Take note that in my combat system, there is no such thing as "grappling damage." All damage described on this page refers to normal combat damage, applying to any attack that reduces a combatant's hit points.

Grappling describes techniques, maneuvers and counters applied to an opponent in order to gain a physical advantage, an action that can be performed in lieu of a weapon or, in certain cases, as a secondary weapon. Unlike a normal weapon attack, grappling costs a variable number of action points (AP) from a combatant's movement, depending upon the action taken.

Unless a combatant has specific knowledge of unarmed combat, attempts to grapple an opponent will be little more than grasping the opponent or the opponent's equipment with the open hand, attempted to haul them off balance or brawl desperately in an attempt to keep the opponent under control. More sophisticated techniques such as clinching, takedowns, throws and escapes will unavailable to the combatant. Descriptions of these tactics may be found under the sage study, Unarmed Combat. This page describes only that form of untrained grappling that any combatant may undertake.


Movement and Grappling


In order to grapple, the attacker much move into the opponent's hex, similar to rules surrounding overbearing. By entering the enemy's hex, the attack precludes both combatants from using their weapons. One or the other combatant must retreat after stunning an opponent or breaking free, or perhaps hurling the other combatant from the hex, before weapons can be used again when the combatants are one hex apart (see Melee).

However, an attacker cannot enter an opponent's hex if damage has been caused to the attacker during the defender's last attack, whether or not the would-be grappler was stunned. This reflects the notion of the defender(s) keeping the enemy "at bay," establishing that no access to the hex can be found in order to grapple. It does not matter from where the attack and damage came; an attacker can only attempt to grapple if they begin the round having been missed by all attacks.

In all cases, an unarmed opponent facing an armed opponent is considered to be engaged in a melee hex, while an armed opponent is not engaged if facing an unarmed opponent.


Make a Grab


A combatant may attempt to grasp or seize an opponent suddenly or roughly by any protruding part of the enemy's equipment or by any physical part that might be clasped or gripped, such as by the beard, horns, ears, spines, tentacles and so on. The move requires 3 AP to perform.

Since what is grabbed for is specific and likely small, the attacker must roll to hit the enemy's full armor class, just like using a weapon. A successful hit will indicate that the attacker has gotten the grip desired. However, the attacker must also be momentarily stronger than the defender, so a strength check must be made. If this check is then successful, the defender is thrown off balance and will be considered stunned, regardless of how many hit points the defender has. No damage is bestowed by the move.

Regardless of whether or not the defender is stunned, the end of the move will leave the heavier of the combatants in the hex. The lighter combatant must either: a) retreat back to their origin hex (if the attacker), or b) be pushed one hex away, as though overborn or ordinarily stunned, away from the attacker's origin hex (if the defender). If the weight of the combatants is exactly the same, the highest roll on a d20 wins the hex (reroll if necessary).


Brawl


Contrariwise, combatants may try to throw bodily at an enemy, in an attempt to pull them to the ground and cause real damage. The move requires the combatant's entire move for that round.

To succeed in this, the combatant's total mass (body weight and equipment together) is compared against the defender's mass, according to the following table (the same as that used for overbearing):


Overbearing Modifiers.jpg


A successful grappling attack is one that hits AC 8, adjusted by the combatant's strength, level and the table above. If the attacker misses, the attacker should be moved completely through the opponent's hex (potentially into a wall or into a hex controlled by another enemy). Effectively, the defender has side-stepped the attack. The attacker should then be considered stunned.

Once in the hex of an enemy, the enemy will either: a) retreat one hex and attack with a weapon; or b) choose to grapple.

A successful brawl will cause 1d4-2 damage, adjusted by the combatant's damage bonus. If the defender is stunned by this damage, then the defender is considered to be held; to break the hold will require unarmed combat knowledge (see Sage Abilities).

Because the payoff is so unlikely, brawling will most likely be used in sporting activities between respecting opponents or where a gang of attackers tries to bring down a single defender. Up to four attackers may attempt to brawl one defender, per combat hex that the defender occupies, greatly increasing the likelihood that the single defender will be stunned and held down. In circumstances where the number of attackers greatly overwhelm the number of defenders, brawling will likely be employed rather than other forms of combat.

If a defender is grappled but not stunned, and does not wish to grapple or brawl in the hex, the defender is considered to be in a melee hex for movement purposes; thus, it will require a penalty of 1 action point (AP) to retreat from the hex, as well as the cost for the hex being entered into.

Important note: when grappling with creatures able to cause greater damage with claws and bite, the full amount of this damage will be caused when grappling, though each form of attack does need to be rolled to hit (with adjustments made to hit according to the table above.

As such, there is a reason to reconsider when a human intends to fight a goblin (for example), which is able to cause 1d6 with its two claws, as much as it causes with weapons.



Struggle to Disarm


Similar to making a grab (see above), the attacker reaches specifically for the opponent's weapon hand or weapon arm, to wrest the weapon from the enemy. This move may only be used against weapon-bearing humanoids. The move requires 3 AP to perform.

Since it is the weapon that is targeted, the attacker must roll to hit the enemy's full armor class, with a -3 additional penalty to hit. A successful hit will indicate that the attacker has a grip on the enemy's arm or weapon-hand, precluding any further attacks with the weapon. The attacker may then announce one of two actions:
  • Force a drop of the weapon. The attacker rolls a strength check, in order to deftly loosen the enemy's grip on the weapon, causing it to drop. This is a common first move when attempting to force an opponent into unarmed combat.
  • Succeed in taking away the defender's weapon. If the strength check has been made, the attacker may opt to seize the enemy's weapon for use. If this is desired, the attacker must successful make a dexterity check. Success indicates that the weapon has now changed hands.

No damage is bestowed by either move.

Regardless of success, the end of the move will leave the heavier of the combatants in the hex. The lighter combatant must either: a) retreat back to their origin hex (if the attacker), or b) be pushed one hex away, as though overborn or ordinarily stunned, away from the attacker's origin hex (if the defender). If the weight of the combatants is exactly the same, the highest roll on a d20 wins the hex (reroll if necessary).


See Attacking