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So I looked around for feats that would allow a Thri-Kreen to legally use their middle arms because:

"The middle set of limbs is small but dexterous, and the thri kreen use them for fine manipulation, leaving heavy work to the stronger upper arms. Both the middle and the upper pairs of limbs have three clawed fingers and one opposable thumb. In combat, thri-kreen hold weapons or shields in their upper limbs, since the middle pair lacks the strength for this purpose and using both sets of limbs would be awkward and unwieldy." [Dark Sun, pg22]

Although these arms are small and dexterous, but lack the strength to fully manipulate a weapon, to make an attack, they can still perform fine manipulation (i.e., draw or sheathe a weapon or retrieve or stow an item stored on your person)

Now, what if I use the Wild Talent Feat Telekinetic Grasp:

One object that weighs 20 pounds or less and isn’t carried by another creature.
Effect: You manipulate the target or move it 5 squares to a square within range. [Dark Sun, pg81]

Would this combination allow a Thri Kreen to make an attack with something as simple as a dagger while in combat? If you agree then would this attack be a melee basic, At-will or encounter/daily? and because of the wording, would it use dexterity or the at-will ability?

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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The purpose of the rule for Thri-Kreen having strong upper arms and weak middle arms is so that you don't have any sort of advantage over other characters in wielding weapons, so that's an in setting reason for a game mechanic restriction. Telekinetic grasp wouldn't let you get around it anymore with a Thri-Kreen than with a Human. Telekinetic Grasp is also as far as I can tell identical to Mage Hand, which while it would let you move a weapon weighing 20lbs or less, it wouldn't let you attack with it, since the power doesn't have a description that includes doing damage with a weapon.

If you were to use the middle arms to throw something like a dart, you probably could, but then the other arms would need to stay out of the way, again going back to the interpretation that Thri-Kreen can't have more attacks than a Human.

The extent of the combo would be something like having a Spear and Shield or Sword and Shield combination to start, but being able to alternate to throwing darts at range without having to drop the spear.

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Don't argue in comments. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Nov 15 '13 at 14:02
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You cannot gain extra attacks unless specifically granted them by the feat, racial feature, or power.

As @Migo notes, this is to avoid broken combos from what amounts to flavourtext.

However, it is possible to quite effectively implement-juggle with thri-kreen, leading to some feat savings.

Thri-kreen are Dex Str|Wis races. They gain a minor-action attack as their racial, which is already something to look at with crit-fishing. Their feat support could use quite a lot of love, but synergies well with ranger and monk.

Unfortunately, the primary implement-jugglers are artificers and swordmages.

The major case of juggling that I've seen in real play is the conditional use of the incisive dagger, using it to grant teleport bonuses when needed, or those foolish people who invest strongly in alchemy. From my personal opinion, it's not worth the effort to invest strongly in juggling (waay too complex) or in alchemy (no rate of return on throwing money at enemies when a hand-grenade costs more than a city and does less damage than your basic attack).

This leaves us the question of how to simulate a 4-attack thri-kreen, or what set of powers lends themselves best to that idea.

Avenger suits the Thri-kreen very well (outside of dark sun) and synergizes wonderfully with their minor-action claw attack.

They make decent barbarians for basically the same reasons, though their dex means more of a focus on AC than on their class feature. Thematically they fit whirling-slayer well, which is a shame due to the very odd implementation of the class feature.

They fit monks, rogues, slayers, and thieves as well. However, Avenger is the best fit with their racials, as Oath of Emnity works with their claws. Barbarians do not get rampage on a claw-crit, nor do rogues and thieves get a sneak-attack with claw.

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Dragon #411 ("Winning Races: Thri-Kreen") has added options for a Thri-Kreen to use its middle arms.

Thri-Kreen Shooter
You can use your middle limbs to wield a light crossbow or hand crossbow.
Prerequisite: Thri-kreen, proficiency with the light crossbow or hand crossbow
Benefit: While you wield a melee weapon using your upper limbs, you can use a light crossbow or hand crossbow wielded with your middle limbs to make ranged attacks. Ranged attacks you make in this way do not provoke opportunity attacks.

Thri-Kreen Thrower
Your middle limbs are useful for holding and throwing light weapons.
Prerequisite: Thri-kreen, proficiency with a light thrown weapon
Benefit: While you wield a melee weapon in your upper limbs, you can use light thrown weapons wielded in your middle limbs to make ranged attacks. Ranged attacks you make in this way do not provoke opportunity attacks.

You don't get extra attacks with them, you just get to hold more than one type of weapon at a time, and thus choose whether to make a melee or ranged attack when you make your standard attack.

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