I was thinking about making a pure monk grappler build and I hope that it is possible to do without being too weak for the table.
What I want from the build:
- Pure monk build, so no multi-classing (I like challenges in building characters).
- The build needs to have good chances for any grappling check (so expertise, good attribute mod and advantage would be great).
- Besides multi-classing everything is allowed. The build doesn't need to be AL-legal.
- Well every official release is allowed. No homebrew and no UA.
- For attributes, we use point buy.
What I've come up with so far:
When you can't multi-class, you only have the choice between half-elf, half-orc and human to get expertise (with the prodigy feat).
Because I need 3 different stats, I am actually thinking about taking the basic human, to get +1 in every attribute.
Without race-mod: 13 15 11 9 15 8
With race-mod: 14 16 12 10 16 9
Sub-class: I think the best choices are Open-Hand and Shadow.
With Shadow I could disable nearly every caster that I want. (Grapple -> Silence).
With Open-Hand I could use flurry of blows, to knock my grappled enemies prone.
lvl8: +2 Str
If I could get my DM to give me a belt of strength, I could forgo the Str part entirely, but I'm not sure I can convince him.
Is there a better way to make a monk a better grappler?
Can I get advantage on Athletic checks somehow, without party assistance?
Extra things i found out later:
When you successfully Stun an enemy with Stunning Strike, your grapple attempts automatically succeed. Stunning Strike gives the target the Stunned Condition. The Stunned Condition also makes the target Incapacitated. Being Incapacitated lets you automatically succeed on grappling checks, since Nov 2018 errata.
When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple. If you're able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them.
The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger than you and must be within your reach. Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check instead of an attack roll: a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). You succeed automatically if the target is incapacitated. If you succeed, you subject the target to the grappled condition. The condition specifies the things that end it, and you can release the target whenever you like (no action required).
Extra Extra things i found out even later:
With Way of the Astral Self, you can use your wisdom modifier for grappling checks. Together with Skill Expert and Wildhunt Shifter race, you can get expertise in athletics and advantage on wisdom checks.