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Fly-By Grapple


Rules Questions

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
cp wrote:
Christopher Dudley wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Just because it can't snatch a human and fly off, rending, stinging, and dropping him to his distant death, an almost certain player-killing tactic unless it's used on someone with a great CMD,...
It's not player-killing, but it could be character killing, but I think that IS the goal of the creature, after all. As a DM, I do try to think like the monster. It's a CR6 creature against an 8th level party. (There were 3 wyverns in the encounter, making the whole encounter slightly tougher than a straight-up CR8 fight. It was supposed to be a challenge.) The wyvern doesn't know she's a bag of hit points for them to knock around. The party was a threat in their territory first, and the wyvern has three goals: defend its lair, survive the fight, and eat the loser. She'll want to use her flight to gain whatever advantage she can; it's how I imagine a wyvern thinks. It seemed a fair move to me. I'm not grousing that I couldn't kill a player. I was just asking for the rule. And when I said "negating the feat entirely," I meant in that round of that fight, for that maneuver.

Absent a designer ruling, there will be no agreement. But in my book, flyby allows you to make a standard action and continue moving. Ergo, you could make a grapple attempt, even without the -20.

And grapple prevents you from moving without succeeding a grapple check, ergo the problem.


Christopher Dudley wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Just because it can't snatch a human and fly off, rending, stinging, and dropping him to his distant death, an almost certain player-killing tactic unless it's used on someone with a great CMD,...
It's not player-killing, but it could be character killing, but I think that IS the goal of the creature, after all. As a DM, I do try to think like the monster. It's a CR6 creature against an 8th level party. (There were 3 wyverns in the encounter, making the whole encounter slightly tougher than a straight-up CR8 fight. It was supposed to be a challenge.) The wyvern doesn't know she's a bag of hit points for them to knock around. The party was a threat in their territory first, and the wyvern has three goals: defend its lair, survive the fight, and eat the loser. She'll want to use her flight to gain whatever advantage she can; it's how I imagine a wyvern thinks. It seemed a fair move to me. I'm not grousing that I couldn't kill a player. I was just asking for the rule. And when I said "negating the feat entirely," I meant in that round of that fight, for that maneuver.

Oh, of course, the monster is not a bag of XP waiting to be claimed by the PCs. It absolutely should fight to the best of its ability.

In order to snatch a PC and carry him off to almost certain doom, the rules say it takes two rounds. Initiate the grapple on one round, giving the PC a chance to avoid being grappled. Then the PC gets to act, giving him a chance to break free or do something else useful, like drink a potion of gaseous form, for example (even if he needs to delay until his ally can hand him one). Then on the wyvern's next turn it must roll to maintain the grapple, giving the PC a third chance to survive. That's three chances for the wyvern's plans to go awry, one of which is up to the PC to escape.

Rule it otherwise and allow a single-round flyby attack to carry off the PC, and that almost certain PC death becomes much more likely to succeed.

Yes, I completely advocate playing every monster and bad guy to the best of their ability.

What I don't advocate is playing them better than their ability either through misunderstand or misuse of the rules, or through careless houseruling.


cp wrote:
Christopher Dudley wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Just because it can't snatch a human and fly off, rending, stinging, and dropping him to his distant death, an almost certain player-killing tactic unless it's used on someone with a great CMD,...
It's not player-killing, but it could be character killing, but I think that IS the goal of the creature, after all. As a DM, I do try to think like the monster. It's a CR6 creature against an 8th level party. (There were 3 wyverns in the encounter, making the whole encounter slightly tougher than a straight-up CR8 fight. It was supposed to be a challenge.) The wyvern doesn't know she's a bag of hit points for them to knock around. The party was a threat in their territory first, and the wyvern has three goals: defend its lair, survive the fight, and eat the loser. She'll want to use her flight to gain whatever advantage she can; it's how I imagine a wyvern thinks. It seemed a fair move to me. I'm not grousing that I couldn't kill a player. I was just asking for the rule. And when I said "negating the feat entirely," I meant in that round of that fight, for that maneuver.

Absent a designer ruling, there will be no agreement. But in my book, flyby allows you to make a standard action and continue moving. Ergo, you could make a grapple attempt, even without the -20.

Obviously, this is your book, so it's your call.

But don't overlook the fact that the rules for Grapple in Paizo's book don't accommodate initiating a grapple AND moving your foe in the same round.

Which makes your book a houserule, so make sure your players know of the houserule first, or it might cause some argument.

Qadira

Quote:

Obviously, this is your book, so it's your call.

But don't overlook the fact that the rules for Grapple in Paizo's book don't accommodate initiating a grapple AND moving your foe in the same round.

Which makes your book a houserule, so make sure your players know of the houserule first, or it might cause some argument.

No - your ruling is definitely just wrong if the wyvern takes the -20 to avoid the grappled condition.

My ruling is not a house-rule: its merely an interpretation of the rules as written, that could be correct or incorrect.

I am well aware that most actors that have the grappled condition would be precluded from moving.

However, the flyby attack says you may execute a standard attack and continue moving. It does not say standard attack - except grapple.

Personally, I don't think that this is really that subject to interpretation....


DM Blake wrote:

Obviously, this is your book, so it's your call.

But don't overlook the fact that the rules for Grapple in Paizo's book don't accommodate initiating a grapple AND moving your foe in the same round.

Which makes your book a houserule, so make sure your players know of the houserule first, or it might cause some argument.

Paizo's Pathfinder Bestiary wrote:

Flyby Attack

This creature can make an attack before and after it
moves while flying.
Prerequisite: Fly speed.
Benefit: When flying, the creature can take a move
action and another standard action at any point during
the move. The creature cannot take a second move action
during a round when it makes a flyby attack.
Paizo's Pathfinder Bestiary wrote:

Grab (Ex) If a creature with this special attack hits

with the indicated attack (usually a claw or bite attack), it
deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a
free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Unless otherwise noted, grab works only against
opponents at least one size category smaller than the
creature. The creature has the option to conduct the
grapple normally, or simply use the part of its body it
used in the grab to hold the opponent.
If it chooses to
do the latter, it takes a –20 penalty on its CMB check
to make and maintain the grapple, but does not gain
the grappled condition itself.
Paizo's Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll. If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition. If you successfully grapple a creature that is not adjacent to you, move that creature to an adjacent open space (if no space is available, your grapple fails). Although both creatures have the grappled condition, you can, as the creature that initiated the grapple, release the grapple as a free action, removing the condition from both you and the target. If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold.

None of those are my books, nor are they my rules, and they all agree that if the Wyvern takes the -20 penalty, and succeeds, it then initiates the grapple and uses it to hold the victim, it does not suffer an attack of opportunity, and it does not gain the grappled condition itself, which means that as part of it's standard action taken during (meaning: in the middle of) it's move action, as granted by it's specially designed Flyby attack, it can hold the victim in it's mouth, and continue the move, or in this case, flight. I didn't make that up, Paizo did.


cp wrote:


No - your ruling is definitely just wrong if the wyvern takes the -20 to avoid the grappled condition.

Ths isn't about having the grappled condition or not. This is about moving your opponent. Nowhere in the rules for Flyby Attack or Grab does it say that you may move your opponent willy nilly around the battlefield.

You can't. The wyvern can't.

The only place in any rule being discussed in this thread that lets you move your opponent is Grapple. And that rule says that you must begin your round gappling in order to attempt to move your opponent. It very specifically does not say that you may move your opponent on the round you initiate a grapple - only on subsequent rounds. See pertinent info at end of this post.

cp wrote:
My ruling is not a house-rule: its merely an interpretation of the rules as written, that could be correct or incorrect.

Sorry, but you missed one key point. I'll explain below.

cp wrote:
I am well aware that most actors that have the grappled condition would be precluded from moving.

Again, this isn't about whether the wyvern is gappled or not. Taking the -20 allows him to not be grappled, if he makes the checks. You're quite right on that point.

It's just not the only pertinent point here.

cp wrote:
However, the flyby attack says you may execute a standard attack and continue moving. It does not say standard attack - except grapple.

Quite correct. You can. And a grapple can be initiated as a standard attack, so it would seem you can grapple on a flyby.

However, since you cannot move your opponent on a flyby, there is little to be gained by gappling him then continuing to fly - you would be forced to release him, instantly, right where he's been standing all along (fortunately, it's a free action, so you could, but then your whole attack has been a waste of your time).

cp wrote:
Personally, I don't think that this is really that subject to interpretation....

Good call. It isn't. But it is subject to requiring a clear understanding. I will delete some irrelevent parts since it's a very long paragraph, leaving just the key parts:

Pathfinder SRD, Grapple wrote:

As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. ...

If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition. ...

If you do not release the grapple, you must continue to make a check each round, as a standard action, to maintain the hold. ...

Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).

Move: You can move both yourself and your target up to half your speed. At the end of your movement, you can place your target in any square adjacent to you. If you attempt to place your foe in a hazardous location, such as in a wall of fire or over a pit, the target receives a free attempt to break your grapple with a +4 bonus.

To summarize:

1. As a standard action, make one single grapple attempt to initiate the grapple.
2. If successful, you are now grappling.
3. If you don't release the grapple, you must make a check each round to maintain the grapple.
4. On a successful check to maintain the grapple, you can do one of several things, including move yourself and your foe at half your movement speed.

So it's clear that the "make a check each round to maintain the grapple" doesn't apply to the first round when you just initiated the grapple (it says so in the part I bolded). Which means its also clear that you must make one of these checks Next Round if you want to move your foe. Since these checks are not made until the round following the Flyby Attack, there is no way to move the foe in the Flyby round.

I know, they could have made this a little more clear. It's unfortunate that we have to dig out 4 chunks of infomation scattered througout the wall of Grapple text and then assemble them into coherence to figure out how this works.

Nevertheless, this is how it works.

The good news is, you don't have to take the -20. Yes, I know the rules say the Grappled condition means you cannot move. But the rules also say that if you successfully maintain your grapple, you can move at half speed, taking your opponent with you.

So the general rule (Grappled condition) doesn't let you make your normal move (normal speed, run, sprint, burrow, fly, swim, whatever), but the specific rule (Move you and foe if you make a successful maintenance roll) says you can move both of you at half your movement speed.

And specific trumps general, so off you go. Grapple away, and then next round fly away at half speed, all without suffering -20 on the rolls.


MendedWall12 wrote:
Some good quotes and one incomplete quote
MendedWall12 wrote:
SNone of those are my books, nor are they my rules, and they all agree that if the Wyvern takes the -20 penalty, and succeeds, it then initiates the grapple and uses it to hold the victim, it does not suffer an attack of opportunity, and it does not gain the grappled condition itself, which means that as part of it's standard action taken during (meaning: in the middle of) it's move action, as granted by it's specially designed Flyby attack, it can hold the victim in it's mouth, and continue the move, or in this case, flight. I didn't make that up, Paizo did.

Thanks for all the quotes; it meant I didn't have to get them for the post I just made right before this one...

;)

However, you should have finished your third quote. You know, the Grapple one. Just a bit further down the page are the bits I quoted, which clearly shows that while the wyvern can, indeed, continue flying, it is unable to move the opponent in the same round that it initiates the Flyby attack.

Hence, you're almost right. The wyvern can execute a Flyby Grapple and can continue moving that same round thanks to the Flyby Attack feat, but it will be forced to release the immovable foe, per the rest of the Grapple rules that you omitted from your quote. If he wants to move the foe, he must maintain the grapple on the following round, at which time he can move himself and the foe.

All per the Grapple rules.


DM_Blake wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:
Some good quotes and one incomplete quote
MendedWall12 wrote:
SNone of those are my books, nor are they my rules, and they all agree that if the Wyvern takes the -20 penalty, and succeeds, it then initiates the grapple and uses it to hold the victim, it does not suffer an attack of opportunity, and it does not gain the grappled condition itself, which means that as part of it's standard action taken during (meaning: in the middle of) it's move action, as granted by it's specially designed Flyby attack, it can hold the victim in it's mouth, and continue the move, or in this case, flight. I didn't make that up, Paizo did.

Thanks for all the quotes; it meant I didn't have to get them for the post I just made right before this one...

;)

However, you should have finished your third quote. You know, the Grapple one. Just a bit further down the page are the bits I quoted, which clearly shows that while the wyvern can, indeed, continue flying, it is unable to move the opponent in the same round that it initiates the Flyby attack.

Hence, you're almost right. The wyvern can execute a Flyby Grapple and can continue moving that same round thanks to the Flyby Attack feat, but it will be forced to release the immovable foe, per the rest of the Grapple rules that you omitted from your quote. If he wants to move the foe, he must maintain the grapple on the following round, at which time he can move himself and the foe.

All per the Grapple rules.

Okay I'm going to disagree with you again, because I think you and I are interpreting this section of the rules differently. As I read the grapple rules, the check to maintain the grapple in the second round is irrelevant to the Flyby attack(which is why I didn't include them). Why? If the wyvern initiates the grapple and is successful he is already holding the victim in his toothy maw. Flyby says make a standard action during your move action. One standard action taken with the Grab ability and at a -20 penalty means the wyvern is successfully holding the victim, is not grappled himself, meaning he is free to move, and then he does (continuing the move action he was already in the process of), carrying the victim aloft. Now the next round, while he is in the air, he has to make a check to maintain the grapple, or release the hold (which is a free action). Which to me seems like a perfectly feasible wyvern tactic, separate the party, and cause a crapton (that's the scientific term for it) of fall damage.

DM Blake wrote:
Ths isn't about having the grappled condition or not. This is about moving your opponent. Nowhere in the rules for Flyby Attack or Grab does it say that you may move your opponent willy nilly around the battlefield.

It also doesn't say that you cannot, and having the Grab ability means that you can grab something and not be hindered by the grab, thus the no grappled condition.

DM Blake wrote:
The wyvern can execute a Flyby Grapple and can continue moving that same round thanks to the Flyby Attack feat, but it will be forced to release the immovable foe, per the rest of the Grapple rules that you omitted from your quote. If he wants to move the foe, he must maintain the grapple on the following round, at which time he can move himself and the foe.

The rest of the grapple rules don't apply at this point because they all assume that the person(or creature) in question is engaged in trying to maintain a grapple. They must first succeed in the next round with the hold, and then move, but those rules are (to my mind anyway) specifically designed for bipedal humanoids. Of course a bipedal humanoid wouldn't be able to make a move action, grapple a foe, not be grappled himself (without a feat anyway), and continue moving in the same round. That is unless of course they had a "Runby attack" feat that allowed you to take a standard action in the middle of your move action, and then if you had a special attack (say something like Grab) that allowed you to also hold an opponent without being considered grappled yourself. But wait... Isn't that what Flyby attack says?

Flyby attack wrote:

When flying, the creature can take a move

action and another standard action at any point during
the move.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Keep in mind that the first 'grapple' does not get the guy in the toothy maw, rather it just grabs onto a part of him. It's the step before he's completely in said maw. What you're thinking of sounds more like Pin, which comes after Grapple.


Karui Kage wrote:
Keep in mind that the first 'grapple' does not get the guy in the toothy maw, rather it just grabs onto a part of him. It's the step before he's completely in said maw. What you're thinking of sounds more like Pin, which comes after Grapple.
If the first grapple doesn't get the guy in the maw what does
PSRD wrote:

The creature has the option to conduct the

grapple normally, or simply use the part of its body it
used in the grab to hold the opponent.

this mean? If I pick up a cat by the nape of the neck, I would say I'm holding it, not pinning it. Holding a cat by the nape of the neck is a lot easier than trying to pin it to the floor. I realize a cat is two size categories smaller than I am, so it's not as equal an example, but you get the point. I could, and in point of fact have, run up to a cat, grabbed it by the nape of the neck and flung it off of something all in one smooth swift motion. I didn't have to stop and adjust my hold on the animal to fling it off the table where it wasn't supposed to be. This is why I think the argument revolves around the interpretation of the hold as listed in the Grab attack, as opposed to the grapple rules. If you threw out the word "grapple" from the Grab language, and made it a totally different kind of combat maneuver, we wouldn't be having this argument. If Grab and Grapple were two different things I don't think anyone would have a problem with a flying creature flying down, scooping something up, and flying away with it, even if it subsequently dropped it because it didn't have as great a hold on it as it first thought. In my mind the intent of giving an animal a Flyby attack, and the ability to Grab, leads me to believe that scooping up enemies and flinging them for fall damage is a major part of their regular attack type. So the way I "use" the grapple rules in this situation is a lot different than I would use them in a "normal" combat.


I'm going to post what I think is definitive proof that the flyby attack grab and keep flying is absolutely legal and not a houserule.

First, I'd like to make sure that everyone agrees that the Flyby attack allows the flying creature to make a standard action during its move action. This means that the creature gets to move part of the total squares it is allowed, standard act, and then continue its movement. Agreed?

Second, as per the Grab language, we can all agree that the creature is allowed to "hold" the victim of its grab attack and not suffer the grappled condition itself, if it succeeds on the Combat Maneuver roll at a -20. (Let's assume for the sake of argument that the creature succeeds)

Dictionary.com wrote:
Hold. Verb: to have or keep in the hand; keep fast; grasp.

To grasp something whether in the hand or not (since in this case the language even says the creature can initiate the grab with whatever part of the body made the attack "claw or bite") means it is both clenched and controlled.

PFSRD wrote:
A grappled creature is restrained by a creature, trap, or effect. Grappled creatures cannot move and take a –4 penalty to Dexterity. A grappled creature takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and combat maneuver checks, except those made to grapple or escape a grapple. In addition, grappled creatures can take no action that requires two hands to perform.
Dictionary.com wrote:
Restrain. Adjective: to hold back from action; keep in check or under control.

If a clamping bear trap grabbed a hold of a PC's foot during his/her move and succeeded in "grappling" you wouldn't wait until the next round to see if the PC was actually stuck in the trap, you'd tell them they took however much damage, and were stuck in it right now! Their turn was interrupted because the trap closed on their leg. The next round the PC would have to decide how to get out of the trap and try to remove the grappled condition caused by the trap. You don't initiate the grapple with the trap in the first round, and then grapple check in the subsequent round to see if the PC is actually trapped or not. They either get caught in the trap right away or not.

Also if you look here you will see that the mechanics involved in a grapple are all completed in one round, at the end of that round the grapple has either failed, OR, both creatures involved are already considered to be "grappled" UNLESS of course the initiating creature has a feat that allows it to forgo the "grappled" condition itself. In which case that creature is in control of, grasping, holding, restraining the victim of the grapple it initiated.

All of that happens within the standard action. Therefore, at the end of the standard action during the initiator's initiative turn the victim is "grappled" or in this case "held" which is as good as a grapple. Meaning that at the completion of the creatures standard action it has successfully held, restrained, grasped, etc. the victim, and in this case not suffered an AoO, nor suffered the grappled condition itself. Which means that it is not restrained, and may continue to fly! Finishing out the remainder of it's move action with the victim still held, restrained, grabbed, grappled in whatever part of its body made the attack.

The creature doesn't have to "worry" about maintaining the grapple because in the next round if the victim acts first in the initiative order it can decide to try and break the grapple (while being held aloft by the flying creature) or hold on for dear life so the flying creature doesn't use its free action to drop it unceremoniously to the ground.

That is all legal, all falling under the Pathfinder rules as created by Paizo.


I would like to point out that regardless of whether or not the Wyvern could move afterwords is a moot point for the simple fact that no attack of opportunity could have been taken anyhow. The Wyvern is a large creature that has a ten foot threat range. The only people who could do anything, and that is on their turn, is those with ranged attacks. (unless the proper feat tree was followed of course). I didn't take the time to read all of the posts but I ran into a similar issue last night when I ran "The Last Riddle" for a group of friends. I simply ruled that the wyvern could fly due to it's str with some penalties to it's fly check due to the weight of the creature. Fly by attack means that the creature can take a standard action (which grappling is) and continue it's movement. Once the target is grappled and lifted, the target has no way to gain leverage, other than breaking free of the grapple or attempting to take control of the grapple. This is all assuming of course that the target is a medium creature and has no ability to fly on their own. Just some things to think about, and maybe someone might drop some insight my way as well.


Holy thread necromancy.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Mendedwall has the right of it.


I skipped the last few walls of text for the sake of my sanity.

Just a fun fact, sort of. By taking the -20, you cannot let go of the target. You aren't in a grappled condition and therefor you cannot decide to release the grapple, attack using grapple rules, or move.

This is just my opinion, so take it as you like. It doesn't matter if it's flyby or you got two move action, the key is that the -20 does not make you count as grappled, therefor does not limit your movement, or allow you to release the grapple without taking a new grapple check and then deciding to release.

Let's use another example. An eidolon with Grab, he uses Spring-Attack to move to a gnome, use Grab on it with -20 and wins, he is NOT in a grappled condition, therefor the move restriction does not apply to him and he moves the rest of spring attack normally, right?.


By the rules you have to make a grapple check on the next round to move the opponent 5 feet. The grapple rules also state you have to be adjacent to the victim.

If you move too far away you break the conditions required by grapple.


You know, the absence of a developer voice on this issue, both when it originally went around, and again now, makes me feel like they are definitively saying it is up to the GM to decide how this works. At this point I would really be inclined to say that by RAW because of the grapple rules it probably isn't legal. However, real life examples like the eagle catching a nice sized salmon make me think it should be, and I'd still run it that way.


It sounds to me like MendedWall12 has the right of it.

A large enough creature with flyby attack (or Spring Attack) and grab could grapple someone and move with them in the same round by taking the -20 penalty on the check. Since they aren't considered grappled themselves they would not be prohibited from moving unless the grappled target was heavy enough to apply an encumbrance penalty.

This interpretation is consistent with snatching monster themes and also easy to adjudicate so it's a win for me.


It might fit a monster movie, but it does not fit the rules. That -20 never invalidates that you can only move someone 5 feet, nor does it invalidate that it takes a second grapple check to do so.

I agree it is one of those things that a GM can and probably should allow, but it is not a rule.


By the rules, a grappling opponent has to make a grapple check in the next round to move himself and his target half his speed (placing the target in any adjacent square).

It is unclear to me what an opponent who is not considered grappled has to do. A -20 is a pretty steep penalty so I'm inclined to go with them being able to move (since only the grappling appendage is involved, leaving legs, wings, fins free for travel).

I would however think that pulling someone into the air counts as moving them into a dangerous position and entitles them to an immediate escape attempt with a +4 bonus.

In the absence of this clarity I find MendedWall12's interpretation to be the easiest to use, the most reflective of expected monster tropes, and consistent with the rules. That's just my opinion, but in the absence of a definitive answer that's all any of us have :)

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