And what if character 2 while held wants to pin character 1.
Without a critical success this requires a minimum of 3 full actions (one to break the hold, one to hold the other character, and a third to pin him or her). This also assumes the other character has nothing to say (or do) about it, which is unlikely, and that no one has any special abilities that affect the grapple.
As written if he wins his grapple check he can reverse the grapple and pin character 1. Also, as written, if character 2 is pinned and he wins a grapple, he can choose to pin character. Also, as written if character 2 makes a grapple check while held and fails character 1 can pin him. If that's not the intent, you need to look at clarifying the language.
I see where all this is coming from - it's the use of the term "opposed," which infers (incorrectly) that both characters are active in each roll. They're not. What's actually happening there is exactly what I described in my previous post. Each character is active ONLY
on their turn, and only the active character may gain a grapple benefit from his or her roll. In all cases the other character takes a defensive / passive role in the opposed check and my NOT
gain grapple benefits - his or her roll is there only to, well, oppose the active character's attempt.
This is, BTW, how pretty much all opposed rolls are intended to work in time-sensitive periods, like combat. The reason we don't go to the extreme of defining active and efensive characters in the opposed roll rules is that it would create a whole separate set of rules for each of two different periods of play (in and out of combat, in and away from time-sensitive play, or whatever), and that gets into excessive complexity we feel is more of a detriment than an assist.
Your examples seem to imply that character 2 can't do anything but try to escape.
I'm not implying - I'm stating. It's fact (as written in the rules, at least). Here's the relevant text in both the held condition...
Held: The character is flat-footed and may take no non-free actions except an opposed Athletics check to escape the hold. A character who becomes held a second time loses this condition and becomes pinned.
...and in the pinned condition...
Pinned: The character is flat-footed and may take no actions except an opposed Athletics check to escape the pin (in which case the character becomes held instead). He may be bound with 1 free action and may only speak as the pinning character allows. The pinning character may use him as a human shield, gaining 1/2 personal cover. Finally, each adjacent opponent gains a +4 bonus with attacks targeting the character.
Bold for emphasis in both cases.
Two of the reasons I like the rule as written is: First it makes things rather simple. You win the check, you get to pick from the list. Pin, break free, etc. Second, it makes grappling risky. Things can change in an instant, so you'd better know what you're doing. Making it so a reversal requires breaking the grapple and then character 2 starting one of their own makes it much less risky for character 1.
In our experience it makes grappling both unattractive (read: in the "I'd rather just attack twice" column for many folks) and hard to run. Of course, YMMV.