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The species hybrid—lupine has the special talent fangs that says:

Once per round, the agent may declare he is making a bite attack against his opponent as a free action. This attack inflicts 1d4 standard damage and has a threat range of 20. When the agent uses makes [sic] a bite attack, all the agent’s attacks this round suffer a −2 penalty to the attack roll. (Dark Inheritance pg. 98)

I can fill in some of the blanks here, like reading once per round as once per round on her initiative count and that an agent can only employ the bite attack against a target within the agent's reach. However, I am hung up on two things:

  1. For ability scores, class features and feats, is this bite attack an unarmed attack, a melee attack, or a new third path? For example, does the agent add her Strength modifier to the bite attack's attack roll and, if successful, the bite attack's damage roll?
  2. Is it legit for the agent to make all of her other attacks normally then take a free action to make her bite attack? (To be clear, unless the agent also has something like the feat Combat Instincts, this order of operations would typically make it so that she suffers that -2 penalty on attack rolls only with that bite attack.)

Note: Dark Inheritance (2004) is a licensed third-party campaign setting for classic Spycraft (2002).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage What inspired your interest in this question, if I may ask? (And with 16 hours to go, I eagerly look forward to an answer.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 1, 2022 at 17:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ A mix of curiosity, and trying to get more attention to an old-ish upvoted question with no answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 1, 2022 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AncientSwordRage No matter the reason, it was generous of you to make such a substantial speculative investment. (By the way, this question was my test balloon to see if anyone shared my passion for this elegant yet complicated d20 variant. Even though it seems that you don't, thank you for garnering it some attention nonetheless.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 1, 2022 at 19:21

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For the specific questions made on this:

  1. Attacks made with natural weapons (bites, claws, tails,...) are considered improved unarmed attacks, as they don't generate an oportunity attack, they do lethal damage and they are made without the use of a proper weapon. On many games and books these are emphasized just making that almost every creature that uses natural weapons has the improved unarmed strike feat. However, on a point in time I don't exactly remember, this became a fact in the rules. So yes, the strength modifiers for attack and damage are added to these attacks (although I've seen some games and books where certain bite attacks added only half strength modifier to damage).

  2. No, that's not legit because, although actions can be executed in any order, they has to be declared before starting to execute any of them, so if you declare that your character is going to make a full round attack action and a bite attack free action, it doesn't matter the order in which you execute both actions, the fact that the bite attack free action is being executed affects the attacks for the full round action, even if the bite executes afterwards. You can attack your enemy with -2, kill him before even biting it, at had to bear with the penalty because you had the intention to bite him and you prepared your body, your stance and your attack pattern to it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you may be answering this from a general d20 System perspective rather than a Spycraft perspective (that, for instance, has no attacks of opportunity). That said, neither the d20 System generally or Spycraft specifically mentions anything about needing to declare actions before taking them. Still, thank you for taking a look at the question; I appreciate another set of eyes on it. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well... I don't know directly spycraft, but I supose that where it doesn't explain clearly some rule or situation, d20 standard system should fit to it. And to the case of declaring or not the actions of your character in advance, I don't have any book at hand at this moment, but I'm quite sure it does, maybe not explicitly say that you MUST define every action of your character before starting them, but that meaning is clearly implied in the description of actions and rounds, however this could be a perception derivated from translations (I've read the manuals quite usually in spanish) \$\endgroup\$
    – Bardo
    Aug 11 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's precisely because of the changes to the d20 System that Spycraft makes that I asked this question; expertise with the d20 System (my own included!) isn't useful here. (For instance, Spycraft has no full attack action.) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 11 at 14:54

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