Grapplemancer (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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Author's Note: "Who wants a hug?"


A wizard that's so much better at grappling than any "traditional" grappler it blows them out of the water.


  • Lords of Madness
  • Races of the Wild
  • Spell Compendium
  • Stormwrack
  • Expanded Player's Handbook

Game Rule Components[edit]


  • Enlarge Person
  • Fearsome Grapple
  • Babau Slime
  • Balor Nimbus (Optional)
  • Bladeweave (Optional)
  • Polymorph (Later on)


Starting Ability Scores (Before Racial Adjustments): (Assuming 32 Point Buy) 16 14 14 16 8 8

Race (Templates): Human

ECL Class/HD/LA Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Feats Class
Fort Ref Will
1st Wizard 1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike Summon Familiar: Octopus
2nd Wizard 2 +1 +0 +0 +3
3rd Wizard 3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Aberration Blood (Flexible Limbs)


  • Psionic Tattoo of Grip of Iron


Grapple Check[edit]

3 (Strength) + 1 (BAB) + 3 (Octopus Familiar) + 4 + 1 (Enlarge Person, Str bonus) + 2 (Aberration Blood) + 4 (Fearsome Grapple) + 4 (Improved Grapple) + 4 (Grip of Iron) = +26


Use Babau Slime and Balor Nimbus, both in Spell Compendium, to deal damage. Bladeweave will daze your grappled opponents (also Spell Compendium). Bladeweave is a swift action spell, and Fearsome Grapple is an immediate action spell, which basically means you go nuts. Note that an immediate action counts as your swift action for the turn, even if you used it before your turn began. There is a way around this though: to cast Bladeweave (or any other spell with the daze effect, there are plenty) from a magic item, which is a free action. Using a normal touch spell could be effective in some cases, since not all opponents can be dazed. This character would probably find some interesting uses for ordinary spells that are normally limited in usefulness due to their range. For example Shocking Grasp (and similar, primarily used for creating weapons) or Touch of Idiocy (normally has to be delivered by a familiar or a spectral hand). Remember that the best time to initiate a grapple is when your foe thinks he has the upper hand: such as when he's bullrushing you, trying to trip you, or attempting a grapple himself. Beware of opponents with natural weapons, armor spikes, and oddly textured outerwear. Also cliffs.

Munchkin-Size Me[edit]

Once you hit level 7, you can apply all your grapple bullshit as a Remorhaz.

If you're willing to wait until level 6 to get Aberration Blood, you can pick up the Elvish alternate racial wizard variant in Races of the Wild to double the bonus that Octopus gives you to grapple checks.


  • Low HP
  • You set a couple feats on fire.

DM Counters[edit]

  • Ranged attacks
  • Multiple attackers
  • Sneak attackers

It's important to note that none of these are really counters to the build because you can just change your spell configuration around, or prepare a few different spells or scrolls each day, and be a normal wizard that powers through all the opposition anyway. Other things to make our grapplemancer get creative

  • armor spikes (remember, this is still a wizard. s/he doesn't have much hp).
  • cloak of thorns
  • bite attacks, gaze attacks and/or tail attacks
  • a conveniently placed drop and/or trap
  • the footblade (Races of the Wild)
  • a lich with more than two limbs.
  • breath weapons (a grappling character automatically fails their reflex save unless they release the grapple)

None of these things actually prevent a grapple, they just make it an unwise decision for a squishy wizard. Actual counters:

  • ethereal/incorporeal creatures.
  • freedom of movement
  • swarms
  • polymorph/wild shape. (a creature that changes shape while grappled immediately becomes not grappled. Their new shape may be able to avoid being grappled due to being slippery: remember that wild shape can include aquatic animals).
  • baleful polymorph (or the enemy could just change *your* shape, to something with no hands perhaps).
  • oozes (can't be grappled, they're jelly)
  • repulsion (3.5 PH specifically states it can be used to push creatures)
  • shield bash + high strength.
  • grease (enemy applies to self before grapple commences).

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