I'm unclear on how attacks and grappling work with monsters as opposed to players. Let me elaborate my question.

With PCs, it seems clear to me. Let's say a PC has two creatures grappled and thus has no free hands. If the player attacks on its turn, it can make an unarmed strike against one of the grappled creatures (although it's not clear if it can use the hand that's grappling to make that attack: squeeze, crush, etc.).

Now in the case of a monster, it seems unclear because they have specific actions/attacks that can grapple. Can those same attacks be made even if they are holding the grapple? I'll use a couple of examples to clarify.

A Constrictor Snake has two options for attack: Bite and Constrict (which grapples on a hit). If a snake hits character A with Constrict (A is grappled) on turn 1, and turn 2 rolls around, can it attack a still-grappled character A with Constrict, or must it use Bite?

A T-Rex has multiattack with Bite and Tail, but can't use them on the same target. If a T-Rex hits character A with Bite (A is grappled) on turn 1, can it then Bite a still-grappled A on turn 2, since it can't attack A with its tail?

I'm asking because because a lot of gameplay or monster strategy blogs seem to indicate in their examples that the answer to this is "no".

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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess I'm trying to figure out if a monster grapple eliminates its attack. A player starts its turn grappling 2 creatures can still make an attack action because it can do an unarmed attack. In the monster's case, if it has 2 claw/grapple attacks and it starts its turn grappling 2 players, it essentially can't make an attack action. Is that correct? \$\endgroup\$ – VIP3Rss May 26 '19 at 11:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it's possible to answer this for all monsters simultaneously - different monsters have different mechanics for grappling. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman May 26 '19 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Would you like to make this question specifically about Chuul? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o May 26 '19 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this question meet the criteria to be placed off of hold? \$\endgroup\$ – VIP3Rss May 28 '19 at 8:38

Yes, it can

Consider the Tyrannosaurus Rex example:

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: (4d12 + 7) piercing damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 17). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the tyrannosaurus can't bite another target.

It says you can't bite another creature. It doesn't say you can't bite the same creature.

To emphasize the point consider the Salamander tail attack:

Tail: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage, and the target is Grappled (escape DC 14). Until this grapple ends, the target is Restrained, the salamander can automatically hit the target with its tail, and the salamander can't make tail attacks against other targets.

It grapples the target and, while the grapple is in place, automatically succeeds on any future tail attacks on the creature. The abilities of the other creatures allow attacks, but they don't automatically succeed. They do have advantage since the target is restrained though.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I've been playing that wrong. If it doesn't specify the grappled creature, can it attack another creature even though that seems illogical? Ankheg must bite grappled creature vs. Chuul has A pincer grappled, can it attack B with same pincer? \$\endgroup\$ – VIP3Rss May 27 '19 at 9:19

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