One D&D Grappling

Chaosmancer

Legend
I'm still trying to swim upstream and catch up on all the One D&D news, there is a lot, and a lot of general discussion. But I did want to take this chance to start a thread digging into one of the most significant changes to the rules in the set, in my opinion.

Grappling.

So, let's set the pieces on the table. Then I'll discuss some thoughts

Grapples are initiated by an unarmed strike. Unarmed strikes are strength attacks against AC. On a hit you can deal 1+str mod damage, shove an opponent 5 ft or knock them prone (no save), or grapple them (no initial save) as long as the target is at no more than one size larger than you. The grapple DC is 8+str mod+prof.

The Grapplee (I'll call them the target from now on) suffers the grappled condition. The targets speed is 0, that speed cannot change. The Target's attacks have disadvantage against all targets except the Grappler (I'll call them the initiator from now on). The initiator can drag the Target, but suffers the slowed condition while moving, unless the target is tiny or two sizes smaller. The Target gets a strength or dex save at the end of their turn, which can end the grapple. It also ends if something removes them from reach (but not using their speed, which cannot change from 0) or if the Initiator is incapped.

The Slowed condition is also interesting, but rereading the Grapple my big concern is actually addressed, but I'll add it just the same. While slowed your movement if 2 ft of movement per foot you move (basically half speed), attacks against you have advantage, and you have disadvantage on dex saves.



Now, I am already much happier than I was when I started this, because I thought the Initiator was slowed for the entire time the grapple was happening, which had a weird effect of giving the target advantage to hit them. That is not the case, but you do need to worry about attacks of opportunity from third-parties. Attacks which can be unarmed strikes that push you 5 ft, breaking the grapple.

So, thoughts.

The removal of skills from this is a double-edged sword I think. It does feel a little bad that athletics and acrobatics no longer apply. However, before this change much was talked about how the best grapplers were bards and rogues, because of expertise. And Rogues in particular were master grapplers because of Reliable Talent. And their actual strength scores didn't matter very much. Meanwhile, one of the worst grapplers in the game was the Monk, who just couldn't do it. They didn't focus on strength or have any way to boost Athletics. Meanwhile, with these changes, all it takes is a little extra language in Martial Arts to say "when you do an unarmed strike, you can replace strength with your dexterity" and then the save is based on dex for monks, making the unarmed combat expert the best at grappling.

The no save auto-grapple is a change I think I like. The thing is, the monsters could always choose to defend with athletics or acrobatics. Most monsters have either decent strength or decent dexterity, and so the chances of landing the initial grapple aren't very good. Also, with the large monsters having advantage, then you have to deal with even worse chances.

Adding to that, Grapples weren't useful, in my experience. They took an action to break, but no one ever bothered to actually take that action, because all grapple did was reduce your speed to 0. Once players realized that, they simply attacked the monster grappling them, or their neighbor, meanwhile, grappling takes a hand, which makes it difficult to continue fighting. Now, that hasn't changed, you are just going to attack the creature grappling you because you have disadvantage on all the others, but now the grapple is a condition that can end on a save, which means that they don't have to use that action. Because honestly, breaking a grapple with your action, that the enemy just reestablishes the next turn is the same as both of you skipping an action.

So, overall.... I think this is a good set of changes. I can see this being a far more dynamic system now than the previous one.
 

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Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I'm still trying to swim upstream and catch up on all the One D&D news, there is a lot, and a lot of general discussion. But I did want to take this chance to start a thread digging into one of the most significant changes to the rules in the set, in my opinion.

Grappling.

So, let's set the pieces on the table. Then I'll discuss some thoughts

Grapples are initiated by an unarmed strike. Unarmed strikes are strength attacks against AC. On a hit you can deal 1+str mod damage, shove an opponent 5 ft or knock them prone (no save), or grapple them (no initial save) as long as the target is at no more than one size larger than you. The grapple DC is 8+str mod+prof.

The Grapplee (I'll call them the target from now on) suffers the grappled condition. The targets speed is 0, that speed cannot change. The Target's attacks have disadvantage against all targets except the Grappler (I'll call them the initiator from now on). The initiator can drag the Target, but suffers the slowed condition while moving, unless the target is tiny or two sizes smaller. The Target gets a strength or dex save at the end of their turn, which can end the grapple. It also ends if something removes them from reach (but not using their speed, which cannot change from 0) or if the Initiator is incapped.

The Slowed condition is also interesting, but rereading the Grapple my big concern is actually addressed, but I'll add it just the same. While slowed your movement if 2 ft of movement per foot you move (basically half speed), attacks against you have advantage, and you have disadvantage on dex saves.



Now, I am already much happier than I was when I started this, because I thought the Initiator was slowed for the entire time the grapple was happening, which had a weird effect of giving the target advantage to hit them. That is not the case, but you do need to worry about attacks of opportunity from third-parties. Attacks which can be unarmed strikes that push you 5 ft, breaking the grapple.

So, thoughts.

The removal of skills from this is a double-edged sword I think. It does feel a little bad that athletics and acrobatics no longer apply. However, before this change much was talked about how the best grapplers were bards and rogues, because of expertise. And Rogues in particular were master grapplers because of Reliable Talent. And their actual strength scores didn't matter very much. Meanwhile, one of the worst grapplers in the game was the Monk, who just couldn't do it. They didn't focus on strength or have any way to boost Athletics. Meanwhile, with these changes, all it takes is a little extra language in Martial Arts to say "when you do an unarmed strike, you can replace strength with your dexterity" and then the save is based on dex for monks, making the unarmed combat expert the best at grappling.

The no save auto-grapple is a change I think I like. The thing is, the monsters could always choose to defend with athletics or acrobatics. Most monsters have either decent strength or decent dexterity, and so the chances of landing the initial grapple aren't very good. Also, with the large monsters having advantage, then you have to deal with even worse chances.

Adding to that, Grapples weren't useful, in my experience. They took an action to break, but no one ever bothered to actually take that action, because all grapple did was reduce your speed to 0. Once players realized that, they simply attacked the monster grappling them, or their neighbor, meanwhile, grappling takes a hand, which makes it difficult to continue fighting. Now, that hasn't changed, you are just going to attack the creature grappling you because you have disadvantage on all the others, but now the grapple is a condition that can end on a save, which means that they don't have to use that action. Because honestly, breaking a grapple with your action, that the enemy just reestablishes the next turn is the same as both of you skipping an action.

So, overall.... I think this is a good set of changes. I can see this being a far more dynamic system now than the previous one.
I agree completelly.

By the way there's a new One D&D sub-forum for these posts, if you look in the forum list. You may get more discussions there.
 

The automatic save to escape is a bad change. Like really, really, really bad.

It may as well be a neon sign saying "this is not a valid use of an attack."

No. This is just wrong.
Grappling is now something like taunting. You make sure your fellow wizard is not attacked. You are also sure that the enemy will stay fir at least one turn. Before, at least a strength based fighter could shove the grappler away and then move and then use thse second attack to bother the wizard.
I am not sure if I totally like the change yet, but your assessment is a little simplistic.
 

squibbles

Adventurer
[...] The initiator can drag the Target, but suffers the slowed condition while moving, [...]
[...] I am already much happier than I was when I started this, because I thought the Initiator was slowed for the entire time the grapple was happening, which had a weird effect of giving the target advantage to hit them. That is not the case, but you do need to worry about attacks of opportunity from third-parties. [...]
Nice catch; I didn't realize that was the case.

If the target got advantage on attacks against the grappler, I was gonna write off the new grappling rules as a complete disaster--but this interaction makes sense.

[...] The removal of skills from this is a double-edged sword I think. It does feel a little bad that athletics and acrobatics no longer apply. [...]
Ya, from the PC perspective, this seems particularly bad. Monsters tend to have good saves but they almost never have proficiency in athletics or acrobatics. A PC really can't grapple reliably under these rules, since a high attack bonus and a high DC are both harder to get than a high athletics skill.

[...] However, before this change much was talked about how the best grapplers were bards and rogues, because of expertise. And Rogues in particular were master grapplers because of Reliable Talent. And their actual strength scores didn't matter very much. Meanwhile, one of the worst grapplers in the game was the Monk, who just couldn't do it. They didn't focus on strength or have any way to boost Athletics. [...]
This is a good point. The types of PCs that are good at grappling are really weird in 5e.

[...] The no save auto-grapple is a change I think I like. The thing is, the monsters could always choose to defend with athletics or acrobatics. Most monsters have either decent strength or decent dexterity, and so the chances of landing the initial grapple aren't very good. [...]
But it's not a no save auto grapple. Instead of being a contested ability check you initiate with one of your attacks, it's an unarmed strike attack roll--which is likely a fair bit harder for a PC to succeed at. As I stated above, monsters are almost never proficient in athletics or acrobatics; they are almost always using just their str mod, which never goes above +10 and only gets to +10 for the very toughest ones. Lots of monsters, though--even at low levels--have an AC of 18, 19, 20, or above.

[...] Adding to that, Grapples weren't useful, in my experience. They took an action to break, but no one ever bothered to actually take that action, because all grapple did was reduce your speed to 0. Once players realized that, they simply attacked the monster grappling them, or their neighbor, meanwhile, grappling takes a hand, which makes it difficult to continue fighting.
Right, but the point of grappling isn't to just grapple and then sit in the grapple trading hits, it's to grapple, shove prone, and then drag the target someplace bad.

[...] Now, that hasn't changed, you are just going to attack the creature grappling you because you have disadvantage on all the others, but now the grapple is a condition that can end on a save, which means that they don't have to use that action. Because honestly, breaking a grapple with your action, that the enemy just reestablishes the next turn is the same as both of you skipping an action. [...]
This, again, seems to make grapples significantly weaker. There is no tradeoff cost to break out of them, the target just needs to have a good str OR dex save.

The automatic save to escape is a bad change. Like really, really, really bad.

It may as well be a neon sign saying "this is not a valid use of an attack."
No. This is just wrong.
Grappling is now something like taunting. You make sure your fellow wizard is not attacked. You are also sure that the enemy will stay fir at least one turn. Before, at least a strength based fighter could shove the grappler away and then move and then use thse second attack to bother the wizard.
I am not sure if I totally like the change yet, but your assessment is a little simplistic.
Grappling under the new rules will have some uses, but they'll be situational. If you can reasonably expect to hit an enemy with an unarmed strike, if you think it's worthwhile to you to impose disadvantage on that enemy's attacks against creatures other than you for a round, or if you can get a lot from moving the enemy15-ish feet, grappling is worth it.

However, you will never have a grapple DC high enough that enemies will reliably fail their save, whereas you could easily achieve an athletics score high enough that enemies reliably lose the contested role. You basically can't build a grappling PC under the new rules.

Maybe this is intended--and grapples are supposed to be a sometimes-useful trick that warrior types can use when needed, which resembles other save-or-suck spells and features, but that it doesn't make any sense to build a character around.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The automatic save to escape is a bad change. Like really, really, really bad.

It may as well be a neon sign saying "this is not a valid use of an attack."

Why would you say giving disadvantage on attacks against all your allies, or easily preventing all possible damage to your allies, is not a valid use of an attack?

Before it may have taken an action, but the enemy had no penalties on attacks. I've had many players grappled mid-combat, and they just ignored it, because it didn't impact them.
 


Nice catch; I didn't realize that was the case.

If the target got advantage on attacks against the grappler, I was gonna write off the new grappling rules as a complete disaster--but this interaction makes sense.


Ya, from the PC perspective, this seems particularly bad. Monsters tend to have good saves but they almost never have proficiency in athletics or acrobatics. A PC really can't grapple reliably under these rules, since a high attack bonus and a high DC are both harder to get than a high athletics skill.


This is a good point. The types of PCs that are good at grappling are really weird in 5e.


But it's not a no save auto grapple. Instead of being a contested ability check you initiate with one of your attacks, it's an unarmed strike attack roll--which is likely a fair bit harder for a PC to succeed at. As I stated above, monsters are almost never proficient in athletics or acrobatics; they are almost always using just their str mod, which never goes above +10 and only gets to +10 for the very toughest ones. Lots of monsters, though--even at low levels--have an AC of 18, 19, 20, or above.


Right, but the point of grappling isn't to just grapple and then sit in the grapple trading hits, it's to grapple, shove prone, and then drag the target someplace bad.


This, again, seems to make grapples significantly weaker. There is no tradeoff cost to break out of them, the target just needs to have a good str OR dex save.



Grappling under the new rules will have some uses, but they'll be situational. If you can reasonably expect to hit an enemy with an unarmed strike, if you think it's worthwhile to you to impose disadvantage on that enemy's attacks against creatures other than you for a round, or if you can get a lot from moving the enemy15-ish feet, grappling is worth it.

However, you will never have a grapple DC high enough that enemies will reliably fail their save, whereas you could easily achieve an athletics score high enough that enemies reliably lose the contested role. You basically can't build a grappling PC under the new rules.

Maybe this is intended--and grapples are supposed to be a sometimes-useful trick that warrior types can use when needed, which resembles other save-or-suck spells and features, but that it doesn't make any sense to build a character around.
This is similar to my reaction. @Chaosmancer hasn't thought it all the way through.

These are very bad changes if we want PCs to be any good at grappling monsters, or to achieve anything by grappling monsters, they make grapples hilariously easy to get out of, with far less opportunity cost (particularly to monsters - @Chaosmancer seemed to be considering primarily PC grappled by monster, rather than vice-versa - and my experience is that PC grapples monster is far more common in 5E rules).

They also invalidate literally every single way to improve your ability to grapple in 5E, of which there were absolutely tons.

If they intention is to make grapples much weaker, and drastically decrease their utility to PCs whilst only slightly weakening them for monsters, then mission accomplished. I have a feeling that's not the goal, though.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Nice catch; I didn't realize that was the case.

If the target got advantage on attacks against the grappler, I was gonna write off the new grappling rules as a complete disaster--but this interaction makes sense.

Yeah, I was a bit stunned no one was calling this out, as it seemed like a massive problem. Rereading made it a lot better.

Ya, from the PC perspective, this seems particularly bad. Monsters tend to have good saves but they almost never have proficiency in athletics or acrobatics. A PC really can't grapple reliably under these rules, since a high attack bonus and a high DC are both harder to get than a high athletics skill.

I don't follow.

Athletics is strength + prof. Strength attacks are strength + prof. The high save will be strength + prof + 8. Same as every caster if you are a strength based character.

I'm also not sure if saves are more common than skills or not. A quick search gave me about even numbers. It is a potential concern, but I like to think of it in terms of conservation of narrative. There are a lot of spells that are strength saves to break free from a grapple or restrain condition.

I can also see this as being fodder for a grappler feat.

But it's not a no save auto grapple. Instead of being a contested ability check you initiate with one of your attacks, it's an unarmed strike attack roll--which is likely a fair bit harder for a PC to succeed at. As I stated above, monsters are almost never proficient in athletics or acrobatics; they are almost always using just their str mod, which never goes above +10 and only gets to +10 for the very toughest ones. Lots of monsters, though--even at low levels--have an AC of 18, 19, 20, or above.

True, it does need to be a successful attack, but it is also something you decide after the attack hits, if you grapple, shove prone, or deal damage. But, the AC as Save is a good point.

Right, but the point of grappling isn't to just grapple and then sit in the grapple trading hits, it's to grapple, shove prone, and then drag the target someplace bad.

Which never happened, at least not that I ever saw. No one ever shoved prone. That took a full action instead of an attack before. Now, you can actually do all of this by 5th level, all you have to do is land the hits.

This, again, seems to make grapples significantly weaker. There is no tradeoff cost to break out of them, the target just needs to have a good str OR dex save.

But, this also makes it matter for PCs who are grappled. Again, no one ever tried to break out of grapples. So it taking an action didn't matter, because no one bothered to take that action.

Grappling under the new rules will have some uses, but they'll be situational. If you can reasonably expect to hit an enemy with an unarmed strike, if you think it's worthwhile to you to impose disadvantage on that enemy's attacks against creatures other than you for a round, or if you can get a lot from moving the enemy15-ish feet, grappling is worth it.

However, you will never have a grapple DC high enough that enemies will reliably fail their save, whereas you could easily achieve an athletics score high enough that enemies reliably lose the contested role. You basically can't build a grappling PC under the new rules.

Maybe this is intended--and grapples are supposed to be a sometimes-useful trick that warrior types can use when needed, which resembles other save-or-suck spells and features, but that it doesn't make any sense to build a character around.

I think this is setting up for more feats. Tavern Brawler already gives us a hint, by once per turn allowing damage and shove. I'd be willing to bet that the Grappler feat will interact in interesting ways with this condition, allowing for people to build around it.

But also, let's take a low level fighter with athletics. They likely have a +5 athletics. The monster probably has a +3 strength. The d20 roll for the opposed roll matters a LOT more than those modifiers. And I have seen very weak characters avoid grapples from dedicated grapplers, purely through the roll of the dice. I think the opposed roll made it very unreliable, where hitting a static number you are already trying to hit makes it more reliable.

After all, every single thing that increases the chance to land a hit? Invisible, bless, ect ect, now also increases your initial grapple chance. Which gives you at least one round. I'm also curious if they use this for things like the net or the whip, since it is now an "on a hit" effect.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
This is similar to my reaction. @Chaosmancer hasn't thought it all the way through.

These are very bad changes if we want PCs to be any good at grappling monsters, or to achieve anything by grappling monsters, they make grapples hilariously easy to get out of, with far less opportunity cost (particularly to monsters - @Chaosmancer seemed to be considering primarily PC grappled by monster, rather than vice-versa - and my experience is that PC grapples monster is far more common in 5E rules).

They also invalidate literally every single way to improve your ability to grapple in 5E, of which there were absolutely tons.

If they intention is to make grapples much weaker, and drastically decrease their utility to PCs whilst only slightly weakening them for monsters, then mission accomplished. I have a feeling that's not the goal, though.

Are you basing this purely off "save proficiency is more common than skill proficiency"? Or are we looking mainly at the save at the end or the AC to hit?

And I am thinking about this in both PC and monster turns. I've actually rarely if ever seen PCs grapple monsters. They just never bothered because there was nothing they could do with that grapple that was worth the chance. Only time I saw a lot of grappling was when a DM put us against a bunch of werewolves. Since only one character could damage them, we grappled a lot. Alternatively, quite a few monsters have attacks that grapple on hit. Ropers come to mind immediately, but anything with with claws or tentacles or a snake tail tends to have a grapple on hit effect.

And so I saw a lot more monsters grappling players than the other way around, and often that grapple didn't feel impactful beyond not being able to move.

Additionally, While there are ways to improve your skills, I'm not seeing how a high strength character with a strength based saving throw is worse off than any caster using a similar effect. And even if you did find ways to boost your skills, an opposed check was always a risk, since even a low mod could beat you if they rolled well. With this change grapple is nearly guaranteed for a single round. Maybe it isn't guaranteed for multiple rounds, but you can knock prone, grapple, and drag all in a single turn at 5th level fairly trivially I think.
 


Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
Monsters who use grapple already did it just by hitting instead of doing grapple checks, so this just puts PCs on the same level, I guess.

It buffs grappling in some ways, nerfs in others, overall it'll prob be alright most of the time.
 


dave2008

Legend
Monsters who use grapple already did it just by hitting instead of doing grapple checks, so this just puts PCs on the same level, I guess.
Actually all monsters could use the grapple rules, but some monsters could also grapple on a hit. The difference here would be often the monster grapple on a hit also included damage, this does not. Which is as it should be for the base grapple action IMO

Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +17 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d6 + 10) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained. The kraken has ten tentacles, each of which can grapple one target.
 

Reynard

Legend
I am away from a device with access to the document: was there a size relationship limit on grapple. Because if not it is stupidly OP against big multi attacking foes.
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
Actually all monsters could use the grapple rules, but some monsters could also grapple on a hit. The difference here would be often the monster grapple on a hit also included damage, this does not. Which is as it should be for the base grapple action IMO

Tentacle. Melee Weapon Attack: +17 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d6 + 10) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 18). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained. The kraken has ten tentacles, each of which can grapple one target.
Something like a Vampire can grapple on a hit without dealing damage.

I looked it up a while ago, and every monster that inflicts the grappled condition I've looked at just does it on a hit. They could technically try it with the normal grappling rules, but it usually wouldn't be great since grapple especified the attack action, so it wouldn't work with monster Multiattack.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
It strikes me that the main upside of the new Gappled condition is that it reduces the target's speed to 0.

One scenario for this is a familiar one. With two unarmed strike attacks you can knock a target prone and grapple them, preventing them from standing again. Assuming the Prone runs are the same that gives Advantage to every melee attack against them. That can be very handy in the right party, though it's not a universal trick. Being Prone also gives Disadvantage to ranged attacks, after all.

A brand new trick is that it gives your front line bruisers a psudeo-Sentinal. Anyone with a 2H weapon can have a hand free when they're not attacking. That means that instead of using your Opportunity Attack to dish out damage, you can make an unarmed strike to grapple them and prevent them from moving away from you. Yes, you'll have to release the grapple on your turn to use the weapon again. But you'll have accomplished your goal of preventing them from moving away or past you.

Also, remember that we're working on incomplete information here. Are there higher level feats that improve the effects of grappling? Class features or maneuvers? We don't know yet. This is just what the plain universal action allows.
 

kapars

Explorer
The save to escape the grapple happens at the end of the monsters turn. That means if you grapple successfully they cannot move for at least one turn and can attack only you without suffering disadvantage. If they do make the save you still have the opportunity to grapple again in the same spot. I think this makes it a powerful tanking ability.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
One of my players asked while reviewing the new playtest material:

So, did they add a way to go from grappled to restrained?

When I answered "No", he was pretty disappointed.

(Before anyone answers, I know the Grappler feat allows this, but its the only way...).


And yes, allowing grappled targets to escape automatically is a bad move.

The automatic save to escape is a bad change. Like really, really, really bad.
See? We can agree on some things. :)
 

dave2008

Legend
Something like a Vampire can grapple on a hit without dealing damage.

I looked it up a while ago, and every monster that inflicts the grappled condition I've looked at just does it on a hit. They could technically try it with the normal grappling rules, but it usually wouldn't be great since grapple especified the attack action, so it wouldn't work with monster Multiattack.
My point was the grapple rules are general and all monsters and PC can use them.

Yes, there are monsters use only effect on a hit is to grapple, I was not disputing that. Again, that is only a small handful of monsters, it was not a general rule for monsters. That is the point
 

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