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I have a Fighter PC, second level as of last night, who I would like to become a Battlemaster at third. One of the Maneuvers I am considering is Grappling Strike, which says:

Immediately after you hit a creature with a melee attack on your turn, you can expend one superiority die and then try to grapple the target as a bonus action (see the Player's Handbook for rules on grappling). Add the superiority die to your Strength (Athletics) check.

By itself I am not terribly interested in grappling, but if I could grapple a prone creature so that it could not stand up, investing in this Maneuver would make sense. Our party has only one tank, and five ranged support characters, so I don't see this as a way to generate advantage for melee as much as to prevent high value targets from escaping and to weaken foes with special attacks, like undead (we have just started Tomb of Annihilation).

If I am allowed to knock the foe prone myself and then immediately make a follow-up grapple attempt, it would be worthwhile to me. However, it would not be worthwhile if I had to rely on another PC to knock the foe prone in order for me to make a weapon attack that might miss before I could initiate the grapple.

I know that a Shove is a "special melee attack", and that it is an attack even though it does not require an attack roll.

My question is whether a successful special melee attack counts as a "hit" (and can thus trigger Grappling Strike), or whether one can only be said to have hit or miss if an attack roll has been made.

The rules for Making an Attack say:

1. Choose a target...
2. Determine modifiers...
3. Resolve the attack. You make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has rules that specify otherwise. Some attacks cause special effects in addition to or instead of damage.

The rules for Shoving say:

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...Instead of making an attack roll, 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 succeed, you either knock the target prone or push it 5 feet away from you.

How should I combine these? As...

A successful Shove is a hit:

You would make the attack roll, but instead you replace it with an Athletics check. Normally on a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has rules that specify otherwise, such as a Shove attack. If your Shove attack was successful, you have hit, but you do not damage. Some attacks, like Shove, cause special effects (like being knocked prone) on a hit instead of damage.

Or as... A successful Shove is not a hit:

You would make the attack roll, but instead you replace it with an Athletics check. Normally on a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has rules that specify otherwise. Also, if you are making an attack that does not have an attack roll, your special attack may succeed or fail but it is neither a hit nor a miss. Some attacks, like Shove, cause special effects on a success instead of damage, but they are still not hits even if successful.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve closed this as a duplicate because it has been asked before. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2023 at 2:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ As I understand it, to be a duplicate the question should be a duplicate, its not enough if the answer to another question also happens to answer it. Its less clear with more/less general questions, and at least the title here is generalized to all special attacks which would include both shove and grapple. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2023 at 8:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Our duplicate criteria can be found here, and this question obviously meets those criteria, there is no reason we need to revisit that question just because it says shove instead of grapple. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2023 at 11:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov, Thanks for the pointer. I do think the first criterium does not fit (as this question A is a superset, not a subset of the duplicate target question), but the second does, as the other answer is very obviously answering this one, so no disagreement here. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 28, 2023 at 11:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ My question here may not be a duplicate in the natural English sense but it is definitely one according to site usage, as linked by @ThomasMarkov. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jan 28, 2023 at 17:39

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