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ken-do-nim
2007-01-01, 11:20 PM
The monster grappling rules are some of the poorest and most obscure rules in all of D&D. Since they in fact are needed all the time, I decided to nail them down. I can say that I have finally figured them out thanks to Wizards customer service emails, scouring the Monster Manual, the D&D FAQ, discussions with others in my gaming circle, and last but not least other threads on this forum. So here is how it all works. Instead of bogging you down with dry rules, I'll cut right to the chase and provide what the Monster Manual should have provided, examples.

Section 1: Improved Grab.

1.1 The basic grab. Example: dire bear.
BAB/Grapple: +9/+23
Full Attack: 2 claws +19 (2d4+10) and bite +13 (2d8+5)
SA: improved grab on claw

Round 1: The dire bear takes a full attack. You roll for each claw and then the bite. Then, after the attack sequence is finished, if either claw hit, you do the grapple check(s). The bear has 2 choices. It can either attempt to grab with just that claw, in which case the grapple check goes from +23 to +3, or it can grab with its whole body, keeping the full +23. Note that if the bear hit two separate opponents with each claw, it can either choose to grab one of them at +23 or both at +3. There is no extra damage done at this time if the bear wins the grapple.

Round 2: Let's assume the bear starts the round with a hold, and that it is using its whole body for the grapple. It makes one grapple check at +23 and one at +18 (base attack bonus of +9/+4). Each successful grapple check does claw damage of 2d4+10.

Alternate Round 2a: Instead of trying to grapple to do damage, the bear could choose to make one claw attack against its held victim at +15 (+19 -4), though in most cases it would be crazy to do so.

Alternate Round 2b: As in round 2, but the bear managed to have a hold with just using the claw. Its grapple checks are again made at 20 less for +3 and -2. The damage remains 2d4+10. In addition, it can still attack with its other claw and its bite. These other attacks are made at their full +19 and +13 respectively; they are not penalized at -4, even if the bear attacks its held victim, because the bear itself is not considered grappled.

The rest of the examples will leave out the rarely used taking -20 or attacking with one natural attack at -4 variants for the sake of brevity.

1.2 Grab and rake. Example: dire tiger.
BAB/Grapple: +12/+24
Full Attack: 2 claws +20 (2d4+8) and bite +14 melee (2d6+4)
SA: improved grab on bite, pounce, rake +18 (2d4+4)

Round 1: The big cat charges and pounces. You roll for each claw, the bite, then the 2 rakes. Then, after the attack sequence is finished, if the bite hit, you do the grapple check at +24. Again, no extra damage is done at this time if the grab is successful.

Round 2: Assuming the tiger starts the round with a hold and is using its whole body for the grapple, it makes grapple checks at +24/+19/+14. Each does the bite damage of 2d6+4 if successful. Then the tiger does its 2 rake attacks at +18 each; these do not suffer the usual -4 penalty for attacking in a grapple.

1.3 Claw constrict. Example: Huge Monstrous Scorpion
BAB/Grapple: +7/+21
Full Attack: 2 claws +11 (1d8+6) and sting +6 (2d4+3 plus poison)
SA: improved grab on claw, constrict (1d8+6), poison

Round 1: On a full attack, roll for each claw, then the sting. After completing these attacks, if either claw hit, the scorpion can attempt to grab a clawed foe with a +21 grapple check. This time, if the grab is successful, the victim takes an additional 1d8+6 damage.

Round 2: The scorpion makes grapple checks at +21/+16. Each deals 2d8+12 damage on a success. This is because 1d8+6 is for the improved grab and 1d8+6 is for the constrict.

1.4 Bite constrict. Example: Couatl
BAB/Grapple: +9/+17
Full Attack: Bite +12 (1d3+6 plus poison)
SA: constrict 2d8+6, improved grab, poison, etc.

Round 1: The couatl attacks with its bite. If it hits, it may make a grab with its whole body at +17. If that succeeds, an additional 2d8+6 damage is done.

Round 2: The couatl has its teeth lodged into its foe and its serpentine body wrapped around it. It makes 2 grapple checks at +17/+12 respectively, each doing 1d3+6 plus poison +2d8+6.

1.5 Tail constrict and using weapons: Example: Lillend
BAB/Grapple: +7/+16
Full Attack: Short sword +11/+6 (1d8+5/19-20) and tail slap +6 (2d6+2)
SA: constrict 2d6+5, improved grab, etc.

Round 1: The lillend makes the 2 attacks with her shortsword, then slaps with her tail. If her tail hits she makes a grapple check at +16. If that succeeds, she does 2d6+5 additional damage. Note that with her 10 foot reach, the lillend will get her share of attacks of opportunity. She can choose to make an attack of opportunity with her tail instead of her shortsword in the hopes of getting a grab, but the tail slap still remains at +6 to hit.

Round 2: The lillend makes grapple checks at +16/+11, and on a success these do 4d6+7 damage. Plus, she also gets to make two attacks with her shortsword at her held opponent (or anyone else grappling her) at +7/+2 (the -4 for attacking while grappling is included). The reason she can make these shortsword attacks is because a shortsword is a small-sized weapon. A creature that has weapon attacks and a constrict can use one small-sized weapon in addition to the regular constricting grapples. The same rules apply to the pit fiend and the marilith. They do not mention being able to attack their constricted foes you will notice because neither wields a small-sized weapon. Devious DMs running mariliths would be wise to swap out one of those longswords with a shortsword. See house rule 3.1 for further discussion on lillends and tail constriction.

1.6 The most complicated critter ever (that I've read). The behir.
BAB/Grapple: +9/+25
Full Attack: bite +15 (2d4+12)
Special Attacks: constrict 2d8+8, rake 1d4+4, improved grab, swallow whole, etc.
Feats: power attack, cleave, etc.

Round 1: The behir bites its prey. If it hits, it does 2d4+12 damage, then makes its grab with a +25 grapple check. If successful, without unlatching its jaws the behir wraps its body around the victim and constricts it for 2d8+8 additional damage.

Round 2a: Now the behir has a decision to make. Let's say the behir chooses to continue constricting. It makes two grapple checks at +25/+20, each doing bite damage of 2d4+12 and constrict damage of 2d8+8. Then it makes 6 rakes attacks at +15 to hit for 1d4+4 each. In any subsequent round, the behir can stop trying to constrict and instead try to swallow the victim.

Round 2b: Now let's say the behir wants to try to swallow its prey. It makes a single grapple check at +25 and if successful, the victim is swallowed. Then the behir uses its cleave feat to bite another victim, bringing us back to round 1.

See house rules 3.2 and 3.3 for a discussion of the behir's use of the power attack feat.

Section 2: Regular grapple.

2.1 Huge Earth Elemental
BAB/Grapple: +12/+29
Full Attack: 2 slams +19 (2d10+9)

Round 1: Let's say the elemental is capable of making a full attack in a given situation. It cannot make one slam, then choose to use its second slam as a grapple attempt. A monster must either make its regular attacks or grapple. If the elemental decides to grapple, then the foe gets the standard attack of opportunity against each grapple attempt. Like any other creature, it makes iterative grapples according to its base attack bonus at +29/+24/+19. If any of these are successful, the creature deals non-lethal damage purely according to its size (1d3 for medium, 1d4 for large, 1d6 for huge, etc. plus strength) and establishes a hold. It can also grapple at +25/+20/+15 to do lethal damage.

Round 2: Let's say the elemental successfully established a hold last round. Among the usual grapple options, it can choose to grapple for non-lethal damage again (+29/+24/+19 for 1d6+9 each), or it can choose to make a single slam attack at +15 to hit for 2d10+9 damage.

2.2 Starting a grapple on a creature with improved grab.

If your character decides to grapple say a dire tiger, on its turn it can attempt to claw at +16 (+20 - 4) or bite at +10 (+14 - 4). However, if it goes with the bite and it hits, then its improved grab is automatically successful since your character is already grappling with it. In subsequent rounds it can then do grapple checks to deliver bite damage as above. In any case, the tiger's rake attacks are always available. Your character cannot avoid them by starting the grapple voluntarily.

Section 3: House Rules you might want to consider

3.1 Constricting with the same limb that did the grab
If the same limb is used for the grab and the constrict and it delivers bludgeoning damage (a tail, usually) then you might house rule that the damage does not combine. If you think about, if the lillend's tail (for example) is constricting you, how is it whacking you as well? This leaves the only benefit of constrict for these creatures that on that first round, additional damage is done, plus constrict damage is greater than improved grab damage when the limb is a secondary attack. On the other hand, lillends specifically are a very low-powered summon monster VIII choice as it is, and if you take away the extra tail whack damage from the constrict you may be unbalancing the spell. I personally don't use this house rule, but I admit it makes sense.

3.2 Attack Roll modifiers affecting grapple checks
Those of you who have made grappling builds or whose characters have desperately tried to escape from a hold know that the basic game has no default bonuses to improve grappling other than strength increases. If you take a spell like heroism, it adds to attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks. It certainly sounds like the author of the spell was trying to be thorough and include everything, but according to the FAQ improving attack rolls does not help grapple checks. My rule of thumb is that if a bard can't help you out at all, that's probably not how the original authors meant the rules to work. So I use a house rule whereby bonuses to attack do help grapple checks. Likewise, you can power attack to lower your grapple check but improve the damage.

3.3 Power attack with solitary natural attacks
If a creature such as the behir uses power attack with its solitary natural attack, this house rule has it deal 2 points of damage for every point removed from the attack roll, reflecting the similarity of solitary attacks to two-handed weapons as both deal 1.5 times strength damage.

Well I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions, please post them below.

reorith
2007-01-02, 02:44 AM
ctrl+d thank you for making this less confusing

Thrawn183
2007-01-02, 04:13 PM
This really makes me want to use a behir on my pc's now...

ken-do-nim
2007-01-02, 10:01 PM
This really makes me want to use a behir on my pc's now...

I love 'em too. It took me forever to figure the darn thing out! But the mini is so cool (Giants of Legend) I had to use it.

One thing to keep in mind is that behirs have an excellent climb ability. They make excellent ambushers; reaching down with their long necks and snatching up unsuspecting party members. One thing you might decide is that if they are using their body to hang onto the ceiling, then they can't constrict. No problem though, they'll just go for the swallow and cleave in round 2. Or even better, scamper away with their prey...

erewhon
2007-01-02, 11:58 PM
This thread is awesome. :)

If there is any melee combatant out there who does not have defenses in place against grapples, go to the back of the forum, now. :)

I mean, even something as simple as a spiked gauntlet, so you have some chance of battering through a stomach wall.... :)

Of course, the Ring of Free Action is the "get out of jail free" card. :D

Rigeld2
2007-01-03, 02:32 AM
"A monster must either make its regular attacks or grapple."

I might be blind, but why is that?

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-01-03, 06:49 AM
...
1.6 The most complicated critter ever. The behir.
...

Note that the rules are very unclear as to whether power attacking lowers one's grapple check or not. The DM should make this call before running a behir, and my suggestion is that it does.

Here is the relevant references.



Grapple Checks

Repeatedly in a grapple, you need to make opposed grapple checks against an opponent. A grapple check is like a melee attack roll.


On your action, before making attack rolls for a round, you may choose to subtract a number from all melee attack rolls and add the same number to all melee damage rolls.




When using Combat Expertise or Power Attack, does the penalty you take also apply to opposed attack rolls (such as when you are involved in a disarm or sunder attempt)? What about on grapple checks?


Yes and no. Anything described as an attack roll (even an
opposed attack roll) can be affected by Combat Expertise or Power Attack. A grapple check isnít an attack roll, so you canít use Combat Expertise or Power Attack in conjunction with it.





Can you score a critical hit with a grapple check made to damage your opponent?


No. Despite its similarity, a grapple check is not an attack
roll, and thus canít score a critical hit (nor does it automatically succeed on a natural 20 or fail on a natural 1).


The FAQ makes it clear that a grapple check is not the same as an attack roll.
The reference to a melee attack roll in the description of grapple is only for ease of comparison. "Like" only means that the basics are the same (you roll a d20 and add your BAB + STR), but that for the purpose of spells and effects (using the wide definition of effect as applied by WotC) that modifies attack rolls, a grapple check is not treated as a melee attack roll.

So by the RAW, as clarified by the FAQ, you cannot use Power Attack on a grapple check and any prior use of Power Attack, in the same round you are making a grapple check, does not modify your grapple check.





Also unclear is whether its power attack adds 2 points of damage for every point removed from its attack roll. Its bite attack, being its solitary natural attack, deals 1.5 times strength damage just like a two-handed weapon. Yet nowhere in the power attack feat description does it mention a distinction between natural attacks. I recommend that power attacks in this case do indeed act just like a two-handed weapon attack.

This is not unclear.
Power Attack allows you to add twice the number subtracted from your attack rolls when you are attacking with a non-light weapon two-handed.


If you attack with a two-handed weapon, or with a one-handed weapon wielded in two hands, instead add twice the number subtracted from your attack rolls.

A natural weapon is NOT wielded two-handed whether it adds 1.5 times your STR-modifier to damage.






A monster must either make its regular attacks or grapple.

Is this something Customer Service made up?
Or do you have some other reference?







Section 2: Regular grapple.
...
Like any other creature, it makes iterative grapples according to its base attack bonus at +29/+24/+19. If any of these are successful, the creature deals damage purely according to its size (1d3 for medium, 1d4 for large, 1d6 for huge, etc. plus strength) and establishes a hold.

Round 2: Let's say the elemental successfully established a hold last round. Among the usual grapple options, it can choose to grapple for damage again (+29/+24/+19 for 1d6+9 each), or it can choose to make a single slam attack at +15 to hit for 2d10+9 damage.

(Non-monk) Creatures without Improved Grab deal non-lethal damage (unless they take a -4 penalty on their grapple check) when they choose the "damage your opponent" option in a grapple.

Merlin the Tuna
2007-01-03, 07:29 AM
Is ther Behir really more complicated than the infamous Fleshraker? I mean, the thing can pin on a charge.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-03, 12:50 PM
I've updated the main post to reflect the power attack FAQ rulings and added a house rules section.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-03, 07:24 PM
"A monster must either make its regular attacks or grapple."

I might be blind, but why is that?

So please understand that if all the underpinnings of the main post were clearly outlined in the rules, there would have been no need to write it.

The point I was trying to make is that a creature - or character - when trying to start a grapple cannot mix and match grapple attempts and weapon/natural attacks. Let's assume this rule was not the case, and I'll give a couple examples that show how confusing things get.

Let's say I have a dragon (1 bite, 2 claws, 2 wings, 1 tail slap, 1 crush, 1 tail sweep). Whoah, that's 8 attacks. Can it therefore make 8 grapple attempts, each at its top base attack bonus? Clearly not. If it misses on the bite, can it use a claw to attack at its base attack bonus -5? Or is that only -2 because of multiattack? Does this logic extend all the way out to its tail sweep? Again, clearly not.

Now let's look at a high level two-weapon fighting ranger with 7 attacks, 4 from his main hand and 3 from his off-hand. Can he convert those 7 attacks into grapple attempts? No. Can he mix and match so that the 4 main hand attacks are grapple attempts and the 3 off-hand attacks are normal? I'd say no.

Now let's get back to our earth elemental. It has already used one slam attack. If we allow it to convert the second slam to a grapple, assuming it is at the full bonus of +29, can it then make the two follow-on grapples at +24 and +19? If it does, then it gets more attacks than had it started with a grapple. If it doesn't, I have to ask why not. This is a full attack after all, and you can make grapples up to your full BAB quota.

Rigeld2
2007-01-03, 08:06 PM
Its 100% foolish to say that you suddenly get your top BAB to make a grapple attempt because youre dropping a natural attack for it. Your dragon example would have 6 chances to grapple, (the other two attacks are standard actions, not part of a full atack chain) at the normal attack bonus for that specific attack. He can choose at any time whether to grapple or make a normal attack, or trip, etc.

Grapple is defined as a Miscellaneous Action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#miscellaneousActions see the table). These attack forms substitute for a melee attack, not an action. As melee attacks, they can be used once in an attack or charge (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#charge) action, one or more times in a full attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#fullAttack) action, or even as an attack of opportunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm).

As such, you dont use your BAB quota for determining how many attacks a monster gets, you use the monsters entry. Since the Earth Elemental gets 2 attacks on a Full Attack action, he can grapple twice.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-03, 09:37 PM
Its 100% foolish to say that you suddenly get your top BAB to make a grapple attempt because youre dropping a natural attack for it. Your dragon example would have 6 chances to grapple, (the other two attacks are standard actions, not part of a full atack chain) at the normal attack bonus for that specific attack. He can choose at any time whether to grapple or make a normal attack, or trip, etc.

Grapple is defined as a Miscellaneous Action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#miscellaneousActions see the table). These attack forms substitute for a melee attack, not an action. As melee attacks, they can be used once in an attack or charge (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#charge) action, one or more times in a full attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#fullAttack) action, or even as an attack of opportunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm).

As such, you dont use your BAB quota for determining how many attacks a monster gets, you use the monsters entry. Since the Earth Elemental gets 2 attacks on a Full Attack action, he can grapple twice.

My friend, this doesn't jell with the FAQ:

How many attacks does a creature with multiple
natural weapons get while it’s grappling? How many
grapple checks can it make in a round?
Under normal circumstances, a creature can can attack with
only one of its natural weapons while grappling (and it takes a
–4 penalty on such attacks; PH 156). A grappling dire bear can
attack with either a claw or its bite.
The rake special attack gives the creature “two additional
claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe” (and
which don’t take the normal –4 penalty to such attacks; MM
314).
A creature that chooses to make grapple checks in place of
attacks—that is, to damage its opponent, escape from the
grapple, move, pin its opponent, or use its opponent’s
weapon—is allowed one grapple check for every attack that its
base attack bonus would allow (even if it doesn’t normally
make multiple attacks in this manner). These attacks deal
damage as an unarmed strike made by a creature of that size
(1d3 for Medium, 1d4 for Large, 1d6 for Huge, and so forth,
plus its Strength modifier).
A creature with BAB +0 to +5 may make one grapple
check in place of an attack, BAB +6 to +10 two, BAB +11 to
+15 three, and BAB +16 to +20 four. The dire bear, for
example, may make two grapple checks in place of attacks,
thanks to its base attack bonus of +9: one using its full BAB
and the second using its BAB –5.

So you'd be postulating that you can use all your natural attacks to start a grapple, but once you are in it you've only got one. Everything I've read about grappling shows that it is natural attack independent unless it is done via improved grab. Again, looking at the two-weapon fighting ranger, his grapple checks are done according to BAB. The fact that he has a second weapon is irrelevant.

Edit: btw, grappling rules specifically indicate that two-weapon fighting, like multiple natural attacks, are ignored while grappling, so therefore attacks and grapples are clearly not 100% interchangeable.

Rigeld2
2007-01-03, 09:53 PM
The FAQ doesnt jive with the RAW then.

How many attacks does the TWF ranger have during a Full Attack? 7.
Grapple can be, and I quote, "... used ... one or more times in a full attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#fullAttack) action." Theres no limit in there based on BAB.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-03, 10:34 PM
The FAQ doesnt jive with the RAW then.

How many attacks does the TWF ranger have during a Full Attack? 7.
Grapple can be, and I quote, "... used ... one or more times in a full attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#fullAttack) action." Theres no limit in there based on BAB.

Now you're starting to realize what I was saying about "poorly written rules". :-)

Edit: One last thing I will mention is that the rules system I have described in the main post I believe accurately reflects what the game designers intended, and my own testplay of it has shown it to be balanced. If you start giving two-weapon fighters and monsters with many natural attacks more grapple attacks, I believe you will run into game balance issues.

AtomicKitKat
2007-01-04, 04:41 AM
I could have sworn I read somewhere that a monster gets BAB/5 Grapple checks once in a grapple, even if it doesn't normally get multiple attacks from BAB. Then again, maybe what they meant was that a Dragon using say, its front 2 claws and jaw could make BAB/5 grapple checks per natural weapon, and use each claw/jaw those times. O_o. The rules need solidifying.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-01-04, 04:50 AM
The main problem here is the FAQ interpretation, not the RAW.

The RAW says:


Attack Your Opponent: You can make an attack with an unarmed strike, natural weapon, or light weapon against another character you are grappling. You take a Ė4 penalty on such attacks. You canít attack with two weapons while grappling, even if both are light weapons.

This can either be interpreted as a reference to TWF or taken literally to mean that even if you have 8 claws, 2 bites and a tail slap, you may only use one of these natural attacks in a grapple.

The FAQ choose the last option:


Under normal circumstances, a creature can can attack with only one of its natural weapons while grappling (and it takes a Ė4 penalty on such attacks; PH 156). A grappling dire bear can attack with either a claw or its bite.

The Rules of the Game articles chose the first option:




Attack Your Opponent: You can make an attack with an unarmed strike (javascript:autoGlossaryWindow('Glossary_dnd_unarm edstrike')), natural weapon (javascript:autoGlossaryWindow('Glossary_dnd_natur alweapon')), or light weapon (javascript:autoGlossaryWindow('Glossary_dnd_light weapon')) against another character you are grappling. You take a -4 penalty (javascript:autoGlossaryWindow('Glossary_dnd_penal ty')) on such attacks.

You can't attack with two weapons while grappling, even if both are light weapons. If you have multiple natural weapons, however, you can use all of them while grappling. In many cases, though, you're better off making an opposed grapple check to damage your opponent rather than making an attack with a natural weapon (see the section on damaging your opponent for details).



We would have been a lot better of if the FAQ had adopted the suggestions from the RotG article:




Monsters and Grappling
The rules don't say much about how monsters conduct grappling combat.

It's easiest, however, to allow a monster one grappling attack per natural weapon (javascript:autoGlossaryWindow('Glossary_dnd_natur alweapon')) it has, provided that the natural weapon can hold on to the target in some fashion. The monster uses its listed grapple bonus when attacking with a primary natural weapon (or weapons) and its listed grapple bonus -5 for any secondary natural weapons. If the monster's grapple attack deals damage to a foe, the damage is lethal (javascript:autoGlossaryWindow('Glossary_dnd_letha ldamage')) (unless the monster takes a -4 penalty to deal nonlethal damage (javascript:autoGlossaryWindow('Glossary_dnd_nonle thaldamage'))) and equal to the damage rating for the natural weapon. For example, a troll grappling with a claw has a grapple bonus of +14 and deals 1d6+6 point of damage with the attack.

A slightly more complex method for handling grappling monsters is to allow the monster one grapple attack for every 5 points of base attack bonus it has. If the monster has natural weaponry, it deals lethal damage from one natural attack. The monster can use each natural weapon only once during its turn. If the monster's base attack allows it more grapple attacks than it has natural weapons, it must deal normal unarmed damage for any extra attacks.


But regardless of the approach you choose there is nothing in the RAW or FAQ that prevents you from attacking with some of your natural attacks and trying to initiate grapples with others.

Confusion may arise if you follow the FAQ, but I think it is better to deal with this than to houserule away attack rolls to initiate a grapple if you have made other attacks rolls first.

A simply approach would be to deduct the number of attacks made from the number that would have been allowed according to BAB. If the number is zero or less the creature cannot make any further grapple checks that round.

Matthew
2007-01-04, 05:40 AM
Very interesting Silvanos and well found. Those articles are always handy.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-04, 07:40 AM
It's not just the two-weapon fighting reference in the main grappling rules. Also check out the rules under rake:

Rake

A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks when it grapples (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#grapple) its foe. Normally, a monster can attack with only one of its natural weapons while grappling (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#grappling), but a monster with the rake ability usually gains two additional claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. Rake attacks are not subject to the usual -4 penalty for attacking with a natural weapon (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#naturalWeapons) in a grapple.
A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn grappling to use its rake—it can’t begin a grapple (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#grapple) and rake in the same turn.

So there it specifically says one natural attack can be used in a grapple. Now granted it doesn't say "when starting a grapple", but see my arguments in my last post regarding if you want to go with that inconsistency.

I used to write customer service a lot about grappling. At one point they sent me this big post about "well, there aren't solid rules for this, but here are some options". Some of those options were from the All About Grappling topic. Then the FAQ quote I posted above got written. The All About Grappling article is now officially out of date.

Matthew
2007-01-04, 07:49 AM
And for a minute I thought Wizards were contradicting themselves...

Rigeld2
2007-01-04, 07:59 AM
The FAQ says

A creature that chooses to make grapple checks in place of
attacks—that is, to damage its opponent, escape from the
grapple, move, pin its opponent, or use its opponent’s
weapon—is allowed one grapple check for every attack that its
base attack bonus would allow (even if it doesn’t normally
make multiple attacks in this manner).
That has nothing to do with starting a grapple, which is what I meant. There is nothing, anywhere, that says you cant attack with natural weapons and attempt to grapple. Once youre grappled, you can only attack with one weapon inside the grapple (exception - at least rake), but outside the grapple theres no such limit - I would houserule (since there is no RAW) if youre grappling someone smaller than you, you can use natural weapons to make melee attacks against other foes.

Matthew
2007-01-04, 08:04 AM
Mind, I don't agree with the Improved Grab Attack Routine Interpretation, either. In my opinion, Attacks take place one after the other and if a Grapple is started it interrupts the Attack Routine.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-01-04, 09:13 AM
It's not just the two-weapon fighting reference in the main grappling rules. Also check out the rules under rake:

Rake

A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks when it grapples (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#grapple) its foe. Normally, a monster can attack with only one of its natural weapons while grappling (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#grappling), but a monster with the rake ability usually gains two additional claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. Rake attacks are not subject to the usual -4 penalty for attacking with a natural weapon (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#naturalWeapons) in a grapple.
A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn grappling to use its rakeóit canít begin a grapple (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#grapple) and rake in the same turn.

So there it specifically says one natural attack can be used in a grapple. Now granted it doesn't say "when starting a grapple", but see my arguments in my last post regarding if you want to go with that inconsistency.


There is two issues here, pre-grapple and grapple.

When you are in the grapple you can only attack with one natural weapon. That is what the FAQ says and what the Rake description says.

(Personally I prefer the RotG suggestions for houserules, but thank you for clearing it up)

This does not change what you can do prior to the grapple (see Rigeld2 and my post above).




I used to write customer service a lot about grappling. At one point they sent me this big post about "well, there aren't solid rules for this, but here are some options". Some of those options were from the All About Grappling topic. Then the FAQ quote I posted above got written. The All About Grappling article is now officially out of date.


The RotG articles were never RAW, but that does not mean that we should disregard them completely when we are making houserules anyway.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-04, 09:46 AM
Yeah, sadly for starting a grapple here is the rule:



To start a grapple, you need to grab and hold your target. Starting a grapple requires a successful melee attack roll (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatStatistics.htm#attackRoll). If you get multiple attacks, you can attempt to start a grapple multiple times (at successively lower base attack bonuses).


With regards to what constitutes multiple attacks, be they via two-weapon fighting or natural, it is vague. I believe it refers to gaining multiple attacks via a base attack bonus of 6 or higher. I also want to point out that if you rule the other way you will have game balance issues. Let's say you have a monster with a +25 grapple check. According to my calculations, it will try to start a grapple at +25, then maybe the foe succeeds in their attack of opportunity, then it tries again at +20. If the foe doesn't have combat reflexes, at least he gets to oppose the grapple at 5 less than the first. Now if this monster has perhaps 6 tiny claws aside from its main weapon (that maybe only do 1d4+4), but you give it 6 more chances at +25 or even at +20, and the foe will be grappled for sure.

ken-do-nim
2007-08-23, 11:47 AM
*bump*

Thought this might be good to resurrect for those who haven't seen it, considering how much Wizards is saying that they've fixed grappling for 4E. As another poster said, one way to fix it would simply be to give a detailed example. That's what I've done here.

AtomicKitKat
2007-08-24, 02:35 AM
I'd like to point out something I didn't notice before. If the Lillend uses her tail to start a Grapple via AoO, she should get full BAB for it, assuming she has not used her manufactured weapons for the round. Bard song may or may not help Grappling, but I think it certainly helps you to escape(since you can either use a Strength check or an Escape Artist check. 1 is an ability check and the other a skill check).

Citizen Joe
2007-08-24, 07:48 AM
So, what your saying is that Grapple monsters are banned due to causing the DM's head to explode?

ken-do-nim
2007-08-24, 08:30 AM
I'd like to point out something I didn't notice before. If the Lillend uses her tail to start a Grapple via AoO, she should get full BAB for it, assuming she has not used her manufactured weapons for the round.

I remember asking WOTC support that very question, but they said that the lillend's tail would still attack at BAB -5 even when used as an attack of opportunity. Once a secondary weapon, always a secondary weapon. Of course it would be easy to house rule differently.

AtomicKitKat
2007-08-25, 11:24 PM
I'm pretty sure it's been mentioned somewhere before that if you use only your natural weapons to attack(in this case, the tail), and haven't used your manufactured weapon for the round, it's considered a Primary attack. Anyone more familiar with this wants to speak up?

Alveanerle
2007-08-30, 07:04 AM
Greetings and salutations!

While reading your extensive summary of grapple nuances, i could not help myself but notice some areas that are still a gray field for me. Could you please explain these a bit?
These are the questions, if i may:

- for improved grab grappling - what's the RAW reasoning behind doing grapple checks after the attack routine? Taking an example of a giant octopus, the improved grab part is written as follows:

To use this ability, a giant octopus must hit an opponent of any size with a tentacle attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Doesn't the "it can then... as free action" mean that grapple check goes in just after the attack, disrupting the attack routine?

- what's the reasoning behind constrict attack damage being added to the normal unarmed/natural damage for grapple-to-damage checks in your examples? Taking the aforementioned giant octopus example, it goes as follows:

A giant octopus deals 2d8+6 points of damage with a successful grapple check.

Please note that there is no "in addition to the normal grapple check damage" part there anywhere. So should it be added or should it replace?
And if it gets added then should it be added to each grapple check, including the one to start grapple and other grapple checks or the one to move in grapple?

- how would you describe an attack routine of a giant octopus? 9 natural attacks, improved grab on 8 of those attacks, constrict, BAB +6, Grp +15.

AtomicKitKat
2007-08-31, 02:30 AM
- for improved grab grappling - what's the RAW reasoning behind doing grapple checks after the attack routine? Taking an example of a giant octopus, the improved grab part is written as follows:

Doesn't the "it can then... as free action" mean that grapple check goes in just after the attack, disrupting the attack routine?

It slaps you, and promptly extends the tentacle further, attempting to wrap/wrapping it around your head/leg/arm/whatever.


- what's the reasoning behind constrict attack damage being added to the normal unarmed/natural damage for grapple-to-damage checks in your examples? Taking the aforementioned giant octopus example, it goes as follows:

Please note that there is no "in addition to the normal grapple check damage" part there anywhere. So should it be added or should it replace?
And if it gets added then should it be added to each grapple check, including the one to start grapple and other grapple checks or the one to move in grapple?[quote]

I dunno. I always figured it simply replaced the usual "Unarmed Strike Damage", which would normally be far crappier than the Constrict(which should always be giving 1.5*Str Mod, if I remember right)

[quote]- how would you describe an attack routine of a giant octopus? 9 natural attacks, improved grab on 8 of those attacks, constrict, BAB +6, Grp +15.

Slap, Grab if hit, if Grab fails, Slap, Grab if hit, etc. 8 of those, followed by a bite. If it succeeds on any of the Grab attempts, it must then decide if it wants to concentrate on that one target(and lose Dex to AC vs everyone else), or just "hold" it(and get Constrict, if they fail to escape, but retain its Dex to AC vs everyone. Not sure if the wording also lets it retain Dex to AC vs the grabbee.). Once it's chosen to Grapple, it can either use any one of its Natural Attacks(including Bite), or just plain Constrict. Constrict doesn't happen until the next turn though(and the opponent fails/did not escape, and the Octopus still succeeded on said next turn), I think. Anything other than Constrict that is used to attempt an attack on the grabbee will come under "Using Natural/Light weapons in a grapple" and get a -4(unless it has special powers that specifically say otherwise).

Yes, that means that minotaur can gore/headbutt you while bearhugging. No, it doesn't quite make sense, unless you say that maybe the Minotaur's success on the roll means it hoists you overhead and impales you.

Alveanerle
2007-09-09, 03:45 PM
Why the dire tiger in example 1.2 gets to make its rake attacks on the round it starts grapple, while behir in example 1.6 needs to wait for the next round? Shouldn't behir start with rakes as soon as the grapple starts?

Also, why does Lillend get to attack with both of her weapons? Isn't TWF disallowed in grapple? Also, why she gets to make both constrict checks and normal attack routine? If the attack routine for Lillent holds an assumption that the tail constrict is being done with -20, then the TWF attacks shouldn't be made at -4.

AtomicKitKat
2007-09-10, 11:00 PM
Why the dire tiger in example 1.2 gets to make its rake attacks on the round it starts grapple, while behir in example 1.6 needs to wait for the next round? Shouldn't behir start with rakes as soon as the grapple starts?

Pounce. Lets it attack with everything when charging, including the rakes.


Also, why does Lillend get to attack with both of her weapons? Isn't TWF disallowed in grapple? Also, why she gets to make both constrict checks and normal attack routine? If the attack routine for Lillent holds an assumption that the tail constrict is being done with -20, then the TWF attacks shouldn't be made at -4.

She's not TWFing with the Short Swords. She only has 1, but she makes 2 attacks with it.


A lillend deals 2d6+5 points of damage with a successful grapple check. Constricting uses the entire lower portion of its body, so it cannot take any move actions when constricting, though it can still attack with its sword.

It's still grappling. If it chooses to, it can "hold" the opponent, but that means putting less thought into maintaining grip while at the same time focusing more on its other attacks. Even at -4, it's equal odds to win Grapple against anything Small.

Note that while they say it cannot take "any move actions when constricting", logic would dictate that it can in fact fly(of which taking off requires a move action, IIRC), if the opponent is of a Light Load. While it's "technically" a quadruped(in a similar fashion to a centaur), for Flight purposes, treat as a Biped of the same size and Strength category when calculating "Light Load". For a typical Lillend, it can lift-off with anything up to 266 pounds. If she chooses to drag them along the ground with her arms, for some reason, she can presumably go up to 2000 pounds(5 times maximum).

I think that about covers it?

ken-do-nim
2007-09-20, 10:08 PM
Greetings and salutations!

While reading your extensive summary of grapple nuances, i could not help myself but notice some areas that are still a gray field for me. Could you please explain these a bit?



<rolls up sleeves>



These are the questions, if i may:

- for improved grab grappling - what's the RAW reasoning behind doing grapple checks after the attack routine? Taking an example of a giant octopus, the improved grab part is written as follows:

Doesn't the "it can then... as free action" mean that grapple check goes in just after the attack, disrupting the attack routine?


So there I was, running an encounter with a dire bear. It does claw, claw, bite and if either claw hits, it can grapple. So the first claw hit, and I realized I had a decision to make. If it chose to grapple right away and was successful, it would not get its second claw attack nor its bite, because the rules are quite clear that grappling via improved grab only lets you attack with the body part that started the grapple (and rake attacks in the following round). Therefore this animal intelligence dire bear had a tactical decision to make. It could go for the grapple right away and forfeit its second claw attack, or it could go try to be lucky and hope its second claw hits. I thought how incredibly dumb the rules were if an animal intelligence creature could be asked to make such a tough decision, so I wrote to Wizards. They responded that grapple checks are done after the attack routine. And that really is the only way that makes sense. So the bear just does its thing, claw/claw/bite, and doesn't have to make any decisions. I can tell you the rule isn't written down anywhere in the rule books AFAIK, but it's the only rule that makes sense.

I'll tackle your giant octopus questions later; it's getting late.