I'm still a little new to this so excuse the ignorance, but I haven't found this explicitly answered elsewhere.

I have a player with a big cat animal companion. It has a bite and two claw attacks. Does it really get all three with full strength bonus as a single action since they are primary attacks according to the chart? It seems too powerful at level one considering the druid also gets a full turn himself.

I only ask since under this interpretation the guy in my society group is kind of wrecking with it.


  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, and welcome to the site! Please visit the FAQ if you have any questions, and feel free to join us in chat once you have 20+ reputation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakeyras
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the welcome! As a sort of addendum to this question, if this is indeed the case I'm curious how others handle this. Or am I just being a little overreactive and this isn't as powerful as I think it is? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


In order to use all three, the cat must take a Full-Attack action, which takes a Full-Round Action (Move+Standard), which usually means it may not move aside from a 5-ft. Step. That's generally a pretty big limitation on most things that rely on lots of attacks.

Of course, most cats have Pounce, which means they also get a Full-Attack at the end of a charge, but that's a special case. If the druid's cat has that, it can either 5-ft. Step and Full-Attack (nearby target) or it can Charge and Full-Attack (target at least 10 ft. away). Pounce is fairly potent.

Without Pounce, or without Charging even if you have Pounce, if you use a Move action to move, you may only use a Standard action to attack. The Attack action, taken as a Standard, is only a single attack so the cat would have to choose one claw, or the bite. Without Pounce, Charges are also just a single attack, albeit at a +2 bonus.

In any event, yes, all three are Primary attacks and get full Strength to damage.

And of course it's ridiculously powerful; that's the druid for you. The druid is one of the most powerful classes in the game, particularly at low levels, for exactly the reason you describe: the druid gets a pet that can give a fighter a run for his money, and then he gets his own turn.

Unfortunately, it's very, very difficult to address the balance problem inherent in 3.PF. You could nerf the Animal Companion and the druid would still be one of the most powerful characters because of his spellcasting. One step I do like to take, though, is to swap the Animal Companions of the druid and ranger. The druid is the far more powerful class, so the ranger could use it, plus as someone who is in theory the better melee warrior (though that's not actually true thanks to Wild Shape), it makes sense that the ranger would have the bigger Animal Companion to fight alongside.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So how does this play out if the cat only uses a regular standard action to attack and not a full-round? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 17:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JordanLaRose He has to pick a single attack and that's all he gets. Also, I recommend holding off on accepting an answer: accepting indicates that a question is "finished" and doing it too soon may cause others, who might have had something useful or important to add, to skip the question in favor of one that's still unanswered. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome, thanks for the help. And Im running society games at a public venue so tinkering with how any of the classes work is not really an option, but this still helps since he was using all 3 on standard until now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 17:53

Looks like @KRyan nailed most of it.

Correction, all of it. ;-) In my original answer, I thought that Multiattack penalties would help here, as they would in 3.5, but apparently PF made claw attacks primary (I swear these rules are edited by Druids).

Anyway, scratching out my answer, but leaving the comments, as they were good info for me and might be for others researching these topics.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That looks like the 3.5 rule; IIRC, Pathfinder changed things so that, e.g. Bite and Claw attacks are always primary and e.g. Tail Slaps are always secondary. If you can cite this rule for Pathfinder, though, you're right: it was a pretty significant factor in 3.5 and would be here, if it's true. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 19:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ For most cats, both claws AND bite are considered "primary" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ KRyan I confess, the bulk of my experience stops at 3.5. Hadn't seen the Natural Attacks table with the Secondary/Primary listings. Thx for the head's up. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zimul8r
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 14:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .