FAQ: Spells that target Weapons and Rays (Targeting and Existence)


Rules Questions

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dragonhunterq wrote:

I'd call a manticore's spikes a natural ranged attack. I still wouldn't call the lantern archons ray attack one.

How to quantitively differentiate them though I couldn't tell you.

That was my first thought as well but when I looked...

Quote:

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Spikes (Ex) With a snap of its tail, a manticore can loose a volley of four spikes as a standard action (make an attack roll for each spike). This attack has a range of 180 feet with no range increment. All targets must be within 30 feet of each other. The creature can launch only 24 spikes in any 24-hour period.

If there is a difference between natural attacks and special abilities, then manticore spikes are a special ability.


If it helps, the Digmaul in B5 has "Ball Tail", which is listed under its Special Attacks and is described under its Special Abilities as something "it can use as a secondary natural attack".


That's funny, manticore spikes was the first thing I checked, too. :)

Of course you can have special abilities that give you Natural Attacks. The Draconic Sorcerer's claws come to mind.

CRB wrote:
Claws (Su): Starting at 1st level, you can grow claws as a free action. These claws are treated as natural weapons, allowing you to make two claw attacks as a full attack action using your full base attack bonus.

I just noticed that it says they are "treated as" natural weapons rather than saying that they "are" natural weapons. I wonder if that has any significance beyond acknowledging that they are temporary rather than permanent physical features.


I suppose the point would be that I wouldn't even have questioned manticore spikes as natural weapons. Be honest, before this thread would you have?

But I would never have thought of Lantern rays as such.

I feel they should be treated differently and I would hope that there would be a way of maintaining that distinction.

The only thing I can think is that the spikes are a thing that exists, so could be targeted, the rays don't.

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Jeraa wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Magic weapon explicitly targets an object. Rays are not objects.

No it doesn't. It targets "weapon touched". No mention of objects. The (object) label in the saving throw sand spell resistance entries do not limit a spell to targeting objects. It has no effect on natural weapons, but can be cast on monks (Who are not objects).

If it only targeted objects, you couldn't cast it on intelligent weapons. They are treated as constructs.

Several major problems with those arguments.

1) Weapons are objects. The magic weapon text says it uses object rules for saving throws and spell resistance. Thus, it targets objects.

2) Magic weapon doesn't target natural attacks because natural attacks are not objects.

3) Magic weapon can target a monk's unarmed strikes because the monk's class feature explicitly says they're treated as manufactured weapons (which are objects).

4) Magic weapon can target intelligent weapons because intelligent magic items are magic items. Yes, they're also treated as creatures, but they're still magic items. Their rules are in the Magic Items chapter. The text repeatedly calls them magic items throughout the entire section.

Magic weapon targets an object. Rays are not objects. Even if you could somehow prove they're objects, they don't exist long enough for magic weapon to affect them.


My normal assumption is a Natural Weapon/Attack is anything that is explicitly described as such. That is, it must actually say so, in either the Universal Monster Rules or in its own rule text. If it doesn't say so, then no matter how similar it is to a Natural Weapon/Attack, it isn't one.


Cyrad wrote:
Jeraa wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Magic weapon explicitly targets an object. Rays are not objects.

No it doesn't. It targets "weapon touched". No mention of objects. The (object) label in the saving throw sand spell resistance entries do not limit a spell to targeting objects. It has no effect on natural weapons, but can be cast on monks (Who are not objects).

If it only targeted objects, you couldn't cast it on intelligent weapons. They are treated as constructs.

Several major problems with those arguments.

1) Weapons are objects. The magic weapon text says it uses object rules for saving throws and spell resistance. Thus, it targets objects.

You mean these rules?

Quote:
(object): The spell can be cast on objects, which receive saving throws only if they are magical or if they are attended (held, worn, grasped, or the like) by a creature resisting the spell, in which case the object uses the creature's saving throw bonus unless its own bonus is greater. This notation does not mean that a spell can be cast only on objects. Some spells of this sort can be cast on creatures or objects. A magic item's saving throw bonuses are each equal to 2 + 1/2 the item's caster level.

2) Magic weapon doesn't target natural attacks because natural attacks are not objects.

3) Magic weapon can target a monk's unarmed strikes because the monk's class feature explicitly says they're treated as manufactured weapons (which are objects).

Magic weapon works (and doesn't work) in those cases because it specifically says it does (or doesn't). Natural weapons are weapons, and would be a suitable choice. Except the text of the spell specifically excludes them. If that line in the text wasn't there, the spell would target them just fine.

Quote:
Magic weapon targets an object. Rays are not objects. Even if you could somehow prove they're objects, they don't exist long enough for magic weapon to affect them.

Again, the spell makes no mention of being limited to objects. You are correct about the time part, however.


I'm ok with using magic to enchant tail spikes, but it brings up some minor issues.

Like... They aren't ammunition. So no one enchant for 50.

They aren't permanent so once you shoot one it's gone and the enchant with them.

Lots of weird grey areas to be sorted out.

However... I want to stress this... At least they can be targeted at the time of casting. Just... targeted with what would be the question. This puts them at least better than the rays.


Jeraa wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Magic weapon explicitly targets an object. Rays are not objects.

No it doesn't. It targets "weapon touched". No mention of objects. The (object) label in the saving throw sand spell resistance entries do not limit a spell to targeting objects. It has no effect on natural weapons, but can be cast on monks (Who are not objects).

If it only targeted objects, you couldn't cast it on intelligent weapons. They are treated as constructs.

They count as both magic items, meaning they are still an item, and as a construct. If they only counted as creatures they would not have a hardness or break DC.


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Rays however do not qualify for targeting due to the FAQ saying how they count as weapons, and how they do not, and for other reasons already mentioned.

I think we can lay this one to bed now.


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wraithstrike wrote:
I think we can lay this one to bed now.

Silly wraith! Rules questions like this one are never really put to bed. They just keep getting up and demanding another drink of water even though it's already midnight and they have school in the morning.


The lantern archon and manticore list their ranged abilities in the Offense section, where natural attacks usually go.

natural attacks wrote:
Format: bite +5 (1d6+1), 2 claws +5 (1d4+2), 4 tentacles +0 (1d4+1); Location: Melee and Ranged.


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Knight Magenta wrote:

The lantern archon and manticore list their ranged abilities in the Offense section, where natural attacks usually go.

natural attacks wrote:
Format: bite +5 (1d6+1), 2 claws +5 (1d4+2), 4 tentacles +0 (1d4+1); Location: Melee and Ranged.

And also in the Special Abilities section at the end, where natural attacks don't go. Just like a shadows strength draining touch, the giant slugs acid spit, and the electric eels electric tail. Special abilities that can be used to attack generally are listed in the same place a natural attack would be. That doesn't make them natural attacks.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

As with all Bestiary entries, the attacks available to the creature is listed under the Offense section, and special abilities are then further explained in the later entry after the basics.

The reason the OP wanted the Lantern Archon to have it's ray as a natural attack was to buff the creature instead of the attack, having the buff transfer to the attack itself in conjunction with the creature's natural ability to use that attack. He has been told, here and in another thread, as mentioned, that it does not work like that. I believe we here are all in agreement on that particular point.

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