Regarding the combat maneuver version of telekinesis when used to grapple.

Can I use the different options for grappling when maintaining the grapple on my wizard?

I am aware of this piece of text in the telekinesis spell:

Alternatively, once per round, you can use telekinesis to perform a bull rush, disarm, grapple (including pin), or trip.

But that text seems to clarify that I can pin a target, not that I can't use the other grappling options.

If I succesfully grapple a target, can I in the next round, as part of maintaining the grapple:

  • Damage my target? (And if so, how much damage would it deal? Would it be Int based or Str based?)
  • Move my target for half my speed?
  • Tie up my target? I suppose this one would be a bit difficult and might require a rope to be already touching my target.

2 Answers 2


Your conclusions seem entirely correct to me. The clarification explicitly states that pinning is an option, but it in no way limits you to pinning. The other options for grappling remain available to you. As you say, tying someone up requires a rope and telekinesis does not include any teleportation effect to get a rope from you to the target, but if there was a rope handy, telekinesis should also be able to perform that maneuver as well.


I will quote the full passus from the RAW:

Combat Maneuver: Alternatively, once per round, you can use telekinesis to perform a bull rush, disarm, grapple (including pin), or trip. Resolve these attempts as normal, except that they don't provoke attacks of opportunity, you use your caster level in place of your Combat Maneuver Bonus, and you add your Intelligence modifier (if a wizard) or Charisma modifier (if a sorcerer) in place of your Strength or Dexterity modifier. No save is allowed against these attempts, but spell resistance applies normally. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration.

so: No, you cannot Damage, Move, or Tie up your target, because the spell description says that it only includes pin, at least that is how I read it. The grapple rules say that once you have grappled an opponent, you can do "one of the following", which then lists

  • Move
  • Damage
  • Pin
  • Tie up

of these, ONLY pin is mentioned in the spell description, so I think it is the only option you have. However, if I read the first part of the Combat Maneuver description from the spell correctly, the actual grappling action would move the creature adjacent to you, since you are supposed to "Resolve these attempts as normal", with your caster level instead of CMD and your Int/Cha modifier in place of either Dex or Str, depending on what class your character is (in the mentioned case, in order to keep up your grapple, you have to make a check every round - and you ALSO have to keep up concentration on the spell!). However, since they DO specify which actions are included in case of a grapple, I think it's meant only for pinning.

The reason why you can damage a grappled opponent is because you can hit it in the face while grappling or something like that - a wizard wouldn't do that, because he does not have the physical strength to actually HOLD most opponents unaided; Moving would also require some kind of strength (and probably mass) since you need to push / shove your opponent around; and tie up, as you already mentioned, needs a rope (and maybe a different spell, like Rope Trick). Your wizard/sorcerer in this scenario is not actually holding/grappling the opponent, he is using a spell to do it for him; however, the spell does not materialize any kind of hitting implement, it cannot manipulate a rope at the same time as the creature, it can only pin the creature - STOP it from moving, which is QUITE different from pushing/shoving/moving around!

what I am getting at is, the telekinesis effect seems, by itself, only JUST strong enough to hold an opponent in place - at least as long as you manage to succeed your checks - MAYBE move it towards you, but it does not, or cannot, exert any more force than that. Even that is probably a lot more than your Wiz/Sorc could do by his own devices, so it's nice to have, but not an actual replacement for a "real" grapple.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The wording is explicitly “including” pin, not “only” pin. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ One could argue that being strongly grappled in a nasty way can be very painful (think about catch in a fictional point of view). In this case why the wizard could not be able to bend you with his mind in an unnatural position while she telekinetically grapple you? And why, beside subjective interpretation, could he not being able to move you ? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 16:22

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