Who has the best grapples?


Advice

Scarab Sages

I've been toying with making a "wrestler" character for a while now and I am having a lot of trouble deciding what class to play. The more I research, the more options I seem to find for being a good grappler.

I've seen people post that Animal Instinct Barbarian has the best grapple, but without giving any reason why. I also see good grappling abilities on the Monk and Fighter. As a skill, it can be built for by any class, with Clerics having a focus spell to boost it and Rogues being able to take advantage of the flat-footed condition for their sneak attacks.

With Escape being an attack action that utilizes MAP, trading one action you can take advantage of for one or more enemy actions seems like a good deal.

So, which class has the best athletics score for grapples? Which class best takes advantage of grapples? Who is the wrestling champ?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It's not just a simple matter of highest + to grappling but the answer there is Barbarians.

Barbs can get a Feat (Furious Bully) that adds +2 to grapples, and another that lets them spend an action after a successful attack to auto Grapple.

Fighters have a feat that gives an auto grapple after hitting a strike.

Monks can attempt grapples on 2 different targets at the same time with Flurry of Maneuvers, or can use Mixed Maneuver to grapple and trip/shove with no MAP.

Both Monks and Barbs can get a feat that adds strength dmg to successful Grapples.

Monks can throw grappled targets (whirling Throw) or knock them out (Sleeper Hold)

Barbarians can Thrash their grappled target around to do damage to the target and others (collateral Thrash).

So it depends on what type of grappling you're looking for. The best is probably some combination of Barb/Monk.

And then there are Swashbuckler Gymnasts that can take Derring-Do which gives them essentially advantage on Grapple checks while they have panache.


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Succubi. 'Nuff said.

Scarab Sages

Are the feats that auto grab worth it? Wouldn't they usually have less of a chance of restraining your foe and a lower Escape DC as they use an attack roll rather than Athletics?

The monk abilities seem cool.

Does Thrash take better advantage of a restrained foe than a Rogue's sneak attack or a Ranger's precision damage and maybe a bear companion getting a secondary grab?


I think the "effect that is restraining you" in this case would be the grappler themselves, and would use their normal Athletics DC, rather than being the Combat Grab or other feat you used, based on the wording in Escape where it says "choose one creature... Imposing any of those conditions on you". But could be worth an FAQ.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
BellyBeard wrote:
I think the "effect that is restraining you" in this case would be the grappler themselves, and would use their normal Athletics DC, rather than being the Combat Grab or other feat you used, based on the wording in Escape where it says "choose one creature... Imposing any of those conditions on you". But could be worth an FAQ.

Well if not athletics than class dc which could be nice (a DeX fighter may have a better class dc than athletics)

Scarab Sages

Ah, I misunderstood how the DC for Escape works. I thought it was based on the original roll used to grapple. Its just a set DC. Not as cool, but I understand why.


Here's the text of Escape I was referring to earlier:

Quote:
You attempt to escape from being grabbed, immobilized, or restrained. Choose one creature, object, spell effect, hazard, or other impediment imposing any of those conditions on you. Attempt a check using your unarmed attack modifier against the DC of the effect. This is typically the Athletics DC of a creature grabbing you, the Thievery DC of a creature who tied you up, the spell DC for a spell effect, or the listed Escape DC of an object, hazard, or other impediment. You can attempt an Acrobatics or Athletics check instead of using your attack modifier if you choose (but this action still has the attack trait).

The second sentence says you choose a creature who has you grabbed. The fourth sentence says, if you chose a creature, the DC to escape is their Athletics DC.

Of course, it says "typically", so it's unclear if Combat Grab and the like are "typical" here. However, given that grabs as an add-on to an attack are so common (with the grab ability for monsters being a fairly common ability), I would personally just go with what it says for the "typical" case, especially since a good attack roll can make the grab near impossible to escape if you use that for DC. Also means you have to note down individual attack results so you can refer back to it as a DC, which seems like more of a hassle than just using Athletics DC. But YMMV.


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Animal Instinct Barbarian is cited as best grappler because they can get Grapple weapons from their instinct which means they add their potency rune bonus to their grapple checks.

Liberty's Edge

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Paradozen wrote:
Animal Instinct Barbarian is cited as best grappler because they can get Grapple weapons from their instinct which means they add their potency rune bonus to their grapple checks.

This is purely an economy measure. The weapon's bonus is an Item bonus and thus doesn't stack with an Athletics item. So it saves money by allowing you to skip an Athletics item, but doesn't actually increase your absolute numbers.

Animal Totem Barbarians remain some of the best grapplers in the game, mind you, but this is a very minor component of that.


I think everybody can use Unarmed Wraps for Item bonus to Grapple and other "free hand" "maneuvers". This was from old Playtest statements from Stephen Radney MacFarlane but he suggested all those were using "Unarmed", and that they would be able to swap DEX for STR since standard Unarmed is Finesse (although non-standard Unarmed attacks like Animal Barb may not be). IMHO that really needs explicit RAW text Errata to make that clearer (as well as non-Unarmed Finesse Maneuver Trait weapons DEX-to-Athletics Maneuvers), but he was solid on that ruling and nothing changed about those rules since then.

Now Barbarian may be more likely to be using Unarmed Wraps, but it's not per se unique to them, and can be combo'd with normal weapon usage, although if Athletics maneuvers is ONLY usage you want from it you're probably better off with Athletics item (which also helps non-attack Athletics usages).


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Quandary wrote:

I think everybody can use Unarmed Wraps for Item bonus to Grapple and other "free hand" "maneuvers". This was from old Playtest statements from Stephen Radney MacFarlane but he suggested all those were using "Unarmed", and that they would be able to swap DEX for STR since standard Unarmed is Finesse (although non-standard Unarmed attacks like Animal Barb may not be). IMHO that really needs explicit RAW text Errata to make that clearer (as well as non-Unarmed Finesse Maneuver Trait weapons DEX-to-Athletics Maneuvers), but he was solid on that ruling and nothing changed about those rules since then.

Now Barbarian may be more likely to be using Unarmed Wraps, but it's not per se unique to them, and can be combo'd with normal weapon usage, although if Athletics maneuvers is ONLY usage you want from it you're probably better off with Athletics item (which also helps non-attack Athletics usages).

Until they errata it I'm going to assume that most unarmed attacks do not add their item bonus to attack rolls to maneuvers as well. They gave the grapple trait to specific unarmed attacks and not others, I don't think the intent was for that to mean nothing because everyone gets that on an unarmed attack anyway. I do think an errata is in order of the intent really is that handwraps of mighty strikes apply to all free hand maneuvers.


Others have probably said.

Animal barbarian with a unarmed strike with the grapple trait.

This let's them add the bonus from handwraps to grapples.

Then take the barbarian feat for +2 to grapples.

Then multiclass into monk at higher levels.

Fob+furious grab is nice for level 12.

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