See, my experience DMing 4e and monster builder was very positive. Not sure if others had the benefit of using the monster builder, but I could hack and slash a creature together in a couple minutes, scale it up to level and bam, off I go. That or select one out of the library and print it off. I liked that monsters didnt follow the same rules as players, because it gave me that much more freedom, and it was so easy to do with the tools they gave us.
Bill Dunn wrote:
I second this, and include 4e in the "exaggerate claims" camp. Or any edition, really. Every system has faults, but leave it to the internet to turn it into the end-all of everything.
As for the wall...
You could easily make the argument that climbing a wall never becomes trivial. It's a not trivial height, and this is a mundane activity. I'm sure you will find an ocean of arguments of why some people think that if you are doing a mundane activity with mundane means, then you should expect a mundane result (ie. You have to roll to climb). Not that I agree with that, but it really depends on the type of game you want to run.
Also keep in the mind the ease of making a trivial wall. Simply don't follow the guide for matching the DC. Tweaking the DC system (or damage/ HP of monsters, two other chief complaints leveled at 4e) is the kind of house-ruling that I expect from any given system. And it's really, really easy to do in 4e without cascading and messing up the rest of the game.
One thing I enjoy about 4e is the mechanics of themes, paragon paths and epic destinies. You no longer are "just" a Fighter. You are started out as a Mercenary (theme), eventually became a Swordmaster (Paragon Path) and finally ended you journey as a Demigod (Epic Destiny). All while still being a Fighter the entire time. These extra layers are just the coolest thing.
The parallel development of each really let you tailor the mechanics and story of your character.
Justin Rocket wrote:
1.) Stunning Fist multiple times a round was another pure mechanical misstep.
Theoretical missteps include wanting to use Archon Style and Marid Style, when there are so many better styles. Taking two different Styles of a non-MoMS is an incredibly high opportunity cost (only can have one active).
End result is you appear to not know much about building Monks, "previews" or not. Want people to stop thinking that? Quit posturing and post. your. build.
Or just flat out say you are done with this thread and have no intention to post the build.
Well, he did say he needed time, but has already made some pretty simple mechanical missteps in just the previews. Most of us that are contributing to this discussion have seen a variety of builds. As Tels pointed out, he's not going to be able to show us anything we haven't seen before. I'm leaning towards vaporware though.
I don't buy into his argument that because you can replace the base class with archetype mechanics that the overall Monk class is fine. They all end up moving away from the idea of an unarmed/unarmored, agile, multi-attack striker that's difficult to pin down.
And I'm not too impressed with the idea of the Monk being "I'm not really a threat and have good defenses, so I'm the one left standing!" stance either. Grappling the big bad is hardly a monk only shtick.
Justin Rocket wrote:
The way things are looking right now, I'll be presenting a Flowing Monk/Underfoot Adept/Quingong with Archon and/or Marid styles. He provides defense to his party as well as sets up the enemy for good attacks by his allies.
Flowing and Underfoot both replace Stunning Fist, thus cannot be combined.
This is ignoring the fact that your are opting into two pretty terrible Styles. Archon requires you to babysit an ally and have the enemy co-operate. Defend an ally and the enemy simply attacks you? Not exactly wowing the masses with that. Lots of other styles are better at generating AoOs more reliably, and don't require an ally (not to mention the Combat Expertise feat tax).
Marid (while being the best out of the really quite terrible elemental styles) is too pricey to enter. How late is this build of yours coming online? Elemental Fist can't even be taken until level 11. Neither of your archetypes give you elemental fist.
Love me some Tetori/Nimble Guardian.
Pounce + Grab gives you a ridic opener. Next round go into full grapple mode.
Still, cherry picking Human for racial heritage to get catfolk archetype with a polymorph effect (which gives you pounce/grab) and stacking with Tetori (which is already OK) illustrates the issues everyone is talking about: You have to trade out everything on the base Monk to even start to look impressive. So can you even call it a monk anymore?
Monk is bad. FoB/fast movement is a bad combo. Pseudo-BAB is confusing and wastes class features. Stunning Fist requires too much effort become effective. Too MAD. Overly specific class features that don't do enough. Reliant on specific magic items. The list goes on and on. The monk doesn't fit the lore at all.
Archetypes bring Monk up to where most classes start out as. Despite what a select few think, that is not a feature. Its a bug. It stifles creativity when you immediately have to worry about mechanical effectiveness as soon as you select your class. It's not "strategic" if in order to play it at all, you need to over-invest in system mastery. That's a cop-out for bad design.
(And the fact that people quibble over giving Monks stuff as common sense as full BAB (on a frontline, martial arts class) just further illustrates how divorced from reality some are. Pseudo-full BAB is a giant waste of rules and class features, and directly contradicts all monk fluff. Urg.).
And put me in the camp that is confused that these fights are going on for 3+ rounds and the melee class is the only one contributing.
What is the rest of the party doing for 3 entire rounds? Being low level and unoptimized doesn't mean you flop over and do nothing all combat. Might mean you don't have *as much* of an impact, but none is a joke (which is how you have presented this).
Still no real sympathy for your grappling plight. If someone walked in and save-or-sucked your boss, or just hit it with big melee numbers for 3 rounds, the result would be the same. Your problem isn't grappling. It's a player coming in to win it.
Wait, what? Why would you risk the -20, even on a caster? "Just to say you did"? Pretty sure that makes it a trap. Avoiding the grappled condition lets you avoid a tiny hit to your stats, at a massive cost to your success. As you pointed out, the most common use of grappling (Tetori/Unarmed) already gets a free card out of some of those penalties.
The -20 option is a waste of ink and paper, and only serves to muddle an already complicated portion of the rules. Not occupying the limb and avoiding the grappled condition at -20 is a bad idea 99.99% of the time. It's rules for the sake of rules.
Snapping Turtle Style is the earliest way to grab two creatures. As others have pointed out, as soon as you get Greater Grapple, its not that hard to get more creatures grabbed.
-20 grab option is to avoid gaining the grappled condition altogether, and is basically a complete trap, because it almost never succeeds. Do we need more trap options?
-4 is plenty tough. You are either grappling weak mooks, or run a real risk of wasting your actions due to failure. IMO, you are seriously over-worrying about a corner case of a corner case. Let the grappler shine, the creatures he is grappling are still able to pound him to a pulp with full attacks if he over extends himself. He doesn't get more actions or anything, just makes himself more of a target to more creatures. How is that a bad thing?
I'd love to see an encounter become "severely unbalanced" that came from some sort of martial class grappling two creatures instead one. What, two casters standing side by side with nothing between them and the grappler? Hate to break it to you, but any melee class worth its salt would have replicated a very similar result (ie. caster not casting, although in this case they are a red mist instead of grappled).
I sided with BBT and crew many threads ago. I just don't have the endurance to weigh in time and time again on the same issue, with the same arguments.
SKR has already stated in a previous thread that the system isn't designed to handle the multi-natural attack monsters that you can create from pooling every available resource. Alchemist is just the tip of the iceberg.
Honestly, what I don't understand is the fact that people are fine with shields but implode when you try to use a clever combination of weapons. I saw the same thing with the Two Hander + Armor Spike TWF debate, where that is not allowed, but a Longsword/Armor Spike TWF + Shield is. Vestigial Arms are getting the same weird preference.
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
1.) Just confirming, but I'm assuming Boulder Helm/Blade Boot (but not Barbazu Beard) get the same treatment as Armor Spikes/Gauntlet in regards to use with a TWF with a 2-hander?
2.) It seems that "hands" available as well as total strength added per turn is a factor with why using TWF with a 2hander is not allowed. What about the use of 1-hander + shield + armor spikes/boulder helm/etc.? Still only x1.5 Str, but using more limbs than available. Obviously, the use of TWF shield bash is already an option (which is located on the same "limb" as the shield, unlike the others), but it seems like this would be a simple way to bypass the usual feats required to make that worthwhile.
3.) If the answer to question 2 was "No", is there a mechanical purpose of "no-slot" weapons, besides a back-up/hidden weapon (as the advantage that they are not located on a standard limb doesn't really change anything)?
No yourself? Of course it's relevant.
"The wearer can deliver the dose to a target as a melee touch attack or as part of an unarmed strike or natural attack with the hands (such as a claw or slam attack). The wearer can use both gloves in the same round using two-weapon fighting or multiple natural attacks (such as 2 slams or 2 claws)."
Explain how is the user going to use TWF with melee touch attacks? In order to use two doses, you have to either be TWFing (with unarmed strikes, no other options given) or have two natural attacks (from your hands, slam/claws). There is no way to deliver two poisons with melee touch attacks, thus you must be able to TWF with unarmed strikes.
There are many other examples, posted many times. The one thing that SHOULD be agreed upon is that it is not clear as it could be, and should be clarified.
Yup, that works fine. Of course, you might find yourself the target of more than one enemy, but you're a Synth, you can probably take it =p.
Need a grappler? Why not Zoidberg?
woop woop woop woop!
I'm more of a fan of a Serpentine + Final Embrace + Swallow Whole deal. Get the snake big enough and its swallowing a dragon.
Note that the swallow whole rules forget to mention whether or not you still have to maintain the grapple...
seems silly, I know, but when discussing the Grab (ex) rules and the -20 hold option, it became apparent that losing the grappled condition does not explicitly free you from requiring to make grapple checks to maintain. By the same logic, losing the grappled condition from swallow whole is in the same boat.
Feel free to use common sense though =)
Also, I think you could eventually use evolution surge to make the eidolon large/huge, so that most of the time you would be fine. Your call though.
Just stick with Str and buy Str attribute upgrades. Dex requires too many resources. You get tonnes of Str when you buy the large and huge upgrades.
Lets not forget you are summoner, and can buff the pants of your eidolon. Enlarge, Bull Strength, Evolution surge... Pretty much have options at every turn to get your Str up.
I'd say Wis/Dex are more important than Con to a grappler. Need to be able to hold onto your targets. Str > Wis/Dex > Con > Cha/Int
Half Orcs have a pretty good favored class ability (not sure if "resisting a grapple" includes enemies making CMB checks against your CMD to escape while in a grapple... but 1/2 a stunning fist is pretty handy), and have some nice alternate racial features.
Not sure if they are PFS legal, but Oread are Str/Wis with -Cha.
EDIT: Unlike trip, grapple has no size or body/limb restriction. You can grapple a god if you are feeling up to it, just beat its CMD.
Need I remind you that I was not arguing that 4e is a more risky game? I objected that you claimed heroes has plot armor, and broke down your one-sided examples of 4e. I don't care how long you've been playing 4e when you are presenting a extremely biased opinion. Here, I'll break down your one sided noise again (not that I need a refresher on 4e mechanics. Notice how all of my examples were in reference to claims you made, and not a spam of 4e mechanics?).
"1: You start off with, and get per level, more hit points than any in other edition."
You start out with more HP (10-15 + Con score), but you no longer gain Con Mod (or favoured class bonus) to HP, instead gaining a flat 4-6, depending on class. There are very few HP increasing items or feats. See how that's a different picture from what you painted?
"2: Healing Surges. Everyone has healing that they can use to heal during and after battle."
Limited by class and Con mod, making HP a finite resource. This means you endurance for a total adventuring day is measured, and you can't just open a bag of CLW wands.
"3: Second Wind. Everyone get's this ability once per encounter which allows them to spend a healing and gain + 2 to their defenses."
As a STANDARD action. You give up doing anything useful for a round, typically to not die.
"4: All healing begins at 0 no matter how far in the negatives you are."
Yup. Saw that the first time.
"5: Three death saves per short rest which is only 5 minutes."
Heh. Some people really do play it like a board game and automatically assume these kinds of things, I guess? I can't count the times where a short rest was not an option, meaning Death Save Throw Count remained where it was (chase or chased, dangerous environment, on the clock).
"6: You have to get to negative your bloodied value before you die."
That's one way to die, I already pointed this out to you (as well as CDG).
"7: Every class has a power than will enable them to spend a healing surge."
Taking these power means you aren't gaining something else, and these powers are extremely varied in nature (many limited to once a day, or only available at higher level, or both). 4e was designed with the goal in mind that you wouldn't have a pocket cleric and could still go adventuring. Mission accomplished.
"8: Spend your healing surges after every encounter and 5 minutes later you are back to full health."
Only IF you get a short rest, and only until while you have surges. Unlike CLW Wands.
"9: "Everyone" use the Raise Dead ritual and it only costs 500gp."
Rituals are DM dependent. This is like claiming you will have access to all magic items at all time. Makes for fine theorycraft, but completely up to the DM.
"10: Lot's of powers grant temporary hit points."
Again, if you take a power that gives you THP, you lost out on something else. And again, this is part of the "No one class required" design.
"11: A natural 20 on your death save actually allows you to spend a healing surge."
Yup. 1/20 chance while you are bleeding out to stumble to your feet. Assuming you have a healing surge left.
Again, you aren't posting (too much) factually inaccurate information, but presenting it in such a way that anyone else with experience with the system is going to call you on it.
4e is less risky than PF. The system was designed that way, so that encounters weren't decided by the opening initiative test. This is different than "plot armor". I can continue to present the full side of the system all day long, if you want. Or you can stop making one-sided claims.
Incorrect jabs at 4e aside...
The more you know!:
(You won't find a fighter power that ACTUALLY replicates the same effect as a Wizard's teleport. Crazy jumps, dashes, shouts, blood n' grit shake it off type effects? By the armful, and they get increasingly over the top as time goes on! But no moving from point A to point B when you are looking through a hole in the wall, ignoring everything in between. Sure, they were both in similarly shaped boxes with the same layout (might of even been the same color!), but that doesn't actually make the identical. Sorry, please jab again!)
It's the age old problem of rooting a huge chunk of the game in reality and handwaving the rest. I can easily see the notion of fighters developing (Ex) and (Su) abilities that bend/break the laws of physics as they become more powerful(and don't have to go all "weeaboo" as they say)... But everyone is going to have a different point of which they "accept" the Fighter as "realistic". I NEVER want to see a Fighter teleport. Or Fly. Or throw a Fireball. I find the fact that he needs to rely on magic in order to deal with threats at high level kind boring, honestly. I would much prefer the idea of a Fighter with amazing feats of strength, stealth, dexterity and skill to such a level that to hold their own at high levels. Also, D&D magic lacks the element of risk and danger that is so often a balancing factor of magic in literature and other universes.
Plus no one wants to really face the most obvious solution of taking some of the toys away for those that have them all... Raise the floor for what is acceptable for a "mundane" to perform and lower the ceiling for the reality-bending finger wigglers. Or accept that this ruleset doesn't play fairly with all and enjoy for other aspects. /shrug
So others that are less experienced with 4e aren't lead astray by a clearly biased opinion...
-PF you remain standing when you hit zero hp. 4e you drop and start dying. Pretty sure that makes PF "safer".
In short? 4e may not be as rocket tag as other game systems, but you paint a pretty inaccurate picture. It is very possible to die in 4e, moreso with the updated damage expressions that were released later on. Naturally, overall I would agree that with the assumption the threat of death in 4e is LESS than PF, but that's a far cry for death being trivialized.
*the more you know meme*
Many have argued that you can use your move action on the FIRST round after succeeding as a standard action to start the grapple (there has been some dev input that seems to suggest that maintain = ANY check after initiate, so you dont have to wait until round 2 to use your move action).
Granted, this is a moot point half the time as you need to move up to your target (and thus wont have a move action to use). Bring it up to your DM.
EDIT: Sneaky grappling ninjas....
See below for the feat of a 1 level dip.
Yes, MA, I see that you added Monk weapons, but removed Stunning Fist. For any Monk build that isn't a weapon build, you've just given them a downgrade. And as you've pointed out, a lack of Stunning Fist creates conflicts with a decent number of archetypes, and by moving Stunning Fist to a bonus feat, you actually lose out on all of the alternative Stunning Fist options. With all those new problems, does it seem like the right fix to make?
I can see that you think you are that a power threshold (again, completely arbitrary here). I just think it is a very strange place to try and reel the Monk back in. Neither Monk Weapons nor Stunning Fist are very potent class features. I personally hate Stunning Fist, and look to to trade it out for something that is actually reliable/worthwhile as soon as I can when building a Monk (my first fix for my houserules is to base it off your Str mod, not Wis. Hey, now you don't need to invest 2+ feats to make it connect once in a blue moon! Crazy.).
Don't "bow" to anyone. This is constructive feedback. Evaluate input, and take elements you think will make YOUR house rules better.
Just my 2cp.
He's spent pretty much every feat on defense. He's only rocking a 14 Str, and no feats on offense, so it's not like he's going to be hurting anyone very quickly. He's the anvil and other players are the hammer. Not really seeing that as a problem.
A defensive Flowing Monk is going to be tough to hit, but is a very reactive build. If the enemy doesn't come to him... Better yet, stop attacking him piecemeal. He can Deflect 1 ranged, 1 melee and use Redirect (doesn't cancel the attack, but the enemy will be prone while making it). A group of ranged attacks will quickly put the hurt on him.
This is something that has thrown me since I saw the first set of changes. MA, you seem to think that you are at some sort of power threshold that if you add anything more, you need to take something away from the current Monk. Yet adding something to pretty much every level of special ability and adding a completely new ability didn't warrant removing anything.
This power threshold is completely arbitrary. You've made some sweeping changes to significant Monk mechanics (which is a good thing). The power of the Monk is higher now, I'm just confused as to why there is a sudden need for precision balance at this point. And lets be honest, the balance of PF isn't so fine tuned that gaining some weapon profs is going to throw the game out of wack (especially for melee). Mechanically speaking, weapon dice size adds very little in the long run of things, and Monks already have access to the Temple Sword... Basically you are giving the access to niche weapons which are most likely a SIDEGRADE.
So why all the shuffling for such a small thing?
Oh, and I'm 100% against alignment restrictions (just screams "YOURE NOT PLAYING MY GAME RIGHT" to me...), but I know the environment I post in and I pick my battles.
Robb Smith wrote:
Throwing rubbish in the feat tree causes players to get less enjoyment out of the game, at lower levels, where feat choices are arguable more important. Honestly, who enjoys leveling up, gaining an extremely situational tool while every else gets a new toy that they actually wanted? Sucking off the start so you can be good later on is poor design. And frankly, the things Combat Expertise is blocking access to aren't even all that great, in the grand scheme of things.
Also, the game doesn't revolve around Fighters. Monks, for example, would welcome the option to not be forced into a sole dump stat (Cha), as everything else under the sun is needed. Heaven forbid the player want to play a Charismatic character that also likes to Steal/Disarm/Trip/whatever! Only INTELLIGENT characters can do that.
People that swear by it's usefulness can still take it if it truly is the bee's knees if it got axed as a tax. No skin off my back. I'd rather not half to burn stats and feats to gain access to something as simple as a MANEUVER. Being forced to jump through these ridiculous hoops is frustrating when feats are very often the lifeblood of martial effectiveness.
Seems like an obvious answer, right? However, I find that the meaning becomes very muddled once we add some good ole Grapple feats into the mix. Grapple rules confusing the situation? Unheard of, I know.
It boils down to this: When the game tells you make make a Stunning Fist attempt (in a grapple, in this circumstance), what does that entail? Are you making an Unarmed Strike attack, and assuming you hit, the enemy makes a Fort save? Or do you fast track to the Fort save in this situation?
Here are the big elements in quest.
You must declare that you are using this feat before you make your attack roll (thus, a failed attack roll ruins the attempt). Stunning Fist forces a foe damaged by your unarmed attack to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Wis modifier), in addition to dealing damage normally. A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before your next turn). A stunned character drops everything held, can’t take actions, loses any Dexterity bonus to AC, and takes a –2 penalty to AC. You may attempt a stunning attack once per day for every four levels you have attained (but see Special), and no more than once per round. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be stunned.
Whenever you pin an opponent, you can spend a swift action to make a Stunning Fist attempt against that opponent.
If you have an opponent your size or smaller helpless or pinned, after you initiate or maintain a grapple, you can make a Stunning Fist attempt at a –5 penalty on the attack roll. If you succeed, you wrench that opponent’s neck, dealing 2d6 Strength or Dexterity damage. If the targeted ability score is reduced to 0, any remaining damage is dealt to that opponent’s Constitution score. A creature that is immune to critical hits or that has no discernible head and neck is immune to the effects of this feat.
I'm sure there are others, feel free to post them if you come across them.
I initially assumed that you would fast track to the Fort save if the game called for an attempt in a nonstandard situation (like Stunning Pin)... but Neckbreaker seems to suggest that you HAVE to make an attack in the attempt. Does this mean Stunning Pin gives you a free Unarmed Attack as a Swift Action? Also, is Neckbreaker assuming you maintained the grapple as a Move action via Greater grapple, and have to use a Standard action to make the Stunning Fist attempt, or does it grant an actionless free Unarmed Attack?
Well, the problem with removing the level 1 bonus feat is you've caused a great number of issues with any archetype that has lvl 1 feat requirements. There's an obvious benefit to remaining close enough to the original class that you can use it as a new base and still add in archetypes.
Again, I'd look at trimming some abilities as opposed to flat out adding or removing, so that it remains compatible. It is much more appealing to use material that works with what is already in the game.
"A monk also adds this bonus to any combat maneuver checks made with unarmed strikes or special monk weapons, as well as any grapple checks which he makes. When wielding a special monk weapon, this bonus also applies a monk’s CMD against disarm and sunder attempts." seems like a really long way to say "Add this bonus to your CMB". Drop the CMD vs Sunder and Disarm (again, simple is better).
Just some food for thought.
Slight offtopic correction, Dijinni style contains a error in wording compared to the other style feats.
"You gain one additional Elemental Fist attempt per day. While you are in this style you must use Elemental Fist to deal electricity damage and you gain a bonus on electricity damage rolls equal to your Wisdom bonus."
You gain +Wis to ALL electricity damage rolls, by strict RAW, not just EF. I believe the RAI is to only apply to EF, and I think there was even an author clarification at some point that it was a mistype. Still, no errata, and TBH, the elemental styles are rather lacking in power compared to the regular styles, so it doesn't break my heart...
Decent changes, MA, while trying to remain as close to the original class as possible (I'd find a way to completely divorce Monks from Wis, but obviously that's a far larger re-write). Not really seeing the worth of swapping Fast Movement and Stunning Fist. Just give monks 2 more skill points per level, not seeing the worth of adding an entire new ability for that. I'd drop some of the extra healing abilities from Wholeness of Body and bringing people along with Abundant Step. Keep it simple when making improvements.
Rest seems decent.
Despite what some others have (rudely) said, if you take an terrible ability and make it worthwhile, that doesn't make it OP. Just not pure archetype swap bait. I'd actually consider playing a base monk, because the base abilities aren't *god awful* anymore.
Yea... Not seeing this as evil. You ask your ally and get permission to feed. Your ally takes a slight hit to Con, you gain some temps, both will recover. Who exactly is being harmed in your scenario?
Yea, I'm not really seeing the "always must be evil" factor here. Can it be? Of course. But I'm not buying "swallow's the attacker's blood and his eyes light up with joy and he gets stronger for doing so, that's evil" as the default, because, well, that's not whats written in the ability. You could write up Power Attack with the same description and suddenly it becomes evil ("You cackle with demonic glee as your increasingly inaccurate yet more powerful blows reduce your opponents to a bloodied mess.") Sounds pretty evil to me, guys, Paladins can't use Power Attack.
The taking of blood could be something the character despises doing, but does it for the sake of survival. It could be a complete non-issue ("Hey, you tried to kill me and now you are dead. A man has gotta eat..."). It could bring them joy, and something they look forward to. That seems like something the PLAYER should decide.
Plenty of cultures in fantasy/history have consumed the flesh of fallen foes. There are countless tales of people forced to resort to cannibalism in dire situations. While it might be seen as barbaric, uncultured and a last resort, I wouldn't write it up as evil unless the act of obtaining it was evil. Defending yourself from someone trying to shank you is pretty much the status quo of D&D, so I don't see obtaining as an issue here...
I don't approve of widespread handwaves of "the right way" to kill your enemy. Plenty of people wont agree with the use of traps, poisons or assassination (cough PALADINS cough cough), but that doesn't make these things "evil". Absolutes will always fall flat.
Some Random Dood wrote:
I find this stance questionable. Neither TWF nor Rapid Shot are phrased in such a way that suggests that if you use one option, that anything else that adds onto a full action attack cannot be used.
Not everything is Vital Strike.
In that example, you are not using Stunning Pin, you are using vanilla Stunning Fist (on an Unarmed Attack that follows). I put Stunning Fist before the Standard Action attack because you have to declare it before you make the attack. Sorry for the confusion.
Stunning Pin is a bad feat, and it should feel bad. It can be argued that you can use Stunning Fist *any* time you make an CMB roll (attack roll) to grapple and do damage, instead of wasting precious swift action economy.
*shrug* Enjoy the cycle of grapple confusion!
Note that I dont think that the either of the conclusions is incorrect. The damage paragraph could be read that it locks you into one option. It could be read to be tied to the -20 choice. It could be read to be referring to additional damage.
Such a mess.