The Character Origins UA makes Grapple and Shove an Unarmed Strike, which makes sense:


An Unarmed Strike is a melee attack that involves you using your body to damage, grapple, or shove a target within your Reach. Your bonus to hit with an Unarmed Strike equals your Strength modifier plus your Proficiency Bonus. On a hit, your Unarmed Strike causes one of the following effects of your choice:

Damage. The target takes Bludgeoning Damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier.

Grapple. The target is Grappled, and the grapple’s escape DC equals 8 + your Strength modifier + your Proficiency Bonus. This grapple is possible only if the target is no more than one Size larger than you and if you have a hand free to grab the target.

Shove. You either push the target 5 feet away or knock the target Prone. This shove is possible only if the target is no more than one Size larger than you.

Taken with the Monk ability Martial Arts:

You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes and monk weapons.

Would this, at least until a UA for classes comes out, mean that Monks Dex replaces strength in the text of the Grapple and Shove option above?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ So I’ve removed the generic d&d tag cuz it’s just the wrong tag for this question and added the [dnd-5e] tag since we’re still assuming the 5e combat rules. I’ve also removed the UA tag, I know Wizards is calling this playtest material UA, but it’s a bit different than their usual playtest material, and since we’re using a specific tag for One D&D, we ought not double tag for UA as well. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2022 at 20:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve written a brief proposal on meta regarding the use of the [unearthed-arcana] tag and this new material. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2022 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good catch on this one, I assume this will change eventually. Exciting times to be a monk! \$\endgroup\$
    – user77842
    Aug 22, 2022 at 0:31

3 Answers 3


Yes for attack rolls, no for grapple DC.

The Monk ability Martial Arts applies to attack rolls and damage rolls for unarmed strikes. Because a grapple or a shove is now an effect chosen after an unarmed strike, you would have the option of using Dexterity on the unarmed strike before you choose those effects.

However, because the Martial Arts ability is explicit about attack and damage rolls, it would not allow you to use Dexterity for the escape DC.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is my read as well. Grappling in general feels… severely restricted to the point of near uselessness in the playtest material. I’m hoping feat and class support patches up the holes in the current state of things, but it’s going to be a prominent point in any feedback survey I file at this point. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2022 at 1:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, it's easier to initiate a grapple (hit AC, rather than opposed checks) and the target take Disadvantage on attacks (except against you), which is huge compared to just 'speed is now zero'. Yes, becoming slowed is pretty serious if there's anyone else trying to hit you. But I dunno, in a lot of circumstances, giving up one attack to inflict disadvantage on the target's attacks (and guaranteed for at least that one turn since they don't get to even TRY to escape until the end of turn) is probably worthwhile. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2022 at 22:11

Why would a monk be any less skilled at grappling/throwing an opponent than at unarmed strikes? Some people say that this is an oversight in the rules and requires homebrew if you want to play like that, but look at PHB p. 175: "Variant: Skills with different abilities".

"Normally, your proficiency in a skill applies only to a specific kind of ability check. Proficiency in Athletics, for example, usually applies to Strength checks. In some situations, though, your proficiency might reasonably apply to a different kind of check. In such cases, the DM might ask for a check using an unusual combination of ability and skill, or you might ask your DM if you can apply a proficiency to a different check."

In our case, it's reasonable to assume that a monk uses Dexterity to grapple and throw an opponent rather than raw Strength (we know this by watching judo/aikido practicioners in action). So to grapple and shove, they may make an Athletics check with their Dex modifier rather than Str.


Since the Grapple is a Saving Throw, no Martial Arts does not apply.

Pertinent bits for you:

and the grapple’s escape DC equals


for the attack and damage rolls

A savings throw or an ability check is neither an attack nor a damage roll. Dex does not apply.

For the Shove however it's a yes. That's an attack roll so it applies.


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