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This is a Pathfinder Second Edition question.

I find the presentation of the rules in the Bestiary a little confusing, so I want to make sure I get this straight.

Zombie shamblers (Bestiary pg. 340) have

Melee [one-action] fist +7, Damage 1d6+3 bludgeoning plus Grab

So far so good. Reading this line, what I expect is that "Grab" is a free effect that they get when they hit. If it said "grabbed", I would expect the grabbed condition to be imposed, but it doesn't.

When we look up "Grab" (Bestiary pg. 343), we find

Grab [one-action] Requirements The monster’s last action was a success with a Strike that lists Grab in its damage entry, or it has a creature grabbed using this action. Effect The monster automatically Grabs the target until the end of the monster’s next turn.

Here it gets a little hairier. The effect of using "Grab" is listed as using Grab, a term which is not defined anywhere else, and also there's an action cost listed.

I think the simplest reading is that the capitalization of "Grab" in the Effect section is a typo. That still leaves the question of the action cost.

My expectation was that "1d6+3 bludgeoning plus Grab" meant that it dealt the damage and automatically performed a Grab as part of the strike if it hit. That would mean that it costs one action for a zombie shambler to go from no contact to dealing damage and having the target grabbed.

The wording of "Grab" makes me think that instead, the "plus Grab" is just meant to indicate that hitting with the melee Strike fulfills the requirements of the "Grab" universal monster ability. In that case, it would take two actions for the shambler to land the Strike and then use Grab.

I think the second reading is correct, but it runs so contrary to my expectations before I read the "Grab" entry that it would be helpful to get another opinion.

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1 Answer 1

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Grabbing an enemy requires 2 actions.

(This is a change from 1st edition.)

The Grab special ability is an action that you need to meet certain requirements in order to perform. In this case:

The monster’s last action was a success with a Strike that lists Grab in its damage entry, or it has a creature grabbed using this action.

So the "plus Grab" in the attack entry is meant to indicate that hitting with this Strike fulfills the requirements of Grab. You're right that it would be less ambiguous if the Effect entry instead said this, which is what it does:

The monster automatically imposes the Grabbed condition on the target until the end of the monster’s next turn.

So the monster would need to spend 1 action to Strike, and 1 additional action to Grab.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth citing Improved Grab which is the Free Action version \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Apr 9, 2022 at 9:50

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