A mostly theoretical rules question. Assume a Medium creature ("Grappler") has grappled another Medium creature ("Heavyweight"). For unimportant reasons, Heavyweight is very heavy- heavier than Grappler's carry capacity, but not so heavy as to exceed Grappler's push/drag/lift capacity.

The rules for moving a grappled opponent (PHB p.195) state:

When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

The rules for dragging a weight (PHB p.175) state

You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.

If Grappler were to attempt to drag Heavyweight, in what order should these rules be adjudicated to determine how far Grappler could move?


How I would adjudicate this: Use the more limiting effect

The rules for combining effects in the DMG errata states:

Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap. [...] Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items. [...]

The limits to the grappler's movement are not the result of one of the items on the list above, but the intent when there are conflicts of this nature seems to me "use the largest effect."

Narratively speaking, it makes sense to use the more limiting factor in this scenario. The grappled creature is probably unwilling (else why would the grapple be necessary) which would make the task of pushing/dragging it more difficult than if it were just a deadweight object.

With this in mind, as a DM, I would go with the 5 foot movement penalty and leave it at that, ignoring the halved movement of the grapple.

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