Two questions.

  1. Can a creature with a slam attack use it whenever they are able to make an attack of opportunity?
  2. Can a creature with a slam attack deliver a at will spell-like ability with the slam attack, such as Tasha’s hideous laughter? The condition on the entry reads “must touch the subject by hand”.
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Please, one question per question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 5 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are probably referring to the Tasha’s Hideous Laughter (Sp) ability of the Gray Jester (Heroes of Horror). If you do, it's helpful to point to this specific example in order to illustrate your question — even if you are interested in a general answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peregrin
    Commented Feb 11 at 16:23

1 Answer 1

  1. Yes, a creature is considered armed and can threaten with a natural weapon like a slam:

    A creature making a melee attack with a natural weapon is considered armed and does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Likewise, it threatens any space it can reach.

    (Special Abilities → Natural Weapons)

  2. Yes, probably, but the RAW is awkward, in part because Complete Arcane adds new “core-ish” rules about “weaponlike spells” that really ought to have been in the actual core rules, and there are gaps between what the Player’s Handbook covers and what Complete Arcane covers.

    The first problem—and this is actually in both core and Complete Arcane—is that these rules talk about “spells.” Complete Arcane makes enough mention of eldritch blast (a spell-like ability) to make it clear that it, at least, is not referring solely to spells even though it uses the word “spells.” Whether that also applies to core, which doesn’t have the same examples, or whether it also includes supernatural touch attacks, like lay on hands or charnel touch, are both unclear. It’d be very weird for spells to be different in this way, but the rules don’t spell it out.

    The second problem is that unarmed strikes are—RAW—vastly superior for this purpose because of a parenthetical that core includes but Complete Arcane does not:

    1. Holding the Charge

      If you don’t discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely. […] Alternatively, you may make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge.

      (Actions in Combat → Cast a Spell → Touch Spells in Combat → Holding the Charge, emphasis mine)

    2. Improved Unarmed Strike: You can add the damage of your unarmed strike to the damage of a touch spell by delivering the spell as a regular melee attack instead of a melee touch attack. […]

      (Arcane Feats → Feats and Weaponlike Spells → Improved Unarmed Strike, Complete Arcane, Ch. 3, pg. 73)

    These two rules do slightly different things:

    1. The core rules require that you cast a touch spell, not make the touch attack that is normally a part of it, and then “make a normal unarmed attack (or an attack with a natural weapon) while holding a charge” as a separate action (probably on your next turn) in order to discharge it.

    2. Complete Arcane allows you to directly replace the touch attack in a touch spell with an unarmed strike, but does not extend this feature to natural weapons. This is almost certainly just because this was a section on the Improved Unarmed Strike feat and not the place to discuss natural weapons, but the problem is that this is the only place that allows that direct replacement of the spell’s built-in attack.

    You very very very much want to be operating under the Complete Arcane rules, that allow you to cast the spell and make the attack in one action. Using the core holding-the-charge rules wastes a huge number of actions and isn’t tenable except perhaps as a kind of once-per-combat buff you can apply before a fight starts so your first attack gets the benefit. But strict RAW, the Complete Arcane rules are about unarmed strikes and don’t mention natural weapons—again, you wouldn’t really expect them to, but we need something to and nothing does.

    But in practice, that seems like an oversight. My games have always allowed natural weapons to deliver touch attacks. Always seemed to work better.


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