I'm pretty new to this GMing thing, and am running a prebuilt Pathfinder module. I am setting up the next encounter for my party and noticed that the Troglodyte entry in the bestiary has two different bite stats and am not sure how to determine which one to use. To better explain what I'm trying to describe:


Speed 30 ft

Melee club +2 (1d6+1), claw -3 (1d4), bite -3 (1d4) or 2 claws +2 (1d4+1), bite +2(1d4+1)

Basically, how do I determine if I am using the -3(1d4) bite or the +2(1d4+1) bite?


1 Answer 1


The troglodyte has 2 possible sets of attacks; each time it makes a full attack, it chooses 1 set.

The most important word in the melee section of that stat line is "or". When it full attacks a troglodyte chooses 1 of these 2 sets of attacks to make:

  • club +2 (1d6+1), claw -3 (1d4), bite -3 (1d4)
  • claw +2 (1d4+1), claw +2 (1d4+1), bite +2 (1d4+1)

The trogolodyte has 2 kinds of attacks: manufactured weapons (a club), and natural weapons (claw & bite). It can choose to hit with its manufactured weapon, which offers a slightly larger damage die but applies a penalty to all its natural weapons that turn, or it can choose to only attack with natural weapons, giving up the club's potentially heavier damage but gaining better attack & damage bonuses with its claws & bite. Another way of thinking about this is that it always attacks with its bite and "off-hand" claws, and merely chooses whether to use a club or claws with its "main" hand; the club applies penalty to the other (option-less) attacks, while the claws do not.

Mechanically speaking, the claw-claw-bite attack set is superior in almost every situation, but a DM might choose to use the club to provide some variety in how different troglodytes attack or simply because the troglodyte is dumb enough to think clubs are better.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Given that the querent is new, it is worth noting the club set is worse than the unarmed set in practically all circumstances-- the club does not actually hit very much harder (+~30% average damage on that one attack versus a claw) and the penalty to hit and damage with the other two is very very bad. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 0:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth adding the rule that all natural attacks are secondary when used with manufactured weapons. Link \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 0:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ And yes, it provides a statistically weaker attack set... although that may be appropriate if you're playing with a low number of players and/or their characters are not strong. It's reasonable for the Trog to think they're doing better with their smashy club \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 0:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ In addition, it gives an easy way for a DM to offer a bit more variety in a fight against two troglodytes—have the first one always use the club and the second one always use its natural weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – user31662
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even if all attacks hit, we have 4.5 + 2x 2.5 = 9.5 vs. 3x 3.5 = 10.5. So just the damage penalty alone for "secondary" attacks is enough to make the club worse. A smart min-maxing troglodyte should never use the club unless there's some benefit to bludgeoning damage, or maybe some damage threshold to overcome. (But the threshold might have to be 6 to make the club worth using; 3 chances to get a 5 on 1d4+1 is probably better than the single 50% chance to beat it on 1d6+1.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 19:29

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