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Are attack/damage bonuses recalculated if the ability scores are changed while in Wild Shape?

For example:

  1. I transform into a Giant Scorpion. My Str bonus is +2.
  2. A shadow drains my strength from 15 to 13. My Str bonus is now only +1.

Do I need to subtract 1 from my attack bonus and damage bonus when making attacks as the Giant Scorpion?

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I say, Yes.

It's not always easy to tell whether a creature is using its Strength or Dexterity for its attacks. It's really up to the DM to decide how a creature fights and if a Strength drain affects its fighting ability.

Compare the creature's Challenge Rating on page 8 of the Monster Manual to find what its Proficiency Bonus is. From that we can compare it's Dexterity and Strength Modifiers to make a guess. Thankfully in the case of the Giant Scorpion, it looks pretty clean cut to me.

The Giant Scorpion has a Challenge Rating of 3. As per the Monster Manual (pg. 8), that gives it a Proficiency Bonus of +2.

It's Dexterity and Strength Modifiers are +1 and +2 respectively. To get its Attack Bonus of +4, it would probably have to use its Strength. Its damage dice are also modified by +2 which seems to lean towards a Strength based attack.

That's just my thoughts on this. Ultimately, it's up to the DM of your group to decide exactly which creatures use which stats to fight with as it's often not clear from the creature description.

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Common sense answer: Yes. Rules as written answer: No.

A bold claim, but why?

The creature's Claw attack does not say 1d8 + Strength modifier; it says 1d8 + 2. Nowhere does the book say that the creature's uses its Strength modifier in the attack, or that changes to the Str will reduces hit and damage bonuses.

You are coming in with an assumption based on common sense, and who could blame you?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's touched on in DMG 277-278, "Creating a monster". I think it's one of those things that is so obvious that it's hardly even mentioned. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2017 at 9:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ It suggests using a stat as a starting point then adjusting to match the CR when you create the monster - this isn't the same as a ruling. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2017 at 17:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure - it doesn't specifically say "monsters use strength or dexterity modifiers to attack and damage, just like players". But it just about always mentions adding the strength bonus in the damage section mentioned above, and every single enemy that I can see in MM or VGM obviously use strength or dex to modify attack and damage. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2017 at 23:22

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