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I have an zen archer monk and I am trying to figure out the exact rules for ranged grapples. Here is the research I have.

Grapple Description on Weapon Page (scroll way down, search grapple #19/21)

Grapple: On a successful critical hit with a weapon of this type, you can grapple the target of the attack. The wielder can then attempt a combat maneuver check to grapple his opponent as a free action. This grapple attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity from the creature you are attempting to grapple if that creature is not threatening you. While you grapple the target with a grappling weapon, you can only move or damage the creature on your turn. You are still considered grappled, though you do not have to be adjacent to the creature to continue the grapple. If you move far enough away to be out of the weapon’s reach, you end the grapple with that action. Source: Ultimate Combat.

Arrow, Barbed

When a barbed arrow is attached to a length of silk rope and fired from a bow, the arrow’s range increment is reduced to 30 feet, but it gains the grapple special weapon quality.

So, using special equipment allows you to make a ranged grapple attempt as a free action on a critical hit.

First question, because other weapons add their bonuses such as enhancement values to CMB rolls such as trip, the same should also hold true for the grapple attempt?

Second question, on future rounds after a grapple was successfully performed, does the weapon bonus still apply to grapple checks?

Third question, do weapon special properties such as flaming apply when you decide to deal damage during the grapple?

Forth question, how does the grapple attempt affect future attacks in the round? As a zen archer I will be making multiple attacks and any of them could be critical hits. If my first attack is a critical hit and I am successful on the CMB check, what happens to the rest of my attacks in the round?

Fifth question, I take it that because both of us have the grappled condition, the normal actions involved for grappling apply. So start of round check to maintain grapple, then I can pin or damage, ...

Sixth question, because the range increment is dropped to 30 feet, does it still allow up to 10 range increments? Im assuming that its because of the weight of the rope which gives the greatly reduced range increment, but shouldnt there be something about the length of the rope?

Seventh question, what action is it to attach a rope to the arrow?

Eight question, is CMB and escape artist the only way to escape from this grapple, or could someone cut the rope, break the arrow, ...? Fighter Archetype Archer

At 11th level, he may also choose from the following combat maneuvers: bull rush, grapple, trip. A target grappled by an arrow can break free by destroying the archer’s arrow (hardness 5, hit points 1, break DC 13) or with an Escape Artist or CMB check (against the archer’s CMD –4).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you considered doing your GM a solid and just not using those rules? As far back as 3.5e, using the grapple rules at range was ill-conceived. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 30 '17 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan So you are suggesting not performing ranged grappling? \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jul 30 '17 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ In a word: Yes. In more words: Yes. Yes. Yes. Do not perform ranged grapples. The mechanics were not well considered. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 30 '17 at 16:56
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The barbed arrows are woefully underwritten. Further, the special weapon feature grapple just doesn't play well when applied to ammunition.

Attaching the silk rope to the barbed arrow

According to barbed arrows, "When a barbed arrow is attached to a length of silk rope and fired from a bow, the arrow’s range increment is reduced to 30 feet, but it gains the grapple special weapon quality."

How exactly an archer attaches a length of silk rope to a barbed arrow is a minor mystery. In Pathfinder's antecedent , an archer would employ the skill Use Rope, a skill Pathfinder thankfully deleted yet did not neatly replace. As binding a foe is based on the binder's Combat Maneuver Bonus as per the skill Escape Artist and a grappler can take a standard action to tie up a pinned foe, presumably an archer can take a standard action to attach a length of silk rope to a barbed arrow, but this is speculation.

Attacking with a barbed arrow that has a silk rope attached

After the silk rope is attached, an archer lets the barbed arrow fly. On anything less than a critical hit against his foe, the archer deals normal damage. On a critical hit against his foe, the archer deals his critical hit damage and can take a free action to make a grapple attempt… despite the typical barbed arrow (like most ammunition) "that hits its target [being] destroyed or rendered useless" and the stubby length of the attached silk rope.

The archer must take that free action to make a grapple combat maneuver after the archer's dealt that critical hit damage else lose the opportunity to do so, but from there, the archer obeys all the rules for the special weapon feature grapple and the rules for executing the combat maneuver grapple. To put this in context, here's the combat maneuver grapple rewritten so that an archer can use it when he makes a successful critical hit with the barbed arrow:

As a free action, the archer can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. He does not provoke an attack of opportunity from the target of this grapple. Humanoid creatures without two free hands (which will be most PC archers) that attempt to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll. If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition. If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails). Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds. Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple) listed later in this section.

(Emphasis mine.) In other words, if the archer succeeds on that grapple combat maneuver, the archer pulls the foe adjacent to the archer then can opt to either continue the grapple or take a free action to release the grapple.

Now, I deliberately don't use the word clearly very often, but clearly the vast majority of archers do not want foes adjacent to them! I can only assume the (ahem) point of barbed arrows is not to grapple a foe, drag the foe adjacent to the archer, then have the archer proceed to rassel the crap out of that foe—most archers aren't just aren't specced for that, and giants that do this to PCs straight-up murder those poor PCs.

However, that's what happens. I mean, the weapon quality grapple says, "While you grapple the target with a grappling weapon, you can only move or damage the creature on your turn," and that makes sense, but then it continues, saying, "You are still considered grappled, though you do not have to be adjacent to the creature to continue the grapple" (emphasis mine), but that means a creature that's using a weapon with the grapple quality must still be adjacent to a foe to start the grapple! Then the description finishes, saying, "If you [in this case, the archer] move far enough away to be out of the weapon’s reach, you end the grapple with that action."

In other words, the special weapon feature grapple functions fine on reach weapons and other melee weapons that hook a foe, drag the foe over, and then allow the attacker to move away from the foe within the weapon's reach, but with a ranged weapon? Yuck. I mean, what's the reach on an archer's arrow? The archer's natural reach. What's the reach—not range increment, mind you, but reach— on an archer's bow? 0 ft. What's the reach on the archer's barbed arrow that's destroyed because it successfully struck a foe? That'd be a flat nothin'.

Questions and Answers

In short, not a whole lot of this makes sense. Keep this assessment in mind while I take each question in turn.

  • Should a weapon that possesses the special weapon feature grapple and that possesses a magical bonus apply that bonus to the wielder's grapple checks to start a grapple? This GM would say yes, but this GM would have an archer's arrow be the weapon not the archer's bow.
  • After a successful grapple, should a weapon that possesses the special weapon feature grapple and that possesses a magical bonus apply its bonus on grapple checks made to maintain the grapple? This GM would say yes. The wielder has employed the weapon to start the grapple and must keep the grappled creature within his weapon's reach. The weapon's helping with the grapple, so any magical bonuses should apply.
  • Does the wielder of a weapon that possesses the special weapon feature grapple and that possesses a magic weapon special ability apply the effects of that magic weapon special ability when the wielder opts to deal damage during a grapple that the wielder initiated with that weapon? This GM would say yes, but only if that weapon is a one-handed or light weapon. For example, a +1 flaming barbed arrow could be used as an improvised light weapon, so that'd be legit.
  • After making that successful critical hit and after making a successful grapple combat maneuver, if an archer has attacks remaining, can he make those attacks? No. A grappled creature can take no action that requires two hands to perform, and firing a bow takes two hands.
  • Because both archer and foe have the grappled condition, is it accurate to say that the normal grapple effects can be used? No. A creature that's started a grapple by wielding a weapon with the special weapon feature grapple can only exercise the grapple options move or damage; other options are unavilable.
  • A barbed arrow has a range increment of 30 ft. What about the attached rope? A barbed arrow—with or without a rope attached—has a range increment of 30 ft. (hence a maximum range of 300 ft. or 10 range increments). The attached silk rope—sold separately—only extends to the length of the rope, not—as some special feature of the barbed arrows—beyond the silk rope's purchased length. This GM assumes that the idea is that an archer can't attempt a grapple against a foe on whom he's scored a critical hit if the silk rope isn't long enough to span the space between them, but the rules don't mention this. Rules as written, even a 1-ft. length of rope is sufficient to—I dunno—mime-pull a foe adjacent to the archer after a critical hit and a successful grapple check, another silly result of an underwritten piece of gear.
  • Could a foe cut the rope, break the arrow, or employ some other asymmetrical method to escape this grapple that doesn't involve an Escape Artist skill check or an opposed grapple check? Not according to the rules.

This GM strongly urges a house rule saying that an archer that makes a successful critical hit with a barbed arrow that has a silk rope attached instead renders his foe entangled much like a net, the archer controlling the trailing rope if the silk rope attached to the arrow is sufficient to span the distance between archer and foe and if the archer is willing to commit a free hand to the task.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I took it that not needing to be adjacent to maintain the grapple should have also affected the start of grapple, but that is a good thing to notice. Bow properties are transferred to the arrow when fired, which is why you can end up with an arrow thats better than +10 but not actually breaking it. What if the archer has more than 2 hands for the purposes of continuing attacks? Causing them to be entangled actually does sound better considering all the complications. As always, thanks for taking the time for a great answer \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jul 30 '17 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering Yeah, there're a lot of shoulds involved in mechanizing how a rope attached to an arrow works… unfortunately, the game seems to want the GM to make up most of them. And while some magic weapon special abilities go from bow to arrow, the arrow is still destroyed on a hit, which greatly complicates this whole mess. Further, the grapple rules make no exceptions for having multiple arms: [Y]ou can take any action that doesn’t require two hands to perform is straight from the grappled condition. And being entangled is playable now, and that's important. And, of course, you're welcome. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 30 '17 at 18:14
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Overall, it's reasonable to assume that the barbed arrow would work similarly to grappling a creature with a reach weapon as the text says the arrow is tied to the bow.

1. Do you add a ranged weapon's enhancement bonus to CMB for a ranged combat maneuver check using that weapon?

Yes.

A weapon's enhancement bonus apply to attack rolls using that weapon. Combat maneuver checks are attack rolls, so you always apply the enhancement bonus

2. Does the enhancement bonus apply to maintaining a grapple?

Yes.

You're still using that weapon as part of the grapple. Therefore, the enhancement bonus applies.

3. Do weapon special abilities like flaming apply to dealing damage with a grapple?

Probably yes.

The grapple special feature technically doesn't change the restriction that you must deal damage with an unarmed strike, natural weapon, armor spikes, or a light/one-handed melee weapon. However, it's implied you can deal damage with the grappling weapon. If so, then the flaming ability would apply because such an ability would also apply in the above listed weapon attacks. Thus, flaming should apply to the ranged grapple.

4. How does the grapple attempt affect future attacks in the round?

You cannot make further attacks after grappling a creature.

The grapple special feature says "While you grapple the target with a grappling weapon, you can only move or damage the creature on your turn." Your full-attack essentially ends as soon as your grapple succeeds. However, if you grapple an opponent on your first attack, you can still use a move action since the full-attack action rules allow you to do so.

Keep in mind that the grapple feature's grab is optional. You can choose not to grapple a creature if it would disadvantage you.

5. I take it that because both of us have the grappled condition, the normal actions involved for grappling apply. So start of round check to maintain grapple, then I can pin or damage,

Normal grapple rules apply except as mentioned with the grapple feature.

The grapple special feature says you can only damage or move the creature on your turn. You cannot pin them.

6. Because the range increment is dropped to 30 feet, does it still allow up to 10 range increments?

Yes.

The barbed arrow doesn't change the maximum number of range increments. It only changes the range increment itself. So as long as your rope is long enough, you can fire at a target at the maximum range increment.

7. What action is it to attach a rope to the arrow?

Probably a free action.

I cannot find any text that clarifies the action economy of attaching the rope. So I have to assume you tie it as part of the action of drawing and loading the ammunition, which is a free action for a longbow.

8. Is CMB and escape artist the only way to escape from this grapple, or could someone cut the rope, break the arrow, ...?

It's possible to escape by other means.

Since the grapple relies on the arrow and the rope, it's possible to cut it or sunder the arrow to end the grapple. While the text does not directly say an opponent can escape this way, the game does have a number of circumstances that can instantly end a grapple (such as someone teleporting or turning themselve incorporeal). This would fall under one of those special circumstances.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In my question I mistakenly said 5 range increments when I should have said 10. My question has been updated. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jul 30 '17 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have changed my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – Cyrad Jul 30 '17 at 17:37

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