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This question is related to a question about Weretigers and permanent Greater Magic Fang, but not identical.

Magic Fang's description states:

Magic fang gives one natural weapon or unarmed strike 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.

Can a human druid cast Magic Fang on herself and choose 'claw' as the type to gain the bonus (even though she has no 'claw' attack1)?

Is this simply a D.M.'s judgment call? or are there any citations backing up allowing or disallowing such use of the spell?


1: Obviously, she can't use the bonus without a claw attack, but the idea is that with Greater Magic Fang's 1 hour/level duration - she can benefit from the spell later, when she decides, for example, to wildshape into a tiger.

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The caster of magic fang typically can pick only a natural weapon that the subject already possesses to be affected by the spell…

What usually dictates whether a creature is or isn't a valid subject for a spell is a spell's Target entry (see Magic on Aiming a Spell on Target or Targets for details). The spell magic fang has the entry Target: Living creature touched, but, upon casting the spell and subsequently touching the target, the caster picks "one natural weapon or unarmed strike of the subject [to receive] a +1 enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls" (emphasis mine). Picking something that a creature doesn't have as the subject of an effect usually causes the effect to fail.

Thus I suspect that most GMs will rule that, while the spell's Target entry does mandate only that the subject be a living creature the caster touches, the spell's description increases the specificity of that Target entry to include "one natural weapon or unarmed strike of the subject," and if the subject does not possesses the natural weapon when the spell is cast, the spell fails.

…But this GM would likely let it slide anyway

However, the magic fang spell's Target entry is sufficient for this GM to rule that the spell doesn't outright fail if the caster picks a natural weapon the subject doesn't have to gain the spell's effect. Instead, this GM would rule that until the creature gains the picked natural weapon the subject's magic fang spell effect is present but, essentially, dormant, its duration counting down normally. This GM's ruling is—perhaps excessively—permissive, though. That is, if this GM can find any reading of a spell that allows a spell to work instead of to fail outright, this GM usually gravitates toward the reading that allows the spell to work. But were a GM to rule that spell magic fang functions in the traditional fashion—capable of affecting only an existing natural weapon—this player wouldn't flip the table and leave the campaign .

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No.

The spell would continue as normal, but since the targeted creature had no natural weapons, the spell would have no effect, as you couldnt satisfy a condition on the spell effect at the time of casting. Like casting Bear's Endurance on a zombie.

However, if the creature is capable of using Unarmed Strikes, then that should be affected, which is the case for most humanoid creatures. Since the spell does mention natural weapon OR unarmed strike as a valid effect:

Magic fang gives one natural weapon or unarmed strike 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.

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