[RPG] How does the Natural Weapons option of the Alter Self spell affect a Longtooth Shifter’s Shifting Feature


I play an Eldritch Knight Longtooth Shifter who's about to get 2nd level spells. I was looking at Alter Self (which I realize I can't get until a level later anyway because of its school) and I was curious about how it interacted with my Shifting feature.

[Longtooth] Shifting Feature. While shifted, you can use your elongated fangs to make an unarmed strike as a bonus action. If you hit with your fangs, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

So my shifting feature grants me an unarmed strike attack as a bonus action using elongated fangs. Looking at Alter Self:

Natural Weapons. You grow claws, fangs, spines, horns, or a different natural weapon of your choice. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as appropriate to the natural weapon you chose, and you are proficient with your unarmed strikes. Finally, the natural weapon is magic and you have a +1 bonus to the attack and damage rolls you make using it.

If I cast this spell using this option and choose to "grow fangs" while shifted, does the bonus unarmed strike have a +1 bonus because of Alter Self?

Best Answer

Technically, they don't interact at all

While shifted you may make an unarmed strike as a bonus action (and only a bonus action) specifically with your fangs.

The Alter Self spell allows you to grow fangs etc with which you may make an unarmed strike, though not as a bonus action (unless you have some general ability that allows you to make any unarmed strikes as a bonus action). You would need to use your standard action to attack and these fangs are magic and have a +1 bonus.

Probably easiest to imagine - just to get the picture - that you created a different natural weapon with Alter Self, such as claws:

You would be able to use your standard action to make one (or more with Extra Attacks) unarmed strike with your claws. This attack is magic and has a +1 bonus.

Then you could use your bonus action to make an attack with your fangs. This attack would not be magic or have a bonus, as its just your standard shifted ability.

So...going back to the situation where you used Alter Self to grow fangs: You basically now have two sets of fangs. One magical with which you can use your action to attack and one non-magical with which you use your bonus action to attack!


Narratively, this is all very odd. As a DM, I would probably just rule that Alter Self allows you to 'grow' your standard fangs and they become magical (and gain a +1 bonus). This seems to make sense and probably wouldn't unbalance anything.

(I might possibly rule that you could use them only as part of your action OR your bonus action but not both, but even then I doubt it would be too unbalancing since you would have to give up your standard weapon attack if you used your action to make a fang attack).