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How to Use the Grappled Condition to Your Advantage in D&D

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

DnD Grappled Condition

Are you tired of swinging your sword or casting spells in every combat encounter in your D&D game?

If you're looking for a new way to spice up your battles and gain the upper hand on your enemies, look no further; Enter the grappled condition!

Grappling can be a powerful tool in your D&D arsenal (there are some great use cases on Reddit). Imagine restraining a powerful foe, leaving them at the mercy of your party's attacks, or dragging monsters into environmental traps and hazards like lava or deep pits.

With a little creativity, the grappled condition can be a fun and rewarding addition to your gameplay. Get ready to get up close and personal with your enemies and learn how to use the grappled condition to your advantage!

What is the Grappled Condition in D&D 5e?

In D&D 5e, the grappled condition is one of many conditions that can affect a character during combat. But unlike other conditions that might deal damage or prevent movement, grappling is all about physical restraint. When a character is grappled, they cannot move and have their speed reduced to 0.

But what exactly does it mean to be grappled? In game terms, grappling occurs when one creature successfully uses its action to grapple another creature. This means they've successfully grabbed onto their target and are now holding them in place.

While being grappled by a might seem like a disadvantage, it can also present opportunities for creative combat.

For example, a character can use the grappled condition to control an enemy's movement or limit their ability to attack. It can also be used to set up a powerful combo with other party members. So while it might not be the most glamorous condition, understanding the grappled condition can be a game-changer in your D&D gameplay.

Rules Of Grappling

Before a character can take advantage of the grappled condition, there are specific rules and conditions that must be met.

First and foremost, the target of the grapple must be within the character's reach and no more than one size larger than them. To initiate the grapple, the player must use their Attack Action to make a special melee Attack.

  • To successfully grapple the target, the player must make a Strength (Athletics) check, contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, with the target choosing which ability to use.

  • If the player succeeds, the target becomes grappled and the player can release the target at any time without using an action.

  • The grappled creature can use its action to escape but must succeed on a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check contested by the player's Strength (Athletics) check.

  • When moving a grappled creature, the player can drag or carry them, but their speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than the player.

By understanding these rules, players can use grappling to their advantage and become formidable fighters in close-quarters combat.

How can the Grappled Condition be Advantageous?

DnD Grappled Condition

The grappled condition can also be incredibly advantageous in certain situations.

One of the main benefits of grappling is that it allows you to control an enemy's movement and restrict their actions (if you are the grappler). This can be especially useful against powerful enemies who have high damage output, low mobility, and on certain battlefields. By grappling, you can limit their ability to move and attack, making them more vulnerable to your party's attacks.

Grappling can also be used to set up combos or defend other party members. For example, a character could grapple an enemy and then have another party member use a powerful spell or attack the grappled target. This can be a great way to deal extra damage or quickly remove a tough opponent. Also, take a party with a low-hit point spellcaster (ie: Wizard) and a Barbarian. If the Barbarian successfully grapples an angered Ogre looking to smash the Wizard to pieces with a great club, the character now has a much higher chance of not being harmed.

Grappling can also be creatively used in combat to gain a tactical advantage. For instance, a character could use the grappled condition in a rowdy tavern brawl. By understanding the possibilities of the grappled condition, players can use it to their advantage and become more effective members of their party.

Using the Grappler Feat

One of the most effective ways for players to gain an edge in grappling is by taking the Grappler feat. With this feat, a character gains significant benefits that can help them gain the upper hand in combat.

The feat grants a player advantage on attack rolls against a creature they are grappling, meaning they're more likely to hit and deal damage. Additionally, the Grappler feat allows a player to use their action to try to pin a creature they have grappled with. If they succeed on another grapple check, both the player and the creature are restrained until the grapple ends.

This feat can be especially useful for characters who rely on close-quarters combat or for those who want to control enemies on the battlefield. For example, a fighter who takes the Grappler feat can use their high strength to grapple an enemy and then use their extra attack to deal damage.

Alternatively, a Barbarian could grapple an enemy to limit their mobility and prevent them from escaping. By taking advantage of the Grappler feat, players can become formidable grapplers in combat and gain the upper hand against tough opponents.

Using Grapple Outside of Combat Scenarios

While grappling is most commonly associated with combat, it can also be a valuable tool outside of battle.

For example, a player might use grappling to prevent an enemy from escaping or climbing up difficult terrain. Grappling can be a great way to control the situation and prevent enemies from getting away.

In addition to preventing escape, players can use the grappled condition to creatively overcome obstacles. For instance, a character might grapple onto a flying creature to hitch a ride or hold onto a rope that's being pulled up by another player.

These non-combat uses of grappling can make for interesting and exciting gameplay, and they allow players to think outside the box to overcome challenges. With a little imagination, the grappled condition can be used to accomplish a wide range of tasks and add a new dimension to gameplay.


In conclusion, the grappled condition in D&D can be a powerful tool in your gameplay.

By understanding the rules and conditions of grappling, players can control an enemy's movement, set up combos with other party members, and gain a tactical advantage.

Focusing on a grappling-built character is amplified by taking the Grappler feat. This can provide significant benefits to players, such as advantage on attack rolls against a creature they are grappling with and the ability to pin a creature down to prevent a foe from escaping.

Have you ever made a character with a grappling build (or with the Grappler feat)?

Have you, your DM or your players used a grapple in a creative way to solve a problem?

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