At what point on my turn must I use a Standard Action to maintain a Grapple?


Rules Questions


Sort of a dumb question here, but I'm looking at the Grapple rules and I seem to be missing something. I have no confusion over initiating a grapple. But the rules on ending or maintaining seem a bit vague.

If I'm controlling a grapple on a subsequent round, I must either spend a Free Action to end it or my Standard Action to maintain it (with a +5 bonus to the check). Well if I'm maintaining something, that must mean I'm continuing to do it; which suggests that I started my turn doing it and need to spend my Standard to continue to do it or spend a Free to stop doing it (which is the default action if the Standard isn't spent).

But the rules don't say WHEN I must spend that Standard. There's nothing in the text that says something like "At the start of your turn you must choose to end or maintain the grapple..."

The wording for it is very similar to the Duration of Concentration for certain Spells. Neither of these specify WHEN the Standard Action to maintain must be spent. Which leaves me with defaulting to the normal rules for Action Types; that is to say, it can be spent at any time during my turn.

That just seems odd though to think "At the start of my turn I am grappling. So first I Rake as Free Actions, then I redirect an active spell of mine as a Move action, then as a Paladin I self heal with my Swift action, and now...oh yeah, I spend my Standard to maintain."

I know opinions on this vary, but I'm trying to get at the core of the RAW concerning this.

Is this right? Or am I missing something?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No insult intended, but I think that you're over thinking the situation, and should just let it be. Trying to apply "real world logic" to any set of game rules can feel like banging your head against a wall, and stopping it will result in a great relief.

As an example; your character is moving quickly along a braw bridge to get to the gate, dealung with defenders as they go. Now, in the real world, if you were doing this you wouldn't stand still and wait every six seconds, you would be continuously moving. Does thus mean your movement action should always come at the start of the round?


No insult taken. :)

So which direction am I overthinking this? Are you saying the decision (and Action) needs to come at the beginning of my turn or are you saying it doesn't matter and can come at any point during my turn?


Elbedor wrote:
Sort of a dumb question here, but I'm looking at the Grapple rules and I seem to be missing something.

Not a dumb question: the Grappling rules are infamous for how badly written they are. There is a Munchkin Pathfinder Treasure Card with a picture of Munchkins poring over mountains of papers and rules that says "Attempt to Grapple, Gain 1 Level."

Elbedor wrote:
If I'm controlling a grapple on a subsequent round, I must either spend a Free Action to end

You don't even have to spend a Free Action to end a Grapple you are controlling. If you catch your GM on a day when he is in a mood to limit the number of Free Actions you are allowed to take in 1 turn, allowing the Grapple you are controlling to end doesn't even count as a Free Action.

Core Rulebook, Grapple, well, actually d20pfsrd.com wrote:
If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold.

If you allowed the Grapple to end, and if your opponent doesn't have Improved Grapple or something, then if he attempts to Grapple, he provokes an Attack of Opportunity.

Elbedor wrote:
The wording for it is very similar to the Duration

I am confident that that is exactly the correct analogy and the only way of looking at it that makes sense.

Elbedor wrote:
But the rules don't say WHEN I must spend that Standard. There's nothing in the text that says something like "At the start of your turn you must choose to end or maintain the grapple..."

Actually, I think it does say.

Core Rulebook, Grapple, well, actually d20pfsrd.com wrote:
you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold.

Since it doesn't specify when in your round you must take that Standard Action, you can take that Standard Action at any point in your turn. This tends not to matter, since you'd probably go ahead and make your next Grapple check in the same part of the round you did the last round. Say for instance, last round, you spent a Move Action to go up to your opponent then a Standard Action to Grapple him. Then the second round, you drew your Dagger as a Move Action, then Grappled as a Standard Action, electing to Damage your opponent with your Dagger, then you are in fact making your 2nd Grapple check in the same part of the round as you did last round.

And usually--I thing--GMs wouldn't be such sticklers for the rules as to say, "You made your Grapple Check first thing last round, if you don't do it first thing this round, the Grapple automatically ends." But if you do have that happen to you, I think a closer look at the rules shows that that GM would be in the wrong, insofar as a GM is capable of being wrong, cause the GM is always right, unless it's Pathfinder Society, in which he is supposed to be bound by RAW just like the players are. But that perhaps is another matter.

Further,

Actions in Combat, d20pfsrd wrote:
Free actions don't take any time at all... You can perform one swift action per turn without affecting your ability to perform other actions.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd just let you take the actions in whichever order you want.


Most people do it at the beginning, but the rules do not really say when. Is there a particular case when it matters?


wraithstrike wrote:
Most people do it at the beginning, but the rules do not really say when. Is there a particular case when it matters?

I think that the OP brought up one that might


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Most people do it at the beginning, but the rules do not really say when. Is there a particular case when it matters?
I think that the OP brought up one that might

He brought up a paladin redirecting a spell, but that is not a factor since the spell would not be concentration based.


I've seen argument made in the Rules forum that in order for a creature to use its Rake ability it had to perform its attempt to maintain the Grapple first. This was based on the idea that at the moment your turn begins, you must choose whether to continue the grapple or end it before you do anything else.

That didn't sound right to me as the Rake ability mentions working if you begin your turn grappling; not if you succeed to maintain the grapple in a subsequent round.

Then that got me wondering exactly where, if anywhere, the Grapple attempt to maintain had to be made during your turn. It didn't look like the rules specified anywhere....meaning it could be done at the end if you wanted.

Scott had a good example. If I'm grappling and want to draw a weapon first so I can do the damage with that on a maintain as opposed to with my unarmed strike.

So I wasn't clear on how exactly it worked. But thanks for summing it up better than the books do.


Elbedor wrote:

I've seen argument made in the Rules forum that in order for a creature to use its Rake ability it had to perform its attempt to maintain the Grapple first. This was based on the idea that at the moment your turn begins, you must choose whether to continue the grapple or end it before you do anything else.

That didn't sound right to me as the Rake ability mentions working if you begin your turn grappling; not if you succeed to maintain the grapple in a subsequent round.

Then that got me wondering exactly where, if anywhere, the Grapple attempt to maintain had to be made during your turn. It didn't look like the rules specified anywhere....meaning it could be done at the end if you wanted.

Scott had a good example. If I'm grappling and want to draw a weapon first so I can do the damage with that on a maintain as opposed to with my unarmed strike.

So I wasn't clear on how exactly it worked. But thanks for summing it up better than the books do.

With regard to the Rake - the wording appears to allow you to do it before making your check to continue the grapple. Since your foe also had a chance to escape the grapple on their turn, this makes some sense - otherwise you're basically risking 2 standard actions, plus foe's chance to escape, just to get your rake in at the end of the second round (at which point if you've succeeded in your maintaining of grapple you have several options already available - damage, pin, move, etc)

We've had a couple grappling actions in our games recently, its rough and we try to move through them as quickly as possible. The biggest one that came up was attempting to grapple during an AoO as the enemy was trying to get away - which if I read the rules right isn't allowed. however, going forward we're going to house-rule that in. Seems silly that you could cut the person down, but if you want to take them alive you're not allowed to try grabbing them instead during an AoO. It seems the logic was that if you don't have the right feats, then your AoO action -also- provokes an AoO and its an endless do loop.

Liberty's Edge

If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. If your target does not break the grapple, you get a +5 circumstance bonus on grapple checks made against the same target in subsequent rounds. Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).
I think the rules lean towards the maintain check being made at the beginning of the turn. The rules state that you can maintain the grapple by making a check on your next turn, but if you choose to take a different action at the beginning of your turn, you are choosing to not maintain while you take that other action.


That was my initial question because what I was seeing at tables wasn't matching up with what I was reading in the rules. The Rake rules, for example, imply that they take place before any Maintenance roll is made.

Also the example of drawing a weapon as a Move in order to deal its damage instead of your Unarmed damage makes perfect sense to me. How many staged fights have there been where two men are grappling and one pulls something to hit the other guy with?

Lastly, I haven't been able to find anything concerning Maintaining a Grapple or Maintaining a Concentration spell where it says the Standard needed for those MUST come first at the start of your turn. Just that the dedicated Standard action needs to be included as part of your turn or else the effect (Grapple or Spell) ends.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You want a fun one?

Casting a 1 round spell accross two rounds requires the standard action in both rounds.

NOTHING says that these have to be 2nd action in the 1st round and the 1st action in the second round. You could cast/move and then move/cast. It's just expressing the "real" action of casting a spell whilst walking 60'(?) within the rules of the game.


Rake says you must be grappling at the beginning of your turn. It doesn't say you have to maintain grappling. Some wiggle room there if you wanted to use your standard action on something else and still rake. I would do the rake first though and get it out of the way.


Darrell Impey UK wrote:

You want a fun one?

Casting a 1 round spell accross two rounds requires the standard action in both rounds.

NOTHING says that these have to be 2nd action in the 1st round and the 1st action in the second round. You could cast/move and then move/cast. It's just expressing the "real" action of casting a spell whilst walking 60'(?) within the rules of the game.

well actually it says casting a one round spell is a full round action.

And a Full Round Action allows only a 5" step

Just for clarification.


@Akkurscid

You can cast a one round spell, which is a full round action, by using the Standard Action Option of (Start/Complete a full round action).

So, in that one specific case, you can start casting a full round action and also more a double move over the course of 2 rounds, instead of one round.

It is a rare corner case, and typically most people don't do it since it allows a 1 round spell to be interrupted before it completes, which is not normally possible without a readied action on the enemies part.

Usually I only see it done when there is an environmental effect in place that makes standing still for a whole round not viable.


Well, a 1 round spell *IS* normally able to be interrupted without a ready action because it does normally span over all creatures' turns (until just before your next turn). Extending that to some point during your own next turn doesn't really change much at all.

And yeah, Rake... Oh, Rake...

Grab creatures also bring it up, because if they want to full attack each round (re-applying Grapple via Grab),
it's better for them* to still be benefitting from DEX penalties to a Grappled target vs. "needing to" drop Grapple first.

* At the least, they at least if the Grappler can somehow not count as being Grappled themselves, as Krakens can, otherwise attack penalties/DEX penalties cancel out. Although even then it still has a benefit of preventing the grapple victims from taking an AoOs they might be able to during a Full Attack/Grab sequence (e.g. Come and Get Me, other AoO enablers).


TGMaxMaxer wrote:

@Akkurscid

You can cast a one round spell, which is a full round action, by using the Standard Action Option of (Start/Complete a full round action).

So, in that one specific case, you can start casting a full round action and also more a double move over the course of 2 rounds, instead of one round.

It is a rare corner case, and typically most people don't do it since it allows a 1 round spell to be interrupted before it completes, which is not normally possible without a readied action on the enemies part.

Usually I only see it done when there is an environmental effect in place that makes standing still for a whole round not viable.

Ah missed that, learned something new.


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Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Elbedor wrote:
If I'm controlling a grapple on a subsequent round, I must either spend a Free Action to end
You don't even have to spend a Free Action to end a Grapple you are controlling. If you catch your GM on a day when he is in a mood to limit the number of Free Actions you are allowed to take in 1 turn, allowing the Grapple you are controlling to end doesn't even count as a Free Action.

Actually, it is a free action:

Grapple wrote:
Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold.

Yep, if you're nauseated, the game crashes.

Abort, Retry, Fail?


Byakko wrote:
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Elbedor wrote:
If I'm controlling a grapple on a subsequent round, I must either spend a Free Action to end
You don't even have to spend a Free Action to end a Grapple you are controlling. If you catch your GM on a day when he is in a mood to limit the number of Free Actions you are allowed to take in 1 turn, allowing the Grapple you are controlling to end doesn't even count as a Free Action.

Actually, it is a free action:

Grapple wrote:
Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold.

Yep, if you're nauseated, the game crashes.

Abort, Retry, Fail?

Yes, you can end a Grapple as a Free Action. What I'm saying is that if you take no action at all--not a Standard Action to maintain the Grapple not even any Free Actions--the Grapple automatically ends at the end of your turn: the duration expires, no action required. Sometimes, that matters.


Except it says you MUST maintain the grapple as a standard action if you don't release them as a free action. You're not allowed to choose to do neither.


Byakko wrote:
Except it says you MUST maintain the grapple as a standard action if you don't release them as a free action. You're not allowed to choose to do neither.

You know what, I think you are right.

Sovereign Court

Ah, but what if you are nauseated, and per the recent FAQ, can only take Move, not Free or Standard actions?

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