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A PC Barbarian Orc is grappling an Umber Hulk (MM. p. 292). The Orc fails at the Confusing Gaze saving throw, becoming confused. Does the grapple end because the Orc is confused?

Under a storytelling point of view, he no longer have clear understanding of the characters and battlefield. More like "What is this thing? Is it a friend or foe?"

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Breeg, welcome to RPG.se please feel free to take the tour to become more familiar with the way we do things here. could you please give more information? Is the barb an NPC or a PC? Why do you think the grapple would end? \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Oct 16 '18 at 23:37
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The grapple does not end

There are five ways to end a grapple:

  1. The grappler willingly ends it.
  2. The grappled creature escapes using a contest.
  3. The grappler and grappled creature are no longer within reach.
  4. The grappler becomes incapacitated.
  5. The text of an ability or feature specifies that it ends the grapple.

Confusing Gaze does none of these things.

On a 1 to 4, the creature does nothing.

Including that it does not break the grapple.

On a 5 or 6, the creature takes no action but uses all its movement to move in a random direction.

Any creature can bring grappled creatures with them during movement.

On a 7 or 8, the creature makes one melee attack against a random creature, or it does nothing if no creature is within reach.

Making attacks does not break grappling. If the creature's hands are full, it can always make an Unarmed Strike and still not break the grapple.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think there is room for DM interpretation to say that a result of 5 or 6 could involve releasing a grapple, or to say that the affected creature makes the decision randomly to drag a grappled opponent with it (in keeping with the theme of being confused). \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Oct 17 '18 at 8:33
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It should be noted that "confused" isn't a game-defined mechanic. It's not a condition like blinded, charmed, deafened, or grappled. As such, being "confused" does absolutely nothing on it's own and doesn't end a grapple.

Therefore, we need to look at the grappled condition and the specific ability of the umber hulk.

The grapple condition ends if:

  • The grappler is incapacitated.

  • An effect removes the grappled creature from the reach of the grappler or grappling effect.

PHB, pg.290

or

You release the target whenever you like.

The grappled creature escapes by succeeding on a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) check.

PHB, pg.195

The umber hulk's confusing gaze states:

On a failed save, the creature can't take reactions until the start of its next turn and rolls a d8 to determine what it does during that turn. On a 1 to 4, the creature does nothing. On a 5 or 6, the creature takes no action but uses all of its movement to move in a random direction. On a 7 or 8, the creature makes one melee attack against a random creature, or it does nothing if no creature is within reach.

MM, pg.292

Nothing in the umber hulk's confusing gaze specifically meets the criteria for ending a grapple, therefore, from a strictly mechanical standpoint, it doesn't.

If the DM decides to rule that the character being "confused" causes him to "no longer have a clear understanding of the characters and battlefield" then it's up to the DM to decide whether that ends a grapple.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for mentioning that the DM may decide that a confused character releases the grapple. \$\endgroup\$ – ravery Oct 17 '18 at 3:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Re: some recent comments of yours, I wanted to let you know (a) we agree with your assessment that someone was displaying a pattern of being unnecessarily antagonistic, (b) feel free to flag us in in addition to leaving such comments (or instead of, if you're not feeling like poking a skunk), (c) let us know if there's anything else you think we should be doing to support experienced users help set the tone around here. Thanks for your good work! \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 25 at 2:54

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