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Grappled to Pinned to Tied Up to Helpless?


Rules Questions


15 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I don't have much experience with grappling so I thought I'd ask this question inspired by a similar thread.

Hypothetical situation...

If you Grapple a creature, then Pin the creature and finally manage to Tie Up the creature....Does the creature ever become Helpless? (I guess if they can't break their restraints)

Part of the helpless description also refers to a creature that is "bound", but the grapple section of the rules never refers to this.

Can you ever upgrade to helpless in this way?


Given that ´tied up´ and ´bound´ are practically synonyms,
yes, that´s a way to get them helpless IMHO.


Tied up is not Helpless... it is a permanent (as long as bindings remain) form of Pinned. Rules for Pinned are specific, and not the same as Helpless. You can't Coup-de-grace a tied up creature for instance, since even though they can't react properly they can still lurch themselves from side to side etc. The description of Helpless includes the standard methods of achieving it.


Interzone wrote:
Tied up is not Helpless...

However, in the description for Helpless one of the ways to achieve it is if a creature is "bound" as Quandary noted.

If Tying a creature up does not constitute binding a creature, then what does?


Stynkk wrote:
Interzone wrote:
Tied up is not Helpless...

However, in the description for Helpless one of the ways to achieve it is if a creature is "bound" as Quandary noted.

If Tying a creature up does not constitute binding a creature, then what does?

Tie Up: If you have your target pinned, otherwise restrained, or unconscious, you can use rope to tie him up. This works like a pin effect, but the DC to escape the bonds is equal to 20 + your Combat Maneuver Bonus (instead of your CMD). The ropes do not need to make a check every round to maintain the pin.

^^This is what tie up does, very specifically-pinned.

A pinned creature is tightly bound and can take few actions. A pinned creature cannot move and is flat-footed. A pinned character also takes an additional –4 penalty to his Armor Class. A pinned creature is limited in the actions that it can take. A pinned creature can always attempt to free itself, usually through a combat maneuver check or Escape Artist check. A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component. A pinned character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level) or lose the spell. Pinned is a more severe version of grappled, and their effects do not stack.

^^This is the definition of pinned. A pinned player can take very few actions, is flat-footed and has a penalty to AC. They are not completely at an opponents mercy.

Helpless: A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy. A helpless target is treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (–5 modifier). Melee attacks against a helpless target get a +4 bonus (equivalent to attacking a prone target). Ranged attacks get no special bonus against helpless targets. Rogues can sneak attack helpless targets.

Helpless people can't do anything at all, and have no dexterity whatsoever, not just flat-footed. I guess what needs to be defined is the meaning of 'bound', but since tied up is already clearly spelled out it must be something different.


Sigh... yet another term to be defined...

Grand Lodge

Interzone wrote:
I guess what needs to be defined is the meaning of 'bound', but since tied up is already clearly spelled out it must be something different.

It seems consistent to say that being tied up, also known as bound, works like being pinned, except that you are helpless and the only way to get out is by an Escape Artist check. The latter is already different from the pinned condition, which would allow you a grapple check to escape.

It might also work if "bound" means tied up with a DC to escape higher than 20 + victim's CMB (i.e. impossible to escape).


Bound as an even more restrictive form of being tied up?

I see being tied up as still maintaining some mobility. Handcuffs with feet tied together, you aren't able to do too much, but you certainly can still react.

Bound I can see as full body restraints, such as they are supposed to use sparingly at mental hospitals, and regular hospitals to tie someone down. You are bound not just to yourself but an external, more restrictive, object.

So, grappled to pinned to tied up to bound?


Godwyn wrote:
Bound as an even more restrictive form of being tied up?

Given there is no actual definition for what constitutes bound in the rules, I'm not sure what you're getting at. If a person achieves a state that is "bound" they are by definition now Helpless.

How does a person become "bound"? I submit it is that they are unable to break their bonds (even with a natural 20) as Starglim suggested.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Stynkk wrote:
Godwyn wrote:
Bound as an even more restrictive form of being tied up?

Given there is no actual definition for what constitutes bound in the rules, I'm not sure what you're getting at. If a person achieves a state that is "bound" they are by definition now Helpless.

How does a person become "bound"? I submit it is that they are unable to break their bonds (even with a natural 20) as Starglim suggested.

As I explain it in the rest of my post. . .? The lack of an actual definition for it, as well as rules on how to obtain it, are the point.

I don't think chance to break out of the bonds should matter at all. A person is not more or less restricted because they could at some future point be out of the bonds. If it would take them 2 minutes on average (taking 20) to break the bonds, if the bonds are sufficient to render them helpless, they are helpless for those 2 minutes whether or not they will be free afterwards.

Other logical problems with that method arise for escape artist. If someone is, say, oiled down for a +2 bonus, if that lets them escape on a 20 then they are not helpless, but without the oil they are helpless?


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As far as I'm concerned tied up = bound = helpless =/= pinned. When it says it works like a pin effect, I believe it is referring to the process of how you would go about tying them up (the kinds of checks and rolls that are required) not describing the effects of being tied up.

Cheliax

Interzone wrote:
Stynkk wrote:
Interzone wrote:
Tied up is not Helpless...

However, in the description for Helpless one of the ways to achieve it is if a creature is "bound" as Quandary noted.

If Tying a creature up does not constitute binding a creature, then what does?

Tie Up: If you have your target pinned, otherwise restrained, or unconscious, you can use rope to tie him up. This works like a pin effect, but the DC to escape the bonds is equal to 20 + your Combat Maneuver Bonus (instead of your CMD). The ropes do not need to make a check every round to maintain the pin.

^^This is what tie up does, very specifically-pinned.

A pinned creature is tightly bound and can take few actions. A pinned creature cannot move and is flat-footed. A pinned character also takes an additional –4 penalty to his Armor Class. A pinned creature is limited in the actions that it can take. A pinned creature can always attempt to free itself, usually through a combat maneuver check or Escape Artist check. A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component. A pinned character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level) or lose the spell. Pinned is a more severe version of grappled, and their effects do not stack.

^^This is the definition of pinned. A pinned player can take very few actions, is flat-footed and has a penalty to AC. They are not completely at an opponents mercy.

Helpless: A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy. A helpless target is treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (–5 modifier). Melee attacks against a helpless target get a +4 bonus (equivalent to attacking a prone target). Ranged attacks get no special bonus against helpless targets. Rogues can sneak attack helpless targets.

Helpless people can't do anything at all, and have no dexterity whatsoever, not just flat-footed. I...

Thus pinned = bound. Says so right in the definition that you gave:

Pinned:

Quote:
A pinned creature is tightly bound and can take few actions.
Helpless:
Quote:
Helpless: A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy.

How is Pinned/tied-up not bound?


Because pinned is very specifically not helpless, hence the problem.

A pinned creature is bound.

A bound creature may be helpless.

A pinned creature, is, by definition, not helpless unless applied by another effect.

Therefore a bound creature, which is supposedly helpless, is by definition not helpless if the bound situation is from pinned. Bound does not have a RAW definition.

Which leads back to the OP's question.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

This is where you ask your DM...

"Have I tied him up enough to the point of being REALLY BOUND?"...

"HELPLESS?"....

"no?"...

"I tie him up more than"...

"How about now?"...

"Yes?"...

"Good, I COUP EM than?"


I like Ravingdorks version... it would certainly make my grappling fighter way better if she could get some auto coup-de-graces in


Interzone wrote:
I like Ravingdorks version... it would certainly make my grappling fighter way better if she could get some auto coup-de-graces in

As much fun as it seems, the Auto coup is something that I don't think they intended. I'll stick the grapple-pin-tied-up if inescapable then helpless.

Pin =/= helpless imo, even if bound is thrown in there as pin is fully described and in no way correlates to helpless.


Bump & FAQed.

This question is important for users of the new whip feat chain from Ultimate Combat.


It seems there is no resolution on this?

I am building a whip user myself, and would need to know how this works also.

The pinned condition rules outline very clearly that the creature can't move, can't cast spells with somatic components, and must make a concentration check for spells without these components. However, it doesn't explicitly say that they are helpless, nor does it say they cannot attack.

By any reasonable logic, a tied up creature could not attack, and if it can't even cast a spell with somatic components, how could it possibly attack with a weapon? And if it can't move, and have no dexterity bonus allowed, how could it dodge a coup de grace?

So, again, by any real-world standard, a tied up creature would be helpless... it would be nice if it were clear in the rules. The only reason it wouldn't be the case in the rules would be for "balance" as it not being the case just makes no sense.

The rules do say a bound creature is helpless, and a pinned creature is bound (not only bound, but TIGHTLY bound no less...) so it would be baffling if the official response if there ever could be one would be anything but that a pinned creature is helpless. I can see how since "bound" is not defined, that this could be something left to fiat... but I hate things so simple being left to fiat. All it takes is one sentence in the official rules/FAQs:

"A creature who is tied up [is/is not] helpless, [may/may not] attack, and [is/isn't] a valid target of a Coup de Grace"


A tied up creature is like when the guard has grappled you and then he puts handcuffs on you, you are put in handcuffs not helpless. It doesn't say you are helpless in the rules, so you arent.

A helpless person is like when the guard has brought you back home to a station and you are all shackled to the wall. And you are totally bound, like in the rules, so you are helpless.


Don't know what the exact source is, but in the combat section of the pfsrd, there is this sidebar:

Combat wrote:

Tied Up?

A creature that is tied up is "bound" which means it has the Helpless condition.

Hope this ends the confusion :P


Georgios wrote:

A tied up creature is like when the guard has grappled you and then he puts handcuffs on you, you are put in handcuffs not helpless. It doesn't say you are helpless in the rules, so you arent.

A helpless person is like when the guard has brought you back home to a station and you are all shackled to the wall. And you are totally bound, like in the rules, so you are helpless.

When you post something like this, please lead with "my interpretation is that" or some such. What you posted is a fine way to look at it, but has nearly nothing to do with the rules... no where does it describe a bound condition, nor if/when the "tied up" condition differs or changes, or how it changes.

This has gone round and round without comment from Devs, so the answer is "we don't know for sure."

Personally, the word bound being used to described helpless + tightly bound in the pinned condition has me playing pinned = helpless... but I can see how others wouldn't like that... Our group hasn't had issues with it, but others might be worried about players abusing it. (BTW, we don't allow the player that is pinning to CdG, it takes two to autocrit)

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is the last line of the Tie Up section:

The PRD wrote:
If the DC to escape from these bindings is higher than 20 + the target's CMB, the target cannot escape from the bonds, even with a natural 20 on the check.

Therefore, if the DC is high enough that you cannot escape, you should be helpless.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Man, who is the OP who posts all these poignant topics?

Andoran

If you ignore 'bound' under the Helpless condition, you are left with paralyzed, held, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy. These conditions indicate a target that is immobile and unable to react to an attack.

A target that is bound at the wrist and legs is still able to react, thrash about, etc. I would call a bound person Helpless if they were so secure that they were unable to react to an attack (such as being tied to a table at the wrist, ankle, waist, head, and blind-folded and ears covered, etc).

For the most part, 'bound' does not fit with the rest of the conditions under 'Helpless'. It would have been better if it was left off that list.


For NPCs, being tied up gets them out of the fight. Being out of the fight is as good as dead. I just let a third successful grappling roll kill their target.


Stubs McKenzie wrote:
Georgios wrote:

A tied up creature is like when the guard has grappled you and then he puts handcuffs on you, you are put in handcuffs not helpless. It doesn't say you are helpless in the rules, so you arent.

A helpless person is like when the guard has brought you back home to a station and you are all shackled to the wall. And you are totally bound, like in the rules, so you are helpless.

When you post something like this, please lead with "my interpretation is that" or some such. What you posted is a fine way to look at it, but has nearly nothing to do with the rules... no where does it describe a bound condition, nor if/when the "tied up" condition differs or changes, or how it changes.

It does have to do with the rules. The rules say nothing about you becoming helpless when someone ties you up using the grapple rules, so you don't become helpless.

Since being tightly bound is given as an example of helpless, tightly bound must then be something more than having slapped a rope or a manacles on someone. You are more thoroughly bound, someone has taken time to make sure you can't move at all.


Malfus wrote:
Don't know what the exact source is, but in the combat section of the pfsrd, there is this sidebar:
Combat wrote:

Tied Up?

A creature that is tied up is "bound" which means it has the Helpless condition.
Hope this ends the confusion :P

d20pfsrd.com is a fan site. A very useful and comprehensive fan site, but a fan site. But any text in it that does not come straight from the PRD or straight from one of Paizo's books is fan made text and not an official ruling. That sidebar appears to be a call made by one of the site maintainers; I cannot find it in the rules or FAQ anywhere.

My interpretation is helpless is situation where you cannot physically act at all.

You can physically act while being pinned ("a pinned creature can always try to free itself"). You can usually physically act while being tied up (at least to try to break your bonds).

Further, "pinned" and "helpless" are two conditions, each which inflict their own penalties. Some of these penalties CANNOT exist at the same time (when you are pinned you are denied your Dexterity bonus--but your Dex is not penalized further--; when you are helpless you are treated as having a Dexterity of 0, which means you are completely incapable of movement and your Dexterity modifier is -5 if it matters. These two situations cannot exist at the same time--especially since, again, a pinned character CAN physically act to free himself and thus it is impossible he could have a Dexterity of 0).

Being tied up -- should being tied up automatically reduce your Dexterity to 0?

Something's wrong there. Sure, I can see circumstances where being tied up renders you utterly incapable of movement--but not immediately so. If someone's tied up but could still struggle and roll around and try to break free, they're not helpless. If someone's absolutely bound head to foot and further tied to an object that keeps them immobile and cannot move at all... then they're probably helpless. There's probably not a firm definition here because it's circumstantial and probably it's really best to let the GM make the call as to how severely "bound" (and helpless or not) the character is.

I think maybe the real problem is the removal of the Use Rope ability (understandable though it was, as it was circumstantial). "Bound" in 3.5 meant specifically that someone used the Use Rope skill on you, and you were unable to beat the Use Rope result with your Escape Artist check. The rules for tying someone up are now tied to grappling and involve Dexterity checks and Strength checks and still Escape Artist checks and honestly I don't remember what the permutations all do. But the "bound" wording could be a 3.x artifact that is in fact no longer relevant to Pathfinder rules.


DeathQuaker wrote:
Malfus wrote:
Don't know what the exact source is, but in the combat section of the pfsrd, there is this sidebar:
Combat wrote:

Tied Up?

A creature that is tied up is "bound" which means it has the Helpless condition.
Hope this ends the confusion :P
Something's wrong there. Sure, I can see circumstances where being tied up renders you utterly incapable of movement--but not immediately so. If someone's tied up but could still struggle and roll around and try to break free, they're not helpless. If someone's absolutely bound head to foot and further tied to an object that keeps them immobile and cannot move at all... then they're probably...
It's probably just one of those imprecise abstractions. For instance
Manacles wrote:
Manacles can bind a Medium creature.

I never saw someone in manacle as having the helpless condition. Yet the only condition manacles bestow is bound, which in turn is a member of "helpless." I would say the developers intended them to be helpless, but only because they lacked a simple and superior way to describe the condition.

Grand Lodge

On a related note what about str checks to break the bonds while tied up?
Does the phrase "cannot escape" (when tied by a creature whose cmb+20 is higher then you can make on an cmb check) mean that it cannot make an escape artist or grapple check to get free but can still make str checks to break the bonds or does it mean that it cannot do anything to escape? If it's the later then what about casting a spell to escape? What about making attacks on the bonds to deal damage to them? This has now come up a few times in PFS play and I would like to have a ruling for it.


Action:Grapple:Tie Up wrote:
If you have your target pinned, otherwise restrained, or unconscious, you can use rope to tie him up. This works like a pin effect, but the DC to escape the bonds is equal to 20 + your Combat Maneuver Bonus (instead of your CMD). The ropes do not need to make a check every round to maintain the pin. If you are grappling the target, you can attempt to tie him up in ropes, but doing so requires a combat maneuver check at a –10 penalty. If the DC to escape from these bindings is higher than 20 + the target's CMB, the target cannot escape from the bonds, even with a natural 20 on the check.
Condition:Pinned wrote:
A pinned creature is tightly bound and can take few actions. A pinned creature cannot move and is denied its Dexterity bonus. A pinned character also takes an additional –4 penalty to his Armor Class. A pinned creature is limited in the actions that it can take. A pinned creature can always attempt to free itself, usually through a combat maneuver check or Escape Artist check. A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component. A pinned character who attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level) or lose the spell. Pinned is a more severe version of grappled, and their effects do not stack.

I see nothing that ever restricts the use of escape artist, it simply indicates a situation in which you would be wasting your time attempting a grapple roll to escape because "tie up" prevents auto-success.

As to a strength check, I think yes, although I think a fixed DC w/o any penalties is a bit easy. (even if it's RAW)

Attacks by the bound creature, no. (not even vs the rope)
(although for home games it's not unreasonable to work something out, provided there is an external to your body means of attack -- sharp rock etc)

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