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Getting out of grapples?


Advice

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I'm building a Magus, and the one thing I've noticed is a lack of ways of escaping grapple. With the delayed spell progression Dimension Door is a ways away, and I can't think of any reliable way to get out of a grapple otherwise.

Low wealth, so costly items are definitely out (I've seen the greased armor enchantment).

I'm short on feats as it is, and escape artist isn't a class skill so even with 5 dex bonus it would be a lot of skill points for just a poor chance of escaping (especially considering skyrocketing monster CMDs).

If I had a feat my best thought so far is Still Spell (for spontaneous empowered shocking grasps, just roast whatever is grappling me), a metamagic rod is pricey but I don't see the mechanics of being able to use it easily when I'm already in a grapple. But I already have had to pass on many other feats that I want to take

Are there any easy ways that I've missed?


Pretty sure if you have a high CMB you can use that check to get out. Or take control of the Grapple.


Problem with that is dex based 3/4 BAB class. At level 8 my CMB is a mere +6, while with escape artist I could be at a +13 to start if I scrounged up 8 skill points. Monster CMDs go up faster than player CMBs unless you are a grapple oriented build, which this is not

Wondering if I overlooked a decent low level spell to help get out, but so far all that I've looked at had a somantic component.


Standard action activated 1/day slotless item that casts grease on your armor. It's not RAW, but I allowed it for one of my players. It's not an auto-escape, but on afailed reflex by the grappler, I give the player a Bonus on CMB to escape the grapple.

Edit: Actually it IS RAW, had forgotten that. I houserule too much ^^


Where is the info on designing/costing these?


Lythe Featherblade wrote:

Problem with that is dex based 3/4 BAB class. At level 8 my CMB is a mere +6, while with escape artist I could be at a +13 to start if I scrounged up 8 skill points. Monster CMDs go up faster than player CMBs unless you are a grapple oriented build, which this is not

Wondering if I overlooked a decent low level spell to help get out, but so far all that I've looked at had a somantic component.

The obvious spell would be Freedom of Movement, but it doesn't look like a Magus can learn it.

If your GM allows third party stuff, the Clever enchantment from one of the Loot 4 Less books gives a +2 to CMD, so that would at least help against getting grappled in the first place, and it's cheap.

I'll keep looking but it may just be that Magi are screwed when it comes to grapples unless you're willing to invest in a few points in Escape Artist.


Looking at items, a vest or tabbard of grease (command word activated, 1800 base, 1/day divides this by 5, so 360 gold) would give me an instant +10 vs grapple without an action.

Now an interpretation of Bladed Dash means I move immediately up to 30 feet in any direction.. if I chose to go straight up, suddently whoever is grappling me is 30 feet up and may have to do a reflex save to hold on (or a CMB/CMD check). Be nasty if I moved up, then activated grease.

edit - re-reading grapple rules, looks like escaping is a standard action, so I can't substitute any melee attacks.


The pricing looks right, but using a command word does use up a standard action, so you have to use it in one round and escape in the next, sadly.
Or you get it with more than one charge per day and just activate it at the beginning of the fight. 10 rounds should be ok in most cases.
I fear there is no way to circumvent the standard action short of making it continuous for 4000 gp, but if slick is too expensive for you, this most probably is too.
You might be able to get your GM to allow a custom wondrous item with free action activation and a rounds-per-day limit, but that would be VERY nice.


I thought Command Word items could be activated as a Swift at the least?

Because it doesn't really make sense to me that when talking is a Free action, saying a Command Word would take a Standard.


ah so then if I go with a use activated item I can do it without using a standard action, and the price only increases to 400 for a 1/day

Use activated:
Use Activated: This type of item simply has to be used in order to activate it. a character has to drink a potion, swing a sword, interpose a shield to deflect a blow in combat, look through a lens, sprinkle dust, wear a ring, or don a hat. Use activation is generally straightforward and self-explanatory.

Many use-activated items are objects that a character wears. Continually functioning items are practically always items that one wears. A few must simply be in the character's possession (meaning on his person). However, some items made for wearing must still be activated. Although this activation sometimes requires a command word (see above), usually it means mentally willing the activation to happen. The description of an item states whether a command word is needed in such a case.

Unless stated otherwise, activating a use-activated magic item is either a standard action or not an action at all and does not provoke attacks of opportunity, unless the use involves performing an action that provokes an attack of opportunity in itself. If the use of the item takes time before a magical effect occurs, then use activation is a standard action. If the item's activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use, activation is not an action at all.

Use activation doesn't mean that if you use an item, you automatically know what it can do. You must know (or at least guess) what the item can do and then use the item in order to activate it, unless the benefit of the item comes automatically, such as from drinking a potion or swinging a sword.


1 level of wizard with the conjuration: teleportation subschool will do it. The problem is after you get out you will have no actions remaining (dimension door).

A person with liberating command can get you out as well. Then of course there is the grease technique to add +10 to your CMD, CMB vs grapple and escape artist vs grapple. Finally, take ranks in escape artist.

- Gauss


What kind of item would you be considering in this case? Chances are most things would require some kind of action to use. A use-activated piece of clothing would ostensibly be activated by putting it on. Putting on or taking off a piece of gear will generally take at least a move action. If you wanted something that provided an effect the whole time you're wearing it, that'd be more along the lines of a constant effect.

Though, honestly, until it's feasible to handle this yourself, magically, I'd just stay well stocked with alchemical grease and call it solved.


1 level of wizard is a high cost, I've got a (level 8) magus that's already splashed 1 level of sorcerer.

Looking to put it on a vest or tabbard as that can go outside armor, and for use activated I could maybe define use as getting grappled or as trying to escape a grapple, considering that swinging a sword or interposing your shield to deflect a blow counts but doesn't take up an additional action.


Boots of Escape, 8000gp, UE p228. 1/day you can Dimension door yourself up to 30 feet while grappled, pinned, or entangled.

- Gauss


Because that's how those things are used. It's what they're for. Look at the rest of the list of examples. Putting on a hat, looking through a lens. That's how you're expected to use them. By saying you "use" a vest by getting in a wrestling match, you're getting into shaky territory. It seems to me that falls more under into the realm of activating an item, which it says should be a standard action.

But really, it's not as much of a matter of making sense. It's a matter of balancing the action economy. If people could just blast off all kinds of magical effects in no time by thinking about their belt buckle, it'd seriously disrupt the flow of the game.

All that said, the item creation guidelines are just that; guidelines. If your GM will let you get away with it, more power to you, I guess.


A lower level option: Potion of gaseous form, 750g, although it takes a standard action to dismiss the effect if you don't want to wait for it to expire. Also available on the magus spell list (3rd), if you aren't pinned and think you can make the concentration check to cast in a grapple.

Could you coordinate with other party members to assist you with a grease or liberating command if you're grappled?


Boots of escape are nice but costly, more than my entire character wealth. I can see attempting to escape a grapple as a valid option for activating a vest if the purpose is to escape


Didnt you say you are level 8? Your WBL should be 33,000gp. If you are below even half of that then your GM is not just using a low magic campaign, he is using a nearly no-magic campaign.

At which point, that is your real problem. Your CMD is probably abysmal because you do not have the proper equipment.

- Gauss


Our druid has liberating command, but he's a skype player and not always available. And as our last combat showed (where my previous character died), the druid can get occupied quite easily with other enemies and may not be available to cast this spell.

I'll have to get gaseous form, though unfortunately 3rd level slots are still very rare (I have 2 slots, and have to pick only 2 spells right now).

I'm assuming I can't use spell combat in a grapple? Unless I use armor spikes or something not involving my primary hand, because I need my offhand free to cast a spell even if it doesn't have somantic components, though the magus entry specifically mentions weapons wielded in a hand.


Gauss wrote:

Didnt you say you are level 8? Your WBL should be 33,000gp. If you are below even half of that then your GM is not just using a low magic campaign, he is using a nearly no-magic campaign.

At which point, that is your real problem. Your CMD is probably abysmal because you do not have the proper equipment.

- Gauss

Group is using NPC wealth. Strangely enough, NPC wealth table is close to what my old character had acquired before he died, and the GM was going strictly by the adventure path treasure. Also a reason I'm playing a caster (even if it's a hybrid) instead of a pure melee.

Grapple is my character's biggest weakness, is why I'm trying to figure out a cheap way to improve my chances on the rare occasions where it does happen.


While grappled you have to make a very hard concentration check to even cast a level 0 spell. For most intents and purposes spellcasting while grappled does not happen. DC = 10+grapplers CMB+spell level. At level 8 that can easily be around a 25 or 30 before the spell level. Your concentration bonus will be somewhere around a +12 to +14. IE: very difficult for even a level 0 spell.

- Gauss


NPC wealth is WAY below low magic. Wow, you should have around 16,500 with a low magic game. You have half of even that, about 1/4 what the game is designed for. Seriously, this is part of the reason you are getting grappled. I hope the GM is dropping the CR of the creatures he is throwing at you.

- Gauss


Relying on spellcasting once you're already in the grapple is not something I'd want to do. Regardless of the somatic or material components, you've still got to pass a concentration check of 10 + their CMB + spell level. If you're fighting CR-appropriate enemies that actually want to grapple you, that's probably a losing proposition.


Was just looking at the bestiary, and noticing that. Even a mere +16 CMB means I have to make a 26+spell level check with a base 14.

Grapple is a nasty one, but another issue is many of the group still thinking in 3.5 rules, thinking back to how my character almost died to a leech swarm a few months ago, and just now realized survival is as simple as leaving the square the leeches are in, as they don't get an automatic latch on.


I think your only real option at that low of cost is Alchemical Grease, as someone pointed out earlier. Combine that with your 3/4 BAB or putting ranks in escape artist and you have a halfway-decent chance to escape from the average grappler.

That, and stay away from things that look grapple-y.


very simple, slick armor with ranks in escape artist.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alchemical Grease adds +5 to CMD and Escape Artist for 5 gold / 4 hours. A wand of grease in a spring-loaded wrist sheath adds another +10.


Rather than trying to escape the grapple, you can do a full attack with a one-handed weapon.


Matthew Downie has a point, you can still make a full attack while grappled. Your -2 attack penalty and the creatures -4 dexterity penalty should offset unless you are a dexterity build.

- Gauss


I'd say actually the easiest way to grapple is to get yourself a touch spell or 2. Make it painful for them to stay in contact with you. They have no way to avoid a touch attack with a good chunk of damage if they're grappling you.

a shocking grasp, maybe with intensify goes a long way towards convincing someone they don't want to be holding onto you. You can cast while grappled so long as you can make your concentration checks.


Thomas Long 175, concentration checks while grappled are extremely difficult.

Take my saturday campaign wizard. He has a +6 intelligence modifier and is level 7. So, a +13 concentration check. A quick look at CR 7 monsters with grab shows the following:

Dire Bear: CMB+19, DC: 29, 25% success rate for a level 0 spell
Black Pudding: CMB+16, DC: 26, 40% success rate for a level 0 spell
Chuul: CMB+19, DC29, 25% success rate for a level 0 spell
Remorhaz: CMB+21, DC31, 15% success rate for a level 0 spell

My wizard has full WBL resources. The OP's Magus does not have even half of that. Thus the OPs chances of success will be about 10% less if not more. Also, spell levels will reduce the success rate by 5% per spell level. Frankly, I do not see how the OP can cast even a level 1 spell while grappled.

Combat Casting is of no help since this is not casting defensively (perhaps the GM can house rule it is since he is house ruling the extremely low wealth).

I just hope the GM is throwing CR-1 or -2 creatures as equal CR encounters at this party. Low wealth (1/2) campaigns should be CR-1. A 1/4 wealth campaign should be CR-2.

- Gauss


The low wealth is really hard, not only for the players, but also for the GM. How does he resist the urge to put all those wonderfull wondrous items in loot piles? I know I couldn't...
Also, the use activated vest seems like a good idea, but you'll have to talk with your GM if he allows "escaping from a grapple" as a use. To me, that sounds more like aa contingency thing, but if he's already crippling you in terms of wealth, maybe he will be lenient in this case.

Other question: If you use NPC wealth for PCs, what do you use for NPCs? do they get equivalent wealth to PCs or do they run around naked and hit you with sticks? If they geht full NPC wealth, does he ever throw NPC-opponents at you? And if yes, how does he manage not to break his wealth-limit?


I have gone through the list of Magus spells, and anything useful has Somantic components, I believe from another thread you can't use those while grappled. Add the high concentration check and you'd be wasting spells and actions.

Dex based so even standard attacks I'd be hurting, my 1d6+7 will take a long time to significantly hurt an opponent.

NPC wealth is straight out of the adventure path, I can't remember the last time we had an actual random encounter. Carrion Crown, I've even asked in a thread if it was the normal wealth for what I was getting.


Clarification: You can attempt to cast a spell with somatic components if grappled (but not pinned), although the concentration check can be very difficult. In PF, even a spell without somatic components (like dimension door) requires a concentration check to cast in a grapple.


The more I've read of this thread, the more I have the impression that your party has WBL difficulties rather than isolated grappling difficulties.

AP's are scaled for a party of 4 PC's built with 15-point buy with average WBL gear.

Difficulty will increase or decrease when straying away from those assumptions unless rescaled by the GM. If you have four 15-pt buy PC's at 1/4 WBL and AP encounters are being played as written, you're definitely playing hard mode. If your group is enjoying the challenge, nothing needs to be changed. Conversely, if you have more than 4 PC's, encounters and treasure will both need to be supplemented to keep challenge and party wealth at level.

While the AP intention is that found/rewarded treasure will keep a party of 4 at average WBL, if your party misses a lot of hidden loot or achieves a diplomatic or creative solution to what was intended as a combat encounter, they can start falling behind. Paying to raise or restore multiple party members can exacerbate this.

If your GM does not want to alter the AP encounters or treasure, would he/she be open to side quests to help supplement your wealth?

Paizo also has active subforums for each of the AP's. I would suggest that you ask your GM to post the particulars of your party (numbers, levels), stage of the AP, and their low WBL, and ask if this is typical for that section of the AP. If other groups had encountered similar wealth problems while running the AP as written, they may have suggestions for making changes.


Ezekiel W wrote:
Clarification: You can attempt to cast a spell with somatic components if grappled (but not pinned), although the concentration check can be very difficult.

Doesn't look like it by RAW:

Core p206
Grappling or Pinned: The only spells you can cast
while grappling or pinned are those without somatic
components and whose material components (if any) you
have in hand. Even so, you must make a concentration
check (DC 10 + the grappler’s CMB + the level of the spell
you’re casting) or lose the spell.


Sean K Reynolds Designer
Oct 15, 2012, 01:22 PM | Flag |
List
Post #33 in "Dimension Door Question"
"The above is a legacy of the 3E grapple rules. With PFRPG redefining grapple as "I have your arm, not your whole body," the above doesn't make sense, and it was only present in one part of the Core Rulebook (in the Concentration section, I think). So it's being removed in errata: the "no somatic components while you're grappled" rule shouldn't be in the book."


DrDeth wrote:

Sean K Reynolds Designer

Oct 15, 2012, 01:22 PM | Flag |
List
Post #33 in "Dimension Door Question"
"The above is a legacy of the 3E grapple rules. With PFRPG redefining grapple as "I have your arm, not your whole body," the above doesn't make sense, and it was only present in one part of the Core Rulebook (in the Concentration section, I think). So it's being removed in errata: the "no somatic components while you're grappled" rule shouldn't be in the book."

Linkified


Lythe Featherblade: I just read up on Carrion Crown (I havent ran it myself) and in the Carrion Crown threads there is talk that it gives out beyond the normal amount of WBL.

Carrion Crown first module wealth amount:
Around 48,000gp in the first module alone. That is double WBL for a party of 4.

I think you may need to discuss the level of treasure being handed out. If the GM is intending on this being rediculously difficult then he is probably succeeding. However, from what I have read, Carrion Crown hands out normal to above normal treasure.

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:
Combat Casting is of no help since this is not casting defensively (perhaps the GM can house rule it is since he is house ruling the extremely low wealth).
ahem ;-)
Quote:

Combat Casting

You are adept at spellcasting when threatened or distracted.
Benefit: You get a +4 bonus on concentration checks made to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability when casting on the defensive or while grappled.

Alchemical Grease is a good idea.

If he has a Familiar, the familiar could apply it to him for him, not using his own actions.
He can go for Full Defense with his own action, making it unlikely to maintain/re-initiate the Grapple the next round, especially in combination with the Alchemical Grease.
The Familiar can also Aid Another to help his AC/CMD (although since that's untyped AC bonus, it doesn't help CMD per RAW).

The major issue is that the OP is DEX based. DEX based characters are extra screwed in Grapple, since they get DEX specific penalties AND penalties to hit, and can't use Weapon Finesse for Grapple itself. If he was STR based but had an equally crappy DEX, he may be Grappled the same amount of the time, but it would be easier to escape (without spending an extra Feat on Dextrous Maneuvers, which still doesn't bring him up to par with a STR focused character since Grappled penalized DEX).

But if you're waiting for other characters to help you out, Full Attacking them back with 1 Hand is probably still a good idea. Even if they Pin you next round, it's just as easy to escape a Pin as to escape a Grapple (wierdly), and since they could have re-Grappled you after you escaped anyways, you're still ahead by the amount of Full Attack damage you did.

It does sound like there is an issue with wealth. If you're following a Paizo AP, PCs shouldn't have 'NPC wealth', they should be pretty close to PC WBL guidelines (give or take). If the GM needs random encoutners to achieve that, so be it, if not, great. Otherwise, he should know he is altering with the intended balance of the game, and should probably be doing things to compensate.

Otherwise, remember that Miss Chance effects and things like Mirror Image are a good defense against CMBs including Grapple, as well as 'normal' attacks. (those should still apply even on Maintain a Grapple actions)

EDIT: and remember in the future that you don't HAVE to build a Magus all around DEX ;-)


Quandry, you are right, my bad. :) I never claimed to be infallible. :D

- Gauss


OK, I will be holding you to that 'never' ;-)


Quandry: LOL I miss stuff too sometimes.

- Gauss


i think that is the secret mission of this game, because everybody is going to miss something sometime...

but yeah, there's some options for him, but i think there is some sort of mistake or mismatch being made with assumptions regarding party wealth. with reasonable wealth to help him, he will have more options to choose from. his party may have 'missed' some opportunities for loot in the AP, but that doesn't really change the WBL equation, if that is a goal of the GM, random encounters should be introduced if necessary to reach WBL... given how Gauss mentioned the AP is usually tending to offer MORE wealth than WBL, i think some other mistake is being made, or intentional GM choice to reduce wealth (which is OK, but it should probably be all-above-board and if players feel it is becoming a problem, wealth could/should be re-visited).


i don't really know how to understand 'group is using NPC wealth' and 'GM is strictly going by the adventure (loot)'. if he was just using the adventure, why would you ever have the idea that the group is using some other (NPC) WBL guideline? unless you didn't mean NPC WBL, but rather wealth/loot gained FROM NPCs in the adventure? still, i think something smells here. i don't think low-magic games are bad, and even Paizo APs can have their wealth reduced just fine, but in this case I think it's too extreme and there's a problem.


BTW, Somatic/Material Components (that aren't already in hand) ARE banned if you are PINNED.


Considering the difficulty of making concentration checks to cast spells while grappled, I almost wish the attempts weren't allowed at all or a very significant bonus applied to verbal-only spells.

Regarding PF rules, I continue to be humbled by how often I find that I've misinterpreted or misremembered some part of the CRB alone despite the many hours spent playing and reading since its release.

Back to the original poster's questions, I do think it's worth remembering that for some opponents, a grapple is not their most damaging attack. There is value to the party to an opponent using up a standard action every round to maintain a grapple/pin rather than full-attacking or using spells/SLA's.

For creatures with Grab, Constrict, multiple Rake attacks (for example, the Behir) and/or a very damaging special attack, you probably want to make sure you have alchemical grease and a grease spell active on yourself before engaging in melee rather than trying to respond once grappled.


shirt of immolation 8,000g

Spoiler:
Whenever the wearer is grappling (whether on the offense
or defense), this shirt automatically bursts into flame, dealing
1d6+10 points of fire damage every round to anyone grappling
the wearer. The flames do not harm the wearer and last one
round (though it continues to burn if the wearer is still grappling
after one round). The shirt burns for a maximum of 10 rounds per
day. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.


How is the shirt of immolation 8,000g when the ring of immolation is 40,000g and does pretty much the same thing?

It would be nice to be able to prepare vs a grapple ahead of time, but most combats I'm in don't afford the luxury of several rounds of prep time. Still, I'm thankful of the advice and will definitely add alchemical grease to my list of gear.

The cheapest way I figured out so far aside from custom items (which are GM dependent) is a spring loaded wrist sheath (5g) and a wand of grease (15g/charge), means with a swift+standard action I can at least give myself +10 to escape without concentration checks. This will work RAW and would even be PFS legal (other than having to buy a fully charged wand instead of a partially charged).

I'll be working on getting a +2 int item, likely putting all those skill points into escape artist may be worth it, a base of +11 (13-2) is better than my base CMB of 6, once I grease up the base 21 to escape actually becomes achievable.

Grapple doesn't happen every session, but it's happened often enough that it can be nice to not be completely out of options when it does.

One thing I haven't found any clear information on yet is how you treat attacking someone that is in a grapple when you aren't part of that grapple (other than the aid another). Is there a good reference?


You just attack them. Just account for the penalties they have for being in a grapple (usually -2 AC from the Dex penalty) and swing away. There's no trick to it.

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