One D&D Grappling

I do understand why they did it, hell I’ve had a pit fiend in my game just tossed around like a rag doll because he doesn’t have athletics prof…but you can solve that in monster design, not by making grappling crappy.
Or just ... Allow fighters to toss pit fiends around like rag dolls.
 

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Stalker0

Legend
I will also note that these rules are more complicated in two ways:

1) easy to forget the free Escape. Passive abilities are easier to forget than active ones, it will be easy to forget this thing you just get at the end of your turn.

2) my players forget save dcs all the time, and now that there will be these unique dc for grappling it will be a thing: “I’m escaping the grapple, um what’s the dc?” I find that doesn’t happen as often with the opposed check, the player usually has their skill list handy because they make skill checks a lot, so they just roll that athletics
 


DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
But then allow swapping out one cantrip for a weapon proficiency. Then unarmed can be one of the proficiencies to swap for.
Totally on board with this.

I would go so far as to say swap a cantrip for proficiency in Simple weapons (including unarmed strikes, which they were in the beginning of 5E...).
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I do. You can't hold me to what other people's opinions are. It's deeply misleading for both of you to call it "good", when it's in fact "the absolute maximum optimization you can apply within the rules".

I'm not holding you to their statements, but their statements match with what I've seen other people refer to when talking about good grapplers. You seem to want to dismiss those aspects of the system and ignore them, and I'm not sure why. Even if it is the "the absolute maximum optimization you can apply within the rules" I'd still argue it isn't good for the game.

As for "perverse", no, I did not call you that, and asserting I did is proving my point. I said that the argument you were presenting was logically perverse. You didn't actually even refute that.

Because you only say it is perverse because you refuse to see that new options have opened up even while old options went away. You insist that new options don't exist, because they aren't the old options.

Meanwhile, I would argue that this version has un-perverted many of the problems with the old system. For example, now Monks can be the best grapplers, which makes sense, and high strength characters are better than high dex characters at maintaining grapples. These are all exactly in-line with what we would expect to see from a grappling system, and these just simply were not the case before.

Sure, I agree.

Because I'm focused on the actual facts. The actual rules. What's on the page.

Whereas you're focused on imagining stuff that this new system might or might not maybe possibly allow. It's possible everything you're imagining will happen, but extremely unlikely. What's a lot more likely, given WotC's history, is literally none of what you're imagining will happen.

But this is the crux of the issue. I want to talk about the actual rules. You want hope there'll be more to them. I very much doubt there will be. 5E has not had a good history in that regard. I did say, much earlier though, that if they added class features and so on, they could fix this! So let's not pretend I didn't. But I'll adjust my opinion when those features appear and not one second before it.

Silvery Barbs and Mind Sliver are actual rules. Monks replacing Dexterity for Strength for Unarmed Strikes is an actual rule.

The only thing I'm "imagining" is that it is likely they will update the Grappler feat. This is speculation, 100%, but since they are overhauling the grappled condition.... it would be utterly moronic for them not to look at the Grappler feat. Now, will it be better? Don't know. But, many of us who have discussed this have all come to the same idea, that Grappler could give disadvantage on the saves.

But so far you have come across as vitriliocally declaring that grappling is ruined... and it isn't? The thing is, in practical terms, the worst case scenario (other than an unarmed strike shove) is that the grapple is broken at the end of the enemies turn, and you re-grapple on your turn. Which is not a major lose of utility, from my understanding of the set-up, and is actually more dynamic than a perma-grapple.

None of which are available to classes which are likely to grapple, so that's misleading.

No more misleading than the spells which were used before.

I'm not saying it should "remain the same". You seem to have missed my responses to others. My position is that, if they change grappling, the baseline ability to grapple needs to be better than what they're offering, given that you now get to escape FOR FREE.

I'm not ambivalent, because I'm looking at the actual rules, and right now, they're bad, real bad. Will they be bad later in the playtest? I dunno. Depends entirely on factors we can't account for, like, will WotC add class features, Feats, spells, etc. to allow grappling to work better for PCs?

Also you keep ignoring the Shove issue.

Shoving is much easier now. That massively advantages monsters, because it still has the size restriction (and monsters tend to be larger), and because it no longer involves Athletics (which monsters often don't have).

Shoving allows a creature to easily break any grapple at a very low cost (one attack) as long as they're not more than one size larger. It trivializes breaking grapples even. I mean, I'd propose the solution is that you can't Shove a creature who is grappling you, but they didn't put that rule in place.

I'm not ignoring it. I've acknowledged it. Repeatedly. But, it isn't a massive advantage to monsters. In fact, shove is a massive NERF to monsters. Oh, sure, it breaks the grapple. However, shove also allows anyone who can land a strength based attack to automatically knock any Large or smaller monster prone, no save, no advantage, no chance to resist. You just have to hit. That's massive

Now, I can agree that shove breaking the grapple is something I'm not a fan of. I wouldn't say it makes it worthless though, because there is a lot of interplay possible with movement and attacks of opportunity.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Monsters in general will have a much much MUCH higher chance of resisting a grapple, so much so it’s night and day. Not to mention legendary resistance options.

I don't see how giving martials like fighters and barbarians a way to burn off legendary resistances is anything except a massive boon. Especially for breaking a grapple that only cost them a single attack to reapply.

The auto escape removes a lot of the benefit of grapple, forcing them to consume actions to escape. Actions are everything, this is a huge change.

But did they ever bother to actually use those actions? This is something no one is responding to. Monsters that have no chance of breaking the grapple because of skills didn't bother trying, they just mauled the grappler.

Grapple is weak now, and I don’t like weak options so I’m a no on this right now. I do understand why they did it, hell I’ve had a pit fiend in my game just tossed around like a rag doll because he doesn’t have athletics prof…but you can solve that in monster design, not by making grappling crappy.

Honestly, that sounds like the Pit Fiend should have been having a field day. Fireball himself, full multi-attack for ~70 damage on a single target. Sure, they could have given him any skill profs, but that wouldn't have made it worth his entire action to escape.
 

Stalker0

Legend
But did they ever bother to actually use those actions? This is something no one is responding to. Monsters that have no chance of breaking the grapple because of skills didn't bother trying, they just mauled the grappler.

Honestly, that sounds like the Pit Fiend should have been having a field day. Fireball himself, full multi-attack for ~70 damage on a single target. Sure, they could have given him any skill profs, but that wouldn't have made it worth his entire action to escape.
Right, except now they just maul the grappler AND get to escape the grapple. So yes....its weaker.

With respect, 70 damage for a high level martial is not really that scary, especially (as in this case) a totem warrior barbarian who takes only 35 damage and laughs. However, Pit fiends don't get to use their fireball and attacks in the same round (unless that changed in the last monster book), so its really only like 56 damage. The barbarian got to do to the pit fiend exactly what he wanted, held up the creature, and focused all the damage on himself, leaving the rest of his party scott free to just wreck the guy.
 


Stalker0

Legend
Note that while a monster gets a free escape on the end of its turn, it still has the option to break the grapple on an attack. It just makes a shove attack, and as long as it hits the grappler gets knocked back 5 feet and the grapple ends. No saving throw required, and now you may be outside the grapplers reach so you can move without an OA.

So in many ways grapple and escaping grapple have moved outside of saves and checks and are now back to attacks and AC. This makes the Precision strike Battlemaster the best grappler most likely....though the barbarian can always have advantage on attack rolls...so they might edge them out, unless the fighter has advantage on his own of course.
 

squibbles

Adventurer
We're probably getting to the limits of this back-and-forth being useful @Chaosmancer , but here's my response.

Okay, but I also pointed out that many people saw Bards and Rogues being the absolute best grapplers in the game as a problem. They don't have the iconic fantasy roll of being the person who manhandles the massive ogre or golem. Yes, expertise allowed you to be a better grappler, but it also wrecked the fantasy unless you had a feat investment. Fixing that is good, IMO. [...]
I don't disagree, but I'm not especially enamored of this fix (absent info about the other rules that interact with it).

[...] And then you get to talking about casting spells, which, fine, but at that point we can instead use the 1st level Silvery Barbs to give disadvantage on the save or have someone spamming mind sliver to give them a -1d4 on the save. What you are talking about is purely the extra optimization, and we have optimization for saving throws. [...]
For sure, which I mentioned in a reply to Ruin Explorer--but though I happily concede the general point, you should also recognize that the spells and features that can mess with the grappling save are relatively weaker and/or more limited than the ones that mess with the contested roll. In aggregate, it is harder to maintain a grapple under the new rules. For example, silvery barbs is for one roll, while enhance ability lasts for an hour.

[...] Sure. However, since it is an attack, you can make an attack of oppotunity that grapples, reduces speed to zero, and grants disadvantage on attacks. The enemy gets to make the save sooner, but there is no cost here. [...]
Ya, that's a cool upside of the new rules.

[...] I don't see a difference in the practical application of actions, because Grapple used to do NOTHING beyond reducing speed and allowing you to drag someone. So it wasn't penalizing the creature to remain grappled and just try to kill you instead of using an action which would be negated when you used your next action to put me back in the same position. [...]
Having a speed of zero can be consequential if the grappled creature wants to flee, wants walk past the frontline and eat the party's wizard, or wants to reach an important interactable lever/button/item/mcguffin.

And forced movement can be a big deal.

In short, there are good reasons for a creature to want to escape a grapple.

I see what you're getting at that, in some circumstances, the function of the two rulesets will shake out in the same way. But, in other circumstances, they will play out quite differently.

[...] Before you never grappled unless there was something to drag the enemy into. Grappling as a stand-alone factor was useless. [...]
Right, useless in some circumstances, decisive in others--it's circumstantial. That's not inherently a bad thing.

---

Again, I'd like to see what else 1D&D does with grappling, and I don't think these rules are all bad. But I also don't think you can convincingly argue against the point that grappling is weaker, based on what we have seen so far, even if you think the new procedures will work better at your table.
 

TheSword

Legend
The bottom line for me is that these rules make grappling significantly weaker than it was before.

Because you need to hit, grappling is no longer a way to bypass a high ac opponent.

Monsters in general will have a much much MUCH higher chance of resisting a grapple, so much so it’s night and day. Not to mention legendary resistance options.

The auto escape removes a lot of the benefit of grapple, forcing them to consume actions to escape. Actions are everything, this is a huge change.


Grapple is weak now, and I don’t like weak options so I’m a no on this right now. I do understand why they did it, hell I’ve had a pit fiend in my game just tossed around like a rag doll because he doesn’t have athletics prof…but you can solve that in monster design, not by making grappling crappy.
It isn’t crappy - it’s appropriate now.

To hit rolls are the essential balancing force of the game. If you’re saying grappling is too poor because a hit roll is needed well then I think you have a bigger problem because every one else is making to hit rolls.

To me being able to easily grapple a pit fiend or troll is a sign grapple rules were already broken.

Now it’s a reasonable difficulty (rather than trivially easy) but at least it does something worthwhile when it works.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Right, except now they just maul the grappler AND get to escape the grapple. So yes....its weaker.

With respect, 70 damage for a high level martial is not really that scary, especially (as in this case) a totem warrior barbarian who takes only 35 damage and laughs. However, Pit fiends don't get to use their fireball and attacks in the same round (unless that changed in the last monster book), so its really only like 56 damage. The barbarian got to do to the pit fiend exactly what he wanted, held up the creature, and focused all the damage on himself, leaving the rest of his party scott free to just wreck the guy.

Fireball was in case they were surrounded by more people, but he could have just lobbed fireballs at the party and ignored the barbarian grappling him.

Also, while the Barbarian might reduce the damage, that Pit Fiend poison is nothing to scoff at. Stuff is incredibly deadly even to high level characters.

Finally, while grappling a monster with four attacks is now weaker, I'm not seeing how "Before he would hit me with four attacks at no penalty" becoming "He hits me once for zero damage and then three more times" isn't an improvement. You made an entire attack disappear.

Addendum, We are incredibly focused on grappling monsters, and no one seems to care how much of a boon to interesting combat this is for Monster's grappling PCs. Again, IME a monster grappled a PC and they basically ignored that because it was a pointless effect, so they were perma-grappled. We keep referring to all of this shoving 5 ft, knocking prone and grabbing people who then break free as a problem, when it sounds far more exciting than "grab him, it is impossible for him to escape, stand in one spot until someone is dead" which we had before.
 

kapars

Explorer
Wow, a topic where this forum is indistinguishable from Reddit for a change. The new grappling rules cannot be optimized to the same extent yes, but the old rules were also silly with what could be achieved. These rules better mirror what I expect to happen if adventurers wrestle large dangerous creatures. Hold them off for a second so that someone else can cast a spell, open a door etc. What story is being told by a character applying the “cheese grater” strategy of dragging characters through spike growth you often see lauded on optimization forums? What does it say about your character story if they feel pointless once this trick doesn’t work as well? I feel some of the emotional response to this is due to players feeling they are losing access to a strategy as powerful as some of the spellcasting but I think that disparity says more about that aspect of the game than this one. I think I’ll go hide outside range of the internet the week that Web, Hypnotic Pattern, Fear, Forcecage and the other DM doesn’t get to play options get nerfed.
 

Baumi

Adventurer
I love the new Grappling Rules.

It's simpler (just an attack), less easy to min-max to the wazzo, it has more effect (disadvantage to attack anyone besides the grappler) and it also ends easier (automatic Save).

Especially the last part was always so frustrating. Players in my Campaigns never used Grappling, except when they specialised in it .. then they went so high that Monsters had nearly no change of escaping. Then they knocked the Monsters down and grappled. This eliminated the Monster, because it gives disadvantage to attacks and all other gain advantage and while it can try to escape this would cost their whole round with litle chance (and they would just get grappled again next round). So forget bringing cool single monsters. For the Players it was equally frustrating because no one likes to not be able to do something and they might even fail for multiple rounds.
 

This exactly.
Old rules felt exploitable and basically forced you to either have acrobatics or athletics to break free of a grapple.

I am not sure if it could not be done a little different, as I don't like the attack vs AC, but it feels more in line now.*

I also think, size bonuses could make it more interesting. If you are smaller, you get advantage on your dexterity check to escape. If you are larger you get advantage on your strength check. Disadvantage for the opposite probably. But I am not sure it is worth the hassle or just bogging down.

I do however think, that for grapple, the restriction that you can't grapple large creatures should fall. Instead it should be a grab and attach yourself to the creature.

*
Probably a static maneuver defense like 8+str or dex+prof bonus?

I sincerely hope, passive perception will be replaced by something like 8+wis+prof bonus (+class bonus?) to bring perception in line too.
Actually I think passive checks should go the way of the dodo, replaced by static defenses.
 

I feel some of the emotional response to this is due to players feeling they are losing access to a strategy as powerful as some of the spellcasting but I think that disparity says more about that aspect of the game than this one.
I mean, that's definitely a component, but casting it as "emotional" is misleading, because it's a real strategy being lost with absolutely no recompense and no clear prospect of recompense. Emotional would only make sense if it wasn't a real strategy. It's reasonable to annoyed that a real strategy is being removed.

5E already has a serious problem where the Full casters get more and more powerful in the LFQW fashion - it's more gentle but by level 7 or so it's becoming increasingly obvious and by 9/10 it's unavoidable. You mentions some good example spells - and yeah, honestly if they're nerfing grapple, they do need to nerf pretty much all of those, and indeed pretty much every CC spell in the game probably needs to looking at seriously, because they were already better than grapple by a ridiculous margin. This isn't a game with clear roles - so casters don't "own" CC - particularly obvious given it's quite possible for a well-designed caster casting the right spells to dominate the social and exploration pillars and be at least as strong as other PCs in combat.
 

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.
Can't you just use an help action to give an enemy disadvantage at no risk of failure?

@ OP

In any case, I dislike that you have to hit AC. When a creature is hard or impossible to hit, you could target another ability and, at least, prevent them from moving towards the more squishy members of the party or move them away from wounded allies. Now your only option in combat is to target AC. It's boring. Less options in combat is a bad change.

I do like the new penalties for being grappled. That's a good change.

Making it an auto-save at the end of the creature's round is a bad change. It should require the monster's action to trigger the save at least or require at least one of their attacks or something.
 


TheSword

Legend
I mean, that's definitely a component, but casting it as "emotional" is misleading, because it's a real strategy being lost with absolutely no recompense and no clear prospect of recompense. Emotional would only make sense if it wasn't a real strategy. It's reasonable to annoyed that a real strategy is being removed.

5E already has a serious problem where the Full casters get more and more powerful in the LFQW fashion - it's more gentle but by level 7 or so it's becoming increasingly obvious and by 9/10 it's unavoidable. You mentions some good example spells - and yeah, honestly if they're nerfing grapple, they do need to nerf pretty much all of those, and indeed pretty much every CC spell in the game probably needs to looking at seriously, because they were already better than grapple by a ridiculous margin. This isn't a game with clear roles - so casters don't "own" CC - particularly obvious given it's quite possible for a well-designed caster casting the right spells to dominate the social and exploration pillars and be at least as strong as other PCs in combat.
They did nerf them for 5e… most SOS spells now allow the user a save at the end of their turn… just like grapple.

They aren’t nerfing grapple, they’re making it more effective short term and less effective long term. That’s not a nerf.
 
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gorice

Adventurer
I really like these changes, but I'm puzzled about the way it's implied (but never stated!) that grapples target AC. Could it be that we'll see something like Lancer, where you have 'evasion' (to-hit number, something like prof bonus + dex bonus) and 'armour' (straight damage reduction of physical damage)?
 

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