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.
I think it's kinda awful, actually. As a player, I want to be able to pull off routine moves from source material as soon as possible. Being able to grab someone and restrain them/beat them into unconsciousness is an assumed baseline capability fo any even vaguely martially inclined character -- which basically means adventurers and certainly anyone rated for field work by an agency.
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.
So part of the problem is that the curent rules obviously don't differentiate enough between specials and mundanes.
However, those options have to be there from 1st level. It's been a notion that I've found disengaging from SC 1.0 that 1st level are still meant to be highly trained operatives yet the sort of cinemeatic stunts we want out characters to achieve are difficult if not outright impossible until they're much higher level.
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.
Except that's not how grappling works, even under the more popular interpretation of the rules, so raising this spectre of the 1 round instagimp of specials doesn't make sense.
As you've acknowledged yourself, grappling isn't better than standard combat for a special character because it renders you significantly more vulnerable, and focuses your attention entirely on the person(s) you're grappling. As I interpret the rules, it also effectively nerfs every single reactive combat ability -- such as combat instincts or parry -- that you possess. Heck, you can't even inflict critical hits with it, even using the expanded 2.0 version of the rules.
It's a high-risk high-reward strategy