Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Question

When the grappler attempts to maintain the grapple (PH 156), how much movement can the grappler take to move into the target's space?

Comments say this issue apparently goes unaddressed in D&D 3.5's various discussions about grappling. (Seriously, I couldn't find anything either; that's why I asked.) If a by-the-book answer doesn't exist, here's an alternative.

If the rules are silent on this, what is a good house rule for movement the grappler can take to move into the target's space when the grappler attempts to maintain the grapple (PH 156)?


Background

Last night the thief ("A rogue is just a pretentious thief") was attacked by an advanced giant cockroach (Und 87-8), whose space is 10 ft. x 10 ft. and whose reach is 5 ft. Adjacent to the giant cockroach is an unfriendly advanced ripper (Ci 131-2). The map looked like this:

----------
----CC----     All 4 Cs = 1 giant cockroach
----CCR---     R is the unfriendly ripper
------T---     T is the thief
----------

The giant cockroach started a grapple versus the thief. She'd exhausted her attacks of opportunity. The giant cockroach succeeded with its touch attack to grab her. The giant cockroach won the opposed grapple check, inflicting its unarmed strike damage (which was a small die as the giant cockroach lacked monk levels but a large bonus as giant cockroaches have impressive Strength scores--who knew?). Then it was time for the giant cockroach to maintain the grapple.

Starting a Grapple under the heading Step 4: Maintain Grapple (PH 156) reads

To maintain the grapple for later rounds, you must move into the target’s space. (This movement is free and doesn’t count as part of your movement in the round.) Moving, as normal, provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents, but not from your target.

If you can’t move into your target’s space, you can’t maintain the grapple and must immediately let go of the target. To grapple again, you must begin at Step 1.

The Special Movement Rules under the heading Accidentally Ending Movement in an Illegal Space (PH 148-9) reads

Sometimes a character ends its movement while moving through a space where it’s not allowed to stop. When that happens, put your miniature in the last legal position you occupied, or the closest legal position, if there’s a legal position that’s closer.

The Moving through a Square rules under the heading Ending Your Movement reads, "You can't end your movement in the same square as another creature unless its helpless" (PH 148)"

I know that the movement from Maintain a Grapple is an exception to the Ending Your Movement rule. That's not a thing. What is a thing is the giant cockroach's shortest route to maintain the grapple meant occupying the same square as the ripper, and that isn't legal.

----------
----------     Both Cs = 1 giant cockroach
-----CR---     R is the unfriendly ripper AND part of the giant cockroach
-----CT---     T is the thief AND part of the the giant cockroach
----------

Movement is movement, even if it's free, and while square occupation is largely waived for the grappler and the target, it isn't waived for any other creatures. At the table, I ruled that the giant cockroach was forced back to its last legal position, but I want to make sure. Could the cockroach have taken a different route--perhaps even all the way around the battlefield or even the world (perhaps provoking attacks of opportunity along the way)--to get in a position to maintain the grapple instead of taking the shortest route?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

First of all, passing near to the ripper shouldn't be an issue, even if the ripper was adversary to the cockroach and there was no space to otherwise walk around the ripper. The cockroach can use the rules for squeezing and maybe it can even squeeze while grappling (with the usual penalties for squeezing).

----------
----------     C = 1 giant squeezed cockroach
------R---     R is the unfriendly ripper
-----CT---     T is the thief AND part of the the giant squeezed cockroach
----------

Since your second graph shows a character ending a movement in a square where it can't stop, I'd choose the closest legal position (nobody said it must be a position the cockroach passed through while moving):

----------
----------     All 3 Cs = 1 giant cockroach
------R---     R is the unfriendly ripper
-----CT---     T is the thief AND part of the the giant cockroach
-----CC---
share|improve this answer

Yes, Take a Different Route

Nothing in the grapple rules says it has to move by the shortest route. It says:

To maintain the grapple for later rounds, you must move into the target’s space. (This movement is free and doesn’t count as part of your movement in the round.) Moving, as normal, provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents, but not from your target.

If you can’t move into your target’s space, you can’t maintain the grapple and must immediately let go of the target. To grapple again, you must begin at Step 1.

If the Roach has 10 feet of movement (see the note below), there's no reason why it can't move two squares, go around the Ripper, and do entirely legal movement to end up in the Rogue's square. It will provoke an op from the Ripper by doing that, of course. It'd look like this:

----------
----------     All 4 Cs = 1 giant cockroach
----CCR---     R is the unfriendly ripper
----CCT---     T is the thief
----------

----------
----------     All 3 Cs = 1 giant cockroach
------R---     R is the unfriendly ripper
-----CT---     T is the thief and the Cockroach's 4th square
-----CC---

*Note: If you interpret the grapple rules "move" option to also apply in this situation, it would require 20 feet of movement as the Cockroach can only move at half speed. However since the maintaining rules say that this movement is free and doesn't count as part of your movement for the round (whereas that move option is a standard action and also moves your opponent in the grapple), I'm not sure if it does or not. As you're not moving your opponent with you, I wouldn't apply it in my own game. I don't know of any ruling on how that should work, however.

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.

What About Crossing The World?

No. The Grapple rules say that movement doesn't count as the creatures movement for the round. They don't say anything about it being different than the creature's normal movement speed. If the Roach didn't have enough movement to get there, then it can't make the move and (as per the rule we both quoted) ends the grapple.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.