Need help about some interaction between monk/natural attacks and Feral Combat Training during full round attack , not FoB!

Monk unarmed strike

A monk’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

My standard full attack routine is claw/claw/claw

First question is, can I choose to trade one claw attack for one unarmed strike during this routine, by virtue of the "monk's unarmed strike are treated as natural weapon [etc] "?

claw (str)/unarmed(str)/claw(str)

Or do I have to follow the standard interaction between "manufactured weapons" and natural weapons?

Unarmed (str) , Claw -5 (str/2), Claw -5 (str/2), Claw -5 (str/2).

Considering that a monk's unarmed strike could be an elbow hit that doesn't require the hand.

Feral Combat Training

Benefit: Choose one of your natural weapons. While using the selected natural weapon, you can apply the effects of feats that have Improved Unarmed Strike as a prerequisite.

Special: If you are a monk, you can use the selected natural weapon with your flurry of blows class feature.

From FAQ...

Normally a monk who has natural attacks (such as a lizardfolk monk with claw attacks) cannot use those natural attacks as part of a flurry of blows (Core Rulebook 57). Feral Combat Training allows you to use the selected natural attack as if it were a monk weapon.

Yes. The feat says you can apply "effects that augment an unarmed strike," and the monk's increased unarmed damage counts as such.

There is no such thing as an off-hand attack for a monk striking unarmed. A monk may thus apply his full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all his unarmed strikes.

Does this mean that my claw, being considered a monk weapon, still scales for 1x str on my attack routine?

Unarmed (str), Claw -5 (str), Claw -5(str), Claw -5(str)

Considering that Feral combat Training allows me to inherit all the pros of the monk unarmed strike this allow to bypass even the secondary attack limitation during an "manufactured+natural" full round attack?

Unarmed (str) , Claw (str), Claw (str), Claw (str)

Or that I just ignore "secondary natural attack limitation " for " Monk's inherited" natural attack? ( es. Claw primary, Tail Secondary slotted with FCT )

Normal : Claw/ Claw / Tail -5

With FCT: Claw / Claw / Tail

And what happens if I choose to go the two weapon fighting route? How does ignoring the "offhand limitation" work?

The last question: start from the point that FoB ( the monk's two weapon fighting original routine) allows the user to use the same weapon or natural attack one or more times with FCT (I could with Feral Combat Training's FOB go 3x Bite with the same Bite with poison), but with Two-Weapon Fighting I can't use the same weapon.

I'd appreciate a point to point answer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You have three claws? How does that work? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 10, 2015 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just for simplicity's sake. \$\endgroup\$
    – okkappa
    Nov 10, 2015 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


Replacing a claw attack with an unarmed strike

Sorry, but no. Unarmed strikes use a weird hybrid of the rules for manufactured and natural weapons, but for the purposes of full-attacks, they work like manufactured weapons. That is, you get iteratives with them, but if you can only combine them with natural weapons by making those natural weapons secondary (−5 attack penalty, only ½Str to damage).

The first rule that you quote is specifically about spells and effects. A full-attack is not either of those.

Claws and lack of offhand unarmed strikes

Feral Combat Training does mean that anything from the monk’s unarmed-strike-improving class features can apply to natural weapons, and that can include the bit about never being offhand.

However, claws and other natural weapons are never “offhand” to begin with. The term “offhand” only applies when using two-weapon fighting, and that combat option does not interact with natural weapons (aside from the attack penalty, which applies to all attacks). So the fact that the monk class feature, combined with Feral Combat Training, says that natural weapons are never offhand does not do anything because that was already true.

Instead of “main hand” and “offhand,” natural weapons are either “primary” or “secondary.” These are different. When combined with manufactured weapons (or unarmed strikes) in a given full-attack, all natural weapons are secondary: they receive the −5 penalty and get only ½Str to damage. Neither the monk class nor Feral Combat Training does anything about treating them as secondary or removing or reducing the penalties for being secondary.

So whether you have Feral Combat Training or not, your full-attack using unarmed strikes is:

Unarmed Strike, Claw (−5), Claw (−5), Claw (−5)

If you have Feral Combat Training, the claws do benefit from the improved base damage dice of unarmed strike, however, even if they’re still stuck with ½Str to damage.

Two-Weapon Fighting, Feral Combat Training

If you are actually using two-weapon fighting, the provision about monks never having offhand unarmed strikes meaningfully applies only to the unarmed strike. It “applies” to the claws, but does nothing for them.

So, for example, if your two weapons are a sai and an unarmed strike, and you have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, your attack routine would be:

Sai (−2), unarmed strike (−2), claw (−5), claw (−5)

The unarmed strike would add your full Strength to its damage, however. Note that I assumed that the sai took up one of your claw-hands. I did not wish to get into the debate about whether one can use two unarmed strikes as part of two-weapon fighting.

You didn’t ask, but about Flurry of Blows

All of the statements above about full-attack apply equally well to flurry of blows, except that you need Feral Combat Training to use natural weapons in a flurry at all, and flurry of blows cannot be combined with two-weapon fighting because of Paizo nonsense.

Personal recommendation

For the record, monks, natural attacks, and how they combine, these are some of the worst things in Pathfinder. The rules are confusing, complicated, and the result works very poorly. I suggest you save yourself a headache and just... not.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the reply, well formatted and easy to understand. Definitely way more than my question. I knew it was a shadowy territory in pathfinder, but at least i finally got some answer without the need to scavenge and necro around . Just to cover all the option, what about the Pathfinder Unchained Monk Flurry and those interaction? \$\endgroup\$
    – okkappa
    Nov 10, 2015 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget to accept this answer, since it clearly answers the question. That'll help when people try to look for this in the future. \$\endgroup\$
    – A. Wilson
    Dec 9, 2015 at 1:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ You all never discussed “Multi Attack” \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 5:05

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