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D&D 3E
Breath Weapon while Grappling... 
30th-May-2007 04:56 pm
Okies... One of my players has a half-dragon, and got grappled by a golem. H ehad absolutely no chance of beating the grapple check of the golem, so he asked if he could use his breath weapon while grappling. I didn'tknow what to say to that, but since he had no chance of escaping or doing anything else, i allowed it since he wasn't yet pinned. The golem failed its save and was reduced to a pile of pitted stone, just like that... Didn'tbother me too much at the time, since i had already killed off 2 players already with the golem and the story needed to progress... My question is- can you use your breath weapon while grappling...? Does it require a successful grapple check...? I would argue that you can cast a still spell with no components while grappling without a check, so who's to say you can't breathe on someone...? If he was pinned, I'd definately say no... Thoughts,anyone...?
30th-May-2007 07:30 am (UTC)
I'd say, from a non-rules point of view, that even while pinned he could use his breath weapon. As long as he can open his mouth and is facing his opponent then why not? I suppose is someone where sitting on his diaphragm so he couldn't breath very well then he might not be able to use the breath weapon.

As I said, this is from a non-rules point of view and I'm not looking at balance of the game or anything, I'm just thinking from a purely biological point of view.
30th-May-2007 07:52 am (UTC) - On the other hand....
From a pure rules point of view, I would say no. A breath weapon has an area of effect, and that area of effect usually does not include the square occupied by the possessor of the breath weapon. When grappling, you enter into your opponent's square. At the very least, the breath weapon would effect both grapplers.

I would have played it the way you did, however.
30th-May-2007 08:52 am (UTC) - Re: On the other hand....
Usually, but it can be aimed into your own square, it just means that the breather is subject to the weapon as well. Not so bad for a half-dragon, assuming it's an elemental breath weapon. Not as great for a dragon shaman without the energy resistance aura.
30th-May-2007 07:58 am (UTC)
because supernatural abilities don't require somatic or verbal components (unless there's an exception that doesn't pop up in a sleep heavy mind), i'd agree with the whole 'if still spell, so breath weapon' decision. i recall a fey'ri of mine once escaping a dragon's grapple by using her dimension door spell-like ability.
30th-May-2007 11:59 am (UTC)
I would allow the breath weapon but if it were a cone I would say it affects the user as well.

With the fey'ri, don't forget that spell-like abilities provoke AOO. I don't recall the exact rules on AOO during a grapple. The SRD isn't clear. It does say if casting a spell you have to make a Concentration check, but spell-like abilities may not have the same requirement.

30th-May-2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
we called that it required a concentration check, which she made.
30th-May-2007 10:13 am (UTC)
Cool question. I would allow it based on this: "A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, material, focus, or XP components, so you can use one while grappling. To do so, you must succeed on a Concentration check; the DC for the check is exactly the same as it would be if you were casting a spell. See Rules of the Game for more information on spell-like abilities." (http://www.triskpoli.com/dnd-articles/rules-of-the-game/All_about_grappling_part_2.php). I would lump Supernatural (Su) and Extraordinary(Ex) into the same category as Spell-like abilities for the purposes of grappling, and the Concentration check makes sense given the physical interaction. As other have already said, it makes sense in the physical world as well, so long as the target is in line of sight. I'm not so sure about pinned, I guess it would depend on what the position of the character/foe being pinned was.
30th-May-2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
There's a wonderful table in the Tome of Magic that tells you all the differences between spell, spell-like, supernatural abilities. Supernatural, being even more in-born than spell like abilities, do not provoke AOO. Concentration checks are only for abilities that provoke AOO. This is because spell like abilities still require a certain amount of effort on the caster's part, and their enemies can notice that. Supernatural abilities, on the other part, are so ingrained they're practically effortless to pull off.
30th-May-2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
Ahh sweet, I think one of our game crew has the TOM. =)
30th-May-2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
It's in the shadow magic portion of the TOM, next to the Mystery descriptions, if I recall correctly. The table is very important to Shadowcasters.
30th-May-2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
Kick ass, I didn't know they had a Shadow magic portion in there as well, awesome. We have one shadow caster in our crew, I'll have to mention it to him. Thanks for the info.
30th-May-2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
Wait, there's another source for Shadow Magic? Like, mysteries shadow magic? Where?

I love my Shadowcaster, and I've been sad there's only TOM for that.
31st-May-2007 01:02 am (UTC)
There's some basic stuff in the Forgotten realms campaign setting and some in Magic of Faerun.

They're wicked cool.
31st-May-2007 05:29 am (UTC)
I found the page, btw. I quote the paragraph about Su in this comment.
31st-May-2007 08:37 am (UTC)
Sweet, I thought Su was subject to con checks as well, good to know.
31st-May-2007 05:34 am (UTC)
Hrm, seems we're not talking about the same kind of Shadow magic here. The one in the Tome of Magic uses its own rule system and way of advancement. They're not spells, they're mysteries, and have different paths instead of schools. Unless I'm not finding the mysteries in MoF and Forgotten Realms...
31st-May-2007 08:39 am (UTC)
Oh I thought you were referencing Shadow weave, my bad. Sounds like a cool system though. No, MoF and FG are about Shadow Weave, a different source of arcane energy.
30th-May-2007 10:53 am (UTC)
What type of golem was it? Did it deliberately lack the standard golem immunities to magical effects? I wouldn't have expected a breath weapon to do more than slow it.
30th-May-2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Don't think breath weapons (Su) care about Spell Resistance.
30th-May-2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
From the SRD: "Golems have immunity to most magical and supernatural effects, except when otherwise noted."

A specific example given for the clay golem: "Any magical attack against a clay golem that deals acid damage heals 1 point of damage for every 3 points of damage it would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the golem to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. For example, a clay golem hit by the breath weapon of a black dragon heals 7 points of damage if the attack would have dealt 22 points of damage. A clay golem golem gets no saving throw against magical attacks that deal acid damage."

It seems like it says that dragon breath is covered by their immunities to me...
30th-May-2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
FAQ sez the following

Can a dragon’s breath weapon harm a golem?
Yes. Although the golem main entry describes “immunity
to magic” as granting immunity to “most magical and
supernatural effects,” individual golem entries clearly state that
it applies only to “any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell
resistance.” Thus, golems are affected normally by a dragon’s
breath weapon unless the golem’s entry states otherwise.

In other words "all golems" are immune to Su effects, but then every single individual golem has boilerplate text that contradicts that! (Was it John Sladek who came up with the absent seminullitron, the subatomic particle the size of a billiard ball that technically exists but can never be observed?)

By the way, the Clay Golem text you emphasised said that if the golem didn't have the special handling for acid, it would have taken 22 points of damage i.e. not be immune.

30th-May-2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
Other poster is correct, Supernatural abilities bypass SR.
30th-May-2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
31st-May-2007 05:26 am (UTC)
Page 139 of the Tome of Magic, section "Mysteries: Spells, Spell-Like, and Supernatural Abilities":

Supernatural abilities are magical and do not function in an antimagic field but are not subject to spell resistance. Supernatural abilities cannot be dispelled or counterspelled, or used to counterspell. Using a supernatural ability is a standard action unless otherwise noted. Supernatural abilities might have a use limit or be usable at will, just like spell-like abilities. However, supernatural abilities do not provoke attacks of opportunity and never require Concentration checks.

The table below expands upon and supersedes Table 8-1 on page 290 of the DMG.

Followed by a table summarising all of that. Very handy table.
30th-May-2007 04:08 pm (UTC)

Dragons do not favor grapple attacks, though their crush attack (and Snatch feat, if they know it) use normal grapple rules. A dragon can always use its breath weapon while grappling, as well as its spells and spell-like or supernatural abilities, provided it succeeds on Concentration checks.

As the question is about a half-dragon and not true-one i would propose
a) Allow only the breath weapon while grappling for the (dragon)/2
b) Tell the half-human guy to make a check. For exapmle DC is enemy's Grapple check. 0.5dragon's grapple modifier applies. A failed check means he misses or hits himself.
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