telekinesis / grapple


Rules Questions


7 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I'm confused on how the Telekinesis spell works when used to make the Grapple combat maneuver.

I understand how to make the check and such, what I'm having trouble grasping is what happens if the caster succeeds.

The way I read it, the target will instantly be moved to an adjacent space with the caster. Telekinesis has a 400ft+40ft/caster level range. So, a 9th level wizard can move somebody 960 ft with a successful grapple check. At that point, it is a normal grapple, the target can attack the caster with a one handed or natural attack.

am I correct?


bump?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had this come up as well recently and hope people offer opinions. I would say the target 'gains' the grappled condition but does not move next to the caster.
My question was: what is the CMD that the grappled person tries to escape from? 10 + the CMB of the spell? that's my closest guess.

Scarab Sages

A lot of the times a caster uses this tactic, is specifically to keep an enemy far away from them, not to bring them closer.

I second the idea that the target is grappled where they were stood, and is not transported toward the caster's adjacent square.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I too believe the target of the grapple is not moved.


Well that is what I had originally thought, but there is absolutely nothing in the rules to support that viewpoint as far as I can tell. In fact the opposite is true. I was wondering if there was a FAQ or something that indicated otherwise.

grapple wrote:
If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails).


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Good thing you aren't grappling the creature, the spell is. Following your logic to the extreme, all aspects of grappling would apply to the spellcaster, such as gaining the grappled condition and having to maintain the grapple (which would be impossible since he has to spend a standard action concentrating on the spell).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It is like Ravingdork said, the caster is in control of the grapple, but he is not actually grappling the foe, the spell is, so no movement. Also, so long as the caster concentrates on the spell, only the foe gets the grappled condition, not the caster, but I think that may have been clear.

I laughed when I saw you thread and thought of how many casters would crap their robes if a big, bad guy suddenly was whisked to be adjacent to them...


ravingdork: yes, the caster would also gain the grappled condition. The caster would be able to maintain the grapple by using the grapple action again on telekinesis.

Telekinesis wrote:
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.

I don't buy "wizard isn't grappling, the spell is" It seems like the wizard is the one referenced as doing the grappling to me... " Resolve these attempts as normal" seems like a pretty odd thing to say if you were supposed to be breaking basic rules of grappling.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

awp832: So going by that logic, if the grappled person succeeds in breaking free, then they can start grappling the caster?
Would go into the realm of why anyone would volunteer to cast the spell. Either way, the spell isn't worded very well.


yes, I think so. As I've been saying, it's a normal grapple.

It could have it's applications though, for example, you instantly pull an enemy from all the way across the map to be right next to your fighter buddy, who full attacks and creams him.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If you want to read the rules in a way that they destroy aspects of your games, then by all means.


i want to read the rules in a way corrosponds to the book. If you can provide any support for "the spell grapples, not you" I'd love to hear it.

So far all I hear is "it works this way because that makes sense to me" which is not compelling.


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Clearly the grapple rules were meant to be used up close, but the spell lets you do combat maneuvers at range, just imagine Darth Vader using the force to render someone helpless (or in this case grappled from afar). I think you have to adjust the rules to improve upon the rules as written to improve the narrative of telekinesis.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the rest of us are trying to use more of a 'common sense' ruling. Telekinesis does have a version to move someone in a sudden burst of speed, there are rules for it. It is not in the use as CMB section of the spell.

Shadow Lodge

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awp832 wrote:

yes, I think so. As I've been saying, it's a normal grapple.

It could have it's applications though, for example, you instantly pull an enemy from all the way across the map to be right next to your fighter buddy, who full attacks and creams him.

If we apply your interpretation of "Resolve these attempts as normal" to telekinetic Bullrush then you would have to do it as part of a charge in place of the melee attack but you can't cast Telekinesis as part of a charge so it would be impossible which would make the spell text self contradictory. So your interpretation must be incorrect.

Also if we accept your reasoning and the caster gains the grappled condition as well that would mean the caster would have to make a concentration check each round due to maintaining the spell while having the grappled condition. Then they would also have to make the check to maintain the grapple.

So the clear intent is that the caster does not gain the grappled condition and the target is grappled in their current position.


PatientWolf wrote:
awp832 wrote:

yes, I think so. As I've been saying, it's a normal grapple.

It could have it's applications though, for example, you instantly pull an enemy from all the way across the map to be right next to your fighter buddy, who full attacks and creams him.

If we apply your interpretation of "Resolve these attempts as normal" to telekinetic Bullrush then you would have to do it as part of a charge in place of the melee attack but you can't cast Telekinesis as part of a charge so it would be impossible which would make the spell text self contradictory. So your interpretation must be incorrect.

Also if we accept your reasoning and the caster gains the grappled condition as well that would mean the caster would have to make a concentration check each round due to maintaining the spell while having the grappled condition. Then they would also have to make the check to maintain the grapple.

So the clear intent is that the caster does not gain the grappled condition and the target is grappled in their current position.

Bullrush's don't have to be part of a charge From the srd: "You can make a bull rush as a standard action or as part of a charge"

But frankly in all my years playing pathfinder and 3.5 (from which the spell was taken almost verbatim) I have never heard of someone using it the way the OP. Interpreted it. I think as many people pointed out the intent is very clear. but there is no official ruling that I can find (and I doubt there will be a FAQ since this question doesn't seem to be very common)

But the easiest way to resolve this for your game is ask your GM how he wants it to work. and if you are the GM, decide how you want it to work and tell your player


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am not trying at all to argue with you awp832 as I see where you are getting that idea from a 100% straight reading of the rules. However, I would say that this is one where the wizard is not physically engaged in the grapple only via a spell. The spell and not the wizard is doing the grappling or else it would use his CMB and not his spellcasting stat, etc.

Feel free to run it the way you think is right, but you asked us and we have all given you our opinion. Compelling or not, that is how we see the rules regarding this.

Good luck!


my 2 cp: By use of telekinesis the caster can grapple 'with their mind'. The target gains the grappled condition the caster does not. HOWEVER maintaining this grapple requires concentration on the casters part, a standard action on their turn. This check can be used to execute the move, damage, grapple or pin grapple actions.

The Move grapple action would allow you to move the target at half your land speed up to a maximum of the range of the spell, moving them into a hazardous area (over a pit, inside a wall of fire, into a convenient stream of lava) would allow them an imediate escape attempt at a +4 bonus per the grapple entry
The Damage action would consist of slamming them into a surface adjacent to the target with damage varying depending on the surface (usually 1d6 from a head smash to the floor/ceiling)
Grapple action would simply maintain the grapple (with the +5 bonus you get for that action prescribed in grapple rules)
Pin of course Pins the target

mental CMB according to the spell is Caster Level + Casting Mod
mental CMD would therefore be 10+ mental CMB

using telekinesis in this manner does NOT cause the target to make a will save (glad I found that line, seemed unnecessarily brutal to have to beat 2 defenses)

Scarab Sages

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PatientWolf wrote:

If we apply your interpretation of "Resolve these attempts as normal" to telekinetic Bullrush then you would have to do it as part of a charge in place of the melee attack but you can't cast Telekinesis as part of a charge so it would be impossible which would make the spell text self contradictory. So your interpretation must be incorrect.

Also if we accept your reasoning and the caster gains the grappled condition as well that would mean the caster would have to make a concentration check each round due to maintaining the spell while having the grappled condition. Then they would also have to make the check to maintain the grapple.

So the clear intent is that the caster does not gain the grappled condition and the target is grappled in their current position.

I agree with all the above, and would add that, when discrepancies like this arise, it is important to remember that the Core Rules are always written from a default perspective of how they apply to the most common user, which in the case of PCs (who the book is written for), will be a medium-sized bipedal humanoid, attempting to grapple with their physical limbs.

Other, more exotic combatants will alter those rules when appropriate, to reflect their non-standard nature.

This is why the grapple rules as written fall apart when trying to apply them to larger, multi-limbed monsters with flexible tentacles.
Realising that the Huge octopod can't full attack if it holds anyone (standard action to maintain), if it tries to avoid the grappled condition, it is very unlikely to maintain the grapple (due to the D&D3.5 legacy penalty of -20, cut and pasted across to PF, which should have been slashed when the size modifiers were quartered), and so has to fudge together some bizarre combination of releasing everyone as a free action, and full attacking them all again, and if it does that, it can't perform any of the second-round options, like pin.
That's rather dispiriting, when you've set up what you thought would be a tense encounter which falls flat.
The Core Rules simply don't account for that increased capability, which require the creature to be given special racial modifiers and/or feats, in order to work as intended. Or, as in the case of 'From Shore To Sea', to completely reimagine each tentacle as a separate creature (an elegant solution I rather like).

Similarly, a caster grappling with their mind will not have the same physical limitations put on themselves, as they would if they were having to roll up their sleeves and pitch in.

View the concentration check as their requirement to maintain the grapple, since it is their mind that is busy directing the force.


Bump. This came up in our game just now.


To put this into context, I had my fighter with Telekinesis Mastery use it to grapple. I thought the spell would have been that the grapple was at range, but the spell says it's resolved as normal.

And a successful grapple causes a creature to be dragged within 5 feet, which I remembered since I explained in detail the entire grapple rules to some new players as a joke last night. I also get the grappled condition.

Personally, I don't think this is how the spell is supposed to work, but I think this is the RAW version of the spell and so I let my GM decide how to rule it, which ended up being the RAW interpretation (which is actually advantageous to me, since I'm a fighter and the target is a spellcaster). So I'm hitting the FAQ button.


Clearly grappling someone 1000 ft away from you through telekinesis does not whisk them 1000 ft closer to you and give you the grappled condition. The caster of telekinesis has to try to move things with the spell for them to be moved. Grappling someone is not moving someone next to you it is restraining them with your physical body, hence you gain the condition too, because you used your body to restrain them. If you used your attacks with reach to initiate the grapple you have to pull the person you grapple next to you and use your body to restrain them. Someone using telekinesis is not using their body they are using whatever nature you want telekinesis to have, for ease of use basically the force or your mind, hence the CMB requires a mental stat not a physical one, because your physicality is not involved.

Telekinesis also has rules for moving things and it physically can't be used to move things that far in a single round unless you use the violent thrust which expends all the rounds of use in one round because it represents such an exertion of telekinetic power.

Honestly I don't understand why people insist on using such draconian and obtuse rules interpretations as to make clear intent for a useful spell into a frankly bazaar useless spell because of some poor wording.

Darth Vader uses force choke, the rebel soldier is lifted helpless into the air propelled towards him at a rate of knots and he bare-hugs the rebel soldier. No.

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