Full attack action with Natural attacks while grappled?


Rules Questions


I’m running Pathfinder Society games and I have a regular player with a Hellhound Eidolon that gets 2 claws + bite. The Eidolon declares shenanigans against an owlbear and the owlbear accepts. In the ensuing melee, owlbear grapples Eidolon.

My player wanted to take a full attack action of 2 claws + bite while grappled. I ruled he could not and explained why, but he says he doesn’t understand my explanation. Please let me know if a) I’m making sense and b) I’m giving a correct RAW decision.

Rules:
If you are grappled…you can take any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack or full attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you.
You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack.

Reasoning:
The Hellhound Eidolon gets 2 claws from its multiple forelimbs, not high BAB, so it doesn’t get iterative attacks with a single appendage. In order to make a full attack, it needs both front limbs to make the 2 claw attacks. I’m counting these as “hands” for the purpose of the rule. So its full attack “action” would “require two hands” and thus violates the rule. Therefore, he’s reduced to a single attack…either one claw or one bite.

Moreover, the rule states you can take a full attack with a light or one-handed weapon—IN THE SINGULAR. Two claws are not one weapon.
Thoughts?


You are right that when you are Grappled, you can't take actions that require 2 hands to perform, and unless the character is very unusual, 2 claw attacks would indeed require 2 hands.

You can still Full Attack while Grappled, though. Your Character should have been able to make 1 Claw Attack and 1 Bite Attack.

Unarmed strikes and Armor Spikes do not specify the need to use "hands." The PC should be able to Full Attack with those.

Generally, Animals, Beasts, and such like the Eidolon don't have hands and should be able to Full Attack Normally.

If I had a character in your campaign who tried to Grapple a Tiger, for instance, would you not allow the Tiger it's Bite, both Claws, and the Rake? I think most GMs would give me the Claws!


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think "requiring two hands" refers to two-handed weapons. He should get both claw attacks just as a rogue could get two dagger attacks.

It's supposed to represent being unable to hit someone with a giant two handed sword when they're hugging you, but being able to claw or shank them with a one handed weapon just fine.


WatersLethe wrote:

I think "requiring two hands" refers to two-handed weapons. He should get both claw attacks just as a rogue could get two dagger attacks.

It's supposed to represent being unable to hit someone with a giant two handed sword when they're hugging you, but being able to claw or shank them with a one handed weapon just fine.

there’s a lot of people that agree with you, but RAW it’s hard to say that a Full Attack Action to attack with a weapon in each hand does not involve an Action that requires two hands. Note that ‘action’ is a technical term, and in this context the ‘Action’ is the Full Attack Action.

That said, to the OP, if you interpret quadrupeds as having hands, then when tigers pounce and successfully grab on the first claw attack, making the second claw attack would be prevented. No one plays that way, for good reason.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:

You are right that when you are Grappled, you can't take actions that require 2 hands to perform, and unless the character is very unusual, 2 claw attacks would indeed require 2 hands.

You can still Full Attack while Grappled, though. Your Character should have been able to make 1 Claw Attack and 1 Bite Attack.

Unarmed strikes and Armor Spikes do not specify the need to use "hands." The PC should be able to Full Attack with those.

Generally, Animals, Beasts, and such like the Eidolon don't have hands and should be able to Full Attack Normally.

If I had a character in your campaign who tried to Grapple a Tiger, for instance, would you not allow the Tiger it's Bite, both Claws, and the Rake? I think most GMs would give me the Claws!

If the grappled tiger still gets its 2 claws + bite + rake, what penalty does it suffer for being grappled? I mean, there has to be some down side to being grappled.

This is also for Society, so we go by the letter of the law. I’m saying a “full attack action” for the eidolon would be specifically 2 claws + 1 bite—all three things need to be there. The two claws part of that action requires two “hands,” so it technically violates the Rule As Written. That would mean that, technically, the whole thing does because some part of it requires two hands. Tossing that entire action out, the eidolon is left with a single attack action.


Naughty Smurf wrote:

If the grappled tiger still gets its 2 claws + bite + rake, what penalty does it suffer for being grappled? I mean, there has to be some down side to being grappled.

This is also for Society, so we go by the letter of the law. I’m saying a “full attack action” for the eidolon would be specifically 2 claws + 1 bite—all three things need to be there. The two claws part of that action requires two “hands,” so it technically violates the Rule As Written. That would mean that, technically, the whole thing does because some part of it requires two hands. Tossing that entire action out, the eidolon is left with a single attack action.

You still take a penalty to dex when grappled, can't move, no AoOs, and a couple other things.

Full attack doesn't require you to make all the attacks you have, it's just the action required to attack with more than 1 attack. Therefore they shouldn't be limited to solely the attack action.


Naughty Smurf wrote:
This is also for Society, so we go by the letter of the law. I’m saying a “full attack action” for the eidolon would be specifically 2 claws + 1 bite—all three things need to be there. The two claws part of that action requires two “hands,” so it technically violates the Rule As Written. That would mean that, technically, the whole thing does because some part of it requires two hands. Tossing that entire action out, the eidolon is left with a single attack action.

AFAIK you aren't actually required to take every possible attack available to you in a full-attack action. For instance, if you have both manufactured and natural weapons, you could choose to omit the former so as not to render all the latter secondary. So the eidolon could take a full-attack action in which it chooses to attack with just 1 claw + 1 bite.


Lelomenia wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

I think "requiring two hands" refers to two-handed weapons. He should get both claw attacks just as a rogue could get two dagger attacks.

It's supposed to represent being unable to hit someone with a giant two handed sword when they're hugging you, but being able to claw or shank them with a one handed weapon just fine.

there’s a lot of people that agree with you, but RAW it’s hard to say that a Full Attack Action to attack with a weapon in each hand does not involve an Action that requires two hands. Note that ‘action’ is a technical term, and in this context the ‘Action’ is the Full Attack Action.

That said, to the OP, if you interpret quadrupeds as having hands, then when tigers pounce and successfully grab on the first claw attack, making the second claw attack would be prevented. No one plays that way, for good reason.

I wouldn't say that. In your example, the tiger begins a full attack action, hits and grabs with the first strike and gains the grappled condition. I would suggest it’s still in the process of the full attack action and gets to complete it. Once completed, it is controlling and on its next turn can maintain the grapple (CMB+5 vs CMD) then inflict damage from “a natural attack” or “a light or one handed weapon” again in the singular.

Of course if the controlling grappler wants to release the grapple as a free action, it can take its full attack action again on its next turn. Hitting, grabbing, and completing the full attack, ending as the controlling grappler.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Naughty Smurf wrote:
This is also for Society, so we go by the letter of the law. I’m saying a “full attack action” for the eidolon would be specifically 2 claws + 1 bite—all three things need to be there. The two claws part of that action requires two “hands,” so it technically violates the Rule As Written. That would mean that, technically, the whole thing does because some part of it requires two hands. Tossing that entire action out, the eidolon is left with a single attack action.
AFAIK you aren't actually required to take every possible attack available to you in a full-attack action. For instance, if you have both manufactured and natural weapons, you could choose to omit the former so as not to render all the latter secondary. So the eidolon could take a full-attack action in which it chooses to attack with just 1 claw + 1 bite.

Yes, but he's not "choosing" that. He's prohibited by rule from doing it.

And by the way, thanks for hashing this out with me, guys. It helps to have the input and in the end, I will probably lighten my ruling a little. ;)


I'm going to pull a comment out of context which was said to me in another unrelated discussion. The comment itself is relevant to this conversation, while the context is not. I will also paraphrase slightly.

When you attack with two limbs as part of a full attack, you don't attack with both limbs at once. You attack with one limb, reposition, then attack with the other limb.

This is the reason why the grappling creature would get all its natural attacks, even while grappling. Each individual strike is possible, so no individual strike is prevented. A grappling creature is not restrained; if it was, it would be pinned. Grappling as a condition also does not distinguish between the initiator of the grapple and the one initially targeted.

On a letter-of-the-law note, a full attack action does not require two hands. As others have said, it is simply the action used when making more than one attack in a round. There is no distinction made regarding whether the combatant has multiple weapons. A full attack doesn't require two "hands", and each individual attack within it doesn't require two "hands". Therefore a full attack is allowed in a grapple, regardless of any other factors, and will typically include all the creature's natural attacks.

This is the reason PCs typically will not attempt to grapple creatures with lots of natural attacks. If a fighter with high CMB could limit any creature (like a hydra for example) to a single natural attack by grappling it, monsters with multiple natural attacks would cease to be a threat. Grappling is already an effective way to cripple spellcasters. It's not supposed to be a way to cripple monsters too.

Just to make sure the issue is addressed, this does mean that, by RAW, any natural attack that DOES require multiple limbs would be prohibited in a grapple. This means rake attacks, rends, and other special attacks that specifically list two or more limbs in their description cannot be used while grappling.


Yaba wrote:

I'm going to pull a comment out of context which was said to me in another unrelated discussion. The comment itself is relevant to this conversation, while the context is not. I will also paraphrase slightly.

When you attack with two limbs as part of a full attack, you don't attack with both limbs at once. You attack with one limb, reposition, then attack with the other limb.

This is the reason why the grappling creature would get all its natural attacks, even while grappling. Each individual strike is possible, so no individual strike is prevented. A grappling creature is not restrained; if it was, it would be pinned. Grappling as a condition also does not distinguish between the initiator of the grapple and the one initially targeted.

On a letter-of-the-law note, a full attack action does not require two hands. As others have said, it is simply the action used when making more than one attack in a round. There is no distinction made regarding whether the combatant has multiple weapons. A full attack doesn't require two "hands", and each individual attack within it doesn't require two "hands". Therefore a full attack is allowed in a grapple, regardless of any other factors, and will typically include all the creature's natural attacks.

This is the reason PCs typically will not attempt to grapple creatures with lots of natural attacks. If a fighter with high CMB could limit any creature (like a hydra for example) to a single natural attack by grappling it, monsters with multiple natural attacks would cease to be a threat. Grappling is already an effective way to cripple spellcasters. It's not supposed to be a way to cripple monsters too.

Just to make sure the issue is addressed, this does mean that, by RAW, any natural attack that DOES require multiple limbs would be prohibited in a grapple. This means rake attacks, rends, and other special attacks that specifically list two or more limbs in their description cannot be used while grappling.

by that argument you can take the attack action or full attack while using a weapon with both hands (optionally a two handed weapon, but for right now assume a one handed weapon wielded with both hands) while grappled because neither of those Actions requires use of two hands.

My interpretation would be that using the attack action to make an attack with a two handed weapon would be an action that requires two hands. And using the Full Attack Action to make an attack with each hand, as in two-weapon fighting, would also be an Action that requires two hands, even though other full attack actions one could opt for instead would not require two hands.


Yaba wrote:
This is the reason why the grappling creature would get all its natural attacks, even while grappling. Each individual strike is possible, so no individual strike is prevented. A grappling creature is not restrained; if it was, it would be pinned. Grappling as a condition also does not distinguish between the initiator of the grapple and the one initially targeted.

The condition doesn’t distinguish between attacker and target, but the combat rules certainly do. The Attacker has the option to release the grapple as a Free Action, gains a bonus to maintain the grapple, can move the target, damage the target automatically, pin the target, etc. The target, on their turn, can attempt to break the grapple and “become the grappler, grappling the other creature.”

Yaba wrote:
On a letter-of-the-law note, a full attack action does not require two hands. As others have said, it is simply the action used when making more than one attack in a round. There is no distinction made regarding whether the combatant has multiple weapons. A full attack doesn't require two "hands", and each individual attack within it doesn't require two "hands". Therefore a full attack is allowed in a grapple, regardless of any other factors, and will typically include all the creature's natural attacks.

A full attack action does not necessarily require two hands. A fighter with +11/+6/+1 can make three attacks with the sword in their right hand as a full attack action. (One hand) That same fighter could also make an additional attack with the dagger in their left hand (TWF) as part of a full attack action. (Two hands)

But all of those attacks are gained from a high BAB. Natural attacks are not gained like that. They come from the number of appendages capable of making an attack—one attack for each. The 2 claws attack cannot both come from the same appendage. A full attack for a creature with the 2 claws attack does require two "hands", I think.

Yaba wrote:


This is the reason PCs typically will not attempt to grapple creatures with lots of natural attacks. If a fighter with high CMB could limit any creature (like a hydra for example) to a single natural attack by grappling it, monsters with multiple natural attacks would cease to be a threat. Grappling is already an effective way to cripple spellcasters. It's not supposed to be a way to cripple monsters too.

I think I would rule a hydra differently. Its 5 bites don't invoke the "two hands" rule. (By the RAW, anyway)


Naughty Smurf wrote:

If the grappled tiger still gets its 2 claws + bite + rake, what penalty does it suffer for being grappled? I mean, there has to be some down side to being grappled.

Well, the big thing that comes to mind is the tiger is one step away from being pinned. Once it becomes pinned the tiger can't fight back and is going to be slowly squeezed to death.

Also as an aside, I wouldn't allow the rake. I don't believe that rake is properly defined in Pathfinder, but its the action of sinking 2 claws into a target so you can pull your 2 back legs forward to 'rake' the target with both back claws. This assumes a certain amount of mobility that the tiger shouldn't be able to manage in a grab.

So my ruling would be that the tiger can get a claw/claw/bite off, but not the rake.

And if the owlbear survives it would maintain the grab, which does damage, and attempt to convert it into a pin.

Scarab Sages

Rake specifically works in a grapple, though only when the creature with rake is the one controlling the grappling. Grapple is the primary use for Rake. Pounce is an additional instance.

Rake wrote:

A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks under certain conditions, typically when it grapples its foe. In addition to the options available to all grapplers, a monster with the rake ability gains two free claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. The bonus and damage caused by these attacks is included in the creature’s description. A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn already grappling to use its rake—it can’t begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.

Format: rake (2 claws +8, 1d4+2); Location: Special Attacks.

The creature gets the two rake attacks for free, whether or not it maintains the grapple, as long as it begins its turn grappling someone.

EDIT: I should say I'm pretty sure you only get the rake attacks when you control the grapple. That's the way it reads to me. My cat may disagree next time I have to give her medicine.


Naughty Smurf wrote:
But all of those attacks are gained from a high BAB. Natural attacks are not gained like that. They come from the number of appendages capable of making an attack—one attack for each. The 2 claws attack cannot both come from the same appendage. A full attack for a creature with the 2 claws attack does require two "hands", I think.

"Appendages" aren't necessarily "hands," though. A Giant Octopus's Full Attack does not require any "Hands" at all!

Meanwhile, even if you are right that that Eidolon should not have been allowed both Claw Attacks, that doesn't mean it should not have gotten it's Bite Attack. You don't need any hands to perform a Bite Attack.

A minor point, and probably tangential, but you can use your Natural Weapon without using a Natural Attack. You can use your Claw as if it were a regular weapon with your regular 2-hands-worth of attack slots, and in that case you would get a bonus attack due to high BAB. You could even use your Other Claw as a off-hand weapon. Alchemal Tentacles are used in this way. They are a Natural Weapon that does not get a Natural Attack. You use your regular attacks to use an Alchemal Tentacle.


The worst case scenario is that the Hellhound Eidolon could have full attacked with one claw and its bite. The best case scenario is both claws and its bite.

Depending on if you interpret the "doesn't require two hands" part of the grapple rules.

Personally I interpret it as "the creature being grappled has one limb grabbed by the grappler, preventing use of that limb." So I would restrict the eidolon to 1 claw and its bite. However, I agree that its not very clear which is the more correct interpretation.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
FAQ wrote:

Grapple: There are some contradictions between the various rules on grappling. What is correct?

To sum up the correct rules:

1) Grappling does not deny you your Dex bonus to AC, whether you are the grappler or the target.

2) A grappled creature can still make a full attack.

3) Being pinned does not make you flat-footed, but you are denied your Dex bonus.

Update: Page 195—In Table 8–6: Armor Class Modifiers, in the entry for Grappling, delete the superscript “1” after the +0 in the Melee and Ranged columns. In the third footnote, change “flat-footed and cannot add his Dexterity bonus” to “denied its Dexterity bonus”

Update: Page 201—In the If You Are Grappled section, in the fourth sentence, change “any action that requires only one hand to perform” to “any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform.” In the fourth sentence, change “make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon” to “make an attack or full attack with a light or one-handed weapon”

Update: Page 568—In the Pinned condition, in the second sentence, change “flat-footed” to “denied its Dexterity bonus.”
posted August 2011 | back to top

As you can see from the FAQ, a full attack is allowed.

If you look at the second bolded part, you will see that the limit has been made way less stringent.
Originally it allowed actions that can be made only with one hand, and that will preclude two weapons combat, now it is any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform.”
If you read some of the Devs posts at the time, a grapple is meant to represent a hold where you have grabbed some part of the target, not necessarily an arm.
Taking all that into consideration, I think that the grappled creature can full attack with all hits appendages. And that is what I apply when playing.


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A couple of points:

The rules are written from the perspective of bipeds. When a creature is not a biped (tiger, hellhound, etc) you will need to adjudicate appropriately. Personally in this case I follow the same reasoning Claxon does and limit one appendage for a grapple.

In days past a FAQ got made about hands and hands of effort, and such. Do the grapple rules refer specifically to literal hands or more the metaphorical hands of effort? Again, because the rules are written from the bipedal perspective, adjustments must be made when the creature is not bipedal. Again personally I wouldn't read the grapple rules as refering only to literal hands.

These same sorts of problems come up with certain spells. Spells like ray of enfeeblement talk about the ray springing forth from your hand. Does this mean dragons can't actually cast it, cause they have claws and not hands? Or how about dark naga? The default dark naga has this on their spell list, but as a snake has no actual hand for the spell to spring forth from.


I think that bbangerter, Claxon and Yaba have it right. And thanks to Diego Rossi for pointing out the update to the “If You Are Grappled” section.
The Update clarified it from letting the defender take an action that “requires only one hand” to an action that “doesn’t require two hands.” Also, DR points out that the devs meant to restrain some part of the target, not necessarily an arm with a “hand” on it.
And the answer is:

Tiger picks a fight with Girallon.
1) Tiger charges and makes a full attack with pounce, 2 claws (grab) + bite (grab). On the first claw, it hits and grabs. Both gain the grappled condition, but Tiger gets to complete its full attack action. Second claw hits, bite hits. It didn’t begin its turn grappled, but it pounced so it gets an additional 2 claw attacks from rake. (4 claws + bite)

Girallon is grappled, but makes a full attack, minus one claw to represent the restraint of the grapple. So, it gets 3 claws + bite. Its Rend requires 4 claws to hit, so no rend.

2) Tiger uses a standard action to maintain the grapple and succeeds. Tiger can now inflict damage equal to a natural attack, and because it began the turn grappled, gets an additional 2 claw attacks from rake. (Total 3 claws)
Girallon repeats its 3 claws + bite. "Ow, kitty! That's a bad kitty!"

3) Tiger releases the grapple as a free action and full attacks, 2 claws (grab) + bite (grab). All hit and re-establish the grapple. Because it started its turn grappled, and it is now grappled, it DOES get the 2 rake attacks! (4 claws + bite) PO’ed kitty!

Girallon is tired of getting scratched and spends a standard action to reverse the grapple. It succeeds, but no damage is dealt.

4) Tiger is now defending and can only make one claw + one bite attack. Rake requires 2 claws to perform, so no rake. (1 claw + bite)

Girallon because a standard action is required to maintain the grapple and it would only get damage from one claw, Girallon decides to release the grapple and full attack, 4 claws + rend + bite. It succeeds on all four claws and gets it’s rend damage.

5) Tiger withdraws
I’m happy with that. Defender is in a less desirable spot throughout. The qualifier should be: for natural attacks when defending in a grapple, you get a full attack action minus one attack, to a minimum of one primary attack.

Thanks for all the help! At least my player will know I put it up for debate and a lot of thought went into it!

The Exchange

The player had it right. Natural attacks don't require hands, and no matter how much claws may look like hands, 2 claw attacks do not constitute a 2-handed attack. The key here is that they are two separate attack rolls, not one attack roll that requires the use of both appendages simultaneously to execute.

The full attack action includes multiple instances of the "attack action", which is different from a "single melee attack standard action". You reduce the action down the the lowest level actions that can be adjudicated with a die roll. If that action requires 2 hands, it is not allowed. If it doesn't, it can be attempted.

There is a penalty on each attack roll, but that is entire extent of the penalty to the eidolon's full attack sequence. Grapple condition affects a creature's entire body, and does not target or restrain any single appendage.

If it helps, you can think of this example (the above is RAW, below is just an explanation to illustrate how it might play out):

Peter Cottontail is caught stealing vegetables again from Farmer McGregor's garden. The farmer gets a loose grip on him with his work glove, not secure enough yet to pin him, but enough to get his hand and fingers around the bunny's torso and feel his little heart racing.

Peter does not like this at all, but was screwing around when he should have been improving his escape artist skill, and is far too small to have much chance of beating the farmer's CMD with an escape maneuver. He sees the farmer's hoe and thinks, "if I could just grab that stick with both paws, I could make it tip over and whack him in the nose". But alas, the meaty thumb across his chest is too big to get both paws around in the way that would be needed to get leverage on the hoe to tip it.

But the desperate rodent has one other course of action he can try. He has clawed legs he can jerk about and a pair of bunny teeth he can nip with. Due to the restraint, it is hard to bring any of them to bear on the farmer, but this could be a matter of life or death, so he has to try. First he claws with his right leg, but that does nothing but whiff at the air. He twists as he attacks, and it brings his left leg into a better position for its attack, but the double cowhide leather glove provides enough armor bonus that the attack has no effect.

The farmer's loose grip shifts just enough that the wriggling bunny spies a hole in the glove near the pinky finger, and he bites down on it with all his might. It breaks the skin, and farmer McGregor drops the little nipper on his turn, swears, grabs the hoe, and swings at him. But some vegetation deflects the blow and it misses its mark. Now it is time for Peter to do what he does best - hop away as fast as he can. He gets up from prone and makes his way lickety split out of the garden and deep into the briar patch. The farmer takes an AoO as he goes, but catches the tool on some chickenwire. Before he can swear again the little bunny is out of sight.


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You lose one claw attack. The arm is held. Don't overcomplicate it.

The Exchange

That's incorrect. 2 claw attacks is not one action that requires 2 hands to perform. RAW if it doesn't say the action requires 2 hands to perform, it doesn't. RAI the only type of attack this pertains to is 2-handed hand-held (manufactured) weapon attacks.

Natural attacks and two-weapon fighting are different as they are broken up into separate attack actions.

Tomorrow I'm running an encounter with a CR 18 monster that has 6 tentacle attacks, so believe me I have researched this thoroughly. The players and their companions will be grappled frequently, and I intend to be sure that they have every legal chance to avoid a TPK.

Claw, slam, tentacle, bite, gore, tail slap, two-weapon fighting - none of those represent one action that requires 2 hands to perform.


Cavall wrote:
You lose one claw attack. The arm is held. Don't overcomplicate it.

Not all Claw Attacks require "hands." When I grappled an Allosaurus in a Pathfinder Society adventure, The GM ruled that the Allosaurus totally got 2 Claws and a Bite on me because Animals don't have hands, so their Natural Attacks require 0 hands < 2 hands. That is a correct, literal interpretation of the rules, and I never heard of a GM in real life at any gaming table bending the rules in this way to favor the PC.

Remember that Natural Attacks are bonus attacks added to the Full Attack and don't follow the Two-Hands-Worth actions rule that most PCs follow. An Allosaurus could, theoretically, Full Attack with a Bite, 2 Claws, and 2 Unarmed Strikes. They don't, because those Unarmed Strikes would add little to the Damage and impose significant penalties on the Attack.

Peter Kies wrote:
2 claw attacks is not one action that requires 2 hands to perform.

But some Claw Attacks DO require Hands. Tengu, Catfolk and almost any other PC that gets a Claw Attack need Hands to execute them, so a Grappled Tengu usually only gets 1 of those Claw Attacks.

Monks can Full Attack or Flurry while Grapple because Unarmed Strikes, while they require Handsworth of actions, don't require Hands, and because Monks.

Slam Attacks seem to be associated with Limbs and Hands, but the rules don't actually say that. Also, some creatures that make Slam Attacks don't even have disceernable Anatomy: Oozes make Slam Attacks, and Oozes don't have Hands. Golems have discernable Anatomy in Pathfinder, but they didn't in 3.5, and neither version of the Golem have Hands in the game-term, Grappling sense of the word. A Lich could totally build a Stone Golem in the shape of a sarcophagus, for example.

The Exchange

The OP seems to be confusing the grappled condition with pinned. Grappled does not cause you to lose the ability to attack with any appendage you may normally attack with, regardless of whether or not that appendage appears to have a hand-like thing on the end of it, was previously a hand that grew claws, or is an actual hand that is made into a fist, wears a spiked gauntlet, or holds a weapon.

The attack it prevents you from making is a 2-handed weapon attack, which has 1.5x STR mod bonus to damage. The rest of the effect is a penalty to DEX, a penalty on attack rolls that aren't grapple maneuvers, and the inability to move or make AoOs. Most grapple-based monsters will never take the -20 to avoid having the grappled condition when grappling, because these other penalties aren't that bad for them and they are generally focused on killing things rather than restraining them.

Another thing that leads to confusion has nothing to do with whether or not appendages are hands or hand-like - it is in the applicable definition of "action" for the actions to which the grapple restriction applies. The OP is interpreting a full-attack action as the action type / level to which this should be applied, and is trying to make a reasonable judgment on how to extend the rule there for combatants that don't have a single weapon or attack form.

If you follow that logic, no creature that has hands and uses them with other attack forms can make a full attack action when grappled, e.g. a creature with a claw/claw/bite sequence would get none of those attacks because the whole sequence is an action that requires both hands to execute. They could only make a standard action attack, 1 claw OR 1 bite but not both.

If you reduce it down to the individual attack action type / level, then neither claw attack is an action that requires 2 hands, and thus both are allowed.

The intent is to deny the use of a move action to move, and to penalize the use of standard actions or full attack actions if the grappled creature chooses not to grapple. There is no "almost full attack" action. You either take a full attack (with all penalties and every attack form desired) or you take a standard plus anything you might want to do with a move action that isn't moving. And attacks with 2-handed weapons are not allowed in either case.

The originally suggested ruling imposes an additional penalty on creatures that use multiple attack forms and desire to make a full attack, and that ruling is not consistent with RAW. Allowing full attack for a humanoid who wields a single weapon but not for a character or creature build that uses multiple attack forms is unfair to those other builds. You might just as easily say the former has his sword arm grappled and is denied his iterative attacks because switching his weapon to his other hand is an action that requires 2 hands to execute. Grapple affects the body, not specific limbs.


Grapple affects your ability to take actions that require two hands. Specifically, it prevents you from doing them.

A full attack Action that uses both hands is an Action that requires two hands. It can’t be performed in a grapple. Tigers don’t have hands. It appears I agree with me of three months ago on that point.


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Lelomenia wrote:

Grapple affects your ability to take actions that require two hands. Specifically, it prevents you from doing them.

A full attack Action that uses both hands is an Action that requires two hands. It can’t be performed in a grapple. Tigers don’t have hands. It appears I agree with me of three months ago on that point.

You are unanimous in that?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Cavall wrote:
You lose one claw attack. The arm is held. Don't overcomplicate it.

Don't invent rules. At least in the rule forum.

Do you want to use houserules? Fine, but RAW nothing says that you have grabbed a creature arm, leg or appendage.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lelomenia wrote:

Grapple affects your ability to take actions that require two hands. Specifically, it prevents you from doing them.

A full attack Action that uses both hands is an Action that requires two hands. It can’t be performed in a grapple. Tigers don’t have hands. It appears I agree with me of three months ago on that point.

FAQ wrote:

Grapple: There are some contradictions between the various rules on grappling. What is correct?

To sum up the correct rules:

1) Grappling does not deny you your Dex bonus to AC, whether you are the grappler or the target.

2) A grappled creature can still make a full attack.

3) Being pinned does not make you flat-footed, but you are denied your Dex bonus.

Update: Page 195—In Table 8–6: Armor Class Modifiers, in the entry for Grappling, delete the superscript “1” after the +0 in the Melee and Ranged columns. In the third footnote, change “flat-footed and cannot add his Dexterity bonus” to “denied its Dexterity bonus”

Update: Page 201—In the If You Are Grappled section, in the fourth sentence, change “any action that requires only one hand to perform” to “any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform.” In the fourth sentence, change “make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon” to “make an attack or full attack with a light or one-handed weapon”

Update: Page 568—In the Pinned condition, in the second sentence, change “flat-footed” to “denied its Dexterity bonus.”


Diego Rossi wrote:
Cavall wrote:
You lose one claw attack. The arm is held. Don't overcomplicate it.

Don't invent rules. At least in the rule forum.

Do you want to use houserules? Fine, but RAW nothing says that you have grabbed a creature arm, leg or appendage.

I interpret how it is differently than you, not making houserules. In fact I'm not alone in the reading I have.

I think it's one less claw attack. And i think making statements like "claws dont come from hands" is over complicating it. And I think my reading is just as valid as yours. But I dont think it's a house rule.


Diego Rossi wrote:
Lelomenia wrote:

Grapple affects your ability to take actions that require two hands. Specifically, it prevents you from doing them.

A full attack Action that uses both hands is an Action that requires two hands. It can’t be performed in a grapple. Tigers don’t have hands. It appears I agree with me of three months ago on that point.

FAQ wrote:

Grapple: There are some contradictions between the various rules on grappling. What is correct?

To sum up the correct rules:

1) Grappling does not deny you your Dex bonus to AC, whether you are the grappler or the target.

2) A grappled creature can still make a full attack.

3) Being pinned does not make you flat-footed, but you are denied your Dex bonus.

Update: Page 195—In Table 8–6: Armor Class Modifiers, in the entry for Grappling, delete the superscript “1” after the +0 in the Melee and Ranged columns. In the third footnote, change “flat-footed and cannot add his Dexterity bonus” to “denied its Dexterity bonus”

Update: Page 201—In the If You Are Grappled section, in the fourth sentence, change “any action that requires only one hand to perform” to “any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform.” In the fourth sentence, change “make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon” to “make an attack or full attack with a light or one-handed weapon”

Update: Page 568—In the Pinned condition, in the second sentence, change “flat-footed” to “denied its Dexterity bonus.”

You can take any Full Attack Action that doesn’t require both hands, yes. I assume you are agreeing with me.


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"A grappled creature can still make a full attack" is not in dispute. The question is what "any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform" means.
Is it literal hands, or metaphorical hands? Does a full attack that alternates hands count? Do claws require the use of hands in bipeds? In quadrupeds?

I always ran it that being grappled occupies one limb of the creature's choice (and you can't change which one). For a tiger grappling someone, it's the one they used for their grab attack.


Peter Kies wrote:


The full attack action includes multiple instances of the "attack action", which is different from a "single melee attack standard action". You reduce the action down the the lowest level actions that can be adjudicated with a die roll. If that action requires 2 hands, it is not allowed. If it doesn't, it can be attempted.

I'm aware of no rule that makes this distinction. As such, either reading could be correct.

e.g
Do we use the game defined term for Action (with a capital A), meaning a Full Attack Action doing two weapon fighting could not be used.
Or do we break it down into the individual non-game defined generic use of action (no capital a, eg, each attack is a single action), in which case you can TWF.

For those saying claws aren't hands, and thus all natural attacks with claws would be allowed while grappled, I'd like to check your rules consistancy.

If I have a non-humanoid creature with paladin class levels (say a gold dragon, or a unicorn for example), would said creature be able to use the lay on hands ability?

For reference:

LoH wrote:


Beginning at 2nd level, a paladin can heal wounds (her own or those of others) by touch. Each day she can use this ability a number of times equal to 1/2 her paladin level plus her Charisma modifier. With one use of this ability, a paladin can heal 1d6 hit points of damage for every two paladin levels she possesses. Using this ability is a standard action, unless the paladin targets herself, in which case it is a swift action. Despite the name of this ability, a paladin only needs one free hand to use this ability.


bbangerter wrote:
If I have a non-humanoid creature with paladin class levels (say a gold dragon, or a unicorn for example), would said creature be able to use the lay on hands ability?

RAW, no. RAI, probably yes.

For example, it has been observed that various creatures without arms (like Nagas) have caster levels, which seems like it makes it illegal for them to cast spells with somatic or material components. It is fairly clear that the intention is that they can substitute other body parts for hands in these situations.

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