D&D 5E The Grappler's Manual (2.0) - Grappling in 5th Edition

Colder

Explorer
Huge fan of your guide! I studied it intensively on the wizards forum before it got closed. It's thanks to your guide my party was able to take down a young green dragon at lvl 3 without a single casualty. Can't wait to see what amazing combinations will show up next. Have you considered using true polymorphs secondary effect? That being that if the duration of an hour passes the transformation becomes permanent. Perhaps one could use this to shapeshift into an adult dragon for keeps and use the natural shapeshift ability of its new form/race to maintain its old class abilities and skills?

It won't work for two reasons. The first is because True Polymorph states "The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the new form." That means that all the target's old statistics (its HP, its class levels, its features, its proficiencies, etc.) are replaced by (not added to) the statistics (AKA the stat block, which includes skills, MM 6-8) of the new form.

The second is because, as Change Shape for Adult Gold Dragon states, "In a new form, the dragon retains its alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, proficiencies, Legendary Resistance, lair actions, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores, as well as this action. Its statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form , except any class features or legendary actions of that form ." So no matter what a dragon may shapechange into, it doesn't gain new proficiencies, since those would have to replace the old proficiencies. That's not to mention that the Strength score is not among the unaffected Ability Scores when you change shape, meaning that if your interpretation's more liberal than mine, you still have to choose between the Adult Gold Dragon's 29 Strength score and proficiency in Athletics with your new form's Strength score.

So, since it's not possible to become a creature with athletics proficiency unless it already has it, the best Athletics score you're ever going to get by using True Polymorph is that of the CR 13 Storm Giant (+14) which can be matched by a level 13 character with 18 STR and expertise in Athletics.

With the holiday season here and more time-off on my horizon, I'm getting back to the editing process! Finished up the level 3 and 4 spells today and will keep working at this as the month goes on. Let me know if there's anything people want added or addressed!

I'd really like to see your thoughts on the new SCAG content, specifically the Path of the Battlerager for Barbarians. It's got all the bits you seem to like for your grappling builds, what with the 1d4 bonus action attack from Battle Rager Armor and the mobility bonus from Battlerager Charge.
 

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DreadPirateJace

First Post
Alright so I'm joining a new campaign tomorrow and I've decided to create a level 1 human barbarian. I've been trying to wrap my brain around something that is said in this guide but I can't work it out. For the shield master feat you said:

"Simply walk up to your target, grapple them, shove them prone (with your shield), and then attack them for damage."

I'm not entirely sure how this can be done.

In order to grapple we need a free hand. As far as I know a hand holding a shield is NOT a free hand. Therefor we must be going into this with a shield in one hand and nothing in the other. So we grapple someone with one hand then shove them with the shield. So now we're holding the target down with one hand and we're still holding the shield in the other. So how exactly can we attack from this point?

Are we using our shield as an improvised weapon (1d4 or 1d4+str if proficient) or am I missing something and it's assumed we're holding a one-handed weapon?
 
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Vileo Sufora

First Post
Alright so I'm joining a new campaign tomorrow and I've decided to create a level 1 human barbarian. I've been trying to wrap my brain around something that is said in this guide but I can't work it out. For the shield master feat you said:

"Simply walk up to your target, grapple them, shove them prone (with your shield), and then attack them for damage."

I'm not entirely sure how this can be done.

In order to grapple we need a free hand. As far as I know a hand holding a shield is NOT a free hand. Therefor we must be going into this with a shield in one hand and nothing in the other. So we grapple someone with one hand then shove them with the shield. So now we're holding the target down with one hand and we're still holding the shield in the other. So how exactly can we attack from this point?

Are we using our shield as an improvised weapon (1d4 or 1d4+str if proficient) or am I missing something and it's assumed we're holding a one-handed weapon?
When you make any sort of attack, the game assumes you've either got the weapon drawn, or are drawing it as a part of the attack. So you can pin the creature with your shield and then start hacking away with a sword/handaxe/what have you.
 

Solandros

First Post
From what I gather from the PHB you wouldn't be able to use a weapon, you need a free hand to grapple though a DM might be nice and decide you can grapple with your shield (This is an exception to the rules if they do! be grateful to DMs that allow out of the box thinking). RAW though, free hand required. Meaning you'd grapple with your hand and either use your shield as an improvised weapon, or make unarmed attacks with your head/knee/leg etc.
 


Vileo Sufora

First Post
From what I gather from the PHB you wouldn't be able to use a weapon, you need a free hand to grapple though a DM might be nice and decide you can grapple with your shield (This is an exception to the rules if they do! be grateful to DMs that allow out of the box thinking). RAW though, free hand required. Meaning you'd grapple with your hand and either use your shield as an improvised weapon, or make unarmed attacks with your head/knee/leg etc.

I feel like as long as you can describe the actions believably, then it's fine. Like since you're shoving the dude with your shield, you could just have you shield pinning him to the ground, then you're golden.
 

Solandros

First Post
It won't work for two reasons. The first is because True Polymorph states "The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the new form." That means that all the target's old statistics (its HP, its class levels, its features, its proficiencies, etc.) are replaced by (not added to) the statistics (AKA the stat block, which includes skills, MM 6-8) of the new form.

Kinda depends on your interpretation of replaced, the way you seem to see it (if I understand correctly) is that everything you have gets tossed aside and replaced with the new form. The interpretation I have is that those specific parts get tossed aside and replaced, meaning the parts that don't specifically get mentioned are left untouched. This would mean stuff like skills (that don't get mentioned in the creatures statblock), class levels, abilities, spells etc are still available.

EDIT:
The reason I see it this way is because of the following part of the True Polymorph spell desc:
"The creature is limited in actions it can perform by the nature of its new form, and it can't speak, cast spells, or take any other action that requires hands or speech unless its new form is capable of such actions."

This seems to suggest the creatures original capabilities (abilities, spells etc) are all left intact as long as the new form allows them to use it. (a wolf cant talk or use somantic components for example)
 
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Colder

Explorer
Kinda depends on your interpretation of replaced, the way you seem to see it (if I understand correctly) is that everything you have gets tossed aside and replaced with the new form. The interpretation I have is that those specific parts get tossed aside and replaced, meaning the parts that don't specifically get mentioned are left untouched. This would mean stuff like skills (that don't get mentioned in the creatures statblock), class levels, abilities, spells etc are still available.

Player's Handbook said:
The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the new form. It retains its alignment and personality.
The target assumes the hit points of its new form...

The only statistics that are specifically mentioned in the spell description are mental ability scores, alignment, and HP, so if the statistics that aren't mentioned are untouched, that means that the only things that change are the target's mental ability scores and HP.
 

Solandros

First Post
The only statistics that are specifically mentioned in the spell description are mental ability scores, alignment, and HP, so if the statistics that aren't mentioned are untouched, that means that the only things that change are the target's mental ability scores and HP.

The only parts that get mentioned in the spell desc that are replaced with the new forms are the ability scores including mental ability scores(int/wis/cha, which normally don't change with similar spells I believe), and hp (alignment gets mentioned but it says the creature retains his original alignment, not that it changes because of the new form) Of course, in addition to this the creature gains whatever physical traits the new form has to offer (size, speed, flying etc). One could argue that the polymorphed target wouldn't get access to the supernatural abilities of a form like a breath attack or poison because it's not specifically mentioned though I think that'd take a lot of fun out of the spell.

Though, looking at the draconomicon from v3/v3.5 it's mentioned that the breath attack originates from an organ of the dragon, as such it could be argued it's part of the 'form'. The new Erata actually goes into this matter a bit by mentioning that changing your shape into that of a legendary creature does not provide you with legendary actions, this would seem to imply that other abilities of a new form are actually available to a PC while in that form
 

Colder

Explorer
Of course, in addition to this the creature gains whatever physical traits the new form has to offer (size, speed, flying etc).

I don't see where it says that. Unless those are the game statistics that are replacing the target's. If you're just adding new speeds, saving throws, skills, vulnerabilities, resistances, immunities, senses, languages, special traits, actions, reactions, and limited usage abilities that the target doesn't have to their game statistics, those game statistics aren't being replaced. They're being added to. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.
 

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