Claws and slams and swords, oh my!


Rules Questions

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Hello, everyone! I'm currently designing a dastardly Vampire to strike the fear of undeath into all.

However, I've some questions about Natural Attacks and Manufactured weapons and how they all combine, as I keep seeing conflicting opinions.

A vampire gains a slam attack. If our Vampire also owned a greatsword, and also had access to the Claws ability of the Sorcerer Abyssal bloodline, how do they all interact?

If he has his Sword sheathed, does he gain (Slam + Claw + Claw), or must he choose between (Slam + Claw) and (Claw + Claw)?

If he's wielding his Greatsword, he clearly loses both claws, but does he also lose his slam?

I keep seeing references both to slams requiring a limb, but also to several creatures using a "body slam".

Thanks for your time!


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It is not clear if slam is attached to any specific part of the body or not. I believe that for humanoids it is akin to a two-handed overhand chop.

Using the greatsword would definitely prevent using claws, and vice versa. They certainly can't be combined.

Basically, if you make a natural attack with a part of your body it can't be used to make weapon attacks or vice versa.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

I always assume humanoid creatures use their arms to make slam attacks, because that's what makes the most sense to me. In that case, yes, any arm you use for a slam would be unavailable for a claw or greatsword attack, and vice versa.

You (or your GM, if you are not the GM) may rule differently of course. I don't know if my arms rule of thumb is actually specifically spelled out anywhere.

I would only caution you to consider the CR of the creature when adding attacks, especially primary attacks like a slam.


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Claxon wrote:

It is not clear if slam is attached to any specific part of the body or not. I believe that for humanoids it is akin to a two-handed overhand chop.

Using the greatsword would definitely prevent using claws, and vice versa. They certainly can't be combined.

Basically, if you make a natural attack with a part of your body it can't be used to make weapon attacks or vice versa.

Slam is typically attached to the arms. I cite the various creatures that have "[blank weapon] #/#-5/#-10 or Slam +#". For example, marilith demons serve as prime examples. They have 6 arms, and either use 6 longswords OR use 6 slam attacks.... Plus tail slap to either set of attacks.

That tail slap is the important clue here- the attack routines of the swords do not preclude natural attacks if they use a different limb. The demon can't use slams with its hands filled with attacking swords, ergo the slam is on the same limb.

Using examples like this in the bestiary, you can safely say that humanoid -like creatures tend to use their arms for slam attacks.

Now that we got the 'slams are on arms' thing out of the way....the question of whether it is [Slam+Claw] or [Slam OR 2 claws] is a bit iffier. Going back to the marilith- it has a number of slams equal to its arms. Various other creatures (apes and elementals, for example) have similar rules. But at the same time, some creatures with 2 arms only have 1 slam (smaller elementals and vampires, for example). So...yeah...that is a mystery to me as well.


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I too always envisioned slams conducted by arms, but a tanuki gets both ends of a quarterstaff for a full attack plus a slam. I wondered, "What part of his body is he using to make that slam attack?" Do female tanuki get a slam attack?

When I asked this very same question some time back. The answer I got was a slam is not dependent on arms.


Had a beautiful image in my mind of a greatsword weilding vampire that charged at the players... and didnt stop, slamming into them, knocking them backwards and charging again. constantly swinging greatsword and slams but actually being a tragic victim as the vampire was cursed to never stop running into people even though he really doesnt like slamming into them. eh, its been a long day.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

SLam is not tied to any specific limb. It is the equivalent of unarmed strike for natural weapons. For example Fire elementals can look like giant snakes but get 2 slam attacks at larger sizes. So it is clear that it is not in fact tied to arms.

However, what you can attack with may be based on what form or shape you have. Could a slam be a kick? a smash with a fist? a shoulder check? It is not exactly clear as their are plenty of examples of slams with no associated limbs, like an ooze, or that don't have one, like the fire elemental.

Basically it is unclear whether a humanoid can make a slam attack with both arms occupied. I have been told by PFS GMs that this is the case. Claws on the other hand are specifically tied to arms or forelegs unless rake is involved.

I would imagine in that case a Vampire could wield a greatsword and still make slam attacks as secondary. I would also accept a GM saying nope, sword or slam.


Taenia wrote:

SLam is not tied to any specific limb. It is the equivalent of unarmed strike for natural weapons. For example Fire elementals can look like giant snakes but get 2 slam attacks at larger sizes. So it is clear that it is not in fact tied to arms.

However, what you can attack with may be based on what form or shape you have. Could a slam be a kick? a smash with a fist? a shoulder check? It is not exactly clear as their are plenty of examples of slams with no associated limbs, like an ooze, or that don't have one, like the fire elemental.

Basically it is unclear whether a humanoid can make a slam attack with both arms occupied. I have been told by PFS GMs that this is the case. Claws on the other hand are specifically tied to arms or forelegs unless rake is involved.

I would imagine in that case a Vampire could wield a greatsword and still make slam attacks as secondary. I would also accept a GM saying nope, sword or slam.

At the most, for humanoid shaped creatures, I would allow the use of it while holding that greatsword (lets say it is a shoulder slam), but it would use up your 'arm' for the purposes of making attacks that round.

And overall, I'd rather not get into the idea 'it could be the legs'...since I am fairly sure the developers do not like the idea of you TWF with greatswords and kicks anyway. They want creatures with 2 arms to only get 2 arms worth of attacks. Plus, that would be even harder to separate 'slams' from 'unarmed strikes' than normal (they have always been a bit fuzzy in separation; I usually just try to think of it as a Hulk v. Loki beatdown)

Letting things in as secondary seem like something that could just be exploited by classes which get bonuses on every hits (let us say a ranger facing a favored enemy in this case).


If he has a level in Monk and Feral Combat Training with his Claws, then he could apply his Monk Unarmed abilities, including the ability to use his unarmed attacks with his hands full, to his claws. In that way, he could use claws even while using his greatsword.

He has a Slam attack and a Claw attack. If he also takes a level in Monk as I suggest, that's 3 natural attacks, and he qualifies for Multiattack. If he incorporates his greatsword into his full attack action, then he takes a -4 on all his attacks, unless he takes 2-weapon fighting, in which case it drops to -2, which would stack with the -2 you take for Multiattacking.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

If he has a level in Monk and Feral Combat Training with his Claws, then he could apply his Monk Unarmed abilities, including the ability to use his unarmed attacks with his hands full, to his claws. In that way, he could use claws even while using his greatsword.

He has a Slam attack and a Claw attack. If he also takes a level in Monk as I suggest, that's 3 natural attacks, and he qualifies for Multiattack. If he incorporates his greatsword into his full attack action, then he takes a -4 on all his attacks, unless he takes 2-weapon fighting, in which case it drops to -2, which would stack with the -2 you take for Multiattacking.

No that doesn't work, thats not what Feral Combat Training does.

It allows you to use natural attacks as part of a Flurry of Blows, or apply feats of effects that augment unarmed strikes to apply to natural attacks.

Being able to make unarmed strikes with any part of your body is not a feat, and it's not an effect that augments unarmed strikes. It's a quality of unarmed strikes that they are not punches and can be made with any part of the body. But that is not an effect. What you are suggesting cannot be done. Claws certainly require the use of your arms/hands to make claw attacks and in doing so precludes you from making other attacks that require your hands or arms to do so.


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You just need your vampire to do the booty bump. Instant slam attack.

However, the claws are only available with free hands, so a greatsword is out of the question here.


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aceDiamond wrote:

You just need your vampire to do the booty bump. Instant slam attack.

However, the claws are only available with free hands, so a greatsword is out of the question here.

I had a psychic monk vampire in my campaign that used her slam attacks with her flurry of blows ability (thanks to a monk secret similar to feral combat training). I had considered giving her some weapons to flurry with an letting her take her slams at -5s, but I figured that watching her beat the stuffing out of people by slamming them repeatedly with her arms, legs, elbows, etc in a violent vampire fashion would be more fun and would increase the likelihood that she landed a natural attack and thus got some energy drain in.

However, she actually got roflstomped by a goblin barbarian who basically knocked her down and started grappling her, and then the Paladin came over and was like, "S'up? I'm a Paladin, ever seen one of my kind before?" and she was like "What's a Paladin?", and the he was like "Smite b+%!+es, yo!" and she was like "ACK! Cut it out! Son of a--! That sword isn't even silver!" *turns into a swarm of bats and runs away*


Claxon wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:

In that way, he could use claws even while using his greatsword.

No that doesn't work, thats not what Feral Combat Training does.

It allows you to use natural attacks as part of a Flurry of Blows, or apply feats of effects that augment unarmed strikes to apply to natural attacks.

Being able to make unarmed strikes with any part of your body is not a feat, and it's not an effect that augments unarmed strikes. It's a quality of unarmed strikes that they are not punches and can be made with any part of the body. But that is not an effect. What you are suggesting cannot be done. Claws certainly require the use of your arms/hands to make claw attacks and in doing so precludes you from making other attacks that require your hands or arms to do so.

Yes, it does work. That is what Feral Combat Training does.

Feral Combat Training allows you to apply to your selected natural attack all effects that augment unarmed strikes.

"Benefit: Choose one of your natural weapons. While using the selected natural weapon, you can apply the effects of feats that have Improved Unarmed Strike as a prerequisite, as well as effects that augment an unarmed strike." --http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateCombat/ultimateCombatFeats.htm l

I never claimed that this class ability is a feat, but it is clearly an effect.

"ef·fect, /iˈfekt/: a change that is a result or consequence of an action or other cause." --https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=effect

Monks have the ability to use their unarmed strikes even with their hands full. If the ability to make unarmed strikes with your hands full is NOT an effect of taking the Improved Unarmed Strike Feat by taking a level in Monk instead of some other way, then that means that everyone can make unarmed strikes with their hands full, and you don't even need to take FCT achieve this non-effect.

Does it augment?

"aug·ment, /ôgˈment/: make (something) greater by adding to it; increase." --https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=augment

His claw attacks will be made greater by adding this ability to it. That fits the definition of augment. Of course, if it did NOT augment the vampire claws, if it had no effect, you would never bother to argue against it, I think.

I have now proven, according to the laws of the Paizo universe and the language that those laws are written in, that

1) the ability to make Unarmed Strikes with your hands full is an effect, and

2) it augments what it is added to.

So it is an effect that augments an unarmed strike, and therefore, it can be applied via Feral Combat Training.

This particular instance of applying this feat would be analogous to a Wizard being able to cast spells with somatic components even while using a 2 handed weapon like a quarterstaff, and there's nothing wrong with that.


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Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Yes, it does work. That is what Feral Combat Training does.

Feral Combat Training allows you to apply to your selected natural attack all effects that augment unarmed strikes.

"Benefit: Choose one of your natural weapons. While using the selected natural weapon, you can apply the effects of feats that have Improved Unarmed Strike as a prerequisite, as well as effects that augment an unarmed strike." --http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateCombat/ultimateCombatFeats.htm l

I never claimed that this class ability is a feat, but it is clearly an effect.

"ef·fect, /iˈfekt/: a change that is a result or consequence of an action or other cause." --https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=effect

Monks have the ability to use their unarmed strikes even with their hands full. If the ability to make unarmed strikes with your hands full is NOT an effect of taking the Improved Unarmed Strike Feat by taking a level in Monk instead of some other way, then that means that everyone can make unarmed strikes with their hands full, and you don't even need to take FCT achieve this non-effect.

Does it augment?

"aug·ment, /ôgˈment/: make (something) greater by adding to it; increase." --https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=augment

His claw attacks will be made greater by adding this ability to it. That fits the definition of augment. Of course, if it did NOT augment the vampire claws, if it had no effect, you would never bother to argue against it, I think.

I have now proven, according to the laws of the Paizo universe and the language that those laws are written in, that

1) the ability to make Unarmed Strikes with your hands full is an effect, and

2) it augments what it is added to.

So it is an effect that augments an unarmed strike, and therefore, it can be applied via Feral Combat Training.

This particular instance of applying this feat would be analogous to a Wizard being able to cast spells with somatic components even while using a 2 handed weapon like a quarterstaff, and there's nothing wrong with that.

You've written a lot of text here. And most of it is wrong. First of all, anyone can make an unarmed strike with any part of their body. Even without the Improved Unarmed Strike feat. The problem is, that without the feat you do not threaten with an unarmed strike, you deal only non-lethal damage, and you provoke an AoO. So no one ever does it.

Quote:

Improved Unarmed Strike (Combat)

You are skilled at fighting while unarmed.

Benefit: You are considered to be armed even when unarmed—you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you attack foes while unarmed. Your unarmed strikes can deal lethal or nonlethal damage, at your choice.

Normal: Without this feat, you are considered unarmed when attacking with an unarmed strike, and you can deal only nonlethal damage with such an attack.

So, being able to make unarmed strikes not using your hands is not an augmentation of unarmed strikes that is granted by the feat or by being a monk. It is intrinsic to unarmed strikes, and not something conveyed to natural attacks by Feral Combat Training.

This argument is so ridiculous, I can't even believe I'm having it.


Slam is not consistently one body part. However, it is usually arms. Smaller creatures require 2 arms, while larger creatures get 1 per arm...usually.

An eidolon requires 1 limb evolution (2 arms) for 1 slam.

But as others have noted there are exceptions for many creatures.


From the section of d20PFSRD governing natural attacks...

Quote:
Creatures with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a creature must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their available natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack’s original type.

(emphasis mine)

While I wouldn't say this is conclusive, the implication appears to be that slams attacks are normally linked to arms (which would mean you'd need to do a slam in lieu of a claw attack rather than in addition to it). I personally would only read it otherwise if I was given a specific text which suggested I should do so - like if I saw a monster entry that had slams but the descriptive text stated these were done with the tail or something - and even then I would only make exception for each particular instance where said text appeared. To each their own, of course.

Edit: one more thing - the 3.5 definition of a slam...

Quote:
Slap or Slam: The creature batters opponents with an appendage, dealing bludgeoning damage.

Take that or disregard it as you will. One could argue you could do a slam with any appendage, to include the legs; I personally would stick to "arms only" unless your particular slam was explicitly stated to be done otherwise.


Azoriel wrote:

From the section of d20PFSRD governing natural attacks...

Quote:
Creatures with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a creature must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their available natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack’s original type.

(emphasis mine)

While I wouldn't say this is conclusive, the implication appears to be that slams attacks are normally linked to arms (which would mean you'd need to do a slam in lieu of a claw attack rather than in addition to it). I personally would only read it otherwise if I was given a specific text which suggested I should do so - like if I saw a monster entry that had slams but the descriptive text stated these were done with the tail or something - and even then I would only make exception for each particular instance where said text appeared. To each their own, of course.

What limb does a zombie snake use for its slam attack?


Atarlost wrote:
What limb does a zombie snake use for its slam attack?

Excellent question - if we were to follow my "arms only" statement dogmatically, the snake would be unable to make any slam attacks. I do feel it's worth pointing out that the snake already has a bite attack, and (presuming it received a slam) wouldn't be making a bite and slam attack in the same round unless hasted (since it's normally staggered). Ergo, your average zombie snake isn't going to be shortchanged terribly much if you deny it a slam.

If I were a player in a campaign that featured zombie snakes, I wouldn't complain if the DM ruled that the snakes got to make slam attacks with their tails. At the same time, however, if I were playing a vampiric tiefling with a prehensile tail, I wouldn't count on getting to make slams with my tail or feet (and most definitely not my shoulders, head, butt, or other non-limb portions of my body).


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Claxon wrote, 4 hours, 14 minutes ago:

"First of all, anyone can make an unarmed strike with any part of their body. Even without the Improved Unarmed Strike feat.... So, being able to make unarmed strikes not using your hands is not an augmentation of unarmed strikes that is granted by the feat or by being a monk...."

That’s really surprising. I always had the impression that it is special to Monks that they can make unarmed strikes with their hands full. I truly believe that this is a class ability of Monks, but I cannot off the top of my head disprove that. I will flag this to be considered as an FAQ. Please all readers, join me in getting this sorted out.

So what you are saying is that the OP Vampire’s character can take Improved Unarmed Strike, take a feat like 2-weapon fighting, and add an Unarmed Strike to his full attack action at a -2 to all attacks even with his Greatsword because anyone can use Unarmed Strikes with his hands full. And the attack roll penalty for making an unarmed strike when you have the 2WF Feat and when your Off-Hand weapon is light is -2.

But if you go this way, you still want to take a level in Monk because you will do more damage with your Unarmed Strike if you do take that level in Monk, and you will get your full Strength bonus because that is another Monk class ability.

That seems to constitute useful advice to the OP: Kudos to you.

Meanwhile, with claws, and slams, and with Monk Unarmed Strikes, you do still quality for Multiattack.

Claxon wrote, 4 hours, 14 minutes ago:
"It is intrinsic to unarmed strikes, and not something conveyed to natural attacks by Feral Combat Training."

But even if you are right that the ability to make Unarmed Strikes with your hands full is common to all unarmed strikes and not a privilege granted by the Monk Class Ability, that doesn’t mean that FCT does not augment Claw Attacks in exactly the way I assert. Feral Combat Training has to do with the differences between Natural Attacks and Unarmed Strikes.

And one of the "[effects, the] change that is a result or consequence of” the act of making an Unarmed Strike as opposed to a making a Natural Attack is that you can make your unarmed attacks even with your hands full.

And the ability to apply Unarmed Strike effects to Natural Attacks is PRECISELY what Feral Combat Training does!

I defend my position with logic and evidence. I didn’t even have to use pejorative words like “ridiculous.”


Azoriel wrote:

From the section of d20PFSRD governing natural attacks...

Quote:
Creatures with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a creature must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their available natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack’s original type.

(emphasis mine)

While I wouldn't say this is conclusive, the implication appears to be that slams attacks are normally linked to arms (which would mean you'd need to do a slam in lieu of a claw attack rather than in addition to it). I personally would only read it otherwise if I was given a specific text which suggested I should do so - like if I saw a monster entry that had slams but the descriptive text stated these were done with the tail or something - and even then I would only make exception for each particular instance where said text appeared. To each their own, of course.

Edit: one more thing - the 3.5 definition of a slam...

Quote:
Slap or Slam: The creature batters opponents with an appendage, dealing bludgeoning damage.
Take that or disregard it as you will. One could argue you could do a slam with any appendage, to include the legs; I personally would stick to "arms only" unless your particular slam was explicitly stated to be done otherwise.

Oozes and elementals make slam attacks, don't they? And do they have hands or even arms?


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Oozes and elementals make slam attacks, don't they? And do they have hands or even arms?

(Going to focus on vampiric slams for a moment...)

I'll point out that there is a 5th level fighter with the vampire template in the 3.5 Monster Manual; he uses the spiked chain (a two-handed weapon) and does not get slam attacks in addition to his spiked chain attacks on a full attack action. No exceptions are made for dangling a free leg in the direction of his enemy, or thrashing his head, or flailing any other parts of his anatomy which might be available for flailing (I'll leave that to your imagination). As such, the intent behind the vampire's slam attack is pretty clearly linked with having one or both arms/hands free for use.

(Returning to slams in general...)

The definition of a slam is above - this was not something I made up, but rather pulled from pre-existing text. Most oozes and elementals are described as having limbs of some sort, whether they be bonafide arms, or tentacles, or pseudopods. (Or they are amorphous to the point where they could produce or form such organs at will.) As long as you can produce an appendage, you will meet the definition given above.

Perhaps a better conundrum would've been to say an animated object in the form of a boulder or a barrel; surely the rules would intend that such monsters have slam attacks as well, and what would they slam with other than their whole bodies? And I'd have no problems with such monsters taking slam attacks - but only if that was the only mode of attack available to them, and used with the same focus and precision someone might normally afford to a limb. Beyond situations like these, there's no reason why slams should be used on a non-limb.


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So arms are actually a negative evolutionary trait...
EDIT: Because the moment you have arms you suddenly lose the ability to use the rest of your body to make slam attacks because...reasons.


If animated barrels and rocks evolved into limbed forms, that line of argumentation might actually be viable.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

So what you are saying is that the OP Vampire’s character can take Improved Unarmed Strike, take a feat like 2-weapon fighting, and add an Unarmed Strike to his full attack action at a -2 to all attacks even with his Greatsword because anyone can use Unarmed Strikes with his hands full. And the attack roll penalty for making an unarmed strike when you have the 2WF Feat and when your Off-Hand weapon is light is -2.

But if you go this way, you still want to take a level in Monk because you will do more damage with your Unarmed Strike if you do take that level in Monk, and you will get your full Strength bonus because that is another Monk class ability.

That seems to constitute useful advice to the OP: Kudos to you.

Meanwhile, with claws, and slams, and with Monk Unarmed Strikes, you do still quality for Multiattack.

Claxon wrote, 4 hours, 14 minutes ago:
"It is intrinsic to unarmed strikes, and not something conveyed to natural attacks by Feral Combat Training."

But even if you are right that the ability to make Unarmed Strikes with your hands full is common to all unarmed strikes and not a privilege granted by the Monk Class Ability, that doesn’t mean that FCT does not augment Claw Attacks in exactly the way I assert. Feral Combat Training has to do with the differences between Natural Attacks and Unarmed Strikes.

And one of the "[effects, the] change that is a result or consequence of” the act of making an Unarmed Strike as opposed to a making a Natural Attack is that you can make your unarmed attacks even with your hands full.

And the ability to apply Unarmed Strike effects to Natural Attacks is PRECISELY what Feral Combat Training does!

I defend my position with logic and evidence. I didn’t even have to use pejorative words like “ridiculous.”

No again. You've really got a misunderstanding of the rules.

Though I cannot find the FAQ at the moment, there was a very long thread and subsequent FAQ about how you cannot wield a two-handed weapon and use off-hand attacks. It's complicated, but the end result is that if using a two-handed weapon you cannot combine it with Two Weapon Fighting in any way, even if the weapon doesn't require the use of hands such as unarmed strikes or armor spikes or boot blades.

However! If you wanted to wield a greatsword and had a BAB of +6 (granting you an iterative attack at +1) you could swing the greatsword at your +6BAB and do an unarmed strike (or other attack that does not require hands/arms) at +1 BAB.

As far as your assertion that making attacks with unarmed strikes is a special property that could be passed along you are still very incorrect. I feel I am failing to explain it well, but I will try again.

Unarmed strikes aren't just punches. They could be punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbuts, even pelvic thrusts. It's literally not specified that you need to use any specific part of your body. But it's not an effect that augments unarmed strikes or a feat that augments unarmed strikes. In order to augment something, it would have to be a special effect, not the normal way things function. The normal function of something is not "augmented".

Feral Combat Training wrote:
Benefit: Choose one of your natural weapons. While using the selected natural weapon, you can apply the effects of feats that have Improved Unarmed Strike as a prerequisite, as well as effects that augment an unarmed strike.

Being able to make unarmed strikes without using a specific part of you body is definitely not a feat. I believe you agree on that point. However, you think it's an augmentation. But it's not an affect that augments how unarmed strikes funciton, that is simply how all unarmed strikes function for all creatures. If it's not being augmented, it doesn't qualify to be passed from unarmed strike to natural attack.


"In order to augment something, it would have to be a special effect, not the normal way things function." --Claxon

But Sir! I have proven to you the opposite! I have shown you the definition of the words "effect," and "augment," I have shown you how it applies in this case! You have no evidence! You have no rules! You have no authority to make your own rules for us to follow!

"Though I cannot find the FAQ at the moment, there was a very long thread and subsequent FAQ"

Lovely, but you can't expect to say "I just know there is evidence somewhere," and expect anyone to take you seriously. You wouldn't sit down at a poker table without your money, would you? Philosophical interpretations of what you think the rules should be are lovely, but are useless to people who have characters to build and DMs to convince.

So here is some more evidence for you. It seems you're actually right. I have found something possibly applicable in an FAQ.

"Feral Combat Training: What does “with” in the Special line for this feat mean for monks making a flurry of blows?... Feral Combat Training allows you to use the selected natural attack as if it were a monk weapon" --http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1g1#v5748eaic9ozd

This is a little out of context, but you can't attack with a sai in the same round as you swing a greatsword unless you have 3 arms or a dancing sword or something. And the text of that FAQ says Feral Combat Training allows you to use a claw as if it were a sai. You can HOLD a greatsword and make 2 claw attacks, but you can't swing a greatsword and make any.

"Two-Handed Weapons: What kind of action is it to remove your hand from a two-handed weapon or re-grab it with both hands?

Both are free actions. For example, a wizard wielding a quarterstaff can let go of the weapon with one hand as a free action, cast a spell as a standard action, and grasp the weapon again with that hand as a free action;" --http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9qda

Likewise, this means you can't use a light or heavy shield and use the claw your holding it with in the same round. You may be able to hold such a shield or buckler, but you'd have to choose round by round whether you are gaining the AC or the extra attack.

I'm not sanguine about using the the Vestigial Arm Alchemal Discovery to get that aforementioned 3rd arm to wield an off hand weapon and a greatsword in your other 2. I get the idea you can get the AC bonus from a shield in your Vestigial Arm and use the other 2 for weapons normally.


So, why would you have a Greatsword in your claws if you can't attack with both?

For situational flexibility?

Overcoming Damage Reduction? You might have a collection of weapons: a silver one, a cold iron one, and an adamantine one. Throw in a stone weapon for oozes. The right tool for the job.

For a build that includes Great Cleave and Multiattack? Sometimes you'll do more damage one way than the other, maybe.


Azoriel wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Oozes and elementals make slam attacks, don't they? And do they have hands or even arms?

(Going to focus on vampiric slams for a moment...)

I'll point out that there is a 5th level fighter with the vampire template in the 3.5 Monster Manual; he uses the spiked chain (a two-handed weapon) and does not get slam attacks in addition to his spiked chain attacks on a full attack action. No exceptions are made for dangling a free leg in the direction of his enemy, or thrashing his head, or flailing any other parts of his anatomy which might be available for flailing (I'll leave that to your imagination). As such, the intent behind the vampire's slam attack is pretty clearly linked with having one or both arms/hands free for use.

(Returning to slams in general...)

The definition of a slam is above - this was not something I made up, but rather pulled from pre-existing text. Most oozes and elementals are described as having limbs of some sort, whether they be bonafide arms, or tentacles, or pseudopods. (Or they are amorphous to the point where they could produce or form such organs at will.) As long as you can produce an appendage, you will meet the definition given above.

Perhaps a better conundrum would've been to say an animated object in the form of a boulder or a barrel; surely the rules would intend that such monsters have slam attacks as well, and what would they slam with other than their whole bodies? And I'd have no problems with such monsters taking slam attacks - but only if that was the only mode of attack available to them, and used with the same focus and precision someone might normally afford to a limb. Beyond situations like these, there's no reason why slams should be used on a non-limb.

But still, it seems relevant that you don't even need discernible anatomy to make a Slam Attack. This might be a useful application of Feral Combat Training, kind of like Ashiel's build. Even if you don't need it to make Slam Attacks while using a greatsword, you still get the benefits of extra Monk Damage, and other things, too.


WyldDawn wrote:

Hello, everyone! I'm currently designing a dastardly Vampire to strike the fear of undeath into all.

However, I've some questions about Natural Attacks and Manufactured weapons and how they all combine, as I keep seeing conflicting opinions.

A vampire gains a slam attack. If our Vampire also owned a greatsword, and also had access to the Claws ability of the Sorcerer Abyssal bloodline, how do they all interact?

If he has his Sword sheathed, does he gain (Slam + Claw + Claw), or must he choose between (Slam + Claw) and (Claw + Claw)?

If he's wielding his Greatsword, he clearly loses both claws, but does he also lose his slam?

I keep seeing references both to slams requiring a limb, but also to several creatures using a "body slam".

Thanks for your time!

You do get Slam & 2 Claws. But unless you get Multiattack, your claws will be secondary weapons and suffer a -5 on your attack rolls and 1/2 your St mod to damage.

I think you do get sword and slam, but if you do, you take your attack and damage penalty as above.

How important is the Abyssal Bloodline to you? How important is Sorcerer to you? It seems to me to make more sense to develop your Slam Attack than to add another natural attack.

If you take Feral Combat Training Slam and 3 levels in Monk, you can apply Monk Damage to your Slam Attack and it will continue to increase as you gain levels, even in nonmonk levels if you take Monastic Legacy, which is part of why 3 is a magic number. Be a Master of Many Styles. Take Snake Style and Snake Fang, and you have an Attack of Opportunity Trigger. Snake Style + Feral Combat Training will turn your Slams into piercing attacks. Take Hamatula Strike, so you can grapple with every slam attack. Wear Armor Spikes and do an extra 1d6 (+ST!) with every Slam Attack. You can procecute the Grapple next round, or you can just catch and release every time for the spike damage.

If you really want to be a Sorcerer, how do you feel about Boreal or Stormborn bloodlines? Those will give your Slam attacks the Cold or Shock enchantments, respectively. That will stack a lot better than claws.


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Azoriel wrote:
If animated barrels and rocks evolved into limbed forms, that line of argumentation might actually be viable.

But if you take a snake and make it into a zombie it gains a slam attack. In fact, if you turn it into a fast zombie it gains TWO slam attacks.

By your argument, merely having limbs means you are losing attacks. For example, a fast zombie wolf has 1 bite + 2 slams. But you're saying if you took a cat that has two claw attacks, and turn it into a fast zombie, suddenly it loses its claw attacks if it wants to slam?

Um, no. >_>

Slamming just means to bludgeon someone really hard. Most creatures that can do so are strong and/or tough enough that they can just beat stuff with their bodies without any special training, making it a natural weapon.

An earth elemental doesn't have to learn kung fu. It just has to whack you really hard. Same with a vampire. A vampire can just kick the snot out of you. Do you really think that a vampire's hands, and only its hands, are somehow magically more powerful than its legs?


Alright, sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I got was busy with work after I found some of my equipment malfunctioned. I will try to address your statements so we can continue to this discussion. Though, I do think it might be better if we statred a separate thread as we're really off the original topic. In any event...

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

"In order to augment something, it would have to be a special effect, not the normal way things function." --Claxon

But Sir! I have proven to you the opposite! I have shown you the definition of the words "effect," and "augment," I have shown you how it applies in this case! You have no evidence! You have no rules! You have no authority to make your own rules for us to follow!

You have proven no such thing. Where is your proof? Are you referring to the definitions of words you quoted and posted? Thats not proof.

Referring back to the defintion you partially quoted:

Effect wrote:
A change that is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

So, you're argument (at least I think this is your argument) is that there is an effect that causes unarmed strikes to be usable with any part of your body and that because Feral Combat allows effects that affect unarmed strikes to apply to a natural weapon. However, there is not an effect that allows unarmed strikes to do this. An effect is a change, suggesting is not the normal functioning of something. But there is not an effect that enables you to make unarmed strikes with any part of your body, that is the default capability of unarmed strikes because they represent making attacks with feet, knees, elbows, head, shoulder, etc. If there was a special ability of monks or a feat that enabled you to make attacks with any part of your body that creatures normally could not do you would be correct. But that is not the case.

Quote:


Lovely, but you can't expect to say "I just know there is evidence somewhere," and expect anyone to take you seriously. You wouldn't sit down at a poker table without your money, would you? Philosophical interpretations of what you think the rules should be are lovely, but are useless to people who have characters to build and DMs to convince.

Sorry that I didn't have time provide the information directly for you. Here is the FAQ:

Quote:

Armor Spikes: Can I use two-weapon fighting to make an "off-hand" attack with my armor spikes in the same round I use a two-handed weapon?

No.
Likewise, you couldn't use an armored gauntlet to do so, as you are using both of your hands to wield your two-handed weapon, therefore your off-hand is unavailable to make any attacks.

—Pathfinder Design Team, 07/25/13

And here is the correct thread, I think. There were lots of post in this thread, about 1500. And it spawned a lot of other threads about the tpoic at the time. There was a lot of anger and resentment when the ruling was issued. Take your time if need be, but the basic implication is that when using a two-handed weapon it cannot be combined with TWF in any way. So, your example where you were talking about using a greatsword and TWF to also get attacks with your unarmed strike in not a valid attack sequence.

Quote:

So here is some more evidence for you. It seems you're actually right. I have found something possibly applicable in an FAQ.

"Feral Combat Training: What does “with” in the Special line for this feat mean for monks making a flurry of blows?... Feral Combat Training allows you to use the selected natural attack as if it were a monk weapon" --http://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1g1#v5748eaic9ozd

This is a little out of context, but you can't attack with a sai in the same round as you swing a greatsword unless you have 3 arms or a dancing sword or something. And the text of that FAQ says Feral Combat Training allows you to use a claw as if it were a sai. You can HOLD a greatsword and make 2 claw attacks, but you can't swing a greatsword and make any.

So am I to udnerstand that you agree with me now? That is how I'm reading it? I didn't really need to make more agruments above?

Oh well, done is done. Glad we could resolve this.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

So, why would you have a Greatsword in your claws if you can't attack with both?

For situational flexibility?

Overcoming Damage Reduction? You might have a collection of weapons: a silver one, a cold iron one, and an adamantine one. Throw in a stone weapon for oozes. The right tool for the job.

For a build that includes Great Cleave and Multiattack? Sometimes you'll do more damage one way than the other, maybe.

Well, sometimes claws are incidental and you aren't building a character around it. For example, Beast Totem Barbarian Rage power. You get claws. But the claws are incidental to picking up the rage power tree, because you want Greater Beast Totem for Pounce.

Using natural attacks effectively requires building for their use specifically, and unless you at least 2 or more number of natural attacks greater than the number of iterative attacks you can make with standard weapons it is usually not advantageous to do so.

It's also more expensive to enchant natural attacks then it is to enchant a single two-handed weapon (An amulet of mighty fist costs twice as much as a single weapon to enhance, but it does apply to all natural attacks so you can sort of gain something if you have many natural attacks).

In general you would never build a character to use both. You might have claws, but would probably focus on two-handed a weapon unless you had other natural weapons such as a bite and tail slap to go along with it.

Claws can provide a nice backup if you ever happen to get disarmed though. And there are definitely other mertis that I'm probably not thinking about.

But overall yes, build for one or the other.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

slam can also be headbutts, shoulder ramming, etc. It's just a powerful bludgeoning attack. The problem i have with it, is that it's so unclear what exactly is required for something to be a slam, anyone can do a two-handed unarmed strike, anyone can headbutt or ram into nemies, but humans don't have a slam. it's just weird.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
But still, it seems relevant that you don't even need discernible anatomy to make a Slam Attack. This might be a useful application of Feral Combat Training, kind of like Ashiel's build. Even if you don't need...

The problem here is two-fold:

(1) the rules do indeed associate slam attacks with some kind of appendage. In the event you lack any suitable appendages but are still somehow allotted a slam attack, I could see (and support) allowances being made. However, "appendage" is a very loose term, and could apply to just about any part of the body that isn't a head, to include legs, tails, and maybe even wings in some cases. This leads us into our next problem-

(2) vampires specifically are restricted from making slam attacks if their hands are full per the example cited above. Paizo has continued with this in Pathfinder by preventing vampires from slamming and taking weapon attacks in the same full attack action: examples can be found here, here, and here. (There's much more where that came from, but most are from the same two adventures, so I won't cite them as separate sources. Note that Paizo has seen fit to bar vampires from using slams alongside any weapon attacks, to include one-handed ones, which is a bit more restrictive than I had originally assumed.) o.O Regardless of the general rules you apply to slams as a whole, there's no getting around the restriction on vampire slam attacks, save for a whole lot of errata or an "oops" admission from the authors involved.

Understand that it's not my point to be pedantic or unreasonable here - but also consider the position you are arguing from. Unarmed strikes are explicitly defined as being an attack you make with any part of your body; it doesn't matter which part (as long as you're not a monk). Some are conflating slam attacks with having a similar definition, but there is no language to support such an assumption. Also understand that the lack of a strict definition means there is no firm denial of this idea either... But I've yet to see anything to sway me to your position (i.e. slams can be done with any part of the body on anyone who has a slam attack), doubly so when there is precedent to suggest the opposite. It's one thing to give abilities to monsters that the developers clearly intended for them to have (such as giving slams to elementals who may lack limbs); it's something else completely to tack on abilities that the developers have repeatedly declined to grant (such as letting vampires take slam attacks alongside their armed ones).

Edit: clarity, and I wanted this to be less directive


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The OP's question was, with a Vampire access to Slam, to two Claw attacks, and to a two-handed weapon, what are the combat choices.

Based on to 1,500+ post thread with the FAQ, I'd say it's pretty clear that you treat Vampire Slam attacks as a two-handed attack, rather than as a primary attack which could also include secondaries (two Claws at x0.5 STR). In either case, the Slam gets 1.5 x Strength modifier to damage, but the FAQs pretty clear that you can't mix it with hand weapons. If so, those hands aren't available for Claw attacks.

So for the OP's creation, it'd be either:
Slam (plus energy drain)
Claw x2 (plus energy drain)
Two-handed weapon

Note that normal (if there is such a thing) vampires don't get both Slam and Claw. The Bestiary only provides one or the other: Slam + energy drain for normal, two claws + blood drain for Nosferatu version. The OP was having the claws appear as a function of Sorcerer bloodline, where claws are sort of a weak extra if the sorcerer gets into melee. For a vampire, the claws option wouldn't really help much - which is true for most sorcerers of that level/HD.


Azoriel wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
But still, it seems relevant that you don't even need discernible anatomy to make a Slam Attack. This might be a useful application of Feral Combat Training, kind of like Ashiel's build. Even if you don't need...

The problem here is two-fold:

(1) the rules do indeed associate slam attacks with some kind of appendage. In the event you lack any suitable appendages but are still somehow allotted a slam attack, I could see (and support) allowances being made. However, "appendage" is a very loose term, and could apply to just about any part of the body that isn't a head, to include legs, tails, and maybe even wings in some cases. This leads us into our next problem-

(2) vampires specifically are restricted from making slam attacks if their hands are full per the example cited above. Paizo has continued with this in Pathfinder by preventing vampires from slamming and taking weapon attacks in the same full attack action: examples can be found here, here, and here. (There's much more where that came from, but most are from the same two adventures, so I won't cite them as separate sources. Note that Paizo has seen fit to bar vampires from using slams alongside any weapon attacks, to include one-handed ones, which is a bit more restrictive than I had originally assumed.) o.O Regardless of the general rules you apply to slams as a whole, there's no getting around the restriction on vampire slam attacks, save for a whole lot of errata or an "oops" admission from the authors involved.

Understand that it's not my point to be pedantic or unreasonable here - but also consider the position you are arguing from. Unarmed strikes are explicitly defined as being an attack you...

Not that it matters, because this is how that would go.

Greatsword/greatsword/greatsword/*free action release one hand*/slam attack at -5.


Ashiel wrote:

Not that it matters, because this is how that would go.

Greatsword/greatsword/greatsword/*free action release one hand*/slam attack at -5.

...which (not to be snippy) you provide no basis for beyond your own say-so. The half-dozen or so vampire NPCs provided by Paizo (three of which are linked above) are not allowed to make any slam attacks alongside their armed attacks, even if they're using a one-handed weapon with the other hand completely free. There are other monsters from official Paizo sources which can do so, but none are vampires.


Azoriel wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Not that it matters, because this is how that would go.

Greatsword/greatsword/greatsword/*free action release one hand*/slam attack at -5.

...which (not to be snippy) you provide no basis for beyond your own say-so. The half-dozen or so vampire NPCs provided by Paizo (three of which are linked above) are not allowed to make any slam attacks alongside their armed attacks, even if they're using a one-handed weapon with the other hand completely free. There are other monsters from official Paizo sources which can do so, but none are vampires.

The vampire template says nothing about their slams being unable to be used with weapons, or unarmed strikes. That's a rule that you made up, and then declared that they need a free hand. Now you're saying that free hands don't matter, and that they can't use them alongside unarmed strikes even (which specifically do not require you to have hands available).

Seriously, you're making up rules that don't exist, and you're changing your story around frequently. Where do you expect to get in a conversation acting like that?

EDIT: Further, the ability to release a 2 hander as a free action is one of the main reasons that Paladins use 2 handers and/or light shields frequently. To be able to keep a free hand for casting and/or lay on hands.


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Ashiel wrote:
Seriously, you're making up rules that don't exist, and you're changing your story around frequently. Where do you expect to get in a conversation acting like that?

I've made nothing up - this is what is in the books.

Melee +1 morningstar +15/+10 (1d8+12) and +1 spiked shield +14 (1d4+7) or +1 morningstar +17/+12 (1d8+12) or slam +15 (1d4+11 plus energy drain)

Melee +2 short sword +19/+14/+9 (1d6+9/17–20), +2 short sword +19/+14/+9 (1d6+9/17–20) or slam +18 (1d4+7 plus energy drain)

Melee +1 longsword +16/+16/+11 (1d8+9/19–20) or slam +14/+14 (1d4+8 plus energy drain)

Melee mwk silver longsword +12/+7 (1d8+5/19–20) or slam +11 (1d4+7 plus energy drain)

You are correct to say that this does not match my original position - but I already pointed this out myself two posts ago, which you had quoted. I did my research and determined that the facts didn't support my original hypothesis; without grounds to challenge the precedent which I discovered, I was forced to forfeit my original position. This is what a reasonable person normally does when confronted with irrefutable facts contrary to their position.

Ashiel wrote:
EDIT: Further, the ability to release a 2 hander as a free action is one of the main reasons that Paladins use 2 handers and/or light shields frequently. To be able to keep a free hand for casting and/or lay on hands.

Nobody here has challenged the ability to let go of (and then rewield) two-handed weapons.

Edit: specificity


Claxon quoated an FAQ:
“Armor Spikes: Can I use two-weapon fighting to make an "off-hand" attack with my armor spikes in the same round I use a two-handed weapon?
No. “

Okay, that’s evidence.

Claxon wrote:
“ ‘Feral Combat Training allows you to use the selected natural attack as if it were a monk weapon’ So am I to udnerstand that you agree with me now? That is how I'm reading it? I didn't really need to make more agruments above?”

At least I am sufficiently convinced that a PFS DM has sufficient grounds to rule against a character build based on that, and that is reason enough to say that character builds should be taken in a different direction.

Claxon wrote:
“Well, sometimes claws are incidental and you aren't building a character around it. For example, Beast Totem Barbarian Rage power. You get claws. But the claws are incidental to picking up the rage power tree, because you want Greater Beast Totem for Pounce.”

I’ve certainly taken levels in things to get 1 particular class ability, and didn’t bother to develop other things. For instance, I have a character that took 2 levels in Cavalier just to get the Teamwork Feat and the Challenge ability, and she didn’t develop the Mount at all.

But it begged the question from me whether the OP shouldn’t take some other Bloodline with a Bloodline power that would have been more useful. I recommended Stormborn or Boreal, both of which give level 1 bloodline powers that would stack with either the greatsword or the slam (Shocking or Cold).

“Using natural attacks effectively requires building for their use specifically,”

Yes, I included suggestions above for doing just that.

“Claws can provide a nice backup if you ever happen to get disarmed though.”

Yeah, but you don’t really need backup claws if you already have a backup slam, do you?


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Yeah, but you don’t really need backup claws if you already have a backup slam, do you?

This may be neither here nor there for the discussion at hand, but, should be you be swallowed whole by a monster larger than yourself in combat, you wouldn't be able to use the greatsword nor slam attacks to tear your way out of the monster's belly (because the former isn't a light weapon whereas the latter isn't slashing or piercing). In this very specific situation, claws would provide you something the other two damage mechanisms would not. I could think of a few other cases - such as grappling while swimming or fighting a zombie while grappling or climbing - but these would be far from the norm (i.e. I wouldn't be surprised if your characters never have to deal with them).

To be fair, though, why is a character who elects to pick up the ability to do both slam and claw attacks entitled to use both at once? If I played a 1st level fighter who bought 10 longswords with all of his starting cash, the DM wouldn't be under any obligation to then give me the ability to wield all 10 simultaneously. (If this isn't you're saying, I do apologize, I'm just confused as to why this is an ongoing point of contention.) o.O

Liberty's Edge

Are there any examples of monsters that have both claw and slam attacks?


HangarFlying wrote:
Are there any examples of monsters that have both claw and slam attacks?

There are a few...

Melee 2 claws +39 (1d8+10), body slam +34 (2d8+5), and 2 wing slams +34 (1d8+5)

Description: A grim statue quietly hovers here, its slow, seemingly weightless bobbing belying its obvious bulk. Sculpted in the shape of a grim, horned angel, gigantic wings and terrible, long clawed arms jut from a legless body that tapers into a blunt, blade-like trunk. Upon the ominous form’s breast hang the fresh remains of a crucified corpse. This one states very explicitly where each slam attack comes from.

Melee claw +13 (1d10+9/19–20 plus grab), slam +13 (1d6+6)

Description: This hulking mix of ogre and crab has one huge pincer that snaps menacingly, while its other arm is a twisted, humanlike hand. The each limb clearly follows an independent damage mechanism.

There's also the Kobold King, who has a weapon, a slam attack (dread wight template), and two claw attacks (sorcerer bloodline). He's given multiple stat blocks (I'm going to use the one with his buff spells stripped away for easier math).

Melee +2 adamantine battleaxe +11 (1d8+6/x3), slam +8 (1d3+3)
Special Attacks grow claws (2 claws +9 (1d3+3 plus energy drain), lasts 6 rounds)
Str 17, Dex 20

The battle axe is presented as doing damage two-handed (strength bonus is +3, +1 for being used two-handed, +2 for enhancement bonus). The natural attacks are all presented as primary natural weapons (full strength bonus to damage). The fact that they're not presented as secondary natural weapons at any point may suggest that they can't be used simultaneously, though this doesn't conclusively prove the negative.

There's also a few creatures that can grow extra limbs that may result in claw and slam attacks being on the same creature. But, in this case, each natural weapon is presumed to have a dedicated limb.

Unfettered Eidolon
Aballonian


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Azoriel wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Yeah, but you don’t really need backup claws if you already have a backup slam, do you?

This may be neither here nor there for the discussion at hand, but, should be you be swallowed whole by a monster larger than yourself in combat, you wouldn't be able to use the greatsword nor slam attacks to tear your way out of the monster's belly (because the former isn't a light weapon whereas the latter isn't slashing or piercing). In this very specific situation, claws would provide you something the other two damage mechanisms would not. I could think of a few other cases - such as grappling while swimming or fighting a zombie while grappling or climbing - but these would be far from the norm (i.e. I wouldn't be surprised if your characters never have to deal with them).

To be fair, though, why is a character who elects to pick up the ability to do both slam and claw attacks entitled to use both at once? If I played a 1st level fighter who bought 10 longswords with all of his starting cash, the DM wouldn't be under any obligation to then give me the ability to wield all 10 simultaneously. (If this isn't you're saying, I do apologize, I'm just confused as to why this is an ongoing point of contention.) o.O

Actually, my advice to the OP was to apply Snake Style feats via Feral Combat Training to his Slam Attack. Snake Style allows, among other things, to you to have your attack be treated as piercing attacks. So he's be set without the claws

I have to admit, I do not remember the last time a character of mine was swallowed whole, but that did happen in a game I was playing. We were fighting a monster the DM made up himself, the Evil Borborygmous--the DM kept threatening us by calling it a Lesser Borborygmous--and the Monk was swallowed whole. The next round he escaped by emptying out his Bag of Holding, which contained thousands of pounds of rocks and dirt.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Actually, my advice to the OP was to apply Snake Style feats via Feral Combat Training to his Slam Attack. Snake Style allows, among other things, to you to have your attack be treated as piercing attacks. So he's be set without the claws

I have to admit, I do not remember the last time a character of mine was swallowed whole, but that did happen in a game I was playing. We were fighting a monster the DM made up himself, the Evil Borborygmous--the DM kept threatening us by calling it a Lesser Borborygmous--and the Monk was swallowed whole. The next round he escaped by emptying out his Bag of Holding, which contained thousands of pounds of rocks and dirt.

AH, I follow now. Yes, I would have to agree; given that the weapon in question is a greatsword (no off-hand to take advantage of), I can't really see any good reason to get claw attacks in addition to slams. Especially if you've got Snake Style with Feral Combat Training.

My fighting characters often carry daggers to counter grapplers, which also helps some vs. swallow whole. I think I've seen a grand total of three swallows myself, none of which involved me directly. (All three characters survived the experience: one via hand axe, another via dimension door, and the last was forced to wait until the beast was dead and the rest of us cut him out - ALWAYS pack a dagger.) I'd heard of using a Quaal's feather token to sprout trees inside opponents before, but never emptying a bag of holding; most definitely an inventive response... >_<


Realizing that it isn't possible to incorporate greatsword, slam, and claws into a full attack action, it might be worth considering the other avenue, that of dispensing with the sword and developing the natural attacks.

If he has a slam, and he gets claws, then if he takes a level in Monk, since Monk Unarmed Strikes count as natural weapons, then he qualifies for the Multiattack Feat. He will get 2 claws, 1 slam, and 1 unarmed strike, 2 if he takes 2 weapon fighting, but then all his attacks will get a -4 instead of a -2, so he might not want to do that.

If he already has Multiattack, now he might as well get a Mammoth Helm and get a Gore attack, that magic ring that gives you a Bite Attack, and a Tentacle Cloak that gives you a Tentacle Attack (2). So now his Full Attack Action is Slam, Gore, 2 Claws, 2 Tentacles, Unarmed Strike, Bite. They all get a -2 to the attack, and the damage is 8d4, for an average of 20 points of damage, which compares favorably with the greatsword.

But, I am talking about the purchase of several magic items, and that might buy a lot of plusses to the sword instead. But with 8 attacks, even the ½ Strength bonus starts adding up, and when your Strength is augmented by items like a Bull Strength spell which stacks with an Alchemal Strength Mutagen, even ½ St Mod to damage adds up when applied to all those attacks. Also remember, 2 of those attacks get the full strength mod for damage: Slam, because it is the Vampires’ Primary Natural Attack, and the Unarmed Strike, because it’s a Monk Ability. Also, it was mentioned that plusses from the Amulet of Mighty Fists are more expensive than on a weapon, and this is the reason why. The enhancements on the AMoF apply to all 8 attacks, so this is an option that is worth considering.

Also, there are other ways to get those Natural Attacks than through the cozening of magic items. Tieflings and Catfolk can get claws as racial traits, Half Orcs, Tieflings, and Goblins (to name a few) can get a bite as racial traits, and maybe—I don’t know Vampires well—get the Vampire Slam on top of that.

Also, with the Alchemist Archetype Beastmorph, you can change your shape to get natural attacks, especially Claws, I’m thinking, because with a melee natural attack monster like this, you may need many high(ish) ability scores, and that usually means Charisma Dumping at least a little, so no Sorcerer for you, but maybe some levels in Alchemist would do. And with a second level in Alchemist, you can grow your Tentacle.

The Tentacle produced by the Alchemal Discovery is inferior: while it gives you a natural attack, it doesn’t give you extra attacks. For instance, if you have Claws, a Bite, and an Alchemal Tentacle, you can qualify for Multiattack, but your Full Attack is 2 Claws, 1 Bite, and you don’t get the Tentacle. Even if you have a Tentacle Cloak, your Alchemal Tentacle can’t join in your Tentacle Attack, so your attack becomes 2Claws, 1 Bite, and 2 Tentacles, not 3. But depending on your build, the Alchemal Tentacle still might be a very good option.

Any natural attack that you apply Feral Combat Training allows you to reward you your full St Mod to damage, so you if you take FCT, maybe you should apply it to one of your secondary natural attacks, at least at first, depending on how many feats you are willing to spend distributing to your several attacks.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

Realizing that it isn't possible to incorporate greatsword, slam, and claws into a full attack action, it might be worth considering the other avenue, that of dispensing with the sword and developing the natural attacks.

If he has a slam, and he gets claws, then if he takes a level in Monk, since Monk Unarmed Strikes count as natural weapons, then he qualifies for the Multiattack Feat. He will get 2 claws, 1 slam, and 1 unarmed strike, 2 if he takes 2 weapon fighting, but then all his attacks will get a -4 instead of a -2, so he might not want to do that.

If he already has Multiattack, now he might as well get a Mammoth Helm and get a Gore attack, that magic ring that gives you a Bite Attack, and a Tentacle Cloak that gives you a Tentacle Attack (2). So now his Full Attack Action is Slam, Gore, 2 Claws, 2 Tentacles, Unarmed Strike, Bite. They all get a -2 to the attack, and the damage is 8d4, for an average of 20 points of damage, which compares favorably with the greatsword.

But, I am talking about the purchase of several magic items, and that might buy a lot of plusses to the sword instead. But with 8 attacks, even the ½ Strength bonus starts adding up, and when your Strength is augmented by items like a Bull Strength spell which stacks with an Alchemal Strength Mutagen, even ½ St Mod to damage adds up when applied to all those attacks. Also remember, 2 of those attacks get the full strength mod for damage: Slam, because it is the Vampires’ Primary Natural Attack, and the Unarmed Strike, because it’s a Monk Ability. Also, it was mentioned that plusses from the Amulet of Mighty Fists are more expensive than on a weapon, and this is the reason why. The enhancements on the AMoF apply to all 8 attacks, so this is an option that is worth considering.

Also, there are other ways to get those Natural Attacks than through the cozening of magic items. Tieflings and Catfolk can get claws as racial traits, Half Orcs, Tieflings, and Goblins (to name a few) can get a bite as racial traits, and...

A lot to deal with there

1. I am not sure that unarmed strikes count for meeting prerequisites calling for natural attacks. They seem to mostly just get treated as natural attacks for effects that benefit them (greater magic fang, for example). I would need sources before I could accept that. And anyway, does he need to go for that? He has 3 natural attacks with the claws and slam, right?

2. If you have that many natural attacks, it might just be better to skip out on the unarmed strikes. With multiattack, all of them would be hitting for the same almost the chance as the first unarmed strike, but only deal half of the strength and power attack damage. Hitting for full damage with the best hit chance seems more profitable to me. The only advantage unarmed strikes would have here would be to just have more hits (you didn't suggest anything like rogue or ranger though; classes with bonuses to each hit would be important for this, because otherwise it all falls on STR and Power Attack...which you are halving by mixing things up).

3. While I agree the tentacle can be good (mostly as a single natural attack to get 1.5x bonuses; also for complementing reach weapon builds and even making alchemists viable grapplers), but why bring it up at all when it is useless to the thing you are suggesting?

4. As far as I understand it, Feral Combat training is only useful for getting the natural attack to act like a monk weapon (you can flurry with it) and getting things like style feats or brawling armor to add benefits. I don't think it removes the penalties for secondary attacks during normal full attacks.


lemeres said, Yesterday, 02:43 AM "I am not sure that unarmed strikes count for meeting prerequisites calling for natural attacks. They seem to mostly just get treated as natural attacks for effects that benefit them (greater magic fang, for example)."

Bear in mind that the OP is definitely asking about a nonPFS campaign, so this is all up to the DM discretion in any event, and in particular Multiattack is never PFS and always DM's discretion. But the Multiattack Feat does have an effect that improves natural attacks, that of lowering the penalty of secondary natural attacks from -5 to -2.

"A monk's unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons."--http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/monk

Anyway, that is why I am sanguine about counting Monk Unarmed Strikes as Natural Attacks.

lemeres said, Yesterday, 02:43 AM, "And anyway, does he need to go for that? He has 3 natural attacks with the claws and slam, right?"

I don't think so. 2 Claws is 1 natural attack. 1 slam is 1 natural attack. An Octopus has 1 Natural Attack of 8 Tentacles. The Froghemoth has 1 tongue, 1 bite, and 4 Tentacles, for a total of 3 Natural Attacks. Octopi do not have Multiattack and take no penalty. The Froghemoth, has Multiattack, and if it didn't, 2 of those attacks, probably its bite and tongue, would take a -5. Refer to the Bestiary and Universal Monster Rules to confirm what I'm saying, but I think that is the grammar of natural attacks.

lemeres said, Yesterday, 02:43 AM, "If you have that many natural attacks, it might just be better to skip out on the unarmed strikes. With multiattack, all of them would be hitting for the same almost the chance as the first unarmed strike, but only deal half of the strength and power attack damage. Hitting for full damage with the best hit chance seems more profitable to me. The only advantage unarmed strikes would have here would be to just have more hits"

Once you have Multiattack, more attacks are just gravy: it doesn't hurt to add more. Monk Unarmed Strikes will get the full Strength Mod as a damage bonus, so if you are going to leave off any of your natural attacks, don't leave off the Unarmed Strike. Trying to squeeze in a 2nd Unarmed Strike with the 2 Weapon Fighting Feat will hurt the whole attack routine, because even if the DM did allow it, that -2 for the off-hand attack would stack with the -2 on the secondary natural attacks, and for the primary attack, which before had no penalty. So even if it's allowed, there are problems with doing that.

That being said, it might be better to use Unarmed Strikes and 2Weapon Fighting and forget about the Natural Attacks. It probably depends on no how many Natural Attacks you have.

lemeres said, Yesterday, 02:43 AM, "(you didn't suggest anything like rogue or ranger though; classes with bonuses to each hit would be important for this, because otherwise it all falls on STR and Power Attack...which you are halving by mixing things up)."

YOU'RE RIGHT, I DIDN'T! After a character gathers enough natural attacks, a global bonus like Sneak Attack or a Ranger Favored Enemy bonus applies to ALL those natural attacks, and even a Level 1 Ranger Freebooter's +1 Favored Enemy Bonus can lead to a significant bonus added to the character's and the Party's DPR.

I want very much to try out a character build with lots of attacks augmented by levels in Rogue or Vivisectionist combined with a Feat Combination like Quick, Great Dirty Trick, where you rob opponents of their Dex Bonuses by making them Blind or something and then ravish them with multiple Precision-Damage-augmented hits. I only excluded that from my earlier post because I was feeling it was long enough already, and anyway was ranging far afield from what the OP was trying to do. But I do think you are onto a strategy for a devastating melee character build.

lemeres said, Yesterday, 02:43 AM, "As far as I understand it, Feral Combat training... I don't think it removes the penalties for secondary attacks during normal full attacks."

I'm convinced it does.

"There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes."--http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/monk

The above is from the description of Monk Unarmed Strikes, and I do believe that that makes it a Monk ability, that a Fighter with Improved Unarmed Strike and 2 Weapon Fighting who makes 2 Unarmed Strikes for his Full Attack Action will only enjoy 1/2 his ST Mod for his off-hand Unarmed Strike. But a Monk who also uses Unarmed Strikes and 2 Weapon will gain full damage from his ST Mod from both his Unarmed Strikes. I would call this an effect that augments an Unarmed Strike.

"Choose one of your natural weapons... While using the selected natural weapon, you can apply... effects that augment an unarmed strike.--http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/feral-combat-training-c ombat

Feral Combat Training lets you apply all effects that augment unarmed strikes to your natural attack, not just the feats. That is why I was suggesting that somebody with multiple natural attacks might apply FCT to a secondary attack instead of the primary one.

lemeres said, Yesterday, 02:43 AM "While I agree the tentacle can be good (mostly as a single natural attack to get 1.5x bonuses; also for complementing reach weapon builds and even making alchemists viable grapplers), but why bring it up at all when it is useless to the thing you are suggesting?"

Because I wanted to account for many character builds, not just 1, and when you are building the character, you might want to get the Tentacle Benefits at lower levels before you can afford a Tentacle Cloak. Or maybe on consideration, a character may never want to grow multiple tentacles and just stick with the 1. Anyway, I was talking about tentacles, so I felt like I should discuss the Alchemal Tentacle.


If you have two claw attacks, you have two natural attacks, though they are of the same type. Multiattack has no effect on nonsecondary natural attacks. Whether you have multiattack or not, bites, claws, slams, and other primary natural attacks will always get full BAB and at least full STR, whether used alone or in combination, unless combined with a nonnatural attack (which then makes all natural weapons secondary).

Sczarni

@ScottWillhelm: you don't get double penalties. It used to be when you combined manufactured weapons (or UAS) with Natural Attacks, the weapons took TWF penalties. That was errata'd sometime after the 4th printing of the CRB.

However, what you get is -5 penalty to all of your natural attacks and they only do .5 STR mid to damage.

So from a DPR perspective it's probably not worth combining them unless you have ways to mitigate penalties to both attack & damage. Ways such as:

Multiattack: your secondary natural attacks only take a -2 to attack.
Feral Combat Training: apply feats that augment UAS to your natural attacks
Dragon Style/Ferocity: add more STR to damage with UAS and natural attack that you have taken Feral Combat Training in (logically this will be your most numerous natural attack).

Oh, and I think the rest of the world interprets 2 claws or 8 tentacles as two or eight natural attacks, respectively.


fretgod99 wrote:
Multiattack has no effect on nonsecondary natural attacks.

I'm not sure what argument this evidence is intended to support. Could you please clarify what you are getting at, here? I might agree with you.

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