Natural Attacks with grab and swallow whole


Rules Questions


If a creature has the grab special ability and successfully grapples some other creature in a claw, what would be the process to move the grappled creature to its bite so that it may attempt to use its swallow whole ability?

i.e

Bite attack misses
Claw attack hits, successfully grapples with claw
Rest of attacks
Grappled creature fails to break grapple
*** [What now if the goal was to do the aforementioned task?]


I guess it would require another Grapple Check. I'd look at each monster on a case-by-case basis.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I've always read it as having to grapple with the bite. So I would have a grapple with the bite the following round. Since you have to start the round in the mouth for swallow whole, the creature could use that on the third round.


Typically, grappling requires 2 hands free with no reference to mouths or other limbs. With grab, which is referenced in swallow whole, you have the option to grapple exclusively with the limb the grab ability is associated with at a -20. That being the case, if you want to use the swallow whole ability, you first need to make a grapple check at a -20 after hitting with your bite attack in order to grapple someone in your mouth.

There are exceptions. If, for example, you've gained swallow whole via the gluttonous gobbler feat, then you can pop a grappled foe into your mouth with a move action. I assume there are other monster specific options.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I've never seen anyone run swallow whole as requiring a -20 initial grapple check. Do you have a citation for that other than the rules section we're debating now? Is there an FAQ somewhere?


I think that if you have established a normal grapple, it counts as grappling with all you have - that;s why on subsequent turns you can at most deal little damage equivalent to one attack, and you cannot make a full attack (since it ccosts a standard action to maintain the grapple). Even a creature with grab ability doesn't get grappled condition, but on subsequent turn it still needs to maintain grapple as standard action, which limits its other action and suggest it's rather fully engaged int he grappling.

So even if the grapple was initiated with the claws, when the next turn comes, I'd say that the creature is already using all it has to maintain the grapple. Which would mean that it uses its bite to, and can immediately use Swallow Whole.


Are there ways to have someone grappled in your mouth beyond using the grab ability's rule for using only the grabbing limb? I'm familiar with Adjoint's idea that grappling is a full body deal, but I don't see rules for it anywhere. Regardless, I would say that in the mouth wouldn't be the same as grappled with everything you've got.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I see the logic you're going with. But the grapple rules already say that maintaining the grapple continues to do damage with the attack that established the hold. So it seems like no matter what, if the bite attack hits you're in its mouth and getting chewed on until you break the grapple.

The -20 to me seems to be the difference between trying to eat an apple without your hands vs. eating it with your hands. In both cases, its in your mouth. It's just easier to do if you help with your hands.


I see what you're saying, and it makes sense. I was looking at the attack as a continuation of the one limbed grapple option as it moves to a no limb grapple option. I'm not completely convinced, but I'm less certain at least.

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