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Kellus
2008-03-28, 10:56 PM
Grappling

So here's the deal: grapple rules suck. Huge time. They don't account for all of the AWESOME stuff you can do while holding on to other people. And they're really complicated. So here's a set of reasonably simple rules that allow you a whole bunch more options with grappling!

Grappling Basics

A grapple check is really simple. Itís basically a Strength and size check. Whatís more complicated, though, is that thereís actually two kinds of grapple checks. Thereís Grapple checks, and Reverse Grapple checks. Grapple checks help you use size and strength to your advantage to establish holds and hold people. Reverse Grapple checks let you evade grapples and evade attempts to get you off.

Grapple check: d20 + Str + size modifier + Base Attack Bonus
Reverse Grapple check: d20 + Dex + size modifier + Base Attack Bonus

Table: Size Modifiers to Grapple and Reverse Grapple Checks
{table=head]Size|Grapple Modifier|Reverse Grapple Modifier
Fine|-16|+16
Diminutive|-12|+12
Tiny|-8|+8
Small|-4|+4
Medium|+0|+0
Large|+4|-4
Huge|+8|-8
Gargantuan|+12|-12
Colossal|+16|-16[/table]

There are three different types of grappling, each with different features: wrestling, colossus-fighting, and gnat-fighting.

Wrestling

Wrestling involves individuals within 1 size category of each other. Itís also by far the most complicated of them. The procedure for wrestling is fairly complex, yet intuitive:

1) Initiate a Wrestling Contest: One of the individuals (the initiator) uses a standard action to try to establish a hold on an adjacent individual (the target). This requires a Grapple check, opposed by a Grapple or Reverse Grapple check. Grappling opponents occupy the same space.

If the target chooses to use a Reverse Grapple check to resist the wrestle attempt, the initiator may immediately make a new roll (if he desires) using his own Reverse Grapple check instead of a Grapple check.

If the target succeeds with a Reverse Grapple check, the wrestle attempt fails (4).

If the target succeeds with a Grapple check, he may either cause the wrestle attempt to fail (4) or to gain dominance in the grapple (3).

If the initiator succeeds, a grapple is established and he has dominance (3).

2) Grapple Established: Nondominant: With a grapple established, one of the people involved has dominance. The nondominant wrestler has very limited actions. He may attempt a Reverse Grapple check as a standard action to escape a grapple, opposed by the dominant wrestlerís Grapple check. He may attempt a Grapple check as a move action to gain dominance, opposed by the dominant wrestlerís Grapple or Reverse Grapple check.

Being nondominant in a wrestling grapple causes you to lose your Dexterity bonus to AC and causes you to automatically fail Reflex saves. All of your speeds drop to 0ft; you cannot move. By making a Sleight of Hand check (opposed by the dominant wrestlerís Grapple check), you can take a single attack with a drawn melee weapon at a -4 penalty as a standard action. You may not make somatic gestures to cast spells while nondominant in a wrestling grapple.

3) Grapple Established: Dominant: With a grapple established, one of the people involved has dominance. Maintaining a grapple requires a move action each round, but no check. If you choose not to maintain the grapple, the opponent is moved to an adjacent space and is left flat-footed until his next turn. Although wrestling with dominance is better than not having dominance, you still lack combat options.

Being dominant in a wrestling grapple halves all of your speeds, to a minimum of 5ft. However, the nondominant wrestler moves with you. You may attack with a drawn weapon in a grapple at no penalty. You may use a standard action in a wrestling grapple to make a full-attack with unarmed strikes only. If you use any other weapon, you may only make one attack with a standard action, as normal.

While wrestling with dominance, you gain a +4 circumstance bonus on trip attempts and disarm attempts made against the nondominant wrestler. While wrestling with dominance, you never provoke attacks of opportunity from the nondominant wrestler. You can cast arcane spells with somatic gestures while wrestling with dominance, but you take a 30% arcane spell failure chance due to being preoccupied. This stacks with armor failure chance, if applicable.

While wrestling with dominance, you may end the grapple as a full-round action by hurling your opponent. The opponent is flung in a direction chosen by you, to a distance of up to 5ft. per Strength modifier you posess. The target falls prone, but may make a Balance check opposed by your Grapple check to avoid falling prone.

4) Failure: A failed wrestling attempt leaves the initiator flat-footed until his next turn. He moves back into the square he initiated the grapple from.

Colossus-Fighting

Yes, everyone wants to be able to replicate Shadow of the Colossus. The good news is, now you can! Colossus-Fighting is whenever you try to grapple a target two or more size categories larger than you.

Colossus-Fighting is very different from normal grappling. In this case, Grapple checks simply let you get hold of the target. They donít pin or disable the opponent severely, but they let you hang on.

Initiating a grapple in this style is a standard action that requires a Grapple or Reverse Grapple check (your choice) opposed by the adjacent targetís touch AC. This is a case where being small is better to evade notice.

You can ready an action to grapple onto a target when he moves near, causing him to be forced to use Gnat-Fighting techniques (see below) against you instead of the attack he might have been going to use.

If your grapple check succeeds, you grab onto the target. At this point youíre presumably at ground level, but hanging onto him. A target youíre hanging onto adds your weight and the weight of all of your posessions to his load for determining encumbrance.

While hanging onto a target, you cannot take normal move actions; you move on the targetís initiative count, with him. Climbing is the basic way to move around on a target. Climbing around on a target is just like any other use of the Climb skill. The Ďwallí base DC is equal to 25 - the natural armour bonus to AC the target posesses. Climbing a target is always treated as climbing a wall instead of a slope no matter what the actual inclination of the targetís body at any one point.

While climbing a target, you can use the location to your advantage in finding vulnerable points of attack (see below).

Gnat-Fighting

Gnat-Fighting is the term for when you try to grapple a target thatís more than two size categores smaller than you, or when someone is climbing on you.

Active Grappling: Active Gnat-Fighting requires a Grapple check against an adjacent target. The target attempts a Reverse Grapple check to resist the attempt. If you fail, there is no penalty. If you suceed, the target moves into your square and is considered (for all intents and purposes) helpless. A grappled target may attempt a Reverse Grapple check as a move action to escape a grapple and fall to the ground in an adjacent space. While grappling someone in this manner, you may treat them as a thrown weapon with a range increment based on the difference in size categories between you.

Table: Range Increments of Grappled Targets
{table=head]Difference in Size Categories|Range Increment
2|10ft.
3|20ft
4|40ft.
5|80ft.
6|160ft.
7|320ft.
8+|640ft.[/table]

Targets thrown take damage from falling and land prone unless they can make a successful Balance check opposed by your Grapple check. They deal damage based on their weight, as described in Complete Warrior.

Reactive Grappling: When someoneís climbing on you, you can attempt a Grapple check as either a standard action or as part of a movement to shake them off. Either way, this is opposed by a Reverse Grapple check. If you spend a standard action, you gain a +4 circumstance bonus on the check. If you attempt it as part of a movement, you take a -4 circumstance penalty on the check; youíre just trying to jostle them off as opposed to grabbing at them. If you succeed with a standard action to get them off, they are considered grappled by you through active grappling (see above). If you succeed as part of a movement, they simply fall in an adjacent square, and may attempt a Balance check against your Grapple check to avoid falling prone.

You may try to attack a target climbing you normally, but you take a -4 penalty on the attack roll. In addition, they are treated as having full concealment. If you fail to bypass the concealment, you accidentally target yourself instead.

Vulnerabilities

As a DM, climbing around on targets presents a difficulty. Itís a totally awesome idea, but thereís no benefit per the rules to doing it. In general, you should consider your monster before the PC begins climbing on it. What parts of it might reasonably be vulnerable? A good idea is to figure out the dimensions of the monster, and pick a few vulnerable locations. Allow the PC to make Knowledge or Spot checks to notice these locations, and apply a reasonable bonus to attacking these spots; anything from a +2 circumstance bonus on the attack and damage roll to automatically dealing sneak attack damage is a nice bonus. Nothing overwhelming, but enough to make the PC feel like heís done something impressive. After all, thatís why heís climbing around on monsters to begin with!

If you want exact rules, try these. Pick a few vulnerable locations on the monster. If the climber is occupying the same square as a vulnerable point when he attacks, he gains special bonuses on the attack as shown on the following table.

Table: Vulnerable Strikes
{table=head]Difference in Size Categories|Bonus
2|+2 circumstance bonus on attack roll
3|+2 circumstance bonus on attack roll and damage roll; automatically qualifies as a sneak attack or sudden strike
4|+2 circumstance bonus on attack roll and damage roll; automatically qualifies as a sneak attack or sudden strike; automatically confirms if a critical threat
5|+2 circumstance bonus on attack roll and damage roll; automatically qualifies as a sneak attack or sudden strike; automatically confirms if a critical threat; 1d4 Con damage
6+|+2 circumstance bonus on attack roll and damage roll; automatically qualifies as a sneak attack or sudden strike; automatically confirms if a critical threat; 1d4 Con damage; ignore natural armour bonus to AC[/table]

What Has Come Before

Monsters with racial bonuses to grapple checks still have these bonuses, which they apply to Grapple and Reverse Grapple checks alike. Similarly, items and feats that grant bonuses apply to both types of checks. Grappling no longer ever provokes attacks of opportunity. Abilities like Improved Grab still work normally, allowing you to initiate a grapple with a successful attack.

Chronos
2008-03-28, 11:16 PM
If I'm reading this right, it's impossible for one diminutive creature to grab onto another. The one trying to initiate rolls 1d20 -12 (size) -some more (str; little things usually have pathetic strength), while the target resists with 1d20 + 12 (size) +some more (dex; little things also usually have good dex). That's enough of a difference that even if the attacker rolls a 20 and the defender rolls a 1, the attacker still loses. For that matter, it'd be nearly impossible for tiny creatures, and really difficult for smalls (with two average halflings, for instance, the attacker would have only an 11.25% chance of success (compared to a 50% chance for one human grabbing another).

And why is BAB not involved? That just makes grappling even less appealing for the people who are supposed to be benefiting from it (warrior-type PCs), while simultaneously making it much more useful for monsters and much less dangerous for folks who should fear it (like wizards).

MeTheGameGuy
2008-03-28, 11:21 PM
Great! Only not sure about dealing Con damage while grappling....

Kellus
2008-03-28, 11:23 PM
Hurr! Curse your logic! (fixes to allow tiny people to fight each other)

As for the Base Attack Bonus, it's for a bunch of reasons. It makes size much more important as a determining factor, which is much more realistic. It makes actual Strength and actual Dexterity matter more in wrestling than whether you're good at, say, swordplay.

I was actually considering making it a skill, but I believe that this works better. It levels the playing field, and allows spellcasters some chance of avoiding being grappled if they invest in Dexterity. It gives added incentive to play small races, to escape being grappled, and it gives added incentive to play large races, to throw people around.

EDIT: @ MeTheGameGuy: The Con damage is only a sample possibility for vulnerability, and represents striking a weak spot. Take that particular table with a grain of salt; it's only there as an example of striking a weak spot.

EDIT the SECOND:
If the target chooses to use a Reverse Grapple check to resist the wrestle attempt, the initiator may immediately make a new roll (if he desires) using his own Reverse Grapple check instead of a Grapple check.

There we go. :smallsmile:

Paragon Badger
2008-03-28, 11:28 PM
But you need to have base attack bonus factored in because a great deal of real-life grappling first requires you to touch your opponent.

All the "RAWR, I CRUSH YOU IN MY BEAR-HUG" bodybuilder mooks would be useless against the elusive Jackie Chan. :smalltongue:

Kellus
2008-03-28, 11:32 PM
Hokay, you win. Base Attack Bonus now indeed matters. :smallyuk:

The rest seem reasonable?

Bitzeralisis
2008-03-29, 12:09 AM
I don't see how this is any simpler than the normal grappling rules. Otherwise, it is pretty cool. *decides not to go into deep criticizing mode*

Hrm... actually, now that I think of it, the Constitution damage doesn't really make any sense. I mean, if the large thing is that big, then there's little chance that a really little person would be able to do any real permanent-like damage with his puny weapons. Unless you made rules that'd let him break open the opponent's skin and crawl in (which would be awesome and disgusting at the same time), I don't see how Constitution damage or natural armor bypassing (in the sense of thick skin) are applicable.

Vadin
2008-03-29, 04:04 PM
Instead of your full base attack bonus being added, maybe only half or a quarter rounded up gets added? Personally, I didn't think it looked right without BAB involved, but now it's once again the dominating factor, which removes a lot from the rest of the grappling rules. It should have a significant effect, but it shouldn't be the significant effect.

SurlySeraph
2008-03-29, 04:38 PM
These are complicated and not perfectly balanced. With that said, they're still way better than the original rules in every respect. I would halve the size-based penalties and modifiers, but it's up to you.

Also, I agree with Blitz on the Constitution damage. Maybe letting the attacker automatically roll max damage would be better.

Vectner
2008-12-13, 06:18 PM
I really like these ideas. I question removing the AoO form the equation that makes the Improved Grapple Feat unnecessary. I would probably leave that in there. Other than that I will be adding this to my game. Thanks!

Shpadoinkle
2008-12-13, 06:57 PM
But you need to have base attack bonus factored in because a great deal of real-life grappling first requires you to touch your opponent.

All the "RAWR, I CRUSH YOU IN MY BEAR-HUG" bodybuilder mooks would be useless against the elusive Jackie Chan. :smalltongue:

They're not already?

Kellus
2008-12-13, 09:45 PM
Ah, I remember this. An ill-fated attempt to redefine grappling if I've ever seen one. If I did this again I would do it VERY differently. As in, not creating new rules that are equally as confusing and complicated as the original.