What Exactly Is a 'Tentacle Attack'? (Old debate, but still don't care)


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Alchemist Discovery
Tentacle (Ex)
Benefit: The alchemist gains a prehensile, arm-length tentacle on his body. The tentacle is fully under his control and cannot be concealed except with magic or bulky clothing. The tentacle does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round, though he can use it to make a tentacle attack (1d4 damage for a Medium alchemist, 1d3 damage for a Small one) with the grab ability. The tentacle can manipulate or hold items as well as the alchemist’s original arms can (for example, allowing the alchemist to use one hand to wield a weapon, the tentacle to hold a potion, and the third hand to throw a bomb). Unlike an arm, the tentacle has no magic item slots.

Okay, I know this debate has been kicked into the mud, but there's just one question I have to ask: if the 'tentacle attack' is not considered a secondary natural attack (as per the rules of ALL other tentacle attacks) what kind of 'attack' is it?

Is it an unarmed strike? If so, if I don't have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, does that mean when I use the 'tentacle attack' that I provoke an attack of opportunity and that I can only deal nonlethal damage?

Is it some sort of manufactured weapon? (I sincerely doubt this, but I'm just trying to be thorough)

OR is it a NATURAL ATTACK? (Again, this seems like the most 'logical' conclusion regardless of what has been said in the past).

In addition, how does this 'tentacle attack' interact with the Amulet of Mighty Fists? Is it even effected by it?

My thought process can only conclude one of the following: this 'tentacle attack' is either A) some sort of 'special' unarmed strike. Or B) it is a FRIGGIN natural attack.

Thoughts....comments...anyone not see where I'm coming from? *da common sense dice strike again!*


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It's a poorly named alternative for a Slam Attack.

Or maybe it's a special attack made to be used only against women dressed as Japanese schoolgirls.


There is a part of me that wants to make a pun about Japanese Anime...

Anyway, to me, the Tentacle Attack is a unique Natural Attack that can be made in conjunction with manufactured weapons without that pesky -5 penalty. That is to say, if an Alchemist has a BAB of +6/+1, he can make an attack with a weapon at +6, and a Tentacle at +1, or he could make an attack with a Tentacle at +6 and a weapon at +1, or he can make both attacks with a Tentacle.

As long as it's not a manufactured weapon, it's affected by the Amulet of Mighty Fist. The Amulet affects all natural attacks and unarmed strikes. If it's connected to your body, naturally (or through experimentation) then it's affected by an Amulet.


aha! But a 'slam attack' is ALSO considered a 'natural attack' (and so...the plot thickens!)


Tels wrote:

There is a part of me that wants to make a pun about Japanese Anime...

Anyway, to me, the Tentacle Attack is a unique Natural Attack that can be made in conjunction with manufactured weapons without that pesky -5 penalty. That is to say, if an Alchemist has a BAB of +6/+1, he can make an attack with a weapon at +6, and a Tentacle at +1, or he could make an attack with a Tentacle at +6 and a weapon at +1, or he can make both attacks with a Tentacle.

As long as it's not a manufactured weapon, it's affected by the Amulet of Mighty Fist. The Amulet affects all natural attacks and unarmed strikes. If it's connected to your body, naturally (or through experimentation) then it's affected by an Amulet.

I expected someone to bring up this point, but again, I have to question the logic: so what you're saying is that this 'tentacle attack' (which we agree is a 'natural attack', does not follow the rules of being a 'natural attack').

My question is this then: why not?

Where in the description of the discovery does it say that this 'tentacle attack' does not follow the normal rules of natural attacks?

Silver Crusade

A tentacle attack works just like any other natural attack and follows the same rules.

Unless you get it from the Alchemist Tentacle Discovery.

Then it doesn't work like normal.

For some reason.

That doesn't really make any sense.

And really confuses what should be an otherwise simple system.

But is apparently the rule.

Go figure.


Link to why its not a secondary natural attack please?

Liberty's Edge

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Why do we need another thread about this?


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Zonto wrote:
Why do we need another thread about this?

It's Tuesday?

Monday Monk Threads
Tuesday Tentacle Threads
Friday Paladin Threads


It’s a special form of natural attack that “does not give the alchemist any extra attacks“. So sure it’s a “secondary natural attack “ but being as it is not a natural tentacle it is limited. The limitation is= does not give the alchemist any extra attacks. Now, if they didn’t say “does not give the alchemist any extra attacks” then yes, it would follow the normal rules.

Both James Jacobs and other devs have ruled on this.

Silver Crusade

Apparently it works different. Why It works differently, I will never know. I think it's silly (putting it kindly). It's in no way unbalanced if it works as a normal natural attack, while at the same time being 1000x less confusing. But instead, it gets to be one of the worst Alchemist Discoveries ever because not only is it mechanically terrible, but also confuses and complicates an otherwise uniform rules concept.

Silver Crusade

Zonto wrote:
Why do we need another thread about this?

Because the discovery as written is bad and should be errata'd to allow it work in concert with other natural attacks. The way it currently works is clumsy and ineffective. As it stands, it's a waste of a Discovery.

As of right now, there is no real reason to take Tentacle Discovery over Vestigial Arm. That would be a different analysis if you could make the tentacle attack in concert with the other attacks from Feral Mutagen.


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Not trying to sound rude or anything, but the way the discovery is written (per RAW) the devs are clearly wrong (I've yet to see a 'definitive' answer anyway from any of the devs regarding this issue, which is another reason why I am bringing it back up again).

I find it amazing how everyone keeps wanting to go back to the whole 'does not give the alchemist any extra attacks' bit when that actually has nothing to do with natural attacks.

Let me ask anyone, when has a 'natural attack' EVER been considered an 'extra attack'?

Lets think about this for a second: does Feral Mutagen give you 'extra' claw attacks and an 'extra' bite attack? Nope. In fact, you'll be surprised to learn that whenever any text refers to a 'natural attack', that natural attack is NEVER referred to as an 'extra' attack.

In other words, it is an attack that can be made as part of your 'normal attack routine'.

Now HASTE, on the other hand, specifically grants an 'extra attack' per the description of the spell.

Therefore, the most basic explanation is this...

A 'natural attack' does NOT equal an 'extra attack'.

Since this holds true, there is NO REASON to think that the 'tentacle attack' behaves any differently from a normal secondary natural attack.

Silver Crusade

Duskblade wrote:

Not trying to sound rude or anything, but the way the discovery is written (per RAW) the devs are clearly wrong (I've yet to see a 'definitive' answer anyway from any of the devs regarding this issue, which is another reason why I am bringing it back up again).

I find it amazing how everyone keeps wanting to go back to the whole 'does not give the alchemist any extra attacks' bit when that actually has nothing to do with natural attacks.

Let me ask anyone, when has a 'natural attack' EVER been considered an 'extra attack'?

Lets think about this for a second: does Feral Mutagen give you 'extra' claw attacks and an 'extra' bite attack? Nope. In fact, you'll be surprised to learn that whenever any text refers to a 'natural attack', that natural attack is NEVER referred to as an 'extra' attack.

In other words, it is an attack that can be made as part of your 'normal attack routine'.

Now HASTE, on the other hand, specifically grants an 'extra attack' per the description of the spell.

Therefore, the most basic explanation is this...

A 'natural attack' does NOT equal an 'extra attack'.

Since this holds true, there is NO REASON to think that the 'tentacle attack' behaves any differently from a normal secondary natural attack.

SKR on the topic

I disagree vehemently with it mind you, but there it is.

Liberty's Edge

An "extra attack" is not a term defined anywhere in the rules. With regard to this discovery, an extra attack is an attack in addition to your normal attack routine - like you'd get from a secondary natural attack. Tentacle discovery does not give you a secondary natural attack. It would normally, but the discovery is an exception to the rule. It's been decided about a dozen times on the forums by now.

As another counter argument... if, by your logic, a tentacle is not an "extra attack", then what does the text in the discovery even mean?

Silver Crusade

Well, I made a topic a few weeks ago about the same thing, and I thought that by Extra Attack, they meant that Vestigial Arm and Tentacle don't give you extra Iterative attacks.

So for example, you couldn't take tentacle or vestigial arm and make attacks with a sword while throwing a bomb.

Silver Crusade

Tentacle Tentacle Tentacle Tentacle

Designer

It doesn't say it's an unarmed strike, so it isn't an unarmed strike.

"Tentacle" is a natural attack in the same way that an octopus's "arms" attack is a natural attack. Neither are listed in the UMR table because the "natural attacks by size table lists some of the most common types of natural attacks and their classifications."

Silver Crusade

Thanks Sean, but I don't think that really answers the question.

The question was whether the Tentacle Discovery allows you to make a natural attack in addition to all your other attacks like most natural attacks, or if the "No additional attacks" text makes it so that you can't combine it with your iterative attacks or say a Feral Mutagen attack.

It's confusing because from the link I posted from an earlier post, you seemed to say that the latter was the case, but as far as I know, no other natural attack in the game works that way and it's rather confusing. Every other natural attack can be make in addition to your iterative attacks, provided you take the -5 penalty.

EDIT: Also, while I appreciate your opinion, you might wanna drop by that 900+ post thread about Sunder being a standard action and weigh in before someone blows a blood vessel.


Based on that previous link about how it's a natural attack that can be used in place of a manufactured weapon and now this post, I am thoroughly confused.


And now I'm confused. Based on what you said previously about the tentacle discovery was that it wasn't a normal natural attack, and the reason it was labeled as one was so that you knew about the grab special ability it had.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Icyshadow wrote:
Or maybe it's a special attack made to be used only against women dressed as Japanese schoolgirls.

After reading through the thread, this is still the best answer.


Zonto wrote:

An "extra attack" is not a term defined anywhere in the rules. With regard to this discovery, an extra attack is an attack in addition to your normal attack routine - like you'd get from a secondary natural attack. Tentacle discovery does not give you a secondary natural attack. It would normally, but the discovery is an exception to the rule. It's been decided about a dozen times on the forums by now.

As another counter argument... if, by your logic, a tentacle is not an "extra attack", then what does the text in the discovery even mean?

Haste is just one example of a 'defined term' that specifically says it grants an 'extra attack'. In addition, even the 'rake' ability says that it grants you 'extra' natural attacks. The text in the discovery simply means that just because you have an 'extra limb' does not mean that you get to add 'extra actions'.

And, as I said, now that you have a 'tentacle attack' (which is considered a natural attack), you can use that attack as part of your 'normal attack routine'.

A tentacle attack is NOT considered an 'extra' attack (natural attacks are NEVER considered extra attacks).

@ Sean

I do appreciate the clarification, as I imagine that the 'tentacle discovery' was not meant to be considered as an 'unarmed strike'.

I suppose the clarification I'm wanting is this: if we agree that the 'tentacle' attack is in fact a 'natural attack'...then can it not simply be said that it counts as a 'secondary natural attack' and follows all the standard rules of natural attacks?

This issue was also addressed in the debate over the 'Animal Fury' rage power, where multiple people were wondering if that rage power also behaved in the same way that every other 'bite attack' behaved as well.

It was mentioned, in the 'Animal Fury' debate, that the text was simply meant to act as a 'reminder' to how the bite attack actually functioned (for instance, if the bite attack was used in conjunction with manufactured weapons, then it would behave as a secondary natural attack....but if the bite attack was used in conjunction with other natural attacks as part of a full-round action, then it would still be considered a primary natural attack DESPITE the fact that the RAW does not allow this).

It just seems like a very unecessary thing to say that this 'tentacle attack' behaves so differently from all the other natural attacks, when it clearly doesn't violate any of the restrictions: it's not an 'extra attack' (as far as game terms are concerned), which is why I would believe it functions exactly like a secondary natural attack.


Thhis was the post that Elamdri and I alluded to. There, a distinction between natural attacks and natural-attacks-that-could-be-used-in-place-of-a-manufactured-weapon-or-una rmed-strike was drawn in reference to this discovery, as opposed to gaining a natural weapon as an extra attack.

I'm also a bit confused by the above post because tentacles are listed in the Natural Attacks by Size table of the UMR. At least they are in the merged UMR on the PRD. Don't have my books to check at the moment, but at least there they are listed with hoof, tentacle, and wing.

Silver Crusade

Cheapy wrote:

Thhis was the post that Elamdri and I alluded to. There, a distinction between natural attacks and natural-attacks-that-could-be-used-in-place-of-a-manufactured-weapon-or-una rmed-strike was drawn in reference to this discovery, as opposed to gaining a natural weapon as an extra attack.

Which is what confused the crap out of me, because until then, I always thought that rules were as such:

1: You can make one natural attack with each natural weapon in a full round action, using your full BAB for primary weapons and BAB -5 for secondary weapons.

2: You can combine natural attacks with your iterative attacks, but all natural weapons are treated as secondary natural weapons.

This whole natural-attacks-that-could-be-used-in-place-of-a-manufactured-weapon-or-una rmed-strike distinction is incredibly confusing.


@ Cheapy and Elamdri

I understand the post that you are referring to, but I have always been under the impression that 'natural attacks used in place of manufactured weapons' was simply an 'optional' usage for natural weapons (to be honest, the whole thing is terribly confusing, but this is what I take from it).

Essentially, what I took from it was this: lets say I wanted to make an 'unarmed strike' with my 'claw attack'. However, rather than making 'normal' claw attacks (using primary natural attack rules), I simply substitute my unarmed strikes into my claw attacks. This allows me to use a full-round action to constantly attack with my claws using my BAB rather than relying on normal 'primary and secondary' natural attack rules.

Effectively, if I used both claw attacks, I would be two-weapon fighting in this manner and thus incur all of the normal penalties for doing so.

But again, I do foresee A LOT of confusion by using this method, but I 'sorta' understand how it works.

In another example, lets say that the alchemist has wings, and wants to make an unarmed strike- he can basically use his 'wings' as a means of delivering an unarmed strike even though these attacks are not TECHNICALLY considered 'wing attacks' (in other words, they are NOT natural attacks...they are just unarmed strikes made with wings).

As I said, I understand how u can 'substitute' your natural attacks and use them to make iterative attacks (from what I can tell, you basically treat the natural attack as a manufactured weapon, and thus it incurs all the normal penalties associated with iterative strikes).

However, a concern of mine would be this- how would such a method interact with monsters: would this allow certain monsters to make multiple 'bite attacks' during around simply by using their BAB rather than treating their 'natural attacks' as normal natural attacks?

Again, while I understand how the substitution method for natural attacks works, it just seems...unnecessary.


Part of the confusion is also because of the "can replace iteratives" (to save words) is set up in opposition to "gain natural weapon X as an additional attack." Granting an attack above-and-beyond what you could do before you took the discovery is by definition an extra attack compared to what you had previously.

Of course, Sean could've just been answering your question on if it's an unarmed strike within the context of the discovery.

Liberty's Edge

I still believe this tentacle is an extra attack. A "natural attack" is a term with a definition in the game, as are "unarmed strikes", etc. "Extra attack" is not a term with a discrete definition. It's an attack above what you can normally do. With regards to this discovery, treating it like a regular natural attack would grant you an extra attack - for example, your regular full round, plus an EXTRA secondary natural attack (tentacle).

I think the opposite argument would make more sense if we can answer this question: Assuming the tentacle discovery grants you a secondary natural attack, what does the "The tentacle does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round" caveat mean in the context of this discovery? To me, it seems the only thing this text means is that you cannot use the tentacle as an attack in addition to your normal attack routine (without the discovery).

Designer

Cheapy wrote:
And now I'm confused. Based on what you said previously about the tentacle discovery was that it wasn't a normal natural attack, and the reason it was labeled as one was so that you knew about the grab special ability it had.

An attack is either an unarmed strike, a manufactured weapon, or a natural weapon. The alchemist tentacle is categorized as a natural weapon.

HOWEVER, it is called out specifically that this tentacle doesn't allow you "any extra attacks or actions per round." It's an exception to the normal rule that having a natural weapon allows you to mix manufactured and natural weapon attacks.

The game is all about exception-based rules. In the case of the tentacle, the exception is that it breaks the natural/manufactured attack sequence combo rule (by limiting what you can do with it, instead of expanding what you can do with it).


@ Sean

If it is possible, could you explain how this 'tentacle attack' would work in conjunction with other natural attacks please.

For example, if the Alchemist had 'Feral Mutagen' activated, and used his claw and bite attacks in conjunction with this 'tentacle attack', do his attacks still count as primary, or are they considered secondary because you are using the 'tentacle attack'?

Again, my 'guess' would be the following:

Lets say that the alchemist could make 3 attacks via his BAB, and 3 attacks using his 'Feral Mutagen' (claws + bite).

Now, the alchemist decides to make 3 'tentacle attacks' (which obviously rely on his BAB) at his full Strength modifier, along with 2 claw attacks and a bite attack (which, from what I can tell, would still be considered primary attacks...and also use full strength mod as well).

Is the above example correct?

Designer

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You don't get an extra attack with it, period. You can use it in place of any of your natural attacks, but it never allows you to get more attacks per round than you would if you didn't have the tentacle.

PRD wrote:
The tentacle does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round.

If you didn't have the tentacle, and you normally could make 3 natural attacks per round (claw/claw/bite), having the tentacle doesn't change the number of natural attacks per round you can make, you're still making 3 natural attacks per round. If you wanted, you could make a tentacle attack in place of a claw or bite attack, but the text of the tentacle ability says it doesn't give you any extra attacks per round, so it doesn't give you any extra attacks per round.

Silver Crusade

Thanks for the clarification Sean.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I apologize if my above post wasn't clear, but if its alright, I would like to clarify one thing:

Is it possible to use the tentacle attack 'in place of' an unarmed strike? (this is essentially the reason why I got 3 'tentacle attacks' in my above post, as I was simply assuming that the Alchemist had a BAB of +11)

From what I have been told, it is possible to use this tentacle attack in place of an unarmed strike, and my question was that if you do so, do your other natural attacks still count as primary attacks? (again, I'm not gaining anything additional, I am simply using the 'natural attack' of the tentacle in place of my unarmed strikes)

In addition, my last question would be this: if I am allowed to make a tentacle attack in place of my unarmed strike, would I need to have the 'improved unarmed strike' feat to do it, or can I still make the 'tentacle attack' without said feat. (again, if my assumption for this whole substituting the tentacle attack for an unarmed strike is incorrect, please let me know...for if such is the case, I will have no further questions and the matter can be concluded).


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

You don't get an extra attack with it, period. You can use it in place of any of your natural attacks, but it never allows you to get more attacks per round than you would if you didn't have the tentacle.

PRD wrote:
The tentacle does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round.

If you didn't have the tentacle, and you normally could make 3 natural attacks per round (claw/claw/bite), having the tentacle doesn't change the number of natural attacks per round you can make, you're still making 3 natural attacks per round. If you wanted, you could make a tentacle attack in place of a claw or bite attack, but the text of the tentacle ability says it doesn't give you any extra attacks per round, so it doesn't give you any extra attacks per round.

Thanks Sean. I know you and James have been saying this all along, but this is the most clear and definitive statement yet.

Silver Crusade

DrDeth wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

You don't get an extra attack with it, period. You can use it in place of any of your natural attacks, but it never allows you to get more attacks per round than you would if you didn't have the tentacle.

PRD wrote:
The tentacle does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round.

If you didn't have the tentacle, and you normally could make 3 natural attacks per round (claw/claw/bite), having the tentacle doesn't change the number of natural attacks per round you can make, you're still making 3 natural attacks per round. If you wanted, you could make a tentacle attack in place of a claw or bite attack, but the text of the tentacle ability says it doesn't give you any extra attacks per round, so it doesn't give you any extra attacks per round.

Thanks Sean. I know you and James have been saying this all along, but this is the most clear and definitive statement yet.

I agree. This is about as unambiguous as it gets.


Thanks. I am considerably less confused now.

Well, on this issue at least.


Duskblade wrote:

I apologize if my above post wasn't clear, but if its alright, I would like to clarify one thing:

Is it possible to use the tentacle attack 'in place of' an unarmed strike? (this is essentially the reason why I got 3 'tentacle attacks' in my above post, as I was simply assuming that the Alchemist had a BAB of +11)

From what I have been told, it is possible to use this tentacle attack in place of an unarmed strike, and my question was that if you do so, do your other natural attacks still count as primary attacks? (again, I'm not gaining anything additional, I am simply using the 'natural attack' of the tentacle in place of my unarmed strikes)

In addition, my last question would be this: if I am allowed to make a tentacle attack in place of my unarmed strike, would I need to have the 'improved unarmed strike' feat to do it, or can I still make the 'tentacle attack' without said feat. (again, if my assumption for this whole substituting the tentacle attack for an unarmed strike is incorrect, please let me know...for if such is the case, I will have no further questions and the matter can be concluded).

If anyone has an answer to the above questions, I would greatly appreciate it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Just wait until someone uses the Tentacle during flurry through the power of Feral Combat Training.


well, i just had a dev tell me that Vestigial arms are not legal targets for Feral mutagen claws...and after what I've been told about the 'tentacle' discovery...it seems to be equally useless as well.

So, with that in mind, I think i'm gonna go sulk and drink for a bit.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You can still wield two Sawtooth Sabres, each with two hands.


meh, the whole idea i had was to make an 'unarmed striking' alchemist...but currently, there's no longer any real way to get enough 'unarmed' or 'natural' attacks without severally hampering an alchemists ability to hit (trust me....an average BAB + Power Attack + TWF with unarmed strikes...yea...doesn't really work).

I mean, it works with the barbarian build I got....but the barbarian has a full BAB :(


Your problem is Power Attack. If you're playing a 3/4 BAB class, Power Attack actually lessens your DPR because of the penalty. The bonus from Power Attack really only works if you're focusing on a single weapon while using a 3/4 BAB; if you try to TWF, it's just not worth it.


Depending on your build, power attack can still be a netgain for a 3/4ths BAB class. You just need to run the formulas to figure out if it'll increase or lessen your damage per round.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Well, that ruling is no good. A decent discovery just become nearly worthless (or rather, always was apparently). A single low damage natural attack that cannot be combined with anything will inevitably be worse off than most any other kind of attack that could be made. Why on earth would someone spend resources on an inferior attack form that would also likely be the cause of social stigma?

Why are such rulings even made? They are nothing but destructive. Would it not have been better for the game to errata it to function as a NORMAL natural attack? That would have put it on par with about a dozen other abilities that grant natural attacks.

Sean, what is the reasoning behind your stance, pray tell?

Designer

At this point I don't even know which "ruling" or "stance" you're talking about.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Allow me to rephrase: Why is this discovery so terrible?

A single low damage natural attack that cannot be combined with anything will inevitably be worse off than most any other kind of attack that could be made. Why on earth would someone spend resources on an inferior attack form that would also likely be the cause of social stigma?

Errata to remove the offending words "does not grant an extra attack" would, at best, put it on the level with a dozen other abilities that grant true natural attacks.

Silver Crusade

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
At this point I don't even know which "ruling" or "stance" you're talking about.

I believe he's talking about the fact that the Tentacle Discovery's attack must be made in place of, rather than in addition to, the rest of your attacks.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you, Elamdri.

Silver Crusade

I believe that the Tentacle discovery is typed differently because it comes with the Grab feature, although that in itself is a frustrating aspect of the Discovery because the Alchemist can't make use of the Grab unless he takes the time to Enlarge himself.

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