One PC Grappling multiple creatures

In my campaign i’m playing a Barbarian that I’ve focused on grappling and pulling enemies around the battlefield. I’m unsure whether I can grapple multiple enemies at once(one in each hand for example) and if I can, can i force drag both at the same time(is it still half speed or quarter). I’ve found multiple sources contradicting whether it does or doesn’t work. This is for a 5e campaign.

Grappling strike fighter power with brawler style – attack roll bonus

I (the DM) have a player with a level 11 fighter (brawler style). She uses the power "Grappling strike" (Martial Power 2 p7) with a bastard sword (+2), and we disagree on bonuses to attack roll.

The power states:

Hit: 1 [W] + Strength modifier damage, and you grab the target. The grab ends automatically at the end of your next turn.

And the brawler style (Martial Power 2 p6 with errata) states:

In addition, you gain a +2 enhancement bonus to the attack rolls of unarmed attacks and a +2 bonus to the attack rolls of grab attacks and attacks to move a creature you’re grabbing. These bonuses increase to +4 at 11th level and +6 at 21st level

She thinks the attack roll should have the brawler style bonus (+4 at level 11). But I think that bonus should not be counted, as it is for grab attack only, and grappling strike is an attack with just a grab effect/consequence.

I think the brawler style applies only to the grab action, describe in PHB 1, p290.

As English is not our native language, we may misunderstood this bonus.

A +4 bonus at level 11 seems a little overpowered for an at-will power, it can change:

1d20 + 17 (5 half level, 5 str, 3 proficiency, 2 alteration, 2 feat)

to:

1d20 + 21

A standard monster has 25 AC (DMG 1, p184): she will hit on 4+!

Can you please tell us which understanding is right ?

Giant Toad Grappling Options

Suppose a druid wild shapes into a giant toad. The manual states

…The toad makes a bite attack against a medium or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed, and the grapple ends. The swallowed target is …

Can the druid bite the grappled target again and not swallow the target? Would the toad have to release the target before biting again? And if so, are there any advantages/disadvantages for the target or toad?

Is a grappling character considered to be distracted for the purposes of an attack by a second opponent?

If a character is grappling a struggling opponent, and a second opponent attacks the character, would the DM rule that the distraction of dealing with the grappled opponent causes opponent number 2 to have Advantage on its attack?

I suppose it might depend on the nature of the Grapple. Merely grabbing an opponent by the wrist to impede his slingshot might leave you alert and ready to parry or dodge, but a more violent tussle, involving a grab with both arms would, I presume, leave you wide open for a whack from behind and thus at a Disadvantage versus a second opponent.

Even if you have followed up with a move to leave your grappled opponent Prone, I imagine that you are now kneeling, crouching or otherwise distorting your fighting stance in such a way (at least I cannot imagine that grappling a prone opponent can be done standing up) as to give a second opponent the Advantage.

I don’t see anything in the Rules (I have Essentials Kit Rulebook) covering this.

What problems may arise from my house rules on grappling and restraining?


Introduction

I am dissatisfied with the rules for grappling in 5e. Well, it’s more that I’m dissatisfied with the fact that there’s no way to restrain someone in 5e via grappling.

The rules, as they are (if I imagine two humans having a fight) are better to describe someone grabbing someone’s arm, or by the scruff of the neck, which may prevent them from moving (unless they “break the grapple”), but otherwise doesn’t prevent them from doing anything else, because the Grappled condition simply reduces the grappled creature’s speed to 0.

If that is the player’s intent, then those rules work fine; you use an attack (not Action, just a single attack) to try to grab someone, with a contested check. If you win, now they can’t run away. That’s fine.

Problem

However, what about if someone wants to restrain someone? I can imagine it would be easy enough to grab around someone such that their arms are pinned to their body, making them effectively Restrained. However, RAW, there is no way the average PC can do this; they need to have taken the Grappler feat, and even then, it takes two attacks to do so (so unless you have Extra Attack or Action Surge, it takes two turns to actually restrain someone).

Since I don’t like these rules, I’ve tried to come up with something to make restraining a target more appealing, especially for new players for whom trying something like this might seem intuitive, but then the RULES get in their way. The amount of times I’ve seen a new player try to grapple the enemy, thinking it’ll actually do something, only to find that in practice it did nothing and the creature just attacked them anyway without penalty…

Proposal

Anyway, my proposed house rules are that, on top of the existing rules for grappling, you can also:

  • spend your Action (not an attack, your full action) to attempt to Restrain a creature.
  • Not just any creature, only a humanoid creature, or a creature that is roughly humanoid (like, say, a zombie, which is “undead”, but a normal person attempted to restrain one would still intuitively understand how to do it).
  • Both creatures are then restrained, as per the Grappler feat, but this is something anyone can do.

The reason for the restriction on humanoid (or humanoid-like) is because I, personally, could give restraining another human a pretty good go, but I wouldn’t know how to go about restraining a dog (note: I do not own dogs, so maybe dog owners would know how to), let alone a Basilisk or a Spectator or something that one might encounter in the D&D universe.

Grappler feat

Of course, this seriously nerfs the Grappler feat, so I’ve adjusted that too.

  • Firstly, it should lift the restriction above; a “trained grappler” should know how to grapple a dog, Basalisk, Spectator, or whatever else can be grappled RAW.
  • Secondly, they can restrain someone with an attack, not action, which is also an improvement on the RAW Grappler feat, which takes two attacks (potentially two turns, although most likely a character that would take the Grappler feat is also one who is likely to have Extra Attack past level 5).
  • I was also considering adding “able to grapple (just a normal grapple) as a bonus action”, possibly instead of the previous point (so you can restrain using your bonus action and one “attack”), but I was wary of treading on the toes of the Tavern Brawler feat, so I’m not sure…

Question

Given my proposed house rules, I hope that it:

  1. gives an option to players (I mostly have new players in mind who don’t know obscure rules like how grappling works) to be able to sacrifice their turn to restrain someone,
  2. for it to be balanced rather than a “strictly superior choice”, and
  3. to still have the Grappler feat be a worthwhile investment for a “grapple build”, such that it’s not a “must-have” that out-muscles any other feat, but also not that it’s basically useless with my new “Restrain as an Action” house rules.

Are there problems with my proposal that I’m overlooking that will make my new “Restrain” Action massively overpowered, or my revised Grappler feat massively over- or under-powered? I just want a sanity check on what I’ve come up with before it “goes live” in my games.

Shouldn’t a net (or grappling) attack ignore armour / armor?

I look at grappling and net attacks and I’ve tried them extensively in game both as a player and as a DM. I wouldn’t want to unbalance the game but it’s not clear to me that in reality it would be any harder to grapple a night in plate armour with a net than it would were he unarmored.

Also the net is really completely useless as it stands. I’ve tried it for the monsters, my players have tried it as players. I’ve tried it as a player. It’s just a waste of everyone’s time… at best it causes a player to lose an action… and when you’re trying it on the tank then invariably it misses anyway with no chance of even doing damage. If you want to make a dent in the party it’s much more effective just whittling away at their hit points.

In my view it would be better (and make a lot more sense) if it ignored armour. Only DX mod should count against such attacks. I’d go further and say that the same argument could be made for any type of grappling.

Now I understand that RAW does not make this allowance but my question is – should it? Maybe this is something that should be changed. And I also understand that I’m probably going to get shut down because I’m asking for opinion, not rules interpretation… but I want to socialise this idea in some way and can’t think of a better platform.

There are many benefits to it. If grappling is effective then it will be used… which means less death in the campaign, which can lead to more Role Play.

What balance problems arise by allowing grappling as an option for an Opportunity Attack?

In our last session (with me as the DM), a creature was surrounded by the party and was trying to flee. She cast Levitate on herself to try to float up and get away. As she was going up and thereby out of reach of several party members, they each got an Opportunity Attack against her. Several of them wanted to use this opportunity attack to try to grapple, holding on to her to keep her from getting away, rather than a more traditional melee attack. I wasn’t sure whether this was an allowed way to take an Opportunity Attack, but the scene of her floating up with one of the player characters grabbing onto her legs as she went up was pretty neat, and I figured via Rule of Cool that I should just allow it. And it did lead to a really fun encounter, with the character dangling off the legs of this creature in midair trying to slap some manacles on her to prevent further spellcasting.

Now, after the session, I figured I’d look up the actual rules, and sure enough by the book Opportunity Attacks only allow for a melee attack, not a grapple. So I guess my question is, what issues might I encounter if I maintain this precedent of allowing a more generous set of actions as Opportunity Attacks? It sure seems that trying to tackle or trip somebody as they run past you could make for some fun scenes, and it feels more “realistic” in some sense than only allowing for a melee attack.

I’m a relatively novice DM, and am thus hesitant to go very far outside of the standard rules.

If I just allow for this — substitute in a Grapple for a melee attack during an Opportunity Attack — will this create balance problems?

How does Freedom of Movement interact with the “Move” action while grappling?

The question requires a two-part answer:

  1. Does a character affected by Freedom of Movement need to make a successful grapple check to use the Move action, or would success be automatic?
  2. If successfully using the Move action, is a character affected by freedom of movement able to move the grapple by its full movement speed or only half?

Move
You can move half your speed (bringing all others engaged in the grapple with you) by winning an opposed grapple check. This requires a standard action, and you must beat all the other individual check results to move the grapple.

Note: You get a +4 bonus on your grapple check to move a pinned opponent, but only if no one else is involved in the grapple.

The main issue to consider is how the Freedom of Movement effect works on the other characters in the grapple. Is the only bonus granted in a grapple the ability to simply leave the grapple whenever desired, or does it work more like encumbrance reduction and allow the character to move at full speed (dragging others along) when it would otherwise be unable to do so?