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To clarify, I am trying to understand the interaction that occurs in D&D 5e between features that all grant a similar attack.

For example, if I took a Path of the Beast Barbarian that was a Lizardfolk cursed with werebear lycanthropy (I was originally using a Longtooth Shifter, but their Bite is a Bonus Action) then that player could have access to 3 bite attacks simultaneously.

  • Lizardfolk gain a bite attack as an unarmed strike that does 1d6+Strength Modifier damage

  • Path of the Beast Barbarians can choose to gain a Bite attack that deals 1d8+Strength Modifier damage and, if the Barbarian in under half health, heal them some.

  • Werebears gain a Bite attack that does 2d10 + Strength modifier damage and makes a target humanoid make a save against werebear lycanthropy.

If this character declares that they want to make a bite attack, which bite would be used? Does the player get to choose one or are they all combined somehow since they are all aspects of 1 bite? If they bite again are they allowed to chose a different one? Could you do a Werebear Bite and attempt to curse your foe followed by a Path of the Beast bite to try to heal, for example? What if it was a Longtooth Shifter instead and had a Bonus Action Bite?

I am asking if there are rules that govern this interaction or any errata that may have been put out related to it. I understand the the decision likely belongs to the DM, but I wanted to know if there are any rulings that might help inform the decision.

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2 Answers 2

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You have to chose one of the bites

You gain these attacks as action options. There is nothing in the rules that would indicate the actions combine or mix. If you have several of them, you have more options to chose from, but can only select one of them.

Form of the Beast: (...) you manifest a natural weapon. It counts as a simple melee weapon for you, and you add your Strength modifier to the attack and damage rolls when you attack with it, as normal. (TCE p. 24)

If you transformed your head into the Form of the Beast head, you would use that bite attack instead of the default one from Lizardfolk.

Lycanthrope A character who becomes a lycanthrope retains his or her statistics except as specified by lycanthrope type. The character gains the lycanthrope's (...) actions that don't involve equipment. The character is proficient with the lycanthrope's natural attacks, such as its bite or claws, which deal damage as shown in the lycanthrope's statistics. (MM, p. 207)

If you transformed into a werebear bear or hybrid form, according to his answer, you would not gain the werebear multiattack, and for your bite would use the werebear bite attack. If you then transformed your head with Form of the Beast, you would use that Bite attack instead of the werebear one.

In either case, you would not gain additional bite attacks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So if I could ask for a clarification to Groody the Hobgoblin's answer: If I understand this correctly, you only have 1 Bite at a time. In that case, if you used Form of the Beast or transformed into a Werebear, you would lose the ability to use the Lizardfolk bite and instead gain the Bite of the new feature. I don't quite see anything that supports overriding one Bite with another, or one attack with another in general, mechanically speaking. In both cases, your mouth transforms, so I can see where that interpretation comes from, but I was asking if there were official rules for this case. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickCampbell: The different bites are because the PC transforms to have a different head, at least that is how I read it. As long as the effect does not state explicitly otherwise, things behave as one would expect from common sense. Maybe this tweet from JC is of help: In D&D, everyday things—walls, gravity, bread, laughter—work the way we expect them to, except for when the rules say otherwise. I would count heads under everyday things. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 5 at 18:54
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The player chooses

Each of these Bite attacks are different, just like a long sword is not a short sword despite both being swords and both being held in the hand (usually).

The player declares which they are using when they make the attack.

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