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We are trying to figure out some confusion with the pounce ability.

The pounce ability in 5e states the following:

Pounce. If the tiger moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature right before hitting it with a claw attack, the target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the tiger can take a bonus action to make one bite attack against it.

Does the person have to choose whether to pounce or attack or is pounce an addition to the claw attack?

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The player does NOT have to declare the Pounce before making its attack but there is no harm in doing so. In order to trigger Pounce, a Lion must do the following:

  1. The Lion moves at least 20 feet straight towards the target
  2. The Lion makes a successful Claw attack against the target

At that point, Pounce is triggered and the target needs to make their save to avoid being knocked prone. That triggers another aspect of Pounce, that, if the target is prone, the Lion may take a bonus action to Bite the target.

Since the question is framed in relation to the Druid wild shape, it should be noted that Circle of the Moon Druids can perform wild shape as a bonus action. I can foresee a sequence where such a Druid wild shapes into a Lion, charges, claws, knocks down the target, and then... doesn't get to bite because they already used their bonus action.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Tiger(in the qeustion) though I think they both use the same mechanic. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 26 '17 at 2:28
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If the conditions of Pounce are met, it would activate as part of the Claw attack.

If the tiger moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the tiger can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action .

The trait states that once the requirements are met, Pounce will kick in as part of the claw attack needed to activate the trait. However, the extra bite attack is NOT part of this action, as it is stated to be an added ability to take a bonus action to make an additional bite attack, granted no bonus attacks have been made this turn.

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From what you quoted, it is in addition to regular claw attack. But this addition is conditional, and triggers only "if the tiger moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature right before hitting it with a claw attack".

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