The Alchemist mutation discovery Vestigial arms grants an extra arm.

The text description states

The alchemist gains a new arm (left or right) on his torso. The arm is fully under his control and cannot be concealed except with magic or bulky clothing. The arm does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round, though the arm can wield a weapon and make attacks as part of the alchemist’s attack routine (using two-weapon fighting). The arm can manipulate or hold items as well as the alchemist’s original arms (for example, allowing the alchemist to use one hand to wield a weapon, another hand to hold a potion, and the third hand to throw a bomb). The arm has its own “hand” and “ring” magic item slots (though the alchemist can still only wear two rings and two hand magic items at a time).

Emphasis mine.

My question is if the Alchemists natural form has claws would these arms have the ability to add natural attacks without anything extra needed? It states you don't gain extra actions but can wield weapons in the arm(s) so would this be different?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you clarify if wether the question is about gaining extra attacks or gaining claws on the vestigial arm? \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Because with Feral Mutagen you could clearly say that the 2 claw attacks gained are on your vestigial arms, as long as your attacks per round limit is respected. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras The race of my character already has natural claws and bite attacks. I'd assume the new arms would take after the original. It seems from the wording and an official ruling that these arms are not meant to be able to add new attacks only be used for other actions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ The FAQ and Sean K. Reynolds clarifications on paizo's messageboards state they can be used instead of a regular attack aswell. So if all your 4 arms (2 vestigial, 2 natural) have claws and you can make 2 claw attacks per round, you could use your 2 vestigial arms to attack instead of your 2 natural arms (if they are occupied for instance). \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ So the question is "Does my vestigial arms also come with my natural claws?", correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 15:03

4 Answers 4


The Official Pathfinder FAQ explicitly has covered this discovery (and the use you are suggesting) and has stated that:

At no time can you make a left hand weapon attack, a right hand weapon attack, and a vestigial hand weapon attack on the same turn because the vestigial arm discovery says it "does not give the alchemist any extra attacks or actions per round."

The exact same restrictions would apply if your race had claws or you had some other ability to add claws to your limbs: the text of both discoveries says they do not give you any extra attacks per round, whether used as natural weapons, wielding manufactured weapons, or adding natural weapons to a limb that didn't originally have natural weapons.

Bolding mine. Effectively, if you add natural weapons to the vestigial arm, you can use them only in place of other attacks, and you can never gain any additional attacks under any circumstances.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The FAQ applies because it is a blanket statement about gaining ANY extra attacks via this discovery (by any means), but I meant to bold the earlier part of the sentence: "...they do not give you any extra attacks per round, whether used as natural weapons...". I've made an edit above to fix this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellion
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 14:42

The discovery cannot grant you extra attacks per round.

According to the FAQ on "Alchemist, Tentacle/Vestigial Arm: What does "extra attacks" mean for these discoveries?", and Sean K. Reynolds clarifications on paizo's messageboards, as long as you do not gain extra attacks from your vestigial arms, you can use them in place or your normal attacks.

First of all, unarmed strike can't be any body part you want. It's undefined for non-monks, but the monk class specifically calls out "a monk's [unarmed] attacks may be with fist, elbows, knees, and feet," so it's reasonable that non-monks have to follow a similar restriction (otherwise the non-monk has more versatile unarmed strike options, which is silly).

So a human holding a barrel with his could make a kick or knee unarmed strike (his arms are busy holding the barrel, so no fists or elbows). If he had TWF, he could make two unarmed strikes, one with the left leg and one with the right leg. We know he has to use separate limbs because the revised monk flurry ruling says a monk can use one weapon for all of a flurry, which means it that a special rule for monks and non-flurrying non-monks can't do that.

Now replace the TWF human with a TWF tengu, and get rid of the barrel. The tengu can make two unarmed strikes per round (one with the left leg and one with the right leg), and gets to add his three natural attacks as secondary attacks. That's 5 attacks per round, total. Overall, that puts his attack bonuses at –2 kick/–2 kick/–5 bite/–5 claw/–5 claw. This is a legitimate attack routine.

Now give him the vestigial arm discovery x2. Instead of making two kick attacks, he's making two manufactured weapon attacks. So his total attack routine is weapon/weapon/bite/claw/claw. That's 5 attacks per round, total. This is a legitimate attack routine.

Tengu-A, the two-armed tengu, is making 5 attacks per round.

Tengu-B, the four-armed tengu, is making 5 attacks per round.

Both are valid. The second tengu is not getting any more attacks per round than the first tengu. In other words, the second tengu is not getting any extra attacks per round compared to the first tengu.

Or, to quote the FAQ: It means "extra," as in "more than you would be able to make if you didn't have that discovery."

Haste and other special effects, if applied to both example characters, should affect them equally. Frex, haste on Tengu A gives it an extra unarmed strike attack per round, haste on Tengu B gives it an extra manufactured weapon attack per round, but both characters are still getting the same number of attacks per round: 5 + 1.

Q: How many attacks per round can the tengu make without the discovery?

A: 5.

Q: How many attacks per round can the tengu make with the discovery?

A: 5.

Q: Is the tengu with the discovery making any extra attacks per round compared to the tengu without?

A: No.

Q: So this doesn't violate the rules?

A: Correct.

Q: What if the four-armed tengu also wants to make unarmed strikes in addition to the two manufactured weapon attacks and the three natural attacks?

A: It can't, because that would put it at 7 attacks per round, which is more than the (two-armed) tengu's 5 attacks per round.

  • Sean K. Reynolds

Which means that, if you had 3 attacks before taking the discovery, you will still have only 3 attacks after taking the discovery.


The no extra attacks/can wield weapons wording is confusing, but the letter of it is no extra attacks.

Even natural attacks (the strangest case) would not be gained by taking the Discovery. When wielding weapons, you would not be able to attack with them using Two-Weapon Fighting or Multi-Weapon Fighting, and with Natural Attacks, you would not gain them as extra secondary weapons in a Full-Attack.

The benefit of the Discovery is intended to be allowing you to do non-attack actions with otherwise full arms. You could wield a weapon in it, and use that attack in any of your normal attacks that round (ie you could attack with it or your 'main' hand, or you could use Two-Weapon Fighting to attack with it and your 'main' hand, and 'not use' your normal off-hand). This could be beneficial if you have multiple typed weapons, and want to use the most apt one for a situation.

A specific example: You're fighting demons, skeletons, and zombies. In one hand, you have a silver rapier, a second you have a mace, and in your third you have a longsword. Each attack, you could choose one weapon to use on the appropriate target. With 6 or more BAB you could choose two weapons to use, one with the +6 and one with the iterative +1. With Two-Weapon Fighting you could also use any two of them, with appropriate penalties.

In the case of natural weapons, I would imagine they would appear the same as your normal arms. You could use its Claw attack just as any other... but you wouldn't have one more, so it would be a null point except for roleplay purposes.

Other uses of the hand include retrieving potions (as a move action) while holding a weapon and shield already, grabbing items after a disarm attempt, or holding a Wand of Magic Missile to use until they're in melee range.


The problem with this question is that Paizo sometimes comes up with "hands worth of attacks". If we stick to the number of attacks the alchemist in question should be able to upgrade some of his attacks to two-handed and still get claw attacks in where before he could only make one-handed plus claw.

But the same way paizo ruled that you can't use two-weapon fighting to combine a two-handed weapon with armor spikes they might rule that two-handed plus claw doesn't work because he now uses more than two hands worth of attacks.

Normal unarmed: A bab5 pc with two hands both of which have claws could make three attacks, one unarmed and two claws.

normal one-handed: Now he could make one armed attack and one claw attack

normal two-handed: this would be only one armed attack

Which of those numbers is the right one to use after he got the additional arm? It is clear that he still could only make three attacks because that is the maximum.

If we stick with the number only and ignore this strange concept of hands worth of attacks he still could make three attacks while using a one-handed weapon. One armed and two claws.

But factoring in the "hands" unwritten rule there would be no change at all to the list without the additional arm.

Paizo FAQ:

Armor Spikes: Can I use two-weapon fighting to make an "off-hand" attack with my armor spikes in the same round I use a two-handed weapon?

No. Likewise, you couldn't use an armored gauntlet to do so, as you are using both of your hands to wield your two-handed weapon, therefore your off-hand is unavailable to make any attacks.


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