View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Creature Climbing: A Grappling Expansion

2016-02-07, 09:16 PM
One thing I noticed that was missing from combat that's a fairly common trope in many pieces of fantasy is the ability to climb towering creatures of enormous size, or maybe those only twice a human's size. In any case, 5E lacks official rules for this, unless I somehow missed them like an idiot. Anyways, onward and up(the dragon's leg)ward!

Quick Disclaimer: This might not be useful in some campaigns, but with DMs that give special damage bonuses for particular attacks or use adaptive or creative monster tactics, this can be a very neat addition.


Creature Climb
When you choose the Attack action, you may replace one of your attacks with the a special Creature Climb attack, provided you are within 5ft of the target and the target is two sizes or more larger than you. Similar to grappling, when you choose to make a Creature Climb attack, you perform a Strength (Athletics) check. However, instead a contested check, the DC of the Strength (Athletics) check is instead equal to 10 + the target's DEX modifier + any terrain modifier. The terrain modifier is left to the DM's discretion, but creatures with rough exteriors riddled with many possible handholds, such as earth elementals and dragons, have a modifier of 0, while creatures who have smooth or otherwise intangible surfaces can have ridiculously high modifiers. Situations which would grant advantage on attacks apply to Creature Climbs, and disadvantage can be applied in circumstances such as climbing a creature while falling or attempting to Creature Climb on an oiled up creature.

While climbing a creature, you are considered within the creature's space, and may expend your movement to change to a different part of the creature's space as if you were moving through it (Moving 5 ft requires 10 ft of movement). You may also perform any action or bonus action you could otherwise perform one-handed.

The target of a Creature Climb can use its action to try and remove you as if escaping a grapple.


Anyways, remember, this is really loose, so the most important piece to keep in mind is rule 0. As a player, be creative with how you use this. If you're fighting a dragon, climb onto its neck to stay safe from its breath attack. As a DM, if a player is Creature Climbing and is on the back of a giant, have the giant fall on its back to squish that pesky adventurer. Don't feel bad about forcing new Athletics checks if the climber is shot by an arrow or something. This rule is to be a simple standard to give ideas. Remember, encourage player creativity! If a player takes the time to climb a cyclops and stab it in the eye with a giant greatsword, make it more effective than simply hacking away at its legs.

2016-02-07, 10:41 PM
I like this! I am going to apply it to my game. I've always had/allowed creature climbing, but this is an excellent baseline.

2016-02-07, 11:19 PM
Supremely fond of this. I particularly like the decision to tie the whole thing to a flat DC system rather than an opposed check.

2016-02-09, 01:57 PM
Nice little rule addition. One thing I would do, though, is give examples of terrain modifiers, for instance:

Dragon 0
Giant Carrion Crawler +5
Golem made of pure force +10

Just to have an idea.

2016-02-10, 06:14 PM
Unless I'm much mistaken, rules for this sort of thing were included in the DMG

2016-02-10, 06:47 PM
Unless I'm much mistaken, rules for this sort of thing were included in the DMG

So I guess I did miss them in the official rules options like an idiot. :smallbiggrin:

Ah well.