Power Attack and Natural Attacks - What's the deal?


Rules Questions


Consider the following:

Human
Bloodrager - 5 Levels
Dragon Disciple - 2 Levels

Stats:
Str: 22
Dex: 15
Con: 14
Int: 10
Wis: 10
Cha: 14

BAB: +6
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40ft
CMB: +12
CMD: 24

Feats:
Armor Proficiency (Light)
Armor Proficiency (Medium)
Eschew Materials
Following Step
Martial Weapon Proficiency - All
Power Attack -2/+4
Quicken Spell
Shield Proficiency
Simple Weapon Proficiency - All
Step Up
Step Up and Strike
Weapon Focus (Claws)

Traits:
Indomitable Faith
Adopted (Tusked)

Non-raging:
Bite (Tusked): +13, 1d4+10
Dagger: +12/+7, 1d4+6

Raging:
Stats:
Str: 26
Dex: 15
Con: 18
Int: 10
Wis: 10
Cha: 14

Bite (Tusked): +15, 1d4+9
Claws x2: +16/+16, 1d6+9
Dagger: +14/+9, 1d4+8

Assume primarily I wish to do a full round attack action, making use of Bite+Claw+Claw and using Power Attack while bloodraging, how is the damage scaled as well as to hit for those attacks?

Similarly if I use the special ability of the Dragon Disciple to grow Claws and Bite attack what is changed also?

Following further if I have no claws due to not raging or using the DD special, and wish to use bite and dagger with power attack, what modifiers for to hit and damage would I be looking at in the given round?

Finally now that BAB has hit 6 and would otherwise give an iterative attack, how does this work in a full attack action with Bite+Claw+Claw? If I am able to gain an iterative attack can I opt to use a dagger for it and take negs to hit, or does it have to be an unarmed strike with say a gauntlet if available?

If you're able to break it down into each allotment it would help immensely.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Secondary attacks function as off-hand attacks so the damage boost is halved.


You do more damage without the dagger.


Assuming 6th level full bab class (so you get the iterative and PA is -2) power attack will change things thusly:
Claw/Claw/Bite = -2/-2/-2 to hit with all attacks at +4 damage
Claw/bite/dagger(x2)* = -7/-7/-2/-2 to hit with all attacks +2 damage

The dagger makes things a lot worse.

*Claw and bite become secondary and you lose a claw attack to wield the dagger. Even with Multiattack you are still looking at -4/-4/-2/-2.


If you use nothing but natural weapons, each natural attack gets an extra +4 damage from Power Attack (+2 base, +2 from extra BAB). Your Bite, which gets 1.5x Strength, gets +6 damage from Power Attack (+3 base, +3 from extra BAB), and has its damage (1D6) overwrite your existing Bite attack (1D4).

If you use your dagger in conjunction with them, you would not only have to sacrifice a Claw (because you can't make attacks with a hand that has both a Claw and a Manufactured Weapon), but your remaining natural attacks would only get an extra +2 damage from Power Attack (+1 base, +1 from extra BAB).

The thing is that whenever you make an attack with a manufactured weapon (the dagger) in conjunction with other natural weapons, the natural weapons are treated as secondary weapons (therefore have -5 to-hit, and receive only 50% of Strength and Power Attack benefits; the Bite still gets 1.5x Strength, because it has specific text that overwrites the norm, but only 50% of Power Attack benefits because it's still a secondary natural weapon).

In short, your attack routines between the two should be as follows (assuming Rage and Power Attack is active):

ALL NATURAL
Bite @ +12 (6 Base, 8 Strength, -2 Power Attack), 1D6+18 (12 Strength, 6 Power Attack); average 21.5 damage per attack
Claw X2 @ +13 (6 Base, 8 Strength, 1 Weapon Focus, -2 Power Attack), 1D6+12 (8 Strength, 4 Power Attack), average 15.5 damage per attack.

Total Average DPR: 52.5

WITH DAGGER
Bite @ +7 (1 Base, 8 Strength, -2 Power Attack), 1D6+14 (12 Strength, 2 Power Attack); average 17.5 damage per attack
Claw @ +8 (1 Base, 8 Strength, 1 Weapon Focus, -2 Power Attack), 1D6+6 (4 Strength, 2 Power Attack); average 9.5 damage per attack
Dagger @ +12/+7 (6/1 Base, 8 Strength, -2 Power Attack), 1D4+12 (8 Strength, 4 Power Attack); average 14.5 damage per attack

Total Average DPR: 56

So, assuming all attacks hit, your dagger routine would do an average of 3.5 damage more (in other words, you get an effective extra 1D6 damage out of the deal). However, the former has your attacks all at full BAB. The latter, on the other hand, has 3 of your attacks with significant penalties, meaning the likelihood of reaching your average DPR with the dagger routine is slim, whereas the likelihood of reaching your average DPR with the all natural routine is much more likely (and for the purposes of improving it, much easier to do).

Therefore, the answer to your dilemma should be quite obvious; ditch the dagger, and just maw and claw them a new one.

And may I proper a suggestion? Pick up the Rageshaper archetype. You'll improve your Claw and Bite damage dice without giving up anything super valuable in exchange.

Sovereign Court

Also, while it's fine and dandy to go all-natural most of the time, you might want to pick up a few 2H weapons for particular DR types that frustrate you. I'm saying 2H since if the rest of your attack routine is going to suck because you use a manufactured weapon, might as well take one that does a lot on its own.

You don't really need to worry about bludgeoning/slashing since claw and bite are both. Piercing DR is quite rare so ignore that.

Cold iron DR matters quite a lot (demons oh the terrible demons). And cold iron weapons are cheap. Pick up a cold iron nodachi/earthbreaker/lucerne hammer. Eventually you won't need them anymore but for low levels it helps.

Silver is not quite as common (although, devils), but I recommend the heavy flail. As a bludgeoning weapon you sidestep the -1 damage from soft cuddly metal.

DR/magic won't be a problem particularly since you want the Furious Amulet of Mighty Fists. Once that becomes a +1 Furious amulet you also don't need to worry about silver and cold iron anymore.

A +2 Furious amulet would get you past DR/Adamantine but not Hardness. I recommend the Adamantine Earthbreaker as the classic "we're going through the door" weapon. It tends to suffer less from GMs protesting the weapon isn't appropriate for doing structural damage :P

Alignment DR is also annoying. But most commonly encountered on evil outsiders. I recommend the +1 Furious Evil Outsider Bane amulet, it's effectively +5 against them so gets you past the DR, while only costing as a +3 amulet.


So I am clear:
For a full round attack action currently, declaring power attack, and using only Natural Weapons it looks like:

Bite: +12, 1d6+18
Claws X2: +13/+13, 1d6+12

So Claws and Bite maintain Full BAB and strength bonus, and only the bite gains the 1.5x benefit from Power Attack, with Claws at 1x. This is also the optimum move as it currently stands, until as Ascalaphus said, benefiting from a 2H Adamantine Weapon. (I currently have a +1 Amulet of Mighty Fists and was tossing up between Speed and Furious; you've saved me the headache of choosing.)

To clarify also: Does adding a +1 enhancement to an Amulet of Mighty Fists treat it's base properties for the purposes of DR scaling as an overall +1? So a +1 Speed Evil Outsider Bane Amulet have the same DR potential as a +3 Scimitar, that being cold iron and silver/mithral? Or is it the enhancement of Furious in the above instance that is doing all the legwork?


Speed costs +3, whereas Furious gives you an extra +2 while raging, and is only a +1 cost. As a Bloodrager who can cast up to 3rd level spells, you can likewise buff yourself with Haste if you so wish, making the Speed property a pointless enhancement.

Even with a two-handed weapon, all of your natural attacks suffer a -5 penalty (AKA the Bite), and are only 1.5x Strength (except the Bite, because it has special wording).

Bypassing DR requires that your attack's enhancement bonus is +3 or higher for Cold Iron/Silver, +4 or higher for Adamantine, and +5 or higher for alignment based DR (or a total of +6 of both enhancements and properties for Epic DR, which natural and unarmed attacks lack the power to deal with).

The example Amulet you gave would only bypass DR/Magic, as it's a +1. If you're fighting Evil Outsiders, it improves to +3, and bypasses any Cold Iron/Silver DR they may possess (but if a DR requires two or more attacks, such as Good and Silver, then you must possess both to bypass it, which at that point you currently don't).

Furious improves the enhancement bonus of your natural attacks and unarmed strikes (in the case of a Furious AoMF) by +2, meaning a +1 Furious AoMF bypasses Cold Iron and Silver DR, a +2 Furious would bypass Adamantine, and +3 Furious would bypass Alignment DR. A +4 Furious, which is the best you can hope for, bypasses all of that and Epic DR (which is actually quite difficult for a natural attack/unarmed character to bypass, since AoMFs are only limited to +5, and you need +6 or more).

**EDIT**

For the record, I didn't include any Amulet of Mighty Fist benefits in the above calculations, only Rage and Power Attack. For a +1 Furious Amulet of Mighty Fists, you'd increase all of your attack and damage rolls with your natural weapons by 3 (when raging, of course, otherwise it's only +1).


No worries. Thanks for the input all. I was mostly trying to ascertain optimum full round attack actions, and how power attack is handled with natural attacks, namely with two claws and one bite.

The info regarding the amulet is most useful. :)


Alianak wrote:
I currently have a +1 Amulet of Mighty Fists and was tossing up between Speed and Furious (...)

The Speed weapon enchantment is almost never a smart choice, because even if you don't have a source of Haste (or Blessing of Fervor) in your party, Boots of Speed are significantly cheaper, and do more.


Speed doesn't enhance all natural attacks individually, similar to what would happen with a TWF build?


Pretty much. There's also the matter of whether or not you can even benefit from it via Natural Weapons (though Unarmed Strikes certainly do, based on how they attack compared to other manufactured weapons), but the FAQ only says that it prevents applying to all natural weapons.

At best, you can say you get a 2nd Bite Attack. At worst, it does nothing. Either way, based on Bloodrager benefits and the price of a +3 property, it's not worth it.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Even with a two-handed weapon, all of your natural attacks suffer a -5 penalty (AKA the Bite), and are only 1.5x Strength (except the Bite, because it has special wording).

You mean 0.5 STR, right? Also, that would apply to every single natural attack, including the bite.

Universal Monster Rules wrote:
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.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Alianak wrote:
Speed doesn't enhance all natural attacks individually, similar to what would happen with a TWF build?

If you mean the additional attack, No to both.

Even with multiple speed weapons you get a singe extra attack. The effect don't stack.

PRD wrote:
Speed: When making a full-attack action, the wielder of a speed weapon may make one extra attack with it. The attack uses the wielder's full base attack bonus, plus any modifiers appropriate to the situation. (This benefit is not cumulative with similar effects, such as a haste spell.)

Even less cumulative with itself.

FAQ wrote:

Speed Weapons: Can I get two extra attacks per round if I dual-wield two speed weapons?

No. The benefits of speed are not cumulative with similar effects, and "a second speed weapon" is a similar effect.
posted June 2013 | back to top


The FAQ Darksol talked about specifically answers that question with a firm "no".

Speed and Haste definitely work for natural attacks. The FAQ wouldn't answer a question that can't possibly be valid, and James Jacobs confirmed that Haste works.


Khudzlin wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Even with a two-handed weapon, all of your natural attacks suffer a -5 penalty (AKA the Bite), and are only 1.5x Strength (except the Bite, because it has special wording).

You mean 0.5 STR, right? Also, that would apply to every single natural attack, including the bite.

Universal Monster Rules wrote:
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.

My mistake on that. Of course, the Bite has text which precludes its Strength modifier from being reduced, as it's always a 1.5x Strength modifier.

It still suffers the damage penalties from Power Attack and its to-hit penalties from being turned into a Secondary Natural Weapon, but its Strength Modifier doesn't have that reduction.

**EDIT**

Here's an example. The Natural Attacks section of the Universal Monster Rules says:

Natural Attacks wrote:
Some creatures treat one or more of their attacks differently, such as dragons, which always receive 1-1/2 times their Strength bonus on damage rolls with their bite attack. These exceptions are noted in the creature's description.

The generic Dragon entry says:

Dragons (Bite) wrote:
This is a primary attack that deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon's Strength bonus (even though it has more than one attack).

The Dragon Disciple's "Dragon Bite" feature says:

Dragon Bite wrote:
At 2nd level, whenever the dragon disciple uses his bloodline to grow claws, he also gains a bite attack. This is a primary natural attack that deals 1d6 points of damage (1d4 if the dragon disciple is Small), plus 1–1/2 times the dragon disciple's Strength modifier.

Now, if the universal rules says if you treat your attacks differently, such as getting 1.5x Strength on your natural attack, you always receive those benefits, even if you have general rules (such as attacking with both manufactured and natural weapons) that would otherwise override it.

The Bite Attack from a Dragon and the Dragon Bite feature from DD have identical wording, and the universal monster rules specifically references the Bite Attack from Dragons as an example, therefore it makes sense to argue that they have the same function.

@ Derklord: JJ isn't exactly a rules guy, as he's been wrong about rules in the past (the most prevalent one is shield spikes being their own weapons to enhance).

I will go ahead and say that the rules would permit it, due that Haste says "one natural or manufactured weapon" gets the extra attack, and Speed provides an extra attack as the Haste spell (because it has the "doesn't stack" clause associated with it).

Sovereign Court

I don't agree with Darksol about that interpretation of "always".

Natural Attacks Most creatures possess one or more natural attacks (attacks made without a weapon). These attacks fall into one of two categories, primary and secondary attacks. Primary attacks are made using the creature's full base attack bonus and add the creature's full Strength bonus on damage rolls. Secondary attacks are made using the creature's base attack bonus –5 and add only 1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls. If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature's full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls. This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one. If a creature has only one type of attack, but has multiple attacks per round, that attack is treated as a primary attack, regardless of its type. Table: Natural Attacks by Size lists some of the most common types of natural attacks and their classifications.

Some creatures treat one or more of their attacks differently, such as dragons, which always receive 1-1/2 times their Strength bonus on damage rolls with their bite attack. These exceptions are noted in the creature's description.

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 natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack's original type.

The provision that dragons always get 1.5 Str on their bite is referring to the fact that dragons tend to have more than one natural attack, but still they get 1.5 Str on their bite.

However, they still lose that if they start swinging a sword, as spelled out in the next paragraph.


That's a convincing argument.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Alianak wrote:
Speed doesn't enhance all natural attacks individually, similar to what would happen with a TWF build?

If you mean the additional attack, No to both.

Even with multiple speed weapons you get a singe extra attack. The effect don't stack.

Which is really lame, of course. At the cost of a +3 enhancement there's absolutely no good reason it shouldn't stack with itself if someone wanted to go that route. [Frankly with the prevalence of Haste it shouldn't even BE a +3 enhancement. More of a +2]


I think only when the bite is primary do you get 1.5 str.


Chess Pwn wrote:
I think only when the bite is primary do you get 1.5 str.

Co-sign.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
Alianak wrote:
Speed doesn't enhance all natural attacks individually, similar to what would happen with a TWF build?

If you mean the additional attack, No to both.

Even with multiple speed weapons you get a singe extra attack. The effect don't stack.
Which is really lame, of course. At the cost of a +3 enhancement there's absolutely no good reason it shouldn't stack with itself if someone wanted to go that route. [Frankly with the prevalence of Haste it shouldn't even BE a +3 enhancement. More of a +2]

"Oh yes, amulet of mighty fist of speed + haste + blessing of fervor + hasted assault + Monstrous Physique (gargoyle), I can make 20 attacks on a full attack."

There is a valid reason why haste effects don't stack.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Power Attack and Natural Attacks - What's the deal? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.