Can you use Unarmed Strikes, like a headbutt or kick, with Claws of the Beast? I'm confused because of the somewhat conflicting nature of this Power's description. The description states that

neither [claw] attack is a secondary attack unless you are using manufactured weapons in the same round, in which case any claw not used to wield a weapon is considered a secondary attack (just like any other creature which uses both manufactured and natural weapons).

This implies you can attack with the claws if you have free hands to do so, and unarmed strike provides you with such. But, in the end, it states:

If you attack with a manufactured weapon or another primary natural attack, you can’t make any claw attacks in that round.

Seems like to contradictory statements. Is there a situation in which an unarmed strike can be considered a secondary natural attack? If not, how can I discern which statement is actually correct? They can't be both simultaneously true, can they?

I assume the second statement was meant to be the final say on the matter, the prospect of combining claws and unarmed strikes is kinda' nifty; I would like to combine both via this Power if possible.


1 Answer 1


You can utilize unarmed strikes as primary attacks, and use natural attacks as secondary attacks. Secondary attacks are only prevented whenever the weapon attack comes from the same limb used in the weapon attack.

According to the combat rules, Monks and those with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat count as armed, and deal weapon damage with their unarmed strikes - and punches, kicks and head butts all counts as unarmed strikes - and unarmed strikes count as a light weapon.

They are not a natural attack, so it is very safe to say they are a weapon.

According to Natural Attack Rules for Monsters, you would deal your weapon damage as primary and all of your natural attacks as secondary1. So if you wanted to combine both as a full attack action, head butt and kick for your primary attacks, and then swipe with your claws as secondary attacks.

As far as Claws of the Beast are concerned, it does specifically state that if you attack with a manufactured weapon or any other primary natural weapon, you can't make any claw attacks in the same round.

A literal reading would mean you can make claw attacks, but that's pretty much it. A way around it would have to be a very minor house rule.

I, personally, believe this to be a copy/paste from d20 SRD and an oversight on Pathfinder's part. It contradicts the rules regarding natural attacks and manufactured weapons and drastically reduces the effectiveness of this power. However, unarmed strikes do not specifically state that they are manufactured weapons, in and of themselves. So... unarmed strikes + claws of the beast should be doable.

As a GM, I would not hinder a player in this fashion and allow him to observe the rules regarding natural attacks and manufactured weapons.

1Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their available natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack’s original type.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "If you attack with a manufactured weapon or another primary natural attack, you can’t make any claw attacks in that round". Does this statement, associated with Claws of the Beast, prevent me from using them in conjunction with unarmed strikes, or is there a loophole around it. That is what I was wondering. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 5:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user3735278 Revised the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 5:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I may have missed it, but do unarmed strikes fail because they're counted as a primary natural weapon or as a manufactured weapon in this case? And can you use the claws with a bite, which I believe would be counted as a secondary natural weapon when full-attacking? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 5:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user3735278 Unarmed strikes are not a natural attack, and arguably are a light weapon. Unarmed strikes would be your primary attack and should then be able to use your claws as a secondary attack. If you have a bite attack, then that would also be a secondary attack. All of your natural attacks would be secondary when utilizing unarmed strikes in this fashion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 5:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I apologize for not specifying my follow-up question. You said that, strictly written, the claws from Claws of the Beast can not be used in conjunction with unarmed strikes during full attacks. Since unarmed strikes are not natural weapons, the reason they are disqualified is because they arguably count as light manufactured weapons even for non-Monks, yes? However, it would seem that, even strictly speaking, the Claws of the beast could be used in conjunction with a bite attack as the bite would become a secondary natural attack, yes? Or am I mistaken? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 6:00

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