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I was wondering how Multiple Attack Penaly works with actions like Adult Silver Dragon's Draconic Frenzy that reads:

The silver dragon makes two claw Strikes and one tail Strike in any order

At page 446 of the player handbook it states:

Every check that has the attack trait counts toward your multiple attack penalty, including Strikes, [cut], and many others.

so, does the -5 penalty apply to every Strike after the first?

Example:

Dragon uses 2 actions for Draconic Frenzy and attempts 3 Strikes with the following bonuses:

  1. Strike with claws +29
  2. Strike with claws +24
  3. Strike with tail +17

and then use the last action to:

  1. Strike with jaws +14

is it correct or Draconic Frenzy count as a single attack:

  1. Strike with claws +29
  2. Strike with claws +29
  3. Strike with tail +27

and then use the last action to:

  1. Strike with jaws +24

Thank you

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually not, because Flurry of Blows is specific about applying the MAP in the description of the skill making it interpretable as a change in respect of the normal flow of the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 10:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd agree, but Flurry of Blows says to apply MAP normally, so it specifically calls out it isn't an exception. That's okay, though; this is still a helpful dupe (in my book), and there's nothing wrong with that. It certainly helps the Stack's searchability! \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 1:57

1 Answer 1

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Multiple Attack Penalty (MAP) applies to each Strike in the sequence they are performed in. Some abilities refer to this in words like

Apply your multiple attack penalty to the Strikes normally.

Note the words like "to the Strikes" plural and "normally", indicating the rules without an exception. That rule is

The second time you use an attack action during your turn, you take a –5 penalty to your attack roll. The third time you attack, and on any subsequent attacks...

Every check that has the attack trait counts toward your multiple attack penalty...

Neither of your suggestions is exactly accurate because MAP caps, but the dragon with nothing else to do but Draconic Frenzy and Strike can attack with*

  1. claw +29
  2. claw +25
  3. tail +17
  4. jaw +19

*There are, of course, other orders to perform the attacks. Jaw-Tail-Claw-Claw gets the most out of Agile, and Jaw-Claw-Claw-Tail is also viable. Putting the Jaws Strike in front provides the best chance to get close to max potential damage.

There are cases that are exceptions and specifically call out that your MAP does not increase until after performing all Strikes granted by the Activity. Note that they still both/all count, meaning that any Strikes performed afterward will typically use the 3rd+ attack MAP.

Make two Strikes, one with each of your two melee weapons, each using your current multiple attack penalty.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ ok, i didn't know that MAP could cap, but beside that what is confusing is that various skill specify both MAP behaviour making it difficult to understand which one is the norm. What is interesting is that skills like Draconic Frenzy doesn't have an ATTACK trait by themselves, it's the Strike action that brings the trait so i'm prone to accept your answer as correct. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 11:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FrancescoRogo That is correct. Typically* only Activities that do not say "make a Strike" have the Attack trait to indicate that you use the MAP and other applicable rules. That is because subordinate actions still have all relevant Traits, unless specified otherwise, as doing the Basic Action version. There are other instances of this; spell components is the most obvious example with somatic and material components adding Manipulate. *I know of at least one ability that the author chose to add the Attack trait even though it provides Strike(s), but that is not the norm. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is more efficient to attack with non-agile first, then agile \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 22:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Typically, but in this case I would recommend against it depending on the circumstances. This particular Dragon's Frenzy is 2x claw and 1x tail; the tail has an inherent -2 to hit and also deals 1 less die and 2 less flat damage (in exchange for Reach 20ft). It would be better served by a successful claw attack than throwing it's MAP-less attack out for less damage. Claw-tail-claw-Strike is also a good choice, as is Jaw Strike-Frenzy (claw, tail/claw). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you plan on splitting the attacks between a close creature and a far creature, that would be good justification for using the tail first for good chances of dealing damage to both. Of course some questions of this come down to narrative and GM style \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 18:15

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