I can't quite find in the PHB or DMG how to slap manacles onto someone during combat. PHB 152 describes how to break out of mundane manacles, while DMG 165 shows how Dimensional Shackles work (they are essentially magic manacles -- use 1 action to bind an Incapacitated target).

Is there an official rule on how to use manacles in combat, or do we have to use house rules?


2 Answers 2


I can't find anything in the books (i.e. official) so I'm going to assume that the rules for manacles are similar to those for tools: The DM determines circumstantial action economy and relevant ability scores every time you use the manacles. Unofficially, I would rule that a player can use their free object interaction to equip/prepare the manacles, then an action to lock them onto a restrained or incapacitated humanoid, or perhaps onto a grappled humanoid during a subsequent turn.


The official rules are a target has to be incapacitated first. So a spell like Hynotic Pattern could do it, but beyond that there is no RAW way to sneak up behind someone and slap some cuffs on them in combat.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you back this up with any citation of game text? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Oct 10, 2021 at 17:22

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