For instance, a caster with access to permanency and Greater Magic Fang casts a permanent GMF (claw) on a weretiger while he is in tiger form. When the lycan shifts back to his human form (no longer having a claw attack), does the permanent GMF effect remain on him and just lies dormant until he shifts into his tiger or hybrid form (regaining his claw attacks)? Or because the claws essentially leave existence, so too does the permanent GMF effect?

This might be an argument of RAW vs RAI, but I am not sure. Seems to me that by RAW it stays (the target of the spell is the creature itself, not the desired natural weapon). I feel that RAI could go either way though. For instance, if the spell is RAI to just target the creature itself (just as RAW), then I would assume that the GMF would always stay on him regardless of shifting to a form without claws; However, RAI could possibly be that the spell targets the claws (or bite, slam, etc) specifically...In this case I'd assume RAI would mean that the permanent effect is completely lost as soon as those claws ended existing.

So by RAW, the effect stays but remains dormant until he gains a claw attack again. Is this correct?

Any evidence that RAI would imply otherwise?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Oh, and one thing that makes me leans towards taking RAI as RAW, is this... "Alternatively, you may imbue all of the creature’s natural weapons with a +1 enhancement bonus ". The fact that the spell can effect all natural weapons, seems to point that even RAI, it should taken as the spell targets the creature as a whole, and thus the effect would still be on the creature in human form (just dormant). Opinions on this? \$\endgroup\$ – RandyH Nov 30 '15 at 3:32

As written, Greater Magic Fang targets a creature. Nothing specifies that your target needs a natural weapon, so losing gaining or losing a natural weapon wouldn't change whether that creature is a valid target.

Greater Magic Fang allows you to select one of two effects on casting:

  • If you elect to give a bonus to all natural weapons, nothing obviously prevents that from working with any natural weapons you gain after casting.
  • If you elect a bonus to a specific natural weapon, then later lose that natural weapon, the spell would continue for its duration (permanently, for your question) but it's effect would be moot (like casting Bear's Endurance on a zombie).
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you cast Bear's Endurance on a zombie, and it is then polymorphed into a bear, it gains the effects of the +4 enhancement bonus to Constitution. I'm fairly sure that as long as the Target line is satisfied, removing a precondition of a spell doesn't permanently remove the bonus of the spell. Where are you getting that from? \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Nov 30 '15 at 4:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to add something specific to lycanthropes. Is it clear to anyone if RAW says shifting to the same form always gives you the same weapons, or if you just gain identical ones each time? If the same, are they common between hybrid and beast form? \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Nov 30 '15 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Technically, Target is only checked at time of casting, even. The target line becoming ineligible after the spell is cast removing the spell is a houserule, albeit a common one. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Nov 30 '15 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JackLesnie zombies are already valid targets for bear's endurance, as are bears. Switching between them obviously has no effect on whether the spell continues (though it's effect does nothing to a zombie). It's less clear (to me anyway) what happens if you buff a zombie, then polymorph him into a lawn chair. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Nov 30 '15 at 4:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JackLesnie that's fair. I think my answer is correct with or without the house rule though, because the target is "One living creature," and it is very difficult to lose eligibility for that. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Nov 30 '15 at 4:18


Magic Fang, Greater


Target: One living creature


This spell functions like magic fang, except that the enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls is +1 per four caster levels (maximum +5).


Magic Fang

Magic fang gives one natural weapon of the subject a +1 enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls. The spell can affect a slam attack, fist, bite, or other natural weapon. (The spell does not change an unarmed strike’s damage from nonlethal damage to lethal damage.)

If you have a claw attack, and have Greater Magic Fang cast on you, giving your claw attack a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage per four caster levels, and then you lose that claw attack, you are still an eligible target ('One living creature'). If you later gain that claw attack (or, technically, any claw attack - as long as it's the same type of attack, and you're only providing GMF's bonus to one attack of that type ('the attack'), NONE of the wording on natural attacks ever differentiates one natural attack of the same 'type' from another), according to the text of Greater Magic Fang, it would give your claw attack a +X to attack and damage.

Nothing about the spell's text changes from you gaining or losing a claw attack. It provides one natural attack of one specific type (claw, bite, wing buffet), that you have at the time of casting, with a bonus. If you gain, lose, transmogrify, grow, shrink, dip it in poison, none of that changes the wording of Greater Magic Fang in any way. It provides that bonus to the attack. If the attack doesn't exist, it provides a bonus to nothing, but as long as the attack does exist it provides it with a bonus.

It's worth noting also that you can't cast a spell on something which is not part of the 'Target' entry of a spell. However, nothing stops you polymorphing a lawn chair into a zombie and then casting undead torch on it - the spell can only be cast on an undead target but, by RAW, does not stop functioning when the target changes. This gets houseruled at most tables without realizing it, but it's worth noting that 'spells not working anymore' thing is, itself, a houserule rather than something that's actually existent in the game rules.

On a RAI note

If a permanencied magic fang goes away when the wielder changes from his werewolf shape to his human shape, that negates the entire point of casting permanency in the first place. There's no indication that the authors felt that lycanthropes were too powerful and giving Dire Lions permanent magic fangs was okay but giving to werewolves was broken, or whatever.

Even if a sorcerer or wizard regularly used polymorph to take the form of a troll to fight in melee, and wished to use Permanency and Greater Magic Fang to give his troll claws and bite an enhancement bonus when he was in that form, the designers wouldn't bat an eye. For a start, it's nowhere near optimal sorcerer/wizard play, and for a second, it's the entire point of GMF in the first place: making natural weapons stronger in higher level play.


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