I forget the page offhand but there are grappling rules in the combat section. Plus, there are rules for size, along with relative size included. As far as shooting into a grapple, they would need CQB Mastery to negate the -4 plus if there are feats which will boost the defense of the martial artist/wrestler and increase his personal cover.
Yeah, I read those, but was wondering if there was something apart from the -4 cuz its a melee. I couldn't find a rule saying that you are [or aren't] granted cover by virtue of being in a grapple, or even that you can use
someone you are grappling for cover. In fact I can't find any rules for actually using someone as a human shield - it's referenced in the cover section [combat chapter], but doesn't say how to actually manipulate someone into position to function as a human shield, which was more the stuff I was after. If its just the -4 shooting into Melee penalty then I guess I'll just throw together a new grapple benefit that turns a Held opponent into a human shield providing half cover, but I'd like something more official to show him if it exists.
As for his build, I'd tell him to start with Martial Artist, then do 2 levels of Scientist for a PHD if he wants. But keep in mind the wording of PhD: it has to be a SCIENTIST CLASS SKILL. Athletics is not a Scientist Class Skill. Even if he has an Origin saying it is always a class skill for the character, the Scientist class does not have it as a class skill and therefore he cannot PhD it. He can PhD Resolve or Profession or Tactics. Now, it is your home game, and you can allow it if you want but be wary of how it might offset things. ... Personally, I think Resolve would be the better choice. He can still stack Athletics in other ways: check out the Advanced Skill feats.
Or group consensus is that if something [Gifted / Talented / Others] making something into "always a class skill" then it is effectively added to any class you take's skill list - meaning in any spycraft game run by our group a Gifted Scientist can PHD Anything
. We've done it this way since the book was released and haven't really seen any gamebreaking effects so far [Thou PHD Tactics was bloody good, which is allowed by standard rules]. This of course is nothing official, but it works well for us.
He went Scientist first as he will definately be getting good milage outta Professor
, and is already going for advanced skill feats targetting Survivalist. The build plan is Scientist 4 / Soldier 1 / Brawler 10 / Soldier +5. So far its actually a useful character. For the record, I woulda PHD'd Tactics or Resolve instead of Athletics as well...