6
\$\begingroup\$

I'm rolling an Abyssal Bloodrager which gets Claws at level 1. I THINK the point of the claws is that they give higher max damage than normal weapons at level one. Can someone check my math? If I'm understanding correctly, because I have a falchion I can choose from these attack rolls at level 1 (if I'm bloodraged):

  • Falchion - 2d4 + str mod * 1.5 (6) = 14 max damage
  • 2 Claw attacks - (1d6 + str mod (4)) * 2 = 20 max damage

Now. What I'm also wondering is when do the claws become obsolete? When you can start enchanting your real weapons? DO they become obsolete?

Also, do they do more damage when I get bigger? They only seem to mention damage changing when I get smaller.

\$\endgroup\$
8
\$\begingroup\$

The Point of Claw Weapons

The point of a Claw weapon is the sharp bit at the end. That is the part you put into your enemy.

All joking aside, Natural Weapons are incredibly versatile and useful for a large number of reasons:

Always there When you Need 'em

One advantage of a Natural Weapon over a manufactured weapon is that you cannot be disarmed (unless you literally lose your arms). If you lose your gear for any reason, you will still be able to hold your own in a fight as you have a lethal weapon readily available at all times.

Not All Claws Are Created Equally

As for the scaling, while not all Natural Weapons scale well into the late game, it just so happens that the Abyssal Bloodrager gets better Claws when you level up. From the Abyssal page:

At 4th level, these claws are considered magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance. At 8th level, the damage increases to 1d8 points (1d6 if you are Small). At 12th level, these claws become flaming weapons, which deal an additional 1d6 points of fire damage on a hit.

While these may not be as impressive as a magic weapon at the same level, you get them without spending any gold and the GM will have a hard time getting them away from you.

Size DOES Matter

As per the Universal Monster Rules, a Claw attack on a Large creature deals 1d8 damage. It just so happens that at 4th level an Abyssal Bloodrager may choose to grow one size category (as per the spell Enlarge Person) when entering a Bloodrage. Not only does this increase your Claw damage by one die step (from d6 to d8) but it also grants you +2 to Strength and a reach of 10 feet. This comes with some drawbacks, like a -2 to AC and a -1 to hit, but those are small prices to pay for a really nice benefit.

Full Round Attacks

When you make a full round attack with Natural Weapons you get to apply your full BAB to all attacks made with your primary Natural Weapon and add full Strength on damage.

In addition to this, while you cannot make an attack with a Natural Weapon if you are wielding a weapon in that hand, you can still add an attack from your empty hand (as a Secondary Attack) at only a -5 from your full BAB in addition to all your other attacks for the round. This is essentially a better version of Two Weapon Fighting since it does not require the feat investment.1

Summary

Natural Weapons are incredibly versatile tools for a character to have at their disposal. With the Abyssal Bloodrager's added abilities, the Claw attack will almost always be useful, even if you are wielding a weapon in your main hand. Their damage potential may not be as impressive as a highly magical weapon at a similar level, but they don't cost you any money so you can have your claws AND the fancy magic sword and one of them won't disappoint you when a Rust Monster shows up.2


1: This is my opinion and should not be taken as fact

2: It's the Claws

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Both answers were great. This one really spelled it out for me. \$\endgroup\$ – Thisisstackoverflow Sep 17 '16 at 3:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 17 '16 at 3:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another advantage of natural weapons, though probably not very useful for a Barbarian, is that they allow you to hold a two-handed ranged weapon and still make melee attacks and threaten adjacent squares. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Sep 17 '16 at 6:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Must the claws must be on the bloodrager's hands? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 17 '16 at 8:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ So... You can't be disarmed until you're literally dis-armed? \$\endgroup\$ – Nic Hartley Sep 17 '16 at 9:20
8
\$\begingroup\$

Really, the “point” of them is to allow you to have claws, because claws are cool. Paizo makes basically no attempt to ensure that all options have mechanical value; Pathfinder is simply full of so-called “traps” where something is an option, but is always (or almost-always) a worse (sometimes much worse) option than other options.

The claws are far from the worst offenders in that sense, though. They do allow you to get two attacks at 1st level, which is otherwise difficult and usually involves a penalty (e.g. the −2 of two-weapon fighting, assuming you have the feat and are using a light weapon). They also function as weapons you cannot be disarmed of, which can be valuable in certain campaigns.

That doesn’t make them great, though. They scale poorly, since they never get more attacks and because they don’t give you that 1½× multiplier on your Strength to damage or the improved gains on Power Attack, as you would have with a two-handed weapon. You can make them magical with an amulet of mighty fists, but that is very expensive compared to a regular weapon. So certainly by 6th they’re obsolete, and arguably before then.

You could choose to forgo one of the claws to use a one-handed weapon to get your iteratives and then make a swipe with the other claw as a secondary weapon; that usage would not apply penalties to the weapon attacks and would not require the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, and would net you one additional attack over not having the claws, but that attack would be at a −5 penalty, would share none of the magical enhancements of your main weapon, and would come at the cost of using a two-hander. So no, not even then really.

They do change in damage when you change in size, with larger sizes resulting in increased damage (and smaller sizes resulting in reduced damage). The reason they only mention being smaller is because they only cover two cases—Medium, the default, and Small, the other common PC size. Becoming Large or larger or Tiny or smaller is difficult for PCs and therefore doesn’t get explained as part of the class features. The general rules for natural attacks go into that detail, however. But it’s not really an advantage since larger manufactured weapons get the same damage increases, and most magical forms of size growth increase your equipment’s size as well.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer would be fine if the question had not specified the source of their Claw weapon, but if they intend on leveling into Bloodrager exclusively (or even primarily) the points about scaling and size become inaccurate as both of those are indeed important factors to consider here. \$\endgroup\$ – GreedyRadish Sep 17 '16 at 3:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GreedyRadish They get one size increase, which (barring others) means a difference, on average, of 1 damage, and that’s no different from weapons since larger weapons seem the same benefit. I don’t see any particular reason to go more into detail on it. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 17 '16 at 3:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't the off-hand-swipe come at the cost of not using a two-hander? \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Sep 17 '16 at 8:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel That is exactly what I said. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 17 '16 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe my knowledge of some English structures is bad but it looks the opposite to me: "and would come at the cost of using a two-hander." (the difference is the "not") \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Sep 17 '16 at 17:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.