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Author Topic: Walk me through Grapple:Screaming Club  (Read 6267 times)
Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2012, 06:13:54 PM »

So you're suggesting that pins only be possible through feats and class abilities? Because the baseline pin is the problem. It's the death blow.

Let me ask a general question because I'm curious (and because I'm actually going somewhere with this, even if I can't tell you where that is - not for a while yet, anyway)...

For a second, imagine a system where the base grapple rules don't include the option to pin someone. It simply isn't possible. You can grab them and hold them for a time but there's zero chance to do so for more than a few seconds, and grabbing someone is mainly a gateway to a laundry list of cool effects you could apply. At the end of the day, however, pinning someone - or really, doing anything with grapple that prevents your opponent from acting freely on his initiative - is off the table without some incredibly difficult add-on process, above and beyond merely grabbing someone.

Pinning and denial are actually so much more difficult than baseline grabbing and its effects that you only consider the option when a) it's your character's schtick (i.e. you've invested heavily in it via class abilities, feats, and so on), and b) it's vital to the current situation.

In this alternate system, Pin might even be a separate action entirely, and again, far more of a gated property in the rules.

So... In theory and without hard mechanics to consider, would that be an acceptable approach?

I think it could work.

The biggest annoyance for me is the complete denial of choice in a grapple.  If I get grappled by a superior wrestler, odds are, I am not going to be able to break free.  But let's say by some miracle I do manage to actually win a grapple check, then what?  I used a full-round action so I can take a 5-foot step away only for him to step back up and grappled me again on his turn.  So really, I need to win 2 successive grapple checks to get away.

"Acting freely" is somewhat relative.  Being entangled limits your options so you can't really act freely.  Likewise with being blinded, tripped, or taunted.  But none of those limit options to the extent that you have to use a single specific skill, and only that single specific skill, to do anything, ever, the way grappling does.

Based on this conversation, allow pin to restrict one and only one item or limb.  Put the current pin in the Wrestling Supremacy feat as a Full Round trick instead of a general benefit anyone could employ.

This means I could grapple someone and pin down his sword/gun/bomb trigger arm but he would still be free to punch me, kick me, draw another weapon with his other arm, let go of the gun, or whatever.

You could probably get away with grabbing someone being only a half-action which cause the target to be held.  Then as a half action, you could make a check to gain one of the normal Grapple benefits.

Lastly, rewrite held and remove the mandatory athletics check requirement and make it a condition similar to entangled but drop speed to 0.  If you are held, you can still just punch, shoot, kick bite or whatever to the guy holding you, but you'll suffer a penalty to attacks, which is far better than being restricted to only 1 option, a full round grapple check.

Quote
In this alternate system, Pin might even be a separate action entirely, and again, far more of a gated property in the rules.

So... In theory and without hard mechanics to consider, would that be an acceptable approach?
It sounds vaguely like the Pathfinder approach, particularly in the "grapples aren't ongoing shutdowns" language. But Pathfinder porked every option that's not "I hit him with my sword!" in the ass (CMB is of the Devil!), so it's probably not a good example.

(As an aside, I'll reiterate that I've not seen the grapple rules break the action at the FC table in any application. We can natter on and on about balance and shutdowns and pinning and hoo-hah in a vacuum, but in at-the-table FC play I've never seen grappling be the OMG ROXXOR option people fear. But that's really neither here nor there, nor will it convince anyone of anything, I imagine.)

I argue this because I have in fact seen it have an effect at the table.  It was one of the single most anti-climactic battles I have ever seen play out at the table.  The Drake grappled the final boss of an adventure I ran and pretty much locked down a 100+ XP NPC because said NPC didn't have Athletics.  So it stood there more or less helplessly while the party beat it down unable to escape or take any action whatsoever (except some pretty weak Athletics checks).  The extra minions I kept bringing in via Reinforcements weren't really capable of rescuing the poor bastard (may he rest in pieces).
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« Reply #46 on: July 31, 2012, 06:17:03 PM »

Disclaimer: I don't see a pin as any worse then "immediately fails his Damage save (damage isnít rolled)."  That's largely to address you point on Grappling ending the fight and the enemy life - so does the above (and it's pretty easily available).  I don't see where the Pin is the death blow - being pinned doesn't restrict your actions any more then grappling does.  As soon as you initiate the grapple they can't do anything except make a check to get out - that's the shutdown (it's the Held quality, not the Pin quality).

Putting that aside: A system where you grab someone, choose an effect and then it ends sounds ok.  The only question is: "What effects?"  If we have cool shit in said hypothetical subsystem (grab them, smack them into a buddy and drop them, for example) then I can get behind it.

Having the cool abilities be advantages of dedicated characters is something I can totally get behind - that includes any form of denial.  If it takes 3 feats deep to be able to stop another characters action, I am totally fine with that - because realistically, you pin someone and they will just shank you.  We're not talking about an octagon, in a fight for your life situation people would try kill you.  That should be an option instead of "you can only try to escape" - "you can do whatever you bloody like, but if you want to move you have to successfully escape as a half action".  Just like Trip...

Also, while I'm thinkign about it, full on denial should exhaust you like no ones business - it's one of the most exhausting things you can do in a fight, and doesn't win the fight for you either (it just stops you losing it).  Something like lots of subdual damage each round you do it.
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« Reply #47 on: July 31, 2012, 06:24:34 PM »

Also, while I'm thinkign about it, full on denial should exhaust you like no ones business - it's one of the most exhausting things you can do in a fight, and doesn't win the fight for you either (it just stops you losing it).  Something like lots of subdual damage each round you do it.
I think that crosses the "realism vs coolness" line - I can't imagine many situations where I'd use a system that damages myself for being successful. And (IMO) a system so marginally useful (that is, there are only a very specific set of circumstances where it becomes an attractive option) doesn't deserve to be in the book.
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« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2012, 06:33:24 PM »

Also, while I'm thinkign about it, full on denial should exhaust you like no ones business - it's one of the most exhausting things you can do in a fight, and doesn't win the fight for you either (it just stops you losing it).  Something like lots of subdual damage each round you do it.
I think that crosses the "realism vs coolness" line - I can't imagine many situations where I'd use a system that damages myself for being successful. And (IMO) a system so marginally useful (that is, there are only a very specific set of circumstances where it becomes an attractive option) doesn't deserve to be in the book.

I take it you group never takes them alive.  Especially in a non-fantasy environment, being able to stop someone acting and take them in is a huge ability, that is extremely useful very often.  It needs to exist - because otherwise in SC3 how do we take people down and zip tie them to take them back to the safe house for interrogation?  Trip doesn't work - they can get up and run off.

I was just saying that in real life it's hard, and wears you out quick.  So having it be the default option of grappling game is a little iffy.  Make it harder in game, because it is hard.  It doesn't have to be ongoing damage - that was just an idea that would make it more in line with reality.  It just shouldn't be really easy, because it isn't.
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2012, 06:36:20 PM »

There is no listed grapple benefit that allows you to instantly shut an opponent down and move on: you can't even choke someone out unless you have a garrote and the associated basics feat (which I assume is meant to start immediately invoking the Fort saves for suffocating and not include the Constitution rounds of breath holding).

Also don't forget that being involved in a grapple renders both participants flatfooted -- so no attribute bonus to Defence (and in the light of the Martial Artist feat, it probably should be specifically stated in that fashion as RAW you could arguably benefit from non-Dexterity bonuses), no Dodge bonuses, vulnerability to effects targetting that condition. The moment you start a grapple, you're inviting every other opponent to start in on you.

Even assuming a situation where the lone big bad -- or player -- is being pinned by 1 person so the rest of the party can Ides of March his arse, RAW that's just making him easier to hit rather than instagibbing him.
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« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2012, 06:40:49 PM »

The biggest annoyance for me is the complete denial of choice in a grapple.  If I get grappled by a superior wrestler, odds are, I am not going to be able to break free.  But let's say by some miracle I do manage to actually win a grapple check, then what?  I used a full-round action so I can take a 5-foot step away only for him to step back up and grappled me again on his turn.  So really, I need to win 2 successive grapple checks to get away.

"Acting freely" is somewhat relative.  Being entangled limits your options so you can't really act freely.  Likewise with being blinded, tripped, or taunted.  But none of those limit options to the extent that you have to use a single specific skill, and only that single specific skill, to do anything, ever, the way grappling does.

Bingo! This is why we make it so difficult. Not only is it potentially game-ending for the victim, it's simply not fun.
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Patrick Kapera
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« Reply #51 on: July 31, 2012, 06:41:06 PM »

Disclaimer: I don't see a pin as any worse then "immediately fails his Damage save (damage isnít rolled)." 

I do. One only affects standard characters.

Quote
I don't see where the Pin is the death blow - being pinned doesn't restrict your actions any more then grappling does.  As soon as you initiate the grapple they can't do anything except make a check to get out - that's the shutdown (it's the Held quality, not the Pin quality).

Fair point. Doesn't change my argument, however - it only makes the potential for abuse worse.

Quote
Having the cool abilities be advantages of dedicated characters is something I can totally get behind - that includes any form of denial.  If it takes 3 feats deep to be able to stop another characters action, I am totally fine with that - because realistically, you pin someone and they will just shank you.  We're not talking about an octagon, in a fight for your life situation people would try kill you.  That should be an option instead of "you can only try to escape" - "you can do whatever you bloody like, but if you want to move you have to successfully escape as a half action".  Just like Trip...

Also, while I'm thinkign about it, full on denial should exhaust you like no ones business - it's one of the most exhausting things you can do in a fight, and doesn't win the fight for you either (it just stops you losing it).  Something like lots of subdual damage each round you do it.

Also fair points. There's ease of use to consider on the second one, but they're both suggestions worthy of inspection.  
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Patrick Kapera
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« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2012, 06:41:18 PM »

Also, while I'm thinkign about it, full on denial should exhaust you like no ones business - it's one of the most exhausting things you can do in a fight, and doesn't win the fight for you either (it just stops you losing it).  Something like lots of subdual damage each round you do it.
I think that crosses the "realism vs coolness" line - I can't imagine many situations where I'd use a system that damages myself for being successful. And (IMO) a system so marginally useful (that is, there are only a very specific set of circumstances where it becomes an attractive option) doesn't deserve to be in the book.

...except that everyone demands it. Would you be alright with an RPG where grappling was flatly impossible? Simply not addressed?
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« Reply #53 on: July 31, 2012, 06:45:35 PM »

I can't imagine many situations where I'd use a system that damages myself for being successful. And (IMO) a system so marginally useful (that is, there are only a very specific set of circumstances where it becomes an attractive option) doesn't deserve to be in the book.
I take it you group never takes them alive. 
I'm having trouble syncing these two up - we certainly do take prisoners (although not often), and when we do we generally use a sap-dealing rogue to deal the subdual damage, or if we have no other choice we use the "attack for subdual" option (-4 to hit).

But I don't see how my "I would be loathe to use a system that injures myself when successful" automatically jumps to "so you never take(s) them alive".

Combat is exhausting - but it doesn't inflict subdual damage on you. I don't see why a non-default option, which requires one or more feats to be truly effective, should be worse than the default.

Pat: I was specifically addressing the "grappling/pinning inflics subdual damage on the pinner" which (IMO, of course) would relegate the grappling option as one to only be used when all other options are proven to be ineffective. Something that behaves like grappling (whether it is round-to-round mechanics or a "one and done" system that you've hinted at) does need to be in the system.
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« Reply #54 on: July 31, 2012, 06:48:06 PM »

If you don't provide options for the sort of take-down of mundanes by specials that we're used to in our mass media, I think you're failing in making an appropriately cinematic game.

But you know what, heroes get grappled and the shit kicked out of them all the time regardless of the genre.
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« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2012, 06:49:21 PM »

There is no listed grapple benefit that allows you to instantly shut an opponent down and move on: you can't even choke someone out unless you have a garrote and the associated basics feat (which I assume is meant to start immediately invoking the Fort saves for suffocating and not include the Constitution rounds of breath holding).

Even assuming a situation where the lone big bad -- or player -- is being pinned by 1 person so the rest of the party can Ides of March his arse, RAW that's just making him easier to hit rather than instagibbing him.

As I yielded a few posts ago, it's not necessarily the pin that's problem, it's any action that denies action. The second you introduce a rule that takes options away from an opponent, it's immediately and unquestioningly more useful than anything else you can do to that person save outright killing them. The converse is true as well - any action that generates actions is universally more powerful than any other thing you could attempt. It's why the most powerful abilities in card games are a) playing more cards, and b) preventing your opponent from playing cards.

What I'm suggesting is we take those options off the table and replace them with bite-sized benefits that mimick the ebb and flow of grappling, and put the Big Goals of Grappling (tm) somewhere else in the system, safely away from casual use.

Quote
Also don't forget that being involved in a grapple renders both participants flatfooted -- so no attribute bonus to Defence (and in the light of the Martial Artist feat, it probably should be specifically stated in that fashion as RAW you could arguably benefit from non-Dexterity bonuses), no Dodge bonuses, vulnerability to effects targetting that condition. The moment you start a grapple, you're inviting every other opponent to start in on you.

This is by design, for all the reasons already mentioned.
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Patrick Kapera
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« Reply #56 on: July 31, 2012, 06:51:35 PM »

What I'm suggesting is we take those options off the table and replace them with bite-sized benefits that mimick the ebb and flow of grappling, and put the Big Goals of Grappling (tm) somewhere else in the system, safely away from casual use.

I'd be fine with this.
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« Reply #57 on: July 31, 2012, 06:53:18 PM »

If you don't provide options for the sort of take-down of mundanes by specials that we're used to in our mass media, I think you're failing in making an appropriately cinematic game.

I could not agree more. It was the focus of nearly half a day at the last summit.

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But you know what, heroes get grappled and the shit kicked out of them all the time regardless of the genre.

True. So I'll also ask the opposite question (and we can have both of these questions run in tandem - everyone just be sure to clearly identify which you're speaking to when you reply)...

Would you be comfortable with a grappling system that simply took the safety features off the action? It actually is That. Damn. Powerful. A sufficiently trained character could simply grab someone and end that person's involvement in the combat in, oh, say, 1 full action.

Would that work for everyone?

Seriously, I want to know.
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Patrick Kapera
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« Reply #58 on: July 31, 2012, 07:00:15 PM »

Would you be comfortable with a grappling system that simply took the safety features off the action? It actually is That. Damn. Powerful. A sufficiently trained character could simply grab someone and end that person's involvement in the combat in, oh, say, 1 full action.

Would that work for everyone?

Seriously, I want to know.
Absolutely not. It would become the go-to tactic for most combatants, and likewise if you were playing and were consistently taken out in 1 round, that would severely hamper the flow of the game.

It bypasses the entire Vitality/Hit Point model, and makes combat way too binary and focussed on the Initiative roll.

(all IMO, of course)
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« Reply #59 on: July 31, 2012, 07:02:22 PM »

Would you be comfortable with a grappling system that simply took the safety features off the action? It actually is That. Damn. Powerful. A sufficiently trained character could simply grab someone and end that person's involvement in the combat in, oh, say, 1 full action.

Would that work for everyone?

Not for me.

Plus I'm really starting to dig the faux-grapple status afflictors idea.
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