Whip tail (Lizardfolk)


Rules Discussion


Hi,
I would like to have some clarifications about tail in multi attack.
From what I know, if you have an unarmed attack like fang, you can use double slice and the other feat they required you to wield 2 weapons.
Does it apply also to the tail?
I would say yes, because it s an unamored one.
Now this means in theory you could hold a weapon in one hand and strike with that and the tail, but theoretically speaking, you should also be able to use a 2H weapon and also then do the second one with the tail.
Am I wrong?


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Yes, you are wrong. First, you need a weapon in each hands to use Double Slice. And also, a tail is no weapon. PF2 makes it quite clear, there's a strict distinction between natural attacks and weapon attacks.

Sovereign Court

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Indeed, no kind of unarmed strike is a weapon, otherwise it wouldn't be called "unarmed".


So the monk techniques can never be used with feat like double slice, twin Parry ecc?
And also: a ruffian rogue can t make a sneak attack with an unarmed attack unless it has the agile or finesse properties as the other kind of rogues?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
TheGuccett wrote:
So the monk techniques can never be used with feat like double slice, twin Parry ecc?

For both feats it says:

Requirements You are wielding two melee weapons, one in each hand.

Even if your fists would count as weapons (which they don't), how would you wield them in your hands?

man, that sounds philosophic

Sovereign Court

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TheGuccett wrote:
So the monk techniques can never be used with feat like double slice, twin Parry ecc?

Nope.

TheGuccett wrote:
And also: a ruffian rogue can t make a sneak attack with an unarmed attack that has the agile or finesse properties as the other kind of rogues?

Why wouldn't they be able to make sneak attacks with unarmed strikes?

Ruffian wrote:
You can deal sneak attack damage with any simple weapon, in addition to the weapons listed in the sneak attack class feature.
Sneak Attack wrote:
If you Strike a creature that has the flat-footed condition (page 620) with an agile or finesse melee weapon, an agile or finesse unarmed attack, or a ranged weapon attack, you deal an extra 1d6 precision damage.

The Ruffian is adding options, not substituting options.


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The fact that unarmed attacks are not weapons is what makes the Lizardman Fighter so problematic. Most feats require you to be wielding a weapon. "Weapon in one hand", "Two-handed weapon", "Weapon in each hand" are all common requirements to use fighter feats. Unarmed attacks don't fit, yet most Lizardman ancestry feats are about fighting with natural weapons.

You can still make a fairly effective lizardman fighter, but you have to be careful not to take too many natural weapon feats or you're gimping yourself. They really need something that says that their unarmed attacks count for weapons when using them with feats.

It's not like they're broken in terms of power. Claw/claw/bite is an iconic D&D attack pattern.

Sovereign Court

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Let me boil down your analysis to: "Why should I be excited about natural weapons if I can't use them with fighter feats, and monk stances also ignore them?"

Yeah, I like the idea of playing a lizardman, but mechanically the claws are very unsupported. I'm hoping the upcooming APG will give them some love, since it also features Tengu who are strongly associated with monks.


If it makes you feel better, claws are unsupported for most monsters too. :) For most, claws are simply the agile weapons to use in later attacks.
(See Dragons for an exception.)

Getting the whole set of Lizardfolk weapons would be a waste, I'd think, though there are ways to use natural weapons well. I'm not saying any of this will give you an advantage, but if you wanted your PC's theme to be "attacking w/ claws" it can be made functional. They'll be about as effective as a warrior using a simple weapon, except you get to have a free hand which can matter with say Combat Grab.

Monks, though their Stances are their own thing, have many feats that work well with Unarmed (and not with weapons), like Flying Kick at 4th (as compared to Fighters & Barbarians getting a similar effect at 8th and Rogues at 12th!) And you're using an Ancestry Feat, freeing up more Monk Feats. And you'll pull off the naked savage look while having excellent defense.

And since unarmed attack proficiency progresses like simple weapons, the non-warrior classes (except Wizard) can use them as fine as most any other weapon (albeit not as powerful as gaining a martial weapon), all while maintaining a free hand.

A Ruffian Rogue can do competitive damage w/ Sneak Attack and claws (and you don't need to feel bad about low Int when you have more skills than everybody else anyway.)
Most Fighter feats do work w/ unarmed weapons and there are several bread-n'-butter abilities or sets of feats that would work fine, if those interest you already that is.


In the CRB, a first level fighter has seven feats to pick from. Three of which require a weapon or shield. Power Attack is garbage, so you have three feats to choose from if you want to fight unarmed. Sudden Charge is universally useful, so that's easy.

By second level things have turned. Only Combat Grab and Intimidating Strike can be used unarmed. Neither is a bad feat, but the snowball is rolling downhill. As you level the feat chains start to pile up and most of those chains have at least one link that requires weapon-wielding.

At present, I wouldn't recommend a friend play an Iruxi fighter. At least not unless he or she possessed a high level of system mastery. It can probably be done, but it's not as flavorful or as effective as it could be.

I'd really like to see a monk path all about natural weapons, and I think it will come. Hopefully, it will arrive soon-ish.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Many effects, such as Power Attack seem like they would still work with unarmed strikes, but reference weapon damage, not unarmed damage. Are such effects thus unavailable to unarmed strikers as well?


Yes, Power Attack specifically says an extra die of weapon damage, which makes issues messy since unarmed aren't weapons though I do think their dice count as weapon dice. Need clarification here.
I wouldn't recommend it for a weapon smaller than a d10 though, at least not without planning to retrain when a better two-action/2xMAP combo came along.

As for feats, check them out beforehand. It doesn't matter how many are available for unarmed attacks if you like the ones available.


Barbarians can also utilize unarmed stuff pretty effectively. The fighter not so much.


Power attack is garbage no matter what. You're better off just making two attacks. The issue is the missing bonus damage.

Would you rather make two attacks where the first one has no penalty and both attacks add your strength? Or would you rather make one attack with the two attack penalty and only get the extra die of damage, forgoing the extra strength?

Hint: You're not skilled at math if you choose the later. Making two attacks helps mitigate the bad d20 roll in addition (pun intended).


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"Power attack is garbage no matter what" is a weird thing to say given that Power Attack starts out as slightly more damage than just making 2 Strikes, and while it does eventually fall behind it isn't by an amount greater than the resistance to your damage that some creatures have.

So it's not so much a "no matter what" situation as it is a "depending on what kind of creatures your GM likes to use" situation, because it, like basically everything in PF2, is situational.


And there are a few types of build who love Power Attack, like True Strike ones or no Strength ones.


Are we reading the same feat?

It gets you an extra die of damage, with at least 1 MAP (usually -5), and it costs two actions.

Two attacks gets you two chances at 1 weapon die each plus your strength bonus, and the first attack is at full attack bonus.

A fighter with longsword using power attack gets 1 swing at -5 to hit, and if he hits does 2d8+Str Mod. A fighter who didn't waste a feat on power attack gets two swings for 1d8+Str Mod each. The first of which is -0 to hit. When you factor in that -0 to hit and critical hits power attack is even worse. You're much less likely to get a crit with power attack.

A fighter is so, so much better off taking Sudden Charge and actually arriving at the melee and swinging.

This is a thread about Lizard folk, so you have at least a +1 Str mod. Even with a 10 Str, I stand by the assertion that power attack is a trap. Two rolls is better than 1. Cosmetics and swine and all that.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I think maybe you aren't reading the same feat. If power attack is the first attack, it doesn't suffer a -5.


CRB: 144
"Make a melee Strike. This counts as two attacks when calculating your multiple attack penalty."

It does not include any language saying to only count MAP penalty after the attack. Maybe that's RAI, but it's not RAW.

Even if you read it to not include the MAP, it's still slightly worse than making two attacks. Putting all your eggs in one basket just isn't a good plan. Two rolls is: two chances to crit, two chances to trigger on hit effects, two chances to get the Str bonus.

It gets worse when you take into account that we're talking about fighters. You know – the class most likely to land the second hit.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It means that you calculate it as two attacks for all following attacks. The Power Attack itself follows the normal MAP rules. So you could Power Attack at -0, then make a normal strike at -10.

This has been demonstrated and explained by the devs and others in numerous places.


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Aservan wrote:

CRB: 144

"Make a melee Strike. This counts as two attacks when calculating your multiple attack penalty."

It does not include any language saying to only count MAP penalty after the attack. Maybe that's RAI, but it's not RAW.

It absolutely is RAW.

It's one strike, so you make one strike and follow all the normal rules for doing so - thus you have no penalty if it is your first attack of the turn, a -5 if it's the second, and a -10 if it is somehow the third or later attack (exceptions exist that reduce those penalties, but that's a separate rule element).

You then make the specific alterations to the normal strike rules that the feat says you make: more damage than normal, and you count the strike twice for MAP.

The feats that do include the language telling you to count MAP after the attack are ones that include multiple strikes within the same activity, and are doing so to achieve the result of those strikes within the activity not suffering MAP as normal but to still provide normal MAP to strikes outside of the activity in question. I.e. they are 2+ strike activities that receive less penalties, not proof that a 1 strike activity gets extra penalties.


Aservan wrote:

CRB: 144

"Make a melee Strike. This counts as two attacks when calculating your multiple attack penalty."

It does not include any language saying to only count MAP penalty after the attack. Maybe that's RAI, but it's not RAW.

Even if you read it to not include the MAP, it's still slightly worse than making two attacks. Putting all your eggs in one basket just isn't a good plan. Two rolls is: two chances to crit, two chances to trigger on hit effects, two chances to get the Str bonus.

It gets worse when you take into account that we're talking about fighters. You know – the class most likely to land the second hit.

The -5 to hit on the second attack corresponds to losing more than 50% expected damage on that attack, so power attack giving up a small amount of damage bonus actually loses less damage overall.

You mention "two chances to crit". But with the +10 crit system, your best chance of critting is with your first attack, and power attack loads all your damage onto that first attack. It's basically "my second attack does slightly less damage but uses the attack roll of my first attack", which is definitely a good trade. For fighters, who can get very high crit chances on that first attack, power attack is very good.

The place where two attacks gets ahead at low levels is when you are outclassed by an enemy. If your first attack only crits on a 20, both attack routines do tiny damage, and making two attacks and crit fishing is a better strategy than power attacking. This is typically bosses, which may have resistance that shoots power attack ahead again, but if they don't go with two attacks.

It's true that as you level power attack falls off, but it's a very strong go-to for early levels and stacking damage for resistance makes it still useful if more situational at high levels.

Edited to tone down third paragraph, monster AC bonuses being higher than fighter attack bonuses isn't that uncommon.


Because I already did the first level numbers recently, I will cross post here to back up my claims:

BellyBeard wrote:

Level 1 fighter w/ Exacting strike VS Power attack and strike VS three strikes:

Targeting AC 18. Bonus to hit +8. Damage 1d12+4, average 10.5, let's say greatsword or greataxe.

Exacting Strike:

First attack 0.5 to hit, 0.05 to crit. 0.5 * 10.5 + 0.05 * 21 = 6.3
Second attack (Exacting strike) 0.25 to hit, 0.05 to crit. 0.25 * 10.5 + 0.05 * 21 = 3.675
Third attack: a little more complicated. If the first attack missed, which was a 0.7 chance, then this is also 3.675. Otherwise, this is 0.05 * 21 = 1.05. So third strike is 0.7 * 3.675 + 0.3 * 1.05 = 2.8875

Total for Exacting Strike: 12.825

Power attack: Damage for power attack is 17.

First attack (power attack) 0.5 to hit, 0.05 to crit. 0.5 * 17 + 0.05 * 34 = 10.2
Second attack 0.05 to crit, for 1.05 (done above)

Total for power attack: 11.25

Three strikes:

As Exacting strike, but without the chance of more damage on attack three. So attacks are 6.3 + 3.675 + 1.05 = 11.025

---

This obviously isn't conclusive, the numbers I picked were arbitrary but kinda close to what a first level combat might be. However, the point being made is that if you want your strategy to be standing in place and attacking a bunch, Exacting strike is the way to go. Power attack is better than 3 regular strikes, but its real value is front loading damage to free up the third action for something else, and it doesn't serve the "full attack" as well.

Against a higher AC the power attack sequence probably does best, because it puts all its damage on the highest bonus.

Edit: As you rise in levels, power attack falls off due to the increase in non-weapon-die damage bonuses which PA doesn't increase. It takes the niche of the "nutcracker", most useful against high AC enemies with resistances you can't get around. Exacting strike stays strong in its full attack niche, however. I actually suspect it does even better when you get haste and can use it twice per round, but I'm not confident enough in my numbers to do that calculation.

This was a three attack routine, but since power attack and three plain attacks have the same third strike numbers we can still compare them. As you can see, power attack does slightly better against an enemy whose AC bonus matches your attack bonus. It does better numbers wise when your attack bonus raises relative to their AC and you get larger crit ranges, and does worse when their AC raises, but that has to be left as an exercise for the reader. :^)

(my previous hypothesis that power attack does best against high AC was wrong once I ran the numbers, FWIW)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Using your same formulas, you'll get 12.25 for strike followed by power attack, instead of power attack followed by strike.

First attack 0.5 to hit, 0.05 to crit. 0.5 * 10.5 + 0.05 * 21 = 6.3

Second attack (Power Attack) 0.25 to hit, 0.05 to crit. 0.25 * 17 + 0.05 * 34 = 5.95

3 attack routine math vs fixed AC is obviously not a full indication of feat utility, as you acknowledged, but if you are comparing in that way, it's worth listing both orders.


Huh, that's very interesting. Shows my assumption that first attack is always most important does not always hold. Thanks for pointing that out. I guess that shows just how bad a third attack is, that removing it for a stronger second attack is better than frontloading the first attack.


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Well, throwing them all into an excel sheet, and playing with target ACs, power attack then strike actually starts comparing better as the target AC goes up. Adding in resistance also makes using power attack on the 1st attack really pull ahead.

Also, a side note, if the sample numbers are supposed to be a level 1 fighter with 18 strength, the attack bonus should be +9. That doesn't make a huge difference in the shape of the output curve as you adjust target statistics, though.


I keep forgetting the +1 from level on proficiency at level 1. Then the character gets to 2 and I'm always like "oh yeah..."

Edit: maybe these discussions can be made elsewhere...

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