Animal companion natural attack strength bonus


Rules Questions


Normally the rules are clear how much strength bonus is applied to natural attacks. But I stumbled upon this:

When an AC only has one natural attack it normally adds 1-1/2 strength to its damage. But at level 9 it gets a second attack with its one natural weapon at -5. Now it has two attacks with natural weapon (both with the same). Does it still get 1-1/2 strength? If so on both or only on the first?

Multiattack AC ability:

An animal companion gains Multiattack as a bonus feat if it has three or more natural attacks and does not already have that feat. If it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks, the animal companion instead gains a second attack with its primary natural weapon, albeit at a –5 penalty.

Natural attack universal monster rule:
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 times 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.

Example would be a boar that only has one gore attack. At level 9 it would get a second gore attack at -5. How much strength bonus does it get on the first and how much on the second attack?


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Short Answer: Yes.

Long Answer: By one natural attack, they mean one natural attack method, not number of strikes per turn. It only has a bite, so it gets the 1.5x strength bonus. Multiattack lets you bite twice on a full attack, but it is still just the one option.


Agreed with MurphysParadox: "One natural attack" means that you can only bite, or claw, or slam; you might be able to claw 5 times in a round, but if your only natural attack is a claw, then you still gain the 1.5 times STR.


Thanks for the answers.
If I have to choose between an AC with 1 attack (later two) at 1-1/2 strength and 2 attacks (later three) at 1 times strength or perhaps even 1 of them at 1/1 strength this might make a difference. More so with high strength ACs.

What I do not understand is that the normal horse's hoof attacks are treated as secondary despite this part of the universal monster rules:

SRD wrote:
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.

The AC horse, sure because that has a bite and 2 hoof attacks. But the normal horse just has his two hooves.


Umbranus wrote:


What I do not understand is that the normal horse's hoof attacks are treated as secondary despite this part of the universal monster rules:
SRD wrote:
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.
The AC horse, sure because that has a bite and 2 hoof attacks. But the normal horse just has his two hooves.

That is because they have the very specific trait 'Docile', which makes their hoofs secondary attacks.

Training them for combat removes it, thus it play a mechanically important part in keeping a distinction between combat-trained and non-combat-trained horses, despite the changes PF has made to 'primary/secondary' natural attacks.


Thanks, I missed that.
Looks like a high strength horse AC might be better off without its bite attack. As is it has 1 low damage primary attack and two secondary attacks. At level 9 it just reduces the penalty for the secondary attacks.
If it didn't have the bite it would start out with two primary attacks at 1-1/2 strength which would change to three primary attacks with 1-1/2 strength at level 9. One more example of something that gets worse by adding something. Especially of note because the non AC horse lacks this bite attack.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The discussion about whether the AC horse, after receiving combat training at lvl 4, also looses the docile quality (which is interpreted as the opposite of being used to combat/combat trained), has its hoof attacks "upgraded" to primary attacks or not, thus having 3 primary attacks.
Problem here: the docile quality is not mentioned in the entry for the AC horse in the first place...

My houserule has so for been that this is indeed the case, resulting in a (more) potent (and generally accepted by the local populace!) AC with three primary attacks.

Maybe there's new insight/official ruling available, though!?

Ruyan.


RuyanVe wrote:

The discussion about whether the AC horse, after receiving combat training at lvl 4, also looses the docile quality (which is interpreted as the opposite of being used to combat/combat trained), has its hoof attacks "upgraded" to primary attacks or not, thus having 3 primary attacks.

Problem here: the docile quality is not mentioned in the entry for the AC horse in the first place...

My houserule has so for been that this is indeed the case, resulting in a (more) potent (and generally accepted by the local populace!) AC with three primary attacks.

Maybe there's new insight/official ruling available, though!?

Ruyan.

If the horse didn't have the bite the hooves would become primary. But as long as it has another, primary, natural attack they remain secondary, as HaraldKlak reminded me. That's because normally hoof attacks are always secondary.

universal monster rules wrote:
Hoof, Tentacle, Wing B Secondary

here B is the damage type and secondary tells us that hoof, tail or wing attacks are always secondary unless stated otherwise.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Nobody's mentioned it yet, but ACs with 3 or fewer primary natural attacks (horses included) gain an extra attack at -5 when they reach level 9.

Your horse could then Bite/Hoof/Hoof/Bite(-5).

Liberty's Edge

RuyanVe wrote:

The discussion about whether the AC horse, after receiving combat training at lvl 4, also looses the docile quality (which is interpreted as the opposite of being used to combat/combat trained), has its hoof attacks "upgraded" to primary attacks or not, thus having 3 primary attacks.

Problem here: the docile quality is not mentioned in the entry for the AC horse in the first place...

My houserule has so for been that this is indeed the case, resulting in a (more) potent (and generally accepted by the local populace!) AC with three primary attacks.

Maybe there's new insight/official ruling available, though!?

There is (under Animal Companions).

It's not quite official, but it's a clear statement that things are supposed to work that way.


Nefreet wrote:

Nobody's mentioned it yet, but ACs with 3 or fewer primary natural attacks (horses included) gain an extra attack at -5 when they reach level 9.

Your horse could then Bite/Hoof/Hoof/Bite(-5).

Nobody mentioned that, because it is not true.

Quote:
Multiattack: An animal companion gains Multiattack as a bonus feat if it has three or more natural attacks and does not already have that feat. If it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks, the animal companion instead gains a second attack with one of its natural weapons, albeit at a –5 penalty.

So only animal companions with less than 3 attacks gain an additional, attack. If you have 3 you won't get an additional attack.


Nefreet wrote:

Nobody's mentioned it yet, but ACs with 3 or fewer primary natural attacks (horses included) gain an extra attack at -5 when they reach level 9.

Your horse could then Bite/Hoof/Hoof/Bite(-5).

Not really. It only gets the additional attack if it has less than 3 natural attacks, no matter what kind. If it has three or more it gets multiattack instead.

Animal companions wrote:
An animal companion gains Multiattack as a bonus feat if it has three or more natural attacks and does not already have that feat. If it does not have the requisite three or more natural attacks, the animal companion instead gains a second attack with its primary natural weapon, albeit at a –5 penalty.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Umbranus wrote:

Thanks, I missed that.

Looks like a high strength horse AC might be better off without its bite attack. As is it has 1 low damage primary attack and two secondary attacks. At level 9 it just reduces the penalty for the secondary attacks.
If it didn't have the bite it would start out with two primary attacks at 1-1/2 strength which would change to three primary attacks with 1-1/2 strength at level 9. One more example of something that gets worse by adding something. Especially of note because the non AC horse lacks this bite attack.

Wrong Umbranus. It need to have only 1 primary attack to get the 1 and 1/2 strength bonus, it don't get it is it has several identical primary attacks.

PRD wrote:
If a creature has only one natural attack

The AC rule give it a kind of iterative attack, so it still has a single attack and get the benefit, but two hooves or two claws don't get the 1 and 1/2 strength bonus to damage.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Umbranus wrote:

If the horse didn't have the bite the hooves would become primary. But as long as it has another, primary, natural attack they remain secondary, as HaraldKlak reminded me. That's because normally hoof attacks are always secondary.

universal monster rules wrote:
Hoof, Tentacle, Wing B Secondary
here B is the damage type and secondary tells us that hoof, tail or wing attacks are always secondary unless stated otherwise.

Read the whole text in the Universal monster rules, not only the table.

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.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Read the whole text in the Universal monster rules, not only the table.

I'm not sure which of my statements you are arguing against but as this is about my quoting the table I guess it is about the horse's hoof attacks.

The AC horse does not only have two hoof attacks but a primary bite, in addition to that. Because of that the more relevant part is what I bolded, not what you bolded.
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.

If your argument was against something else, please clarify.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Umbranus wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Read the whole text in the Universal monster rules, not only the table.

I'm not sure which of my statements you are arguing against but as this is about my quoting the table I guess it is about the horse's hoof attacks.

The AC horse does not only have two hoof attacks but a primary bite, in addition to that. Because of that the more relevant part is what I bolded, not what you bolded.

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.

If your argument was against something else, please clarify.

This:

Umbranus wrote:


universal monster rules wrote:
Hoof, Tentacle, Wing B Secondary
here B is the damage type and secondary tells us that hoof, tail or wing attacks are always secondary unless stated otherwise.

If the Hoof or Tentacle or Wing are the only kind of attack a creature has it become a primary attack, regardless of the B suffix.

PRD wrote:


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.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks, Deadmanwalking! Good to know the Creative Director backs my reasoning (though reading the date of that statement makes me realize I should check more often...). *smirks*

So. To sum it up: the horse would benefit from Multiattack by gaining another attack albeit at -5 with one of its primary attacks (e.g. bite +0/-5, 2 hooves +0)

Ruyan.


Diego Rossi wrote:

lots of quotes..

No need to contradict me, that is exactly what I wrote (in the 4th posting in this thread). If it only gets one kind of natural attack that is primary. Then I wondered why it isn't the case with the bestiary horse (not the AC) and was told it was because of it being docile.

@RuyanVe: You are still wrong in assuming it gets an additional attack. Only ACs with less than three natural attacks get another one. As the horse has thee it gets multiattack. And if all the horse's attacks are primary it gains no benefit from multiattack.


Interesting...

In PF, a Horse only gets a bite attack when it is a Heavy Horse, and the bite is primary, regardless.

In 3.5, only a Warhorse got a bite attack, and it was secondary.

In both, hooves are secondary unless combat trained. In PF Animal Companions, it simply says they are secondary, and then get combat training later. In PF Bestiary, this is codified in the Docile trait.

It's an odd rule issue, with needing to specify that hooves are secondary without special training, and then technically needing to re-iterate that they are primary when another attack is added for Heavy Horses. These parts make the intention clear I feel though:

PRD wrote:

Docile (Ex) Unless specifically trained for combat (see the Handle Animal skill, a horse's hooves are treated as secondary attacks.

Heavy Horse: A heavy horse gains the advanced simple template. In addition, it also gains a bite attack that inflicts 1d4 damage, and its hoof damage increases to 1d6. As with a light horse, a heavy horse can be specifically trained for combat with the Handle Animal skill.

Since the only thing being 'specifically trained' for combat does (besides the tricks themselves) is make the hooves primary, there's no reason to mention it in the Heavy Horse section unless it also does that, even with the Bite attack.

Umbranus: Actually, it's silly, and just makes the best AC's even better, but there's a FAQ that says "if your animal companion doesn't benefit from multiattack, then it gets an iterative on one primary attack". There's really no reason for this rule (3+ primary attacks is already very very good), but "that's the law" for now.

But you never get two primary attacks at 1.5xStr, unless you're a two-headed dragon. Two attacks with one primary (one of them iterative), yes, but not two separate attacks.

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Apparently nobody clicked on the link I provided, so I'll just quote SKR instead:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
So, an animal companion could take the extra attack instead of Multiattack even if it has three natural attacks?
Yes, because otherwise some animal companions gain nothing from that ability, and others gain something.

And then again just a couple posts down from there:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I'm not making a general statement, I'm saying specifically that if the Multiattack animal companion ability gave a buff to animals with 3+ natural attacks and no buff to animals with 1–2 natural attacks, that isn't fair.

This is further evidenced by the fact that the iconic Druid's pet cat at 12th level (see NPC Codex pg 304) has 4 attacks: bite +14/+9, 2 claws +15.


Nefreet wrote:

Apparently nobody clicked on the link I provided, so I'll just quote SKR instead:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
So, an animal companion could take the extra attack instead of Multiattack even if it has three natural attacks?
Yes, because otherwise some animal companions gain nothing from that ability, and others gain something.

And then again just a couple posts down from there:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I'm not making a general statement, I'm saying specifically that if the Multiattack animal companion ability gave a buff to animals with 3+ natural attacks and no buff to animals with 1–2 natural attacks, that isn't fair.
This is further evidenced by the fact that the iconic Druid's pet cat at 12th level (see NPC Codex pg 304) has 4 attacks: bite +14/+9, 2 claws +15.

This is all true, but it's not clear from the rules language. In that same thread SKR was asked if the language would be the subject of an errata to make it clear that if the AC does not get any other benefit from standard Multiattack then it benefits from the iterative version even if it has 3+ attacks, and he said he was still looking into it.

By the language used in the rules, it shouldn't work for AC with 3+ attacks. By reasoning it probably shouldn't either. The point of Multiattack (and particularly the iterative option for AC with 1 or 2 attacks) is to balance out the power levels between the Big Cat (pretty uniformly viewed as the best standard option) and things like Wolves that have just one big attack.

However, it is pretty lame (as noted by SKR) if you get an ability that does nothing for you. And SKR said it's intended to apply to all animals, regardless of the number of attacks. And the NPC Codex treats this as the intent. It's just that this unquestionably contradicts the actual language of the rule - not even a grey area thing, it straight up contradicts it. It also tends to undercut any power balancing behind the original language of the rule.

So it is a bit confusing. But for the time being, I don't see a real big reason to not follow suit with the NPC Codex.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It would be nice to get it errata'd. This is one of those rules that you only know if you read the forums for long enough.

When my Spinosaurus in PFS does his Bite/Claw/Claw/Bite, GMs often give me a weird look. I've gotten used to having to explain it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:

It would be nice to get it errata'd. This is one of those rules that you only know if you read the forums for long enough.

When my Spinosaurus in PFS does his Bite/Claw/Claw/Bite, GMs often give me a weird look. I've gotten used to having to explain it.

Sorry Nefreet, but in PFS the GM should give you more than a funny look. Some post from SKR that end with "Cheapy, I'm still investigating your question." and after 2 years haven't generated a FAQ or a rule change aren't a official change to the text of the rules.

As the rule text is very clear, you are applying a home rule, even if it is a home rule suggested by a Dev.

It is like using the correction to the Archaeologist's Luck ability suggested by the ability creator in the Ultimate combat errata thread. Even if the creator suggested that in a thread, it is not a official change until it is marked as such.

The posts by SKR that you linked are stating an opinion, but they aren't giving out a rule change.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Every level 9+ critter in the NPC Codex disagrees with you.

That seems like a pretty solid basis in the rules to me.


Nefreet wrote:

Nobody's mentioned it yet, but ACs with 3 or fewer primary natural attacks (horses included) gain an extra attack at -5 when they reach level 9.

Your horse could then Bite/Hoof/Hoof/Bite(-5).

I'm not seeing the limitation on three or fewer primary attacks there. Even the velociraptor with 5 attacks technically doesn't have any secondary attacks, so it gets an extra attack (not that it NEEDS it)

Your typical horse would have combat training, and thus not have any secondary attacks either, So they would have hoof hoof (hoof -5)

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Here's a partial statblock from the level 9 Badger, for those that don't own a copy of the Codex. All those critters can be found in the PRD.

Badger wrote:

Effective Druid Level 9

N Medium animal
Init +4; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +15
DEFENSE
AC 22, touch 14, flat-footed 18 (+4 Dex, +8 natural)
hp 76 (8d8+40)
Fort +10, Ref +10, Will +3; +4 on Will saves vs. enchantments
Defensive Abilities evasion
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft., climb 10 ft.
Melee bite +11/+6 (1d6+4), 2 claws +11 (1d4+4)


Nefreet wrote:

It would be nice to get it errata'd. This is one of those rules that you only know if you read the forums for long enough.

When my Spinosaurus in PFS does his Bite/Claw/Claw/Bite, GMs often give me a weird look. I've gotten used to having to explain it.

I can see why. I can't shake that view out of the raw no matter how hard I try. Fairness doesn't seem to enter into it, since the creatures with more attacks are already better than the ones getting by on just one.


Nefreet wrote:

Every level 9+ critter in the NPC Codex disagrees with you.

That seems like a pretty solid basis in the rules to me.

It just means the editor didn't catch the mistake. Mistakes happen in books as big and involved as the codex.

Since the rules are 100% clear in this matter, for the rules forum, they don't get extra attacks. In your own home games you're free to change it obviously though.


Rikkan wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

Every level 9+ critter in the NPC Codex disagrees with you.

That seems like a pretty solid basis in the rules to me.

It just means the editor didn't catch the mistake. Mistakes happen in books as big and involved as the codex.

Since the rules are 100% clear in this matter, for the rules forum, they don't get extra attacks. In your own home games you're free to change it obviously though.

That doesn't explain the rules guy saying that multi attack does something for the multiple primary attacking set.


SKR is probably just talking about a houserule which he likes to use. Might be the reason the error slipped in the document to begin with.
Or he might have just made a mistake, he is only human and admitted making some on this very forum too.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So, we have a blog post, a published product, and developer commentary supporting both of them vs... your "belief" that it's all a mistake?

Which of those two is "rules-as-written" again?

Rikkan wrote:
SKR is probably just talking about a houserule which he likes to use.

I ask that you please read the thread I linked above. It is most definitely not a "houserule" for him.


Nefreet wrote:

So, we have a blog post, a published product, and developer commentary supporting both of them vs... your "belief" that it's all a mistake?

Which of those two is "rules-as-written" again?

Rikkan wrote:
SKR is probably just talking about a houserule which he likes to use.
I ask that you please read the thread I linked above. It is most definitely not a "houserule" for him.

According to a number of the recent discussions I've been in, apparently it's only RAW if it's written down in a book (and more importantly, a core rulebook, not an optional splatbook). That surprised the heck out of me.

Can one of the designers post on the forums and profess their interpretation of a rule, and have that turn out to be wrong? Yes, of course. It's happened before. But the fact is that they're the Supreme Court of Pathfinder RAW. To handwave away their semi-unofficial statements as "probably just a house rule" to me doesn't make sense. I'd also posit that such an attitude could easily dissuade the designers from bothering to comment on anything on the forums unless they're going to do so in a fully official capacity. If people are going to just start categorizing such statements as "a designer's house rule", then why should they bother making the comment?

</soapbox>

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So, flip me around to the other side of this debate.

I emailed one of the Developers to ask SKR his opinion before he leaves for the month, and the response I got was that the NPC Codex is in error, SKR's comments two years ago were mistaken, and that we should treat Multiattack as it is written now.

So, no more Bite/Bite/Claw/Claw for my Spinosaurus =(.

(I'd quote their email, but I replied asking whether that was acceptable or not and they never got back to me, so I just paraphrased their response here instead)


Well, now my soapbox looks sort of empty. :P

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

#sympathize

Scarab Sages

Pat pats the poor spinosaurus. Its ok, you can still make fun of the two weapon fighting rogues


Flutter wrote:
Pat pats the poor spinosaurus. Its ok, you can still make fun of the two weapon fighting rogues

But not to bite their heads off.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So. Would it be of use to FAQ it (again)?

Ruyan.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

No. We have an answer.

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