Ring of Fangs Clarifications


Rules Questions

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

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There have been a number of questions about the ring of fangs, a magic item from The Cult of the Devourer article in Starfinder Adventure Path #2: Temple of the Twelve.

In this thread, we'll answer those questions in order to help GMs adjudicate its use.
Please note that questions broader than the scope of the ring of fangs warrant their own rules-questions threads and FAQ requests.

First, let's clarify the text of the item itself (changing it from page 53 of the Adventure Path):
When you wear this ring, your teeth become long and sharp, giving you a powerful bite attack. This grants you a special unarmed strike that deals lethal piercing damage and threatens squares within your reach. You must be able to use your mouth to bite to use this unarmed strike, but it does not require a hand to wield. If you are 3rd level or higher, you gain a special version of the Weapon Specialization feat that adds double your level to the damage of this unarmed strike (rather than adding your level).

Second, answers to questions related to the original text (and interactions with other player options):

Does the unarmed strike granted by ring of fangs have the archaic weapon special property?
Yes.

Does the ring of fangs allow the wearer to threaten squares (and therefore make attacks of opportunity)?
Yes, as long as the wearer has the ability to use their mouth to bite.

Does the unarmed strike granted by ring of fangs require a free limb?
No. However, effects that impede your ability to bite also cause you to lose the ability to make the attack granted by ring of fangs for the duration of the effect.

How does the ring of fangs interact with the feat Improved Unarmed Strike?
The Improved Unarmed Strike feat increases the damage of the unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs as noted in the feat.

How does the ring of fangs interact with the natural weapons racial trait of playable species, such as vesk?
The natural weapons trait removes the archaic special property from a character's unarmed strikes, and this includes the special unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs. However, the natural weapons trait does not increase the level-based damage a PC deals with the unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs.

How does the ring of fangs interact with specific player options?
Damage to attacks granted by powered armor: This does not increase the damage of an unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs.
Hammer First: This does not apply to the unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs.
Melee Striker: This applies to the unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs.
Raw Lethality: This applies to the unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs (unless something has removed the archaic trait, such as a natural weapons racial trait).
Rune of the Eldritch Knight: A soldier with this style technique can grant fusions to the unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs.

Sovereign Court

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Great to have answers!

If I can follow up with a few more questions -

Q1: If the Rune of the Eldritch Knight works, does that mean that Gloom Weapons work as well?

Q2: Is the archaic trait negated even by natural weapons that are clearly not a bite? Vesk natural weapons are a bit vague, but nuar have a gore attack. Does that still remove the archaic trait?

Q3: You list being able to bite as a requirement for actually using the Ring of Fangs. How does that work with armor? Can you generally make bite attacks in armor? What about if environmental protections are enabled? Some armors mention that they use force fields, but others seem to be solid matter, which might get in the way of bite attacks.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

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Ascalaphus wrote:

Great to have answers!

If I can follow up with a few more questions -

Q1: If the Rune of the Eldritch Knight works, does that mean that Gloom Weapons work as well?

Yep!

Ascalaphus wrote:
Q2: Is the archaic trait negated even by natural weapons that are clearly not a bite? Vesk natural weapons are a bit vague, but nuar have a gore attack. Does that still remove the archaic trait?

Yep! Guess once you're able to super tail-slap or gore someone, even when they're in armor, you can apply that learned knowledge to biting them real good.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Q3: You list being able to bite as a requirement for actually using the Ring of Fangs. How does that work with armor? Can you generally make bite attacks in armor? What about if environmental protections are enabled? Some armors mention that they use force fields, but others seem to be solid matter, which might get in the way of bite attacks.

You can generally make bite attacks in armor. There are infinite cans of rabbit-hole-worms down the path of explaining every physical reality or physiological specialty of the 100+ playable species in Starfinder.

Exo-Guardians

Thanks so much for clarifying this!

so, additional question - I am a morlamaw, and I have a natural attack of some sort. It is listed as a Tusk attack in the stat block, but not explicitly listed as a "tusk" attack in the Stat block. How would this attack and the ring of fangs interact? Would I gain both a tusk and a bite attack?

If they are the same attack, do the effects stack, a d how do they stack?

Exo-Guardians

Another question:

Would it work with the vanguard's Entropic Strike?


Does the ring require having a mouth? If a race is mouthless, can the fangs go elsewhere (ie, spiky hands on an SRO)?

Thanks for trying to put this to bed.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you for all your help and attention!

Scarab Sages

jon30041 wrote:

Does the ring require having a mouth? If a race is mouthless, can the fangs go elsewhere (ie, spiky hands on an SRO)?

Thanks for trying to put this to bed.

Or thorny tendrils/pods of a khizar?


Joe Pasini wrote:

There have been a number of questions about the ring of fangs, a magic item from The Cult of the Devourer article in Starfinder Adventure Path #2: Temple of the Twelve.

In this thread, we'll answer those questions in order to help GMs adjudicate its use.

Thank you, thank you!

Great answers too. Those all make sense. Much appreciated.

P.S. I love Starfinder. I'm still drooling over Alien Archive 3 right here.

Silver Crusade

Thank you so very much for this clarification, this really made my day ^^


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Just want to chime in and say a big Thank you! to Joe for taking time to come on the forums and provide such a thorough clarification. This was one really vague, but really popular item.


Okay, this is basically what I wanted. Clearer item text, and it doesn't completely invalidate Natural Weapons (though there is very little reason for Natural Weapons races not to get this thing; it is a pure upgrade).

One thing I like is that the special attack is purely lethal and can't be used easily for subdual (the old verson could be interpreted as optionally lethal at the enhanced bonus, but the new version...the option is to use the new, super-lethal attack or use your puny, soft fists without a double bonus).

Big props RE: Archaic. Now Dragonbot didn't waste his gear boost on Raw Lethality.

I appreciate the effort made to end this longstanding confusion, Joe.

Sovereign Court

Good to finally have it settled. I guess I'm getting one for my nuar to decorate his teethy horns..


Thank yoU!


Starfinder Superscriber

Thank you.

Based on your responses above, I think I know the answer to the following, but it will come up...

How does the ring of fangs interact with shields?

Silver Crusade

Thanks you. I've been sitting on a character concept because of this debate. Now I can proceed.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

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Thanks for all the thanks! I promise to try to address issues as they come up, and I ask for your understanding when it takes a bit of time, as I'm constantly working on about a dozen different things at once.

Here're some more answers.

Brightwater Glimmer wrote:

additional question - I am a morlamaw, and I have a natural attack of some sort. It is listed as a Tusk attack in the stat block, but not explicitly listed as a "tusk" attack in the Stat block. How would this attack and the ring of fangs interact? Would I gain both a tusk and a bite attack?

If they are the same attack, do the effects stack, a d how do they stack?

They're separate attacks from separate sources; you'd decide which you want to use.

jon30041 wrote:
Does the ring require having a mouth? If a race is mouthless, can the fangs go elsewhere (ie, spiky hands on an SRO)?

For this and the other physiology-related questions, please apply the philosophy laid out in Starfinder Armory:

Starfinder Armory page 4 wrote:
While Starfinder has a preponderance of nonhumanoid aliens with strange morphology, any playable alien race can purchase and use the equipment in this book. A betentacled barathu (Starfinder Alien Archive 20) soldier can wield a hydra cannon and make use of hoverskates just as easily as a kasathan soldier.

Finally, for questions like the below, I'd like to wait until the Character Operations Manual is out in November, with the final rules. Feel free to ping then!

Brightwater Glimmer wrote:

Another question:

Would it work with the vanguard's Entropic Strike?
"pithica42 wrote:
How does the ring of fangs interact with shields?


Joe Pasini wrote:

Thanks for all the thanks! I promise to try to address issues as they come up, and I ask for your understanding when it takes a bit of time, as I'm constantly working on about a dozen different things at once.

Here're some more answers.

Brightwater Glimmer wrote:

additional question - I am a morlamaw, and I have a natural attack of some sort. It is listed as a Tusk attack in the stat block, but not explicitly listed as a "tusk" attack in the Stat block. How would this attack and the ring of fangs interact? Would I gain both a tusk and a bite attack?

If they are the same attack, do the effects stack, a d how do they stack?

They're separate attacks from separate sources; you'd decide which you want to use.

.. thats more than a mite confusing with

How does the ring of fangs interact with the natural weapons racial trait of playable species, such as vesk?

The natural weapons trait removes the archaic special property from a character's unarmed strikes, and this includes the special unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs. However, the natural weapons trait does not increase the level-based damage a PC deals with the unarmed strike granted by the ring of fangs.

The mormalaw has a natural attack.
Is it only the vesks "every part of the vesk is a lethal weapon" natural attacks that the ring works with ? Not sure I follow whats going on there.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I read it as:

Pick between biting (ring) with x2 level damage, or racial with 1.5x level tusk.
Same as the nuar could pick between the biting (ring) or the racial horns.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Exactly.


Damanta wrote:

I read it as:

Pick between biting (ring) with x2 level damage, or racial with 1.5x level tusk.
Same as the nuar could pick between the biting (ring) or the racial horns.

But a non archaic bite right? Which is what I think the poster was getting at. Because mormalaw have a natural weapons trait.


Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah it would be weird for the non-archaic part of the vesk natural attack to stack but not the non-archaic part of morlamaw natural attack.

Silver Crusade

Joe, let me also join the choral (star)song of praise. Thank you for this post and the very clear language used!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Damanta wrote:

I read it as:

Pick between biting (ring) with x2 level damage, or racial with 1.5x level tusk.
Same as the nuar could pick between the biting (ring) or the racial horns.

But a non archaic bite right? Which is what I think the poster was getting at. Because mormalaw have a natural weapons trait.

Non-archaic bite yes.

Based on this:
Joe Pasini wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Q2: Is the archaic trait negated even by natural weapons that are clearly not a bite? Vesk natural weapons are a bit vague, but nuar have a gore attack. Does that still remove the archaic trait?
Yep! Guess once you're able to super tail-slap or gore someone, even when they're in armor, you can apply that learned knowledge to biting them real good.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

Damanta wrote:

I read it as:

Pick between biting (ring) with x2 level damage, or racial with 1.5x level tusk.
Same as the nuar could pick between the biting (ring) or the racial horns.

I read the question the same way.

A morlamaw wearing a ring of fangs has two options for their unarmed strike. Whichever they use, their natural attack trait's removal of archaic applies.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Being able to threaten is a nice bonus.

I didn't think that was possible initially.


Nefreet wrote:

Being able to threaten is a nice bonus.

I didn't think that was possible initially.

It ended up splitting the difference between the extremes...still archaic, but threatens as a weapon. Benefits from unarmed strike buffs, but is not flexible enough to use nonlethally without penalty.

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

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Awesome timing on this ruling: Played for the first time at level 3 with Raw Lethality, Improved Unarmed Strike (not strictly speaking giving a bonus this level), and the Ring of Fangs.

I crit a space cuttlefish for 22 damage. The extra bleed damage wasn't necessary.

DRAGONBOT FEELS GOOD ABOUT THIS POWER LEVEL. NOT TOO STRONG; CORRECT INVESTMENT. THE ORGANICS MADE A POOR CHOICE IN OPPOSING HIM.

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