Dragon's Dogma - Hold02

Grapple hold - "Nelson" on a goblin

Dragon's Dogma - Hold01

Grapple hold - "Pinned" Saurian

Grappling is a combat mechanic in Dragon's Dogma.


Grappling allows the Arisen or pawn to grab, hold, pin or restrain enemies in position, allowing others to attack without risk - whilst grappled attacks delivers additional damage to the helpless enemy.

Only Fighters, Warriors, Assassins and Mystic Knights can grapple foes, other vocations can pick up, carry or throw downed or staggered enemies, but not grapple.

Encumbrance Stamina use †
Overencumbered 1x
Very Heavy 1x †
Heavy 1.5x
Average 2x
Light 2.5x
Very Light 3x ‡
† Relative to very heavy encumbrance
‡ Stamina use is ~30/sec

Grappled foes will struggle to free themselves, just as the Arisen can struggle when grabbed by larger foes - eventually they will break free. Character Weight or Encumbrance has no direct effect on the time it takes for a foe to break free, but if the struggling foe gets staggered by attacks (from any source) its struggle progress resets.

Additionally grappling consumes Stamina and if stamina is fully depleted the hold will be broken prematurely. The rate of stamina use is high with low Encumbrance and low with high encumbrance - but Character Weight has no effect on stamina use.

In most cases, to be grappled a foe must either be stunned, staggered, knocked down, exhausted, or in some other way incapacitated. Depending on the foe they will either be held in a 'Nelson' hold (e.g., bandits), or 'pinned' to the ground (e.g., Saurians).

Only smaller foes can be grappled - giant enemies cannot be grappled, but can be climbed; whilst small enemies such as Spiders cannot be grappled or climbed, but instead can be picked up and thrown.

"Friendly Fire"

When grappling a foe the usual rules on friendly fire are reversed - attacks by foes do damage to their grappled ally, and the grappler is usually undamaged. Both humanoid foes held in a 'Nelson' hold, and quadruped foes pinned take damage from their allies.

  • Most melee and magickal attacks are inflicted on the grappled creature.
  • Very effective when outclassed - for example Snowy Saurians will lose between one third and one quarter of their total health when pinned and hit by another Saurian Mage.
  • Some attacks still strike the grappler :
    • A Saurian's kick attack
    • Bolide meteors
  • Holding or pinning enemies doesn't protect the holder against debilitating spells like a Lich's Lassitude.

Creature grapples

Most giant creatures have a variant of a grapple attack; for example a Chimera may grab with the snake's head, or hold down with the front paws whilst mauling the victim. Ogres, Cyclops, Golems, and the Chimera's snake combine the grabs with a "chew" attack, whilst Dragonkin either attempt to possess pawns, or smash the Arisen to the ground.

Escape is possible from most grapples (wiggle L-stick), with the exception of Dragonkin - allied attacks to all grapplers may break their hold.

Undead may also grapple their targets - the correct response is to attempt to shake lose, or in the case of an ally - grappling the foe will alsp release them - see Undead Strategy Vol. 2.

All enemy grabs are unblockable attacks.

Pawn Chatter

"I have it!"
"I'll grab hold of it!"
"Now, Arisen! End it!"
"I've hold of one! Now, strike!"
"I'll hold it! Finish it, quickly!"
"Rain steel upon it!"
"The tail! Hurry, while I've ahold!"


I believe I can fly

After attempting to 'grapple' a harpy in flight ..

  • Grappling is done by holding the "grab" button, whilst carrying is done by tapping the same button.
  • Attack power (Damage Calculation) is more than doubled when attacking grappled foes, allowing defenses to be broken, and greatly increased damage - the increase in power is even more than four Strength Boosted invigorations
  • Pawns will rush to a downed foe to grapple it irrespective of Pawn Inclination.
  • Pressing attack whilst grappling will release the enemy with a damaging kick.
    • Similarly, when breaking free from a grapple, humanoid enemies (e.g., bandits and hostile guards) will cause minor damage to the Arisen or pawn using the grapple. It will also cause a slight stagger.
  • Vocations that cannot grapple have the option of grabbing, carrying, and throwing enemies.
  • Attempts to "grab" a harpy in flight may result in the Arisen clinging to the harpy's legs in a situational reverse of when harpies grab humans - some degree of control over the flight is possible - for details see Harpy § Flying.
  • Pawns will actively grapple any susceptible foe - in the absence of any suitable knockdown skill, simply blocking attacks from smaller enemies will exhaust their stamina, leaving them open to being grabbed.
    • Susceptible foes include small sleeping enemies, which will be woken by grappling, but can then be put to sleep again with Sopor - if hit in this state damage is massively increased.
  • Possessed pawns will grapple the Arisen, but this behaviour seems to confuse their new allies, and creatures such as goblins fail to attack.
  • Stamina use when grappling is increased in Hard Mode.
  • The Dark Arisen Bonus Enhancement "Extends duration of your enemy holds." will double the time it takes for an enemy to break free from a grapple.
  • (Glitch) When grappling undead within the area of effect of Unholy Anodyne spell. It disables all controls making impossible to release the enemy until the spell expires. It is advised to pick up the enemy rather than grapple in these circumstances.


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