Jump to content

Grappling problems


Nightshade

Recommended Posts

First, I'd like to state that I actually like the BRP grappling system in the rough; it appears to have tried to make it both useful and not overpowered in a way that isn't common in RPGs.

Unfortunately, an experience last session seems to indicate that either it failed, or we're missing something.

The problem seems to be that once you've successfully immobilized (which requires essentially two rounds of successful grappling, and a STR versus STR check) there's no obvious way for the target to ever escape. Some of the other grapple results are similar. There are other problems (like some apparently confusing references to whether it needs two hands or not).

Thoughts?

(If this is a little incoherent its the consequence of waiting a week to post this...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two things:

1) By the book, a grappler has to make a successful grapple roll each round to maintain the hold. So eventually the attacker will fail and the victim will escape the hold.

Still, if the grappler has a 95% skill, it will be a long wait (probably around 10 minutes), so.

2) I'd say that a grappled character should get a chance to break free. How about an opposed grapple roll, and make the grappled character's roll DIFFICULT (half skill) due to the superior position of the grappler?

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As you note, with good skill this could take a long time.

We're considering a number of house rules here (because it became obvious that this was a little too reliable a way to disable someone and keep them disabled) but I'm trying to make sure we didn't miss something. The problem with the opposed grapple roll is that, frankly, most people, even most combatants, aren't going to have much grapple skill, and if ties go to the guy controlling the grapple--well, we're back to situation A here.

The problem seems to be that other than the extra time to set it up, there's little downside to attempting a grapple, and for a character set up for it (high Grapple skill and a good strength) it seems a rather reliable process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In that case I'll make another suggestion. Swipe from Pendragon.

In the latest edition Grapple defaults to DEX, so in BRP terms an Agility roll. Combine that with my suggestion above that a grappled target can roll to break free and characters will always have a way, and a reasonable chance, of escape.

I suspect there is/was a roll to escape in the BRP grapple rules, but that they accidentally got cut or something. I'm pretty sure there was a way out in RQ and CoC. I can check them to see how they handled this.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can check the RQ3 one myself (and should) but I know there wasn't as much detail, so I wasn't sure it was applicable.

Part of the issue is that there probably should be some risks to trying to grapple an armed man, and other than simple failure, there isn't. But part of that is probably opening a bigger can of worms than we care to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, trying to grapple an armed man should run the risk of getting "close and personal" with the guys sword.

But BRP have never really done much to cover the offensive part of defending. For example, one of the major advantage of a longspear is that it can hold foes at bay. Someone trying to get in close enough to hit with a sword or mace, is going to have to bat the spearpoint out of the way first, or get skewered.

The obvious solution here would be to use opposed rolls, probably with a modifier. If the grappler wins he gets the grapple, if not he gets attacked (but can defend). That would lead to there being a couple of abortive attempts on a grapple attempt, and that seems right to me. But I hate opposed rolls in BRP.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RQ3 uses hit locations - so when you grapple someone, you only grapple that hit location. The danger of grappling an armed man is he can still attack you with his other arm, or leg, or whatever. Trouble is when you remove hit locations from the equation, it's harder to model this.

(brainstorming)

You could rule that someone who is grappled can try to break free by using their STR, DEX, or Grapple (chance = to special) on the reistance table. Perhaps either party can chose the stat they are best at. On a success, the grappled person can either break free or attempt an appropriate close attack instead.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RQ3 uses hit locations - so when you grapple someone, you only grapple that hit location. The danger of grappling an armed man is he can still attack you with his other arm, or leg, or whatever. Trouble is when you remove hit locations from the equation, it's harder to model this.

BRP still has this, since you do pick what you are trying to grapple, but it's sort of a no trainer. Do you grab and immobile the arm holding the axe or do you go after the other arm and get chopped?

The point is, grapping that arm holding the axe should be easier said than done, and a good way to loose a few fingers.

But at least we don't have to pull out the "pummeling and overbearing" tables.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I was thinikng more about 'do you grab the arm with the axe or the one with the dagger'. Obviously if the assailant only has one weapon that's the one you'd grab, but the guy could still punch you with the other. BRP has rules for if the guy has an axe - his weapon is longer, so you have to use the Closing Rules to close with him first - i.e. you must dodge past his attack to get in close, or back him against a wall. Mind you, I'm often confusing which rules are from RQ and which are from BRP, but I'm sure BRP has closing rules.

The second part of the post was more in consideration of when you play without hit locations, then there's nothing to specifically address which part of the body you grab. So if you grab someone armed with an axe and a dagger, there's an assumption you immobilized both.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I was thinikng more about 'do you grab the arm with the axe or the one with the dagger'. Obviously if the assailant only has one weapon that's the one you'd grab, but the guy could still punch you with the other.

Yeah, a guy with two weapons is going to be more problematic. The BRP rules do indeed point out that he can use the free arm to strike with his fist or small weapons, and that tends to make grappleing against someone with two weapons a bad idea. You grab his axe, he shoves a shiv in you stomach. You hold onto the axe, he stabs you again. You let go, and he buried the axe in your skull. Pretty much a bad idea. Unless you grab the dagger. Then the axe is no good (alothugh the guy could probably use it, or any weapon, as a makeshift club for increased brawling damage)

BRP has rules for if the guy has an axe - his weapon is longer, so you have to use the Closing Rules to close with him first - i.e. you must dodge past his attack to get in close, or back him against a wall. Mind you, I'm often confusing which rules are from RQ and which are from BRP, but I'm sure BRP has closing rules.

Yes, BRP does has closing rules (and close combat rules). But they don't pose much risk to the guy with the shorter weapon. Basically the guy with the longer weapon can keep an opponent with a shorter weapon at bay by sacrificing his attack, and making a skill roll. This is one of those "turn around and bite you on the rump" special rules that RPGs have that are great for discouraging their even being used.

Think about it. The guy with the longer weapon completely gives up any hope of scoring a hit, for a chance of preventing the opponent from getting an attack. Best case scenario is a stand-off. Worse case is the guy with the long weapon gets attacked but cannot retaliate. Some advantage.

And if there are two attackers, the guy with the longer weapon is really in trouble.

Personally I think it should work the other way. The guy with the shorter weapon who tries to close should be forced to make a parry/dodge roll or get skewered automatically.

The second part of the post was more in consideration of when you play without hit locations, then there's nothing to specifically address which part of the body you grab. So if you grab someone armed with an axe and a dagger, there's an assumption you immobilized both.

The rules do specify that you grab a random location. There are some maneuvers (change hold, grab a second location)l that allow one to change locations once they have gotten a hold. For those who don't use hit locations, I'd just go with a luck roll, with the grappler getting his choice of locations on success. So someone would need to do multiple grappler to get both arms/weapons.

The problem is, as Nightshade has pointed out, once a character is successfully grappled, there is nothing they can do to get out of it. At least according to the grapple rules. It just a waiting game until the grappler fails his skill roll.

I think we all agree that some sort of chance/skill roll should be allowed to get out of the hold.

So I think Nightshade is quite right here. Grappling is in danger of become a "super maneuver". Grapple someone. If he parries you got his weapon, if not, he probably can't use it anyway. Then do another grapple or two to immobilize both arms, and he is helpless. The fact that the guy has a laser sword and a 120% skill score is almost irrelevant. There is nothing he can do to prevent the grapple other that cutting down the grappler before he makes the attempt.

I think this is because BRP/RQ grew out of experiences in the SCA, and the game tends to handle lethal combat much better than it handles non-lethal combat. This is the RPG where a typical punch to the head has a fatality rate of over 50%.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RQ3 uses hit locations - so when you grapple someone, you only grapple that hit location. The danger of grappling an armed man is he can still attack you with his other arm, or leg, or whatever. Trouble is when you remove hit locations from the equation, it's harder to model this.

The problem is that one of the manuevers for a following round allows you to immobilize the target (basically controlling his torso). So the procedure goes like this:

1. Round one: initiate the grapple. If you're good with it, the only useful defense is Dodging or a grapple parry, since any other defense just changes the nature of the initial grapple, not its general success. You're still vulnerable to attack for the following round, but the rules don't actually put you at a penalty to dodging, and it isn't even clear at this point you can't parry (note that there's contradictory statements about how many hands are involved). Even if you couldn't defend, if you're well armored one round's worth of potential hit isn't necessarily that problematic.

2. Round two: You make the second grapple roll, then the STR vs. STR roll to immobilize the target. At this point nothing but grapple parry helps (since you've already got a hold) and by a strict reading of the rules, not even that may (its not actually mentioned). The STR versus STR roll is another point of failure, but again, contrast a couple of tries at this with trying to put down, say, another armored opponent with a weapon.

3. Round three plus: the target is immobilized with no obvious rules for escaping (except, perhaps a grapple roll of his own, and even that perhaps (the note about "if two hands are free" seems to imply not). The attacker is presumably tied up doing this, but if he's got a friend, at this point the target is easy meat for a coup de grace.

Rinse, repeat. The only real defense against this seems to be to give all serious opponents (who aren't too strong for it to be practical) high levels of Grapple skill.

Addendum: and not to forget, a special or critical grappling roll allows you to do this in one round.

Edited by Nightshade
Forgot something
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, BRP does has closing rules (and close combat rules). But they don't pose much risk to the guy with the shorter weapon. Basically the guy with the longer weapon can keep an opponent with a shorter weapon at bay by sacrificing his attack, and making a skill roll. This is one of those "turn around and bite you on the rump" special rules that RPGs have that are great for discouraging their even being used.

Think about it. The guy with the longer weapon completely gives up any hope of scoring a hit, for a chance of preventing the opponent from getting an attack. Best case scenario is a stand-off. Worse case is the guy with the long weapon gets attacked but cannot retaliate. Some advantage.

And if there are two attackers, the guy with the longer weapon is really in trouble.

Wait, what?

Granted, I use my own version of the Elric! rules, but I thought the base was that those fighting with a long range weapon, say a spear versus a shorter weapon had an attack while keeping the opponent at range. If the opponent wanted to close then needed to make a Dodge roll. Once this the opponent has closed, the guy with the spear either had to decide to continue combat at short range or make a Dodge roll to put them at the advantage again.

Hey Nightshade, I may have some notes to share with you. I need to check the similarities between Grapple and the Wrestle skill. I had a player a while back who wanted to stress Wrestle. The notes are all pretty loose, but they seemed to work well for the sessions we used them in.

70/420

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wait, what?

Granted, I use my own version of the Elric! rules, but I thought the base was that those fighting with a long range weapon, say a spear versus a shorter weapon had an attack while keeping the opponent at range. If the opponent wanted to close then needed to make a Dodge roll. Once this the opponent has closed, the guy with the spear either had to decide to continue combat at short range or make a Dodge roll to put them at the advantage again.

Yes, but that isn't any help to the guy with the longer weapon, since he was to sacrifice his attack in order to keep an opponent at bay. So once the guy with the spear (or other long weapon) decide to try and keep someone at bay, he's lost.

To summarize, a long weapon-user strikes first at the

beginning of a new combat. The long weapon-user can

choose to attack normally, or keep the short weaponuser

at bay (which does no damage). A character being

kept at bay may choose to close (see “Closing” on page

219), or attempt to dodge past the weapon and attack.

So "keeping someone at bay" just means the guy with the longer weapon doesn't attack, so the guy with the short weapon has to make a roll. It is a self defeating tactic. Even if the guy with the shorter weapon fails to dodge, he doesn't get hit, but is only kept at bay. (it's all on page 219 under close combat). If the guy with the sorter weapon actually decide to close (closing p. 219) then the guy with the longer weapon will go last and parry at half ability).

So the best thing for a guy with a short weapon to see on the battlefield is someone with a long weapon who tries to keep people at bay. It's a no risk encounter! Sooner or later the short weapon guy is going to make the rolls and the only risk he takes is that he could fumble his dodge roll and twist his ankle. The spearman can't hurt him without giving up his reach "advantage".

Now what I think is that:

- if the guy with the shorter weapon fails the dodge roll he should get hit (treat keep at bay as a attack roll).

-a character should be able to keep multiple opponents at bay.(perhaps a dodge bonus of 30% for each attacker after the first?)

-as the long weapon is always in the way, the "keep at bay" maneuver should either be a free action, or at least that the long weapon user could be given the choice of what action to sacrifice for the maneuver (attack or defense).

-the foe with the shorter weapon could try to brush the long weapon aside to close, using weapon skill in place of dodge. (treat kept at bay as an attack vs a parry)

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now what I think is that:

- if the guy with the shorter weapon fails the dodge roll he should get hit (treat keep at bay as a attack roll).

-a character should be able to keep multiple opponents at bay.(perhaps a dodge bonus of 30% for each attacker after the first?)

-as the long weapon is always in the way, the "keep at bay" maneuver should either be a free action, or at least that the long weapon user could be given the choice of what action to sacrifice for the maneuver (attack or defense).

-the foe with the shorter weapon could try to brush the long weapon aside to close, using weapon skill in place of dodge. (treat kept at bay as an attack vs a parry)

That's pretty much how we play it.

'Closing' is a combat action that someone can chose to do. If someone does choose to close with you, you can prevent this by putting your weapon in the way (a defensive action, but resolved like an attack) or stepping backward. If you chose to put the weapon in the way, treat it as an attack. If this attack fails, or if the closer parries or dodges, they have close with you.

Thus, the act of prevening an attack is considered a defense action, even though it is resolved like an attack.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

I practice judo and brazilian jiu jitsu, and let me tell you, there is NO WAY IN HELL you can escape a good hold if the one performing it is measurably better than you are. Actually, ground fighting is mostly based on skill and while well used STR (and SIZ) do help, they become irrelevant if the smaller person is better by a good margin.

In any case, skill > str at pinning an opponent down. I can reliably hold a 110kg novice weighting 72kg myself. For as long as i needed to! If you want to escape, you must do it ASAP, (the first couple of rounds?) otherwise unless your opponent makes a mistake, you're kinda screwed.

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eye gouge. Are we fighting for our life, or just doing a sport?

:) We get that ALL THE TIME (mostly from strikers). I actually sparred several times with non-grappler friends of mine while they could bite & eye gouge, and none of them ever got to pull that off (not that i'm any good, they just don't know how to grapple!!!)

You CAN eye-gouge, but you need to gain a position(successful grapple) before trying that, or you will end with a broken arm and/or fingers.

Basically IRL you would need to succeed on a grappling roll (to gain a favorable position) and then you could do damage. If you're beeing held by someone who knows what he's doing and you try to gouge eyes, grab genitals, etc, you are in for a world of pain and no gain.

On the other hand, you *COULD* use biting, twisting fingers and even fingering an eye while beeing pinned, in order to regain guard and/or turn the tables. I would treat this as a grappling roll though, NOT rolling damage!

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I second icebrand. I've been grappled by ju-jitsu and aikido. As soon asthey have a good hold on you and lock your arms, they can comand your body to twist as they want. The human body has a 'way' it likes to bend. Trying to bend it the wrong way, results in your body moving to try and avoid the iminent broken joints. That's how some of the aikido throws work. It uses your strenghth against you.

Back to OP. I see it as a feature that once grappled, you can't get out.

The only way to escape is for an ally to intervene. This is why brazilian jujitsu, may win ultimate combat fighting matches, but doesn't work in your average street brawl. Once you're down on the ground, some one else will kick your head in.

Likes to sneak around

115/420

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I second icebrand. I've been grappled by ju-jitsu and aikido.

Ju-jitsu and aikido are different in attitude to BJJ and judo. BJJ is mainly ground and pound. In my view BJJ should be called Brazilian Judo (with a focus on ground fighting).

Ju-jitsu maintains the martial aspects (breaking things, strikes to critical points) and hence is more "survival" oriented.

Aikido does not focus on going to the ground, but on controlling a person without grappling (in the western sense of the word), similar to qinna.

Regarding being in a "grapple ready position", any good fighter should always be in a position of balance. As soon as you leave an opening, any good grappler will go for it. How could you simulate this in BRP?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to OP. I see it as a feature that once grappled, you can't get out.

I see this discussion on occasion blurring two points:

- How to avoid being grappled, held, pinned; in the first instance.

- How to break the grapple, hold, pin, lock; in the second instance.

I think we need to clearly separate the two.

In the second instance, it is true, once in a completely successful BJJ/Judo hold, it is very hard to break free, unless there is excessive strength and size (think Gloranthan Dark Troll held by a human), or skill. But breaking free from a completed lock/hold, even the best skill will usually not help.

Does a "grapple" skill contest success result in an immediate "unbreakable success", or should several rolls be required to achieve this?

Also I would be inclined to use a formula that involves the STR of the opponent being divided by a factor based on the success of the grapple (and style) (modified by size [leverage or harder to get a hold on]), and then add or augment the "grappling break free" skill with this value for the defender. With human vs human, there would not be much variation, but it would be a scalable solution.

Once you're down on the ground, some one else will kick your head in.

How have people handled this in BRP battles involving multiple combatants and someone grapples another to the ground (BJJ style)? If this were Aikido or something using qinna (such as Eagle Claw) the "grappler" would be using a lock and most likely be standing, and so would have the option to let go to defend, possibly choosing to snap the joint (or roll away with a soggy arm :7 ).

Food for thought: On the point of "striker" vs "grappler"; the argument of "how do you break out of a good lock when you start in a held position", could be compared to "how to to continue when the defender starts with a broken throat". ;D

Edited by dragonewt
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was discussing this exact issue with a Judo Black Belt at Continuum.

He pointed out that the BRP/RQ Grapple Rules wer very weak compared with his experience of the sport.

However, he also said that the only way out of some legal Judo moves was an illegal judo move (finger in the eye, thumb up the backside, grabbing or pressing on the gonads, pressing on the throat, biting). He related an instance where he had grabbed and immobilised someone, in his opinion, when that person stood up, picking this 20 stone (280 pound) person with one locked arm and slowly marched him out of the arena.

So, although some moves seem very good, superior SIZ/STR will always have an impact. It doesn't matter how well you've grabbed someone, if they stick a thumb into your backside and move it around, you will probably let go. Unfortunately, neither BRP nor RQ has a rule or Combat Manouver for this.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, although some moves seem very good, superior SIZ/STR will always have an impact. It doesn't matter how well you've grabbed someone, if they stick a thumb into your backside and move it around, you will probably let go. Unfortunately, neither BRP nor RQ has a rule or Combat Manouver for this.

FATAL does...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...