The Giant Badger has a burrow speed of 10'. Since your movement speed while dragging an enemy is halved, this means you can put your enemy 5' underground without using an action.

This addresses what happens in 3.5e, but I don't have a 5e PHB in front of me at the moment. I can imagine two situations - the burrowing rules have changes and a badger leaves a tunnel, or they haven't.

If there is a tunnel, the target can crawl through it and return to the surface (although probably prone - a definite advantage over other grapplers, who spend either a small a attack or bonus action w/ shield master to prone)

If not, the target will be left underground, and begin suffocating unless it can dig through the dirt fast enough. (Are there rules for this in 5e?)

What happens in 5th edition.


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If you are using the variant encumbrance rules you may not have the movement you think you do. Your DM may also rule that you cannot burrow with one paw occupied with the grapple or even that you can grapple as a giant badger since you technically have no "hands".

The monster manual describes some burrowing monsters as leaving tunnels (e.g. Ankhegs), some as being able to carve out tunnels (e.g. Dragons) and some as leaving the ground undisturbed (e.g. Dao). For Giant Badgers, no information is given, so ask your GM; my personal feeling is it could do whichever it wanted - either opening up a tunnel or closing it behind it.

In a practical sense, a person buried 5 feet under the earth is going nowhere and will shortly be dead of suffocation for which there are rules in the PHB on p.183.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be noteworthy to point out two things. First, the description of the Ankheg leaving tunnels is a part of the fluffy text, not the statistics block. Second, early on in the MM it describes special things monsters will commonly have, including modes of movement. Unfortunately, all it has to say about burrowing is this: "A monster that has a burrowing speed can use that speed to move through sand, earth, mud, or ice. A monster can't burrow through solid rock unless it has a special trait that allows it to do so." \$\endgroup\$
    – Javelin
    Jun 10, 2016 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Javelin I'm not sure why it's noteworthy that the description of the tunnel lies in top-level "introductory" matter rather than the stat block. What are you getting at? Are you hinting that some Ankheg's might not leave tunnels? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jun 10, 2016 at 20:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Javelin D&D does not have "fluffy text" - if it's in the book it's part of the rules. Just because some rules are presented narratively doesn't mean they aren't rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jun 10, 2016 at 21:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Take it from this old farm boy - animals don't close up tunnels behind them. How would that even work? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Grant
    Jun 11, 2016 at 11:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the ground closed behind it, wouldn't the badger suffocate? \$\endgroup\$
    – intuited
    Apr 21, 2019 at 8:45

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