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


Rules Questions

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Grand Lodge

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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?


Only intelligent critters would do it. Animals grab and hold on.

Grand Lodge

thorin001 wrote:
Only intelligent critters would do it. Animals grab and hold on.

Is that actually backed up in the rules anywhere?


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thorin001 wrote:
Only intelligent critters would do it. Animals grab and hold on.

Maybe, maybe not? It depends on how you view 'release'. Release could just be letting go fast enough to get a better kill grip as the prey weakens--because you're going to grab them again and again and again from an increasingly better position each time.

When killing smaller prey, a dog might grab, then shake hard. The prey is disoriented, so they quick-release or even quick-drop to shift grip now that they have access to a more tender body part, grab, shake hard, rinse and repeat. Whatever it is will be dead within a few rounds of this.

"Hey, human, look, look! I brought us breakfast! I am the BEST!!!"

"...haha, just kidding! It's all mine!"

<The squirrel stares at you with silent and accusing black eyes.>

Liberty's Edge

I feel it's not intended, as constrict will usually do about the same damage as a rake attack, which is limited to once a round. But there's no question that you can legally constrict/release as many times as you can grab. So it really comes down to how much of a jerk do you want to be. Since most monsters with constrict can do so a number of times a round, and doing so usually has a good chance to kill a level appropriate character.

It seems to me like most monsters with constrict have enough attacks/limb to content with numerous melee characters at once, but if only one character engages the monster, the don't really stand a chance.


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Dunno if it was intended, but it is legal. Note that players can get the same attack sequence using the anaconda's coils belt slot item and a binding blade, which can make for impressive barbar damage.

Went through a worse situation with an eidolon using grab and rake [strike]abilities[/strike] evolutions which at level 9 had an unbuffed no feat attack routine of 4x(claw +14 (1d6+1d6acid+7), on hit grapple attempt +14, on successful grapple 2x(rake +14(1d6+1d6acid+7), release grapple). 12 non-iterative attacks/round is probably too many for a level 9 pet.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would like to know the answer to this as well.

Sometimes I GM it one way, and sometimes I GM it the other.

Grand Lodge

That's really weird. Why did they change the Eidolon Rake to not match the UMR rake?

UMR rake can only be used if you begin the turn grappling, and it is a single pair of extra attacks, not once per grapple check.


The issue is "letting go" is a free action, which brings about this weird combo.

It should not be legal.

Silver Crusade

Rules-wise, I don't think the release is really even necessary as long as each grab+constrict is a separate natural attack. Grapple doesn't stack of course, but each successful grab can do it's own constrict damage.

Grand Lodge

cnetarian wrote:

Dunno if it was intended, but it is legal. Note that players can get the same attack sequence using the anaconda's coils belt slot item and a binding blade, which can make for impressive barbar damage.

Went through a worse situation with an eidolon using grab and rake [strike]abilities[/strike] evolutions which at level 9 had an unbuffed no feat attack routine of 4x(claw +14 (1d6+1d6acid+7), on hit grapple attempt +14, on successful grapple 2x(rake +14(1d6+1d6acid+7), release grapple). 12 non-iterative attacks/round is probably too many for a level 9 pet.

Okay, not sure this is legal. Consensus so far is that rake is a natural attack, and therefore can only be used once per round per the rules on natural attacks.

Please FAQ here so we can get an answer.

Grand Lodge

So interesting thing. In spite of what a lot of people keep telling me, there is nothing in the rules saying you can't grapple someone new if you have the grappled condition.

So PC A grappled Badguy B. Badguy B grabs (adjacent) Hostage C and says "let me go or I will snap his neck" is an entirely legal set of moves. The only limit is that Badguy B has a -6 to attack if he is bipedal. (-2 from being grappled, -4 for not having both his arms available.)

So theoretically, the creature doesn't have to release unless it wants to. (There maybe some ambiguity in the UMR, since the UMR says that you "start a grapple" and it is kind of strange to let you start a grapple on someone you are already grappling.)


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It seems like a good errata or house rule would be to simply add "a creature can only Constrict any given target once per round, regardless of how many successful grapple checks are make"

Or, "constrict damage is dealt when a creature ends it's turn while in control of a grapple against another creature."

Or something like that.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
darrenan wrote:
Rules-wise, I don't think the release is really even necessary as long as each grab+constrict is a separate natural attack. Grapple doesn't stack of course, but each successful grab can do it's own constrict damage.

-20 to grab with other limbs

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Y there's always that pesky rule that says the DM is the final arbiter on how many free actions you can do in a round. ...

Grand Lodge

Purple, the -20 is only if you don't want to have the grappled condition yourself. To grapple when one hand is already occupied is only -4 and only if you are bipedal (And grapple only prevents you from using one limb.)

-20 would let you not only grapple them, but then also walk away at your full move speed.

Just a reminder. Pathfinder Grapple is not like D&D grapple. You aren't draped all over them. Pathfinder grapple is you have grabbed someone by the wrist / arm. Pinned is you are draped all over them. This is a conscious design change from previous editions. Here is Jason Bulman talking about it.


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

Rules no.

But there are no rules keeping mindless vermin from acting like geniuses either.


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Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
darrenan wrote:
Rules-wise, I don't think the release is really even necessary as long as each grab+constrict is a separate natural attack. Grapple doesn't stack of course, but each successful grab can do it's own constrict damage.
-20 to grab with other limbs

Incorrect. It's a -20 penalty to the Grapple check to make you not receive the Grappled condition (whereas your target does). It's actually a -4 penalty if you try to grapple without two hands free.

Additionally, releasing a grapple is a Free Action. Keep in mind that with other Free Actions, it still has limitations, as determined by GM FIAT, and I would say that grabbing and releasing the likes of a sword, as far as limitations are concerned, is a FAQ-supported level of fairness (that is, one grip and one release per round), one that I imagine would be equally supported with both an object used as an improvised weapon (i.e. Giant Cooking Pot of Doom), as well as a creature.

I'll also be one to advocate not playing the creature's Intelligence (or to be more accurate, natural instincts) properly: A creature who is not sentient (or fairly intelligent in some manner, such as maybe a Worg), would not be smart enough to grab and regrab over again, meaning those tactics cannot be emulated.

Are there creatures that use a grab, release, and grab again method? Probably. But there aren't many, and unless they are sentient or have such tactics listed in their statblock, it's not fair game for a GM to follow.

@thorin011: There are also no rules that support the Dead condition still allowing people actions and turns and abilities, and by the RAW, people can still do all of those things.

But of course I agree with you on one thing: There comes a point in time where following only the RAW is just plain stupid and nonsensical. This is one of those times.

Grand Lodge

I have described my (Protean) Eidolon's (reach) grab / release / grab as:
"as the scuttling little creature moves past her, Todal snakes out her head, grabs it, tossing it into the air like a rat, to land next to her where she (rolls a 3) misses hitting it with her tail." (Okay, it would have been more impressive if I had hit.)

Basically, think if a snake liked to play with it's food like a cat. (Okay, Todal is more a protean blob of glup than a snake, so it is more like if a gibbering mouther liked to play with it's food like a cat.)

Grand Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
darrenan wrote:
Rules-wise, I don't think the release is really even necessary as long as each grab+constrict is a separate natural attack. Grapple doesn't stack of course, but each successful grab can do it's own constrict damage.
-20 to grab with other limbs
Incorrect. It's a -20 penalty to the Grapple check to make you not receive the Grappled condition (whereas your target does). It's actually a -4 penalty if you try to grapple without two hands free.

and even then, it is only -4 if you are bipedal. (but then enlarge person only grants reach if you are bipedal, so that seems like a fair trade.)


Eh, I would rule that this scenario is covered by the "handiness" issue. If you gain the grappled condition you cannot take any action that requires two hands, and I would put the RAI that a multiple limb full-attack falls under that category. (The grapple rules themselves refer to single weapon usage, which supports this.) So when if you don't take the -20 to avoid the grappled condition, as soon as you successfully grapple your natural weapon full-attack ends.

Grand Lodge

Except that the rules explicitly say you can grapple without using two hands. It is just at -4. And that rule applies only to bipeds in any case. In fact most of the creatures doing this don't have any hands, and need no hands to full attack. And no, you can't just say it doesn't have any hands so I grab it's mouth so it cant use that, that takes a feat. (Okay, technically the feat does some other stuff, and if it were in a home game, I would let you do it, but under the rules, the only thing you can't do is something that takes two hands. A 4 tentacle full attack takes 0 hands.)

Also, please god don't let this turn into a "how many hands" debate. No one can agree how many hands a PC has. Just see the ever present "Shield + Sword + Armor spikes / combat boots let me two weapon fight and keep my shield bonus" threads.


The grab, constrict, release, repeat sequence has been in existence since since at least the beginning of 3.5. I don't recall if it worked that way in 3.0. So the design team has to have been aware of its existence and have included nothing to limit the practice.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I'll also be one to advocate not playing the creature's Intelligence (or to be more accurate, natural instincts) properly: A creature who is not sentient (or fairly intelligent in some manner, such as maybe a Worg), would not be smart enough to grab and regrab over again, meaning those tactics cannot be emulated.

I don't know... It's one thing for the GM to claim the 2 Int creature can't engineer bridges. It's another thing for the GM to claim the 2 Int creature doesn't know how to optimally use its own natural weapons that it was born with and used repeatedly for survival since birth.


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voideternal wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I'll also be one to advocate not playing the creature's Intelligence (or to be more accurate, natural instincts) properly: A creature who is not sentient (or fairly intelligent in some manner, such as maybe a Worg), would not be smart enough to grab and regrab over again, meaning those tactics cannot be emulated.
I don't know... It's one thing for the GM to claim the 2 Int creature can't engineer bridges. It's another thing for the GM to claim the 2 Int creature doesn't know how to optimally use its own natural weapons that it was born with and used repeatedly for survival since birth.

Only in some aspects. How often have you seen an animal let go of its food?


It isn't really an issue imo.

Sure octopus can wombo combo you but letting go has to be a free action or grapple is awful

Grand Lodge

cats. All the time. Okay, mostly they aren't very hungry and are just hunting for practice, but yes, it should depend on the animal.

But there also is the fact that in the real world, it is not mechanically optimal to release and regrab. Real world constrict works by slowly squeezing the breath out of a creature, so rapidly releasing and regrabbing would defeat the point.


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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.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
FLite wrote:
Real world constrict works by slowly squeezing the breath out of a creature, so rapidly releasing and regrabbing would defeat the point.

Technically, that's not correct.

Watch documentary footage of a constrictor snake. It doesn't "squeeze the breath out of a creature". Every time the prey exhales, the snake rapidly constricts to prevent the creature from being able to inhale.

Grand Lodge

Sorry, I was simplifying. I actually am aware of that. None the less, rapidly releasing and regrabbing the creature would not in anyway mechanically benefit any real world creature.

Mechanically, a pathfinder constrict deals damage through physical trauma however, as it still has does full damage if you do not need to breath. It is more of a cinematic / pulp constrict.


FLite wrote:

Except that the rules explicitly say you can grapple without using two hands. It is just at -4. And that rule applies only to bipeds in any case. In fact most of the creatures doing this don't have any hands, and need no hands to full attack. And no, you can't just say it doesn't have any hands so I grab it's mouth so it cant use that, that takes a feat. (Okay, technically the feat does some other stuff, and if it were in a home game, I would let you do it, but under the rules, the only thing you can't do is something that takes two hands. A 4 tentacle full attack takes 0 hands.)

Also, please god don't let this turn into a "how many hands" debate. No one can agree how many hands a PC has. Just see the ever present "Shield + Sword + Armor spikes / combat boots let me two weapon fight and keep my shield bonus" threads.

The thing is, this is inherently a "hands" debate. The rules for grappling indicate that the grappling occupies both a free hand and a "hand of effort" and prohibits actions that require more than one of either. As this interpretation is compatible with all the other rules and avoids broken action sequences, its what I would do with.

Grand Lodge

There is no such thing as a hand of effort in pathfinder rules. I truly wish there were and it was made clear, but it just isn't there. It also does not apply to natural attack creatures with grab, especially non-bipeds so this really isn't relevant to the discussion.


So, how can a PC obtain the Constrict ability to apply this little tactic ourselves? 2 levels in White Haired Witch gives you something like Constrict and is even called Constrict, but it's not Constrict.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
how can a PC obtain the Constrict ability

Anaconda's Coils

Grand Lodge

WHW + Final Embrace would let you iterate constricts. (There is some table variation as to whether WHW constrict qualifies you for final embrace. If not see the Anaconda Coil belt below.)

Anaconda Coil belt gets you constrict for ~18K
Binding Blade will get you a free grab on weapon attack. ~12K

Improved Two Weapon Fight with 2 small binding blades, should get you 5 constricts at BAB +10

I'm sure there are other ways to do it.

Grand Lodge

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Better yet, Give your monk / brawler Anaconda Coil, use anaconda coil to qualify for final embrace, final embrace gives you grab, upgrades your constrict to match your unarmed attack damage, and lets you grab and constrict opponents up to your size (instead of one size smaller)

Now Flurry.

As you level up, pick up an cruel amulet of mighty fists and final embrace horror (your opponents are now shaken when you constrict, and when you hit them again the same turn they are sickened as well.)

Then pick up Final embrace master, and every time you grab successfully deal double your unarmed damage dice.

Grand Lodge

thorin001 wrote:
Only intelligent critters would do it. Animals grab and hold on.

Heh. And that brings us to one of the worst offenders with the catch-and-release grab sequence, the Mi-Go.

Anyone know what level it qualifies for, out of the box, for overcoming Uncanny Dodge?


FLite wrote:
cnetarian wrote:

Dunno if it was intended, but it is legal. Note that players can get the same attack sequence using the anaconda's coils belt slot item and a binding blade, which can make for impressive barbar damage.

Went through a worse situation with an eidolon using grab and rake [strike]abilities[/strike] evolutions which at level 9 had an unbuffed no feat attack routine of 4x(claw +14 (1d6+1d6acid+7), on hit grapple attempt +14, on successful grapple 2x(rake +14(1d6+1d6acid+7), release grapple). 12 non-iterative attacks/round is probably too many for a level 9 pet.

Okay, not sure this is legal. Consensus so far is that rake is a natural attack, and therefore can only be used once per round per the rules on natural attacks.

Please FAQ here so we can get an answer.

I don't believe a general rule about limbs being used for natural attacks once per round can overrule the specific rule that rake attacks happen whenever a grapple occurs. If a ruling is made that eidolon rake cannot be used twice in a round then same ruling should be written to prevent the grab-constrict-release-grab-constrict-release... routine, even though there is no 'limb' associated with the constrict attack.

----edit----
I should mention that the situation was resolved at the table by invocation of Wheaton's rule (IMO an essential houserule). I think Wheaton's rule would also apply to most uses of the grab-constrict-release routine, but it isn't used at all tables.

Grand Lodge

Well, there is a.) a minor diffence in scale, as you noted. (12 attacks vs 8) B. one is defined as a natural attack and counts against the creatures max attacks, while the other is a special attack.

Would you suggest that if an eidolon can only rake once a round, it can only use it's acid add on once per round?


FLite wrote:

Well, there is a.) a minor diffence in scale, as you noted. (12 attacks vs 8) B. one is defined as a natural attack and counts against the creatures max attacks, while the other is a special attack.

Would you suggest that if an eidolon can only rake once a round, it can only use it's acid add on once per round?

"This evolution counts as one natural attack toward the eidolon's maximum." is not the same as saying it is one attack, in fact an eidolon rake is two attacks whenever triggered. If the evolution description said "each time the rake attacks are made, it is counted as one natural attack toward the eidolon's maximum" (the houserule we adopted) then it would be less powerful, but the description doesn't say that. Also, by RAW, a level 9 serpentine eidolon with the constrict evolution, 3 pairs of arms with claws, and the grab (claw) evolution would be able to make 10 attacks/round versus the 12 of the quadreped eidolon using grab & rake

Silver Crusade

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thorin001 wrote:
voideternal wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I'll also be one to advocate not playing the creature's Intelligence (or to be more accurate, natural instincts) properly: A creature who is not sentient (or fairly intelligent in some manner, such as maybe a Worg), would not be smart enough to grab and regrab over again, meaning those tactics cannot be emulated.
I don't know... It's one thing for the GM to claim the 2 Int creature can't engineer bridges. It's another thing for the GM to claim the 2 Int creature doesn't know how to optimally use its own natural weapons that it was born with and used repeatedly for survival since birth.
Only in some aspects. How often have you seen an animal let go of its food?

many many many times when a rather unfortunate bug has wandered into my house. The cats spend a good two or so hours "playing" with it before they kill it. If they had access to mice they'd do the same thing.

Grand Lodge

cnetarian wrote:
FLite wrote:

Well, there is a.) a minor diffence in scale, as you noted. (12 attacks vs 8) B. one is defined as a natural attack and counts against the creatures max attacks, while the other is a special attack.

Would you suggest that if an eidolon can only rake once a round, it can only use it's acid add on once per round?

"This evolution counts as one natural attack toward the eidolon's maximum." is not the same as saying it is one attack, in fact an eidolon rake is two attacks whenever triggered. If the evolution description said "each time the rake attacks are made, it is counted as one natural attack toward the eidolon's maximum" (the houserule we adopted) then it would be less powerful, but the description doesn't say that. Also, by RAW, a level 9 serpentine eidolon with the constrict evolution, 3 pairs of arms with claws, and the grab (claw) evolution would be able to make 10 attacks/round versus the 12 of the quadreped eidolon using grab & rake

How do you get 10 attacks? 3 claws = 3 attacks + 3 grab/constrict.

That is 6 attacks.

Unless you mean 3 pairs of arms with 5 claws?

That would be
6pts for 3 arms
5pts for 5 claws
2pts for grab claws
3pts for constrict

for 16 evo points, and half it's attacks can't affect anything it's size or larger, and it probably can't get 5 claws, because it probably already has a bite and a tail attack, and you can't sell back base attack forms.

The claw eidolon spends.
2pts for 1 arm (quadruped gives it two)
4pts for claws
2pts for grab claws
2pts for rake

for 10 evo points, and it can still get pounce to use them all on a charge.

For that matter, give your quadruped an anaconda belt, and the grab (claws) evo, let it take final embrace, now it gets grab and constrict on all it's natural attacks. Now you have 24 attacks.


Right, I used claws as a quick stand in for actually building an eidolon. To spend a few minutes building eidolons for a level 9 summoner a build might look like:

seprentine base form

evolutions

1x head = 2 points
1x bite = 1 points
grab (bite) = 2 points
limbs (arms) = 2 points
claws (arms) = 1 point
grab (claws) = 2 points
constrict = 2 points

12 evolution points.

attack sequence 2x bite (bite + grapple + constrict), 2x claw (claw + grapple + constrict) tail slap = 8 primary attacks + 1 secondary attack

conversely:

quadraped base form

evolutions

1 x head = 2 points
1 x bite = 1 point
1 x claws (front legs) = 1 point
grab (claws) = 2 points
grab (bite) = 2 points
rake = 2 points

10 evolution points

attack sequence 2x bite (bite + grapple + rake + rake) 2 x claws (claw + grapple + rake + rake) for 12 primary attacks.

The quadraped is superior (not just because of pounce and fewer evo points, it also has a higher base strength and speed) but both are making too many attacks for a level 9 pet.

other notes, constriction is a 2 point evolution & the 1 point claws evolution gives 2 attacks.

Grand Lodge

You can't take grab twice. You only get it on one attack type.

You are right, claws are x2 I forgot about that. I keep thinking that constrict is 3, because if feels like it should be three.

So the serpentine Eidolon maxes out at 2 claw grabs. (It has a bite and a tail slap.) It could conceivably take 4 bites, but that would need 3 heads... that gets expensive.

Interestingly, Quadruped also has Bite. So it can't actually take 4 claws + rake, because that would give it Bite + 4x claw + rake.

That said, I think some of the Unchained Eidolon forms have different inate attacks, and might work, but I am to tired right now to come through the books.

Sovereign Court

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Question: what exactly is a "grapple check"? Is the combat maneuver check to start a grapple a grapple check, or only the check to maintain the grapple?

Grapple

As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll. If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition (see the Appendices). If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails). Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds. Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).



Grab (Ex) If a creature with this special attack hits with the indicated attack (usually a claw or bite attack), it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. Unless otherwise noted, grab can only be used against targets of a size equal to or smaller than the creature with this ability. If the creature can use grab on creatures of other sizes, it is noted in the creature's Special Attacks line. The creature has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use the part of its body it used in the grab to hold the opponent. If it chooses to do the latter, it takes a –20 penalty on its CMB check to make and maintain the grapple, but does not gain the grappled condition itself. A successful hold does not deal any extra damage unless the creature also has the constrict special attack. If the creature does not constrict, each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals the damage indicated for the attack that established the hold. Otherwise, it deals constriction damage as well (the amount is given in the creature's descriptive text).

Creatures with the grab special attack receive a +4 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to start and maintain a grapple.

Constrict (Ex) A creature with this special attack can crush an opponent, dealing bludgeoning damage, when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage). The amount of damage is given in the creature's entry and is typically equal to the amount of damage caused by the creature's melee attack.

The way I read these texts, the Constrict ability only triggers on successive checks to maintain the grapple, not the initial check to establish it. Both Grab and Constrict refer to the constriction damage happening at the same time as the damage dealt for maintaining a grapple.

Grand Lodge

Okay, I did figure out a way for the unchained Protean eidolon to get 5 grab attacks:

tail / tail slap / grab (base form)
bite / grab (bite) (floating grab from first level)
3x tail / 3x tail slap.

Dark Archive

Ascalaphus wrote:




Grab (Ex) A successful hold does not deal any extra damage unless the creature also has the constrict special attack.
...

It sounds like the initial grab is the hold they are talking about.

Grand Lodge

definitely "start a grapple" is a grapple check.

Sovereign Court

Okay, although I couldn't find an explicit definition of "grapple check" to clarify it, the term is (sometimes, though rarely) used as the check to start a grapple. Much more often it's used as the check to maintain a grapple.

---

I'm still wondering if grab-constrict-release-grab-constrict was intended; I expect not.

[url=http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/universalMonsterRules.html#grab[/url] wrote:

Grab (Ex) If a creature with this special attack hits with the indicated attack (usually a claw or bite attack), it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. Unless otherwise noted, grab can only be used against targets of a size equal to or smaller than the creature with this ability. If the creature can use grab on creatures of other sizes, it is noted in the creature's Special Attacks line. The creature has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use the part of its body it used in the grab to hold the opponent. If it chooses to do the latter, it takes a –20 penalty on its CMB check to make and maintain the grapple, but does not gain the grappled condition itself. A successful hold does not deal any extra damage unless the creature also has the constrict special attack. If the creature does not constrict, each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals the damage indicated for the attack that established the hold. Otherwise, it deals constriction damage as well (the amount is given in the creature's descriptive text).

Creatures with the grab special attack receive a +4 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to start and maintain a grapple.

This hinges on what it means to "conduct the grapple normally". Strictly, it means only that the monster gets a choice to risk the grappled condition or not. I wonder though if the intent wasn't to make the monster choose between:

A) take a -20 penalty and grapple using only that limb; doesn't interrupt a full attack.
B) don't take a penalty, but require all limbs normally used in natural attacks for the grab - and thus interrupt the full attack.

That comes down to a choice between using one tentacle to grab or using all tentacles to grab. I really think something like that might've been intended.

---

That said, going by RAW, it looks like grab-constrict-release-grab-constrict is legal. I don't think it should be because it looks unnatural, uses a rather oddly written rule, and is I think more vicious than the CR of those monsters takes into account.


The way these rules are written will inevitably lead to table variation because they demand DM adjudication with regard to the number of free actions one can take in a single round. So, the rules need to be made more definite. Or FAQed.

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Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Is it intended for monsters to grab -> constrict -> release -> grab -> constrict in one attack sequence? All Messageboards

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