The Kobold PC race (from Volo's Guide to Monsters) includes this racial trait:

Grovel, Cower, and Beg
As an action on your turn, you can cower pathetically to distract nearby foes. Until the end of your next turn, your allies gain advantage on attack rolls against enemies within 10 feet of you that you can see. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

The name implies that I have to go prone to use it (My DM thinks that anyway) is that true?

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    – Zoma
    Jul 16, 2021 at 8:14

3 Answers 3


Yes, you can take your next turn while still under the effect of Grovel, Cower, and Beg. It doesn't make a huge amount of difference, though; you can't benefit from your own groveling. Only your allies gain advantage, not you, so while you could do something on your turn that triggers readied attacks by your allies, which would then have advantage, that would be a pretty unusual set of circumstances.

As far as going prone, no, the action doesn't specify that you go prone to do it. Prone is a fairly specific position, and the condition applies a moderately serious penalty. I wouldn't apply that unless it's specifically called for or very obviously applies (such as if an attack comes when you had just laid down for a nap).

If you need arguments to present to your DM, the main thing I would note is that there's a significant difference between kneeling or crouching and being prone (i.e. flat on your back or front). Getting up from prone generally involves a lot of maneuvering to get your feet back under you, while if you take a knee, you can spring right back up and straight into motion at almost any time (depending on the condition of your knees). As generally understood, cowering doesn't mean planking or something -- you aren't stretching out full length on the ground, you're crouching and trying to be as small as possible.

  1. Yes. Your allies benefit from the effect until after your next turn ends. This includes your action.
  2. The text does not say this, and thus it is not true RAW. Your DM can impose this rule on you, but I would say that is an unfair claim, due to the lack of any rule supporting this decision.
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    \$\begingroup\$ You should avoid saying that the effect lasts until the kobold uses his next action, as he could spend a turn doing nothing, but still having the effect end with it turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zoma
    Jul 16, 2021 at 8:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ "As an action...." Doesn't that mean you are only limited to move and bonus actions after that? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2021 at 13:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PlayPatrice The important thing is that on your next turn you can use your action while the effect is active. On your current turn, yes, your action would be consumed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carson
    Jul 16, 2021 at 13:45

There is precedent for your DM's position: command

The DM's position may be informed by the command spell, which says this about Grovel

Grovel. The target falls prone and then ends its turn

The ruling is fair enough when taken at face value, given the use of that term in the spell's text, but the kobold ability itself does not explicitly require that the kobold fall prone.

You can make the (IMO reasonable) argument to your DM that the command spell's use of 'grovel' is a discrete magical effect that requires a spell slot to activate, whereas your kobold's ability is not explicitly a spell, nor is it a magical effect, and thus should not be treated as one. (It does not require a spell slot).

What is a spell (chapter 10, PHB)

A spell is a discrete magical effect, a single shaping of the magical energies that suffuse the multiverse into a specific, limited expression. In casting a spell, a character carefully plucks at the invisible strands of raw magic suffusing the world, pins them in place in a particular pattern, sets them vibrating in a specific way, and then releases them to unleash the desired effect—in most cases, all in the span of seconds.

While I can see a good case for either position, since prone is an explicit condition in Appendix A I find myself taking the "not necessarily prone" view on this. The DM may feel that because advantage is such a significant benefit to your allies that it takes something extraordinary (falling prone to beg, grovel, etc) to get that strong of a benefit in order fit their sense of verisimilitude.

Work with your DM to arrive at a common understanding.


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