Dragon Claws and Bestial Mutagen


Rules Discussion


Dragon Claws have the Morph trait and gives you finesse claws that deal 1d4 damage plus 1d6 energy that scales.

Bestial Mutagen has the Polymorph trait gives you a jaw and claws attacks, an item bonus, and scaling damage dice.

morph wrote:

Effects that slightly alter a creature’s form have the morph trait. Any Strikes specifically granted by a morph effect are magical. You can be affected by multiple morph spells at once, but if you morph the same body part more than once, the second morph effect attempts to counteract the first (in the same manner as two polymorph effects, described in that trait).

Your morph effects might also end if you are polymorphed and the polymorph effect invalidates or overrides your morph effect. The GM determines which morph effects can be used together and which can’t.

You can both be affected by Dragon Claws and Bestial Mutagen, but what happens to the claws?

What do you get?
1. Only the effect of the last feature you used
2. A mix of effects depending on what you last used e.g. mutagen + Dragon claws you get 1d4 damage claws + energy damage + item bonus
3. Mutagen damages dice and item bonus + additional energy damage dice.


As the rules you posted say: "the second morph effect attempts to counteract the first". So you roll and see which effect wins, and the losing effect ends.


lordcirth wrote:
As the rules you posted say: "the second morph effect attempts to counteract the first". So you roll and see which effect wins, and the losing effect ends.

One's a Morph effect and one's a Polymorph effect, so that kind of counteracting doesn't occur. Polymorph auto-wins if there's a conflict, but whether there's a conflict is subject to GM's interpretation.

TL:DR: I think there is a conflict, and the Polymorph overrides.

Reasonably, it seems the second set of claws should override the first. That's the effect that last applied alterations to your hands. Since both claws give what's appropriate for their level, it shouldn't be an issue. But...
Mechanically, order of operations seldom if ever matter when stacking in PF2. In which case Polymorph wins out (as the rules state). You'd have bestial hands (et al), the alchemy's ongoing effects being too strong for a mere Morph effect to alter.
If there were a part of the body not affected by a Polymorph (like the upper body if you became a Centaur) then Morph effects would work there, but not on the horse portions. (Assuming you didn't start as a horse!) You could even have multiple Morph effects (as stated in the rules) if they weren't trying to morph the same parts.

Oddly, this case also features energy. I venture it's an aspect of the dragon-physicality of that claw, so I'd say the energy doesn't work with a bestial claw. Mechanically, the dragon claw has low damage for a claw for a reason: to balance w/ the energy on it (which scales).
To get a bestial claw (which also scales; w/ item level) and a scaling energy attack (made to balance w/ a small, non-scaling claw) would imbalance those abilities.


Thanks, that's what I feared. The issue is that Natural Attacks cannot receive any boost like normal weapons can. For example you cannot use Bespell Weapon, Magic Weapon, use poison or Poison Weapon, Energy Mutagen, Twin Takedown, etc. They all apply only to weapons you are wielding making unarmed attacks a trap option in general.

Even more so for a Draconic bloodline Sorcerer who can never enhance his Dragon Claws afaict (Bespell Weapon doesn't work and Magic Fang is on the Primal spells list).


Hmmm. Looking at the Handwraps of Mighty Blows which do effect unarmed attacks there is a line in there "For example, a property rune that must be applied to a slashing weapon wouldn't function when you attacked with a fist, but you would gain it's benefit if you attacked with a claw or or some other slashing unarmed attack."

This seems to imply that natural attacks are considered unarmed attacks in general for the purposes of enhancement from items.

Either that or it's language they put in there by accident.

Or where you only talking about spells effecting natural attacks?

Also doesn't work with the combat polymorph spells since there those only allow for circumstance bonus, status bonus, and penalties. But the morph rules don't follow that so the handwraps should effect the sorcerer dragon claws


Sure, I know runes work, all the other effects that I cited don't.

Faenor wrote:


(...) Bespell Weapon, Magic Weapon, use poison or Poison Weapon, Energy Mutagen, Twin Takedown, etc. They all apply only to weapons you are wielding (...)


And more: Double Slice, Lunge, Twin Party, Disarming Stance, etc.

Basically all the two-weapon fighting feats do not work with unarmed attacks except monk flurry preventing from getting more attacks, or any feature that adds to weapon damage except runes with the handwraps.


I would be willing to bet when they come out wit the Dragon Disciple archetype they will get a feat very similar to flurry of blows that applies to their claw attacks. I wouldn't be surprised to see other feats that will make the claws a focus of combat for them either. Dragon Disciple always felt like an iconic prestige class, and one of the few early ones that worked well.

Yes, at the moment claws are not going to be a primary attack form for the Sorcerer. It seems to me they are more likely intended to be something the sorcerer can do as a third action then as the focus of the character's attacks. And with not getting expert in Unarmed until 11th, that seems intentional.

I can certainly understand some players being a bit disgruntled about that if they wanted to play a Dragon Sorcerer that rips their opponents to pieces with their claws.


You can build most of a Dragon Disciple now via Barbarian or Sorcerer, depending on which aspect you wanted to emphasize. I'm not sure what more Paizo could add that they would add, since we won't be seeing stat bumps.
Maybe Draconic Frenzy (like dragons have)? Senses? Longer durations?

I agree claws aren't meant to be primary for a full-caster, nor should they ever be comparable to full casting. So if you want a good dragon-claw PC, start w/ a martial chassis & take the Sorcerer MCD. Since the claws are finesse, a Rogue-Thief works great in this instance. The other martials need a bigger weapon die, but the Rogue's bonus damage is balanced for having a lower die.


Castilliano wrote:

You can build most of a Dragon Disciple now via Barbarian or Sorcerer, depending on which aspect you wanted to emphasize. I'm not sure what more Paizo could add that they would add, since we won't be seeing stat bumps.

Maybe Draconic Frenzy (like dragons have)? Senses? Longer durations?

I agree claws aren't meant to be primary for a full-caster, nor should they ever be comparable to full casting. So if you want a good dragon-claw PC, start w/ a martial chassis & take the Sorcerer MCD. Since the claws are finesse, a Rogue-Thief works great in this instance. The other martials need a bigger weapon die, but the Rogue's bonus damage is balanced for having a lower die.

I could see them getting a feat upgrading the character's unarmed to master but only with the claws. The flurry of blow ability but only with the claws. Upgrading the breath weapon DC or area of effect. Upgrading the claw damage to a d6 instead of d4. Maybe they get "scales" that upgrade their unarmored defense or upgrade their fortitude mastery.

My main problem with most of my suggestions is that they focuses almost exclusively on the archetype being for one specific class. Maybe you could shoehorn the barbarian dragon instinct in there, but that seems pretty much all.


Joey Cote wrote:

I would be willing to bet when they come out wit the Dragon Disciple archetype they will get a feat very similar to flurry of blows that applies to their claw attacks. I wouldn't be surprised to see other feats that will make the claws a focus of combat for them either. Dragon Disciple always felt like an iconic prestige class, and one of the few early ones that worked well.

That would be pretty cool, I really hope you're right!

Joey Cote wrote:

Yes, at the moment claws are not going to be a primary attack form for the Sorcerer. It seems to me they are more likely intended to be something the sorcerer can do as a third action then as the focus of the character's attacks. And with not getting expert in Unarmed until 11th, that seems intentional.

All the problems I listed for "natural attacks" are not specific to the sorcerer. Sure I understand they are not meant to be a primary attack form for the Sorcerer, but the issue is that they are sub-par choices on pretty much every front because of the limitation that feats and other abilities only apply to weapons you are wielding. So it's the same problem for Druids with Wild Morph, Alchemists with Bestial Mutagen, Barbarians with Animal instinct, etc. The only ability that works with unarmed attacks is the Monk's Flurry which you can only take for non-monks as a dedication at 10th level which is really late.

For Draconic sorcerers, it's even worst because their initial focus spell doesn't even synergise with their feats and spells i.e. Bespell Weapon, Magic Weapon making Draconic a pretty poor bloodline choice.


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Castilliano wrote:

You can build most of a Dragon Disciple now via Barbarian or Sorcerer, depending on which aspect you wanted to emphasize. I'm not sure what more Paizo could add that they would add, since we won't be seeing stat bumps.

Maybe Draconic Frenzy (like dragons have)? Senses? Longer durations?

I agree claws aren't meant to be primary for a full-caster, nor should they ever be comparable to full casting. So if you want a good dragon-claw PC, start w/ a martial chassis & take the Sorcerer MCD. Since the claws are finesse, a Rogue-Thief works great in this instance. The other martials need a bigger weapon die, but the Rogue's bonus damage is balanced for having a lower die.

do note that Thief doesn't get his "dex to damage" with natural attacks or unarmed, since they aren't weapons.

He only gets dex to damage with actual "weapons".


shroudb wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

You can build most of a Dragon Disciple now via Barbarian or Sorcerer, depending on which aspect you wanted to emphasize. I'm not sure what more Paizo could add that they would add, since we won't be seeing stat bumps.

Maybe Draconic Frenzy (like dragons have)? Senses? Longer durations?

I agree claws aren't meant to be primary for a full-caster, nor should they ever be comparable to full casting. So if you want a good dragon-claw PC, start w/ a martial chassis & take the Sorcerer MCD. Since the claws are finesse, a Rogue-Thief works great in this instance. The other martials need a bigger weapon die, but the Rogue's bonus damage is balanced for having a lower die.

do note that Thief doesn't get his "dex to damage" with natural attacks or unarmed, since they aren't weapons.

He only gets dex to damage with actual "weapons".

Sad face... :(

Don't yet understand Paizo's reasoning of separating the unarmed & weapons. Likely there's a loophole I haven't seen that they're closing because that's a specific difference from PF1 (& earlier) in many cases.


Castilliano wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

You can build most of a Dragon Disciple now via Barbarian or Sorcerer, depending on which aspect you wanted to emphasize. I'm not sure what more Paizo could add that they would add, since we won't be seeing stat bumps.

Maybe Draconic Frenzy (like dragons have)? Senses? Longer durations?

I agree claws aren't meant to be primary for a full-caster, nor should they ever be comparable to full casting. So if you want a good dragon-claw PC, start w/ a martial chassis & take the Sorcerer MCD. Since the claws are finesse, a Rogue-Thief works great in this instance. The other martials need a bigger weapon die, but the Rogue's bonus damage is balanced for having a lower die.

do note that Thief doesn't get his "dex to damage" with natural attacks or unarmed, since they aren't weapons.

He only gets dex to damage with actual "weapons".

Sad face... :(

Don't yet understand Paizo's reasoning of separating the unarmed & weapons. Likely there's a loophole I haven't seen that they're closing because that's a specific difference from PF1 (& earlier) in many cases.

probably because you can get much higher damage (trait depending) on unarmed than with one handed weapons.

It's in this weird spot where you can get almost two-handed damage with some of them, and yet still have both your hands "free".

In PF1, the natural attacks were one of the worst thing ever imo, with people trying to grab horns and bites and whatnots to fit into 7+ attack routines.

So, my guess is that in PF2 they want to control that.

So, if they go with a philosophy of "look guys, natural attacks can get busted, so we need a way to police what one can do with them", then making certain that only things they specifically want to work with natural attacks work with them, is one such way.

As you mentioned Thief rogue. If dex to damage worked for unarmed, it would make "monk MC" almost a mandatory pick if you wanted damage, since getting "d8 finesse, agile, backstab, free hand, trip" weapons for the cost of 2 Feats is so far above every weapon in the book so far.

now, it's still a nice MC, getting 2 attacks in 1 action at level 10 plus a great attack to go alongside it, but it's not that one-sided since you'll be losing a bit of damage from losing Dex to damage alongside it.

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