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During a recent session my character disengaged to run past the enemies blocking his exit. As a halfling I can move through a medium creature's space since I am small, and the disengage prevents the opportunity attack... but would it prevent the guard from trying to tackle me or grapple me?

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PHB (Players Hand Book) Page 192:

Disengage: If you take the Disengage Action, your movement doesn't provoke opportunity attacks for the rest of the turn

Emphasis to show that once you take the disengage action, no creature, be it the creature you were currently fighting, and/or a different creature you run past during that turn, can get an opportunity attack on you for attempting to move out of their attack reach. Also note that Opportunity Attacks happen only if you attempt to LEAVE the creature's reach, and happen in the seconds just before you finishing leaving their full reach.

What Disengage does NOT prevent, is a creature (on their turn) attempting to grapple, shove prone, or otherwise attack you. If they were trying to grapple, shove prone, or otherwise attack you while it was your turn; then they were (wrongly) doing so as an 'opportunity attack' and you should have been immune, otherwise they wouldn't have a turn for them TO be able to tackle, shove prone, or otherwise attack you until it was their turn in the initiative order of combat.

PHB page 195 covers both Opportunity Attacks and Grappling. To attempt to grapple a character, you have to use (or replace) the attack action; which is an action you can take only during your turn and thus creatures can not make a 'Grapple' attack action until it's their turn in the initiative order. An Opportunity Attack uses your reaction only (you only get one each round cycle, and only if something allows you a reaction), against the provoking creature and can be used when it's not your turn to make one melee attack only. You do not get to make a ranged attack or use any other action that does not involve a melee attack.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Would this not apply to a ready action on the part of the guard: this is not an opportunity attack, but a "guard the door and attack anyone who tries to get through" ready action for the guard whose mission it is to guard the door. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 21:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hmmm.... A tricky/tough DM, would perhaps make his minions do such a thing. I would allow a player to do it so I don't see why not. If he's 'Readying an attack action' , and making it so that he's giving up that attack action to turn it into a grapple as per the rules on page 195 , then I would rule that if his action was triggered, he could make a grapple attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Sep 21, 2015 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am still awaiting a reply from my GM... but I think it was as simple as me not running far enough during my turn in order to outpace the guard at the door, so then on the guards turn he ran up and tackled me... it just wasnt made clear during the game that that is explicitly what happened \$\endgroup\$
    – MC_Hambone
    Sep 21, 2015 at 21:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MC_Hambone Yes, if that were the case; if you Disengaged, moved passed all enemies without provoking any attacks, and THEN, after you ended your turn and the enemy got to do something? You were properly tackled by the guard you ran past and waved at as you squeezed between his legs. :P \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Sep 21, 2015 at 21:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MagRoader That's correct, once you are able to make multiple attacks as part of the 'Attack Action' , you can choose to give up one to make a 'grapple'. But when you take an attack of opportunity, you get one melee attack only, that must always be only just a melee attack. When you take a readied action, however, I'm not sure how complicated the action can be as it uses your reaction once the trigger happens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airatome
    Sep 22, 2015 at 14:25

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