Are There Zen Arms?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I was wondering if there was any mechanic or item or something that gave someone like “Zen arms” like Zenyatta Reference Picture or God Staff Jax Reference Picture . I believe it’s from the Hindu religion and I think the concept is really cool. I guess you could just re-flavor the Arms of Marilith, but was just wondering if there was something already in the game like this.


The Spiritualist would kinda work.

At lv 8 you can use your Bonded Manifestation to "sprout a pair of ectoplasmic tendrils", which are capable of both attacking and manipulating objects. Couple that with the Phantom Limb spell at lv 13 and you'd have two extra sets of otherworldly arms.


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Four levels of alchemist (or eleven levels of mutation warrior fighter) allows a character to take the Vestigial Arm discovery twice (although they have restrictions on use).

Ten levels of summoner (either APG or Unchained version) gives the class feature Aspect. This allows the character to use 2 evolution points from their eidolon's evolution pool to grant themself two extra (fully functional) arms from the Limbs evolution. Greater Aspect at 18th level allows the summoner to use a total of 6 evolution points to gain six extra arms (Limbs taken three times), but only reduces the eidolon's evolution pool by 3. An APG summoner can instead take the synthesist archetype to "wear" their eidolon; just take the humanoid base form and the Limbs evolution starting at level 1.


Dragonchess Player wrote:
Four levels of alchemist (or eleven levels of mutation warrior fighter) allows a character to take the Vestigial Arm discovery twice (although they have restrictions on use).

2 levels of alch if you don't mind spending a feat on extra discovery.


So here’s another question, which should probably be in the advice forum. But how would one make a viable unarmed strike build with multiple arms? Was thinking maybe summoner with Multiweapon Fighting and Monastic Legacy. Perhaps throwing two levels in brawler to get brawler’s flurry and pick up One-Inch Punch, converting all the additional attacks from the arms into one devastating blow (if it even works like that).


Flurry and TWF don't stack, so flurry and multiweapon fighting won't either.

Pummeling style is probably going to work better for you than one-inch punch. It also leads to pummeling charge.

A means of having multiple arms not mentioned above is to play a race which has them. If allowed, a kasatha monk with one of the archetypes which loses flurry of blows & with multiweapon fighting would work for you from level 1. I'm not sure what level you're starting at, or what other restrictions there might be.


Banjaa wrote:
So here’s another question, which should probably be in the advice forum. But how would one make a viable unarmed strike build with multiple arms?

Same as any other unarmed build, because you don't get additional attacks from having more arms. I have no idea why people seem to think that having Multiweapon Fighting allows them more attacks, all the feat does is reduce the penalties of existing attacks. It doesn't allow you to do something that you couldn't do before, and there isn't anything in the rules that allows you to make additional attacks just because you wield more weapons.

There are some monsters that have stat blocks using more than two weapons, but that's not actually supported by the rules and thus an exception, not something a PC can get.


Some sources of extra arms offer extra attacks Derklord, some don't. The kasatha race I mentioned is one of the ones which does, explicitly.


Quote it. Quote where it says you get more attacks. The only thing in that direction is "One hand is considered its primary hand; all others are considered off hands." Do you see the word "attack" there? because I don't. Just like the Multiweapon Fighting feat, it's only modifying the penalties, not granting you additional abitilies.

You're confusing rules here - you think "off hand" is inextricably linked with additional attacks, but that is not true. You use the off-hand rules anytime you attack with more than one manufactured weapon/unarmed strike, even if you don't gain any extra attacks from TWF. The first attack you make is the primary hand, attacks with other weapons are made as off-hand weapons, and you only get half strength bonus. The TWF rules build upon the off hand rules, not the other way around - if you wield a weapon in the/an off hand, you can use the TWF rules.

So all that sentence in the Kasatha description does is say that if you use multiple weapons (which you can do independent of TWF or anything similar), all but one only gain half strength bonus on damage rolls.


Derklord wrote:

Quote it. Quote where it says you get more attacks. The only thing in that direction is "One hand is considered its primary hand; all others are considered off hands." Do you see the word "attack" there? because I don't. Just like the Multiweapon Fighting feat, it's only modifying the penalties, not granting you additional abitilies.

You're confusing rules here - you think "off hand" is inextricably linked with additional attacks, but that is not true. You use the off-hand rules anytime you attack with more than one manufactured weapon/unarmed strike, even if you don't gain any extra attacks from TWF. The first attack you make is the primary hand, attacks with other weapons are made as off-hand weapons, and you only get half strength bonus. The TWF rules build upon the off hand rules, not the other way around - if you wield a weapon in the/an off hand, you can use the TWF rules.

So all that sentence in the Kasatha description does is say that if you use multiple weapons (which you can do independent of TWF or anything similar), all but one only gain half strength bonus on damage rolls.

I guess it’s just confusing, since TWF says, “ You can make one extra attack each round with the secondary weapon.” So it’s like what even is the point of multiweapon fighting? Sure it reduces the penalties, but is that it’s only function? It also states, “ This feat replaces the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for creatures with more than two arms.” so it leads me to believe that it would give you at least one extra attack because it’s supposed to be a replacement for TWF.


avr wrote:

Flurry and TWF don't stack, so flurry and multiweapon fighting won't either.

Pummeling style is probably going to work better for you than one-inch punch. It also leads to pummeling charge.

A means of having multiple arms not mentioned above is to play a race which has them. If allowed, a kasatha monk with one of the archetypes which loses flurry of blows & with multiweapon fighting would work for you from level 1. I'm not sure what level you're starting at, or what other restrictions there might be.

I know they wouldn’t stack, I’m just saying to get it because it’s a prerequisite for One-Inch Punch.


Banjaa wrote:
But how would one make a viable unarmed strike build with multiple arms?

Not by taking One-Inch Punch. Adding half your strength mod in place of every attack you forgo, being in a situation where you could full-attack, is a very poor idea.

Considering that there's apparently some disagreement on the number of attacks multiple arms would give you, natural attacks seems like the way to go.


Banjaa wrote:
So it’s like what even is the point of multiweapon fighting? Sure it reduces the penalties, but is that it’s only function? It also states, “ This feat replaces the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for creatures with more than two arms.” so it leads me to believe that it would give you at least one extra attack because it’s supposed to be a replacement for TWF.

The Two-Weapon Fighting feat does not grant any extra attacks. The option to gain an additional attack comes from the TWF rules in the combat section of the CRB, pg. 202 (that's what you quoted). All the TWF feat does is reduce penalties, just like Multiweapon Fighting feat!

Note that Multiweapon Fighting is a monster feat, it was never intended for PCs, and thus it doesn't have to have any use for PCs.

Look, I kinda understand your confusion, because it's basically a hole in the rules. Multiweapon Fighting's normal section references the TWF rules, but those rules don't make any mention of more than two weapons (which is exactly why that's not allowed). Plus, having the rule option and the feat have the exact same name is pure stupidity. But still, the feat's benefit section says "Penalties for fighting with multiple weapons are reduced by –2 with the primary hand and by –6 with off hands." - that's it. Penalties are reduces, that's all the feat does. Dito for the TWF feat.

Indeed, multiarmed monsters that are shown with multiple weapons aren't actually covered by the rules. It's one of the problem with the ridiculously anthropocentric writing of the CRB.


Derklord wrote:

The Two-Weapon Fighting feat does not grant any extra attacks. The option to gain an additional attack comes from the TWF rules in the combat section of the CRB, pg. 202 (that's what you quoted). All the TWF feat does is reduce penalties, just like Multiweapon Fighting feat!

Note that Multiweapon Fighting is a monster feat, it was never intended for PCs, and thus it doesn't have to have any use for PCs.

Look, I kinda understand your confusion, because it's basically a hole in the rules. Multiweapon Fighting's normal section references the TWF rules, but those rules don't make any mention of more than two weapons (which is exactly why that's not allowed). Plus, having the rule option and the feat have the exact same name is pure stupidity. But still, the feat's benefit section says "Penalties for fighting with multiple weapons are reduced by –2 with the primary hand and by –6 with off hands." - that's it. Penalties are reduces, that's all the feat does. Dito for the TWF feat.

Indeed, multiarmed monsters that are shown with multiple weapons aren't actually covered by the rules. It's one of the problem with the ridiculously anthropocentric writing of the CRB.

Oh, I see what you’re saying. That is like astronomically dumb that the rules for it and the feat have identical names. I’m still kind of bummed, because I know the idea of “more arms = more attacks” might be super unbalanced and break the game, but like how do you even make a character like General Grievous who uses four manufactured weapons rather than natural attacks? Sure he could hold four, but not necessarily able to utilize them all.


Wonderstell wrote:

Not by taking One-Inch Punch. Adding half your strength mod in place of every attack you forgo, being in a situation where you could full-attack, is a very poor idea.

Considering that there's apparently some disagreement on the number of attacks multiple arms would give you, natural attacks seems like the way to go.

Yeah, that does make sense. Do you know which damage dice the claw attacks from the Phantom Limb spell are? It doesn’t list the damage. I know the tendrils from the spiritualist’s phantom have slam attacks that scale with level. Which natural attacks would you suggest for the character’s two actual arms? Also is there a spiritualist archetype that is particularly good for a build like this? I’ve never played an occult class, and I took a look but couldn’t find anything particularly promising.


Banjaa wrote:
I know the idea of “more arms = more attacks” might be super unbalanced and break the game, but like how do you even make a character like General Grievous who uses four manufactured weapons rather than natural attacks? Sure he could hold four, but not necessarily able to utilize them all.

Well, a Kasatha or even an Alchemist with two Vestigial Arms could definitely wield four weapons. You can even attack with all four, presuming you have enough attacks for that (BAB+11 and Haste, for instance). But it's mechanically very bad, because you're weakening yourself for zero gain. Double cost to enchant weapons is one of the problems TWF has, it only gets worse with more weapons, and if there's no gain...

Of course, General Grievous uses two of these weapons purely defensively, somethign that's pretty hard to imitate in Pathfinder anyway. There's the Defending enchantment, which you could make use of when you "waste" your iterative attacks on your additional weapons (you need to actually attack with the weapon). RAW, two of these would even stack.

Banjaa wrote:
Do you know which damage dice the claw attacks from the Phantom Limb spell are? It doesn’t list the damage.

Go with the default values.

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I think your by far best chance is actually the Synthesist Summoner archetype. You could add any number of additional arms that way (in pairs), and you can add natural attacks to them easily.
As you can explicitly flavor the "Fused Eidolon" about any way you want, you could have 4 translucent arms, with a slam for each pair, and your real arms are still visible as another pair, and all that's doable at 4th level. You could even use unarmed TWF (or use manufactured weapons) with your regular hands and make a slam with each of the four "zen hands", although the slams would be at BAB-5 and add half strength.
You could imitate both of the images you've linked that way, and the distinction between slam attacks and unarmed strikes is purely mechanical.


Banjaa wrote:
Yeah, that does make sense. Do you know which damage dice the claw attacks from the Phantom Limb spell are? It doesn’t list the damage.

1d4 if medium, as per Derklord's link.

Banjaa wrote:
I know the tendrils from the spiritualist’s phantom have slam attacks that scale with level. Which natural attacks would you suggest for the character’s two actual arms?

Claws. Preferably from a racial trait.

Banjaa wrote:
Also is there a spiritualist archetype that is particularly good for a build like this? I’ve never played an occult class, and I took a look but couldn’t find anything particularly promising.

Fractured Mind combined with Exciter is pretty good. Exciter gives you a bunch of benefits in return for not being able to manifest your phantom, which you don't want to, and Fractured Mind means you get a morale bonus to your casting stat with Rapture. I'd say it's more about making use of your spells and the phantom's Aura rather than being a melee powerhouse, though.

Alternatively you could take the Totem Spiritualist archetype, which gives you several animal phantoms, and see if you can convince your GM that you could use Bonded Manifestation with one of them while another is manifested. This would pretty much give you the best of both worlds.

I'd also look into ways to make use of the tendrils' more interesting ability, that they can manipulate items as part of your swift action. You can really boost your action economy if done right, and I'm leaning towards that "manipulating an object" would allow for swift action wands.

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