Dungeons & Dragons Online

Ankheg grapple + drag underground – mechanics

I'm prepping for an encounter with ankhegs and hoping to get your collective wisdom about how to apply game mechanics to the idea of ankhegs dragging their grappled prey underground before killing them.

  1. Firstly, do ankhegs get surprise (on any non-Alert PCs) when they burst out of the ground right under a PC? From the narrative description, it sounds like perhaps they should.
  2. Regarding the idea of dragging prey underground after successfully grappling them, it seems to me this would be a logical way for them to deal with any prey that isn't immediately killed from the initial bite, much like crocodiles IRL with try to drown large prey. They can drag grappled prey 5' per turn while still taking bite actions, or 10' if using dash instead of attacking (double speed for halflings, gnomes and other small prey).
  3. I'm thinking the PC would receive perhaps 1d4 bludgeoning damage from being banged around during the burrowing, in addition to any other damage.
  4. According to the MM, a burrowing ankheg "leaves a narrow, partially collapsed tunnel in its wake." I am thinking that would mean no suffocation for the player (luckily), maybe 5' crawl speed to get out, and no ranged attacks from friends who are more than 10' behind the ankheg (no clear line of sight).
  5. I found these suggested rules by u/aaronil for the PC or their friends trying to attack the ankheg while underground, which make sense to me:

Two-handed slashing and bludgeoning weapons can't be wielded in the ankheg's tunnel due to its shape (long but narrower), and further that one-handed slashing and bludgeoning weapons suffer disadvantage to hit. For ranged attacks, it would be a question of how much zig-zagging the tunnel does whether there is line of sight…if you were making a ranged attack while in the ankheg's jaws, then the Ranged Attacks in Close Combat rule would apply. Spellcasting would be handled as normal. If you're in its chelicerae (jaws) and try to cast a ranged attack spell, that would be subject to the Ranged Attacks in Close Combat rule above.

I'd love to know your thoughts. Is this how you play ankhegs and other similar burrowing monsters? Any other suggestions, or revisions to the above?

Source: reddit.com

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