Is it intended for monsters to grab -> constrict -> release -> grab -> constrict in one attack sequence?


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I don't think it was intended for a full attack from a WISC to one shot PCs.

Liberty's Edge

claudekennilol wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Only intelligent critters would do it. Animals grab and hold on.
Is that actually backed up in the rules anywhere?

It's backed up by the entire concept of role play.


Gilfalas wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:

Is it intended for monsters to grab -> constrict -> release -> grab -> constrict in one attack sequence?

I know this is a legal tactic. And perhaps this doesn't belong in the rules forum, but I can't help but wondering if it's intended for gms to have monsters use this tactic? Any thoughts on this?

Common sense would lead me to say that if a combo is broken in power then it probably was not intended by he designers.

Publishing broken things on purpose makes people leave a game or regard it with disdain.

Tell that to all the Rifts players out there. ;)


claudekennilol wrote:

Is it intended for monsters to grab -> constrict -> release -> grab -> constrict in one attack sequence?

I know this is a legal tactic. And perhaps this doesn't belong in the rules forum, but I can't help but wondering if it's intended for gms to have monsters use this tactic? Any thoughts on this?

I dont think it is the intended strategy but that does not make it against the rules. It is just a strategy the devs did not think of so a dev saying "it is not intended" would not change the rule. However since a grappling blog IIRC is in the works they might want to look at this when creating that blog to see if they do want to change the rule.

Grand Lodge

wraithstrike wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:

Is it intended for monsters to grab -> constrict -> release -> grab -> constrict in one attack sequence?

I know this is a legal tactic. And perhaps this doesn't belong in the rules forum, but I can't help but wondering if it's intended for gms to have monsters use this tactic? Any thoughts on this?

I dont think it is the intended strategy but that does not make it against the rules. It is just a strategy the devs did not think of so a dev saying "it is not intended" would not change the rule. However since a grappling blog IIRC is in the works they might want to look at this when creating that blog to see if they do want to change the rule.

That blog has been being hinted at for over a year, if I'm remembering correctly. If I'd been holding my breath for it I'd be long dead by now.


This just came up in my last game. We went through all the arguments in this thread on both sides. No one was firmly entrenched on either side of the debate. We never figured out how it was intended but it came down to that we didn't think an animal would do this so it didn't happen.

...that still doesn't help for intelligent creatures, though. Or even knowing if it was intended in the first place. I hit FAQ.


I would argue that once an animal figures out the best way to kill something, it would apply that tactic from that point on...

From a descriptive point of view, releasing something from constriction doesn't have to involve the snake (or whatever) totally uncoiling and then wrapping up again, it could look just like snakes do: loosening their grip, then tightening up again to continue crushing.

It's up to the GM to describe it, the rules don't say what it looks like...

It's brutal, but players get spells and such, so getting a hug from a snake shouldn't be such a big deal. ;)

Grand Lodge

Alex, as was pointed out up above, snakes don't crush, and they don't loosen up. They just keep it tight, and every time the prey breathes out, they tighten down a little so that it can't breath in again.

It is more strangulation than trauma.

If they loosened at any point, it wouldn't work.

Pathfinder constricts are physical trauma, meaning comparing it to real world animals is largely pointless. If anything it would be most worth comparing it to how snakes work in fiction and bad movies.


FLite wrote:

Alex, as was pointed out up above, snakes don't crush, and they don't loosen up. They just keep it tight, and every time the prey breathes out, they tighten down a little so that it can't breath in again.

It is more strangulation than trauma.

If they loosened at any point, it wouldn't work.

Pathfinder constricts are physical trauma, meaning comparing it to real world animals is largely pointless. If anything it would be most worth comparing it to how snakes work in fiction and bad movies.

Okay, so comparing to real world is pointless... what's your point?

In game, they have the ability to do damage, I'm saying that despite an INT of 2, they would use the fullest extent of their ability to hurt/kill. Showing restraint makes less sense than doing your best to kill something.

Silver Crusade

alexd1976 wrote:

I would argue that once an animal figures out the best way to kill something, it would apply that tactic from that point on...

From a descriptive point of view, releasing something from constriction doesn't have to involve the snake (or whatever) totally uncoiling and then wrapping up again, it could look just like snakes do: loosening their grip, then tightening up again to continue crushing.

It's up to the GM to describe it, the rules don't say what it looks like...

It's brutal, but players get spells and such, so getting a hug from a snake shouldn't be such a big deal. ;)

I'd say that depending on the critter. A big cat might let go of its prey, and grab it again. Though rules of rake are different.

Sapient creatures also might do it, esp if they're sadistic or completely inhuman and bored


Mystic_Snowfang wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

I would argue that once an animal figures out the best way to kill something, it would apply that tactic from that point on...

From a descriptive point of view, releasing something from constriction doesn't have to involve the snake (or whatever) totally uncoiling and then wrapping up again, it could look just like snakes do: loosening their grip, then tightening up again to continue crushing.

It's up to the GM to describe it, the rules don't say what it looks like...

It's brutal, but players get spells and such, so getting a hug from a snake shouldn't be such a big deal. ;)

I'd say that depending on the critter. A big cat might let go of its prey, and grab it again. Though rules of rake are different.

Sapient creatures also might do it, esp if they're sadistic or completely inhuman and bored

Totally up to the GM. I generally assume something that is in combat will try to win, not lose, but that's just how I roll.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

FWIW, Snakes (from the tiny-sized Viper to the gargantuan Anaconda) have an Int of 1, not 2.


Nefreet wrote:
FWIW, Snakes (from the tiny-sized Viper to the gargantuan Anaconda) have an Int of 1, not 2.

So less likely to perform actions other than maximize killing chances.

Even if trained, only 3 tricks. Probably not gonna know 'down' in that case. :D

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
alexd1976 wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
FWIW, Snakes (from the tiny-sized Viper to the gargantuan Anaconda) have an Int of 1, not 2.

So less likely to perform actions other than maximize killing chances.

Even if trained, only 3 tricks. Probably not gonna know 'down' in that case. :D

Indeed.

Although this is getting off-topic, my Human Ranger took that Alternate Racial Trait to increase his Constrictor Companion's Int by +2 so it could learn more tricks.

The Snake is also infamous for having Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, and Snake Style =P


Since the grappled condition is a really effective debuff and since the creature can continue its full attack after the initial grab, I can't rationalize how a creature would ever figure out that "grab-release-attack/re-grab" could do more damage than "grab-attack with an advantage". Until I see just one example of an animal that evolved that strategy naturally and uses it in actual hunting, I won't use it. Whether it's operating as intended (different argument), the animal would have to somehow stumble onto an anti-intuitive strategy and then experimented to discover it was better. (Related note: Does anyone know the Int score required to have object permanence?)

Yes, animals will grab-release-grab when they are playing, but that's because play is practicing how to catch things: when they actually want to catch the thing, they don't randomly let go. (They also go out of their way not to kill the prey when they're playing, even giving it a head start before catching it again, but I don't see anyone suggesting that monsters adopt that strategy.)

Note that I have no problem with any creature that class levels using this strategy, because the levels represent training, which means practice, experimentation, and reviewing results across different techniques. Instinctual play does not have that level of abstraction.


Gwen Smith wrote:

Since the grappled condition is a really effective debuff and since the creature can continue its full attack after the initial grab, I can't rationalize how a creature would ever figure out that "grab-release-attack/re-grab" could do more damage than "grab-attack with an advantage". Until I see just one example of an animal that evolved that strategy naturally and uses it in actual hunting, I won't use it. Whether it's operating as intended (different argument), the animal would have to somehow stumble onto an anti-intuitive strategy and then experimented to discover it was better. (Related note: Does anyone know the Int score required to have object permanence?)

Yes, animals will grab-release-grab when they are playing, but that's because play is practicing how to catch things: when they actually want to catch the thing, they don't randomly let go. (They also go out of their way not to kill the prey when they're playing, even giving it a head start before catching it again, but I don't see anyone suggesting that monsters adopt that strategy.)

Note that I have no problem with any creature that class levels using this strategy, because the levels represent training, which means practice, experimentation, and reviewing results across different techniques. Instinctual play does not have that level of abstraction.

Learning ones own limitations/capabilities is hardly abstract thought.

In any case, the GM can assign whatever level of competency to the opponent he/she wishes. You can have an Ogre attack once every other round if you like, it's up to you (or the GM, you get my point).

Animals that kill, eat.
Animals that don't, starve, or get killed themselves.

I would argue they would employ the "superior tactics" because they have to, maybe it's instinct, maybe it's learned behavior...

WHY they do it isn't relevant. Using a low INT score is a bad argument to rely on, it opens up a whole new line of arguments... should anything with SLA use them if their INT is less than X? What is X? If you can train an animal to Attack/Attack/Down, then they have the ability to do it, so could they do it in nature? If not, why not?

Vermin don't even HAVE an INT score, so shouldn't they just sit there and not react to things?

Did the designers intend for this loophole to exist? Perhaps not.
Should a GM use it? Up to the GM. The way most characters roll over encounters, I wouldn't even blink about using this. It's such a non-issue it's hardly worth discussing. I am glad I saw this thread though, didn't know this was a valid tactic.


Nefreet wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
how can a PC obtain the Constrict ability
Anaconda's Coils

I had forgotten about Anaconda's Coils. AC seems more expensive at 18K than my PFS characters will ever be able to afford, but it's hard to complain. Constrict,+2 St, and +2 Grappling, which is really +3 if you include the St Mod increase.

The Constrict only does 1d6, but once again, that's pretty good considering what else you are getting. for your 18K.

And FLite, are you sure that Anaconda's Coils will serve as the Final Embrace prerequisite of "creature with the Constrict ability?" I guess that's what it means when it says that after 24 hours of wearing something, the effect becomes permanent. I like it.

Rather than Flurry, though, I was thinking of 2 Claws, a Bite, and maybe White Hair, and hey, as long as I'm in the neighborhood, how about a Mammoth Helm for the Gore Attack. Maybe take Hamatula Strike to activate all my natural attacks, not just the one for Final Embrace Grab. My build has a 16 Dex and takes Snake Fang, so 7 attacks/round by level 3, and another at around level 9 or so, all of them triggering Grapples, all of them scoring Armor Spike Damage, and with Final Embrace, the Constrict Damage from 1d6 to the damage of your main natural attack, in this case Claws that do 2d6. Pretty sweet.

I was thinking that the only way I would get Constrict would be to Wild Shape or Beast Shape into a Giant Octopus, you know, a Monktopus build.


Gwen Smith wrote:

Since the grappled condition is a really effective debuff and since the creature can continue its full attack after the initial grab, I can't rationalize how a creature would ever figure out that "grab-release-attack/re-grab" could do more damage than "grab-attack with an advantage". Until I see just one example of an animal that evolved that strategy naturally and uses it in actual hunting, I won't use it. Whether it's operating as intended (different argument), the animal would have to somehow stumble onto an anti-intuitive strategy and then experimented to discover it was better. (Related note: Does anyone know the Int score required to have object permanence?)

Yes, animals will grab-release-grab when they are playing, but that's because play is practicing how to catch things: when they actually want to catch the thing, they don't randomly let go. (They also go out of their way not to kill the prey when they're playing, even giving it a head start before catching it again, but I don't see anyone suggesting that monsters adopt that strategy.)

Note that I have no problem with any creature that class levels using this strategy, because the levels represent training, which means practice, experimentation, and reviewing results across different techniques. Instinctual play does not have that level of abstraction.

Terriers (and many other dogs) use a grab-shake-release-grab-shake-release-grab... attack routine. When chasing prey a terrier is usually only going to be able to bite into a leg or the hindquarters, shaking can break a bone or at least disorient the prey, allowing the terrier to shift their grip and continue the routine until the terrier gets a grip which, when shaken, breaks the neck or spine.


There are plenty of Wild Shape options that get constrict. Monktopus just happens to be Tier 0.

Also, keep in mind that the Giant Lake Octopus that's listed on the SRD does not have constrict.

Tetori monks also get constrict, but it's rather late to matter to optimizers. (Tetori/Synthesists(Quad) are potentially amusing since it would allow you to combine eidolon rake and constrict)

Grand Lodge

The problem with using lots of different attacks is that grab usually applies to one attack. Final Embrace gives you grab and it doesn't say which attack it applies to, but general consensus, to the extent I can find it, says you get to pick one grab when you take it (assuming you do not have grab already, in which case it does not give you another.) I guess Hamatula Strike would fix that, but I don't know if the "you impale them" vs "you grapple them" has any rules implications for constrict. Probably would work. But it seems like a lot of extra feats.

Wealth starts scaling fast in PFS. My gnome barb had a +2 furious adamantine nodachi by level 7, and that is 21K. (and by level 8 he had upgraded it again, for a total value of 35K)

You aren't going to get hamatula strike before level 7 anyway, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Grand Lodge

Archaeik wrote:

There are plenty of Wild Shape options that get constrict. Monktopus just happens to be Tier 0.

Also, keep in mind that the Giant Lake Octopus that's listed on the SRD does not have constrict.

Tetori monks also get constrict, but it's rather late to matter to optimizers. (Tetori/Synthesists(Quad) are potentially amusing since it would allow you to combine eidolon rake and constrict)

Actually, the real reason to go Tetori would be to get Inescapable grasp at level 9. (suppress freedom of movement is a big deal) But you would loose Flurry, which defeats some of the point of using a monk.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
how can a PC obtain the Constrict ability
Anaconda's Coils

I had forgotten about Anaconda's Coils. AC seems more expensive at 18K than my PFS characters will ever be able to afford, but it's hard to complain. Constrict,+2 St, and +2 Grappling, which is really +3 if you include the St Mod increase.

The Constrict only does 1d6, but once again, that's pretty good considering what else you are getting. for your 18K.

And FLite, are you sure that Anaconda's Coils will serve as the Final Embrace prerequisite of "creature with the Constrict ability?" I guess that's what it means when it says that after 24 hours of wearing something, the effect becomes permanent. I like it.

Rather than Flurry, though, I was thinking of 2 Claws, a Bite, and maybe White Hair, and hey, as long as I'm in the neighborhood, how about a Mammoth Helm for the Gore Attack. Maybe take Hamatula Strike to activate all my natural attacks, not just the one for Final Embrace Grab. My build has a 16 Dex and takes Snake Fang, so 7 attacks/round by level 3, and another at around level 9 or so, all of them triggering Grapples, all of them scoring Armor Spike Damage, and with Final Embrace, the Constrict Damage from 1d6 to the damage of your main natural attack, in this case Claws that do 2d6. Pretty sweet.

I was thinking that the only way I would get Constrict would be to Wild Shape or Beast Shape into a Giant Octopus, you know, a Monktopus build.

Using an item to qualify for a feat is one of the catchy things. As long as you're wearing the item, you meet the prereqs. If you take the item off then you can't do anything else in that feat chain.

Grand Lodge

Roanark wrote:


Using an item to qualify for a feat is one of the catchy things. As long as you're wearing the item, you meet the prereqs. If you take the item off then you can't do anything else in that feat chain.

And no, you can't use anaconda coil to bootstrap into final embrace, and then make final embrace self sustaining (because final embrace itself gives you constrict) The devs have stated elsewhere that boot straping is not allowed. (I have come across that argument elsewhere on the board.)


Another thing which is never made clear in the rules is whether using Grab successfully ends your full attack. I've played at many tables where that's the case. I've played at tables where:
- after each hit with an attack which has Grab you decide whether or not to Grab, and if you succeed the full attack ends (could be right though the rules never say so)
- all the attacks are made and then you check for Grab as many times as you scored hits with an attack which has Grab (clearly wrong IMO)
- all the attacks are made and if any with Grab hit you make one and only one grapple check to Grab the foe (probably wrong but a convenient compromise)

Based on the current rules as written it appears that "catch and release" would work, but I haven't seen it in use at a gaming table so far and kind of hope that I won't. I suspect that for creatures without Grab there's supposed to be a limit of one grapple against a particular opponent in the round (or maybe turn) when you establish the hold. I'm basing this on some previous discussions and the combat trick for Greater Grapple in Unchained. Whether such a limitation actually exists and whether it should apply to creatures with Grab seem like points likely to be detailed in the upcoming grapple FAQ blog (which is apparently behind several other such blogs in the queue)

Grand Lodge

Well, grab shouldn't end your attack string, because if nothing else you could just switch targets and grab more people (and yes you can grab multiple opponents, Grapple style feat chain even has a level that lets you damage two people when ever you succeed on a check against one. Maintaining the grapple might be a problem though.)

Also grapple does not prevent full attacks, so even if you cannot keep grabbing them once they are grabbed, you can still keep hitting them.

So it should be one of:
- after each hit with an attack which has Grab you decide whether or not to Grab, and if you succeed you take the rest of your attacks but can no longer grab
- after each hit with an attack which has Grab you decide whether or not to Grab, and if you succeed you take the rest of your attacks but can no longer grab until you drop them
- after each hit with an attack which has Grab you decide whether or not to Grab, and if you succeed you take the rest of your attacks you can keep grabbing, for the purpose of inflicting constrict, but this does not let you perform any of the add on effects of maintaining a grapple. (move, pin, etc.)

Personally, I feel the balancing factor in release-regrapple is that once you have them in grapple you are taking a chance that you botch the last roll and they are free to act.


Based on the rules as written you're probably right, but I think there's a lot of table variation.

Grand Lodge

Oh clearly. Hence the point of the FAQ :)

Speaking of, don't forget to click the FAQ button on the first page. Maybe we can get that blog FAQ bumped up the list!

My interpretation that multiple grabs in a round cannot advance the grapple to move / pin / etc. is based on the combat trick you mentioned, which talks about not being able to maintain using a swift until the round after, as well as the Kraken Throttle discussions, where the Devs talked about intentionally not allowing stuff that allowed single round grapple kills.


FLite wrote:
Roanark wrote:


Using an item to qualify for a feat is one of the catchy things. As long as you're wearing the item, you meet the prereqs. If you take the item off then you can't do anything else in that feat chain.
And no, you can't use anaconda coil to bootstrap into final embrace, and then make final embrace self sustaining (because final embrace itself gives you constrict) The devs have stated elsewhere that boot straping is not allowed. (I have come across that argument elsewhere on the board.)

Not sure if you were trying to counter my argument or agree with it.. but yes. That's what I was getting at :P

Grand Lodge

Roanark wrote:
FLite wrote:
Roanark wrote:


Using an item to qualify for a feat is one of the catchy things. As long as you're wearing the item, you meet the prereqs. If you take the item off then you can't do anything else in that feat chain.
And no, you can't use anaconda coil to bootstrap into final embrace, and then make final embrace self sustaining (because final embrace itself gives you constrict) The devs have stated elsewhere that boot straping is not allowed. (I have come across that argument elsewhere on the board.)
Not sure if you were trying to counter my argument or agree with it.. but yes. That's what I was getting at :P

Extending it. :)


FLite wrote:
Roanark wrote:
FLite wrote:
Roanark wrote:


Using an item to qualify for a feat is one of the catchy things. As long as you're wearing the item, you meet the prereqs. If you take the item off then you can't do anything else in that feat chain.
And no, you can't use anaconda coil to bootstrap into final embrace, and then make final embrace self sustaining (because final embrace itself gives you constrict) The devs have stated elsewhere that boot straping is not allowed. (I have come across that argument elsewhere on the board.)
Not sure if you were trying to counter my argument or agree with it.. but yes. That's what I was getting at :P
Extending it. :)

Carry on then :)


FLite wrote:

The problem with using lots of different attacks is that grab usually applies to one attack. Final Embrace gives you grab and it doesn't say which attack it applies to, but general consensus, to the extent I can find it, says you get to pick one grab when you take it (assuming you do not have grab already, in which case it does not give you another.) I guess Hamatula Strike would fix that, but I don't know if the "you impale them" vs "you grapple them" has any rules implications for constrict. Probably would work. But it seems like a lot of extra feats.

Wealth starts scaling fast in PFS. My gnome barb had a +2 furious adamantine nodachi by level 7, and that is 21K. (and by level 8 he had upgraded it again, for a total value of 35K)

You aren't going to get hamatula strike before level 7 anyway, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Grab only applies to 1 attack, but Hamatula Strike applies to any piercing weapon, such as Claws, Bites, and Gores. White Hair is not piercing, but it comes with sort of a grab anyway.


FLite wrote:
Roanark wrote:


Using an item to qualify for a feat is one of the catchy things. As long as you're wearing the item, you meet the prereqs. If you take the item off then you can't do anything else in that feat chain.
And no, you can't use anaconda coil to bootstrap into final embrace, and then make final embrace self sustaining (because final embrace itself gives you constrict) The devs have stated elsewhere that boot straping is not allowed. (I have come across that argument elsewhere on the board.)

That seemed fishy to me when you first said it.


You can do this even without grab, it just requires improved and greater grapple.

Round 1:
move to close, then
Grapple 1 -> dmg, constrict (auto dmg)
Round 2:
GG to maintain as a move action -> dmg, constrict (auto)
Grapple as a standard action -> dmg, constrict (auto)

Monks and Brawlers have further options, giving them a third 'tick' of grapple and constrict damage. Alternatively you can use the grapple rules to reposition enemies, or pin them thus aiding everyone else on the team.

Damage wise this is mechanically equivalent to what OP writes:
Round 1:
move to close, then
Attack 1 (standard action) dmg
grab = free grapple but no extra damage (from grab description) + constrict (auto)
Round 2:
Release grapple.
Full attack (lets assume it's a snake-bear with grab on its claws and the constrict ability)
Claw Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg (if successful)
release
Claw Attack 2 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg
release
Other attacks...

This series provides no team bonuses/penalties to the enemy, and is highly dependent upon the number of natural attacks you can make with the grab special ability to maintain parity.

Given option 1 requires 2 fewer rolls to pull off, and bypasses armor/shield bonuses it's far more consistent to hit, bypasses the size restrictions on grab and does the same amount of damage assuming 2 ish grab attacks.

The only time option 2 becomes particularly better is if you have something like an eidolon with umpteen million natural attacks (if this is gamebreaking, add dr to enemies or houserule in that each of the grabs/constricts count against its natural attack ceiling and it's no longer any more broken than normal).

In that case the constrict/grab ability is nice, but the umpteen other attacks 'water down' the efficacy of the grab+constrict abilities to the point where their damage is not especially impressive.

Grand Lodge

Trekkie, I think you missed the point up above where Scott demoed a build with seven grabs in a full attack.

So round two looks like:

Claw Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Claw Attack 2 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Kick Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Kick Attack 2 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Bite Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
White Hair Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Gore Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release

Or my eventual Protean Build:

AMF Cruel + Final Embrace Horror
Bite Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg + shaken (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 1 dmg + sickened + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg + frightened (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 2 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg + panicked (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 3 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 4 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg (if successful)
release

You get them pinned. I make them drop everything they are holding and take no action and take -4 to saves.

That is why people are worried about this.


Wow, FLite, how do you Pin them?

Grand Lodge

I don't bother. I panic them instead. Which would you prefer? Pinned but can use SUs like channel or teleport or shape change? Or cowering and can take no actions?


FLite wrote:

Trekkie, I think you missed the point up above where Scott demoed a build with seven grabs in a full attack.

So round two looks like:

Claw Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Claw Attack 2 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Kick Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Kick Attack 2 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Bite Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
White Hair Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release
Gore Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict + armor spike dmg (if successful)
release

Or my eventual Protean Build:

AMF Cruel + Final Embrace Horror
Bite Attack 1 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg + shaken (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 1 dmg + sickened + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg + frightened (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 2 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg + panicked (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 3 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg (if successful)
release
Tail Slap Attack 4 dmg + grab (no dmg) + constrict dmg (if successful)
release

You get them pinned. I make them drop everything they are holding and take no action and take -4 to saves.

That is why people are worried about this.

You should go up a level since most builds compare at level 10 or 20 instead of level 9.


@FLite

I did not miss it, I simply mentioned that it's easy to houserule the issue out as it is specific to eidolons.

In this particular case your build also happens to be highly illegal so I simply ignored it. Eidolons cannot wear armor, "An eidolon cannot wear armor of any kind, as the armor interferes with the summoner’s connection to the eidolon." Therefore they cannot benefit from armor spikes (a brawler or monk could). You're applying the grab evolution to 5 separate types of natural attack, only one of which the grab evolution can be applied to. Furthermore you'd have to select the evolution 5 times, once for each type of attack which would cost 12 of your 13 evolution points at level 9 (which means you can't even get all those different natural attacks). Constrict is only available to eidolons with a serpentine base form, so your protean can't get it. At that level you're restricted to 5 natural attacks, but with constrict you have 9 listed.

Grand Lodge

Trekkie90909 wrote:

@FLite

I did not miss it, I simply mentioned that it's easy to houserule the issue out as it is specific to eidolons.

In this particular case your build is highly illegal so I simply ignored it. Eidolons cannot wear armor, "An eidolon cannot wear armor of any kind, as the armor interferes with the summoner’s connection to the eidolon." Therefore they cannot benefit from armor spikes (a brawler or monk could). You're applying the grab evolution to 5 separate types of natural attack, only one of which the grab evolution can be applied to. Furthermore you'd have to select the evolution 5 times, once for each type of attack which would cost 12 of your 13 evolution points at level 9 (which means you can't even get all those different natural attacks). Constrict is only available to eidolons with a serpentine base form, so your protean can't get it.

You do know that the build with armor spikes, and seven attacks, is a PC build, not an eidolon build. See Scott Wilhelm's post a little way up the page. White-Haired Witch, Hamatula Strike, Anaconda's Coils item, Final Embrace feats, Mammoth Helm for gore.

The eidolon build was the second one, listed as a Protean build. No armor, 5 attacks with grab-and-constrict.


For the caster that's even worse. Firstly you have a 2/3 and 1/2 bab multi-class in melee. Secondly you're applying final embrace's effects to secondary natural attacks (unarmed and primary only); if you mix kicks (unarmed - light manufactured weapons) with primary natural attacks, "all of your natural attacks are treated as secondary natural attacks."

Now if the caster had Hamatula strike it could make up for the claws(debatable, some rule them slashing damage)/gore being treated as secondary natural attacks, but it has a +7 bab requirement, which a pure 2/3 caster will not have at 9th level. Since they're multiclassing with a 1/2 bab they'd get it even later than normal. As has been mentioned previously anaconda's coils do not qualify you for final embrace, but see above problems with that anyways. Neither class is proficient with armor spikes, so they take an additional -4 to hit/CMB while using them (unless they burn a feat). Additionally they add 10 lbs of weight to your gear, which situationally could put you over a light load thus increasing spell failure/reduce movement rates/etc or require an item like muleback cords (anthaul belt is out for anaconda's coils) which means you don't have a bonus to your will save and will be dominated or held every fight alternatively blown to bits/fail fort saves.

An eidolon cannot take Final Embrace Horror at level 6 (when it gains its 3rd feat), as it would not yet have the +6 bab pre-req so if your GM does not allow retraining it can be shut down, which would also negate the cruel AoMF or delay getting Hamatula strike.

Bite +4 tail slaps + constrict is still 6/5 natural attacks/turn.

A protean eidolon would have an evolution pool of 7 at level 9; you start with one tail and one tail slap; your build has 4, requiring a 3 point investment in tails, and a separate 3 point investment in tail slaps. This leaves you with one point in your evo pool, which is not enough for constrict (admittedly can get around this with FCB depending on race).

Your build does not make them drop what they're holding as Final Embrace Horror only makes the opponent shaken (regardless of the number of times you use it/round). Maintaining the grapple ('my build') can, since they'd usually need to drop a 2 handed weapon to pull a light weapon to deal damage in grapple. The Eidolon makes them shaken (-2 saves/attack/skills/ability checks), and then sickened (-2 attack/weapon damage/saves/skills/ability checks). This -4 is approximately a wash if you pin the opponent with a grapple build (-4 to AC, denied dex bonus to AC, -4 penalty to dex, -2 to attack rolls, + limited combat options) opponent is potentially helpless if it theoretically cannot escape (opening up extra bonuses to hit/CdG).

Also note that your basic exploit is anaconda's belt -> Final Embrace -> Horror, which is possible on any grapple build, including the one I posted, so it's a wash unless you have something specific like flurry of maneuvers to give you obscene numbers of grapple checks/round.


Sorry, I saw it stated a couple of times that Anaconda's Coils do not qualify you for Final Embrace. Why?


Trekkie90909 wrote:
claws(debatable, some rule them slashing damage)

I'm pretty sure Claws count as piercing and slashing, but in my builds, I like to take Feral Combat Training and Snake Style: even my tentacles are piercing.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
/gore being treated as secondary natural attacks,

I'm pretty sure Gore is a primary natural attack.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
For the caster that's even worse.

Well, that's for darn sure. It's hard to make a caster into a fighter. I guess that's what Magi, Arcane Archers, Dragon Disciples, and Eldritch Knights are for.

Trekkie90909 wrote:
it's a wash unless you have something specific like flurry of maneuvers to give you obscene numbers of grapple checks/round.

Hamatula Strike will do it if all your natural attacks are piercing. Grab will do it for 1 attack, and say if you Wild Shape into a Giant Octopus, an Auvimorax, a hydra, or a 4-Armed Sahaugin and get grab somehow, you are golden.

Grand Lodge

Lune wrote:
Sorry, I saw it stated a couple of times that Anaconda's Coils do not qualify you for Final Embrace. Why?

Sorry, slightly confusing statements.

Anaconda coils *do* qualify you. But if you take it off, you cannot use the feat till you put them back on.

Grand Lodge

Trekkie90909 wrote:
As has been mentioned previously anaconda's coils do not qualify you for final embrace.

Huh? No one said that. We just said you can't use it to bootstrap. (In other words no taking anaconda coils, getting the feat, and then selling the coils back.)

Also, there are many, many ways to deal with encumberance.

Trekkie90909 wrote:


An eidolon cannot take Final Embrace Horror at level 6 (when it gains its 3rd feat), as it would not yet have the +6 bab pre-req so if your GM does not allow retraining it can be shut down, which would also negate the cruel AoMF or delay getting Hamatula strike.

Level nine build. and the eidolon doesn't have (or need) Hamatula strike.)

Trekkie90909 wrote:


Bite +4 tail slaps + constrict is still 6/5 natural attacks/turn.

5 attacks, which is it's max.

Trekkie90909 wrote:


A protean eidolon would have an evolution pool of 7 at level 9; you start with one tail and one tail slap; your build has 4, requiring a 3 point investment in tails, and a separate 3 point investment in tail slaps. This leaves you with one point in your evo pool, which is not enough for constrict (admittedly can get around this with FCB depending on race).

Or a feat.

Trekkie90909 wrote:


Your build does not make them drop what they're holding as Final Embrace Horror only makes the opponent shaken (regardless of the number of times you use it/round).

No, shaken stacks. It only doesn't stack for abilities that specify that. (such as intimidate.)

prd glossary wrote:


Becoming Even More Fearful: Fear effects are cumulative. A shaken character who is made shaken again becomes frightened, and a shaken character who is made frightened becomes panicked instead. A frightened character who is made shaken or frightened becomes panicked instead.
Trekkie90909 wrote:


Maintaining the grapple ('my build') can, since they'd usually need to drop a 2 handed weapon to pull a light weapon to deal damage in grapple. The Eidolon makes them shaken (-2 saves/attack/skills/ability checks), and then sickened (-2 attack/weapon damage/saves/skills/ability checks). This -4 is approximately a wash if you pin the opponent with a grapple build (-4 to AC, denied dex bonus to AC, -4 penalty to dex, -2 to attack rolls, + limited combat options) opponent is potentially helpless if it theoretically cannot escape (opening up extra bonuses to hit/CdG).

Pin does not make you helpless or allow CdG. (see many, many, many threads on here.)

Trekkie90909 wrote:


Also note that your basic exploit is anaconda's belt -> Final Embrace -> Horror, which is possible on any grapple build, including the one I posted, so it's a wash unless you have something specific like flurry of maneuvers to give you obscene numbers of grapple checks/round.

The whole point of this conversation is whether this tactic is legal given the number of creatures (both PC and NPC) who *do* have obscene numbers of iteratives. It *started* talking about NPCs. technically this would convo about PCs is a digression. If it makes you more comfortable, answer the question, "Would you be upset if the GM used this with a Migo, which gets 4 attacks a round, each with a grab, and every time it grabs it gets a sneak attack + 1d4 ability damage to the stat of it's choice. (DC 18 fort save on the ability damage)"

Grand Lodge

Also, where are you getting the idea that anaconda coils weigh 1 lbs?

Also, Pin says it's modifiers do not stack with grapple. So there is no -4 to dex while pinned. Not that it is terribly relevant.

Also, as I said, Channel to harm, innate shape change, Dimensional shift, and several other powers do not really care about pinning.

I think you are also vastly overstating the advantages of +1 to saves. It is nice, but it wont get you dominated every combat if you don't have it. But it isn't really relevant since AC is 1 lb. A bigger issue with using AC is not being able to get a phys stats belt.


alexd1976 wrote:
Gwen Smith wrote:

Since the grappled condition is a really effective debuff and since the creature can continue its full attack after the initial grab, I can't rationalize how a creature would ever figure out that "grab-release-attack/re-grab" could do more damage than "grab-attack with an advantage". Until I see just one example of an animal that evolved that strategy naturally and uses it in actual hunting, I won't use it. Whether it's operating as intended (different argument), the animal would have to somehow stumble onto an anti-intuitive strategy and then experimented to discover it was better. (Related note: Does anyone know the Int score required to have object permanence?)

Yes, animals will grab-release-grab when they are playing, but that's because play is practicing how to catch things: when they actually want to catch the thing, they don't randomly let go. (They also go out of their way not to kill the prey when they're playing, even giving it a head start before catching it again, but I don't see anyone suggesting that monsters adopt that strategy.)

Note that I have no problem with any creature that class levels using this strategy, because the levels represent training, which means practice, experimentation, and reviewing results across different techniques. Instinctual play does not have that level of abstraction.

Learning ones own limitations/capabilities is hardly abstract thought.

In any case, the GM can assign whatever level of competency to the opponent he/she wishes. You can have an Ogre attack once every other round if you like, it's up to you (or the GM, you get my point).

Animals that kill, eat.
Animals that don't, starve, or get killed themselves.

I would argue they would employ the "superior tactics" because they have to, maybe it's instinct, maybe it's learned behavior...

My point is that the tactic is only superior in the abstract, game-mechanic sense--and even then over the long term. You can only figure that out by experimenting with different tactics and comparing their effectiveness over a statistically significant number of tries. But better DPR over the long run doesn't help if I happen to starve from a single run of bad luck while I'm making that discovery.


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Gwen, you have a point, but I think there are some other things to bear in mind.

Natural Selection is a good optimizer, but it's not perfectly efficient. Just because the organism is not extinct does not mean it's optimized. It might be just good enough to not go extinct yet.

Also, animals don't always use the same tactics for attacking everything. Even very stupid animals learn and adapt. A rattlesnake pursued by a king snake will often realize its rattling is not deterring its deaf predator, give up trying to sound venomous, and just flee. A Cobra will make multiple fast bites against when it feels threatened, but it will bite and hold its prey, pumping more and more venom inside the creature. And of course sometimes a threatened cobra might not bite at all but rather spit venom, or maybe just pose with that scary hood thing. A tiger shark employs different methods for catching fish than for catching seagulls.

So, a froghemoth might sometimes Grab one target, draw it in, and swallow it whole, or it might hit, Grab, and let go multiple times, concentrating on 1 target or dividing its many attacks against many targets. And which it does in any particular encounter may or may not be the most sensible thing to do. But the froghemoth will just do what it does, and you can't reason with it. Just try.

All I'm saying is that animals with Grab have varied tactics, and it's worth considering all of them

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Some really good stuff

I have actually had this come up in game.

A wolf in sheeps clothing attacked the party, planning on squeezing and releasing multiple times. After the first really good hit completely missed, and the second rolled a natural 20, it decided that maybe this was a bad plan, and just kept him grabbed. (which actually wound up making things better for the rest of the party, since it couldn't AoO the rest of them after that, but it didn't want to lose it's lunch.)

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
All I'm saying is that animals with Grab have varied tactics, and it's worth considering all of them

Right, but within the actual rules, are they supposed to? That's the question being asked.


I'm surprised there's not a clause preventing the shaken condition from Final Embrace Horror from stacking.

Regarding the Froghemoth, one surprised our goblin party and swallowed my PC, but on his turn he ate his way out and killed it. Swallow Whole can do a lot of damage, but it is often a bad idea tactically speaking. Folks I play with sometimes joke about an archetype like "Internal Warrior" which focuses on getting swallowed and then attacking from inside (maybe with some resist acid and DR abilities)

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