I was looking through the Sage Advice Compendium when I noticed this:

When you make a Strength (Athletics) check to grapple or shove someone, are you making an attack roll?

Again, the answer is no. That check is an ability check, so game effects tied to attack rolls don’t apply to it. Going back to an earlier question, the hex spell could be used to diminish a grappler’s effectiveness. And if the grappler’s target is under the effect of the Dodge action, that action doesn’t inhibit the grapple, since Dodge doesn’t affect ability checks.

I had always played that the 2nd-level invisibility spell would end on a grapple, since it counts as an attack, but this seemed to suggest otherwise.

I researched this a bit and found a tweet by Jeremy Crawford from December 2015, which seemed to suggest that it was indeed an attack roll:

Grappling/shoving an enemy does end the sanctuary spell on you, since you have made an attack.

My best guess is that you must take the Attack action to perform an ability check, as grappling in the PHB is called a “special melee attack” (PHB p. 195), although that doesn't make a huge amount of sense:

[...] you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple. [...]

Do these two answers by Crawford contradict each other? And should the invisibility spell end when a grapple is attempted?

The description for the invisibility spell says:

A creature you touch becomes invisible until the spell ends. Anything the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the target's person. The spell ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell.


2 Answers 2



It would seem that grappling does end invisibility, as an attack is being made. However no attack ROLL is made. So for example Weapon Proficiency would not be applied, as it is not an attack roll to be modified, but Athletics Proficiency would be added. Similar to certain spell attacks requiring saving throws (although Casting a spell is a different action to the Attack action). It seems that the "Special" part of the grapples Special Melee Attack is that it is an Attack action with no Attack roll.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Well stated. This bit me back when I was learning the system. It's also important to look for the word "hit". Any affect that happens when a target is hit by a melee attack is not triggered by a grapple anymore than one that requires an attack roll. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6, 2018 at 19:30

Invisibility ends with a grapple attempt

The invisibility spell states:

The spell ends for a target that attacks or casts a spell.

As cited in the question, a grapple attempt is one of the options you have for an Attack action. The fact that it doesn't require an attack roll doesn't change that this is still an attack as defined in the PHB.

Being an attack, a grapple will end the invisibility spell.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .