I have a wildshape focused level 12 druid who's main wildshape form is a huge giant octopus, which gets lots of attacks with reach. The main issue I am finding is things with DR. I do have planar wildshape so I can bypass the alignment DR of one enemy/day with smite (provided the alignment is evil/good), but have no way of getting through material DR (until I can afford a natural amulet +3 which. I would love a spell that would treat my natural attacks as cold iron or silver if needed. A wizard is joining the party and I saw this spell: heart of the metal.

I am not sure if this works on my tentacles/bite or not. Do they count as weapons for purpose of the spell?

All over the Pazio forums and elsewhere on the internet I read conflicting information on if natural attacks count as weapons for something like this. I am inclined to believe they do, because it doesn't specify it doesn't, where spells like magic weapon and align weapon specifically say they don't work on natural attacks. Thematically it also makes sense because it specifies it can work on non-metal weapons, and if you can turn a club or bone spear, or whatever else into something that magically counts as metal, why couldn't you do the same for a claw or tooth or tentacle?

On the other hand, I see a lot of forums say that most spells that say "weapon" are using it as shorthand for "manufactured weapon" and therefore natural attacks don't count. One particularly loud member of the group is insisting that spells like magic weapon are specifying it to remind people of the general rule instead of as an exception to it. Was there ever any official ruling on this, or evidence from the books that would suggest one way or another?

I don't think the GM has ruled on this yet. I am of the opinion this should work, based on other spells specifically saying when they don't, but there is that pushy rules-lawyery player in my party that is also GMing a separate instance of the same adventure path for another group, who thinks he knows everything and is louder than everyone, who keeps insisting it doesn't. I need hard evidence one way or another.

Examples of discussions I see online about this:


There were more but I'm having a hard time finding the specific ones at the moment. None of them seemed to have conclusive evidence one way or another, and the other one on stack exchange even lists the spell as a way to have natural attacks go though DR in the accepted answer, but no proof of why this works is given

  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "I see a lot of forums…." Could the question link to some of these discussions? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ added a couple links. I was google-fuing this and had found many more but now I'm back looking for them and can't find all the oens I was looking at \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 2:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Side note... Smite ignores all DR (just not Hardness). "Regardless of the target, smite evil attacks automatically bypass any DR the creature might possess." Yes, the target needs to be a valid Smite target, but after that it doesn't care what type the DR is. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 6:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ interesting side note: if natural weapons are weapons, would that mean you could cast masterwork transformation on them, and then have someone permanently enchant them like you could a sword? That seems wrong to me, although doing so to each nat weapon individually would be more expensive than an amulet of natural armor, it would be silly good for something like a rhino that only gets one natural weapon \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 15:46

2 Answers 2


What is a Weapon

This question really boils down to this: Are Natural Attacks considered Weapons?

Technically there is no official rules text stating that natural attacks are or aren't weapons, but fortunately we have this FAQ from the Pathfinder design team:

Natural attacks are light weapons (though they are never expressly defined as such in the rules).

So yes, natural attacks are weapons of the light category.

Heart of The Metal

So on to your actual question. The Targets property of the spell designates "one weapon per level". In the text of the spell, it specifically states "This is able to affect nonmetal weapons." Thus, the spell is able to target any weapon.

Natural attacks are weapons, and Heart of The Metal can target any weapon, so yes, you can target your natural attacks with this spell. Just make sure you have the material component on hand!

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    \$\begingroup\$ thank you, a simple answer with a design FAQ to back it up. Much appreciated. I have taken this to the GM in one-on-one chat and am awaiting a ruling, as every time I try to argue in the group chat mr rules lawyer likes to chirp in against me \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ as for material component I told the new player playing the wizard that if he kept that prepped for me when I need it with materials available, I'd pay him back for every tiem he uses it on me. It is worth the money cost as its only 20 (or 100 for adamatine) for all of my natural attacks (and 3 other weapons in the party) for 12 minutes \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW the Weapon Finesse Feat states: "Natural weapons are considered light weapons." \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Exempt-Medic right, but that ruling isn't clear whether that applies universally or just for that feat, especially since that excerpt is found within the feat's Special field. \$\endgroup\$
    – baphomet
    Feb 2, 2022 at 20:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ GM ruled in my favor, I think this FAQ was a big contributing factor, thank you \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2022 at 2:37

The wording is obnoxiously ambiguous. Natural weapons are weapons, except sometimes “weapon” means “manufactured weapon” and not just any “weapon” and so excludes natural weapons. Maybe. The wording on magic weapon says an unarmed strike is a natural weapon (err...) and not a weapon (uh...), both of which read like nonsense since unarmed strikes are listed on the weapons table, and not the natural weapons table, and follow all the rules for “manufactured” weapons, except this one. There are other, similar exceptions like this, apparently following the (flawed) precedent set by magic weapon.

Even the FAQ gets in on this, in one answer stating that “weapon” covers anything remotely weaponlike (including spells and magic abilities that use touch attacks), and in another answer stating that “weapon” specifically means “manufactured weapon,” and covers nothing but things someone actually built (and maybe, sometimes, unarmed strikes). A third FAQ expressly states that natural weapons are “light weapons,” as baphomet notes in their answer.

Anyway, my read is that magic weapon says “You can’t cast this spell on natural weapons,” and that is what prevents it from being cast on natural weapons. If it didn’t have that line, it could—which is to say, the “Target Weapon touched” bit would otherwise work fine on a natural weapon.

Since heart of the metal uses the same “Weapon” targeting, but does not say “You can’t cast this spell on natural weapons,” you can.

I think the FAQ, confused and confusing as it is, backs this up. The answer claiming “weapon” is shorthand for “manufactured weapon” is talking about not-at-all-weapon-like magic like fireball—the same answer says things like rays and flame blade are sufficiently weapon-like to work with these spells. If heart of the metal can apply to flame blade, it should definitely apply to a tentacle attack.

  • \$\begingroup\$ that was my read too, that if they intended for natural weapons not to count as wepaons, magic weapon wouldn't ahve to specify it doesn't work, but of course that is not a definitive answer. Same with the "non-metal weapons" thing. It does for sure seem like this spell was intended to be usable on ant weapons thematically, but that won't convince a rules-lawyer. I thank you for your answer I have mentioned the FAQ in asking the GM directly for a ruling, because I know if I post in group chat the loud-mouth rules lawyer will chirp in again, fingers crossed \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 15:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AndrewADeMarco Trust me when I say that odds are very good that I am more of a rules-lawyer than your co-player—and that “rules lawyer” is simply wrong if they think this mess can be definitively decided one way or another based on the “rules as written.” The rules they wrote are quite simply, unresolvably, ambiguous. They literally contradict themselves. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 2, 2022 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ So GM sided with me. It was dumb of me to argue in group chat, should have just gone to the GM privately in the first place \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2022 at 21:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrewADeMarco Cool; you may want to accept whichever of these answers convinced the GM, or write up your own answer if the decision was made by another argument (e.g. if these answers convinced you and the GM there was no “official” answer, writing an answer saying “As the other answers show, there is no official answer. The GM has ruled in favor of allowing it because...” would be a good answer). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 2, 2022 at 23:06

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