Using the serpent's strike special ability of the feat Animal Devotion (Complete Champion 54-55), it's possible for a character to get for at least 1 minute 1/day a bite natural attack that deals only 1d3 Constitution damage (and no--not 0--hp damage). Does the feat Improved Natural Attack (MM 304) increase this Constitution damage or does the feat Improved Natural Attack only increase hp damage dealt by a natural attack?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you give us the text for the feat and/or Improved Natural Attack? I think that might help a lot, since I certainly couldn't tell you where to find that stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Mar 5 '15 at 5:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't have a reference in front of me, but I'm 99% sure Improved Natural Attack is in the Monster Manual and it increases a natural weapon's die size one step (as if you were a size larger). If this bite attack that I'm entirely unfamiliar with actually does direct Con damage, I will be amazed (And RAW probably says it would apply); typically a bite gives something like 1d4 plus poison and lets the poison do the ability damage. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Mar 5 '15 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818: SRD means never having to say "I'm sorry". Wait, that's love. Never mind. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Mar 5 '15 at 6:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TuggyNE SRD is uncomfortable to navigate on my phone, and I am not even sure I have ever intentionally visited the 3.5 one without following a link from here :) PFSRD stays open on my home PC though. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Mar 5 '15 at 6:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ INA: Choose one of the creature's natural attack forms. The damage for this natural attack si increased by one step, as if the creature's size had increased by one category: Then it lists the dies \$\endgroup\$ – Andy Mar 5 '15 at 6:36

In this case the feat Improved Natural Attack appears to increase the Constitution ability damage dealt by the serpent's strike, but it's really difficult taking the feat Improved Natural Attack (bite) if this special ability is one's only bite attack

The feat Animal Devotion (Complete Champion 54-5) as one of its benefits says that when a creature with the feat takes a swift action the creature can gain the following special ability:

Serpent’s Strike: You gain a natural bite attack that deals 1d3 points of Constitution damage but no hit point damage. A successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Cha modifier) negates the Constitution damage. Creatures immune to poison are immune to this effect. Your upper canine teeth grow into fangs when you activate serpent’s strike and remain in that form as long as the effect is active.

The feat Improved Natural Attack (MM 304) says as its Benefit that

Choose one of the creature’s natural attack forms. The damage for this natural weapon increases by one step, as if the creature’s size had increased by one category: 1d2, 1d3, 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 2d6, 3d6, 4d6, 6d6, 8d6, 12d6. A weapon or attack that deals 1d10 points of damage increases as follows: 1d10, 2d8, 3d8, 4d8, 6d8, 8d8, 12d8.

Thus a creature with the feat Animal Devotion who gains enough XP to advance to a level while he has the serpent's strike special ability active could take the feat Improved Natural Attack (bite) to increase the damage dealt by that natural attack from 1d3 points of Constitution ability damage to 1d4 points of Constitution ability damage. The creature's timing and math need to be perfect, however, as the creature doesn't meet the prerequisites the feat Improved Natural Attack (bite)--and therefore can't pick the feat--if the serpent's strike ability isn't currently active.

Obviously, if the creature can constantly make a natural bite attack in addition to being able to activate serpent's strike, taking this feat is much easier.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just out of curiosity, when you have a feat that you somehow lose the prereqs for, you temporarily lose the benefit of the feat right? Presumably until you remeet the prereqs. An example is a prerequisite of say 13 Str, and you take Str damage. I guess that would basically turn the Improved Natural Attack into an upgrade to the Serpent's Strike. \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Mar 5 '15 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Javelin The trick--in this case, anyway--is meeting the prerequisites to take the feat in the first place. That's really difficult here except under, like, laboratory conditions. A creature can't take the feat Power Attack, for example, hoping to have Str 13 later, likewise--barring absurdly careful timing--a creature can't take the feat Improved Natural Attack (serpent's strike) despite being able to activate the serpent's strike some other time. The creature usually just won't meet the prerequisites. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 5 '15 at 8:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't you simply take Improved Natural Attack (bite) and have it apply to all bite natural attacks your character makes? That's what the wording in KRyan's answer implies... \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Mar 5 '15 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you really need to meet the prerequisites at the very time you level up (and only at that time)? I thought that feats (like skills) required training time and therefore you would need to meet the prerequisites for the duration of the training (hard here, but conceivable using Bull's Strength for Power Attack). \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Mar 5 '15 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Shalvenay Yep, that's correct. My bad. Answer edited. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 5 '15 at 14:03

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