[RPG] How to grapple/drag an unconscious ally? Does he make a contested check against mine


Do I need to follow the grappling rule "making a grapple check instead of an Attack roll: a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use)" when grappling an ally who is doing death saving throws? As he is an ally and wants to be grappled, he wouldn't try to escape from my grappling. Also, he is kind of dead so he shouldn't be able, should he?

Best Answer

There is no need for a contest.

Grappling is a contest (PHB p. 195):

Battle often involves pitting your prowess against that of your foe. Such a challenge is represented by a contest. This section includes the most common contests that require an action in combat: grappling and shoving a creature.

But contests only matter when there is opposition, according to the rules for contests (PHB p. 174):

Sometimes one character's or monster's efforts are directly opposed to another's. This can occur when both of them are trying to do the same thing and only one can succeed.... This situation also applies when one of them is trying to prevent the other one from accomplishing a goal.... In situations like these, the outcome is determined by a special form of ability check, called a contest.

The contest rules for grappling are only provided to help resolve a conflict between two opposed parties. There's no opposition in the case you present, so there's no reason to use those rules. In fact, there's no real reason the grappled condition should be necessary.

You can drag a body weighing a number of pounds up to your Strength score times 30 without any question (PHB p. 176). Your speed would be reduced to 5 feet if the person is heavier than 15 times your Strength score, which makes this mostly viable if you are strong and they are light, but even with such a penalty most characters would still be able to drag the fallen ally 10 feet per combat round by dashing, which can make the difference in some scenarios.

Alternatively, the DM might just ask you to make a Strength check of some sort to see if you can drag your unconscious ally without penalties.

So, just try to drag the body by following any instructions the DM gives you, because grappling doesn't fit the situation.