If I am in a grapple with a prone creature, can I use an action to remove the prone state from the creature, while maintaining the grapple?

I ask because I run a grappling barbarian build. Sometimes it's more advantageous to my team to have the creature NOT be prone.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is the "pin" mechanic relevant to the question? Would the question be adequately summarized as "If I am grappling a prone creature, is there a way I can remove the prone condition from that creature?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcosa
    Apr 14, 2020 at 2:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is relevant because if I can force a creature out of prone that would sufficiently answer my question. Yes the grappling pin feat. And yes that is an adequate summary of the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – BobaJFET
    Apr 14, 2020 at 3:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ In that case, I've submitted an edit that removes the detail about "pinning", as that language seems to have caused some element of confusion and doesn't seem vital to the question. Feel free to revert if you feel it has made the question inaccurate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcosa
    Apr 14, 2020 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


Yes, but...

There is nothing in the rules or the prone condition that says a grappling creature (or any creature, really) can do anything to help them up. This is likely due to the fact that the cases in which you would want to help a prone opponent to stand up were not common enough to justify writing explicit rules for.

However, this is more generally covered in the Improvising an Action section of the Combat rules (PHB, p.193):

Your character can do things not covered by the actions in this chapter [ ... ] The only limits to the actions you can attempt are your imagination and your character's ability scores.

When you describe an action not detailed elsewhere in the rules, the DM tells you whether that action is possible and what kind of roll you need to make, if any, to determine success or failure.

So the answer really boils down to "yes, but you'll need to ask your DM to make a ruling."

Possible Approaches to a Ruling

From a design perspective, "forcing a prone creature out of prone against its will" seems to parallel the Shove attack, in which you "force a creature to be prone against its will". Therefore, allowing this as a Special Melee Attack using a contest rather than a full action would be a reasonable (which would allow you to expend the rest of any Extra Attacks you may have).

That said, I don't see any particular balance issues arising from expending an action to force a prone creature to stand up. The cost there seems sufficient, and is at least simpler than the alternative (which may be preferred for something that will not come up often.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Would this special melee attack then gain Advantage since the target is prone? I personally don't think it should because that means it's easier to lift someone up from prone than to knock them down. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2020 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rev Attack rolls gain advantage against prone, but shove attacks are attacks that don't make attack rolls, so no advantage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcosa
    Oct 28, 2020 at 19:46

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