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I've created a frankly nightmarish build with a ton of natural attacks, but it does make one very big assumption: as a saurian shifter descended from a were-dienonychus (better known as velociraptors thanks to Jurassic Park) I can have the claws granted by the razorclaw lineage on my feet instead of on my hands, leaving them free for wielding a weapon.

RAW, I can't see anything prohibiting this. Balance-wise, it's definitely strong (though as a DM I'd bar the character from shoes of any kind, leaving them vulnerable to traps like caltrops and unable to use magic boots). Flavor-wise it certainly makes sense. And the dienonychus itself provides precedent for claw attacks being on the feet rather than the hands. So, is there any reason I've missed as to why this wouldn't work? And would it be unreasonable, even if allowed by RAW?

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It's not explicitly defined, but its heavily implied that a shifter's claws are hand-specific.

Claw isn't specifically defined as hands in the core rules (Monster Manual p.312):

Claw or Talon: The creature rips with a sharp appendage, dealing piercing and slashing damage.

However, there's little support for defining a were-deionychus' claws as feet. The deionychus has two foreclaws and two rear talons.

Every four-clawed creature in the Monster Manual has four or more arms, except the blue slaad which, despite being described with clawed feet, is specifically defined as drawing its extra claw attacks from bone hooks on the back of its hands.

The giant eagle and avoral have "claw" attacks with their feet, but in both cases they're later described as talons (the standard eagle's talons are specifically called talons), and there's no known were-creature of these that a shifter could claim descent from.

There's also no evidence of any razorclaw shifters having feetclaws. Their statblocks, such as the greataxe-wielding Tribal Warrior (Races of Eberron p.39) and Baella Swiftstep (p.147-148) show characters having to choose between wielding weapons and using claws.

It wouldn't be well-balanced to allow, because you'd be giving razorclaw shifters two free attacks on top of their usual suite of attacks. This is too powerful, especially in the hands... er, feet of a rogue with sneak attack. Wearing no shoes has no mechanical drawback except that you can't wear magical boots, which is not particularly balanced since there are no boots which give you two bonus attacks.

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A similar question was discussed here and it seems as though while they'd count as separate natural weapons it might not be practical to attack with your hands and feet at the same time (Can you get foot claw attacks?). Also out of interest would you allow custom made sandals?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm... no, I probably wouldn't allow custom sandals. Partially because I picture the shift as significantly changing the structure of the foot (talons being pretty different from just growing claws on the end of one's fingers), so a sandal would have to be really really custom not to be a terrible fit in one or both forms. And partially because as DM I'd be throwing some caltrops and ground based environmental effects at them. \$\endgroup\$ – Poetically Psychotic Oct 18 '18 at 2:36

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