The idea of building the perfect bar brawling melee character isn’t a new idea, but it’s a fun one and there’s a reason so many of us have imagined how to go about creating that character using the mechanics of whatever TTRPG system we’re playing. In 5th Edition this was actually a bit rough as the Grappler feat, frankly, left a lot to be desired.
A lot has been changed with the introduction of the Unearthed Arcana for the One DnD system, so
The One D&D Grappler Feat provides players with a +1 to Strength or Dexterity, advantage on attacks against any creature you’ve grappled, no speed penalty from being grappled, and you can grapple a creature you hit with an unarmed attack during an attack action.
A lot has changed with the Grappler feat moving from 5E to 6E (aka One DnD), and these changes have really opened up how effective a grappler build can be. So is it enough to make that type of a build?
We’ll break down the feat further to answer this question and see what the best way to use this feat in your next build.
Let’s dive deeper into this heavily revised feat!
Grappler Feat DnD One Review
The best way to break down a feat is to check out the exact wording for DnD One’s Grappler Feat.
From Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes 2022:
Prerequisite: Strength or Dexterity 13+
You’re an accomplished wrestler, granting you the following benefits:
Ability Score Increase. Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
Attack Advantage. You have Advantage on Attack Rolls against a creature Grappled by you.
Fast Wrestler. You aren’t Slowed when you move a creature Grappled by you, provided the creature is your Size or smaller.
Punch and Grab. When you hit a creature with an Unarmed Strike as part of the Attack Action on your turn, you can deal damage to the target and also grapple it. You can use this benefit only once per turn.
Unearthed Arcana, Expert Classes, 2022
Let’s break down these benefits
Benefit #1: Increase your Strength or Dexterity by +1 up to a maximum of 20.
This is an ability score improvement that makes a lot of sense. Adding a bit of extra Strength or Dexterity allows a player to create the unarmed combat build of their choice whether that is a massive brawler or an agile trained fighter. Nothing that knocks your socks off, but it is an either/or that makes a lot of sense.
Benefit #2: You have Advantage on Attack Rolls against a creature Grappled by you.
Nice benefit because Advantage is always good. I also love the image of a character having an enemy in a headlock while just wailing on them WWE style. Don’t ask me why the mechanics work like this and how it would work in real life, the important part is that mechanically in One DnD this is allowed so don’t ask too many questions and enjoy your advantage on all attack rolls!
Benefit #3: You aren’t Slowed when you move a creature who is grappled by you.
Instead of having your speed halved, you can move at full speed. If you find yourself with a monk who is part of a snatch and grab kidnapping mission for some reason, then this is a big deal to get in, grab the target, or rescue them, and get out.
Benefit #4: The Punch and Grab means when you hit an Unarmed Strike as part of an Attack Action, you can also grapple the target after dealing damage to it.
Being able to do both in a turn is pretty great and with the way the mechanics are written, this isn’t an opposed grapple check. Based on the rules as written, this means as long as you hit the target, you can automatically grapple them. As far as grappling goes, that is extremely powerful.
How Does Grappler Feat Measure Up?
Grappler is a feat that’s hard to judge, because what exactly are you going to do with an unarmed combatant build in modern editions of Dungeons & Dragons? At low to middle levels this can be fun, but let’s be clear: it’s a meme/niche build. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or can’t work, but there are going to be very few classes that can make this work.
That said, this has gone from an absolute joke in 5th Edition to an interesting feat that might be quite niche for specific builds but actually potentially gives some serious benefits to player characters who pick it up.
This is a feat that can actually hold its own now, and add to some interesting builds that are designed to make the most out of the mechanical benefits that it gives.
In other words, in your face grapplers and brawlers don’t have to be pure meme builds anymore.
Grappler Feat: DnD One Vs 5E
The comparison isn’t even close here. The DnD One Grappler Feat is far superior to the 5E Grappler Feat in pretty much every way. Not only is a 13+ Dexterity now a way to meet the prerequisite (it was previously only 13+ Strength) but DnD One brings in a +1 to STR or DEX (player’s choice), you aren’t slowed when moving a creature that is grappled, and that Punch and Grab attack that grants advantage.
So what’s lost?
Related Article: 5E Grappler Feat Guide
The pin action from 5E, which was stupid and nobody liked, was removed. The ability to grapple and move more or less replaces that – and now even gives advantage.
So in other words from top to bottom this version of the Grappler Feat is superior to the one from 5th Edition that so many of us scoffed at (and rightly so).
Who Should Take the Grappler Feat in DnD One?
There are likely three classes who would work with this build:
Monks make a lot of sense both with style and mechanics. The fact that monks have additional movement at higher levels in addition to extra damage from unarmed attacks makes them a natural choice for an unarmed/grappler build.
So they make the most sense. Even if you weren’t going a pure unarmed build, the improvements in the One DnD version of this feat are enough that I would add this to my list of best monk feats for the new system because of all the ways this class in particular class can take advantage of the improved feat.
Next would be Fighter. With Action Surge and extra attacks the ability to grapple for advantage can make a huge difference and they have the armor to wade into a group fight and spend a round going unarmed to get the advantage before going to town on them.
Barbarians can work, but they also need the Tavern Brawler Feat to add extra damage to the unarmed attack. They tend to have huge strength so a d4 + 5 isn’t bad for damage since barbarians can get a 20 Strength score early.
Beyond those niche builds, there probably isn’t much else here.
DnD One Grappler Feat Final Grade
Because this feat is such a niche feat, and often goes hand in hand with the Tavern Brawler feat to make a niche character build (unless you go with the drunken monk build), but there are great Monk, Barbarian, and Fighter builds that can use this feat. I don’t feel like I can give it more than a B grade without further testing, but I think in the right campaign with a smart build, there are areas where this feat can shine well above the B grade it gets here.
Grappler went from one of the worst feats in D&D in 5th Edition to a solid and very intriguing feat that can do a lot of work for a smart character build.
Other Articles of Interest
- One DnD Elemental Adept Feat
- What Are Core Stats in DnD?
- One DnD Durable Feat
- One DnD Dual Wielder Feat
- One DnD Defensive Duelist Feat
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.