Manticore Questions

The manticore's attack routine appears to be either claw/claw/bite or tail spikes.  The tail spike attack is listed as a single attack which deals 1d6 per spike thrown, up to a maximum of 6 spikes/round.  So if I'm interpreting it correctly, the manticore makes a single attack throw and deals up to 6d6 damage if it hits, but cannot split up a spike attack between multiple targets.  Do I have that right?  As a follow-up, if a manticore drops its target with a tail spike attack, may it cleave?  If so, does cleaving allow it to exceed the 6 spikes/round limitation?  If not, then may it hold spikes in reserve if it wishes to have an opportunity for cleaving?

As a secondary question, given the manticore's human face, it would stand to reason that it can speak.  How intelligent is a manticore, and what languages should it know?  I have a notion that any given manticore has only a 20% chance to understand any languages.  The rest of them routinely vocalize by mimicing phrases they have heard (for which they've an uncanny talent), but do not actually understand what they're saying.  Given the manticore's taste for human flesh, that means the phrases they are most likely to mimic consist of prayers, imprecations, screams of terror, pleas for mercy, and the like.  Those that cannot understand speech will parrot these phrases in response to any attempts to communicate, and many of them will fall into this habit in battle as well, even if they do understand the spoken word.

Speaks with Monsters clearly answers the question regarding Manticore speech:

I have nothing productive to add here.

What we need in here is Tycho Brahe, clearly.

I am not an Autarch, but my reading of the manticore rules is:

-A manticore may make up to six spike attacks in a round. Each attack deals 1d6 damage if it hits. Think of it like a monster with six claws, I’d consider them different attacks, not a single attack dealing 1-6 d6 damage. My ruling would be that cleaving does not allow them to exceed the 6/round limit, and I would certainly allow them to attack with less than six if they want to keep some to cleave with.

-Speech is not mentioned and the manticore is described as having nothing in common with humans other than the face. (“It has the face of a human, but there the similarities end”). I would assume that they cannot speak. That said, your solution is perfectly acceptable!

Aryxymaraki’s explanation is correct in every regard.