Many players have difficulty understanding the rules for grappling in DnD 5e. The basic rules are available in the 5e Players Handbook, SRD and Basic Rules. Let’s take a look at how grappling works.
Grappling is a special type of attack action. That said, it works differently than a regular attack action. In a regular attack action, the attack is rolled against the target’s Armor Class (AC). A grapple attack is “contested”. This means that the target of the attack also gets to roll. In this case, the attacker makes a Strength or Athletics check. The target makes tries to prevent themselves from being grabbed. They resist using a Strength or Dexterity (Athletics or Acrobatics check. If the attacker rolls higher, they succeed, and the target is grappled. If the target succeeds, they escape the attempted grappling.
A grappled target suffers from the grappled condition. This reduces their movement speed to zero and prevents them from gaining any bonus movement. The creature doing the grappling can move the target at half speed, unless the target is 2 or more size categories smaller than the grappler. They can escape by making a contested check like the one above, if the creature grappling them is becomes unconscious, or if forced movement would take them out of the attacker’s reach.
The Grappler Feat
The grappler feat opens up new options for a PC. When they have a creature grappled, they have advantage on attack rolls against it. They also have the option of trying to restrain the grappled creature. This is done by making another grapple check like the one above. On a success, the creature is restrained. Now the traget of the grapple is granting advantage to all attackers on top of the penalties imposed by the grapple. It also has disadvantage on its attacks, and on Dexterity saving throws.
How Useable is Grappling in DnD?
At first look, it seems as though it would be hard to get a creature restrained. After all, the player used their action to get the creature grappled, so their turn is pretty much done right? It’s important to remember that most martial classes get extra attacks. With a little luck on the contested rolls a PC with the grappler feat can easily get a creature grappled and restrained in one turn. With action surge, they can even get a couple regular attacks in during the same turn.
Now that you understand the rules for grappling in DnD, maybe find some nice monsters for your players to grapple?