Monday, December 29, 2008

Grappling and Other Fancy Combat Maneuvers

(I think I've finally figured grappling out to my satisfaction. Aside from the part where I wonder if these rules are needed at all, that is. Your thoughts are welcome.)

When you make an Attack or Saving Throw it can be described any way you want, but the only mechanical effects are those told by the dice: You may well be a whirlwind of flashing steel slicing through enemy necks. You might escape death by inches, turning aside a killing spear thrust with the force of your chic chi parasol. And when it comes to the slingshot you may as well have ten thumbs and astigmatism for all your luck hitting the broad side of a battle cruiser. But in game terms that just means that your sword hit for 10 points of damage; you saved for half damage, and your sling bullet missed.

If you want more lasting mechanical effects, you can try combining your Attack or Save rolls with other abilities: A Psi-Knight might combine a Melee Attack with Command Matter in an attempt to disarm his opponent. A Doxy might Seduce a foe into Saving her by Throwing himself in front of a charging rhinoceratops -- if she makes her Seduce and Saving Throw her victim takes the damage.

One case of this is grappling, submission holds, wrestling throws and so forth. You start a grapple by stating your intention to restrain your opponent, then rolling a Melee Attack* combined with a Feat roll. If your Attack roll fails there is no grapple. If both Attack and Feat roll are successful you have grabbed hold of your foe! The foe gets to defend with an opposed Feat roll, which doubles as a Saving Throw for purposes of damage.

If both grapplers make Lesser Feat rolls they cancel each other out in the struggle for dominance, but the better success (lower roll) can make an unarmed Melee Attack on the other. The Feat roll still doubles as a Saving Throw.

If both grapplers fail Lesser Feat rolls neither can make an Attack roll but either can choose to step out of the grapple and flee, resume normal melee, etc.

If one attacker succeeds at a Lesser Feat and the other fails, he can immobilize his opponent or make an unarmed Melee Attack. If he was previously immobilized he can break his opponent's hold. In all cases, if grappling continues he gets to subtract his Strength score from next round's Feat roll.

If either combatant rolls a Great Feat they may automatically hit with a melee attack (no roll needed) or perform a more spectacular maneuver such as a body slam, suplex, throw, etc. This is based on the character's stated intention at the beginning of the round. If they haven't stated a special combat move they may only take the automatic melee attack. JM adjudicates the results, especially in cases where both fighters make a Great Feat roll.

Creative fighters may find other abilities such as Sneak Attack, Sneak, etc useful in grappling but that is up to the player to suggest and JM to adjudicate.

* OK, smart guy, or a Missile Attack for those of you armed with lassos, bola constrictors, rubberband lazers, etc.

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