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The Cave Fisher has this in its Offense section:

Ranged filament +3 (drag)
Special Attacks pull (filament, 10 feet)

I know wolves have something similar:

Melee bite +2 (1d6+1 plus trip)

This one is pretty self explanatory; the wolf gets a trip attempt as a free action on hit in addition to its damage.

So it seems that the cave fisher gets a drag attempt in addition to its... nothing. The weird thing is that it also seems to get a free pull attempt:


A creature with this ability can choose to make a free combat maneuver check with a successful attack. If successful, this check pulls a creature closer. The distance pulled is set by this ability. The type of attack that causes the pull and the distance pulled are included in the creature's description. This ability only works on creatures of a size equal to or smaller than the pulling creature. Creatures pulled in this way do not provoke attacks of opportunity and stop if the pull would move them into a solid object or creature.

Am I missing something here? Can a cave fisher drag AND pull?

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If I understand drag right, it's not a maneuver that's relevant when the fisher first hits with a filament since it requires both target and attacker to move together within 5' of each other. That's a confusing attack line, yeah. – SevenSidedDie Nov 8 '13 at 6:25
Oh, and if it does get a drag, it's not in addition to nothing, it's in addition to the effects of its Filament (Ex) ability, detailed in the Special Abilities section. (Aside, cave fishers are possibly my favourite creature, though I like the simplicity of their stats in AD&D much better.) – SevenSidedDie Nov 8 '13 at 6:28
It sounds like the attack line was probably supposed to be "pull", and was typed as "drag" by mistake. Does anyone know where to find confirmation of the RAI? – Matthew Najmon Nov 8 '13 at 6:31
@MatthewNajmon It’s fairly uncommon for developers to comment on the specific intent they had behind abilities, which makes it almost impossible to “confirm” RAI in most cases, which is a big part of the reason why there’s not a lot of point in discussing RAI. See this meta answer for more information on problems with “RAI.” – KRyan Nov 8 '13 at 7:23
@KRyan Yes, but it's a lot less uncommon when the thing that actually got printed was an error. Errata listings are chock full of developers' comments about their RAI intent. – Matthew Najmon Nov 9 '13 at 9:44
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Rules as written, the Cave Fisher can drag and pull.

That said, the following text strongly suggests that it's main attack is to pull:

The creature lies in wait until prey approaches within 60 feet, at which point it extrudes a thin cord of silk at blinding speed, lashing at the target as with a whip. The filament is incredibly sticky, and once the fisher strikes food with it, it reels in its meal to feed.

Rules as intended, did the author mean to list both abilities? Or did they accidentally use "drag" and "pull" here interchangeably to mean pull? In some ways, the answer would rarely matter. Perhaps they have the ability to drag but (since they tend to make a pull attack from a stationary position) the drag ability (which requires the dragger to be moving) rarely comes into play.

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The answer to a question of rules’ intent basically never matters anyway. The rules as written matter somewhat since it’s important to know what you’re starting from/as a baseline, but ultimately the only rules that really matter are the ones that best fit your table. – KRyan Nov 8 '13 at 7:11
I suppose I hadn't thought about the fact that a drag means the dragger is also moving. That makes a lot more sense to me. The player gets reeled in by the dual force of the cave fisher moving in some direction AND it retracting its filament. Still, I am left wondering if this is the intent. Regardless, @KRyan makes a good point that in the end, intent doesn't really matter. – Eric B Nov 8 '13 at 7:17
@KRyan, I completely agree. Since this was tagged as RAW I focused on that. Since a commenter asked about RAI (and since the odd wording calls the intent into question) I mentioned it as well. – Jeff Fry Nov 8 '13 at 7:19

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