I've had a lot of people ask me all about grappling. It's confusing, GMC! It's obtuse, GMC! It stole my lunch money, GMC!!
Well... while I'm happy to explain it. Again. I do think having a dedicated sticky thread for that explanation is a pretty good idea. Even I get confused about it sometimes - then I re-acquaint myself with it... and it all makes sense. Grappling isn't tough - and understanding it really helps us out.
Not only for gameplay, but for understanding how a lot of the new talents and feats (and weapons) CAN and SHOULD be used.
Gratefully, all the hard work has been done for me.
The FAQ over on the WotC forums (compiled originally by RavingDork) has an EXCELLENT summarization of grappling, with questions, examples, and all that jazz. I'm summarizing all that... right here:Grappling 101
Grappling seems to involve a lot of different rules: grab, grapple, pin, trip, crush, throw, opposed grapple checks, and different rules on escaping. For Yoda's sake, how does it all work!?
It’s actually simpler than it looks. There are only three "states":
All the other rules (pin, trip, grab attack, crush, throw, opposed grapple check, and escape) are just different ways of moving between
these three states.
Untrained attackers can only
grab. Trained attackers (those who have either the Pin or Trip feat) can improve their grabs into an improved hold called a grapple. Grapples are harder to escape from, and also allow you to immobilize your enemy, knock them prone, and even cause damage.Grabbing an Enemy
How do you grab an enemy? Make an unarmed melee attack roll, as a standard action. If successful, the enemy is grabbed. An untrained attacker (one without the Pin or Trip feats) suffers a -5 penalty on the melee attack roll. A trained attacker (one who has either the Pin or Trip feat) suffers no penalty, AND can immediately try to improve his grab into a grapple, as part of the same standard action.
Being grabbed isn't very fun. A grabbed enemy cannot move from his square, and also suffers a -2 penalty on attack rolls unless he's using a natural weapon or a light weapon. The target remains grabbed until he escapes or the attacker lets go, or until the attacker improves the grab into a grapple.Grappling an Enemy
When a trained attacker (one who has the Pin or Trip feats) makes a successful grab attack, he can immediately try to improve his grab into a grapple as part of the same standard action. Once a trained attacker has grabbed the enemy, both fighters immediately make an opposed grapple check. If the attacker's check result equals or exceeds the defender's result, the defender becomes grappled.
The effects of being grappled are exactly the same as the grabbed state: the target cannot move from his square, and also suffers a -2 penalty on attack rolls unless he's using a natural weapon or a light weapon. However
, escape from grappled is much more difficult, and the attacker additionally gets the benefit of his chosen grappling style: Pin (possibly including Crush), Trip (possibly including Throw), or a close-range hit with a light weapon. The target remains grappled until he escapes or the attacker lets go, or until the attacker knocks him prone with the Trip feat.Pinning an Enemy
A successful grapple can become a pin, if the attacker is using the Pin feat, and wins the opposed grapple check. (Note that any pinned target will always be grappled as well, since the attacker made a successful opposed grapple check to perform the pin.)
Being pinned STINKS. A pinned target cannot move or take any
actions, and also loses his Dexterity bonus to Reflex Defense. The target remains pinned for one round, until the attacker's next turn. In each subsequent round, the attacker can try to maintain the Pin by making another opposed grapple check. If the attacker doesn't maintain the Pin, the target ceases being pinned but is still grappled. Escaping!
So just how does
the defender escape from a grab? From a grapple? From a pin?
Escaping from the grabbed state is easy: as a standard action, the defender can break free from a number of grabs equal to his level. No roll is required; success is automatic.
Escaping from a grappled state is harder: as a standard action during his turn, the defender must make an Acrobatics check, with a DC equal to the attacker's last opposed grapple check result. (As an unofficial house-rule, many GMs will allow the defender to make an Acrobatics check OR grapple check on their turn to escape a grapple.)
You can escape from being pinned only
by winning the opposed grapple check during the attacker's turn. If the attacker fails to maintain his pin, the hold is reduced to a grapple.
The attacker can also perform grabs and grapples from a distance by using a net. If grabbed or grappled in a net, escape is a full-round action requiring a DC 15 Acrobatics check or a DC 20 Strength check. Common Grappling Questions
- So, I grab my enemy, then make my opposed grapple check to try and trip him, or pin him. If the defender wins the opposed grapple check, I get that he's not tripped or pinned, but does that mean he also escapes from the grab or the grapple?
Nope. When the defender wins the opposed grapple check, that only means that the attack has failed: the attacker doesn’t get to Pin, Trip, or hit with a natural or light weapon. However the defender is still
either grabbed or grappled, exactly as before.
- Okay, so I get that if I have the Pin or Trip feat, I can initiatiate grapple, but not actually pin or trip the target if I win. I can attack with a light or natural weapon, too. Cool! But when I make an opposed grapple check to strike that weapon, do I have to make an attack roll with the weapon, too?
No. There are only three die rolls made: 1) A melee attack roll to grab (if the target wasn’t already grabbed, grappled, or pinned). 2) An opposed grapple check. 3) Damage dice for the weapon.
- Okay, when I'm being grabbed or grappled, can I still fight?
Yes. (As long as you're not Pinned... see below). However, you cannot move from your square, and you suffer a -2 penalty on attack rolls unless using a natural weapon or a light weapon.Common Pin Questions
- When trying to maintain a Pin, does the attacker have to roll both the melee attack roll and the opposed grapple check, each round?
Nope. A melee attack roll is only used to initiate a grab. If the target is already grabbed, grappled, or pinned, the attacker can proceed directly to the opposed grapple check.
- So, a pinned defender loses his Dexterity bonus to Reflex Defense. Does the attacker lose his Dexterity bonus, too?
No. The attacker has more freedom of movement than the defender does.
- Wait a minute, while pinned, can I still... fight with a light weapon? Use a Force Power? Use Acrobatics to escape? Make a Strength check to break free? Use Adept Negotiator? Enter a Serenity trance? Block and Deflect? Cut my way out with a lightsaber? ANYTHING?
Nope. Nothing. While pinned, the defender "can't move or take any
actions." You're hosed until you escape. And the only
way to escape from a Pin is by winning the opposed grapple check on the attacker's turn
. Until then, you cannot do anything at all.Examples
A lot of people tend to see this better "in action", so here's some examples just for you:Example 1:
Say that Gorak has the Pin feat, while Dack is the poor fellow who's getting his arm twisted.Round 1 - Gorak wants to pin Dack:
- He makes an unarmed attack roll and succeeds (Dack is now grabbed).
- He makes an opposed grapple check and succeeds.
- Dack is now grappled, and also pinned for one round.
- Dack gets no actions for this round because he's pinned. Round 2 - Gorak wants to maintain the pin:
- He tries an opposed grapple check to maintain his pin for another round, but fails.
- Dack is no longer pinned, but he is
still grappled. Since Dack isn't pinned anymore, he can act. He tries to escape the grapple on his turn:
- He makes an Acrobatics check and succeeds.
- Gorak is no longer grappling Dack; he has escaped. Round 3 - Gorak wants to grapple again, but instead of attempting a Pin this time, he just wants to stab Dack with a vibrodagger:
- He makes an unarmed attack roll and succeeds.
- He make an opposed grapple check and succeeds.
- Dack is grappled again, and also takes damage from the dagger.
On Dack's turn, he can attack Gorak (at a -2 penalty, since he's grappled) or he can attempt escape again with another Acrobatics roll.Example 2:
Straight from the archives and Episode 93 of the Order 66 Podcast, let's see how a good grappler can DESTROY a trained Jedi. Let's get into some serious detail, adding realistic round-by-round combat. Say that Martok the Destroyer (a Togorian with an 18 Str, Martial Arts I and II, Expert Grappler, Pin, Crush, and Rancor Crush) faces off against Master Shoran (a Togruta with Block and Deflect, Skill Focus [Use the Force], and 4 Force Trainings - giving him bevy of nasty force powers). Round 1 - Martok wants to pin Shoran:
- He makes an unarmed attack roll and gets a 23, beating Shoran's Reflex Defense.
- Shoran reacts, using Block, and gets a 27, negating Martok's grab attempt.
- Martok's standard action is now wasted, and he angrily withdraws.
- On Shoran's turn, he uses Force Slam, and hits Martok with it hard! Ouch! The togorian is now prone, damaged, and very angry. Round 2 - Martok wants to pin Shoran again:
- He spends a move action to stand, and charges Shoran, making an unarmed attack.
- He makes an unarmed attack roll, and (with his charge bonus) gets a 24, beating Shoran's Reflex Defense. But Martok remembers the last round, and spends a force point to add to his attack roll - bringing the total to 28.
- Shoran reacts, using Block, but doesn't roll as well (only a 24). Shoran's player declares he's going to use a Force Point to add to his roll, but the GM reminds him, "You can't spend Force Points when it's not your turn". Shoran's player mentaly kicks himself for not taking Force Readiness.
- Martok, having successfully grabbed his foe, attempts to turn it into a grapple immediately, rolling a grapple check of 30. Shoran's opposed grapple check is only a 20.
- Shoran is now pinned, takes 10 points of damage and moves -1 step down the condition track (thanks to Crush and Rancor Crush), and cannot take any actions on his turn.Round 3 - Martok maintains his pin:
- Martok rolls another grapple check to maintain his pin, and gets a 29. Shoran's opposed check is only a 21.
- Shoran remains pinned, can't take any actions on his turn, takes another 11 points of damage, and moves another -1 step down the condition track.Round 4 - Martok maintains his pin:
- Martok rolls another grapple check to maintain his pin, and gets a 31. Shoran's opposed check is only a 18.
- Shoran remains pinned, can't take any actions on his turn, takes another 9 points of damage, and moves another -1 step down the condition track (he's now at a -5 on the condition track).Round 5 - Martok maintains his pin:
- Martok rolls another grapple check to maintain his pin, and gets a 27. Shoran's opposed check is only a 15 (gotta love that condition track penalty).
- Shoran remains pinned, and can't take any actions on his turn. Martok rolls very high on his damage, dealing 17 points! This actually just
beats Shoran's modified Damage Threshold (thanks to the condition track penalty) and moves him -2 steps down the condition track.
- Shoran is now unconscious, having been "choked out" by the togorian.Round 6 - Martok's victory:
- Martok screams in rage and pride over the fallen jedi as a free action.
- As a full-round action, Martok performs a coup de grace, snapping his foe's neck with ease!
- Remember, he says... no one messes with Martok the Destroyer!