This article has been requested a few times and I finally found time and motivation to write it. I put a lot of focus on explaining the exact mechanics of the rules so any player can grab this guide and know everything that need to know to grapple successfully, and once you’re comfortable with the basics you can become mathematically unstoppable with surprisingly little effort.
The grapple+shove combo has been a staple tactic for front-line martial characters, and I give it some focus in this article so that you can get the most out of your grappler. I also found some fun surprises while writing it, like the fact that artificers can be weirdly effective grapplers.
VERY helpful guide, to say the least. Thanks for getting to this one!
Very nice write-up! I really appreciate how it connects grappling with the Climb onto a Bigger Creature option.
One small addition I would make is to consider Ranger with the Optional Class Features from Tasha’s. This allows you to double your proficiency bonus in one skill, which could be Athletics. Strength-based rangers (“STRangers”) are viable and seem to have a devoted following online. I don’t think rangers would be as natural to optimize around grappling as fighters, but I can imagine some useful combinations with ranger abilities–e.g. using Zephyr Strike to get through a crowd of minions to grapple the enemy leader.
I also think it’s worth more explicitly discussing how grappling can synergize with other party members’ abilities. For example, rogues benefit from grapple+shove, a warlock ally can use Hex to help a grappler out, and all sorts of spellcasters can create area effects that a grappled creature can’t escape. On the other hand, shoving an opponent prone means attacks from more than 5 ft away are made with disadvantage.
Thanks for the feedback! I’ve made some additions throughout the article to include your suggestions. I’m a little embarrassed that I forgot that Rangers could get Expertise now.