Archives of Nethys

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Types | Subtypes | Universal Monster Rules

Natural Attack

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 296
Most creatures possess one or more natural attacks (attacks made without a weapon). These attacks fall into one of two categories, primary and secondary attacks. Primary attacks are made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and add the creature’s full Strength bonus on damage rolls. Secondary attacks are made using the creature’s base attack bonus –5 and add only 1/2 the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls. If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls. This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one. If a creature has only one type of attack, but has multiple attacks per round, that attack is treated as a primary attack, regardless of its type. Table 3–1 lists some of the most common types of natural attacks and their classifications.

Some creatures treat one or more of their attacks differently, such as dragons, which always receive 1-1/2 times their Strength bonus on damage rolls with their bite attack. These exceptions are noted in the creature’s description.

Creatures with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a creature must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack’s original type.

The Damage Type column refers to the sort of damage that the natural attack typically deals: bludgeoning (B), slashing (S), or piercing (P). Some attacks deal damage of more than one type, depending on the creature. In such cases all the damage is considered to be of all listed types for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Some fey, humanoids, monstrous humanoids, and outsiders do not possess natural attacks. These creatures can make unarmed strikes, but treat them as weapons for the purpose of determining attack bonuses, and they must use the two-weapon fighting rules when making attacks with both hands. See Table 3–1 for typical damage values for natural attacks by creature size.

Table 3-1: Natural Attacks by Size

Base Damage by Size*
Natural AttackFineDiminutiveTinySmallMediumLargeHugeGargantuanColossalDamage TypeAttack Type
Hoof, Tentacle, Wing11d21d31d41d61d82d62d8BSecondary
Pincers, Tail Slap11d21d31d41d61d82d62d84d6BSecondary
* Individual creatures vary from this value as appropriate.

Format: bite +5 (1d6+1), 2 claws +5 (1d4+2), 4 tentacles +0 (1d4+1)
Location: Melee and Ranged