Creature special abilities and Spells

Rules Questions


Recently I am having some monsters to play with as a GM and several thoughts occurred to me that include monster special abilities and spells.

Example and question; Would a ghoul who uses a spell for example shocking grasp also trigger his special paralysis ability which usually triggers on a normal natural attack?

Thanks for answers,


My judgement, Depends

Dose the Ghoul make the attack as a Touch attack or with a regular claw attack.

Touch attack - No. just do the Shocking Grasp damage
Regular attack - Yes. Do Claw damage + Shocking Grasp and then Paralysis.

Malag wrote:
Example and question; Would a ghoul who uses a spell for example shocking grasp also trigger his special paralysis ability which usually triggers on a normal natural attack?

In the round you cast a touch spell, you may make a touch attack on a target in order to deliver it. You may move in between casting the spell and making the touch attack. This "bonus" attack can not be used along with a natural weapon attack - it's for the spell alone, nothing else. If you do not do this, or if your attack misses, you are "holding the charge."

When holding the charge, you may either try to deliver the spell using a regular touch attack, or you can try to deliver it via an unarmed attack or a natural weapon. If you try the latter, you no longer get the protection from AoO the touch spell normally grants you, but if you have a proper natural weapon you don't provoke AoO anyway. You need to make a hit against normal AC (not just touch AC), and if you do you hit with both your natural attack and the spell.

So if the ghoul is only trying to zap his target with the shocking grasp, he attacks touch AC and "only" deals electrical damage if he succeeds. If he's trying to hit the target "for real", he has to attack regular AC, and if he hits he deals claw damage + electrical damage + potential paralysis.

Edit: And of course there are always other special abilities that can interact with these rules to mess them up, but these are the default ones.

If he uses it as the Touch Attack, no. He's not hitting with his Natural Attack, which is what triggers it.

However, there is an option to deliver Touch Spells through Unarmed Strikes and Natural Attacks which lets you deal damage with your US/NA and still deliver the spell (it no longer attacks Touch AC though).

In that case, yes.


Makes sense I guess, but what if creature's natural attack is touch attack that trigger's paralysis?

Example and question; Lich cast's Vampiric Touch and touches a character. Would this kind of attack trigger a lich's special ability (which is paralysis on touch) as well as deal the effect of Vampiric Touch spell?

Thanks again for quick answers!


In that specific case, the Lich would still attack Touch AC, since that's what it attacks normally. Presumably a ghost would do the same (assuming they have the same text that makes their Touch Attack a Natural Attack/Weapon like the Lich does).

Basically what delivering a Touch Spell through a Natural Attack means is that the Natural Attack works normally, but also carries a spell rider.

It's just like Spellstrike for a Magus, your weapon does everything it normally does, but also delivers the spell. If you have a +1 Brilliant Energy weapon that you cast Shocking Grasp with, it attacks as the Brilliant Energy weapon, but with a spell effect.

Same deal with the Natural Attack.

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