Simple question this time. Or maybe not.

If I am a Large creature, i.e. over 10 feet tall, I am going to grapple someone and (assuming I succeed) pick them up. If I hold them up to the level of my head or higher and I drop them, they fall 10 feet, causing them to take 1d6 bludgeoning damage and fall prone. Is this correct? If not for Large creatures, could this work for a fall from a creature of Huge or bigger size?

As far as I know, the Grapple action doesn't really say exactly what happens to the grappled creature besides "they're grappled and that makes their speed = 0".


3 Answers 3


The Kraken would like a word with you

The Kraken has a fling action that reads:

Fling. One Large or smaller object held or creature grappled by the kraken is thrown up to 60 feet in a random direction and knocked prone. If a thrown target strikes a solid surface, the target takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown.

In its case, the throwing is not straight down, but that is not the point. The point is that the kraken has a special action for it. Other creatures do not have a throw ability that allows them to throw down a grappled creature in a defined way, so this is for the DM to adjudicate.

The rest of this answer tries to explore what useful adjudication can look like within the rules, to help make a call with that, but it only provides suggestions.

Can you lift them up? Lifting something is covered under Lifting and Carrying (PHB 176):

Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score).

This rule contradicts the grapple rules, as the grapple rules only care for size, not for weight. (As Jeremy Crawford also points out, although of course in no official capacity) Maybe the grapple rule assumes that the grappled creature stumbles along, even if it is too heavy for you to lift up. Grappling allows you to drag and carry, not to lift or push, but carrying implies you can lift whatever you carry.

The DM needs to resolve how to handle that contradiction. If the DM concludes lifting can be treated like dragging, you can lift a grappled creature and it has no say in the matter, just as if you would drag it. If the DM concludes that the lifting rules apply, you can only lift them up if you can handle the weight.

The grappling rules say about the target in grappled condition:

The condition specifies the things that end it, and you can release the target whenever you like (no action required).

So, once lifted up, you can just let them go.

However, releasing the target that you lift up may not mean it would free fall -- the most natural way to lift someone up is straight overhead, so they would just fall on you, and from less than 10 feet unless you have really long arms. So you need to actively throw them down. The default action for that is a shove attack:

Using the Attack action, you can make a special melee attack to shove a creature, either to knock it prone or push it away from you. (...) The target of your shove must be no more than one size larger than you, and it must be within your reach. You make a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you win the contest, you either knock the target prone or push it 5 feet away from you.

The only difference is that you now knock them prone from a height, so they will take fall damage too, 1d6 per 10 feet fallen as per the falling rules (p. 183 PHB).

I think from a balance perspective, a ruling that allows you to just lift them up and drop them for free when grappled would not be broken: for comparison, you can grapple a creature when you have a flying speed, assuming it is light enough if you care about weight, fly up with them and drop them from there, potentially dealing a lot more damage.

Also a huge giant who might be able to drop you prone from a height of over 30 feet for 11 (3d6) damage would use their Action to grapple for that, when they just as well could hit you with their greatsword multiattack for two times 30 (6d6+9) damage. That seems like a reasonable trade-off.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good answer! Thank you. And yes, I was talking about someone who was very tall doing the grappling. You've answered my question and then some! \$\endgroup\$
    – pestival
    Commented Jan 14, 2023 at 23:36

The rules on moving a grappled creature are brief:

Moving a Grappled Creature: 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 Lifting and Carrying rules are in the Strength section:

Carrying Capacity. Your carrying capacity is your Strength score multiplied by 15. This is the weight (in pounds) that you can carry, which is high enough that most characters don't usually have to worry about it.

Push, Drag, or Lift. 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. [emphasis mine]

There are no rules for "hold them up and dropping them”. Your Game Master's interpretation will be needed to adjudicate if and how you may do this action.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "Carry" could mean heft upon one's shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and that would be about the height of the grappler's head, yes? \$\endgroup\$
    – pestival
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 16:40
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Drag and Carry do get mentioned briefly in the rules, in chapter 7 under Strength. However, they're basically just weight limits, there isn't a rule for how you go about doing the actions, especially when they involve a hostile creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – Blckknght
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 17:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @pestival, could being the operative word. It's also just as likely you would carry something with your arms down at your side, like a bucket of water. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Blckknght thanks, I added that rules section to the answer \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 21:02

The rules for fall damage are pretty simple:

A fall from a great height is one of the most common hazards facing an adventurer. At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, to a maximum of 20d6. The creature lands prone, unless it avoids taking damage from the fall.

So your powerbomb would do damage based on the height of the fall. For every 10 feet, the victim would take 1d6 damage, up to a maximum of 20d6 after 200 feet.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve always thought the DDT was the cooler wrestling move, even though the power bomb was more flashy. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 16:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .