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One of my players wants the ability to grapple other creatures at range when using a whip (think Indiana Jones wrapping his whip around things). I think this is a reasonable ability to have, but because it confers a mechanical advantage, I want to make this a feat. The text of the feat would read as follows:

Whip Master

You have trained extensively with the whip, allowing you to use it both within and outside of combat. You gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • When wielding a whip, you can attempt to grab another creature using your whip. To do so, make a Dexterity check to which you can add your proficiency bonus if you are proficient with whips contested by the other creature's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. On a successful check, the creature cannot move away from you. On its turn, it can make a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) check to try to escape. Once the creature has been grabbed, you can move in a direction opposite it and drag it with you at half your speed unless it is two or more sizes smaller.
  • When wielding a whip, you may use its reach instead of your own on ability checks to grab or catch objects.

Does this seem balanced when compared to other feats?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You don't actually state this, but are they not under the Grappled condition because they can choose move closer to you? is it that they simply can't move further away? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 9 '19 at 16:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can the wielder still use the whip to deal damage? (i.e. - ranged "grapple" and then attack?) \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Dec 9 '19 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch That's correct. Their movement speed is not dropped to zero, so the grappled condition doesn't make sense \$\endgroup\$ – Aliden Dec 9 '19 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 Not with the same whip they're using to hold the creature. I should probably include that \$\endgroup\$ – Aliden Dec 9 '19 at 23:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jgn A campaign where one of my players wants to use a whip all the time. I'm not quite sure I'm answering your question though. Can you please clarify? \$\endgroup\$ – Aliden Dec 10 '19 at 2:48
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This feat seems to be generally on par with one of the other big melee, crowd control feats: Sentinel

Sentinel gives the following as one of its three bonuses:

When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature’s speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn.

Whip Master's special action is slightly less effective for the following reasons

  1. Whip Grabbed opponents can still move around, so long as they don't get any farther from you. This allows closing and lateral movement and imparts no other restrictions on the creature's actions.
  2. Though not specified, it seems like the Grab is supposed to take your entire Action. This makes it un-desirable for any class that gets Extra Attack.

So, the crowd control portion of Whip Master is inferior to the crowd control portion of Sentinel. +1 to a specific attribute is a pretty standard 'half-feat' and so is fine. The final ability you get is very situational, though could potentially be cool. I think this is balanced enough to at least give some playtesting to.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to discuss in greater detail that the ASI does not really synergize well with what the player wants to do. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Dec 10 '19 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had considered that, but with Whips being a finesse weapon, it seemed like enough of a bonus to be worthwhile. \$\endgroup\$ – Weaveworker89 Dec 10 '19 at 21:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Less about the whips being finesse weapons and more about how the character needs to make Str (Athletics) to maintain the grapple. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Dec 10 '19 at 21:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right, but they also need Dex to make the grab happen in the first place \$\endgroup\$ – Weaveworker89 Dec 10 '19 at 22:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good points. I've revised the feat to allow the grab as a bonus action on a successful attack (though left the question the same so answers remain valid) \$\endgroup\$ – Aliden Dec 11 '19 at 14:16

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