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I have a question after a combat with animated furniture:

I have the ability Abrupt Jaunt

Wizard specialist ability from PHB2:

Abrupt Jaunt (conjuration): You teleport up to 10 feet.
Activating this ability is an immediate action...
You can’t activate this ability in response to an attack that you aren’t aware of.

And an enemy grappled me while I was surprised. On my turn, I wanted to use the ability but the DM wouldn't let me, arguing that I can't concentrate on using the ability since I'm grappled.

Is there a rule that prevents me from doing it?

Thank you, and sorry for the English translated with Google 😂

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried to find a spell description for it that would have detailed the spell components, specifically looking for if it was somatic which would be hard to do during a grapple \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Jun 26, 2023 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering Abrupt Jaunt is an alternate class feature for conjurer wizards, not a spell. Source is PHB2 if I recall correctly \$\endgroup\$
    – StephenTG
    Jun 26, 2023 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ If your DM insists on this ruling, you could try purchasing an Anklet of Translocation, from the Magic Item Compendium. Using a magic item is on the list of allowed actions in a grapple, and it's a swift won't interfere with your normal actions either. This, of course, extends to any other magic item that allows you to teleport. \$\endgroup\$
    – SonGuhun
    Aug 29, 2023 at 10:22

1 Answer 1

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Your DM is right

The Grappling condition means that you do not threaten any squares, lose your Dexterity bonus to AC, and are limited in your actions. The Grapple section of the combat rules explicitly calls out the actions you can take while grappling

When you are grappling (regardless of who started the grapple), you can perform any of the following actions. (...)

  • Activate a Magic Item (...)
  • Attack Your Opponent (...)
  • Cast a Spell (...)
  • Damage Your Opponent (...)
  • Draw a Light Weapon (...)
  • Escape from Grapple You can escape a grapple by winning an opposed grapple check in place of making an attack. You can make an Escape Artist check in place of your grapple check if you so desire, but this requires a standard action. (...)
  • Move (...)
  • Retrieve a Spell Component (...)
  • Pin Your Opponent (...)
  • Break Another’s Pin (...)
  • Use Opponent’s Weapon (...)

That's it. Abrupt Jaunt is a class feature, and has been erratae'd to a supernatural ability. It is not a spell, and the list does not include "Use supernatural ability" as an allowed action, so you cannot do it. Even the "Escape from Grapple" action does only allow for doing so with opposed grapple checks and Escape Artist checks, not with using other features.

Note that grappling is already strong as a touch attack that ignores much of the normal AC defenses. From a game balance and narrative perspective it would not be unreasonable to allow the use of innate abilities that do not demand the ability to move. Otherwise, for example, a grappled beholder could not use its eye-rays, etc. If your DM adheres to a strict reading, they should allow the player characters to exploit the rule in this way, too.

Also note that the Grapple section does not say that you can perform only the listed actions. It only says the listed actions can be undertaken. If you read this literally, what happens with other actions is not defined, and would be up to the DM to decide.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While I think this may be technically accurate, it cascades through the game to make grappling even more troublesome. For example, using this reading, in a grapple a cleric can't turn undead, a paladin can't smite, and a dragon can't use a breath weapon. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 5:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan, yes, I agree. It also would seem not unreasonable to be able to use them, if you even can can spells as long as aven spellcasting without a somatic component is a-go. I'll add a paragraph to that effect. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 5:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ My suspicion—that I totally can't prove—is that while If You're Grappling sounds inclusive, it actually describes changes to how actions normally work, it making exceptions to what's come before because of the grapple. That would mean other activities—like using a supernatural ability or initiating a martial maneuver—would be allowed to occur normally, because they've no entry on the If You're Grappling list. (I mean, normal speech becomes impossible under these rules strictly—you can utter command words and employ verbal components in a grapple but not talk.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 5:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan On a very literal reading, "When you're grapplng, you can perform any of the following actions." does not exclude other possible actions. It does not say "You only can perform one of...". It just leaves any other actions not explicitly adressed. Will add that too :) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27, 2023 at 5:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dragons, at least, are out: A dragon can always use its breath weapon while grappling, as well as its spells and spell-like or supernatural abilities, provided it succeeds on Concentration checks. -This might be a dragon-specific privilege. But I think it rather gives us a hint that supernatural abilities can generally be used while grappling. SU abilities don't require Concentration checks, don't provoke AoO and cannot be disrupted in combat. It somehow seems implausible that you shouldn’t be allowed to use them in a grapple while at the same time you’re allowed to cast a spell... \$\endgroup\$
    – Peregrin
    Jun 27, 2023 at 12:17

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