I'm making a catfolk unchained monk, and I just realized, RaW, that I might have four attacks at level 3.

Similar questions have been asked and answered before, but most answers seem to be referencing rules for the old monk (or reference faqs that reference the old monk) whose flurry of blows is quite a bit different, which is why I am coming here with a new question. Anyway, here are the relevant rules:

Cat's Claws:

Catfolk with this racial trait have a pair of claws they can use as natural weapons. These claws are primary attacks that deal 1d4 points of damage.

Natural Attacks (Universal monster rules)

Creatures with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a creature must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their available natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack’s original type.

Unchained Monk:

A monk’s attacks can be with fists, elbows, knees, and feet. This means that a monk can make unarmed strikes with his hands full. [...] A monk’s unarmed strike is treated as both a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

Feral Combat Training:

Special: If you are a monk, you can use the selected natural weapon with your flurry of blows class feature.

Unchained Flurry of Blows:

At 1st level, a monk can make a flurry of blows as a full-attack action. When making a flurry of blows, the monk can make one additional attack at his highest base attack bonus. This additional attack stacks with the bonus attacks from haste and other similar effects. When using this ability, the monk can make these attacks with any combination of his unarmed strikes and weapons that have the monk special weapon quality. He takes no penalty for using multiple weapons when making a flurry of blows, but he does not gain any additional attacks beyond what’s already granted by the flurry for doing so. (He can still gain additional attacks from a high base attack bonus, from this ability, and from haste and similar effects).

Back to Natural Attacks under universal monster rules for one more point:

Most creatures possess one or more natural attacks (attacks made without a weapon).

So, it's unclear here, and there's some ambiguous wording that might kill the idea, but here's what I think I'm seeing.

  • Define your full attack routine: Treat your unarmed strike as a manufactured weapon that uses a foot. You can then add your natural attacks to it, giving you Kick/Claw/Claw at 0/-5/-5.
  • Make your flurry of blows. This gives you an additional attack beyond your current full attack, for kick/kick/claw/claw at 0/0/-5/-5. This would normally not work, because claw attacks are neither monk weapons nor unarmed strikes, which would disqualify this proposed full attack sequence from being used in conjunction with flurry of blows, but feral combat training specifically allows claws to qualify.

The problem is in the last bolded statement under Flurry of Blows: It says that if you use multiple weapons, you don't get additional attacks. The design intent here is obviously in reference to two weapon fighting, but it doesn't reference that specifically, it just says "multiple weapons." Cat's claws calls the claws natural weapons, but IIUC that's a misnomer for a natural attack, which, by definition, is not a weapon, so I'm not using other weapons. But on the other hand, secondary natural attacks are not in the example list of allowed additional attacks like Haste is, so it seems like these extra attacks from natural weapons are neither explicitly permitted nor prohibited by these rules.

There's also the ambiguous wording of "one additional attack". What is it in addition to? I'm assuming it's additional to any full attack that meets the requirements of "unarmed strikes + monk weapons", but that's not explicitly stated.

There's also an FAQ from way back in 2012 that I've seen a lot of people referencing, but it's out of date and refers to the classic monk, not the unchained one. The old monk, which existed when the FAQ was written, had the following text in Flurry of Blows:

A monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.

There is nothing in Feral Combat Training that would override this line, so the FAQ answered, quite reasonably:

The feat does not allow you to make your normal flurry of blows attack sequence plus one or more natural attacks with the natural weapon. In other words, if you can flurry for four attacks per round, with this feat you still only make four attacks per round... but any number of those attacks may be with the selected natural weapon.

Which made perfect sense. The unchained monk, however, does not have this line regarding secondary natural attacks. It's removal almost seems to imply that secondary natural attacks are now permitted, and it certainly creates a situation different enough from the FAQ that the FAQ does not apply in this case. Because that particular FAQ's answer was based on a specific line that no longer exists, I don't think it should be treated as the go-to answer for unchained monks. If there's a newer one that references the unchained monk specifically, I'd love to see it.

So... does all my logic check? Am I getting four attacks? Any other rules that should be brought to my attention?

If, for some reason, this doesn't work, could I get three attacks? (Propose a full attack of claw/claw at 0/0, it qualifies to be modified by flurry of blows because it consists only of allowed weapons, so add an additional claw attack for 0/0/0?) Traditionally, we consider flurry of blows to be a modifier to an iterative attack, but there is nothing in the unchained rules that suggests that need be the case. (The old monk specifically says that Flurry of Blows is analogous to two weapon fighting, which only applies to iterative weapon-based attacks, but that's not the case in the Unchained Monk's Flurry of Blows, which has no text suggesting it can't be used in a natural-attack-based full-attack routine.)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also see Help calculating attacks for UnMonk/Bear Shaman \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jan 14, 2022 at 20:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso Good reference! The second half of the accepted answer in that question validates my first idea of using the claws as secondary natural attacks. Re: the first half: that FAQ answer was written 3 years before the UnMonk (and it's new FoB) came out. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2022 at 21:05