Currently an Half-orc Cavalier who rides a dire wolf.

I'm thinking of grappling an enemy, but I use a two handed maul. Although the wolf does not have any grappling attacks, is it possible to have it bite the enemy and grapple it? (I assume because it's a grapple move it does less than normal or no damage).

Can the Wolf run in, grapple an opponent with its jaws, then drag it back? All while I'm on its back.

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2 Answers 2


A controlled mount cannot grapple

A grapple is a "special melee attack", it is a part of the Attack action. A controlled PC mount, despite being a wolf, cannot attack. It has only Dash, Disengage, and Dodge actions, see PH page 198 "Mounted combat":

It moves as you direct it, and it has only three action options: Dash, Disengage, and Dodge.

It can if it acts independently, but it still needs a free hand

Technically speaking, you can't give an order to grapple. But a mount can do things on its own. See PH "Controlling a mount":

While you're mounted, you have two options. You can either control the mount or allow it to act independently. Intelligent creatures, such as dragons, act independently.

The wolf still isn't eligible though, since it have to use a free hand, see PH page 195 "Grappling":

The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger than you, and it must be within your reach. Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target

A wolf has no hands and it has no actions in its stats block, allowing it to grapple without hands. Compare that with a Giant Octopus tentacle attack, explicitly saying:

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 16)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ re:"they are not for PCs" a mount is not a PC. The point is not to forbid PCs from having a mount like that. It is just that not all monsters have a capability to grapple. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega I mean a DM could homebrew a "half-orc wolf rider" monster with a custom "bite and grapple" action, but the question was about a player's character. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question is about a mount, not a character. He is playing the rider, not the wolf. If he rides a creature that has a grapple attack or action and can act on its own, then he is OK. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure that non-intelligent creatures cannot be made to act independently? I interpret the rule the other way around - that intelligent mounts can only act independently, and other mounts' riders have a choice. \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Mar 19, 2018 at 10:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, while this is all correct RAW, I do know a lot of people who use a houserule that allows creatures that couldn't normally grapple but have a bite attack to grapple at a disadvantage after making a successful bite attack. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 19, 2018 at 12:35

A controlled mount can not grapple, but an intelligent one (INT 6 or above) can act on its own and that also includes natural attacks such as Bite (which for wolves and dire wolves also includes a prone chance).

Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 11 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Some creatures are able to grapple without hands/arms, the wolf isn't one of them, but what you describe is likely covered by the Bite's prone chance which drags the target to the ground.


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