While the mechanics of grappling are fairly straightforward, a player or a dungeon master can gain many strategic ideas from exploring this action.
I’ll admit, I’ve written somewhat about this topic before, but only because it weighs heavily on my mind when I run a game. As a player who doesn’t particularly enjoy combat, I’ve narrowed down what issues I have with combat and a simple formula to spice up fights in gameplay. These steps take little effort to incorporate and have been tested in my own games.
It’s entirely natural for players to start their Dungeons and Dragons campaign with one particular expectation: I am going to be a hero. Not in a conceited “let me be in the spotlight” way, but in the “we are a party of heroes going to solve the world’s problems” way. Of course there will be players with devious motives who turn out to be anti-heroes, but that’s just the other side of the same coin. In this mindset, players are still playing characters who will solve problems.
For the Dungeon Master with players well-versed in Dungeons and Dragons, planning unexpected and intriguing combat with frequently-used monsters can be a challenge. I propose, in addition to using interactive battle elements and hazards, a dungeon master should consider giving nearly all battles lair effects, lair actions, and possibly legendary actions.