These two issues direct result from a singular creature with which I don't think the rules are being followed correctly.

  1. If a gelatinous cube grapples me with its pseudopod, and then engulfs me on the next turn, must I break free of both the engulfment and the grapple? That is, am I still grappled after I am engulfed or does the one replace the other?

This is how it was explained to me, that I would have to make an unskilled STR check (DC 14) to escape the engulfment of the gelatinous cube, and make an athletics or acrobatics check against the gelatinous cube's athletics check to escape the grapple. I clarified that what I was being told was that I had to roll to get out of both, which would take my action each turn and thus take at least two turns to accomplish.

  1. What should be the correct scaling of ability scores when you increase the size to gargantuan? (If there is a guide for that) The DM has created from 5e rules and books, a gargantuan gelatinous cube.

I am waiting to get more stats, but the gist was that due to the size increase, the STR modifier was +16 on an athletics roll. This seems far too powerful, especially when combined with item 1 where I have to escape both being engulfed, and the grapple.

Otherwise, I can break the engulf with decent odds, but I cannot distance myself to avoid being engulfed the next turn as I will still be in the grappled state.

For reference, player level is currently level 9 during this encounter.

Here's why I thought the situation didn't line up with the rules:

  • Grapple applies only when in reach of another creature. If I'm inside the creature, it cannot reach me with a pseudopod appendage. "The condition also ends if an effect removes the grappled creature from the reach of the grappler or grappling effect"

  • The cube doesn't have the grapple function because it already has the engulf function. To stack them makes it very time consuming to counter. Creatures that swallow things are stated to release their grapple when it is consumed. To me, the logic is once engulfed, the grapple ends. Which seems to track with other creatures that take a player into their body.

  • Strength mod of +16 means its strength is 42+ and that's 1.5 times stronger than CR30 Tarrasque (+10 STR mod)

  • The pseudopod function is an attack, a temporary shape that reaches out and strikes a creature. To say that it can grapple alters the way the creature behaves so that it can not just temporarily lash out with part of its body, but maintain that pseudopod over multiple turns to keep the grapple condition on the creature.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am aware, that is part of my problem with this scenario. It is a gargantuan gelatinous cube, and as we are using Roll20 I am able to see the modifier being applied to the rolls for the monster. I believe there's been some misunderstanding on the DM's part on scaling up strength stat for a gargantuan sized creature. I promise you it's been 5e for everything else. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thaxos
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is one other way for this cube to have +16 to the grapple check. It's if it has Expertise in Athletics, 18 Str, and is between CR 17 to CR 20. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe the DM applied good ol' grappling rules modifiers. In 3.5 was +4 per difference in size category? Maybe he tried to use those mods. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trolleitor
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ " I failed the check when it initiated the grapple, and I also failed to break the grapple on my turn." Also sounds like 3.5 grapple rules. Maybe your DM love those grappling rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trolleitor
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 18:16
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It is not possible to answer a question about how rules work without knowing what rules are involved. These don't sound like 5e grappling rules or 5e gelatinous cube stats. Before continuing with the question, we'll need you to talk to your DM to find out what stats and rules were used in that situation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 22:00

2 Answers 2



Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check, a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use).

Since a gelatinous cube does not have hands, it can not grapple. The pseudopod is an attack, not a substitute for hands. So rules as written, it can not grapple.

A DM could rule otherwise or use some home-brewed version of the large ooze, since they are the rules arbiter of the game. Since you find that ruling unfair, speak with your DM and explain your opinion - you could perhaps justify your opinion with the excerpt above from the players handbook. Personally, I think it makes much more sense thematically (and by rules as written) for the ooze to restrict movement by using the Engulf ability, not by grappling.


First, any creature can use any action from the Player's Handbook that is available to it (MM p.10).

When a monster takes its action, it can choose from the options in the Actions section of its stat block or use one of the actions available to all creatures, such as the Dash or Hide action, as described in the Player's Handbook.

So it can take the Attack action and substitute a grapple attempt if it meets the requirements for a grapple (PHB p. 195).

Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check instead of an attack roll: ...

But the Gelatinous Cube doesn't have a hand, it has a pseudopod. Your DM has to decide if a pseudopod is sufficiently hand-like to meet the requirement. Based on the description, I wouldn't think so but, crucially, I am not your DM!

Notwithstanding, the Strength mod on a Gelatinous Cube is +2, not +16. Your chances of breaking (or initially avoiding) a grapple with it should be pretty good. This would be a sub-optimal choice of action for the cube.

As to if the pseudopod and grapple continue once you have been enveloped, we really have noting to go on so your DM's ruling is law.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .