the bestiary. He is over thinking it, there is no mechanical difference here, just a grammatical/formatting difference. Secondary attacks are listed as such in stat blocks. In this case they are not, so they aren't secondary attacks they are primary. comma or 'and' dont make a difference.

You summed this particular player up in a nutshell.

Liberty's Edge

cobalt123 wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:

...

Your play overestimates paizo's (or any grou of mortal's) ability to maintain consistency in as many stat blocks as are present in the bestiary. He is over thinking it, there is no mechanical difference here, just a grammatical/formatting difference. Secondary attacks are listed as such in stat blocks. In this case they are not, so they aren't secondary attacks they are primary. comma or 'and' dont make a difference.

You summed this particular player up in a nutshell.

One thing to add to help your player out. Within the stat blocks in the bestiary look for the word OR.

The quickest stat block I found to demonstrate this to your player was the Demon, babau. Page 57 of Bestiary 1.

Quote:
Melee 2 claws +12 (1d6+5), bite +12 (1d6+5) or longspear +12/+7 (1d8+7/x3), bite +7 (1d6+2)

That means he can do 2 claws AND bite at +12...OR...he can attack with his longspear at +12/+7 AND bite at +7.

In the second set which includes the longspear, his bite is at a minus 5 b/c it is considered a secondary attack while he is attacking with a martial weapon. Yet both claws and bite are primary if no martial weapon is used.

Dark Archive

Kolokotroni wrote:
Your play overestimates paizo's (or any grou of mortal's) ability to maintain consistency in as many stat blocks as are present in the bestiary. He is over thinking it, there is no mechanical difference here, just a grammatical/formatting difference. Secondary attacks are listed as such in stat blocks. In this case they are not, so they aren't secondary attacks they are primary. comma or 'and' dont make a difference.

The player may have read through other creature stats where the word "and" is significant such as Damage Reduction. eg "DR15/cold iron and evil" is not the same thing as "DR15/cold iron or evil".


Andrew Christian wrote:


A Demon, Babau, however, has primary claws and secondary bite. This is noted in the stat block by the Claws being +12 to hit and the Bite being +7 to hit.

Incorrect:

Line from the Babau:

Quote:
Melee 2 claws +12 (1d6+5), bite +12 (1d6+5) or longspear +12/+7 (1d8+7/×3), bite +7 (1d6+2)

I think you missed the 'or' in your first run through and didn't realize he has two attack pattern options for a full attack.

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