D&D 5E Grabbing something in the dark


So in my game the party was escaping a necromancer's compound through the roof. The necromancer Speaker to the Darkness threw a 15' radius cloud of roiling darkness on the roof that she and her ghasts could see through. This encompassed the artificer who rocket boots levitated up out of the darkness. The hexblade warlock, strapped onto a figurine of carrion crawling,* climbed down the outside of the compound wall to get out of the darkness. The necromancer then blasted through the darkness, critted, and dropped the artificer down onto the roof top unconscious. The warlock saw the drop and heard where he landed amid snarling ghasts in the darkness. He climbed back up the wall into the darkness to grab the artificer and throw him over the wall to the outside of the complex where the bard had a potion of healing.

In 5e how would you handle the grab in darkness? Attack roll? Grapple check? Dex check against a DC? Str check against a DC? Disadvantage for darkness/blindness?

* A custom figurine of wondrous power Ivory Goat goat of traveling modified to be speed 40 but also to gain a climb speed.




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First thing's first... just like when you attack someone you can't see, I'd make the player select a square that they are targeting within the darkness to go move towards and reach for. If the artificer was there, then they could grab them. If not, then nothing happens that action.

(Unlike attacking an unseen foe though... I would probably let the warlock "bump into" any of the squares on the path to the target square they were aiming and moving towards. But if they did bump into the unconscious artificer in that way, there would need to be a DEX check for the warlock to keep from falling over and quite possibly a failed Death save for the artificer for getting "run over" by the carrion crawler.)

And if the warlock did not hit or arrive any square that the artificer landed in, then they'd have to use their next action next round to search another square for them. And keep doing so until they bumped into them or arrived at the square they were unconscious in.


Magic Wordsmith
No need to make a grapple check to grab an unconscious ally in my view because there's no resistance and thus nothing uncertain to resolve. It's just a factor of Lifting and Carrying rules - can the person doing the lifting sustain the weight of both the PC and their equipment? I would make this an action to do, however. The darkness is a non-issue as I see it, where the rules are concerned.


if the warlock already knows the square they fell into (which from your description sounds like they do), I wouldn't require any rolls. Realistically grabbing a person that's laying in a 5 foot square should be pretty darn easy, it wouldn't take more than half a seconds fumbling to find body parts to grab.

Grabbing a fallen creature in darkness: no roll, except maybe to find them
Grabbing an aware creature while you're both blind: grapple roll as normal
Grabbing aware creature while only they can see: grapple roll, but they have advantage

Don't forget that moving while grappling/carrying someone is half speed. Also don't forget the automatic failed death save when the ally hits the ground after tossed over/off the wall...


I would have the character roll a Perception check. I'd set a DC in my mind - let's call it 13 based upon your description - to identify the square where the ally fell. Then they'd also use that perception roll to determine where the unseen unengaged ghasts are [HOUSE RULE: When a creature is rendered invisible by magic, I give them an automatic stealth check at disadvantage to hide immediately if they are not actively making sound].

If they just miss that DC, they'll target the wrong square and have to waste time guessing the correct one, all the time risking OAs from the ghasts as they move from square to square searching.

If they hit the DC, they can find the body and drag it off. I'd check to see if they can lift tghe body (in addition to their normal gear) to determine if they have to drag it and be slowed, or can carry it away at full speed. Either way, they're likely going to be attacked by those ghasts before they can flee.

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