[RPG] Can you shove your way out of a grapple


The [grappled] condition also ends if an effect removes the
grappled creature from the reach of the grappler…

What's stopping the grapplee from shoving the grappler?

I've read that you can shove a grappled opponent to make them prone. Can the grapplee shove the grappler prone?

Best Answer

Default play: gridless.

Nothing stops a grappled creature from shoving.

"Grappled" zeroes out your speed, and that's it. (PHB p.290, "Appendix A: Conditions")

However, this may not break the grapple.

As you've quoted, the effect ends if the grappler's reach is exceeded. On a successful shove you can either knock your target prone or push them 5' away (PHB pp.195-196, "Shoving a Creature").

Knocking the grappler prone doesn't--by itself--move you out of the grappler's reach. Shoving the grappler 5' is... uncertain.

  • If you contend (as I would) that while grappled there is a functional distance of 0', then shoving 5' extends the distance to 5' and doesn't exceed the grappler's reach: grapple not broken. See also When you grapple an enemy, where are they?.
  • If you contend (as at least one or two others do) that there's no room in D&D for 0' separation, then a 5' shove would exceed the grappler's reach: grapple broken. Factors in favor of this interpretation: "whether a creature is a friend or an enemy you can't willingly end your move in its space" (PHB p.XX) plus the notion that one's "space" in gridless-world is larger than one's physical extent.

The one definite case I can think of (just for fun):

  1. You have the Charger feat.
  2. On your turn you Dash at least 10' into the 5' reach of an opponent...
  3. ... who had previously Readied a Grapple.
  4. Your GM rules that the Grapple (attempt) fires off before you can take your bonus-action Shove (from Charger).
  5. The grapple against you is successful. You're grappled.
  6. Now you get your shove, which is successful.
  7. Your grappler is shoved 10' away (per Charger), breaking the grapple.

Summary: this sounds like an excellent space for a ruling, leading to a house rule.

Variant play: grid.

Nothing stops a grappled creature from shoving.

same as above

This will break the grapple of a 5' reach.

In grid-world even when grappled creatures are at a 5' "distance" because, as @daze413 rightly points out, grappling doesn't move one into the same square.

The shove then moves the grappler 5' farther away, exceeding a 5' reach. So: yes, in grid-world the equation is

grappled + 5' shove = 10' separation