Last night, some people thought that the Grappled condition should make a character vulnerable to sneak attack, but my reading of Grappled was that it imposed a dexterity penalty, but does not deny the entire dexterity bonus. Would this allow Sneak Attack, and is there any related condition that does?


2 Answers 2


While the grappled-condition does not make the character vulnerable to Sneak attacks, the pinned-condition states, that the character is flatflooted (Core Rulebook page 568). If you are grappling another character and take a standard action to maintain the grapple (and succeed), you can pin your opponent (CRB pg. 200). So your party will need another round to pin the opponent, but then sneak attack would work.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is due to a rules change from 3.5 to Pathfinder. In 3.5, the Grappled condition DOES make you denied Dex to AC, instead of giving a Dex penalty - therefore in 3.5 you could sneak attack someone grappled (or grappling); but, in Pathfinder, you cannot. \$\endgroup\$
    – RMorrisey
    Aug 25, 2011 at 2:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Pathfinder made being grappled much less of a "you lose" condition. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bobson
    Aug 26, 2011 at 15:29

It's very easy to flank a grappled creature, which would provide sneak attack, but the grappled condition itself doesn't grant it. A grappled creature does not threaten any area, so you can move around them freely, and is guaranteed to be adjacent to an ally (because you move them into an adjacent space when you grapple). Thus it becomes trivial to flank with the grappler (who also has no threatened area, except that they do threaten the one they're grappling with) and go to town.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Subtle difference. If they have a 1 handed weapon, they do technically "Threaten" but they can't take attacks of opportunity. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    Aug 26, 2011 at 15:52

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