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D&D 3E
Problem, suggestions accepted DM is me. I've got a barbarian player… 
11th-Aug-2005 08:07 pm
leonal
Problem, suggestions accepted

DM is me. I've got a barbarian player who likes the tactic of tearing out an opponent's throat with his teeth, a la Fyodor vs. Quaggoth in Daughter of the Drow. I rule that he has no bite attack, but neither does a vampire and they can drain blood with a pin, so I require a pin. No problem for a burly barbarian, really. so I require one more grapple check to make the attack, and . . . shite then what? He can't just auto-kill with his mouth. Pinned grapplers aren't helpless so no CDG, but what? Do I let him roll damage? What do I do that doesn't involve just saying "No, you can't because I say"

P.S. The wacko has Magic Fang permanencied on his teeth.
Comments 
12th-Aug-2005 12:11 am (UTC)
Personally, I would let him roll damage, but it would be unarmed damage (which is, what, 1d4?) And wouldn't he get a penalty for attacking unarmed? Or do barbarians get ways around that?
12th-Aug-2005 12:13 am (UTC)
1d3 for a human, which he is. And the AC of a pinned-something is abysmal anyway.
(Deleted comment)
12th-Aug-2005 12:27 am (UTC)
On that called shot thing you mentioned: I've had a couple of players before who wanted a similar thing... but as soon as I said 'Okay, but everyone else (ie NPCs and Monsters etc, as well as them) can do it too, if they like'.
Well, needless to say, so much for that. :P

I have the same question concerning the barbarian... is it a stylistic thing? If not, wouldn't he need some kid of special training or something (like a feat) do even remotely do so? It's not -that- easy. And what of the in-game social reprecussions and so on? I mean, a biter-killer type can't be that popular with any good-natured types...
12th-Aug-2005 12:30 am (UTC)
well, the party is all pirates, and I mistakenly allowed him the feral template
(Deleted comment)
13th-Aug-2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
For future game I want to make the feral template off-limits. I just really don't like that thing. d8 claw attack and Fast Healing 2?
12th-Aug-2005 12:43 am (UTC) - Bizzare idea, but interesting.
Nibbling through as he's going to have to if he's using this as an actual attack is going to take forever-and a damn good thing too. Teeth have certainly been used in fights but not generally as a killing method-at least not as a standard tactic, against someone you're grappling to make them let go... perhaps.

Well as it's technically unarmed it's not possible(subdual damage with unarmed unless you have special abilities), but that seems silly considering he's biting.
It makes a lot of sense as an attack of opportunity while in a grapple with someone who isn't good at grappling and is therefore giving away AOOs, and I wouldn't apply the subdual only rule for it, but I do think it would always allow a return AOO, unless the person cannot fight back. However I don't think a human's teeth are easily able to do something like that, we don't really have good ripping type dentition. So...

A feat for the maneuver, which still allows an attack of opportunity (heads are clumsy weapons at best, may even want to apply a penalty to hit even with a feat), but does do real damage perhaps.
Stylistically it's cool, but D+D does have a problem with this sort of thing; pitiful damage cf hit points. So what next? Only allow it when they are wearing no armour-NO way could human teeth bite through armour, and throats tend to be well armoured as they are very vulnerable spots(although magic fang may mean you could ignore that). Perhaps some sort of further grapple checks to render someone helpless-maybe even another feat required to allow this; and use it as a CDG attack.
As a fighting technique it's like using a dig in the ribs as a killing blow, I don't think it's unreasonable to require extra feats etc for this sort of thing if done as a standard tactic...it IS a really bizarre fighting style after all; you could make it a feat chain (lower penalties, higher damage etc) or even a prestige class.

I can imagine I'll be pondering this for a few days, if I have any other ideas I'll probably bother you with them too.
12th-Aug-2005 01:04 am (UTC)
In the language of game mechanics, your issue is clear.

He will do 1d3 nonlethal damage with his teeth unless he has Improved Unarmed Combat, plus his Strength modifier and the bonus from Magic Fang.

Alternately, he could use the suffocation rules.

That's it. Those are his only options. They work, though not well. If you want to pander to the guy (sorry for the harsh choice of words) make a custom feat that raises the damage die by 1, makes it lethal if it isn't already, and maybe gives him a bonus on grapple checks for the purpose of Pinning.
12th-Aug-2005 01:30 am (UTC)
If he's using it simply as a cheap tactic, pit him against opponents that use similar tactics.
12th-Aug-2005 01:48 am (UTC)
Theoretically Magic Fang doesn't work I think btw, they aren't natural weapons as such-but I'd have allowed it too.
12th-Aug-2005 02:11 am (UTC)
Never, EVER let your player start to do something that you don't have a plan to handle.

IF the player was in my game, I'd let him do 1 point of lethal damage on a grapple, with a -8 combineed penalty from his grapple check, plus no more than half of his strength modifier.

Humans only bite to eat--our mouths are not effective weapons, and while one could theoretically coup de grace with a bite, a max of 6 points of damage isn't all that much compared to even the 2d4+8 the same character could get with improved unarmed strike.

btw, Magic Fang shouldn't work, and shame on you for allowing it without having an extant plan for how it will work in combat. Then again, if you don't have a list of things you're ashamed of as a GM, you just haven't been paying attention.
12th-Aug-2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
I don't know about that. The human jaw is pretty frickin' strong- not as compared to the jaws of other animals, certainly, but in terms of our own musculature.
12th-Aug-2005 02:18 am (UTC) - Y'know, everybody's kind of down on..
...monkey-boy here, but I think he's gone to some lengths to get this attack: he's taken the feral template --which lowers his intelligence and hence his skill points-- and he's gotten Magic Fang on his teeth. They probably look pretty scary on a scurvy-looking berserking pirate. And I think it's a cool concept.


The D&D system isn't designed for attacks that are difficult to pull off but then devestatingly powerful. The best monkey-boy can probably do is high critical-hit multipliers. If I were the referee, I'd allow the grab-requirement to increase the critical-multiplier by +1.

Otherwise, I'd have him look into some of the tactical feats from the Complete Warrior, like "Combat Brute" or "Shock Trooper".
12th-Aug-2005 03:36 am (UTC)
Why didn't he just play something like a shifter from Eberron? A bite for a human is not a natural weapon, period. I wouldn't let a monk do this, neither would I let a barbarian. It's frankly ridiculous. Put your foot down.

What does the rest of your party think of this? Any civilized party should have lost this guy a long time ago.

eh. It wouldn't be in one of my games even in the first place, but that's just me.
12th-Aug-2005 09:44 am (UTC)
When you're grappling, you can choose to do damage on a successful check - and I'd be tempted to say that the barbarian is biting at that stage. He'd need the Improved Unarmed Attack to do lethal damage certainly, but he'd still get the benefits of the Magic Fang either way. Improving it with other feats such as Improved Critical etc is a possibility - I'd definitely recommend Improved Grapple for a start!
12th-Aug-2005 10:44 am (UTC) - Level adjustment...
Okay, he has the feral template, this is no problem- let him acqire a bite attack as a natural weapon from the template, but raise the level adjustment by 1... Then he can take The improved natural weapon feat to increase his damage and maybe improved critical as well... Only let him kill his opponent if he can do it in a CDG... Alternatively, for an extra +2 or +3 level adjustment, you can rule that the feral template also bestows the much feared "Vorpal Bite"- that way, if he scores a critical while he's grappling, he can tear their throat out with ease... He obviously wants his character to be really vicious and a bit different, this is a good thing and should be encouraged, it shows imagination and a genuine interest for the game... Something I have a lot of trouble finding in players... Good luck...

12th-Aug-2005 12:24 pm (UTC)
Compromise with him.

He's slowly gnawing his way into the throat and once he lands a killing blow manages to rip out the windpipe. Maybe he tries to knock them down or soften them up so it's easier to land this killing blow (i.e. drop their hit points down w/ conventional methods).

Alternately, let him take the Reaping Mauler prestige class from Complete Warrior.

When he kills someone with the level 5 ability, he rips out their throat.
12th-Aug-2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
Thats exactly what I was going to say LOL.
12th-Aug-2005 02:50 pm (UTC)
Well in my old group we had a rule, a called shot to a throat or heart or other place like that can cause a critical hit (x2 for natural attacks) only if they hit. Called attacks to such places are harder to make because wise fighters/people in general guard those places even more in a fight giving them a -8 for such attacks.

With the attack made the damage rolled give them a fortitude = damage done by one attack. If the roll fails they they would either die or take double the already ouble damaged.

In my next group I have the rule that they roll damage as normal. The defending creature must make a save throw vs that damage. Each time he fails he must roll again until he succeeds. When he suceeds the damage that was inflicted is times the amount of failures + 1 (For the original attack). This way its makes it much tougher for kolbolds and goblins to make such saves while a dragon will almosta lways make it.

Also...a mans bite isn't that deadly. It is VERY difficult to bite another mans throat out in combat, unless the defender is sleeping and so forth. Its cool and stylish, I would allow it.
12th-Aug-2005 03:19 pm (UTC)
just start throwing constructs and undead at them... or have a vampire get annoyed he's giving him a bad name and hunt them down...

:o)
Dan
12th-Aug-2005 04:10 pm (UTC)
The Races of Wild book has a feat called "Gnoll Ferocity". It gives Gnoll Barbarian characters a 1d6 dmg bite attack only while they are in berserk rage.

I would say that if he files his teeth to points, he can have this feat and only use it while he is raging. See page 151 in Races of Wild for more details. You might also want to subtract a point from his charisma if he decides to file his teeth to points.
12th-Aug-2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
i like this idea. i believe that a character should be able to change (to a degree) the basic funtions of his character if he has the will to do so.
humans used to use their teeth to rip meat from bone and what not, though we weren't exactly predators till they got weapons. still, since he has the feral tamplate, i figure some of that old instinct might be awakend in him. and truth be told, i've always used barbs as a savage class, so almost feral. stack that with the feral template and thats one hairy beast i wouldn't want to piss off.
plus, think hanable lecter style :P.
12th-Aug-2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'd rule it was a typical unarmed attack with normative damage. The D&D rules take into consideration that combatants are *always* trying to inflict maximum amounts of damage, *always* trying to gain advantages, and avoid mishap.

The fact that a combat round lasts six seconds is something I repeat over and over again, but it's an important thing to remember. Often players believe their characters are just swinging their sword once or taking a single action. Actually, characters are doing quite a bit more in a battle. A grappling character who is trying to bite may recieve the Magic Fang bonus, but does no more than "a grappling strike", because it is assumed that if a combatant can bite, they will (excluding those who indulge principled behavior even in wrestling with an enemy who is trying to kill oneself).

In fact, one might also assume grappling combatants are trying to throttle throats, break bones, crush vulnerable organs, etc.

So, when your grappler begs you to let him bite someone, let him know that D&D combat is meant to simulate combat situations, and in combat situations, grapplers are already trying to kill eachother... then have him just roll as normal for non-extraordinary damage.

Although, since you are DM, you should let the players know that the character tried to bite: didn't kill, might have torn flesh, might not have torn flesh but otherwise frightened or manuevered the enemy into a bad position when they tried to avoid the bite (thus reflecting a loss of hitpoints), etc.
12th-Aug-2005 08:36 pm (UTC)
Aside from the question of "How do I actually work this?", I don't see the problem here. As has been said, the guy's gone to great lengths to acquire this ability, and furthermore isn't going to be able to effectively use it in most situations. Consider a basic fight: he charges an enemy, knocks him down, pins him, goes for the throat, and now all the victim's buddies are beating the crap out of him as he's occupied with other things. Not the smartest tactic in the world.

I'd say give him maybe d6 standard damage per round- considering that what he's attacking is specifically the throat, which, as has been said, is a very, very vulnerable area. (If he tried to gnaw on someone's arm or something, knock it back to the normal d3 subdual- it might hurt, but it's just not likely to do much.) Increase the critical modifier as well (maybe to 18-20?), so as to give him a (comparatively speaking) pretty decent likelihood of killing the subject in any given round without it being in any way an auto-kill. In normal situations against characters of any decent level it'd take him quite a while to pull it off- which is as it should be, I think, given the fact that human teeth aren't designed for the job.

One other thought: You might want to make a critical hit scored with teeth against a throat an auto-kill. Consider: Your character is trying to gnaw off the throat of a 15th-level fighter. If he's got a Con of 10, the victim probably has an average of about 87 HP. At d6 damage, with an average of three criticals every 20 rounds, it's going to take him about that long to finish the job. Comparatively, against a 1st-level commoner, it's probably going to take him about two rounds. Why? Does the fighter have a thicker throat? A stronger windpipe? Sure, he's bigger and tougher and it takes more smacking around to knock him down- but that doesn't to me seem to correlate to stronger defenses in the neck as such.

On the other hand, I do sort of like the idea of this guy down on the floor chewing on this other guy for two full minutes... hehe.
12th-Aug-2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
Consider giving your player's victim an AOO aside from that granted by a grapple check. If your player has or gets the Improved Grapple feat, still offer the AOO, but after the grapple is initiated. I know when people try to gnaw on my throat, I punch them in the head damnit, and they can't do a thing about it since they're fighting to stay latched on. I would only implement this to offset some bonus as a result of going for the throat. If it's only stylistic, then whatever.

Something else, when dealing damage, I wouldn't give the full strength bonus, but something like half of it. The human jaw is certainly powerful, but I think the the strength bonus generally desribes all the muscles in the body collectively (when you swing a sword, you're not just using the arms and chest, but you're probably twisting and using everything else for power), or large groups (such as the leg muscles, as in jump checks).

As for detailed mechanics, I'll leave that to all the more knowledgable folk.
12th-Aug-2005 10:53 pm (UTC)
Nightwish if freekin' sweet by the way.
13th-Aug-2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
Agreed.
13th-Aug-2005 07:01 pm (UTC) - Even easier...
Change the natural attack granted by the Feral template to a bite instead of claws- humans are more suited to a bite attack than a claw attack anyways... Bites also generally do more damage... Then create a feat in which he can deliver a coup de grace once he successfully pins his opponent... The prerequisites for this feat would include Improved Grapple and Death Blow(Sword and Fist P6) No need for a level adjustment, and it wont always result in an instant kill... The player might be happier with this arrangement, as it makes it a challenge, not just an automatic kill...
I once had a Tiefling Assassin who used a bite to make Death Attacks by tearing the throat out...
29th-Aug-2005 07:29 am (UTC) - Just wondering...
...How did you end up settling the issue...?
29th-Aug-2005 08:32 am (UTC) - Re: Just wondering...
Nothing concrete, and he hasn't tried it since, but my plan was to cut him back to 1d3 subdual and use strangulation rules, a la big cats do when biting necks. (in the wild, not in D&D rules)
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