How to build a grapple master


Advice


I was looking at the Mi-Go in the Bestiary 4, and loved its grappling ability. I got to thinking about the feasibility of building a beast of a grappler as a PC. I've never built one and I don't know what it would take to pull off something great, or even if it's worth it. Thoughts?

J


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Yes, grapplers are crazy good at shutting someone down. As far as feats, obviously you'll want Imp/Greater Grapple, but Dirty Fighting is a solid choice for a feat here too. If you perform a flanking grapple attempt, you'll get a +4 to the CMB with Dirty Fighting. Another solid choice is Rapid Grappler to make an additional grapple attempt as a swift whenever you successfully Greater Grapple as a move action. Improved Strangle is also a good choice because if you successfully use the Strangle combat maneuver, the target is treated as if they're drowning.

Drowning wrote:

Drowning

Any character can hold her breath for a number of rounds equal to twice her Constitution score. If a character takes a standard or full-round action, the remaining duration that the character can hold her breath is reduced by 1 round. After this period of time, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round in order to continue holding her breath. Each round, the DC increases by 1.

When the character finally fails her Constitution check, she begins to drown. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hp). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she drowns.

Unconscious characters must begin making Constitution checks immediately upon being submerged (or upon becoming unconscious if the character was conscious when submerged). Once she fails one of these checks, she immediately drops to –1 (or loses 1 additional hit point, if her total is below –1). On the following round, she drowns.

It is possible to drown in substances other than water, such as sand, quicksand, fine dust, and silos full of grain.

As far as classes, Monk and Brawler are automatic shoe-ins because they get Imp Unarmed Strike for free. Monks are even more of a solid choice because they can use their Stunning Fist for Jawbreaker, Bonebreaker, or Neckbreaker feats. Oddly enough, Rogues do well as grapplers too, especially if they get the Strangler feat.

Neckbreaker wrote:

Neckbreaker (Combat)

With a quick jerk, you snap an enemy’s neck.

Prerequisite: Bonebreaker, Greater Grapple, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Jawbreaker, Stunning Fist, Heal 12 ranks.

Benefit: 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.

Bonebreaker wrote:

Bonebreaker (Combat)

When your opponent is unable to adequately defend against them, your precise unarmed strikes break bone and tear tissue.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Jawbreaker, Stunning Fist, Heal 9 ranks.

Benefit: When you make a successful Stunning Fist attempt against an opponent that is grappled, helpless, or stunned, you can forgo any other Stunning Fist effect to deal 1d6 Strengthor Dexterity damage to that opponent.

Jawbreaker wrote:

Jawbreaker (Combat)

You deliver a powerful strike to the mouth, breaking teeth and bone.

Prerequisite: Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Heal 6 ranks.

Benefit: When you make a successful Stunning Fist attempt against an opponent that is grappled, helpless, or stunned, instead of imparting any other Stunning Fist effect, you can cripple that opponent’s mouth, dealing normal unarmed strike damage and 1d4 points of bleed damage. Until the bleed damage ends, the target is unable to use its mouth to attack, speak clearly, and employ verbal spell components. A creature that is immune to critical hits or that has no discernible mouth is immune to the effects of this feat.

Strangler wrote:

Strangler (Combat)

Throttling the life out of enemies is second nature to you.

Prerequisite: Dex 13, sneak attack +1d6, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit: Whenever you successfully maintain a grapple and choose to deal damage, you can spend a swift action to deal your sneak attack damage to the creature you are grappling.


Tetori monk pretty much wins.


I don't exactly remember what it is, but I think there was a feat that allowed you to use grappled opponents as a literal meat shield.

Barbarian rage power Body Bludgeon lets you weaponize enemies against other enemies.

Those may not be optimal, but certainly fun and niche.


MageHunter wrote:

I don't exactly remember what it is, but I think there was a feat that allowed you to use grappled opponents as a literal meat shield.

Barbarian rage power Body Bludgeon lets you weaponize enemies against other enemies.

Those may not be optimal, but certainly fun and niche.

Body Shield (Combat)

With a sly maneuver, you force a grappled opponent into the path of an incoming attack.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: As an immediate action while you are grappling an adjacent creature, you can make a grapple combat maneuver check against that creature to gain cover against a single attack. If you are successful and the attack misses you, that attack targets the creature you used as cover, using the same attack roll. You cannot use this feat against a creature grappling you, and the cover you gain ends after the attack you gained cover against is resolved.


Body shield is the feat you're thinking of MageHunter.

A tetori monk gets everything you need to be a successful grappler including counters to annoying things like freedom of movement. There may be ways of getting bigger numbers e.g. on a barbarian, but a tetori can use their grappling specialty on more targets with less hassle. Admittedly there's a constable cavalier build or two using order of the penitent who can grapple and tie up their enemies in double-quick time.

There are a few style feat chains which are useful to grappling. Snapping turtle lets you grab someone when they attack you and miss, kraken adds damage, electric eel makes grappling someone you're hit with elemental fist easier (& later on has a chance of staggering the enemy or messing with their spells.)


I'm not a fan of Tetori Monk (I know they're really good) just because you lose everything that makes a Monk a Monk. You lose Abundant Step, Flurry of Blows, Diamond Soul, and Imp Evasion, which for me is too much. You can do all the grappling shenanigans you want with feats while still retaining everything that makes a Monk a Monk. If they teleport out of your grapple, so be it.


the only thing that only tetori get that can't be done by others is the ability to negate freedom of movement and such things.
since now anyone can get freedom of movement (all you need is 3 ranks in knowledge planes and a feat) and freedom basically auto kill grappling. tetori is still the way to go if you are going to build only on grappling (you don't want to get the nurf after investing everything you have on one shtick,do you?)

that said. don't forget to improve your cmb as much as you can. i like the 'bred for war' human(shoanti) trait and the human alt racial ability of 'Giant Ancestory' (replaces 'skilled'). also there are many many cheap magical items to add up the bonus and make it high as hell.('Armbands of the Brawler' only cot 500 gp for start).


zza ni wrote:
don't forget to improve your cmb as much as you can.

And your CMD---it takes CMB to get your foe into a grapple, but it takes CMD to keep them there.


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zza ni wrote:

the only thing that only tetori get that can't be done by others is the ability to negate freedom of movement and such things.

since now anyone can get freedom of movement (all you need is 3 ranks in knowledge planes and a feat) and freedom basically auto kill grappling. tetori is still the way to go if you are going to build only on grappling (you don't want to get the nurf after investing everything you have on one shtick,do you?)

that said. don't forget to improve your cmb as much as you can. i like the 'bred for war' human(shoanti) trait and the human alt racial ability of 'Giant Ancestory' (replaces 'skilled'). also there are many many cheap magical items to add up the bonus and make it high as hell.('Armbands of the Brawler' only cot 500 gp for start).

Negate freedom of movement, grapple incorporeal things, HAVE CONSTRICT, have grab, negate polymorph.

Basically a whole array of things that negate grapple completely and render your grapple based character useless are countered by class abilities in tetori you can't actually get anywhere else.

Other classes/archetypes don't even really come close in the grappling department.


As others have said tetori is King. I have played both a Tetori and a grapple spec'd Druid. Both are excellent, the many bonus feats Tetoris get towards grappling helps a lot plus there CMD is superior to the Druids. However the druids CMB can be bumped up just as high as a Tetori if not higher with spells and certain forms give it Grab with reach to boot (Giant Octopus 30ft with 8 attempts to grab certainly one will land despite being a secondary attack). Some forms even have constrict which is what your really after.


Atalius wrote:
As others have said tetori is King. I have played both a Tetori and a grapple spec'd Druid. Both are excellent, the many bonus feats Tetoris get towards grappling helps a lot plus there CMD is superior to the Druids. However the druids CMB can be bumped up just as high as a Tetori if not higher with spells and certain forms give it Grab with reach to boot (Giant Octopus 30ft with 8 attempts to grab certainly one will land despite being a secondary attack). Some forms even have constrict which is what your really after.

Hmm, so is constrict the holy grail of grappling, much like pounce is for melee characters?

J


I would say so. A focused tetori grappler can make 3 checks per round IIRC

Round1 Punch + grab for 2X unarmed damage via the hit and constrict

Round 2
Maintain with move from greater grapple + unarmed damage from constrict
Pin from standard action + unarmed damage from constrict
Check for damage from rapid grapler = 2X unarmed damage from constrict

If they're still alive round 3 will finish them

Maintain as a move for unarmed damage
Grapple for damage as a standard for 2X unarmed damage
Grapple for damage from rapid grappler for 2X unarmed damage.

I really want to make an Oni-spawn Tetori grappler, maybe as a pc, maybe just as an absolute f%$% you of a villain. Take kraken style to add wis + 4 to each bit of grapple damage. Alter self for a +2 size to str, be all huge shiny obsidian skinned dude with ogre mage horns just grabbin and crushin everything in his path.


JDawg75 wrote:
Atalius wrote:
As others have said tetori is King. I have played both a Tetori and a grapple spec'd Druid. Both are excellent, the many bonus feats Tetoris get towards grappling helps a lot plus there CMD is superior to the Druids. However the druids CMB can be bumped up just as high as a Tetori if not higher with spells and certain forms give it Grab with reach to boot (Giant Octopus 30ft with 8 attempts to grab certainly one will land despite being a secondary attack). Some forms even have constrict which is what your really after.

Hmm, so is constrict the holy grail of grappling, much like pounce is for melee characters?

J

Absolutely. You can also do other things, the legendary Bruno Breakbone once told me when playing a Tetori once Pinning Knockout comes online at level 10 anything not immune to non lethal will go down. The damage is massive when spec'd properly, with rapid grapple at level 9 you will be a force to be wreckoned with.

Grand Lodge

A few other notes Raging Grappler increase damage allow you to combine the pinning steps with damaging and making people prone.

Strictly speaking, the tetori is the king of grappling but I will put this out there as an interesting alternative.

Battle Oracle can use there level as bab for CMB, have a ton of long-lasting buff that make their bonuses (eagle soul, hunters blessing), short-term buff (divine favour/power, bestow grace of the champion), that also help, and they have dispel magic.

Though dispel or casting force anchor are not as efficient they still work and come online a little sooner. Quicken spell can help at really high levels.

The tetori does have a slow down as Inescapable Grasp is a swift and thus can't be used with rappid grappler.


Its slightly less damage compared to no damage at all since freedom of movement pretty much ends the grapple for every other grapple build.

Grand Lodge

I don't know to what you are referencing.

Rage power can be accessed by most builds by dipping, tetori included, and it dramatically increases damage. One level dip with Ulfen guard.

The battle oracle can over come freedom of movement. That was the point it is one of the only other grapplers that can overcome the issue. They can also be dual cursed. The tetori fails 5% of the time because of nat 20s. The battle oracle fails 1/400.

Using your swift to overcome freedom of movement means an extra round before tying the enemy up which is the fastest way to subdue an enemy with grapple not damage.

Comparing damage when someone can't grapple because of freedom of movement and saying they do nothing is a silly comparison. Someone in the group at high levels should be making a knowledge arcana check (monk should too other wise how did they know to use their ability) which means you have to compare to what they would otherwise do I bet those builds are still good a punching.


ho would knowladge arcane help knowing they got a feat from ranks with knowladge planes? (see link in my post above)


How does the battle oracle gain grab or constrict?


Hmm. So a tetori monk, dipping a level of Ulfen Guard should be beautiful. Recommended races? Any traps to avoid?

Second q: is it possible to get the Mi-Go's eviscerate ability?

Evisceration(Ex): A mi-go’s claws are capable of swiftly and painfully performing surgical operations upon helpless creatures or those it has grappled. When a mi-go makes a successful grapple check, in addition to any other effects caused by a successful grapple, it deals sneak attack damage to the victim. A creature that takes this damage must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude save or take 1d4 points of ability damage from the invasive surgery (the type of ability damage dealt is chosen by the mi-go at the time the evisceration occurs). The save DC is Dexterity-based.

Third q: is the escape artist skill worth taking for a grapple-type such he will be?

J


race? Trox IF the gm let you get away with it.
his low mental abilities is backed up by the monk's superior saves and abilities (empty mind etc). he get to grapple and keep attacking. free improved grapple,frenzy and borrow. also large, 10 ft reach and +6 str.

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