Like many others here, I’ve been running/using the grapple rules incorrectly – chiefly in the “Winner of the opposed check gets to apply a benefit” area. We also have worked out a shorthand "category system" that, upon review, also strays from the RAW. In specific, we’ve been playing grapples like this:
1. Character A wants to grapple character B, who is adjacent. A declares a full action grapple, moves into B’s
square, and both roll their grapple checks.
2. If A wins, then both characters occupy that square, both become flat-footed, and B becomes held.
3. If B wins, then A is pushed back into his original square and becomes flat-footed. Alternately, B can choose
to continue the grapple, whereas both characters occupy his square, both become flat-footed, and A becomes
4. During a grapple, a character is in one of three “grapple categories” – Grappled, Held, or Pinned. Some
grapple benefits can only be applied to/by held opponents, some only to/by pinned. Moving the opponent “up”
or “down” this list requires the use of a grapple benefit. (When initiating a grapple the winning character is, for
all intents and purposes, forced to choose “opponent becomes held” as his grapple benefit.)
5. While in a grapple, the only actions the character can attempt are the full action grapple check against his
opponent, the Delay action (which typically results in eventual ‘passing’) or “appropriate” free actions.
6. If during a grappling character’s initiative count, the character attempts the full action grapple check, then no
matter which character’s initiative count it is, the winner of the opposed check may apply a grapple benefit. If
the character won the opposed check with a critical success, then he may apply two grapple benefits, one
after the other.
In summary, on our "house rules version" the three grapple categories are:
Grappled: You are in a grapple, you are flat-footed, and (at least) one other person also occupies your square. From this grapple category, as a grapple benefit, you may Break Free or cause to opponent to enter the next grapple category, that of being held, or apply one grapple benefit against a held opponent: Disarm, Handle Item, Injure, Sprawl, or Throw.
Held: In addition to the normal effects of being in the held condition (Fantasy Craft, page 213), if the opponent wins a full action grapple check against a character in the held grapple category he may either cause to opponent to enter the next grapple category, that of being pinned, or apply one of the following grapple benefits: Break Free, Disarm, Handle Item, Injure, Grapple Second Opponent, Move (5 ft step), Sprawl, or Throw. If a character who is currently in the held grapple category wins the check he may cause a grappled opponent to join him in the held category, move himself to the superior grappled category or apply one of the above grapple benefits.
Pinned: In addition to the normal effects of being in the pinned condition (Fantasy Craft, page 213), if the opponent wins a full action grapple check against a character in the pinned grapple category he may apply one of the following grapple benefits: Break Free, Disarm, Handle Item, Injure, Move (normal speed), Screaming Club, Sprawl, Throw or Use Opponent’s Weapon. If a character who is currently in the pinned grapple category wins the check he may only perform the Break Free grapple benefit (which moves his own grapple condition up to being held).