Grappling and moving?


Playing the Game


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TL;DR: My main question is "How can I move the target I've successfully grappled?"

Obviously a mechanic that's never simple, but in PF2E it has gotten much simpler. I'm just gonna go through the steps, as I understand them, for how a grapple works. I'd really appreciate if anyone confirmed I understand this correctly, or corrected me if I'm wrong. I'm doing this just to be thorough, but ultimately I'm wondering if it is possible at all in this game to move an enemy target without continually shoving them over and over or straight up knocking them out and then carrying an object (their limp body). This has traditionally been done in most pen and paper RPGs, and PF1E, by grabbing and dragging them around.

Making a Grapple is an Attack that is based off of Athletics, Athletics vs Fortitude (p.146). A successful Grapple results in the "grabbed" condition for the target (p.322), which is broken at the end of the grappler's next turn, if the grappler moves, the target Escapes (Acrobatics), or the target Breaks Grapple (Athletics). With the fighter's Combat Grab and then Improved Combat Grab feats, the target of a fighter's Strike will end in a "grabbed" condition, which is the same as a Successful Grapple action (although a Critical Success of the Grapple action results in "restrained," as opposed to "grabbed," which cannot happen from these feats). Some spells or creature abilities can also result in a grabbed state, but I'm just concerned about a humanoid player character grappling a target with their free hand via the Athletic's Grapple Action.

Since the grabbed condition ends at the turn after the grapple is initiated, the grappler must make a new Attack with Athletics to re-grapple each turn if they want to sustain the grapple, so they'd have 2 actions left in the round to potentially move, and if it's an attack action (like a Shove, p147), it'd be subject to the multiple attack penalty.

I haven't been able to find any basic action (p.307, a basic action, specialty basic actions, or movement type), any skill action (probably in Athletics? p146), or some description in the conditions (~p322, grabbed, immobile, flat footed, restrained are the relevant ones) that allows for the possibility of moving someone who is grappled/grabbed that doesn't immediately break the grapple. No moving at half speed, no doing something with a check, nothing.

The only way I think a grappler could move someone while grappling in PF2E is to break the grapple, such as using the Athletics action Shove (attack), to move them 5 feet, following them 5 feet with the same action (making it a move). This would break the grapple. Then you make a new Athletics action Grapple (attack) to re-initiate the grabbed state, but since this is the second attack in the round, it is subject to multi-attack penalties.

If I understand this correctly, I'd recommend just adding some form of Specialty Basic Action called Drag. Drag requires the same wording as Monk's lvl10 feat Sleeper Hold (p102), "Requirements: You have a creature grabbed or restrained," and is a Move action that moves both characters at half movement speed, with the grappled target ending within reach of the character without the grabbed condition. There's probably need to be extra wording about not triggering reactions from either of these characters, but that's the general idea. Since sustaining grapple currently requires an attack and an Athletics check, I don't think Drag needs a check or to be an Athletics based movement, as this is now taking 2 of your 3 actions just to move the target. Even just sustaining the grapple and eats up 1 attack, making your final action in a turn where you move the target, and therefore your entire turn, pretty underwhelming, as if you wanted to damage the target at all it'd be the second attack of the turn. With feat investment, at least a lvl1 and lvl2 Fighter feats, the action used to sustain the grapple could do significant damage, and with a Monk lvl 4 feat (Crushing Grab, p100), a very small additional amount of damage could be added, but I don't think this is enough to warrant making the Drag move action worse, as this is a lot of investment for a really niche and minor effect.

Anyway, I know that was long, but thanks for reading if you got through all that.


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I also love grappling, and I would just rule that if the grappler remains in control with a success, they can drag the target 5feet, on crit success the drag them 15.


We made up a drag maneuver that used the same rules as shove. It did not require that the enemy be grabbed. Looking back, that is too powerful, and a more balanced version would require that the target be grabbed (because grab lasts to the end of your next turn you could grab in one turn and then drag in the next without the multiple attack penalty).


I ruled that if you've grappled someone, you can drag them along with you as an item of 16 Bulk for medium creatures and 8 for small (half that if they're restrained). So unless you're extremely strong, dragging someone along behind you who is unwilling to go slows you down and gives you a penalty to most physical actions. And if you're already loaded down, you won't be able to move them at all.

The Bulk amounts came from the petrified condition.


Thanks for finding the petrified condition. I've been trying to figure out bulk for mount encumbrance.


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I've been wondering about this too and am curious why it isn't being discussed more. It is pretty absurd that there is seemingly no way to move a creature and maintain a grapple.

So the dragon that swoops down and grabs a sheep for dinner has to let it go mid-air each round after moving and then hope to catch it again? A giant cant grab a small creature and move with it?

Surely I am just missing something in the text...


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I know this is old but I just answered this somewhere else so I might as well put it here too.

In order to move a creature that you are grappling, you would use the Drag action.

The check would be an athletics vs target fortitude (1 grapple action). Then to move the creature, you drag. I feel like this would be another athletics vs fortitude (1 action) to force the movement, and a drag (1 action) movement.
In this case, you use half their creature bulk + bulk their carrying (depending on who/what). If you have enough strength left after your bulk ( you can carry a total of 5, you're carrying 2, and the creature bulk total is 2 so you could drag this creature). If the bulk is over what you can carry (same example except you were carrying 4 bulk), you could not move the creature at all.
Max movement according to dragging rules of approx 50ft/min, this would give you about approx 10ft to drag the grappled creature.

Pg 272 for drag and bulk rules

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