Outmaneuvered II: Revenge of the Grappled

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

About a month ago I was punished... er.., I mean rewarded with the task of answering questions about combat maneuvers in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The blog was so well received that I quickly promised to do another one in short order. Well, projects flew by, and I got pulled away, and short order dragged out into weeks, but now I'm back, and here to answer more pressing questions about combat maneuvers.

Ready?

Illustration by Tyler Walpole

Question: What kind of attacks can you make while you are being grappled? Specifically, if I'm being grappled, can I forgo escaping the grapple to make a full-attack action with a natural, unarmed attack, or attack with light weapon, getting any and all iterative attacks if possible with that action?

Yes. Furthermore, you don't even have to make these attacks against the creature grappling you. While do suffer the normal –2 penalties on attack rolls while grappled, and you are limited in the types of attacks you can make, you gain all the normal attack rolls such an action would normally give you against any creature within your reach.

If you're the one grappling the creature, you can also make your normal attacks, but realize that this ends the grapple. Most of the time you're better off selecting the grapple option that allows you to deal damage to your target as a single unarmed attack, natural attack, or an attack with a light weapon. While you do not get more damage potential based on any iterative attacks, you do not have to make an attack roll. The damage is automatic with the successful grapple check. And let's face it; if you're performing this maneuver, chances are you're pretty good at it.

Lastly, while it should go without saying, keep in mind that attacks of opportunity are not possible while you are grappled, unless you have some feat or other effect that specifically allows them in that condition.

Question: Both the bull rush and drag combat maneuvers say that you have to move the foe in a straight line either forward or backward, depending on the combat maneuver you are performing. What exactly does that mean if the person performing the maneuver is moving diagonally?

When one of these maneuvers tells you to move a foe forward or backward in a straight line, start by placing a point in the middle of your space and make a line to the center of your target's space. Then extend that line in the direction you are trying to move your foe. If you succeed in performing the maneuver you can move your foe into any square that line crosses, depending on how much movement your check grants you.

In the case of a bull rush, if you do not move into the square your foe occupied, and you move that creature more than 5 feet, you cannot reposition this line based on the opponent's new location. The bull rush continues to follow the original line. But if you do move into a new space as part of the maneuver and then continue to move your foe, you can reposition the line of movement each time you change the location of your space, granting you more options when it comes to your foe's final positioning.

When adjudicating the movement of larger creatures, this system may create movement that seems out of the ordinary or conceptually improbable. Your GM has final discretion when determining what squares you can bull rush or drag a creature into or out of.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Pathfinder RPG Designer

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Quote:
But if you do move into a new space as part of the maneuver and then continue to move your foe, you can reposition the line of movement each time you change the location of your space, granting you more options when it comes to your foe's final positioning.

Oh, that part is new. And nice.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
While you do not get more damage potential based on any iterative attacks, you do not have to make an attack roll. The damage is automatic with the successful grapple check. And let's face it; if you're performing this maneuver, chances are you're pretty good at it.

At least from a GM perspective I usually have to disagree with this, especially if your dealing with some of the more conventional and deadly grapplers, like the Krakken, or basically anything with improved grab on multiple attacks and reach.

Those creatures get multiple attacks, with those attacks they can both damage and then grapple their foes, allowing for them to grapple multiple foes at once. It feels like a flow of the grappling rules that one of these creatures can only maintain a grapple against a single foe, and is instead rewarded by dropping and reestablishing the grapple every round.


Galnörag wrote:
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
While you do not get more damage potential based on any iterative attacks, you do not have to make an attack roll. The damage is automatic with the successful grapple check. And let's face it; if you're performing this maneuver, chances are you're pretty good at it.

At least from a GM perspective I usually have to disagree with this, especially if your dealing with some of the more conventional and deadly grapplers, like the Krakken, or basically anything with improved grab on multiple attacks and reach.

Those creatures get multiple attacks, with those attacks they can both damage and then grapple their foes, allowing for them to grapple multiple foes at once. It feels like a flow of the grappling rules that one of these creatures can only maintain a grapple against a single foe, and is instead rewarded by dropping and reestablishing the grapple every round.

The Grab ability specifically allows you to ignore the limit on grappling and grapple multiple opponents (and generally act normally aside from the fact that one of your natural attacks is busy grappling a single foe). You have to take a -20 to your grapple checks if you want to do it, though.

Liberty's Edge

Ah, so grappling is just bad.

If you're grappling a creature it can full attack you (with a -2 penalty) and you cannot full attack back. When you pin it (at the cost of two actions) it can break out completely at the cost of one.

Thanks for the clarification.

The Exchange

Feral wrote:

Ah, so grappling is just bad.

If you're grappling a creature it can full attack you (with a -2 penalty) and you cannot full attack back. When you pin it (at the cost of two actions) it can break out completely at the cost of one.

Thanks for the clarification.

You are slightly missing the point. Grappling against things that are good at grappling is bad. Grappling against enemy wizards, on the other hand, is how you end combats quickly.


Feral wrote:

Ah, so grappling is just bad.

If you're grappling a creature it can full attack you (with a -2 penalty) and you cannot full attack back. When you pin it (at the cost of two actions) it can break out completely at the cost of one.

Well, situationally: it can full attack you with natural attacks or with a one-handed weapon. That's not the optimal attack setup for everybody.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


The Grab ability specifically allows you to ignore the limit on grappling and grapple multiple opponents (and generally act normally aside from the fact that one of your natural attacks is busy grappling a single foe). You have to take a -20 to your grapple checks if you want to do it, though.

that is kind of my point you can ignore the limit on the number of creatures you can start a grapple with, but it is a std action to maintain a grapple, and there is no wording allowing you to maintain multiple grapples as a standard, but one.

So your best bet is to let go (free action) then full attack, doing damage and hopefully regrappling all your foes.

Liberty's Edge

Yes, grappling casters is good.

Grappling things that can fight at all is useless since they can full attack you at minor penalties and then break out for half the actions.


Perhaps one could have added "grappled creatures are staggered" in the rules (not sure of the balance), but anyway, stopping an enemy in the right round can be a good deal.

And since two handed weapons are very powerful ("short" ones for damage, polearms for control) have the enemy unable to use his powerful toy (perhaps a costly magic item, too, at high level) is not that bad.

One could say is a bad idea grapple a Monk - well, it's fine for me ;)


SRM wrote:
Yes.

Wow, grappling really sucks now. With Freedom of Movement as an option for casters...

Guess Disruptive is the way to go now. Have to be a Ftr6, though, ugh...

Without being a Ftr6, Antagonize works against casters, though.

I wonder why Merisiel is scared in the picture there. She can now full-attack with that light weapon she's holding! She should be happy!

-Matt


Galnörag wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


The Grab ability specifically allows you to ignore the limit on grappling and grapple multiple opponents (and generally act normally aside from the fact that one of your natural attacks is busy grappling a single foe). You have to take a -20 to your grapple checks if you want to do it, though.

that is kind of my point you can ignore the limit on the number of creatures you can start a grapple with, but it is a std action to maintain a grapple, and there is no wording allowing you to maintain multiple grapples as a standard, but one.

So your best bet is to let go (free action) then full attack, doing damage and hopefully regrappling all your foes.

Quite correct--it's probably a fair house rule to allow a creature with Grab to roll once as a standard action at -20 and maintain all grapples for which it beats the CMD. Then again...ask me some time when it isn't a threadjack about the horror story from Iron Player 2010

Spoiler:
and the brainsucking dragon that didn't take the -20 penalty for Grab, took no action to maintain all its grapples against every single PC at once (and in fact could move around the battlefield at will), had 100 foot reach and Tremorsense that extended into the air, and killed you on the first grapple if you were Small or smaller, and after one round if larger.
Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

The other big advantage to grappling a creature (even one that can still dish out a lot of damage with a full attack at -2) is that it has the grappled condition, and all of the grappler's allies can attack it while it's grappled, and has a lower AC. It also means that they're unable to flee while the grappler's allies can come up and surround it, which for some slippery and hard to pin down foes can be a huge boon.

Liberty's Edge

So in exchange for a standard action you can possibly:

Give yourself and an adjacent enemy -2 to AC, -2 to attacks, and immobilize them.

On the plus side, this makes grappling monsters big babies now.


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Interesting bit about Bullrush´s ´axis of movement´ shifting based on each new square the attacker moves into...

Question 1:
Are these answers going to be added to the FAQ?
They seem like FAQ questions, so I´m not sure why you guys wouldn´t put them there,
and make the most of the effort needed to put the Questions/Answers together...?
Same goes for all Rules Blog posts, really...

Question 2:
Are the actually tough questions brought up after the first Grapple blog going to be answered?
You know, like the un-clear wording between different sections about casting while grappled/pinned?
Like the nature of the grappled condition restriction on movement, and the persistence of Grapple if one or other grappler is moved/teleported, e.g. outside of one or the others´ melee threat range, etc... ???
(amongst other issues mentioned in the original Grapple Blog´s comments,
as well as more general Manuever thread started around the same time)
It´s never bad to have more clarification (e.g. Full Attacks while Grappled), but I have never actually ran into much confusion about whether or not the PRPG rules allow you to Full Attack while Grappled. Yet other areas of the rules actually ARE pretty mysterious to alot of people.

From other comments, it sounds like some actual examples of Grapple and Grab monsters kicking ass could be of some use :-)
An example of the following would seem useful, and could draw together all the Grapple rules which are effectively split in multiple sections: a basic humanoid-on-humanoid grapple, the same with auxiliary combatants outside the grapple showing penalties and AoO restrictions, the same with Pin showing it´s effects (e.g. immobilized/helpless vs. Sneak/Coup de Grace), and also both a simple Grab monster example, as well as complex multi-Tentacles Grab monster example, showing off the attack-trigger function of Grab, different tactics for pursuing Pin vs. 1 target compared to continuing Grappled state by re-initiating Grab, along with benefits of the Grappler themself not being Grappled (i.e. Kraken being able to move freely outside of targets´ reach once they are grabbed). How Constrict works could also be includd, and possibly a Fly-By Grab would be another good example case, with and without using the -20 option. Showing how a Grappled target would try to cast a spell, possibly showing the difference between Grappled/Pinned as well as Somatic and non-Somatic/Material spells could be useful also... Though perhaps that last bit just needs to be addressed directly :-)

Liberty's Edge

Grapple would be effective against casters if Freedom of Movement did not exist. Grapple stops being an effective tactic against casters ~level 9.

So grapple's big draw is the -2 to AC, -2 to attacks, and immobilize?

Let's compare that to trip.

Grapple:

You move up spend a standard and grapple the target. This initially does zero damage and you have a -2 penalty to AC.

Your opponent cannot move but can:
Break the grapple.
Full attack you at -2 and live with -2 to AC.

Trip:

You move up spend a standard and trip the target. This initially does zero damage but you have no penalties to AC.

Your opponent cannot move (crawl 5 feet) but can:
Stand up (provoking w/ -4 AC) and then attack once.
Full attack you at -4 and live with -4 to AC.

The difference in effective ACs in these examples is 6. Why again would someone grapple?

Shadow Lodge

Quandary wrote:
Stuff

This, please, this. Outmaneuvered III should, ya know, explain stuff!


Feral wrote:
The difference in effective ACs in these examples is 6. Why again would someone grapple?

You seem to forget the instance where the guy you grapple is wielding a bad-ass twohanded weapon. He is now severely hindered.

...also - not _all_ casters will have freedom of movement.


What's important here is that grappling just got nerfed again. It's only the severity of the nerf that is under discussion.

-Matt


Feral wrote:
Odd complaints

Freedom of movement exists, yes. But first the caster must choose to learn the spell from an ever growing list and in the majority of cases choose to memorize it. Yes a caster could be an effective anti grappler, that doesn't mean every caster is...

Not to mention we aren't looking at it in a vacuum as you are comparing it. Many grapple creatures also have things like rake or constrict that do more damage above and beyond the choice to do damage on grapple. In those cases that means 2-3 attacks for one check. Not just a single solitary natural attack via grapple check.


I'm a big grappling guy. I apologize if this is too long. First, grappling didn't get nerfed. No rules have been changed. If you read the grappled condition, it's clear that grappled people can make one-handed attacks with their -2 penalty. If you never realized that, it's your own limited thinking at work.

Grappling can still be superior to a regular attack. Once you succeed on your first grapple, you get a +5 to subsequent attempts, and your opponent has a -4 penalty to his Dex, which lowers his CMD. Next round it should be relatively simple to maintain the grapple, and then you do automatic damage with a one-handed attack, no roll required. Or you could pin the guy or tie him up. Combat over.

It's not as easy to break a grapple as some of you are suggesting. If they are still holding onto a weapon with one hand, they get -4 to their grapple check. They could drop the weapon and try to break the grapple without the penalty, but then they're weaponless. At best they have spent one round not being able to attack, at worst they're weaponless.

If they decide to skip breaking the grapple and attack instead, OK, that kinda sucks—they got one extra attack attempt on you at -2. But the next round you make your +5 grapple check (they are still at -4 Dex) and pin the guy or tie him up. Combat over.

The point of grapple is to immobilize people, not necessarily kill them. With just two successful rolls, the second one having a huge advantage (you +5, him -4), you can end the combat. At worst you get attacked once (at -2) in the process, or else have to try again. If you're really serious about grappling, you should also get the Greater Grapple feat so you can do it in one round with a +4 to all your grapple checks.

Liberty's Edge

daeruin wrote:
At worst you get attacked once (at -2) in the process, or else have to try again.

If by once you mean full attack, then yes.


Mattastrophic wrote:
SRM wrote:
Yes.

Wow, grappling really sucks now. With Freedom of Movement as an option for casters...

Guess Disruptive is the way to go now. Have to be a Ftr6, though, ugh...

Without being a Ftr6, Antagonize works against casters, though.

I wonder why Merisiel is scared in the picture there. She can now full-attack with that light weapon she's holding! She should be happy!

-Matt

Thought I should mention that bards and barbarians can get it too, and spell breaker.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Feral wrote:
Grapple would be effective against casters if Freedom of Movement did not exist. Grapple stops being an effective tactic against casters ~level 9.

Not only does this assume the caster has freedom of movement availible, but that they can actually cast it in a grapple. Since it has both a somatic and material component, that's not so easy. The easy magic way out of a grapple is dimension door, since it's verbal only. However, dimension door only works once per casting, unlike freedom of movement.

Finally, even if the grappled spellcaster does have freedom of movement, it's all about the economy of actions. Even grappling an enemy spellcaster for one round and having them escape their next turn still burns up their action for that turn, allowing the rest of the party to use their actions without worrying about the enemy caster doing whatever magical harm upon them that they would otherwise have done. That could be all that's needed to get into position, cast a critical buff spell, heal someone so they can stay in the fight, etc. Plus, the higher level your foe is, the higher the opportunity cost they have for escaping the grapple. Freedom of movement or dimension door to escape a grapple is much better than them disintegrating your rogue, prismatic spraying the entire party, mazing your fighter, or feebleminding your wizard, for example.


Feral wrote:
daeruin wrote:
At worst you get attacked once (at -2) in the process, or else have to try again.
If by once you mean full attack, then yes.

If by full attack you mean with one light weapon in one hand, the preferred attack routine for basically no one good at hitting things, then yes.

Liberty's Edge

JoelF847 wrote:
Not only does this assume the caster has freedom of movement availible, but that they can actually cast it in a grapple. Since it has both a somatic and material component, that's not so easy. The easy magic way out of a grapple is dimension door, since it's verbal only. However, dimension door only works once per casting, unlike freedom of movement.

No, the assumption is that the caster already has it up. It has a 10 min/level duration. It's very possible to have it up as a prebuff.

Dire Mongoose wrote:
If by full attack you mean with one light weapon in one hand, the preferred attack routine for basically no one good at hitting things, then yes.

Not light weapon, one-handed (ala Falcata).

Alternatively the creature can claw/claw/bite/wing/wing/talon/talon/tail you.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Feral wrote:
daeruin wrote:
At worst you get attacked once (at -2) in the process, or else have to try again.
If by once you mean full attack, then yes.
If by full attack you mean with one light weapon in one hand, the preferred attack routine for basically no one good at hitting things, then yes.

Or claw/bite/gore/tailslap don't grapple dragons kiddies.

Edit: ninjaaaaaaa'd


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Feral wrote:
daeruin wrote:
At worst you get attacked once (at -2) in the process, or else have to try again.
If by once you mean full attack, then yes.
If by full attack you mean with one light weapon in one hand, the preferred attack routine for basically no one good at hitting things, then yes.

Actually only 3.5 limited you to light weapons.

Pathfinder just limits to 1 handed.


Yikes. Yet another PF change to 3e I wasn't aware of. In 3e, you could perform a Full Attack's worth of grapple checks to deal damage/pin/what-have-you, making big tentacle monsters beastly and scary.


Feral wrote:


Not light weapon, one-handed (ala Falcata).

Fair enough. My point still stands.

Feral wrote:


Alternatively the creature can claw/claw/bite/wing/wing/talon/talon/tail you.

Right... you don't grapple that stuff.

I mean, do you look at something like Confusion and think "Some things are immune to this, so it's complete trash" even though it dominates the right encounters in a ridiculous way? Grapple's kind of in the same boat.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
If by full attack you mean with one light weapon in one hand, the preferred attack routine for basically no one good at hitting things, then yes.
Feral wrote:


Not light weapon, one-handed (ala Falcata).

Alternatively the creature can claw/claw/bite/wing/wing/talon/talon/tail you.

I still have to point out that you're complaining about something that has been in the rules since day one. If you didn't realize it was there, you just weren't thinking it through. As with any attack strategy, there are situations where you wouldn't want to use it. It's kind of silly to complain that there are a few ways to counter a grapple. It's like you want grapple to be a universal winning move. Well, it isn't, but there are still plenty of situations where grapple can work well. If you really want to grapple someone with a strong one-handed attack, you can get Greater Grapple (which every serious grappler should have anyway). If you want to grapple a creature with eight natural attacks, you must be insane to begin with. If you want to grapple a magic user, make sure you have a backup plan when they use Freedom of Movement on you. Use grapple when it makes sense, don't use it when it doesn't.

And by the way, just because I'm defending grapple as a general strategy doesn't mean I agree with this rule. I think it's ridiculous that someone could attack you at all with a sword when you're basically bear hugging them or hanging on their back. Just try to picture it in your head. Most swords are longer than your arm. There is no possible angle at which you could stab them, especially when your opponent is trying to pin your arms. The best you could do would be to get an awkward slash on their back or leg with less than your full strength behind it. On the other hand, if you had a light weapon like a dagger, it might actually be MORE effective at that close range. I think 3.5 had it right in that respect.

(If you really want a combat system with that kind of realistic detail, you should check out the Codex Martialis supplement. I think you can find it on RPGnow.com.)

Edit: Dire Mongoose, you totally ninja'd me, and with fewer words, too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
daeruin wrote:
And by the way, just because I'm defending grapple as a general strategy doesn't mean I agree with this rule. I think it's ridiculous that someone could attack you at all with a sword when you're basically bear hugging them or hanging on their back. Just try to picture it in your head. Most swords are longer than your arm. There is no possible angle at which you could stab them, especially when your opponent is trying to pin your arms. The best you could do would be to get an awkward slash on their back or leg with less than your full strength behind it. On the other hand, if you had a light weapon like a dagger, it might actually be MORE effective at that close range. I think 3.5 had it right in that respect.

Actually, according to Jason Bulmahn, the mental picture of "Grappled" has changed too since 3.5. In this post, he says...

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Folks,

The RAW do allow the grappled to make a full attack action, assuming they can do so with only one hand. Since flurry does not require two hands to perform, a monk could flurry.

Grappling is not always the best idea. Grappling a monk is one such example. I think folks need to remember that the grappled condition is not as severe as it once was. You are no longer draped all over the target. It is more like you got a hold on them, typically an arm (hence the restriction). The pinned condition is more of your greco-roman wrestling hold.

Hope that clears it up..

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

[My bold.]

Liberty's Edge

So grapple isn't meant to be used against:

Creatures with a good natural weapon full attack
Creatures with a good one-handed weapon full attack
Casters that might have freedom of movement running

So that leaves?

Creatures with two-handed weapons maybe. Although, in all likelihood a strong creature with good BaB is still pretty dangerous dropping their two-handed weapon and using their spiked gauntlet, dagger, whatever.

Casters without freedom of movement running? How again are you going to tell the difference without running up and wasting a standard action in the first place?

Joana wrote:
[My bold.]

No, 'impaling yourself on their weapons' is more accurate.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think Jason's point is that, if you want to keep someone from attacking you, you go ahead and spend two rounds (with a 2nd check at +5) to get them pinned. Yes, in most cases, just grappling them would be pretty dumb as they can keep attacking you. Getting an opponent to a mostly-helpless condition takes 2 rounds rather than 1 in Pathfinder.

Liberty's Edge

The problem with this is that during those two turns your opponent is attacking you at 100% effectiveness.

Turn 1

You - Move up and initiate grapple.
Opponent - Full attacks you (with a -2 penalty but your AC is down by 2 so it's a wash)

Turn 2

You - Pin
Opponent - Breaks free (both from the initial grapple and the following pin).

Turn 3 (see Turn 1)

So even if you are willing to spend all of your time sustaining and initiating grapples you are still eating a full attack every other turn.


Feral wrote:

The problem with this is that during those two turns your opponent is attacking you at 100% effectiveness.

If their CMB is ridiculously higher than your CMD, yes, that is true (and, again, that they can full attack you with one hand without sacrificing significant combat effectiveness -- which is basically never true for a remotely optimal character, but can be true for a monster with awesome natural attacks.)

Your scenario also assumes a one on one fight and that neither side enjoys any kind of action economy advantage, which skews grapple's value significantly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Grappling is not always the best idea.

If you grapple something that broke free on its second turn, when you have a +5 bonus to grapple, you probably want to kill that thing some other way than by putting yourself right next to it to get hit. It's like attacking something with DR. If you max out your damage dice and the DM reports it barely took a scratch, you probably want to switch weapons instead of keep whacking it over and over with the same ineffective thing.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
daeruin wrote:
With just two successful rolls, the second one having a huge advantage (you +5, him -4), you can end the combat.

I agree with just about everything you said, but the -4 effective penalty to Dex (-2 to CMD) is countered by your -2 to attacks (including CMB) for also having the grappled condition. Still, +5 at something you're already good at (or good enough if you succeeded in the first place) is huge.

Grappling is circumstantially devastating, often useful, and sometimes a horrible mistake. Just like anything else.

And after 11 years of playing 3rd/PF, I've yet to see a caster with Freedom of Movement cast when a grapple is attempted on them.

Liberty's Edge

So what are you allowed to grapple?

I went through the SRD and picked a bunch of random creatures at CR 9.

Alchemical Golem
CMB +21, 2 slams +19 (2d8+8 plus alchemy)

Dire Crocodile
CMB +26 (+30 grapple), bite +18 (3d6+13/19–20 plus grab) and tail slap +13 (4d8+6)

Giant Squid
CMB +18 (+22 grapple), bite +14 (2d6+7), 2 arms +14 (1d6+7), tentacles +12 (4d6+3/19-20 plus grab)

Marid
CMB +19, 2 slams +17 (2d6+6) or mwk trident +18/+13/+8 (2d6+9)

Witchfire
CMB +13, incorporeal touch +13 (8d6 fire plus witchflame)

So which of these is it okay to grapple? I would suggest the Witchfire but it's incorporeal. =(


Dire Mongoose is right. A single one-handed attack isn't likely to be at 100% effectiveness. And they would have attacked you that turn anyway. You're trading one thing for another.

Feral wrote:

Turn 2

You - Pin
Opponent - Breaks free (both from the initial grapple and the following pin).

You say that like breaking free from a pin is virtually guaranteed. Again, unless your opponent wants to drop his weapon, he's at -4 to all grapple checks.

You are also ignoring the huge benefits of Greater Grapple. Anyone who is serious about grappling should have this feat.

Anyway, I'm not going to argue it anymore. What we have here is one guy who is determined to hate grappling and only liked it before because he misunderstood the rules.


daeruin wrote:
With just two successful rolls, the second one having a huge advantage (you +5, him -4), you can end the combat.
Majuba wrote:
I agree with just about everything you said, but the -4 effective penalty to Dex (-2 to CMD) is countered by your -2 to attacks (including CMB) for also having the grappled condition.

Remember that the -2 doesn't apply to grapple checks, though. Just attacks and other combat maneuvers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feral wrote:
So what are you allowed to grapple?

You're allowed to grapple anything you want; that doesn't mean it's guaranteed to be a smart move.

I'd guess it's most helpful vs. CR 9 NPCs.


Majuba wrote:
And after 11 years of playing 3rd/PF, I've yet to see a caster with Freedom of Movement cast when a grapple is attempted on them.

I've only seen it used as a Cleric domain power, personally. Sorcerers & Wizards tend to go for 'Dimension Door.' Very few characters bothered with Escape Artist, which seems like a sure-fire way to slip out of most grappling situations that would otherwise end them.

The Exchange

Majuba wrote:


And after 11 years of playing 3rd/PF, I've yet to see a caster with Freedom of Movement cast when a grapple is attempted on them.

Every LG mod and most PFS mods I've ever judged with a bad guy who had it on their spell list, had it as a pre-buff included in their statblock(to be fair the same can be said for shield, and other buffs.) Also there was this interactive where the author gave all his bad guys potions of it(yes i know potions of FoM aren't legal, but he did not care)in the final version because a player grappled the BBEG into submission in his playtest. So at the very least, it happens a fair amount of time. It does not help that it lasts so long. Also I've seen PCs walk into combat with it prebuffed because of the short time in between combats in PFS.

Liberty's Edge

daeruin wrote:
Stuff

Well I'm not even going to try touching dual wielding in a grapple. Based one what Stephan has already ruled I'm leaning toward dual wielding in a grapple working.

Yes, Greater Grapple makes grappling usable if you start adjacent to your opponent. Should a combat maneuver require you to have two feats for it to be viable? I'm honestly trying to figure out how a creature like a bear of a squid is supposed to fight with this ruling. It might be worth considering lowering the CR on all creatures with grab that use grapple as a part of their regular combat strategy.

Joana wrote:

You're allowed to grapple anything you want; that doesn't mean it's guaranteed to be a smart move.

I'd guess it's most helpful vs. CR 9 NPCs.

Ah, that's the confusion I was running into. I didn't know it was only meant to be used against NPCs.

All those CR 9 aristocrats had better watch out.


Feral wrote:

All those CR 9 aristocrats had better watch out.

It's not worth the effort to try to explain it to you if you're going to be like that about it.

You don't like it, don't use it, call it a day.

Liberty's Edge

Joana said it. I was just playing along.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feral wrote:
Joana wrote:

You're allowed to grapple anything you want; that doesn't mean it's guaranteed to be a smart move.

I'd guess it's most helpful vs. CR 9 NPCs.

Ah, that's the confusion I was running into. I didn't know it was only meant to be used against NPCs.

All those CR 9 aristocrats had better watch out.

How about this guy with his greatsword? :)

I think most of the CR 9 BBEGs in the APs are humanoid NPCs.


There are other benefits to grappling. Also note that grappled creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity. This makes it a great teamwork option! It's not like your party is just going to stand there with their mouths hanging open while you wrestle the bad guy.

- The rogue can now move into flanking position without fear of retribution.
- The other warriors in your group can pile on and grapple too without eating an AoO.
- This works for other combat maneuvers, as well, including disarm, steal, bull rush, or pretty much anything else. Put the big bad in a FULL NELSON and have your party members nab his magical headband, sword, and amulet.
- If the warrior you're grappling is threatening a party caster, grabbing them will allow your ally a safe escape. Instead of trying an Acrobatics check or risk casting defensively, your ally can cast a deadly touch range spell and deliver it without fear of reprisal, and then casually stroll away while you hold your foe in place. If your foe isn't cinders now, at least.

If your friends go before your grappled target does, you might not even have to eat the "inevitable" full attack.

Pinned creatures are flat-footed, in addition to other hefty penalties, which also makes them a prime target for a rogue to systematically dissect them.

Sure, one-on-one grappling with a monster much more powerful than you is a terrible idea (If you're a lone level 9 warrior, a CR 9 monster is almost an insurmountable challenge for you to overcome!). You just have to be a bit more creative.

Grappling isn't a "golden hammer" that is always 100% effective, or even effective at all, and it shouldn't be. Sure, there's probably a better way to do each of the things listed above, but if you're even okay at grappling, all of those are options for you.

WOMBO COMBOOOOO


Err, my bad. Not paying attention to context.


Not to mention that I don't think the fact that wrestling down a dire bear or a tentacle beast being ineffective is a good argument against grappling being valid.

People who try to wrestle bears deserve what they get.

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