Monster Grab Ability and Multiple Limbs


Rules Discussion


Hi all,

So I'm trying to get my head around the grab rules with regards to creature body parts. The section at the end of the bestiary says

"The creature is grabbed by whichever body part the monster attacked with, and that body part can’t be used to Strike creatures until the grab is ended."

That's pretty straightforward, but when you look through the monster entries, it doesn't list the number of limbs a creature has that could do a given strike attack. Let's look at Krakens as an example, which have 8 tentacles, 2 arms and a bite, per pf1e lore. However, from the 2e statblock, there's no way to know how many tentacles the Kraken has (right??). So if a Kraken grabs a PC with its tentacle strike, does this mean it can't use any tentacles to make strikes until the grab is ended (it shouldn't, the rule states that only the "body part" is unavailable, not the group of related body parts)? Furthermore, the Kraken has a double strike ability that lets it attack with two tentacles and then grab anyone hit with both of those, which implies each tentacle is holding an individual PC.

Or we meant to intuit - perhaps from the picture - how many of each type of limb it has? It's pretty easy to count the Veiled Master's tentacles from the image, but that's a silly way to go about things (what if the image is vague about the number of limbs like it is with the Kraken).

Help me Paizo Forums, you're my only hope.

TL;DR: I'm hoping for a RAW answer to the question of if a monster that has, say, multiple tentacles loses access to all its tentacles when grabbing one creature or just loses access to one of them. And if it's the latter, I'm hoping for a RAW way to figure out how many tentacles that monster has.


I don't think there is any RAW rule that says people have 2 arms, but I think most take that as a given.

As for the kraken, my answer is "enough" limbs to grab everyone in the party and still strike.


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Mellored wrote:
I don't think there is any RAW rule that says people have 2 arms, but I think most take that as a given.

If a creature has the "humanoid" trait, then yes, it has two arms

CRB, pg 633 wrote:
humanoid (trait) Humanoid creatures reason and act much like humans. They typically stand upright and have two arms and two legs


That "typically" included in there makes it so that it's not a guarantee that a creature with the humanoid trait have exactly two arms.


thenobledrake wrote:
That "typically" included in there makes it so that it's not a guarantee that a creature with the humanoid trait have exactly two arms.

Especially given that a Kasatha or Calikang would likely have the humanoid trait, and they all have four arms, and the ettin is a humanoid with two heads (the humanoid trait actually doesn't specify that humanoids have heads at all, but we can safely assume that most humanoids have heads and can speak their languages and cast verbal spells and drink potions without the rules needing to spell it out)

The rules don't generally spell out how many limbs (or heads/legs/tails) a creature has, as it is generally assumed that the GM has enough common sense to figure out the obvious in this case (npc and monster stat blocks leave out a fair few things that aren't necessary to write down due to them being obvious, like what clothes they are wearing, or whether they carry rations and waterskins and mess kits, and I think that number of limbs certainly qualifies).


Mellored wrote:

I don't think there is any RAW rule that says people have 2 arms, but I think most take that as a given.

As for the kraken, my answer is "enough" limbs to grab everyone in the party and still strike.

Well, so at least according to PF1e, Kraken don't have "enough" arms, though they have "enough" tentacles. Rather, in PF1e, they have only 2 arms (and 8 tentacles). Since arms are their more damaging attack, it's somewhat important to know that when both arms are grappling a PC, they can't use that attack anymore. But if that's accurate, the rules for it are not anywhere in any PF2 product, the only way to know how to run the Kraken accurate in PF2 is to refer to the PF1 product, because you can't tell from the picture.

Tender Tendrils wrote:
The rules don't generally spell out how many limbs (or heads/legs/tails) a creature has, as it is generally assumed that the GM has enough common sense to figure out the obvious in this case

For humanoids this is indeed pretty obvious, but knowing how many limbs an aberration has is not obvious or common sense. For example, how many tentacles does a veiled master have? Not "plenty", they're going to run out if they start grabbing PCs. But the only way to tell is the picture. Obviously first, that means that you can't properly run a Veiled Master with archives of nethys and you must buy the book. But (and I haven't gone through every monster in the bestiary), if the monster is posed in its picture in such away that you can't tell how many tentacles it has, there's no way to know at all


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The Kracken description text, on AoN, says they are like a squid. Squids have 2 arms and 8 tentacles, so one could extrapolate that the squidlike monster has 2 arms and 8 tentacles.

The veiled master picture is on AoN, you can see two claws and four tentacles. It also lacks the actions to get more than 3 creatures grabbed, because it has no ability to grab more.


Paradozen wrote:

The Kracken description text, on AoN, says they are like a squid. Squids have 2 arms and 8 tentacles, so one could extrapolate that the squidlike monster has 2 arms and 8 tentacles.

The veiled master picture is on AoN, you can see two claws and four tentacles. It also lacks the actions to get more than 3 creatures grabbed, because it has no ability to grab more.

Squids have 8 arms and 2 tentacles - exactly the opposite (and it's not just semantics. Squid arms are the shorter reach appendages and tentacles are the longer ones, just like a kraken). Krakens are exactly the opposite of them.

But that seems a little in the weeds. Are you suggesting we ought to research cephalopods to be able to run our games?

This seems clearly like a mistake: one rule tells us that the number of limbs is important, and then that information is left up to the contracted artist or not provided at all.

My mistake on the pictures on AON. Had a weird page load or something. Regardless, for the pictures where the artist didn't pose them clearly and it isn't "common sense", there's no way to know.


thewamp wrote:
Paradozen wrote:

The Kracken description text, on AoN, says they are like a squid. Squids have 2 arms and 8 tentacles, so one could extrapolate that the squidlike monster has 2 arms and 8 tentacles.

The veiled master picture is on AoN, you can see two claws and four tentacles. It also lacks the actions to get more than 3 creatures grabbed, because it has no ability to grab more.

Squids have 8 arms and 2 tentacles - exactly the opposite (and it's not just semantics. Squid arms are the shorter reach appendages and tentacles are the longer ones, just like a kraken). Krakens are exactly the opposite of them.

But that seems a little in the weeds. Are you suggesting we ought to research cephalopods to be able to run our games?

This seems clearly like a mistake: one rule tells us that the number of limbs is important, and then that information is left up to the contracted artist or not provided at all.

My mistake on the pictures on AON. Had a weird page load or something. Regardless, for the pictures where the artist didn't pose them clearly and it isn't "common sense", there's no way to know.

Squids have however many limbs that the GM decides that they have, we don't need to do research to know the attributes of a creature that exists entirely in a fictional world which itself only exists in what we describe to the players.

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