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Archives of Nethys lists the Grab ability twice in the Creature Abilities section. The first one says:

Requirements The monster's last action was a success with a Strike that lists Grab in its damage entry, or it has a creature grabbed using this action. Effect The monster automatically Grabs the target until the end of the monster's next turn. The creature is grabbed by whichever body part the monster attacked with, and that body part can't be used to Strike creatures until the grab is ended.

Using Grab extends the duration of the monster's Grab until the end of its next turn for all creatures grabbed by it. A grabbed creature can use the Escape action to get out of the grab, and the Grab ends for a grabbed creatures if the monster moves away from it.

The way I understand this, if the monster attacks someone and connects, they can effectively grapple them by just spending an action, but said attempt succeeds automatically.

The second version says:

Requirements The monster's last action was a successful Strike that lists Grab in its damage entry, or the monster has a creature grabbed or restrained; Effect If used after a Strike, the monster attempts to Grapple the creature using the body part it attacked with. This attempt neither applies nor counts toward the creature's multiple attack penalty.

The monster can instead use Grab and choose one creature it's grabbing or restraining with an appendage that has Grab to automatically extend that condition to the end of the monster's next turn.

The way I interpret this one is that the creature must spend an action to attempt and succeed at a grapple check to grab the target. The boon of this feature being that the attempt is not subject to the multiple attack penalty.


The first version appears to be objectively better by all metrics; it also appears in the Beastiary with a cited publication date of August 1, 2019. The second version appears in Rage of the Elements with a cited publication date of August 2, 2023.

Does the latter publication take precedence? I know Paizo is planning to change the rules for 2nd edition (2.5?); is this a change that's intended to nerf the original grab ability?

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It is part of the Remaster

At least according to the preview documents.

The change was most likely made so abilities that give you +X against Trip, Grab (etc) become meaningful.

The new version is supposed to be used when the Remastered officially arrives, somewhere in November.

It is not really a nerf, especially at high levels

In higher levels, monsters have such high Athletics values that they will usually crit with the Grapple check, resulting in the target being restrained. Which is quite a lot worse for PCs than a simple grab.

A Kraken has 38 in Athletics, while a Champion of the same level has a Fortitude DC of 40 (10 base, Con +4, Proficiency +28, Item +2). The Kraken will grab on a roll of 2-11, restrain 12-20, and fail only on a 1. And this is against a dedicated frontliner, now imagine a puny Wizard.

As ESCE writes in a comment, at lower levels and when you meet monsters of lower level than you, it is actually advantageous.

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    \$\begingroup\$ (for example. a Fighter at level 9 w/ Con 16 should have a Fort DC of 29, while a high skill in Athletics for an equivalent level creature is +20, while extreme is +23. That means a 35%/20% failure chance, 5% CF chance, but also a 10%/25% chance of CS. I'd say that's a net nerf.) The change will be more of a nerf for lower level creatures attacking higher level PCs, and more of a buff for higher level creatures attacking lower level PCs. And given the divergence of skills over levels, it's more of a nerf at low levels and buff at high levels. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Oct 25, 2023 at 17:59

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