Last night in our second playtest Our Fearless Party went up against some Darkmantles (MM pg 38). If the darkmantle hits with its slam attack it can then "attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it attaches to the opponent's head and can constrict."
My darkmantles found grappling much harder under the new rules (or I was rolling poorly) as it only happened once in 5 rounds of 2 darkmantles attacking.
The one time it did happen, the darkmantle only beat the player's roll by one, which would make them "Held." On page 42 that says, "your target cannot move to a space that is not adjacent without first breaking the grapple, but is otherwise unaffected."
So here I have a player who has a darkmantle on his head (like a hat?) that can constrict, thus doing damage, but he is otherwise unaffected EXCEPT for the fact that he can't move more than 5 feet? The one thing he should be able to do is run around like a crazy man. I think of these things like facehuggers from Alien, and this basically sets off my "common sense" alarm. If you've got a leathery octopus on your face that is choking the life out of you, your attacking ability should be affected.
It was exactly the opposite of the common sense view of what was happening.
This adventure I'm running is grapple and trip check heavy (lots of wolves), and I'd like to echo what others have said-- the new CMB rules are no less complicated than the old ones, they're just differently complicated.
|Mark Moreland Franchise Manager|
the new CMB rules are no less complicated than the old ones, they're just differently complicated.
I have found that, while the ease of having a stable mechanic for all combat maneuvers is nice, the various levels of effect are much more confusing than in 3.5. I've never thought the standard rules were too unwieldy or unintuitive. The grapple rules especially are far too complicated now, with so many levels of effect that to do things that we've been used to for eight years is nigh on impossible. Even the best grapplers in a party tend to be unable to fully restrain someone, and pinning doesn't really serve a purpose, as one who is unconscious rarely needs to be restrained. I like the CMB, but don't like the new stages of being grappled.
Speaking as someone who never really found the grappling rules in 3e terribly complicated or time consuming (seriously - what are the 4e designers smoking?):
I'm using the CMB rules wholecloth in my RotRL game. We've observed a few things:
1) The CMB concept is a good one, and it's nice to have a unified mechanic for a lot of similiar situations.
2) The Agile Maneuvers feat is really required for certain (pre-published) characters & monsters. Someone suggested just assuming that any character/monster with Weapon Finesse has Agile Maneuvers as well (even if they don't have a spare feat slot), but I think I'd prefer to just make using your Dex mod instead of Str for CM be a function of Weapon Finesse - it's a rare character that would choose to have one without the other, so essentially it's just a punishment for swashbucklery-types requiring them to take 2 feats.
3) The bunch of different feats that all essentially do the same thing now (improved trip, improved grapple, etc) should be treated like proficiencies - i.e.: CMB Proficiency (grapple), etc. This ensures a more streamlined system and allows for things like CMB Focus/Specialisation/Groups, etc.
4) I agree that the "grappled conditions" add more complication than is really necessary. Under PRPG we've been "diving for the book" when grapple occurs much more than under 3.5 (and unlike 3.5, I don't see this reducing or going away in PRPG).
I don't think the CMB is all that confusing or complicated of a system; nor do I think it's as tedious as the current-used system.
What I do think is that problems in the way of complication or confusion is stemmed from having to UNLEARN what we've already been programmed to learn.
I remember when 3rd edition came out - it was hard at first to UNLEARN that a low AC is better, or that you couldn't be a multi-classed paladin etc. Once it's learned its just second nature.
That being said - I agree with the original author that the DC seems a little steep. In my opinion, since the manuevers are based simply off of one's ability vs anothers (BAB + STR from both sides), that the DC starting at 15 is a tall order for success for alot of creatures that are SUPPOSE to be good at these things and are no longer nearly as effective - such as the wolves tripping, or the darkmantles grappling.
An easy fix would be to grant bonuses to those creatures (racial bonus) who have a knack or known infamy for doing these things (like +2 as if assuming they have the feat Improved Trip and/or Improved Grapple etc) - especially now that size modifiers are no longer as big a variance as it was - I can understand reducing +4 to +2 for Large Sized - but dropping to +1 seems overly nerfed IMO.
I think what we'll see will be a lot less attempts at cool combat maneuvers than we used to see being attempted - which is a bad thing - because it just reduces combat once again to just swinging weapons and hitting....
I think that CMB is more simple that the grapple rules in 3.5, but the problem they have is that A)Their new, and thus unfamilar, and B)Have not been playtested, which means there are bits that need to be fleshed out, which is why we are doing the playtest.
It should get more simple as the playtest goes on, and we give fixes for the various problems found the system. It seems to be a good system, but we have to work the kinks out of the system first.
I think the base DC for any creature should be lower than 15+CMB mainly because this DC makes it hard to perform against a creature of equal size and HD and BAB. Which is not always a common occurence either. And in comparison to creatures of your CR quite often have more HD than your level for that CR.
Examples, Jimbob the fighter faces off Jake the enemy fighter, both are equal in respects of CMB, but if either wishes to perform a combat maneuver against the other they must roll a 15 to even gain a successful result. The average fighter is probably going to have a better chance of hitting their oppenents AC than pulling off a manuever. (Levels and actual numbers for this example because we assume that they are equal in all respects)
Next we take Jimbob, Human Fighter 4, Str 18, CMB +8. And we pit him against a CR 4 creature of equal size, a barghest, who's CMB is +9. Meaning that Jimbob needs a 16 or better to start any combat manuever. Even with feats that improve certain Combat Maneuvers this only drops the required roll to 14, still well above his average roll.
I beleive that reduction to DC 10 or maybe 12 would be better for the base of CMB DCs.
I like the new grabble rules and when my party began the serious throw drown, the fight held bad guy who was then fair game to attacks from the other three party members. The necromancer character killed the bad guy with grave touch.
I feel that so far DC 15 scales nicely.
I would like to see greater grapple as a feat.