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I'm running my first ever campaign as DM using the modified Starter Set (Mines of Phandelver). One of the monsters (Nothic) has a stat block (under Actions) that states that the monster has a multiattack with 2 claws, and below that it has two abilities: Rotting Gaze and Weird Insight. They are not listed as spells.

The question was, as a mutliattack with the 2 claws, was the monster also able to use the Rotting Gaze as an action. We looked at similar stat blocks in the monster manual (the closest being a Medusa) and house ruled that it could use all 3 per turn. Looking for clarification.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have access to the Monster Manual, take a look at the Actions section on pages 10-11. There you'll find clear instructions on how monster actions work in general \$\endgroup\$ Apr 24, 2023 at 20:34

4 Answers 4

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No.

Your monster has 4 options for his action:

  • Multi-Attack (Attack 2x with claws)
  • Claws (1 attack)
  • Rotting Gaze
  • Weird Insight

Thus, on his turn he can choose to use his action any of these 4 ways. He cannot freely mix and match his action using different abilities, he much choose 1 from this list (or an improvised action, though generally you don't want to improvise with a monster).

Sometimes a monster's multi-attack ability will allow it to swap in an action from their list (sort of like how the fighter can swap in a shove), however this is only allowed when the multi-attack ability says so. This is not the case with the Nothic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd add that a monster can take other actions beyond those on the stat block, as stated on page 10 of the Monster Manual: "When a monster takes its action, it can choose from the options in the Actions section of its stat block or use one of the actions available to all creatures, such as the Dash or Hide action, as described in the Player's Handbook." \$\endgroup\$ Apr 24, 2023 at 20:32
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You get one action per turn. Rotting Gaze is an action. Weird Insight is an action. Multiattack (or single attack) is an action.

You cannot use both as that would be 2 actions.

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No, a Nothic cannot Rotting Gaze on the same turn it attacks. Rotting Gaze is an action and cannot be used on the same turn as a multiattack unless it somehow gains another action.

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No. Each of the entries under "actions" in the nothic's stat block is a standard action, of which the creature can only choose to use one each turn. The Multiattack action specifically allows the nothic to use two claw attacks as part of that action, but this says nothing about Rotting Gaze or Weird Insight. Using either of those two actions would use the nothic's action for the turn.

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