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This seems to be a fairly unusual situation and I have not been able to find a ruling.

The description of the Mind Flayer's Tentacles attack states, in part:

[...] If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 15) and must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or be stunned until this grapple ends.

The player character fell to the damage from the tentacle attack. They were then healed before the Mind Flayer's next turn. The Mind Flayer's intention was to use its Extract Brain action, so the tentacles were still grappled around the player character.

Does the character make an Intelligence save against being stunned, since they are still grappled?

Would they still be grappled, as there is no contest when they fall unconscious?

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2 Answers 2

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The unconscious condition does not end the grapple, per se.

The description of the Mind Flayer's Tentacles attack states (bold for emphasis mine):

Tentacles. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) psychic damage. If the target is Medium or smaller, it is grappled (escape DC 15) and must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or be stunned until this grapple ends.

And the rules for the grappled condition state:

  • A grappled creature's speed becomes 0, and it can't benefit from any bonus to its speed.
  • The condition ends if the grappler is incapacitated (see the condition).
  • The condition also ends if an effect removes the grappled creature from the reach of the grappler or grappling effect, such as when a creature is hurled away by the thunderwave spell.

Hence, the possible ways to escape from the Mind Flayer's grapple are:

  • succeeding on the DC 15 Int saving throw
  • imposing the incapacitated condition on the Mind Flayer (e.g. by making them fall unconscious or causing them to be stunned)
  • pulling the grappled creature out of the Mind Flayer's reach

Falling unconscious is not listed as a possible way to end the grappling condition; thus, after being healed your PC is still grappled. If they failed the saving throw before they fell unconscious, the stunned condition is still in effect. Otherwise, if they succeeded on the saving throw, they do not have to make another saving throw after they're healed – since, per the description of the Tentacles ability, the Int saving throw is only necessary at the time the attack hit and the target was automatically grappled.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot. This is exactly how I thought it would work (and ruled), but it felt bad from a player perspective. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roenith
    Oct 27, 2021 at 11:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Great answer! It might be worth noting that being unconscious interacts with grappling in the sense that (post errata) grapple attempts against an incapacitated target (which is part of being unconscious) automatically succeed, but that's not essential information in this answer. Nicely done! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2021 at 14:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Roenith Also good to keep in mind that just because an enemy can, doesn't mean they will. You can always describe the Mind Flayer as voluntarily ending the grapple, maybe because it doesn't see any value in holding an unconscious player. Maybe its preparing to grapple another player with its tentacles. \$\endgroup\$
    – yesennes
    Oct 27, 2021 at 18:32
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The save has already been attempted

You ask two questions and make a fundamental misunderstanding.

The situation that you describe is that the PC has been hit with a mind flayer's tentacle attack and has gone unconscious from the resulting damage. They are later healed. You ask (2) whether they are still grappled, and thus (1) would they have to attempt the save against stun when they regain consciousness.

Yes, they are still grappled, as Eddymage explains. However, the PC should have already attempted the save against stun before they regained consciousness. That save was attempted on the mind flayer's turn as a consequence of the attack.

You might be assuming that if the PC has been made unconscious, they do not attempt the save against Stun. But nothing in the unconscious condition prevents being stunned.

Or, as V2Blast suggested in a comment, you might think that being Stunned means an automatic failure on Intelligence saving throws (as it actually does for both Strength and Dexterity saves). However, nothing about being Stunned interacts with the Int save (in particular, nothing about it would either guarantee success or failure on the save).

Thus the PC has to attempt the save on the same turn they are rendered unconscious. When they are later healed and regain consciousness they are still grappled, but they have already either failed or made the Int save and thus are already either stunned or not. If they were stunned, they will remain stunned until the grapple ends (or until they make the save, or a minute has passed), regardless of whether or not they are conscious.

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