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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by SillySymphonies View Post
    'as characters' entries for all the MM monsters with LA:
    http://www.sendspace.com/file/mx7puu
    Awesome! Will add to the guide shortly.
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    I'm advancing HD for my druid's dog, and wondering if I'm doing the skills wrong. Animals are listed as getting 2+INTMOD skills per HD, but by definition an animal always has an Intelligence of 2 or less, meaning a -4 or -5 modifier, so wouldn't this mean an animal only gains 1 skill point per HD? Also, the Riding Dog has Survival listed in its skills block with a +1, which it gains from its Wisdom modifier, but it has a racial bonus to Survival checks for tracking by scent only. So does it have Survival as a "class" skill? (Realistically, I think it really should; dogs often go feral when they lose their owners, and this particular dog was feral in the first place before she took it as a companion. For that matter, it would be logical for a dog to have Move Silently but that isn't listed in the statblock at all. Perhaps they just forgot?)
    Last edited by willpell; 2012-03-23 at 10:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    I'm advancing HD for my druid's dog, and wondering if I'm doing the skills wrong. Animals are listed as getting 2+INTMOD skills per HD, but by definition an animal always has an Intelligence of 2 or less, meaning a -4 or -5 modifier, so wouldn't this mean an animal only gains 1 skill point per HD? Also, the Riding Dog has Survival listed in its skills block with a +1, which it gains from its Wisdom modifier, but it has a racial bonus to Survival checks for tracking by scent only. So does it have Survival as a "class" skill? (Realistically, I think it really should; dogs often go feral when they lose their owners, and this particular dog was feral in the first place before she took it as a companion. For that matter, it would be logical for a dog to have Move Silently but that isn't listed in the statblock at all. Perhaps they just forgot?)
    Yes, you always have a minimum of 1 skill point/level.

    As Urpriest's guide points out, monsters have class skills for anything they invest skill points or have a racial bonus. If it's just a stat boost, then that's all it is, so Move Silently would be a cross-class skill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cieyrin View Post
    Yes, you always have a minimum of 1 skill point/level.

    As Urpriest's guide points out, monsters have class skills for anything they invest skill points or have a racial bonus. If it's just a stat boost, then that's all it is, so Move Silently would be a cross-class skill.
    To add to this, conditional racial bonuses count, so even if the dog only sometimes gets the Survival boost, Survival is a class skill for it.
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    So Urpriest, when building a nonhumanoid creature, is there any method beyond eyeballing it of figuring out which skills they should be barred from using? So far I've done two examples, a dog and a Psicrystal, and I just had to guess and make some dubious judgment calls. I figured the dog could Bluff in the sense of a feint or other tricky hunting maneuver, and the psicrystal has a human intelligence so it can do things like Decipher Script if it gets skill points (assuming it ever does), but fairly obviously it can't do anything which requires a hand, and the dog can't do anything which requires hands or a capacity for speech or abstract thought. Oh, and I've done a toad (actually a Goliath beetle or something similar, but I couldn't find stats on a beetle of any variety so I used the toad as a stand-in of about the same size, with a few fudges like dropping Swim and adding Climb) also, that required some other judgment calls, and I always feel like I'm doing it wrong because there isn't a guideline to keep me realistic. Any thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    So Urpriest, when building a nonhumanoid creature, is there any method beyond eyeballing it of figuring out which skills they should be barred from using? So far I've done two examples, a dog and a Psicrystal, and I just had to guess and make some dubious judgment calls. I figured the dog could Bluff in the sense of a feint or other tricky hunting maneuver, and the psicrystal has a human intelligence so it can do things like Decipher Script if it gets skill points (assuming it ever does), but fairly obviously it can't do anything which requires a hand, and the dog can't do anything which requires hands or a capacity for speech or abstract thought. Oh, and I've done a toad (actually a Goliath beetle or something similar, but I couldn't find stats on a beetle of any variety so I used the toad as a stand-in of about the same size, with a few fudges like dropping Swim and adding Climb) also, that required some other judgment calls, and I always feel like I'm doing it wrong because there isn't a guideline to keep me realistic. Any thoughts?
    Like you say, there aren't any real guidelines. I'd advise being as liberal as possible: chances are there's a way for anything to do anything if it's creative enough. If you feel dubious about something, ask your players to explain how they think it should work: they may surprise you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    ask your players to explain how they think it should work: they may surprise you.
    I don't think that's ever been a problem for DMs, it's mitigating the damage afterwards when you fail to stop them from getting away with it and snowballing from there.
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    Other than the obvious "don't", how should one handle young true dragons as characters? No other monster gains power automatically just by aging; in most campaigns this isn't a problem, but I'm envisioning a game where one player is a baby dragon and the other is an Elan or some other immortal species, and they both sit in a cave for five hundred years counting their gold pieces or something, and by the time they come out the dragon has gained an age category and is all kinds of more powerful now, while the Elan hasn't gained a single experience point since he needs to actually do something in order to advance. Niche case though this is, does a method exist for addressing it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Other than the obvious "don't", how should one handle young true dragons as characters? No other monster gains power automatically just by aging; in most campaigns this isn't a problem, but I'm envisioning a game where one player is a baby dragon and the other is an Elan or some other immortal species, and they both sit in a cave for five hundred years counting their gold pieces or something, and by the time they come out the dragon has gained an age category and is all kinds of more powerful now, while the Elan hasn't gained a single experience point since he needs to actually do something in order to advance. Niche case though this is, does a method exist for addressing it?
    Generally, if players play monsters, the default power increaser is XP, regardless of the standard power increase from age, consuming creatures, etc. Savage Progressions (either from Savage Species, online or I think Dracanomicon) provide the kind of leveling mechanic to work out monstrous PCs in a manner that keeps them in line with other non-monstrous characters. Sometimes DMs or books will fluff in the original mechanic (the original Council of Wyrms really pushed the passage of time so that age and power leveled side-by-side) but it should really only rely on one mechanic to keep everyone on the same page.

    Besides which, Dragons need to eat, drink and breathe, which tends to involve leaving their lair from time to time to gorge, unlike an Elan, who can just use their natural psionics to sustain themselves. Though they could gain power side-by-side in such an instance, as not all XP is a consequence of killing things and taking their stuff. They could discuss magic-psionic theory and gain greater insight (read: XP) in the interchange between the two, which is admittedly a slower XP progression than adventuring would tend to be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Other than the obvious "don't", how should one handle young true dragons as characters?
    I've got a Silver Dragon, Pyroclastic Dragon, and Styx Dragon Monster class in the link in my signature. Likely not exactly what you're looking for, and unfortunately I don't have any others yet, but I thought they'd be worth bringing up for your consideration.
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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Other than the obvious "don't", how should one handle young true dragons as characters? No other monster gains power automatically just by aging; in most campaigns this isn't a problem, but I'm envisioning a game where one player is a baby dragon and the other is an Elan or some other immortal species, and they both sit in a cave for five hundred years counting their gold pieces or something, and by the time they come out the dragon has gained an age category and is all kinds of more powerful now, while the Elan hasn't gained a single experience point since he needs to actually do something in order to advance. Niche case though this is, does a method exist for addressing it?
    The others have covered this pretty well, but essentially Draconomicon has what you're after. Basically, aging gives you the opportunity to increase LA and RHD, but it doesn't increase them automatically, you still need experience. I think it's a decently elegant way of handling the situation, though there are potentially better ones.

    When it gets stupid is when age-manipulating magic gets involved. There isn't much of it around in this edition, but a few obscure Dragonlance spells and an alternate curse from the BoVD can cause someone to age. Applying that to a Dragon...
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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Hey Ur-Priest, can you explain to me why monsters in the MM who have a Claw/Claw/Bite get to use their full attack bonus on both Claws, when humans who attack with both hands have to take -6/-10? This is especially frustrating in the case of humans who gain claws, such as from the Half-Dragon template, as I see nothing saying that they can attack freely with both claws; even though the example Half-Dragon Fighter lists two claw attacks, the actual template description says a half-dragon usually attacks with "a" claw (even though the Bite does more damage and thus is more logical to use if you only get one attack).

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    Very nicely done Urpriest! Clears up a lot of things. I'll admit, when I first started playing DnD I was told that it was best to play something with really broken level adjustment. Until I learned better I insisted on playing a Hound Archon or a Centaur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Hey Ur-Priest, can you explain to me why monsters in the MM who have a Claw/Claw/Bite get to use their full attack bonus on both Claws, when humans who attack with both hands have to take -6/-10? This is especially frustrating in the case of humans who gain claws, such as from the Half-Dragon template, as I see nothing saying that they can attack freely with both claws; even though the example Half-Dragon Fighter lists two claw attacks, the actual template description says a half-dragon usually attacks with "a" claw (even though the Bite does more damage and thus is more logical to use if you only get one attack).
    Claws are natural weapons, so they work like natural weapons. Humans attacking with both hands are using two-weapon fighting, which is entirely different. Natural weapons always are at the full base attack bonus if they're primary, or -5 (modified by multiattack) if they're secondary. For example, let's look at the Half-Dragon:

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Attack

    A half-dragon has two claw attacks and a bite attack, and the claws are the primary natural weapon. If the base creature can use weapons, the half-dragon retains this ability. A half-dragon fighting without weapons uses a claw when making an attack action. When it has a weapon, it usually uses the weapon instead.

    Full Attack

    A half-dragon fighting without weapons uses both claws and its bite when making a full attack. If armed with a weapon, it usually uses the weapon as its primary attack and its bite as a natural secondary attack. If it has a hand free, it uses a claw as an additional natural secondary attack.

    Damage

    Half-dragons have bite and claw attacks. If the base creature does not have these attack forms, use the damage values in the table below. Otherwise, use the values below or the base creature’s damage values, whichever are greater.
    As you can see, half-dragons have two claws and a bite. If you are armed with a weapon your hands are occupied, so you can't use your claws. (If you had claws on your feet this wouldn't be a problem). If you're wielding a weapon it automatically becomes your primary attack, and uses your full attack bonus. All of your natural attacks then become secondary attacks, which means -5 to attack and half Str to damage.

    If you aren't armed with a weapon your claws are primary, so they get your highest attack bonus and your bite gets the second highest. Note that both claws are at the same attack bonus. Why not have your bite primary? It's just not how you're built. In general bite is only primary on creatures where the bite is physiologically easier to use. For the average half-dragon, the claws will be easier, so they are primary. Thus if you have a single attack you use the claw, not the bite, because it's more accurate.

    Note that you don't take the -6/-10 penalties unless you're actually using two-weapon fighting. Simply fighting with weapons in both hands isn't enough to trigger that, you have to actually be getting extra attacks from doing so by using that specific combat maneuver.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode View Post
    Literaly? So if a creature with two claw attacks wields a one handed weapon with one hand, both claws are considered ocupied?
    No, sorry for being unclear, it's arm by arm, as specified in the Half-Dragon description. If you've got a one-handed weapon, you can full attack as Weapon/Claw/Bite.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    As you can see, half-dragons have two claws and a bite. If you are armed with a weapon your hands are occupied, so you can't use your claws. (If you had claws on your feet this wouldn't be a problem). If you're wielding a weapon it automatically becomes your primary attack, and uses your full attack bonus. All of your natural attacks then become secondary attacks, which means -5 to attack and half Str to damage.
    So if you have a weapon which does the same damage as your claws (or even slightly more if you're not very good at hitting), you are actually better off dropping it and just attacking with the claws, because the weapon somehow applies a -5 penalty (-2 with Multiattack) to your claw attack with the other hand?

    Why not have your bite primary? It's just not how you're built. In general bite is only primary on creatures where the bite is physiologically easier to use. For the average half-dragon, the claws will be easier, so they are primary. Thus if you have a single attack you use the claw, not the bite, because it's more accurate.
    This is logically sensible but not really supported by the rules. In White Wolf games, characters who aren't supposed to be able to use their bite attack easily are simply not allowed to bite unless they're grappling their target, and there's precedent in D&D for attacks that are shorter range than normal and thus can only be used by getting close (such as a human's unarmed strike), so they provoke attacks of opportunity. I'm not sure if any attacks are actually restricted to "while grappling" in D&D, that's probably a difference between the two systems.

    Note that you don't take the -6/-10 penalties unless you're actually using two-weapon fighting. Simply fighting with weapons in both hands isn't enough to trigger that, you have to actually be getting extra attacks from doing so by using that specific combat maneuver.
    Just to clarify your meaning here, you mean a character who has two weapons and chooses one or the other to attack with each round takes no penalty? Or are you implying there's an alternate method of getting to attack once with each weapon which isn't considered Two-Weapon Fighting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    So if you have a weapon which does the same damage as your claws (or even slightly more if you're not very good at hitting), you are actually better off dropping it and just attacking with the claws, because the weapon somehow applies a -5 penalty (-2 with Multiattack) to your claw attack with the other hand?
    Well, yes and no. You get iterative attacks with a weapon. You do not with natural weapons.

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    This is logically sensible but not really supported by the rules. In White Wolf games, characters who aren't supposed to be able to use their bite attack easily are simply not allowed to bite unless they're grappling their target, and there's precedent in D&D for attacks that are shorter range than normal and thus can only be used by getting close (such as a human's unarmed strike), so they provoke attacks of opportunity. I'm not sure if any attacks are actually restricted to "while grappling" in D&D, that's probably a difference between the two systems.
    There are some attacks which can be used for free while grappling, but otherwise, no.

    It is supported by the rules, though, in that it is mostly reverse-engineered from looking at monsters and comparing when they get what primary natural attack. (There aren't any rules as to when or how they get one.)

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Just to clarify your meaning here, you mean a character who has two weapons and chooses one or the other to attack with each round takes no penalty? Or are you implying there's an alternate method of getting to attack once with each weapon which isn't considered Two-Weapon Fighting?
    The first, though there are ways to accomplish the second (like Tiger Claw maneuvers). Flurry of Blows can also pull it off, as you can interweave any weapon you're wielding into a flurry as you wish, including all of them (assuming you have enough attacks) or none (if you want to do only unarmed strikes).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Szar_Lakol View Post
    Well, yes and no. You get iterative attacks with a weapon. You do not with natural weapons.
    I don't know what "iterative" means in this context (or any other context, actually; it's obviously related to "iteration" but that doesn't make any sense to me here, unless you had a weapon that was resizing itself repeatedly or something).

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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    I don't know what "iterative" means in this context (or any other context, actually; it's obviously related to "iteration" but that doesn't make any sense to me here, unless you had a weapon that was resizing itself repeatedly or something).
    Iterative attacks are bonus attacks do to higher BAB-- that is, the extra attack you get with a primary weapon every time BAB rolls over to a multiple of 6.

    Natural weapons do not take iteratives, though if you make itteratives with a manufactured weapon, you can also make one secondary attack with each natural weapon as well (presuming, of course, that that manufactured weapon does not preclude the natural weapon's use-- you can't bite and use a mouth pick).

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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Just to clarify your meaning here, you mean a character who has two weapons and chooses one or the other to attack with each round takes no penalty? Or are you implying there's an alternate method of getting to attack once with each weapon which isn't considered Two-Weapon Fighting?
    The only time the penalties for "Two-Weapon Fighting" apply is when you do a full attack and choose to get a bonus attack(s) with your "off-hand" weapon. You have to choose this (and what will be your off-hand weapon for this round) before you make your first attack in the round. Your off-hand weapon does not have to be wielded by a hand in any sense, its just a hold-over term from previous D&D editions. Also, by just holding a weapon in each hand, no penalties are triggered. If your Bab is high enough you can make attacks which what ever weapon you have ready.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecuba View Post
    Natural weapons do not take iteratives, though if you make itteratives with a manufactured weapon, you can also make one secondary attack with each natural weapon as well (presuming, of course, that that manufactured weapon does not preclude the natural weapon's use-- you can't bite and use a mouth pick).
    Creatures do not get additional attacks from a high base attack bonus (the definition of iterative attacks) when using natural weapons, and I am not aware of any exceptions to this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Szar_Lakol View Post
    Creatures do not get additional attacks from a high base attack bonus (the definition of iterative attacks) when using natural weapons, and I am not aware of any exceptions to this.
    Monster Manual p 299:
    Natural and Manufactured Weapons:
    If a creature has both a manufactured weapon and natural weapons it uses its manufactured weapon as it's primary attack (and receives multiple attacks with that weapon, if its base attack bonus is +6 or higher), and uses its natural weapons as secondary attacks [. . .]

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    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    So if you have a weapon which does the same damage as your claws (or even slightly more if you're not very good at hitting), you are actually better off dropping it and just attacking with the claws, because the weapon somehow applies a -5 penalty (-2 with Multiattack) to your claw attack with the other hand?
    As others have mentioned, if you have only one attack with your sword then yes, it would be better just to use both claws. But once your BAB is above +6 you will probably want the extra sword attacks, since natural weapons always give one attack per weapon without regard to BAB. All this is in the natural weapons guide I linked though, or should be.


    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    This is logically sensible but not really supported by the rules. In White Wolf games, characters who aren't supposed to be able to use their bite attack easily are simply not allowed to bite unless they're grappling their target, and there's precedent in D&D for attacks that are shorter range than normal and thus can only be used by getting close (such as a human's unarmed strike), so they provoke attacks of opportunity. I'm not sure if any attacks are actually restricted to "while grappling" in D&D, that's probably a difference between the two systems.
    There are more detailed ways of simulating "this attack is really awkward to use", yes. The baseline, low-detail way, though, is in the difference between secondary and primary attacks.


    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Just to clarify your meaning here, you mean a character who has two weapons and chooses one or the other to attack with each round takes no penalty? Or are you implying there's an alternate method of getting to attack once with each weapon which isn't considered Two-Weapon Fighting?
    Again, someone else addressed this, but as stated in the FAQ among other places, if you have, for example, a Longsword in one hand and a Shortsword in the other and your attack bonus is +10 you can attack with your Longsword at +10 and your Shortsword at +5 with your attacks from BAB, taking none of the penalties from TWF. TWF and its associated penalties are strictly for when you're trying to get more attacks than your BAB would give you.
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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Hecuba View Post
    Monster Manual p 299:
    Natural and Manufactured Weapons:
    If a creature has both a manufactured weapon and natural weapons it uses its manufactured weapon as it's primary attack (and receives multiple attacks with that weapon, if its base attack bonus is +6 or higher), and uses its natural weapons as secondary attacks [. . .]
    Emphasis mine. You do not get receive iterative attacks with the same natural weapon, no matter what.

    For example, if you have +6 base attack bonus as a half-dragon with 22 Str, and you use a long sword in one hand, you have two attacks with the long sword (at +12 and +7, respectively), and if you only use one hand with the long sword, you have two additional natural attacks: One with a claw at +7, and one with a bite at +7.

    The rules for natural weapons explicitly states you do not receive iterative attacks with them, and I do not understand how you can read that quote to somehow contradict that.

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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Szar_Lakol View Post
    For example, if you have +6 base attack bonus as a half-dragon with 22 Str, and you use a long sword in one hand, you have two attacks with the long sword (at +12 and +7, respectively), and if you only use one hand with the long sword, you have two additional natural attacks: One with a claw at +7, and one with a bite at +7.
    ... yes, that's what she was saying. There is no conflict here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode View Post
    ... yes, that's what she was saying. There is no conflict here.
    ... d'oh.

    I completely misunderstood the other post. Mea maxima culpa! For some reason, I read 'one secondary attack with each natural weapon' as saying multiple attacks with each natural weapon, which clearly isn't what she meant at all.
    Last edited by Szar_Lakol; 2012-04-15 at 01:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Just to be clear, though, a human doesn't get to make more than one unarmed strike unless he takes TWF penalties, correct? Even though he has two hands? (Why did they take out the Ambidexterity feat???) Having pointy bits on your fingertips makes that much of a difference?
    Last edited by willpell; 2012-04-16 at 05:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Just to be clear, though, a human doesn't get to make more than one unarmed strike unless he takes TWF penalties, correct? Even though he has two hands? (Why did they take out the Ambidexterity feat???) Having pointy bits on your fingertips makes that much of a difference?
    Yes, it works the same as manufactured weapons, even if it (on the surface, at least) would have made more sense as a natural weapon.

    What does Ambidexterity have to do with it? That feat just removed penalties for using your non-dominant hand for anything. They put the benefit into Two-Weapon Fighting, anyway. (In 3.0, having Ambidexterity and Two-Weapon Fighting reduced TWF penalties by 2 with your primary hand and 6 with your off-hand. In 3.5, Two-Weapon Fighting alone does that.)

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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Just to be clear, though, a human doesn't get to make more than one unarmed strike unless he takes TWF penalties, correct? Even though he has two hands? (Why did they take out the Ambidexterity feat???) Having pointy bits on your fingertips makes that much of a difference?
    Having a natural weapon makes the difference. Humans dont have any.

    Unarmed strikes are made according to Bab. Also, you could cut someone arms of or something, but it wouldnt make them unable to perform unarmed strikes. (Some would even say it enables them to do so )
    And do note that not all creatures who have more then one upper limp gets an equal number of natural attacks. Vampires, Wights, Zombies... all of them only get one slam attack, even if the have to arms.
    Last edited by Zombimode; 2012-04-16 at 06:09 AM.

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    Default Re: Urpriest's Monstrous Monster Handbook

    On Simple Question you appeared to be stating that racial HD offer attribute bonuses normally; I remember you once stating the opposite, either on this thread or somewhere else, using the Centaur as proof. Am I misremembering something or did you discover new information?

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