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I remember reading somewhere how the grappling rules are easily abused with the right character.

Something like:

  • 2 levels into Moon druid
  • 1 level into barbarian
  • Transform into Brown Bear
  • Multiattack means you can grapple+attack
  • Two arms means you can grapple two people
  • Knock prone using unarmed strike (with legs)
  • Use bite attacks while grappling two people
  • Enemies knocked prone and can't get up (can't spend half their speed to get up since grappled makes speed=0), can't hurt you or beat your athletics check (barbarian rage+ disadvantage from prone) while each of your attacks (and allies' melee ones) have advantage.

While ridiculous, does that have any RAW reasons it wouldn't work?

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Yes and No

This works, but not at the levels specified since the Multi-Attack from bear form is not the same as Extra Attack (such as from 5th level fighter).

The main reason is that the multi-attack block for the bear requires that the multi-attack be a claw and bite as listed in the stat block. Grapple is therefore not an option with multi-attack. In order to grapple or knock prone, you must give up multi-attack and instead use the Attack (big 'A') action (per this answer), which at the levels indicated only allows you to take one attack (little 'a').

Additionally, you need a step somewhere in there that is "Rage".

It is also arguable that a bear's claw is ineffective at grappling, but that would be a DM call - RAW the text specifies having a "hand" free, so it depends on how pedantic one is feeling. Other than that though this appears to work.

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    \$\begingroup\$ On the rage thing, I mean, it IS barbarian. It's kind of a given. The bear claw thing is a mentionable argument, but IIRC there was an official statement that said that a "grapple" was nothing more than a grab on the wrist or cuff. The question then becomes "Can bears grab stuff??" I might just hop onto youtube to find out later. \$\endgroup\$ – Man_Over_Game Jul 6 '18 at 22:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanielZastoupil the rules say you need a hand to grapple which a paw is arguably not \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jul 6 '18 at 22:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should mention how many rounds it would take with ans without Extra Attack \$\endgroup\$ – András Jul 7 '18 at 7:12

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