Power Attack with Powerful Bite


Rules Questions


Power Attack lets a primary weapon deal 1.5*power attack damage. Powerful Bite makes the bite add double STR to damage. How do these two interact? Do I get the double STR, then add half again to damage when power attacking? Also, multiattack gives primary attack 1.5 STR damage, but I assume that Powerful bit overrides that.


You gain 2x STR and 1.5x Power Attack damage


the bite is getting 1.5 str for being the only primary attack and 2 str for powerful bite. Since they don't stack the end result is 2xstr.
Power attack does +2 damage, but if the attack is 1.5 (it is) then it goes up to +3 damage.

So in the end you have what Johnnycat said, 2x STR and 1.5x Power Attack damage


Thanks for the answers. This is pretty well what I thought, but wanted affirmation.

Sovereign Court

So lets look at the actual rules involved, shall we?
Per the PRD:

Power Attack wrote:

Power Attack (Combat)

You can make exceptionally deadly melee attacks by sacrificing accuracy for strength.

Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2. You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage.

We know that bite is a normally a primary natural attack.

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

However, with Powerful Bite:

Powerful Bite, from T-Rex as an example wrote:
Powerful Bite (Ex) A tyrannosaurus applies twice its Strength modifier to bite damage.

As you can clearly see, it is not "a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls", it adds twice its Strength modifier.

RAW, you get the +2 damage per power attack increment.
RAI, and how I would run it, +3 damage per power attack increment.


RAW, has already been explained by me. The bite by the rule STILL is a natural attack adding 1.5 str. It's also a natural attack adding 2 str. And then only the highest applies to the actual damage rolls, but it still has both modifiers on it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Firebug wrote:

So lets look at the actual rules involved, shall we?

Per the PRD:
Power Attack wrote:

Power Attack (Combat)

You can make exceptionally deadly melee attacks by sacrificing accuracy for strength.

Prerequisites: Str 13, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every 4 points thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 and the bonus to damage increases by +2. You must choose to use this feat before making an attack roll, and its effects last until your next turn. The bonus damage does not apply to touch attacks or effects that do not deal hit point damage.

We know that bite is a normally a primary natural attack.

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

The Tyrannosaurus has a single, primary, natural attack? Yes.

So it get to "adds 1-1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls.". Then that is modified by Powerful bite. But the underlying information that it is a creature that get a x1.5 multiplier of its strength bonus is still valid.

Sovereign Court

Sure, if 1.5 = 2 in your world, you are correct RAW.
But its not.
Either it gets 1.5x str mod and 3:1 power attack, or 2x str mod and 2:1.
If it said "... or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier (or greater) on damage rolls." Then I would agree with you. But it doesn't say that.

And again, at any table I run, I allow the 3:1 power attack for greater then 1.5 str attacks because it seems intended, but not written.

Diego Rossi wrote:

The Tyrannosaurus has a single, primary, natural attack? Yes.

So it get to "adds 1-1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls.". Then that is modified by Powerful bite.

And now it is no longer "adds 1-1/2 str mod", because its 2x. Power attack has several levels with caveats. Focusing on Natural attacks here.

Default: All attacks get 2:1
Exception: 1.5 str mod on a primary get 3:1
Exception: 0.5 str mod on a secondary get 1:1
Powerful bite adds 2x str, its not one of the exception so you go with Default.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Funnily enough, we have 2 conflicting FAQs for a similar subject (# hands and power attack). And they are on the same FAQ page. And posted 2 months apart.

For Increased Power Attack wrote:

Power Attack: If I am using a two-handed weapon with one hand (such as a lance while mounted), do still I get the +50% damage for using a two-handed weapon?

Yes.
Against Increased Power Attack wrote:

Weapons, Two-Handed in One Hand: When a feat or other special ability says to treat a weapon that is normally wielded in two hands as a one handed weapon, does it get treated as one or two handed weapon for the purposes of how to apply the Strength modifier or the Power Attack feat?

If you're wielding it in one hand (even if it is normally a two-handed weapon), treat it as a one-handed weapon for the purpose of how much Strength to apply, the Power Attack damage bonus, and so on.

Guess we should FAQ the FAQ and hope they clear it up.


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I'm done arguing with people that are being intentionally obtuse. We've already explained what is actually happening and how that allows for power attack increase. But hey, if you prefer to rule in a manner that few to none agree with I hope you have fun. May you not run into real life conflicts over this.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Firebug wrote:

Sure, if 1.5 = 2 in your world, you are correct RAW.

But its not.
Either it gets 1.5x str mod and 3:1 power attack, or 2x str mod and 2:1.
If it said "... or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier (or greater) on damage rolls." Then I would agree with you. But it doesn't say that.

And again, at any table I run, I allow the 3:1 power attack for greater then 1.5 str attacks because it seems intended, but not written.

Diego Rossi wrote:

The Tyrannosaurus has a single, primary, natural attack? Yes.

So it get to "adds 1-1/2 the creature's Strength bonus on damage rolls.". Then that is modified by Powerful bite.

And now it is no longer "adds 1-1/2 str mod", because its 2x. Power attack has several levels with caveats. Focusing on Natural attacks here.

Default: All attacks get 2:1
Exception: 1.5 str mod on a primary get 3:1
Exception: 0.5 str mod on a secondary get 1:1
Powerful bite adds 2x str, its not one of the exception so you go with Default.

You are completely wrong. Powerful bite don't replace the x1.5 strength damage damage that a creature receive for having a single natural attack. It overlap on it. As normal when two abilities overlap, you use the strongest. But the other is still active and you apply it for the bonus to power attack.

Sovereign Court

Chess Pwn wrote:
I'm done arguing with people that are being intentionally obtuse.

Yep, great rules argument. I blame my computer background and general LN alignment for being intentionally obtuse how I read the rules.

Chess Pwn wrote:
We've already explained what is actually happening and how that allows for power attack increase.

You've explained "what is actually happening" and didn't show any work to back up the claim, so I don't find it sufficient.

A better counter-argument would be to show that Powerful Bite remains a 1-1/2 str mod attack even though the definition of Powerful Bite says it applies twice its mod. But it does not, and there are no rules text saying it does. That is literally the whole point and definition of Powerful Bite. I don't know how to be more clear. 1-1/2 ≠ 2! Diego Rossi below argues that its both at the same time and I counter with one of the "how it is being wielded" Power Attack FAQs.

Or, that Power Attack has a clause for 1-1/2 str mod "or greater". It doesn't. ONLY Primary Attacks (just focusing on natural attacks here) with 1-1/2 str mod gain 3:1 Power Attack as written. If the critter somehow had a Secondary attack with 1.5 str mod, it not get 3:1 Power Attack because it is not "Primary", it would remain at 1:1 because it is still "Secondary".

Diego Rossi wrote:
You are completely wrong. Powerful bite don't replace the x1.5 strength damage damage that a creature receive for having a single natural attack. It overlap on it. As normal when two abilities overlap, you use the strongest. But the other is still active and you apply it for the bonus to power attack.
A good argument, except there is some extrapolated text, specifically "overlap" and "active". It only says the greater bonus applies.
PRD-Bonuses wrote:
Bonus: Bonuses are numerical values that are added to checks and statistical scores. Most bonuses have a type, and as a general rule, bonuses of the same type are not cumulative (do not "stack")—only the greater bonus granted applies.

And that leads me into the "how it is being wielded" FAQ. To put it another way, lets say I am using a 1h weapon in two hands. Then I get grappled. I can no longer use the weapon with two hands. Should I keep getting the 3:1 str bonus for Power Attack? Obviously not, according to one of the FAQs I quoted earler(and apparently I reversed the links on that post). Because it matters how I am using the attack. Is the critter using Power Attack with a Secondary, Primary w/1.5x str, or neither and so default to 2:1? It becomes a calculation of which is greater, 1.5 str mod + 3:1 PA vs 2x str mod and 2:1 PA. Strangely (barring animal companions), the only critter with both 2x str primary attacks and Power Attack that I could find (using archive of nethys) is the Crimson Whale. A single critter (and then animal companions, because the feats are flexible) in the entire list. In its case, I am claiming it would be 19(13*1.5) +6(BAB 7) = 25 vs 26 (13*2) +4(BAB 7) = 30. As opposed to (13*2 +6)32.

Ironically, doing more research on the subject, the Dragon Ferocity feat just doesn't work as intended with the applying the same ability modifer as an untyped bonus to the same check FAQ.

Chess Pwn wrote:
But hey, if you prefer to rule in a manner that few to none agree with I hope you have fun. May you not run into real life conflicts over this.

Oh, sorry, were we playing the game by committee then? I thought we had FAQ and Errata handed down from on high, not consensus on the boards. I could go into how a thousand years ago mostly everyone agreed the world was flat, but that dead horse has sailed. To mash-up a few idioms.

And for the 3rd time: I would not run it that way at a table in person, because I agree with you RAI. This makes me wonder if you are actually reading what I am posting instead of assuming my argument.

However, we are in the Rules Forum so I am explaining that as written the correct usage is 2:1. How else are we going to get a FAQ to fix it without explaining why the 2:1 RAW is a problem?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

1) the FAQ is irrelevant. The FAQs, unless they say that explicitly, only apply to the specific question, they aren't general rules;

2) You fail at comprehending how overlapping abilities work in Pathfinder. You use the greatest applicable bonus for each part of the ability, not all the bonuses of one ability and neither of the bonuses of the other.

So:
a) it is a creature that get the x1.5 strength multipliers and has strength 18 (for ease of calculation)
It get + 6 bonus to damage and get 3 point of bonus damage for each -1 to hit when attacking with its single natural weapon.
b) it has an ability called Powerful bite that grant x2 strength bonus to its bite damage?
It get +8 damage to it bite for its strength bonus. It do nothing to power attack, that default to other rules.
c) where the two things overlap:
the creature get +8 damage to its bite for powerful bite;
the creature get 3:1 bonus to its damage for power attack.

Stop using binary logic, Pathfinder rules rarely work that way,


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Firebug wrote:
Power Attack [doesn't have] a clause for 1-1/2 str mod "or greater"

According to this FAQ, linear progressions in Pathfinder are inclusive. Thus Power Attack actually does include an "or greater".

Note that this FAQ does make (or actually alludes to) a general rule, it deals with topics beyond the actual question asked.


The original value is irrelevant. The damage dealt uses a strength modifier =/= x1.5

If, on the other hand, you used Dragon Ferocity to give a natural attack a x1.5 strength modifier, it would qualify for a x1.5 power attack modifier.

*Feral Combat Training ftw.


Well, I now have solid proof to refer to in case it comes up. Thanks everyone.


Firebug wrote:

Funnily enough, we have 2 conflicting FAQs for a similar subject (# hands and power attack). And they are on the same FAQ page. And posted 2 months apart.

For Increased Power Attack wrote:

Power Attack: If I am using a two-handed weapon with one hand (such as a lance while mounted), do still I get the +50% damage for using a two-handed weapon?

Yes.
Against Increased Power Attack wrote:

Weapons, Two-Handed in One Hand: When a feat or other special ability says to treat a weapon that is normally wielded in two hands as a one handed weapon, does it get treated as one or two handed weapon for the purposes of how to apply the Strength modifier or the Power Attack feat?

If you're wielding it in one hand (even if it is normally a two-handed weapon), treat it as a one-handed weapon for the purpose of how much Strength to apply, the Power Attack damage bonus, and so on.
Guess we should FAQ the FAQ and hope they clear it up.

Those aren't contradictory. One answers what happens when you're allowed to wield a THW in one hand, but it stays a THW (it's thus far a class of one: Lance while mounted). The other answers what happens when you're allowed to wield a THW "as a OHW". Not the same thing. A lance is never wielded "as a OHW".


Snowlilly wrote:
The original value is irrelevant. The damage dealt uses a strength modifier =/= x1.5

Incorrect. Derklord cited the FAQ that made explicit what everyone else above explained.

Sovereign Court

fretgod99 wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
The original value is irrelevant. The damage dealt uses a strength modifier =/= x1.5
Incorrect. Derklord cited the FAQ that made explicit what everyone else above explained.

So a FAQ about how skill rank requirements are inclusive, how BAB requirements are inclusive, how Str requirements for feats are inclusive, but how feat requirements are not, explains how to use the modifiers correctly for Power Attack and Powerful Bite?

Did you miss that everything in the FAQ was about requirements and nothing at all to do with rules we are talking about?


No, the FAQ is not at merely about requirements. "if you have Str 15, then you have Str 13 (...)" - there is no "for purposes of meeting prerequisites" following that sentence, just an example.

If your argument was true, than for instance the second part of the Armor Skin Vigilante Talent ("At 8th level, he can move at full speed in medium armor.") would only stop working once the Vigilante reaches 9th level - after all, it's not a requirement, it's an additional, conditional effect, just like the higher Power Attack modifier is.


My statement consisted of two parts.

1. The original value is irrelevant.
2. The damage dealt uses a strength modifier =/= x1.5

I concede the FAQ takes care of #2. The first part holds true, the original value, prior to modification by feats/abilities is irrelevant. If the final strength modifier is x1.5 or greater on a primary natural attack, Power Attack will also receive a x1.5 modifier.

Sovereign Court

Derklord wrote:
No, the FAQ is not at merely about requirements. "if you have Str 15, then you have Str 13 (...)"

Weird, when you cut out the part that proves my point it looks like my point is disproven?

FAQ wrote:
In the same way, if you have Str 15, then you have Str 13, and therefore meet the "Str 13" feat prerequisite for Power Attack.
The FAQ is entirely about requirements, and to quote Diego upthread:
Diego Rossi wrote:
1) the FAQ is irrelevant. The FAQs, unless they say that explicitly, only apply to the specific question, they aren't general rules;

Regardless, we are not even talking about having a specific strength! The actual strength score is irrelevant to the discussion. It's the difference of the multiplier on the strength modifier vs the strength modifier itself.

To put a hypothetical to some of you, if the Crimson Whale had another set of natural attacks (say a level of sorcerer and bloodline claws), then do you switch sides to 2:1 power attack increment? The reason I ask, is it would no longer trip the 1-1/2 clause for a single natural attack. This is the difference between the non stacking argument (Diego) and the incremental argument(Dreklord).
I am still using binary logic, so I haven't been convinced yet, but I am curious about other views, of course.

Also, Diego, this ruleset uses exception based logic. For example, general case dice + STR mod for damage. Exception: powerful bite for 2x Str. Exception: power attack. Power attack 2:1, exception primary 1-1/2 Str for 3:1, exception secondary attack for 1:1.


Firebug wrote:

To put a hypothetical to some of you, if the Crimson Whale had another set of natural attacks (say a level of sorcerer and bloodline claws), then do you switch sides to 2:1 power attack increment? The reason I ask, is it would no longer trip the 1-1/2 clause for a single natural attack. This is the difference between the non stacking argument (Diego) and the incremental argument(Dreklord).

I am still using binary logic, so I haven't been convinced yet, but I am curious about other views, of course.

I wouldn't, no. 2xSTR > 1.5 STR, so it still triggers PA. It's nonsensical otherwise and we're not supposed to read the rules nonsensically.

That creature has an ability that applies 2xSTR to its bite. Of course, a large part of that is due to the fact that it is its only attack, so you're actually changing a lot more than is initially apparent by adding natural attacks to the creature. Regardless, if you were to advance the creature in this way, and decide that its powerful bite still applies the same way, yes it gets the larger PA bonus.

Sovereign Court

Ah!We agree on one point!
2xSTR > 1.5 STR. The important bit there is >, not >=.
Now where in power attack dues it say 1.5 STR or greater? Hint, it doesn't. So yes, you still apply power attack, but not the exception for a 1.5 STR primary attack.

It has an ability that says it applies 2x strength, that is in NO part due to it only having a single attack, it's simply because "It has an ability that says it applies 2x strength".


I'm aware of the ability's wording. I'm referencing game design decisions made off screen. This creature undoubtedly has that ability in no insignificant part because that's its only attack.

And saying 1.5 STR gets added Power Attack damage (you know, because you're swinging harder...) but 2.0 STR doesn't because PA doesn't reference abilities that didn't exist when it was written 15+ years ago borders on asinine. It is the epitome of elevating form over substance and violates the Common Sense Directive we're instructed to use when reading the rules, in that we're supposed to use it, not eschew it.

ETA: Also, 2 is both greater and greater than or equal to 1.5. So I'm not sure where you're going with that.


Diego Rossi wrote:
1) the FAQ is irrelevant. The FAQs, unless they say that explicitly, only apply to the specific question, they aren't general rules;

The FAQ in question was written in the general, not as an exhaustive list of circumstances.


So we can all agree that a Primary natural attack, by default, only gets the 1.5 STR if it's the only natural weapon that creature possesses(or from a creature with the Dragon type)... granting the 1:3 PA. If an additional natural attack is acquired then the creature would lose the 1.5 STR making everything 1:2 PA(except for those with the Dragon type).

Now let's look at Powerful Bite and Power Attack. PA explains the 1:3 for a primary natural attack that has 1.5 STR to damage rolls. Let's use a Tyrannosaurus as an example... it has a bite attack as a primary natural attack and no others. By the default rules, it would use 1.5 STR modifier and 1:3 on PA. Powerful Bite is an extraordinary ability that increases the bonus on damage rolls to 2x STR. Even with that ability, the bite still meets the criteria as a primary natural weapon that does "1.5 STR". I think most people would like the added words "at least 1.5" to accept that though. Additionally, it doesn't say "exactly 1.5" either. If it's using 2x STR... it's using 1.5 STR.

Aside from that, IMO, it just wouldn't make sense. A Wolf would get more of a damage bonus with it's bite on PA than a T-Rex because the Rex has a stronger bite?

Sovereign Court

Tyrant Lizard King wrote:
So we can all agree that a Primary natural attack, by default, only gets the 1.5 STR if it's the only natural weapon that creature possesses(or from a creature with the Dragon type)... granting the 1:3 PA. If an additional natural attack is acquired then the creature would lose the 1.5 STR making everything 1:2 PA(except for those with the Dragon type).

So we can all agree that Power Attack, by default, only gets the 2:1 damage bonus increment, and that if it is a primary natural attack (with a 1-1/2 str modifier) it would gain a 3:1 increment?

Tangent on Dragons:
The Dragon type is a red herring. True, Outer and Esoteric Dragons have 1.5 str mod on their Bite attack. But it is not a function of the Dragon creature type. A lot of dragon typed creatures do not. Some Drakes have an ability called Savage Bite which is similar to Powerful Bite (1.5x), but its not an "all Drakes" ability even then.
Tyrant Lizard King wrote:
Now let's look at Powerful Bite and Power Attack. PA explains the 1:3 for a primary natural attack that has 1.5 STR to damage rolls. <snipped exmaple> By the default rules, it would use 1.5 STR modifier and 1:3 on PA. Powerful Bite is an extraordinary ability that increases the bonus on damage rolls to 2x STR. Even with that ability, the bite still meets the criteria as a primary natural weapon that does "1.5 STR".
Hold up. "Increases". Thats not in the ability. It says "applies", it does not start at 1.5 and goes to 2. It starts out at 2x. And then, you still have order of operations going on here. Powerful Bite is always active. Power Attack is not. When you use Power Attack you check the type of attack and further the Str mod for a Primary Natural attack. And when it does, it does not see 1.5x because Powerful Bite has already been applied.
Tyrant Lizard King wrote:
I think most people would like the added words "at least 1.5" to accept that though. Additionally, it doesn't say "exactly 1.5" either.

I agree, if "at least 1.5" (as I have said many times) was in the rules text for Power Attack, I would all aboard for 3:1 PA. As far as the exactly bit goes, if 1.5 doesn't mean exactly 1.5, then I suppose we have to round down, right? Because the general rule is round down fractions unless otherwise noted in this game. So if 1.5 doesn't mean 1.5 exactly, we are left with "its a Primary Natural Attack that adds 1-1/2 times your str modifier to the attack roll." Which I hope we all agree is absurd, and not the intention of the designers.

Tyrant Lizard King wrote:
Aside from that, IMO, it just wouldn't make sense. A Wolf would get more of a damage bonus with it's bite on PA than a T-Rex because the Rex has a stronger bite?

Oh look, a strawman. T-Rex doesn't even have Power Attack. And neither does a Wolf. The only printed creature I have found with both Power Attack and Powerful Bite (2x) is the Crimson Whale. And if we are talking about animal companions...

T-rex vs Wolf:
Neither companion can take Power Attack at 1st level due to the requirement of +1 BAB. Until level 7 it doesn't matter for the comparison, because the T-Rex doesn't have Powerful Bite yet anyway.

T-Rex starts out with a 14 strength, Medium Sized, 1d8 bite. Average 7.5 damage. At 7 it advances to Large, with +8 Strength, 2d6 (plus grab)bite with powerful bite. Average 19 damage or 23 with 2:1 Power Attack.
Wolf starts out with 13 strength, medium sized, 1d6 (plus trip) bite. Average 4.5, again power attack later. At 7 it advances to Large, with +8 strength, 1d8 bite. Average 11.5 damage, 17.5 with 3:1 Power Attack.

Note, I am assuming the first ability increase in both cases goes into Int for more Tricks and the ability to take any feat. Even if you don't, and go Int for T-Rex and Str for Wolf, the Wolf is only at 19.5 vs 23. IE even if you take 'advantage' of the odd 13 Str and how they both only have 1 ability score increase at character level 7, the T-Rex still wins.

At level 20: The Power Attack at BAB +12 is 12 damage for Wolf and 8 Damage for T-Rex. So...11.5+12 vs 19+8. The wolf still loses. That is without increasing strength through items/level/etc which would only widen the T-Rex's lead because it gets a 2x multiplier instead of 1.5.

TL:DR - T-Rex always has a stronger bite. Even with 2:1 PA.

What should be more confusing is that the Panda animal companion does have Powerful Bite (2x) and 2 primary claws, but starts Small with 13 Str and only grows to Medium with a +4 more Str. For the Panda animal companion, at least, Diego's Non-Stacking argument supports the 2:1 PA ratio.


Firebug wrote:

Funnily enough, we have 2 conflicting FAQs for a similar subject (# hands and power attack). And they are on the same FAQ page. And posted 2 months apart.

For Increased Power Attack wrote:

Power Attack: If I am using a two-handed weapon with one hand (such as a lance while mounted), do still I get the +50% damage for using a two-handed weapon?

Yes.
Against Increased Power Attack wrote:

Weapons, Two-Handed in One Hand: When a feat or other special ability says to treat a weapon that is normally wielded in two hands as a one handed weapon, does it get treated as one or two handed weapon for the purposes of how to apply the Strength modifier or the Power Attack feat?

If you're wielding it in one hand (even if it is normally a two-handed weapon), treat it as a one-handed weapon for the purpose of how much Strength to apply, the Power Attack damage bonus, and so on.
Guess we should FAQ the FAQ and hope they clear it up.

There is no contradiction. One FAQ is talking of only wielding a two handed weapon in one hand. It gets two handed power attack benefits because it is still being treated as a two because weapon. The other FAQ talks about treating a two handed weapon as a one handed weapon. Because it is being treated as a one handed weapon and not just being used with one hand it gets treated like a one handed weapon for power attack, and no being held used with one hand does not default to "treated as a one handed weapon".

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Tyrant Lizard King wrote:

So we can all agree that a Primary natural attack, by default, only gets the 1.5 STR if it's the only natural weapon that creature possesses(or from a creature with the Dragon type)... granting the 1:3 PA. If an additional natural attack is acquired then the creature would lose the 1.5 STR making everything 1:2 PA(except for those with the Dragon type).

Now let's look at Powerful Bite and Power Attack. PA explains the 1:3 for a primary natural attack that has 1.5 STR to damage rolls. Let's use a Tyrannosaurus as an example... it has a bite attack as a primary natural attack and no others. By the default rules, it would use 1.5 STR modifier and 1:3 on PA. Powerful Bite is an extraordinary ability that increases the bonus on damage rolls to 2x STR. Even with that ability, the bite still meets the criteria as a primary natural weapon that does "1.5 STR". I think most people would like the added words "at least 1.5" to accept that though. Additionally, it doesn't say "exactly 1.5" either. If it's using 2x STR... it's using 1.5 STR.

Aside from that, IMO, it just wouldn't make sense. A Wolf would get more of a damage bonus with it's bite on PA than a T-Rex because the Rex has a stronger bite?

When someone argue from the Lawful Stupid position it is pointless to try to reason.

He is either a troll or incapable to comprehend of Pathfinder ruleset work.


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Firebug wrote:

Neither companion can take Power Attack at 1st level due to the requirement of +1 BAB. Until level 7 it doesn't matter for the comparison, because the T-Rex doesn't have Powerful Bite yet anyway.

T-Rex starts out with a 14 strength, Medium Sized, 1d8 bite. Average 7.5 damage. At 7 it advances to Large, with +8 Strength, 2d6 (plus grab)bite with powerful bite. Average 19 damage or 23 with 2:1 Power Attack.
Wolf starts out with 13 strength, medium sized, 1d6 (plus trip) bite. Average 4.5, again power attack later. At 7 it advances to Large, with +8 strength, 1d8 bite. Average 11.5 damage, 17.5 with 3:1 Power Attack.

Note, I am assuming the first ability increase in both cases goes into Int for more Tricks and the ability to take any feat. Even if you don't, and go Int for T-Rex and Str for Wolf, the Wolf is only at 19.5 vs 23. IE even if you take 'advantage' of the odd 13 Str and how they both only have 1 ability score increase at character level 7, the T-Rex still wins.

At level 20: The Power Attack at BAB +12 is 12 damage for Wolf and 8 Damage for T-Rex. So...11.5+12 vs 19+8. The wolf still loses. That is without increasing strength through items/level/etc which would only widen the T-Rex's lead because it gets a 2x multiplier instead of 1.5.

Actually according to this link the do start with a BAB of +1, however it has a caveat that you can't take feats with that prerequisite until level 3. And the Rex starts with 1.5 STR bonus on it's bite. So when it's jaws get bigger and stronger, it power attacks less? I don't buy it. No need to compare it to a wolf, or a panda, or a whale. I have been satisfied with the answer, as have most of the people taking part. I can see where your point of view is coming from, but it is deeply flawed.

Besides, this is not even considering Vital Strike and Improved Natural Attack. Rex's can bite hard, who'da thunk it?


Firebug wrote:

Ah!We agree on one point!

2xSTR > 1.5 STR. The important bit there is >, not >=.

2xSTR >= 1.5 STR is also a true statement (for non-negative values of STR).

A: "You need to have 10 gold pieces to join the club."
B: "I have 15 gold pieces."
Can person B join the club? Probably, because if you have 15 gold pieces, you have 10 gold pieces (and some extra gold pieces).

If you have an attack that adds double your Strength modifier, you have an attack that adds one-and-a-half times your Strength modifier (plus some extra damage on top of that).

If the criteria says you need "exactly X" or "at least X" you have an unambiguous rule. If it says you need "X" with no further clarification, there's ambiguity; neither interpretation is definitively RAW, but common sense can be applied.


So there is a corner case where some interprations of RAW could end with an illogical conclusion that no one would actually use at a table. This is worth discussing why?


Java Man wrote:
So there is a corner case where some interprations of RAW could end with an illogical conclusion that no one would actually use at a table. This is worth discussing why?

Senseless amusement? For the love of Debate? A little of both?


Reasonable answers. Carry on.


Firebug wrote:

RAW, you get the +2 damage per power attack increment.

RAI, and how I would run it, +3 damage per power attack increment.

I was going to remind you that this kind of distinction between RAW and RAI is the worst kind of pedantry, and then applaud you for not succumbing to it.

Then I read the thread and was reminded that this forum thrives on pedantry. Oh, well...

Sovereign Court

Matthew Downie wrote:
Firebug wrote:

Ah!We agree on one point!

2xSTR > 1.5 STR. The important bit there is >, not >=.

2xSTR >= 1.5 STR is also a true statement (for non-negative values of STR).

A: "You need to have 10 gold pieces to join the club."
B: "I have 15 gold pieces."
Can person B join the club? Probably, because if you have 15 gold pieces, you have 10 gold pieces (and some extra gold pieces).

Except that's not what power attack says. That would be arguing the case that you can only use power attack when your strength is 13. I agree with that point. If your strength is 13 or higher you can use power attack.

To explain it in your example:
A) "You need to have 10 gold pieces to join the club."
B) "I have 10 daggers, I used to have 10 gold pieces, but I traded them in for daggers"
Can person B join the club? He has no legal tender.
Or another way: it's $10(say we're in the USA) cover for the club. You have a 10 pound note from England. Sure the pounds might be worth more, but its not the same thing.

Sovereign Court

Or how about:
Today is your Birthday (combat feat) "Power Attack"
Benefit: I will buy you two drinks in the club. (You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls.)
These bonus drinks are increased by 50% if you turned 21 today, to 3 drinks. (This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a two-handed weapon, a one handed weapon using two hands, or a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls.)
These drinks are turned into a single soda if you are younger then 21. (This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with an off-hand weapon or secondary natural weapon.)

Dark Archive

I think the core root of this debate is firmly planted in a misunderstanding of what the others point is. So I am going to give my attempt at summarizing which very well may be completely incorrect.

First, we restate the abilities and how they relate.

Singular Primary Natural Att. Do 1.5 Str
Power Att: 50% increase when att is 1.5
Powerful Bite: 2* Str on bite

Ok so we have a T-rex, and it has one attack, which is a bite. We have also give the T-rex power att. and have also kept its powerful bite ability. So the bite is at 2x Str and 1.5 Str, but the 1.5 is also in effect, however, the bonus is superseded by the 2x. Then we factor the power attack, which gains 50% if the attack is at 1.5, which it is.

Both sides seem to agree that in this instance the t-rex would have both the two times str and the increased power attack.

But let is give the t-rex another attack and we see where the two differentiate.

The t-rex now has a bite and a tail attack. The bite is now no longer the only primary and thus loses the 1.5 Str bonus. However it is still a bite and thus has 2x str.

Firebug argues that the t-rex would no longer get the increase in power attack as 2x is not 1.5 and thus would be statted having 2xstr and no power attack bonus.

The other train of thought would be that 2x str is not only 1.5 str but would be a 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, etc. With the back up idea that a lv 5 fighter is also a lv 3 fighter.

I would argue that firebug is correct in that RAW the second instance the t-rex would love the 50% increase. But that RAI it would keep it.


@ Backpack
This would all depend upon whether you: 1) look at the STR bonus to the natural attack before any special abilities apply or 2) use what it has with special abilities before applying what you use for Power Attack. Firebug mentioned this dilemma earlier with his example of the Panda.

1.) The baseline of the Rex's bite would no longer be 1.5 and would use 1:2 on PA.

2.) Uses 2x STR (inclusive to 1.5) and still uses 1:3 on PA.

Powerful Bite
"... applies twice its Strength modifier to bite damage."

Power Attack
".. a primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls."

I support the 2nd view.
A T-Rex or a Panda will always apply 2x STR modifier to damage rolls with a bite attack.
The creatures are using a primary natural attack and adding 1.5 STR (inclusive from 2x) on damage rolls.


Tyrant Lizard King wrote:

@ Backpack

This would all depend upon whether you: 1) look at the STR bonus to the natural attack before any special abilities apply or 2) use what it has with special abilities before applying what you use for Power Attack. Firebug mentioned this dilemma earlier with his example of the Panda.

1.) The baseline of the Rex's bite would no longer be 1.5 and would use 1:2 on PA.

The unmodified value is irrelevant. You check the value you are currently using.

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