Natural attacks, touch attacks, and Multiattack or Weapon Focus?


Rules Questions


I've been thinking about a hypothetical monster build and I am now curious - if a creature possesses a touch attack that's a normal or inherent attack, i.e. just something that the creature has and not part of a spell-like ability or similar, is that touch attack considered to be a natural attack, especially for the purpose of qualifying for the Multiattack feat? Is it considered to be a natural weapon for the purpose of eligibility for Weapon Focus?

For example, a Lamia not using manufactured/hand-held weapons has two claw attacks and a touch attack - if the touch attack is not considered a natural attack/weapon then she does not qualify for Multiattack, if it is considered a natural attack/weapon then she does qualify for Multiattack.

I know that previous discussions have highlighted that you can't take "touch attacks" or "touch spells" as a Weapon Focus choice, but can you take Weapon Focus not for "touch attacks" in general but for "this one specific touch attack that I possess as a natural abillity?"

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
TheOrganGrinder wrote:
For example, a Lamia not using manufactured/hand-held weapons has two claw attacks and a touch attack - if the touch attack is not considered a natural attack/weapon then she does not qualify for Multiattack, if it is considered a natural attack/weapon then she does qualify for Multiattack.

My understanding is that a Lamia touch attack is the same as a human touch attack... she is using one of her hands to try to touch the target. That's effectively treated as 'two-weapon fighting' with the hand being a light weapon (+9 BAB - 6 two weapon fighting + 2 light weapon + [4 * 0.5] Str = +7 touch attack bonus).

Also note that, if not using a hand-held weapon, the Lamia would have two hands free and could potentially make two iterative touch attacks with one and a third with the other hand... along with two foreleg claw attacks.

That being said, I don't see any reason that Weapon Focus (touch attack) wouldn't be a thing.


I'll admit, that's not how I figured the attack modifier for the lamia's touch attack (for the stock lamia in the Bestiary) was calculated, for a few reasons:

1) The "half your strength modifier" applies to damage for a light weapon wielded in the off-hand, but not to the attack roll as far as I'm aware - I'm prepared to be wrong here if you have a cite otherwise;
2) There are no two-weapon fighting penalties applied to the lamia's dagger attack;
3) The attack bonus you've arrived at does not include the -1 size penalty due to the fact that the lamia is a large creature.

Instead I believe the attack bonus is calculated as +9 BAB, +4 Strength, -1 size, -5 for being a secondary attack (natural attacks are treated as secondary attacks in a full attack that combines manufactured weapon and natural weapon attacks) for the resulting total of +7.

The text of Weapon Focus allows it to be applied to any weapon, or to an unarmed strike, grapple, or ray; additionally the various Bestiaries are full of monsters that have Weapon Focus in a specific natural attack. Various discussions here have indicated that you can't/shouldn't be able to take Weapon Focus (touch attack) or Weapon Focus (ranged touch attack) - I'll see if I can find a citation, but mostly it boils down to the category "touch attack" being far more broad than any other possible Weapon Focus, and also touch attacks not being called out as explicitly allowed for Weapon Focus.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hmmm, you're right. The 3.5 lamia is easier to follow;

full attack: Touch +12 melee (1d4 Wisdom drain); or dagger +12/+7 melee (1d6+4/19-20) and 2 claws +7 melee (1d4+2)

BAB, Str, Siz, feats, etc are all the same so this is just;

Touch / Dagger: +9 BAB + 4 Str - 1 Siz = +12
Claws: As above - 5 secondary attack

Pathfinder has the dagger attacks one higher because it is now a +1 dagger... and rather than the touch having to be a separate attack it now seems like it can be combined with dagger and/or claws... and the attack bonus seems like it is being treated as a secondary natural attack.

The thing is... that'd imply that all humanoids should be able to make a touch attack as a natural attack (secondary if combined with weapon attacks).


The Lamia is using the touch attack as a natural attack. In the pathfinder Lamia monster stats entry, it's full attack is "+1 dagger +13/+8 (1d4+4/19–20), touch +7 (1d4 Wisdom drain), 2 claws +7 (1d4+2)" and that math only adds up correctly if the touch attack is a natural attack being used in conjunction with manufactured weapons.

That's it's entire full attack, not a combination of variations of natural attacks or manufactured weapons, such as Dagger attacks OR claw attacks... a Lamia uses one of its humanoid arms to make one set of iterative dagger attacks, it's other humanoid hand/arm makes the touch attack, and it's two claw attacks are its forend paws of it's lion half.

So yes, a Lamia qualifies for multiattack.

And no, other creatures that gain touch attacks via spells or other methods do not get to use them as natural attacks. This touch attack that the Lamia has is an attack that is inherent to her form and identity, thus making it a natural attack (similar to a shadow's touch attack).


Agree. +13/+8 is consistent with +9 BAB, +4 from Str, and the normal iteratives one would expect without any other modifiers (including TWF modifiers). Any additional attacks would have to be natural.

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