I am playing a druid who has the improved unarmed strike feat. Soon I will be able to take the feat Powerful Shape but I am unsure as to what exact abilities it will function with.

Powerful Shape

When in wild shape, treat your size as one category larger for the purpose of calculating CMB, CMD, carrying capacity, and any size-based special attacks you use or that are used against you (such as grab, swallow whole, and trample).

Specifically what I am trying to figure out is how it affects my attacks. It says that you are treated as one size category larger for special attacks and does give examples of what it means, but does not clarify exactly what a special attack is. What I am trying to figure out is if the natural attacks a druid gains such as bite and claw, as well as unarmed strike, since size affects all of their damage, but do they count as special attacks?


1 Answer 1


Powerful Shape does not affect a Natural Attack's damage.

Size-based special attacks are attacks that depend on your size for their effect, either to see if the ability can be used or not or to calculate their effects. If you take a look at the three examples given, we have the information we need:


Unless otherwise noted, grab can only be used against targets of a size equal to or smaller than the creature with this ability. If the creature can use grab on creatures of other sizes, it is noted in the creature’s Special Attacks line.

Swallow Whole

Unless otherwise noted, the opponent can be up to one size category Smaller than the swallowing creature.


As a full-round action, a creature with the trample ability can attempt to overrun any creature that is at least one size category Smaller than itself.

All three have very similar wordings on how they affect creatures smaller or of similar size category than the creature using the ability. There is a comparison of creature sizes on those abilities. This wording also appears on Whirlwind, Pull, Push and Rock Throwing.

If we look at the Natural Attack ability, nothing in its description says it behaves or is restricted in any way based on your size against the target's size. Only that your size affects the damage, regardless of the target's size. So Natural Attacks are clearly out of the scope of Powerful Shape.

If it did, it would be something really important to leave out of the feat's description, as there is clearly another feat that increases a Natural Attack's damage.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ An Aside: Also, were Powerful Shape to affect natural attacks and unarmed strikes, because it affects natural attacks and unarmed strikes "you use or that are used against you," then a creature with the feat Powerful Shape would find itself being dealt more damage by its foes (and the GM would find himself doing a lot of math). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was pretty sure natural and unarmed attacks were not allowed but was just making sure. Extra damage is always nice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 13:23

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