Creature A grapples creature B. Creature B has Rake. Creature B attempts to rake creature A.

Can you rake when you did not start the grapple, and can't win a grapple check?

Edit 1: In this case, creature A is some kind of giant squid style monster, and creature B is an Androsphinx.

From what I understand, usually using Rake works like this- 1, attempt to grapple. 2, assuming grapple succeeds, roll attack roll. 3, assuming attack roll hits, roll Rake damage. My question is, if you are grappled, can you forgo step one?

  • \$\begingroup\$ There is no such thing as "controlling the grapple". Either you are grappling, pinned or pinning w.r.t. an opponent. Which do you mean? \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric
    Mar 10, 2013 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, do you picture this all happening within creature A's turn, or spread out over both creatures' turns? Could you give an example of the monster you have in mind for B? \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric
    Mar 10, 2013 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


Answer: Yes, (and maybe multiple times)

To answer the question you have to understand the grapple rules.

  1. A "grapple check" is not a standard action, it is an attack action. This means if your BAB is high enough to grant multiple attacks you can make multiple grapple checks instead or alternate between attacks & grapples.
  2. Once a grapple is established (regardless of who initiated) you can either make an attack with a light or natural weapon. OR, you can make a grapple check to deal non-lethal dmg with an unarmed strike.
  3. Or you can make a grapple check to escape the grapple. (not recommended for this purpose)

To rake an animal must simply "Win a grapple check". Even if something else initiates the grapple it gets to make a grapple check on its turn as well. (again, with a high BAB it might be able to make additional grapple checks)

If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold (already done in this instance) and can rake.

EDIT: While answering This Question I found this tidbit which explicitly states it in text:
"A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn grappling to use its rake—it can’t begin a grapple and rake in the same turn." Source
However, As noted in my other answer, there is an exception to this for the monsters with either Improved Grab OR Pounce.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note: This answer was before the title changed to say while pinned in a grapple. I don't think that was OPs original intent though.? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben-Jamin
    Mar 10, 2013 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not quite, though I'll admit I was a little unclear. I meant by not in control of the grapple, I meant can't win the grapple check that usually preludes a Rake. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2013 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ A grapple check is only relevant for Rake when it is mentioned in a monster's Improved Grab entry. Rake attacks are in general only available in addition to the monster's single natural attack when using the Attack Your Opponent grapple action and don't need a grapple check in this case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric
    Mar 11, 2013 at 15:36

Answer: Yes.

  1. If the creature has Pounce, it may not need to grapple at all. Dire Lions for example can use Rake (twice) as part of a charge, along with the rest of their natural weapons.
  2. As Ben-Jamin mentioned above, if the creature is already in a grapple when its turn comes around (likely because the other creature grappled it), it can attack with natural weapons without needing to make another grapple check. It takes a -4 on the attack. Rake would be usable in this case.

Yes, if you're already grappled and you don't wish to break the grapple or "move the pile", you can simply attack with a Rake and not have to make another grapple check.


Answer: No

Why: Every instance of "Rake" that I've seen says that if the creature in question wins the grapple check they can rake.

Edit 1: I would have to see the creature's description to be sure, but for example, all of the cat-based creatures say "if it wins the grapple"


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