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Inspired by this question:

Do the claw weapons created by Girallon's Blessing (Spell Compendium, p. 106) count as natural weapons? Are these claw weapons eligible to benefit from, say, a +1 Necklace of Natural Weapons (Savage Species, p. 56) crafted to provide the +1 enhancement to four natural weapons?

While the spell mentions "a creature" being unable to use normal weapons and the claw attacks in the same round, it does not mention these claws mixing with natural weapons - can these attacks be utilized in the full attack chain of a creature which already had natural weapons prior to being subject to this spell? Can these claw attacks be deployed as part of a Flurry of Blows (PHB, p. 40)?

Presumably, the last line of the spell means to limit the subject from mixing "normal" and natural attacks, which would be sensible and digestible... however, it could also seem like the spell is trying to remind readers of a general rule. Many spells do this, to provide helpful information for the game players regarding what is usual - see, for example, Blink [PHB, p. 206] and its helpful refresher on being ethereal. Except, in this case, if what the spell is saying were to remind players of a general rule, it would be incorrect. Natural weapons and Manufactured weapons can be used together, as shown here. Further, the usage of the term "normal" in this sense seems problematic, when the game typically uses the term manufactured to refer to non-natural weapons that are wielded in combat. How monks fit in this mess might best be its own question.

While this question comes close to asking the title's question, and while an answer to this question can probably be assisted by the answer there, this question is concerned with how the claws created by Girallon's Blessing interact with the rules governing natural weapons and natural attacks... if, indeed, they even are natural weapons at all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve raged this 3.5e, is that correct? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2023 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Entirely correct - no need to rage at all. :p \$\endgroup\$
    – NFeutz
    Aug 10, 2023 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ But my shelf is Rage across the Amazon! \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Aug 10, 2023 at 19:50

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Wizards of the Coast really ought to have excised “normal” from their vocabulary. Every time they use it, it causes confusion.

Claw attacks are a type of natural weapon. It is not usually necessary to specify that they are; just saying “claw attack” is enough to indicate that you’re talking about a natural weapon. Consider half-dragons:

A half-dragon has two claw attacks and a bite attack, and the claws are the primary natural weapon. If the base creature can use weapons, the half-dragon retains this ability. A half-dragon fighting without weapons uses a claw when making an attack action. When it has a weapon, it usually uses the weapon instead.

(Half-dragon creature template)

Here, the claws are explicitly called a natural weapon (as part of indicating that they are a primary natural weapon), but the bite isn’t—yet we still know it is a natural weapon. For that matter, almost none of the monster statblocks in the game explicitly define any particular type of natural weapon as a natural weapon—it’s simply understood that a bite, a claw, a slam, and so on are natural weapons, since they’re listed in the natural weapon rules.

So when girallon’s blessing says “claw attack,” that claw is a natural weapon, without girallon’s blessing needing to say anything explicitly about it being such. Anything that applies to natural weapons can apply to these claws.

(They cannot be used with a flurry of blows, but that isn’t because they are natural weapons—that’s because they aren’t monk special weapons: “When using flurry of blows, a monk may attack only with unarmed strikes or with special monk weapons (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham).”)

So then, what does the “A creature cannot use normal weapons and the claw attacks in the same round,” line in girallon’s blessing mean exactly? What constitutes “normal” in this context?

In most cases, the safest, sanest way to read “normal” is “absent this particular exception we’re in the middle of discussing.” So your “normal weapons” here are any weapons you would have without girallon’s blessing. Natural weapons are weapons, so they are absolutely included in the prohibition on your “normal” weapons: you cannot mix the claws from girallon’s blessing with any other natural weapon weapons you have, no matter how you got them.

But this isn’t really clearly spelled out anywhere. There are lots of arguments about what “normal” means basically every time it is used. You could argue they meant “manufactured” weapons, or even something like “nonmagical” weapons, though if they meant either of those two things, they probably would have used those words and not “normal.”

This is an exception to the usual rules for natural weapons, which allow you to attack with each natural weapon you have as a full attack, and also mix those attacks with manufactured-weapon attacks. Girallon’s blessing is saying that, as a special rule for the claws it gives you, you can’t do that. However, girallon’s blessing would be compatible with Rapidstrike and Improved Rapidstrike, so that would be one way to increase the number of attacks you get from girallon’s blessing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe, "normal" here means you can't swing a sword by the same appendage you have used claw attack from. It is almost always the case, but it seems not really always, for natural weapons at least (some dragons have byte and gore, or byte and horns, if I remember correctly). \$\endgroup\$ Aug 11, 2023 at 5:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @annoyingimp That does seem to be an implicit rule (and yes, mouth and horns seem to be treated as separate “limbs” in context), but I see no evidence that this is what “normal” refers to here. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 11, 2023 at 13:11

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