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You do not gain any extraordinary special attacks or special qualities not noted above under physical qualities, such as darkvision, low-light vision, blindsense, blindsight, fast healing, regeneration, scent, and so forth.

Not everyone agree on what you get from Alter self.

Personally, I do not get the bold part of the sentence. Physical Qualities are, as far as I know, never defined anywhere and there is no Physical Qualities part on a stat block. Special Attacks and Special Qualities are the only existing ones.

So, do you get anything? Nothing? And if you do get something, what do you get?

Let's take examples. (And pretend we are the right type in order to take these forms)

  1. Flamebrother, Salamander: Under special Attacks, you have Constrict, Heat and Improved grab. Do you get any of these? They all are, under the COMBAT part of the creature's stat block, and listed as (Ex)traordinary.
  2. Aranea: Special Attacks, Poison, Spells, Web. Obviously we are not getting spells. But what about poison and web? They are listed in the attack routine of the monster after all.
  3. Lantern Archon: Its attack is neither under Special Attacks or Special Qualities but only under COMBAT or directly under Attack or Full Attack. What does that mean? If you do not get ANY (Ex) attacks or special attacks, you would be unable to attack as a Lantern Archon?
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The “physical qualities” noted “above” can only be

You acquire the physical qualities of the new form […] Physical qualities include natural size, mundane movement capabilities (such as burrowing, climbing, walking, swimming, and flight with wings, to a maximum speed of 120 feet for flying or 60 feet for nonflying movement), natural armor bonus, natural weapons (such as claws, bite, and so on), racial skill bonuses, racial bonus feats, and any gross physical qualities (presence or absence of wings, number of extremities, and so forth).

from the previous paragraph. Look no further for a definition of “physical qualities,” because alter self is referring only to its own rules.

So you don’t get any extraordinary special attacks that weren’t already granted to you by the previous paragraph.

  1. Flamebrother, Salamander: Under special Attacks, you have Constrict, Heat and Improved grab. Do you get any of these? They all are, under the COMBAT part of the creature's stat block, and listed as (Ex)traordinary.

Probably no, none of these. You could maybe make an argument for the heat being a “gross physical quality,” but if it were me, I’d say you exude heat but it’s not quite enough to add fire damage to anything.

  1. Aranea: Special Attacks, Poison, Spells, Web. Obviously we are not getting spells. But what about poison and web? They are listed in the attack routine of the monster after all.

No, poison and web are not natural attacks, nor are they anything else listed in alter self.

  1. Lantern Archon: Its attack is neither under Special Attacks or Special Qualities but only under COMBAT or directly under Attack or Full Attack. What does that mean? If you do not get ANY (Ex) attacks or special attacks, you would be unable to attack as a Lantern Archon?

Strictly speaking, you would still have an unarmed strike, so you could use that. (Without limbs, I guess you just kinda ram things.) But light ray isn’t defined as a natural attack (either by the natural attack rules or the lantern archon itself), so you don’t get that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's also important to note that turning into a lantern archon would result in one lying on the ground unable to move because one only gains flight with wings, and lantern archons fly by some other methodology and have no other movement method. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 8, 2023 at 19:45

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