View Full Version : The unending question of grappling in battle.. Could use some input

10-09-2012, 09:00 AM
Hello all,
I've started DM'ing a group using 3.5 rules / guidelines which I am somewhat new to. I'm learning and do like the system but seems to leave some grey areas. So, I would like to make sure that I / we the group were following the rules of grappling since it does seem to come into play much more of late. Here is a short version on two of the battles that I wasn't sure on even after reading up on grapple in the PH1 and DMG. Maybe I'm just missing the boat and you all can catch me up.

A fighter was surrounded by kobolds and 2 dire weasel's.. yeah.. not a good situation. Anyhow, the dire weasel had latched on with the Attach (Ex) feat and the Dire weasel won the opposed after one round and perform the Blood Drain 1d4 Constitution dmg per round that the weasel is attached. So, I have two questions for this battle. #1 - While attached does the Dire weasel also cause damage in addition to the Blood drain? #2 - The other Dire Weasel and kobolds still surrounding the fighter do they attack w/o chance of hitting the attached Dire weasels.. how would that go? and the other dire weasel, could it attack and also Attach(Ex) and Blood drain. I'm sure I may have went real easy on the the fighter cause I wasn't sure so the whole time the Dire weasel was Attached I didnt have the others attacking because of chance of hitting the dire weasel. Just wasn't sure on the rules with this so if I was wrong.. we chalk it up to gift for the gods.. lol

Same game session different battle. The party is now fighting Ankheg's which have Improved Grapple (Ex)
The Druid ended up getting bit and and grappled due to losing the opposed check. And stayed there for two rounds. My question on this part is while in the mandibles of the Ankheg does the PC take damage and how much? I wasn't sure after reading the grapple rules because it seem to be explaining two humanoids fighting.

And I guess one more question..
When the druids was attacked she was casting a spell which she had to roll a concentration check vs DC + damage. But because of being grappled after the bite does she roll another concentration because of the struggle (opposed check) to dismiss the grapple.

So, thank you in advance and I'm looking forward to the advice.

10-09-2012, 07:04 PM
Grappling rules (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#grapple).

Cast a Spell

You can attempt to cast a spell while grappling or even while pinned (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#pinned) (see below), provided its casting time is no more than 1 standard action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#standardActions), it has no somatic component, and you have in hand any material components or focuses you might need. Any spell that requires precise and careful action is impossible to cast while grappling or being pinned. If the spell is one that you can cast while grappling, you must make a Concentration (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/concentration.htm) check (DC 20 + spell level) or lose the spell. You donít have to make a successful grapple check to cast the spell.

Retrieve a Spell Component

You can produce a spell component from your pouch while grappling by using a full-round action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#fullRoundActions). Doing so does not require a successful grapple check.

so yes, you can attempt to cast while grappled. you may have to spend a full round action retrieving material components, and it can't have a somatic component, but yes.

Attach (Ex (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#extraordinaryAbilities))

A dire weasel that hits with its bite attack latches onto the opponentís body with its powerful jaws. An attached dire weasel loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and thus has an AC of 12. An attached dire weasel can be struck with a weapon or grappled (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#grapple) itself. To remove an attached dire weasel through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the creature.

an attached weasel is not considered to be grappling, as odd as that may sound. grappling can be used to detach it, but you have to successfully pin it to do so. unless the weasel has another means of attacking not listed in the generic stat block in the monster manual (ie: something special that you as dm are adding) it cannot attack and do other damage while it is attached. if it lets go, then it can attack again. if not, it does the con damage once per round.

anyone else attacking either the attached weasel or fighter would use the rules for attacking someone in melee combat, with the associated penalties.

the other weasel could attach and drain if it wanted to.

not listed or mentioned in the monster manual entry, but an attached weasel becomes encumbrance if the fighter tries to move around. it weighs around 700 lbs after all. realistically, he might not be able to move at all.

note that if the weasel decided to grapple and won, then it could do damage via a grapple check (but not with the bite attack) even if it was attached.

Attack Your Opponent

You can make an attack with an unarmed strike (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#unarmedStrike), natural weapon (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#naturalWeapons), or light weapon against another character you are grappling. You take a -4 penalty on such attacks.
You canít attack with two weapons while grappling, even if both are light weapons.

Damage Your Opponent

While grappling, you can deal damage to your opponent equivalent to an unarmed strike (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm#unarmedStrike). Make an opposed grapple check in place of an attack. If you win, you deal nonlethal damage (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/injuryandDeath.htm#nonlethalDamage) as normal for your unarmed strike (1d3 points for Medium attackers or 1d2 points for Small attackers, plus Strength modifiers). If you want to deal lethal damage, you take a -4 penalty on your grapple check.
Exception: Monks (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/monk.htm) deal more damage on an unarmed strike than other characters, and the damage is lethal. However, they can choose to deal their damage as nonlethal damage (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/injuryandDeath.htm#nonlethalDamage) when grappling without taking the usual -4 penalty for changing lethal damage to nonlethal damage.

you can use a natural weapon in a grapple. this means that if a creature is grappling, then it can bite or claw for it's damage component. also, note that you get the -4? this is assumed that you are doing lethal damage, as mentioned in the other entry for damaging an opponent by using a grapple check instead of a weapon.

so basically, you have four options to attack during a grapple. 1) unarmed strike at -4 (which will be non-lethal unless you are a monk or using a gauntlet). 2) natural weapon at -4 for lethal. 3) light weapon at -4 for lethal. 4) deal damage via grapple check at no penalty. the damage is the same as that for a normal unarmed strike. if the creature is large, you will need to figure out what the unarmed damage would be. (the weapon size table: larger and smaller weapon damage (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/weapons.htm), will tell you the exact amount.)

10-09-2012, 08:13 PM
Thank you for the response. I made an error about the Ankheg's in the previous post. Not Improved Grapple but improved Grab. So, probably the same but when the Ankheg bites and gets the Improved Grab off.. after the grapple check next round.. and the Ankheg won the grapple.. does it continue to do damage as it did when it bit the first time?

10-09-2012, 08:45 PM
since it does not have a weapon or (technically) an unarmed attack, i will ignore those two options. the ankeg has two remaining options for damaging.

option one: do non-lethal damage with a grapple check. an animal or insect might do this if it wants to save the meal for later or wants the prey alive for some reason.

option two: use natural weapon option at -4 to hit, and do bite damage. an animal or insect might do this if doesn't care if the prey dies, or wants the prey to die.

conclusion: yes, it is going to do more damage each round, unless it is trying to move the whole grapple which would probably take up the action for the round? (ie: the retreat option outlined in the monster description, you'd have to check about the actions involved). you as dm can decide which type of damage is more appropriate and the motivations of the ankheg.