When a Druid is wild shaped into a Giant Squid does Power Attack add -1 to attack and +2 to damage on its Constrict attack? Or would it add -1 to attack and +3 damage since the original damage is 1.5 X the STR multiplier indicating its a primary attack.
4\$\begingroup\$ To be clear, the GM has already ruled that the benefits of the feat Power Attack apply to constrict, this despite constrict not requiring an attack roll? \$\endgroup\$– Hey I Can ChanSep 26, 2017 at 15:15
\$\begingroup\$ Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/82580/… \$\endgroup\$– ShadowKrasSep 26, 2017 at 16:03
\$\begingroup\$ Also related: How is the constrict damage of the giant squid determined? \$\endgroup\$– MikeQSep 26, 2017 at 20:09
+2, but you don't take any attack penalty since there's no attack. Instead, you take a penalty to your CMB on the grapple check, if you are making a grapple maneuver. If the check triggering this constrict roll was not a CMB-based nor attack roll based, then you just get the plus 2.
Power attack states:
You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls.
And Constrict provides a melee damage roll that meets none of the special criteria.
Combat maneuvers are attack rolls, so you must roll for concealment and take any other penalties that would normally apply to an attack roll. (Core Rulebook, p 199)
You might think the answer would be +1, because that's the bonus on your tentacle attacks, but constrict, while it involves a melee damage roll, is not itself any kind of attack. You might think the answer would be +3, because the str bonus damage to constrict has a 1.5X modifier, but that's not right either, for the same reason. Your DM also might think the ability doesn't apply, separating constrict and other kinds of nonstandard melee damage from the more normal 'I hit it with my sword' kind. That's a rules-consistent interpretation, as far as I'm aware (viz. nothing I'm aware of explicitly states constrict, rake, swallow whole, etc are melee damage, and though I'm sure some of them are offhandedly said to be so, constrict in particular doesn't seem to be one of them), if a bit weird.
Short answer: –1 Attack, +2 Damage ratio for grapple damage via Constrict with tentacle attacks
Constrict damage benefits from Power Attack damage because it is melee combat damage performed in the course of a grapple combat maneuver, and in the absence of a contravening rule grapple damage benefits from Power Attack damage; however, you may only attempt a free grapple using Grab and Constrict via a tentacle attack, because the Grab ability is restricted to the tentacle attack in the Giant Squid monster block. Also, since the tentacle attack is designated as a secondary natural attack in the Natural Attacks chart, you may only apply the –1, +2 ratio rather than the better –1, +3 ratio for primary attacks when using a tentacle attack to trigger grapple damage using the Constrict special attack.
Giant Squid stat block for reference.
Melee bite +14 (2d6+7), 2 arms +14 (1d6+7), tentacles +12 (4d6+3/19-20 plus grab)
Universal Monster Rules for reference.
A creature with this special attack can crush an opponent, dealing bludgeoning damage, when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage).
If a creature with this special attack hits with the indicated attack (usually a claw or bite attack), it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Hoof, Tentacle, Wing … Secondary
\$\begingroup\$ The fact that you automatically hit does not necessarily exclude the possibility of using power attack. You can power attack on a coup de grace (there is an example of this on a published adventure). This answer suggests that the PowA penalties are applied on the grapple check. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2017 at 16:06
1\$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour! I suspect this answer's attracted a downvote because the majority of it is quotations and the reader's expected to reach the same conclusion as the answer, despite the answer providing little detail as to how that conclusion is reached. Can this answer's original (non-quoted) material be expanded to clarify the points? Also, the benefit of Power Attack applies to secondary natural weapons yet the answer makes it sound like the benefit doesn't. Could that also be made clearer? Thank you for participating and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2017 at 16:07
\$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Ew. Which published adventure? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2017 at 16:25
\$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thanks for the welcome and pointers. Hopefully the edited response is better suited. Cheers. \$\endgroup\$– AddamereSep 26, 2017 at 16:29
2\$\begingroup\$ "since the tentacle attack is designated as a secondary natural attack in the Natural Attacks chart, you may only apply the –1, +2 ratio rather than the better –1, +3 ratio" this is wrong. The conclusion is correct, but the reasoning is grievously mistaken. Not only is constriction damage entirely mechanically unrelated to the limb you hit with, but if it were related, you wouldn't add +2 because secondary natural weapons only get a +1. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 27, 2017 at 7:10
At best: +1 per increment.
At worst: Power Attack does not apply.
Power Attack: (emphasis mine)
You can choose to take a –1 penalty on all melee attack rolls and combat maneuver checks to gain a +2 bonus on all melee damage rolls. This bonus to damage is increased by half (+50%) if you are making an attack with a ... primary natural weapon that adds 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier on damage rolls. This bonus to damage is halved (–50%) if you are making an attack with [a] ... secondary natural weapon.
The primary natural attack that is being used for Constrict would be that which is performing the Grapple; i.e. Arms or Tentacles (and with the grab special, I would hazard this is most likely to be the tentacles).
Neither of those use 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier for their damage rolls, and as such I would say that you do not get the +3 trade-off. (And in fact, you only get +1 from Tentacle being a Secondary, as that's how PA works.
But I will confess to not being entirely certain on how Constrict interacts with this: I am tempted to say it doesn't even apply Power Attack bonuses, because it itself is neither a weapon nor natural attack.)