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If I have both Anaconda's Coils (pg.208 of Ultimate Equipment) and Final Embrace (pg.101 of Ultimate Combat), both of which are granting me constrict, do I get to use both constrict abilities every time I succeed at a grapple check? Or do they overlap, giving me only the version with the better damage?
For that matter, Anaconda's Coils says the constrict ability it grants deals 1d6 damage (with no mention of size category). If I'm wearing this belt and I grow by a size category, does my constrict damage scale with size or does it remain 1d6 as the belt specifies?
Anaconda's CoilsThis snakeskin belt’s buckle is shaped like a serpent’s head.
The wearer gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength and a +2 competence bonus on grapple combat maneuver checks. Treat the enhancement bonus to Strength as temporary ability bonus for the first 24 hours the belt is worn. In addition, the belt grants the wearer the constrict ability for 1d6 points of damage plus the wearer’s Strength modifier.
Final EmbracePrerequisite: Str 13, Int 3; naga, serpentfolk, or creature that has the constrict special attack; base attack bonus +3.
You gain the constrict and grab special attacks. Your constrict attack deals damage equal to your unarmed strike or primary natural weapon melee attack. Further, you can grab and constrict opponents up to your size.
Can you cite any particular rule about multiple instances of constrict not applying? They come from different sources, and constrict says a creature deals the damage "when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage)". I know the "including additional damage" clause is really referring to dealing damage when maintaining the grapple (rather than pinning or repositioning), but if one of the instances of constrict had a different name, I don't think there'd be any doubt both abilities would trigger. Is there a specific rule that prevents two abilities with the same name from working simultaneously, even if they come from different sources?
#1 Anaconda's Coils grants you the Constrict ability.
#2 You use that ability to gain Final Embrace feat.
#3 Final Embrace redundantly grants you the Constrict ability. You don't gain a second use of the ability, you uselessly gain the same ability again. It is not two DIFFERENT abilities with the same name, it is the SAME ability twice.
If you had the smite evil ability and used it qualify for another feat that redundantly granted smite evil, would you get to stack two smite evils?
The Coils give you the Constrict Ability for 1d6+STR. Final Embrace allows to use your Constrict Ability for your unarmed damage instead. Final Embrace does not grant a bonus to your Constrict Damage, it simply improves to your base Constrict damage from 1d6+STR to whatever your unarmed damage is. It is not a bonus but an upgrade.
The following refer to bonus stacking and spell stacking. I would cite ability stacking, but I'll let someone else dig that up.
I understand how stacking bonuses works, and I think your smite evil analogy is apples and oranges for that very reason. If a paladin took a feat (or piece of equipment, etc.) that granted smite evil, I think it's pretty clear that smite evil wouldn't stack with smite evil because it's an ability that grants a fixed bonus. Hell, if it did stack, you wouldn't even need another source to grant the ability, paladins at high levels get multiple uses per day, and they would just use them all against the big evil end boss for absurd bonuses. I would say that a piece of equipment (or feat, etc.) that granted smite evil would probably add to the number of times per day the paladin could smite, so in that sense it would "stack".
Constrict, on the other hand, provides an "always on" effect that says every time you succeed at a grapple check you deal extra damage. First of all plain old bludgeoning damage has never had any problem stacking with more bludgeoning damage (otherwise constrict wouldn't work at all), and second of all I know of no such rule that says two copies of the same ability are redundant, or overlap. I'm not saying they aren't, or don't. I'm just saying it's neither intuitive nor given that that's the case.
A better analogy would be another "always on" bonusless ability like fast healing. I've heard people say that two instances of fast healing don't stack, but I've never seen it cited. I could see it either way. If I have fast healing 5 from my race and fast healing 10 from a template, I know of no rule that says they don't both trigger every turn to heal me for 15 points. It's not that I'm unwilling to believe they overlap, I'd just like to see a valid rules citation so I'm sure of both the rules and the reason for the rules. I just don't like spreading erroneous rulings I've heard and assumed to be true.
And if there is no such ruling, maybe there should be one. It does seem awfully strong for constrict or fast healing abilities to be stackable.
The Paizo staff ruled no reply required for Fast Healing stacking in a thread that pretty much covers the ground we're treading right now.
I'm with you in that it not-stacking in general should be called out more explicitly instead of squirreled away in different sections (feats, spell effects, etc), but Pathfinder as a whole has hewn to the not-stacking-unless-specifically-called-out as a design philosophy.
Stacking: Stacking refers to the act of adding together bonuses or penalties that apply to one particular check or statistic. Generally speaking, most bonuses of the same type do not stack. Instead, only the highest bonus applies.
'Fast Healing' is a statistic. Normally you have a fast healing score of 0. Some race give you a bonus to fast healing and some classes too. Lets say a race gives you fast healing 5 (a +5 bonus) and a class 10 (+10 bonus). By the stacking rules you end up with fast healing 10.
Same for DR (of the same type), resistance and all other statistics of a creature. There are some exceptions like 'your statistic X is increased by Y'.
I know we live in a world of iPads and PDFs but i love my paper core rule book and it is big enough. We dont need more rules or cheese .. we need more common sense.