I'm playing a Bloodrager with the Abyssal Bloodline and looking at spells and I noticed Animal Aspect increases my Unarmed strike damage... as I'm using mostly my claws for damage, I was wondering if that would work on those.

Gorilla: Your arms become long, flexible, and strong like those of a great ape. Your unarmed damage die type increases by one step, and you gain a +4 competence bonus on combat maneuver checks when making the grapple or reposition combat maneuver.

(Emphasis added)

  • \$\begingroup\$ For future reference, it's actually best to create links. In fact, in the formatting bar on the top of posts, there is a 'chain link' icon that makes creating hyper links easy and fast. If you're linking somewhere other than Paizo/PFSRD (for Pathfinder anyway) it may be best to include a small notation of where you're taking people who click on it. Particularly early on, your questions/links will be reviewed by more experienced Stackers. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 4, 2017 at 23:34

1 Answer 1


No, natural weapons are distinct from unarmed attacks.

Usually, an unarmed attack is when a creature attacks without a weapon, using the iterative BAB to determine the number of attacks available (+BAB, +BAB-5, +BAB-10, etc). Unarmed creatures can't use "unarmed attack" for their own attacks of opportunity. Attacking unarmed can provoke attacks of opportunity from the target, and normally cause nonlethal damage.

In some cases, such as natural attacks, an "unarmed" attack does not count as being unarmed:

"Armed" Unarmed Attacks: Sometimes a character’s or creature’s unarmed attack counts as an armed attack. A monk, a character with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, a spellcaster delivering a touch attack spell, and a creature with natural physical weapons all count as being armed (see natural attacks).

Your bloodrager's claws are natural attacks and don't count as unarmed. Natural weapons are claws, bites, and other pointy bits that are explicitly listed in a creature's stat block or given by some special feature. Natural weapons always threaten spaces within a creature's reach, and can be used for attacks of opportunity. As a full-round attack, a creature can attack with all available natural weapons, instead of using iterative BAB to determine the number of attacks.

Primary attacks are made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and add the creature’s full Strength bonus on damage rolls. Secondary attacks are made using the creature’s base attack bonus –5 and add only 1/2 the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls. If a creature has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 times the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls. This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one.

Hypothetically a creature can attack with natural weapons, manufactured weapons, and unarmed attacks altogether, but this involves taking complicated penalties to attack and damage rolls.

For most rule interactions, natural attacks and unarmed strikes are considered separate types of attacks. However there are exceptions. A monk's unarmed strikes benefit from effects that improve natural or manufactured weapons, but not vice versa. The Feral Combat Training feat lets a creature apply unarmed strike feats to a selected natural weapon.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I've been reading up on NA's all day, so knew most of that, but good info. Guess I just needed to hear "no, they different". I have some other questions, but mostly on topic, is there anything in particular that makes something Primary vs. Secondary? or is it on a case by case basis? The spell monstrous extremities makes additional natural weapons, but only says that they are Secondary when using normal weapons, which are the case for all natural attacks... ok rather off topic, sorry XD \$\endgroup\$
    – Punbro
    Mar 3, 2017 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Punbro Some types of natural weapons are usually primary (claws, bite, etc) and some are usually secondary (wings, tentacles, etc). However it does vary by creature. Go to the PFSRD page I linked, there is a table of natural attacks and which are usually primary/secondary. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Mar 3, 2017 at 21:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd note that it's 1.5x strength to damage when a creature has only one natural attack, not when they only have one type of natural attack- a creature with two claws only has one type of attack, but doesn't get 1.5x strength (though a creature with only one claw attack would get the 1.5x) \$\endgroup\$
    – Delioth
    Mar 3, 2017 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be much improved by noting that all creatures, gorillas included, are entitled to take unarmed strikes (and those would benefit from monk class features, size increases, and so on). \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 3, 2017 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ As KRyan stated, you can still make unarmed strikes not using your claws, but in this case it would likely be detrimental to damage, not increase it. Based on the actual question, I agree that it would increase the quality of the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 4, 2017 at 23:38

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