Does Grappling Halve Your Remaining Speed?

This question acts as a clarification to another question on this site. Here's the scenario:

• You have 60' of movement at the start of your turn
• You move 30' to any direction
• You grapple someone at this point
• How far do you have left to move?
• [Related] How Do Grapplers Stand If Prone? – SevenSidedDie May 18 '16 at 4:29
• The original question linked to in this question is already asking how multiple modifications to speed work. The comments debating the answer to that question, which have spilled over into this question, have all been removed now. Answers to that question should be used to address/settle that debate. – SevenSidedDie May 18 '16 at 19:32

No, grappling halves your speed attribute, it does not cost half your movement:

When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

The way to read movement-changing rules clearly is to always keep in mind that there are two separate values operating:

2. Your amount of movement to spend in a round, which is derived from your current speed.

So in the scenario outlined, your speed starts at 60' and is halved to 30' by grappling, after you've already spent 30' of movement in the round. Since you have spent 30' of movement, equal to your 30' speed, you have zero movement left.

Question paraphrased

You have speed 60 (can move 60 feet per turn).

You move 30 feet and have 30 feet more movement available.

You grapple someone with the result per the Rules: "your speed is halved."

How much further can you move, whilst grappling? (Your title posed a different question)

Your remaining 30 feet of movement may now be used up by dragging a creature 15 feet.

My reasoning

Your speed as defined by the Rules (Chapter 8, page 66) is the amount of movement available on your turn. Therefore, RAW, the amount of movement available to you (30 at this point) is halved (Chapter 9, page 77) if you choose to use it dragging a grappled creature (in this case, up to 15 feet).

Important: your Racial Trait: Speed which is your base speed and the number on your character sheet, has not been halved. That is a trait, not a variable. The amount of movement available on your turn (which is the very definition of speed in the Rules) can be modified by different circumstances, and it is this variable which has been halved.

Why the Accepted Answer is Incorrect

(with apologies and all due respect to @SevenSidedDie)

SevenSidedDie's answer assumes that you have 2 speeds, a normal speed of 60 and a "grappling speed" of 30. This is a fallacy. Half speed or "grappling speed" are not speeds, in the same way that walk speed 30 and flying speed 60 are speeds as indicated by the Rules at page 73 "Using Different Speeds". You are not "switching to grappling speed" in the same way that you might switch from walk speed to fly speed. So you cannot say "now that I am grappling my new speed is 30 and since I have moved 30 already I can no longer move".

To illustrate further:

So in the scenario outlined, your speed starts at 60' and is halved to 30' by grappling, after you've already spent 30' of movement in the round. Since you have spent 30' of movement, equal to your 30' speed (author's comment: this is the "grappling speed" fallacy I refer to above), you have zero movement left.

That answer would advance the proposition that if I have 30 of my 60 feet left I cannot move a grappled creature at all, but if you started your turn with speed of 30 and haven't yet moved, you can move a grappled creature 15 feet.

We have the same available movement in each case before the grapple but a totally different outcome post-grapple. Cursory examination must lead us to reject this proposition.

• This is an interesting take! One major question though, why the assumption that just because something is written on a character sheet (or is a trait) that it can't be changed or treated as a variable? Do you have a source for that? Plenty of traits on a character sheet get changed. Look at ability scores, for example, and all the items and magic effects that can change them. Or would you consider that to be somehow different? – Rubiksmoose Apr 14 '20 at 16:45
• Because the term "speed" is defined precisely in the Rules, we should assume that when the Rules apply the term speed in a rule that they mean it as defined. I find it compelling to apply the "Ordinary Meaning" doctrine used in statue and contract law, but which has application here. Example: definitions.uslegal.com/o/ordinary-meaning-rule Quote "According to this rule, statutes are to be interpreted using the ordinary meaning of the language of the statute unless a statute explicitly defines some of its terms otherwise." Contract law states similarly in many jurisdictions. – Phil S Apr 14 '20 at 17:36
• I keep thinking about this answer and, while I disagreed with it initially, I have come around on my thinking. The one question that I'm still hanging up on is this: If a PC is grappling a target and then grapples additional targets, moving between each (for example, a Loxodon can grapple with its trunk and each hand for three total grappled targets), doesn't that mean that the movement penalty gets lower for each additional target instead of staying the same? Seems like, if anything, it should be harder to drag additional targets around the battlefield. – Rykara Aug 10 '20 at 19:07
• I'm glad to see this getting traction. I had the same answer, approached differently that got voted to oblivion. Have a +1. – J. A. Streich Oct 5 '20 at 3:47
• @Rykara, RAW "while grappling" would mean any number of grapples... but this answer would allow you to half each time you added a grapple. – J. A. Streich Oct 5 '20 at 3:53

When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

Speed isn't distance.

speed = distance/time.

Your speed is halved. You moved 30' (of 60') at full speed. You can now move the rest of your movement at half speed or 15' more feet of movement.

Say you're driving down the freeway at 60mph. After half an hour you've traveled 30 miles. Then you halve your speed. You can still drive 15 more miles before the hour is up.

Compare the Wording in Grapple to Prone

Moreover if it would take half of your total movement, it would say so like it does for getting up from prone:

Standing up takes more effort; doing so costs an amount of movement equal to half your speed (emphasis mine)

Which is clearly half of your total speed. Grappling, however, says: