Arcanist Dimension Slide and Grapple


Rules Questions


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I did a little searching, but couldn't find a solid answer. Sorry if this has been explained before.

I've seen a few people mention using dimension slide to escape grapples and such, but it seems it must be used as part of a move action. I interpret this to mean a move action to move your move speed, not a move equivalent action like getting up. This makes it very good, but having some weakness (as compared to shift from the teleportation subschool, which can escape grapples).

Is this how you guys read it?

hm... After re-reading that I am disappointed with my lack of clarity.

Ultimately: can you escape a grapple with the Dimension Slide Arcanist exploit?


I personally think that language is there because normally, supernatural abilities use a standard action unless specified otherwise (in this case, as part of your move action with the caveat that you cannot take a 5 foot step). You can certainly perform other move actions while in a grapple (so long as it doesn't take both hands), but cannot use your move action to move.*

*Am I incorrect that you do not lose your move action while grappled, but simply cannot move? I make mistakes on this stuff sometimes...

It could use clarification, as I can see it having some table variance due to the wording ("How do you 'step through' the dimensional crack when grappled?" vs "the dimensional crack stuff is just flavour, what happens is they reappear elsewhere").


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Correct, you keep your full allotment of actions, but cannot move.

For reference Dimension slide:

PFSRD wrote:
Dimensional Slide (Su): The arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to create a dimensional crack that she can step through to reach another location. This ability is used as part of a move action or withdraw action, allowing her to move up to 10 feet per arcanist level to any location she can see. This counts as 5 feet of movement. She can only use this ability once per round. She does not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving in this way, but any other movement she attempts as part of her move action provokes as normal.

The "counts as 5 feet of movement" makes me think the Arcanist opens a portal and steps through it, requiring a "moving" move action. It also mentions stepping through.


From my understanding and what I've read, it is done as part of a move action. But I too would like clarification on the subject.

Shadow Lodge

There are a couple of key provisions in Dimensional Slide that Fearspect does not mention which give strength to the argument that Dimensional Slide may not be used to escape a grapple. The first is that Dimensional Slide may be used as part of a move action or as part of a withdraw action. When using the withdraw action, a character is restricted to moving up to double her speed if she withdraws as part of a full-round action, or up to her speed if she withdraws as part of a standard action. She may not take other actions that she would ordinarily be able to take if moving as part of a move action, like taking a 5-foot step. The wording of the grappled condition clearly restricts characters from taking the withdraw action, because it forbids characters from moving. So before we even start talking about move actions, grappling already imposes a restriction on using Dimensional Slide as written. This is not a winning argument by itself, because Dimensional Slide can be used as part of a move action or a withdraw action. But it sets the tone for rest of the argument.

Second, Dimensional Slide, unlike the Shift power referenced by Beopere, the Dimensional Steps power of the base arcane school, and the dimension door spell upon which both are based, consumes squares of movement. A 6th-level arcanist with 30 feet of base movement who used Dimensional Slide to move 60 feet would not be able to move again that round without taking a second move action or a 5-foot step. The same arcanist who used Dimensional Slide to move 50 feet would be able to move another 5 feet conventionally, but would only be able to move those 5 feet conventionally without taking another move action or a 5-foot step. Tactical movement, the kind of movement that would be tracked in a situation where an arcanist might find himself grappled, is defined as movement that is tracked in 5-foot increments. Because the Arcanist's movement in a Dimensional Slide is tracked in 5-ft. increments (in terms of movement consumed; in terms of movement affected, it is tracked in 10-ft. increments, but this is only semantically different), it is tactical movement like that prevented by grapple. Interestingly, the distance an Arcanist can traverse using Dimensional Slide seems to be limited to double their base movement speed, rather than double their arcanist level, because it consumes squares of movement. This is not, however, an absurd result that invalidates the argument, as it might appear on its face. True, most Arcanists, being medium humanoids, will not have a greater than 30-ft. base movement speed. However, a Centaur Arcanist would have a higher movement speed. An Arcanist/Barbarian or Arcanist/Monk would have more than the typical base movement speed. An Arcanist buffed with haste would have an additional 30 ft. of movement speed to work with.

Third, this discrepancy between Dimensional Slide on the one hand and with the Conjuration school powers and dimension door on the other is not out of line with design intent. During the playtest, Jason Buhlman (who as Lead Designer was in command of the design team and can be presumed to be speaking for them) stated his intent to make the Arcanist feel and play differently from the Sorcerer and Wizard. The class received a major crunch and fluff overhaul in response to playtester criticism that it felt no different at all. The mechanical fruit of this overhaul was the arcane reservoir and the exploit system, of which Dimensional Slide is part. Given all this, there should be a strong presumption that Arcanist exploits, except where written to reference arcane school powers or bloodline abilities, or where the wording presents no ambiguity as to how the exploit should work, should be read to be different from analogous school powers and bloodline abilities. This presumption is reinforced by the fact that there is already an exploit that gives access to arcane school powers like Shift: School Understanding. If an Arcanist player wants Shift, she can simply take Shift via School Understanding. A reading that makes Dimensional Slide work like Shift not only flies in the face of the presumption that the Arcanist should play differently from the Wizard, but also reads Dimensional Slide out of existence and subsumes it into School Understanding. It could be argued that Dimensional Slide is made useless by a reading that does not permit it to escape a grapple, but this is not so. By using a move action, it frees up an Arcanist's swift action to do other things, for example, cast a Quickened spell or use an exploit that requires a swift action. Even restricted to an Arcanist's movement speed, it has a longer range than Shift. A 20th-level Wizard with no CL adjustments who uses Shift can teleport 50 ft. A 20th-level Arcanist with no CL adjustments and no boosts to her movement speed can traverse 60 ft. with Dimensional Slide; with haste, that becomes 120 ft.

A reading which prevents the Dimensional Slide exploit from working in a grapple is consistent with both RAW and RAI, and should be adopted at tables worldwide.


Zimmerwald,

I think you are forgetting that the slide itself only counts as 5 feet of movement. That means a 10th level human arcanist can walk 5 feet through the crack, jumping 100 feet in normal space, and still have 25 feet of movement left, still on the same move action. His slide distance is not limited by his movespeed.

EDIT:I otherwise agree with your choice of actions, grapple consequences, etc.

Shadow Lodge

Ah, well, there we differ on what the word "this" in the sentence "This counts as 5 ft. of movement" means. Does "this" refer to the movement at the rate of 10 ft. per caster level, or does "this" refer to the use of the power in general? I was working under the assumption that "this" referred to the movement at the rate of 10 ft. per caster level, because the clause taking about that movement was the direct antecedent to "this," but I'd be happy to admit to a misreading. It doesn't matter in any case. By consuming squares of movement, any squares of movement, using the Dimensional Slide ability falls under tactical movement, and is forbidden by the grappled condition.

EDIT: Actually, your reading strengthens my argument, because the biggest argument against my reading is that it "wastes" caster levels. My example Arcanist 20 with haste was still not making use of 8 of her caster levels under my reading of Dimensional Slide. Your reading removes that issue, makes the exploit even stronger, and reinforces the need to distinguish the exploit from the now much shorter-range Conjuration school powers.

EDIT 2: A potential erratum for clarity might be "Using this ability counts as 5 feet of movement."


I agree with beopere. I read and understood "this" as referring to the total distance moved with dimensional slide. But otherwise, I agree that it cannot be used in a grapple.


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I honestly wasn't expecting to find language preventing use in grapple, but it does seem pretty clear - you have to 'step' through, moving, as part of a move action, consuming movement. When you're in a grapple you can't move, unless you are the grappler and make a check to move yourself and your grapplee (and could then use this ability).


Majuba wrote:
I honestly wasn't expecting to find language preventing use in grapple, but it does seem pretty clear - you have to 'step' through, moving, as part of a move action, consuming movement. When you're in a grapple you can't move, unless you are the grappler and make a check to move yourself and your grapplee (and could then use this ability).

Grabbing someone and dragging them through a dimensional crack to a position advantageous to you? Sounds pretty sweet to me! Of course that means you could also bring friends which might be problematic.

Shadow Lodge

Beopere wrote:
Grabbing someone and dragging them through a dimensional crack to a position advantageous to you? Sounds pretty sweet to me! Of course that means you could also bring friends which might be problematic.

Not that problematic. In combat, in order to have a decent chance at grappling the opponent, you'd probably need at least one buff (alter self, bull's strength, polymorph, strangling hair, etc.). If this buff was applied before combat, it means 1 spent spell slot and either 1 spent spell prepared or 1 point spent from the arcane reservoir (buff => Quick Study => combat...ugh). If this buff is to be applied in-combat, it means spending all of the above plus some action to cast (and 1 full-round action to Quick Study away, if you're so inclined). It then requires spending some actions to get to the opponent's space, and more actions to actually grapple them. Only then can you start moving them around. Point is, there's a lot of setup involved, whatever the payoff.

Moving your friends around is much more problematic in general, because that scenario is not restricted to combat and the time actions take doesn't matter. In combat, player A giving player B (the Arcanist) permission to grapple takes no time, but player B establishing the grapple still does. Assuming they didn't start the turn adjacent, player B would have to move to player A's side, grapple, and then use Dimensional Slide next turn. That's time for the opponents to react. But out of combat, this takes no time at all. Given that, you can use dimensional slide like a poor man's dimension door, albeit on one friend at a time. And the "one at a time" caveat disappears if you polymorph into something that can grapple more than one creature at once.


Hehe the problematic portion of my post was intended to refer to grappling allies.

Shadow Lodge

Beopere wrote:
Hehe the problematic portion of my post was intended to refer to grappling allies.

Yeah, I've edited my post to include more thoughts on the latter. They're more or less the same; moving allies around in combat still takes actions, but fewer of them.


So for those of us just starting out...How does a caster NORMALLY escape grapple? I'm playing an arcanist and planning out the exploits I'll be taking when I get to them. I had read some guide suggesting Dimensional Slide get's you out of grapple but my DM says no. So what DO I do when that comes up? Currently I'm assuming I use Still Spell + something to drop the grapple.


Wodaen wrote:
So for those of us just starting out...How does a caster NORMALLY escape grapple? I'm playing an arcanist and planning out the exploits I'll be taking when I get to them. I had read some guide suggesting Dimensional Slide get's you out of grapple but my DM says no. So what DO I do when that comes up? Currently I'm assuming I use Still Spell + something to drop the grapple.

Dimensional Slide doesn't get you out of a grapple because you cannot move if you are grappled unless you become the "grappler" or escape the grapple.

Easiest way to escape a grapple is to be a Teleportation subschool Conjurer and use Shift. Su ability that simply functions as dimension door within sight range. As long as you can see the spot you want to go, you go there, and there is nothing the grappler can do to stop it.


Wizards can specialize in the Conjuration (Teleportation) subschool and gain an ability that way that acts as Dimension Door. An Arcanist may take School Understanding and gain access to this ability as well. Dimensional Slide, however, has amuch greater range of movement, though comes with the restriction that you must actually move, as stated above, making it unusable while grappled.

There's also the 4th level spell Dimension Door that helps out in this situation.


Thank you for the suggestions. Now to determine if I want to keep my plan to use #1 below.
1) School understanding(elemental arcane-void wizard-reveal weakness) and use still spell + dimension door for grapple
or to
2) grab the School understanding (conjuration-teleportation) to deal with grapple

I would still grab still spell at some point anyway, but option 2 is more flexible, while option 1 is nice for utility. I'm already a brown-fur so I'll be very utility heavy and may not need to reveal weakness.

Not trying to hijack the thread so...

TL;DR : For new people like me: Arcanist Dim. Slide is NOT a grapple release, but use still spell + dimension door(somatic componenets not allowed in grapple), or School understanding(conjuration-teleportation).


Wodaen wrote:

Thank you for the suggestions. Now to determine if I want to keep my plan to use #1 below.

1) School understanding(elemental arcane-void wizard-reveal weakness) and use still spell + dimension door for grapple
or to
2) grab the School understanding (conjuration-teleportation) to deal with grapple

I would still grab still spell at some point anyway, but option 2 is more flexible, while option 1 is nice for utility. I'm already a brown-fur so I'll be very utility heavy and may not need to reveal weakness.

Not trying to hijack the thread so...

TL;DR : For new people like me: Arcanist Dim. Slide is NOT a grapple release, but use still spell + dimension door(somatic componenets not allowed in grapple), or School understanding(conjuration-teleportation).

Dimension Door only has a Verbal Component. The reason Dimension Door doesn't work well as a grapple escape is that the concentration check to cast a spell in a grapple is 10+Grappler's CMB+Spell Level. This is often a difficult check to pass, as CMB can quickly get out of control against things with grab or NPCs built to grapple.


If you want out of a grapple, I suggest Liberating Command followed by a Dimensional Slide. Lets also not forget that Grease adds +10 to your CMB/Esc Art./CMD for getting out of a grapple.

Sovereign Court

Targeting yourself with Liberating Command doesn't do anything. It's an immediate action to cast, which gives the target the option of attempting an escape artist check as an immediate action. Guess what kind of action you can't take, because you already took one this round...


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

I've heard of plenty of people allowing dimension door to escape a grapple (with a good Concentration check).

Dimension door involves opening a rift and stepping through it as well.

So if dimension door can escape a grapple, why not dimensional slide?

Sovereign Court

Ravingdork wrote:
Dimension door involves opening a rift and stepping through it as well.

There is no support for this statement in the spell description. I believe earlier versions had similar flavor text, but the current version of the rules does not.

Sovereign Court

Actually, I just checked AD&D 1st and 2nd Edition and D&D 3.5 and they all have pretty much the same wording as Pathfinder. I remembered it being as you described, but apparently I had been inserting that this whole time due to the spell name.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Talon Stormwarden wrote:
Actually, I just checked AD&D 1st and 2nd Edition and D&D 3.5 and they all have pretty much the same wording as Pathfinder. I remembered it being as you described, but apparently I had been inserting that this whole time due to the spell name.

Really??? Surely it did exist in previous editions.

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