5E Grappling with Mirror Image

tglassy

Explorer
Are you being jovial or facetious? Grappling doesn’t mean they can’t kick you back. It just means they can’t go anywhere.
 

jaelis

Explorer
Are you being jovial or facetious? Grappling doesn’t mean they can’t kick you back. It just means they can’t go anywhere.
If you agree that they can touch your body, beyond just your hand, then what is your argument for mirror image working?
 

tglassy

Explorer
RAW, Mirror Image simply says that if they are able to perceive you with senses other than sight, specifically mentioning Blindsight or Truesight, then Mirror Image has no effect. I’ve read where some people believe that by being grappled, they are “perceiving” you through a sense other than sight, I.e. touch.

But I’m not convinced that would work, if I were grabbing you and three other me’s were, too. Sure, you’d only feel the one, but people rely on their eyes a whole lot, and in the confusion of a fight, I think it is probable that the target could swing a punch at the wrong face.
 

ccooke

Explorer
A point here - being grappled does not mean that you've been grabbed by the wrist. For a start, there are creatures without wrists which are not immune to grapple. I tend to think that it means someone has a solid grip on you - for a humanoid example, imagine if someone had a solid grip on the front of your clothing just below your neck. As long as they hold on there, that's a position with decent leverage to stop you moving, but both of your hands are free to attack the grappler.
 

tglassy

Explorer
Ok. Grabbing by the wrist was an example of being grappled, and one that has entirely too much focus put on it.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
So you're being grappled by a real guy and three overlapping mirror images. It's not a huge mental stretch to see how that might complicate sticking a knife in his thigh. Which thigh? Or they can just try to escape the grapple, which MI doesn't affect at all. Or close their eyes and take disadvantage on the attack. Whatever. I think people are multiplying entities beyond necessity here. The fact that the fluff description of a magic spell doesn't meet the highest standards of explanatory excellence in every possible case shouldn't be cause for alarm, or house ruling.
 

MarkB

Hero
RAW, Mirror Image simply says that if they are able to perceive you with senses other than sight, specifically mentioning Blindsight or Truesight, then Mirror Image has no effect. I’ve read where some people believe that by being grappled, they are “perceiving” you through a sense other than sight, I.e. touch.

But I’m not convinced that would work, if I were grabbing you and three other me’s were, too. Sure, you’d only feel the one, but people rely on their eyes a whole lot, and in the confusion of a fight, I think it is probable that the target could swing a punch at the wrong face.
Think about how that actually feels in practice - someone grabbing your arm, and you trying to pull away or twist in their grip. You don't only know the sensation of their hand on your arm - you also have a very accurate feeling of the leverage they're exerting upon you, they way they're affecting your balance, the directions in which you have the most or least freedom of movement. That gives you a very accurate picture of precisely in which direction they're exerting those forces from, and therefore where they're standing.

Plus, if you know they're holding your arm, you certainly know exactly where their arm is - and they can't even move it away without releasing you. So don't stab them in the head, stab them in the arm.

Finally, while the spell says that your duplicates move with you and mimic your actions, it doesn't specify how well they mimic your interactions with other objects or creatures. If you are grabbing someone's wrist, your mirror images would mimic the action, but they might end up grabbing nearby sections of empty air.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
So, what ruling is going to add more fun to your game? It depends upon the people sitting around the table or connected to the virtual table.

Personally, I would probably rule in the players favor. Unless someone felt strongly about it, then I would probably rule in their favor. But, regardless I would make the ruling with only a few seconds contemplation. Debating the in and out during a combat almost always takes away the fun for most players.
 

Harzel

Explorer
It seems clear that RAW grappling can be a one-armed hold; full body contact is not required. It seems to me that the specifics of the hold would matter only in special circumstances, usually the grappler attempting to accomplish something specific, and that would be a special adjudication. In the general case, I would assert that the precise configuration of the physical contact between the grappler and the grapplee is something that is changing moment to moment.

If the grapplee closes their eyes, then they are not affected by MI. That seems clear RAW ("a creature is unaffected by this spell if it cannot see"), and has nothing to do with being grappled or not.

If the grapplee does not close their eyes and is a creature that generally "relies on" sight, then I would rule that they are affected by MI. The exception in the spell description is for a creature that "relies on senses other than sight" and the specific example given is blindsight. To me, this means that the exception is intended for creatures that routinely use a sense other than sight as their primary (or at least a principal) sensory modality.

If the grapplee were a PC and the player pressed the case that they would surely know where at least a part of the grappler's body was, my first response would be that that is a 'realism' argument that goes beyond the simplification of the situation presented by the rules. And that is fine, but we can't cherry-pick our realism. As I noted, my view is that in general the specifics of the physical contact are changing moment to moment, and so, yes, it might be the case that you can draw a firm bead on the grapplers arm at a particular moment, but it is also possible that the grappler has your weapon arm partly pinned or that the grappler's arm is in a spot that you cannot effectively attack with your weapon. In general, it is more or less a wash, and that is the kind of vagary that the d20 roll covers.

If the player seemed sufficiently unhappy with that, I would offer the following: you may attack the grappler's arm without being affected by MI, but that is a "precision attack", so you have a -5 (at least) penalty to hit, and furthermore if you miss by 5 or more, then you take the damage from your attack. Also, that would go into my book as a possible behavior for NPCs when the situation is reversed.

FWIW, I can imagine a similar discussion around being grappled by an invisible creature obviating the disadvantage on the attack by the grapplee, and I think my approach to that would be analogous.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
As a DM I would go strictly by the description of the spell and rule that the target of the grapple is still under the influence of the spell and thus you as the attacker can make the roll to redirect an attack to one of your duplicates.

I don't care that the attacker and target are in physical contact with each other, the illusion moves the images enough to confuse the target regardless. If the target was to be unaffected by the spell due to contact it would be written in the description the same way other senses, blindness and truesight are.

But of course, other DMs might have other rulings.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
I've been trying to find information on this, but everyone always asks about grappling someone else who is using Mirror Image, or being grappled while using Mirror Image. I want to know how effective it would be to grapple while using Mirror Image.

So you cast Mirror Image, then you Grapple someone. Let's say you manage to shove them prone as well. My thoughts on this are that they would then have disadvantage on attacks against you, and even if they hit, you could potentially direct the attack to one of the images.

One thing I've seen people point out is that if the attacker can perceive with something other than sight, then Mirror Image has no effect, and if you're Grappling, then they are "touching" you, thereby perceiving with something other than sight, but that doesn't make sense to me. A grapple could just be grabbing someone's wrist. The Mirror Image could show four people grabbing your wrist, all moving around confusingly. Only one is actually touching you, but unless you close your eyes, you'd get confused and just start hitting.

The character I've built already has Enlarge/Reduce and Expertise in Athletics. Mirror Image has no concentration, so it can work alongside Enlarge/Reduce. I just might not be able to get War Caster, and I'm looking for ways to avoid being hit after grappling to avoid loosing Concentration.
Ok. Question does mirror image affect an grappled prone opponent?
1. If the opponent is trying to break the grapple DC, opposed roll using, str or athletics or acrobatics vs you roll. No does not apply.
2. If the opponent is trying to melee with you then mirror image applies. Yes does apply.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Ok. Question does mirror image affect an grappled prone opponent?
1. If the opponent is trying to break the grapple DC, opposed roll using, str or athletics or acrobatics vs you roll. No does not apply.
2. If the opponent is trying to melee with you then mirror image applies. Yes does apply.
I like this ruling. If the situation ever comes up and I remember this, its what I'm going to say/use.
 
Ok. Grabbing by the wrist was an example of being grappled, and one that has entirely too much focus put on it.
In fact, since being grappled does not in any way prevent your from taking actions using both hands, we can conclude that grappling necessarily involves grabbing the opponent by any part of the body that is not a wrist/arm.
 

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