I am a new DM having a little trouble understanding the monster stas blocks for higher level Pathfinder monsters. I get most of the lower CR monsters, but then I doubt myself when enemies seem to be able to make 5 or 6 attacks in a round.

As an example, the daemon Olethrodaemon has these melee attacks:

2 bites +28 (2d8+12), 4 claws +28 (2d6+12), gore +28 (2d8+12)

So with only 1 attack (say he had to move first) could he attack with 4 claws getting 4 attack rolls and possible damage rolls? or only 1 of any of the options?

If he does nothing but attack (full round attack) does he get all 7 attacks? If yes, are they all at +28 or just the first? That is, both bites get +28 or only 1 of them? If both bites are at +28, is there anything from stopping him to use the 4 claws first so he gets +28 on them?)


1 Answer 1


Short answer:

Standard attack = 1 attack action = 1 attack roll at a listed bonus.

Full attack = multiple attack actions = listed number of attack rolls at the listed bonuses.

Now, let me explain that:

Quote from Pathfinder SRD:

Multiple Attacks

A character who can make more than one attack per round must use the full-attack action (see Full-Round Actions) in order to get more than one attack.

Therefore, if the creature in question had to move and only has 1 standard action to spend on attacking, which gives it 1 attack of its choice (as in, 1 attack roll - be it 1 bite attack, 1 claw attack or 1 gore attack).

In case of full attack, it would be able to use its full potential, attacking with 2 bites, 4 claws and 1 gore with listed attack bonuses and damage:

Attacks made with natural weapons, such as claws and bites, are melee attacks that can be made against any creature within your reach (usually 5 feet). These attacks are made using your full attack bonus and deal an amount of damage that depends on their type (plus your Strength modifier, as normal). You do not receive additional natural attacks for a high base attack bonus. Instead, you receive additional attack rolls for multiple limb and body parts capable of making the attack (as noted by the race or ability that grants the attacks).

  • \$\begingroup\$ To clarify, the reason this seems so overpowered is that the demon is using exclusively natural attacks. These ignore the -5/-10/-15 penalty progression we're used to applying to multiple attacks gained from high base attack bonuses. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Feb 1, 2013 at 11:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Natural attacks are essentially multiweapon fighting sans weapons and iteratives. I fail to see how it is overpowered compared to a weapon-wielding character of the same size and with the same amount of weapons wielded. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2013 at 12:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mikalichov this comparison is not correct, for it compares two-handed fighter and a creature capable of 7 natural attacks. Consider a fighter with 7 weapon-wielding appendages - he will get iteratives per weapon, provided he took the Multiweapon Fighting feat chain, which could be easily scarier than 7 natural attacks. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2013 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JeorMattan Which would be overpowered (although Greater MW Fighting and Perfect MW Fighting are not in Pathfinder). What we are talking about is that for a new GM seeing a monster with 7 attacks at its max attack bonus, yes, this can SEEM overpowered. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2013 at 15:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cristol.GdM No fighter would manage to do any other useful thing at this level either. A psion, wizard, druid, or any of several other classes, however, is entirely capable of achieving a +28/+28/+28/+28/+28/+28/+28 or better attack sequence by level 20 (this demon's CR), most of them doing it in the same way as the demon: by making use of the natural-attack rules. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 4, 2014 at 19:34

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