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Snap Kick1 gives you an extra attack when performing an attack action. Improved Trip2 and Improved Disarm3 require an attack4, 5 to begin their special attack option.

Does the extra attack from Snap Kick have to be an unarmed strike with intent to damage my enemy (like my DM says) or can my extra attack from Snap Kick be used to Trip or Disarm (like I say)?


Possibly related (although PF):

  1. Disarm or Trip using a secondary natural attack
  2. If I am using 2 weapons, can I trip with one and attack the tripped target in the same round?


1When you make a melee attack with one or more melee weapons (including a standard attack, full attack, or even a strike maneuver), you can make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus. This attack is an unarmed attack that deals damage equal to your base unarmed attack damage + 1/2 your Str bonus. You take a -2 penalty on all attack rolls you make this round.

2You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when you attempt to trip an opponent while you are unarmed. You also gain a +4 bonus on your Strength check to trip your opponent.

3You do not provoke an attack of opportunity when you attempt to disarm an opponent, nor does the opponent have a chance to disarm you. You also gain a +4 bonus on the opposed attack roll you make to disarm your opponent.

4Make an unarmed melee touch attack against your target. This provokes an attack of opportunity from your target as normal for unarmed attacks.

5As a melee attack, you may attempt to disarm your opponent. If you do so with a weapon, you knock the opponent’s weapon out of his hands and to the ground. If you attempt the disarm while unarmed, you end up with the weapon in your hand.

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Snap Kick gives you an attack. That attack normally deals damage as described, but specific trumps general: if you use a combat maneuver like Trip or Disarm, the rules for that maneuver trump the feat’s statement about damage. Trip and Disarm can generally replace any attack, and Snap Kick gives an attack, so it’s eligible to perform those maneuvers.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ After some research, I'm very close to agreeing with you (and deleting my answer), but I'd really like this answer to address better the specific conditional nature of the granted extra attack. (That is, my reading is the feat specifically trumps the general rules for attacks). (By way of comparison, the only feat that seems to use similar phrasing to Snap Kick—condition requiring weapon then detailing damage—is the who-takes-this? feat Spinning Halberd (CW 114). Feel free to reference that if you like.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 3 '16 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I don't see a condition; I just see it defining the attack’s parameters as it would normally be used. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 3 '16 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ When you make an attack with one or more melee weapons is the condition. After meeting that condition (which, admittedly, is pretty broad), the feat's benefit kicks in. Meeting that condition is how the feat's specificity kicks in, and the crux of my answer. That is, without meeting the benefit's condition, you don't get to do the specific thing that's listed afterward. My struggle is in reconciling going into that specific condition then out to attack generally then back into being able to specifically, for example, trip or disarm. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 3 '16 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I think this may be a chance of differently parsing the sentence. I see you get to make (an attack (that deals damage equal to blah blah)) while you seem to see you get to make (an attack) (that deals damage equal to blah blah). I treat the clause introduced with that as a description of the sort of attack you’re making—but it’s still an attack, the attack just has its damage parameter defined in the sentence rather than being a reference to a particular attack. It’s not different than if it said “you gain a bite attack that deals 1d8+Str damage,” that can trip. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 3 '16 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay. That's cool. My takeaway from this is I'm not, like, totally off-base in my reading. Glad to hear it. I'll let my answer stand for those who parse the sentence similarly. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 3 '16 at 19:13
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The Snap Kick feat's extra attack must be used to deal damage

The feat Snap Kick has as part of its benefit the following:

When you make a melee attack with one or more melee weapons (including a standard attack, full attack, or even a strike maneuver), you can make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus. This attack is an unarmed attack that deals damage equal to your base unarmed attack damage + 1/2 your Str bonus. (Tome of Battle 32)

Emphasis mine. The text says an extra attack can be made, then—maybe deliberately to distance itself from more versatile options?—it goes on to describe the extra attack: an unarmed attack dealing the listed damage. Unlike a standard attack or even an attack of opportunity, no provisions are made for doing anything else with the feat Snap Kick's extra attack—like making a disarm attempt or trip attempt—despite that extra attack being an unarmed attack.

(By way of comparison, if the feat's benefit instead said This attack is an attack with your longsword that deals damage equal to your longsword's damage + 1/2 your Str bonus or even This attack is a touch attack that deals 1d10 points of Constitution damage, I doubt there'd be any question.)


A stricter reading

A stricter DM may even rule that because the feat is so specific, the only thing the unarmed strike from the feat Snap Kick can ever do is precisely that much damage, never less and never more. For example, such a DM may rule the snap kicker gets no additional damage due to having used this round the feat Power Attack. This DM thinks that's going too far, but harsher interpretations of less powerful feats float around the Internet.

A looser reading

Although This attack is an unarmed attack that deals damage equal to your base unarmed attack damage + 1/2 your Str bonus is pretty clean so far as 3.5 language goes, if a PC in this DM's campaign frequently found himself overshadowed by clerics and wizards, he would certainly at least consider allowing the feat Snap Kick to be used for special attacks. Such a reading is much more fun, and a melee-focused character with Improved Unarmed Strike and at least a +6 base attack bonus in an optimized game will need any edge he can get.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that this reading of RAW means the standard definition of 'attack' in the PHB renders every single attack in the game ineligible to be used with Trip or Disarm. Also ignores the many many instances of descriptive rules text throughout 3.5. As long as it's factually inaccurate in this manner, -1. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Feb 2 '16 at 5:49
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RAW

When you make a melee attack with one or more melee weapons (including a standard attack, full attack, or even a strike maneuver), you can make an additional attack at your highest attack bonus. This attack is an unarmed attack that deals damage equal to your base unarmed attack damage + 1/2 your Str bonus. (Tome of Battle 32)

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Using a special ability is usually a standard action, but whether it is a standard action, a full-round action, or not an action at all is defined by the ability. (PHB 142)

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You can try to trip an opponent as an unarmed melee attack. (PHB 158)

So now I have proved that Trip is/can be performed instead of an unarmed melee attack.

Snap Kick gives you an unarmed melee attack. The amount damage it does is irrelevant. The specific rules of Trip trump the general rules of how Snap Kick works, when you are using your unarmed melee attack from Snap Kick to perform a Trip. The general case of Snap Kick, performing an unarmed melee strike for X damage, is superseded by the specific case of Trip (rolling a str check against dex or str to impose the Prone condition on a foe).

This rule, specific trumps general, applies to RAW in any situation in DnD rules where one rule is more specific to the situation than another. It can be assumed that the general case of Snap Kick is the rules under the Snap Kick feat in ToB - and that the Trip rules in the PHB are more specific in the instance of using the Trip special attack as an unarmed attack, even if the attack comes from using the Snap Kick feat (or any other feat, for that matter).

It's worth noting that the rules for 'attacks' on p153 of the PHB indicate that attacks do damage, and note the amount. If you read Trip as being inapplicable to attacks with rules stating they do damage, Trip cannot be used with any attack in the game, or at all. This is clearly ridiculous, and is ancillary evidence that my reading of RAW in this case is the correct one.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The end editorial is completely unnecessary and has been removed. There are valid ways to make the critique you made, but this was not one of them. In addition it could be well argued that such a critique is simply an excuse to editorialize when it adds nothing to the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Feb 3 '16 at 17:43

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