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In the bestiary for the new D&D Next playtest packets, some creatures look as though they get multiple attacks per round.

e.g.: An owl bear gets Melee Attack: Claws +5/+5 (etc.) and Bite +5 (etc.) along with a special power says that if both claw attacks hit, then extra damage is done.

However, the basic rules don't seem to cover this situation. I can't tell if the owlbear is able to use both claws AND bite in one action, or if it can only use one claw OR a bite, or 2 claws OR A bite.

So, do monsters get multiple attacks per action? And what are the rules for the owl bear, or other monsters that have a +x/+x description for an attack?

One possible way to answer this question would be to explain how this worked in earlier editions of D&D. If you can tell from the rules test how this is supposed to work, that would be a better answer.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

In the final rules it's pretty clear: a monster can make multiple attacks only if it has the "Multiattack" action, which always specifies which attacks can be made.

In the case of the Owlbear, it has a Beak and a Claws attack (Claws counts as only one attack). It also has a Multiattack action saying "The owlbear makes two attacks: one with its beak and one with its claws."

If a creature has different attacks but doesn't have Multiattack it has to choose which one to use at each turn.

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Look at the monster's stat block. It gets multiple attacks if they have the ability "Multiattack" listed. Under the Multiattack heading, it will tell you which attacks can be combined in the creature's attack action.

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It gets all the attacks. In earlier pre-3e editions that kind of notation meant simply that the monster got all those attacks, and I'm sure that's the intent in D&D Next. In 3e and later there were more complex action types but those are not in 5e (yet).

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