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During Step 4 of a grapple maneuver (To maintain a grapple, you move into opponent's space), how would that movement be managed if the creature moving into the opponent space is larger that the target (for example an ogre grappling an elf and moving into the elf's space as a result of a successful grapple check)?

It is indicated in the rules that when a larger creature occupies a smaller character's space, only the larger space remains on the grid and the smaller creature is considered now occupying the same space as the larger one (so the elf is now occupying a 2x2 square) and anyone that can reach that space can now attack the elf.

But how is the larger creature space placed on the battle grid over the smaller one? Does the attacker choose? Does the defender? Is it random? The closest point?

I have not seen anything in the rules stating this. Please indicate if your answer is based on the rules as written, as this is what I am looking for. I tend to assume that if there is no ruling, it is whatever the attacker chooses since it is done during his turn and it is during his action.

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    \$\begingroup\$ RE: Paragraph 2. Where is this indicated? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '18 at 11:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ PHB p157, when mounting a larger creature than your size, you are considered sharing the same space as the larger creature. This is is also emphasized by the rule of the game document (archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20050301a) 'Grappling Basics.. 4th bullet. It is basically using the rule as if you would be mounted on an animal larger than your size. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 11 '18 at 0:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay. Thank you. Yeah, I wouldn't equate grappling with mounted combat, but that Rules of the Game column does say that even though the printed rules don't. (Because of the game's silence, in games I DM even far bigger creatures that grapple littler creatures enter the littler creature's spaces wholly because I find that rules oversight amusing, much like any number of creatures can occupy the same 5-ft. square if they are all grappling.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 11 '18 at 3:18
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The rules as written simply state that "To maintain the grapple for later rounds, you must move into the target’s space;" the rules make no further assumptions about how this move must be taken (aside from other Move-related rules, such as Speed restrictions). This implies that it is the attacker's prerogative as to where to move. If you choose not to move, this will end the grapple during the next round.

If the grappler decides to move more than 5 feet to meet this requirement, then they will be subject to attacks of opportunity from creatures other than the target. So, strategically speaking, most larger creatures will move only as far as necessary to avoid attacks of opportunity, unless they can choose a more strategic location, in which case, they might move 10 feet (in theory) to move further away from creatures that would support the target of the grapple.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I should note this movement is not a part of character's usual actions. You can't make this movement during your regular 5' step. As well as you don't have to have some movement (or non-free actions) left. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10 '18 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ But since it is still movement done during your turn, you are provoking attack of opportunity this movement would normally produce. correct ? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 11 '18 at 0:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question was specifically to be answered using Rules as written. This answer is missing some specific points about the movement to maintain hold. As the question author mentioned Rules of the game as a valid source, even if it is complimentary, the answer below is more complete and without confusion. If the author of the question does still feel that this answer is better, whether he should remove his required rules as written or at least comment and add why it is failing this requirement. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonDraco
    Dec 14 '18 at 4:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jonDraco There is no mention in the rules as to 'how' or 'what requirements' are needed to maintain hold. Logic would suggest that you need to stay within melee reach in order to maintain hold, but this would be RAI ruling. RAW indicates no requirements while executing the movement to go into the opponent space, staying within melee limit is not indicated in any ways. Since there is no documented requirements to maintain hold other than moving into opponent square a creature can move wherever it likes as long as it ends the movement in the opponent's space to maintain hold. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14 '18 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KilrathiSly you can decide what you think is best as you are the author of the question. But, my answer IS rule as written as "maintain" is actually a word that by its definition means keep or preserve and in this case means keep a grapple state. And as Step 3 is marked as Step to Hold. it also means you keep your hold on your opponent. They do not need to write specifically that you need to be in reach distance as you have to be in reach distance to grab/hold another creature. If they would have used the wording "to continue grappling in later rounds" then it could have been debatable. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonDraco
    Dec 14 '18 at 19:36
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As per the rules as written,

Step 3: Hold. Make an opposed grapple check as a free action. If you succeed, you and your target are now grappling[...]

Step 4: Maintain Grapple. To maintain the grapple for later rounds, you must move into the target’s space. (This movement is free and doesn’t count as part of your movement in the round.) Moving, as normal, provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents, but not from your target.

This means if you win the grapple check you hold onto your opponent and you both are now grappling.
Then, to maintain the grapple, you must move into the target's space. To maintain means just that, you can't move farther away than your reach allows as, if you do, you will stop maintaining your grapple.
So, it does not say how to move but you need to keep in reach distance, if you end up through uneven floor or narrow surface you need to make a balance check (as these are in reaction to) and you can't jump (as this is as part of a move action, thus it can't be part of a free movement). For moving into the target's space, well, this is not as clear but what is true is that as soon as any part of your space overlaps the other's space (when you are large and the other is medium), you are into its space. As it doesn't say you can continue moving nor choose a square in your space, I would safely say that you have to stop there then, as the rule mentions "only the larger space remains on the grid and the smaller creature is considered now occupying the same space as the larger one", the larger space remains on the grid - where it is - and the smaller creature is any and all squares of the larger creature's space.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to point out that as per RAW rules, a space (in that case the 'space' of the opponent and the 'space' of the defender is not 'segmented' in squares. A creature space is the total number of squares it occupies.. There is no such things as 'the first square' of a large creature space. The creatures's space is one large area that is 10ftx10ft on a side... \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12 '18 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not saying that a creature occupies a square. As you wrote, a space is made out of squares. I wrote that as soon as a square of your space overlaps the other's square which, I realize, is only true when a large creature moves into a medium creature. You should read, will edit my answer, as soon as one of the creatures' space is completely overlapping the other, both are considered in the same space. So my answer still stands as you, as a large creature, move into a medium creature's space, the larger creature must stop as soon as the medium space is covered by any part of its space. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonDraco
    Dec 13 '18 at 2:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ As you required an answer with the rules as written and now that I have modified my answer after your last comment. I have provided the answer to both the implied question of how, where you can move when moving into the target's space while grappling and the when you need to stop which is supported by the words "remains on the grid", please mark it as answered unless you find other rules that contradicts these. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonDraco
    Dec 13 '18 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you indicate your Rule reference when you mention : "to maintain hold you cannot move farther away than your reach allows and if you do you release the opponent ?" I have not seen this indication anywhere in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14 '18 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ well, the rules do not have to mention that to hold something or someone you have to touch it. And to touch something means also you have to reach it as all game mechanics are based off of it...otherwise you could climb a wall 10' away from it, you could ride a horse 10' behind it, make a sleight of hand attempt 100' away. If you do not consider the intrinsic meaning of the vocabulary used in a rule if it's not all explained, there will be many rule problems in your game. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonDraco
    Dec 21 '18 at 5:09

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