Yes, I know... a Grapple question...


Rules Questions


Ok, there's something I am confused with Pathfinder's Grappling rules.

One is, being grappled gives a -4 penalty to Dexterity...no more sneak attacks against grappled opponents? Seems a bit nerfed to me. Though, technically, wouldn't a rogue be able to sneak attack anyway since the ally that is grappling the enemy is sort of "flanking" the foe as it is?

Second question, more important, is the ability of the one being grappled. I am confused by this statement:

"Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that requires only one hand to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you."

So does the one being grappled make an attack roll vs. AC, or does it have to be a CMB against CMD of the grappler? I am assuming Attack vs AC, since it's saying you can attack another enemy within reach that's not the grappler and I doubt that requires a CMB vs CMD.

Which leads to the 3rd question, can the grappler choose to make a normal attack roll against the grappled foe's AC instead of a CMB check to deal damage with a weapon? (sort of like how it was in the 3.5 grapple rules)


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First thing to do is to rethink your understanding of what grappling is. Its not so much a full blown wrestle as it was in 3.5; now, its more of a grab.

In 3.5, grapplers occupied the same square; in PF they occupy independent squares adjacent to each other.

Another thing to remember is that there is a difference between the person who instigated the grapple and the one who is the target of the grapple. They both gain the grappled condition, but things work a little differently for each depending on who started and is maintaining the grapple.

Now onto your questions...

1. The grappled condition does not cause one to lose their Dex to AC. So that takes that method of gaining sneak attacks away from rogues. (The pinned condition says that the pinned creature is flat-footed, although it makes more sense to say its denied its Dex to AC; thus pinned creatures are generally subject to sneak attacks.) The rogue can still gain sneak attacks against the grappled target for normal reasons of gaining sneak attacks (flanking the grappler or the grappler is denied its dex to AC for some other reason).

Both grapplers threaten each other still, so a rogue can flank a grappler with the other grappler as normal, since the grapplers occupy independent spaces.

2. The one who is grappled can choose to attack the other grappler normally (subject to only using one hand on the attack). Since it doesn't say otherwise, it would be his attack vs. the other grappler's AC. The grapple condition instills a -2 penalty to all attacks. Further, if the attacker is relying on Weapon Finesse, the -4 to Dex may cause a further reduction in his attack bonus. But the other grappler will have a lower AC due to the -4 to Dex as well.

3. The grappler who initiated the grapple has to either release the grapple as a free action or maintain the grapple as a standard action. So no, he doesn't get to make a normal attack against the other grappler; he would have to release the grapple in order to do so. If he succesfully maintains the grapple he can do damage to the other grappler as part of the action of maintaining the grapple.

HOWEVER, note that a creature with the Greater Grapple feat only needs to spend a move action to maintain a grapple. So with the Greater Grapple feat, one could maintain the grapple as a move action, and then use his standard action that round to attack the grappled opponent (or make another grapple check to inflict damage).


Ah yes, I see. Ok, thanks for some clarification on that.

Scarab Sages

The answer has sparked a question from me.

Quote:
"Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that requires only one hand to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you."

Does this mean that the opponent grappled only gets one attack or is able to get a full round of attack with is action. In the same boat, would a creature with multiple natural attacks be able to get all its natural attacks?


Dwraith wrote:
Quote:
"Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that requires only one hand to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you."
Does this mean that the opponent grappled only gets one attack or is able to get a full round of attack with is action. In the same boat, would a creature with multiple natural attacks be able to get all its natural attacks?

I'd say its only one attack. The grappler can only make one attack (unless he forgoes the grapple), and I don't see any reason why the grapplee would have MORE freedom of action than the grappler. Also, this may be a circumstance where make 'an' attack actually translates into 'an' meaning 'one'.


I read it differently. To me it seems that the creature that is grappled (not the one who started and is maintaining the grapple) is free to act normally, subject to the penalties imposed by the grapple condition (can't move, penalties to attack and Dex, can only use one hand). It doesn't seem to restrict his ability to make attacks any further than that. So I see no reason why the target of the grapple can't respond with a full attack.

The instigator of the grapple doesn't have the freedom to do this since he is also maintaining the grapple. Now, he could choose to freely release the grapple and make a full attack; whereas the target cannot make this choice (he'd have to actively break free of the grapple). But he can't both maintain the grapple AND make a full attack; thats just too many actions for one round.

So I think that kind of balances things out a bit between the two. The one maintaining the grapple has more freedom of choice (since he can choose to freely release the grapple and do what he wants), but the target of the grapple has a little more freedom of action (since he isn't trying to maintain the grapple himself).

Also note that the one who is maintaining the grapple can choose to pin the target (instead of doing damage to him). The pinned creature cannot make any melee attacks at all. So responding to a grapple with a full attack can be a dangerous proposition, since the other grappler might just pin you on the next round. (And hes getting a +5 on his grapple checks!) And while pinned, the pinner can continue to deal damage while maintaining the grapple, but the pinned character cannot make any attacks back.

Note that a character who is pinning another character still just has the grappled condition, BUT is also denied his Dex to AC while maintaining the pin. So hes then open to sneak attacks.

(Thats why I said earlier that it makes sense to say that a pinned creature is denied his Dex to AC, instead of being flat-footed like the text says. It makes little sense for the pinner to be denied his dex but for the pinned character to just be flatfooted, since someone with uncanny dodge who is pinned wouldn't lose his dex to AC. Just doesn't make sense for it to work that way. Plus, flat-footed specifically refers to the condition of not having acted yet in initiative--its an issue of responsiveness, not one of maneuverability. I think the flat-footed text under the Pinned condition was just an easily made error of oversight and was intended to mean denied Dex to AC.)


Father Dale wrote:

I read it differently. To me it seems that the creature that is grappled (not the one who started and is maintaining the grapple) is free to act normally, subject to the penalties imposed by the grapple condition (can't move, penalties to attack and Dex, can only use one hand). It doesn't seem to restrict his ability to make attacks any further than that. So I see no reason why the target of the grapple can't respond with a full attack.

The instigator of the grapple doesn't have the freedom to do this since he is also maintaining the grapple. Now, he could choose to freely release the grapple and make a full attack; whereas the target cannot make this choice (he'd have to actively break free of the grapple). But he can't both maintain the grapple AND make a full attack; thats just too many actions for one round.

So I think that kind of balances things out a bit between the two. The one maintaining the grapple has more freedom of choice (since he can choose to freely release the grapple and do what he wants), but the target of the grapple has a little more freedom of action (since he isn't trying to maintain the grapple himself).

Also note that the one who is maintaining the grapple can choose to pin the target (instead of doing damage to him). The pinned creature cannot make any melee attacks at all. So responding to a grapple with a full attack can be a dangerous proposition, since the other grappler might just pin you on the next round. (And hes getting a +5 on his grapple checks!) And while pinned, the pinner can continue to deal damage while maintaining the grapple, but the pinned character cannot make any attacks back.

Note that a character who is pinning another character still just has the grappled condition, BUT is also denied his Dex to AC while maintaining the pin. So hes then open to sneak attacks.

(Thats why I said earlier that it makes sense to say that a pinned creature is denied his Dex to AC, instead of being flat-footed like the text says. It makes little sense for...

Even the starter of the grapple has the grappled condition, but he is the controller, and has more power. He can choose to release the grapple or go into a pin as an example. The grappler that is not in control does not have those options.

From the PRD
Grapple

As a standard action, you can attempt to grapple a foe, hindering his combat options. If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver. Humanoid creatures without two free hands attempting to grapple a foe take a –4 penalty on the combat maneuver roll. If successful, both you and the target gain the grappled condition...


Dwraith wrote:

The answer has sparked a question from me.

Quote:
"Instead of attempting to break or reverse the grapple, you can take any action that requires only one hand to perform, such as cast a spell or make an attack with a light or one-handed weapon against any creature within your reach, including the creature that is grappling you."
Does this mean that the opponent grappled only gets one attack or is able to get a full round of attack with is action. In the same boat, would a creature with multiple natural attacks be able to get all its natural attacks?

Although it saddens me a bit... the official answer is 'grappler = only one attack, grappled = full-attack."

You can have a look at the answer from Jason himself here.

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

And regarding this:

Father Dale wrote:


Also note that the one who is maintaining the grapple can choose to pin the target (instead of doing damage to him). The pinned creature cannot make any melee attacks at all. So responding to a grapple with a full attack can be a dangerous proposition, since the other grappler might just pin you on the next round. (And hes getting a +5 on his grapple checks!) And while pinned, the pinner can continue to deal damage while maintaining the grapple, but the pinned character cannot make any attacks back.

actually this is not completely true. Since damaging a grappled opponent is one action, and pinning an opponent is another action, only a grappler with the Greater Grapple feat can actually keep a pin and damage an opponent in the same round.

SRD -> Combat -> Special Attacks -> Combat Maneuvers -> Grapple:
"Once you are grappling an opponent, a successful check allows you to continue grappling the foe, and also allows you to perform one of the following actions (as part of the standard action spent to maintain the grapple).
(...)
Damage: You can inflict damage to your target equal to your unarmed strike, a natural attack, or an attack made with armor spikes or a light or one-handed weapon. This damage can be either lethal or nonlethal.
Pin: You can give your opponent the pinned condition (see Conditions). Despite pinning your opponent, you still only have the grappled condition, but you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC."

If he only damages the opponent, the pin is no longer active (but the opponent is still grappled).


Robert Young wrote:


I'd say its only one attack. The grappler can only make one attack (unless he forgoes the grapple), and I don't see any reason why the grapplee would have MORE freedom of action than the grappler. Also, this may be a circumstance where make 'an' attack actually translates into 'an' meaning 'one'.

There is a Paizo post on this subject somewhere. They said that a full attack action was allowed, limited only by the fact that the graplee was denied the use of one arm/tentacle/pseudopod.

Edit: Ninja'd


Ahh, good to know! Thanks for the clarifications.


Actually, as far as I can tell, you don't need to keep pinning someone every round, you just need to maintain the grapple. This also allows you to damage your pinned foe as a part of maintaining the grapple.

Getting pinned is super-duper bad. It can lead to helplessness which quickly leads to coup d'gras and death. As such, when someone starts grappling you, you get to respond with a full round action to make them regret it.


Thats how I read it too, once the pin is made the grappler can subsequently do any of the other grappling activities. So that by making a check to maintain the grapple/pin he can deal damage to the pinned creature.

Sovereign Court

I tend to look at the grapple situation kinda backwards from everyone else. Instead of thinking about how grappling limits your actions, I instead think about how your choice in actions limit your options in grappling.

I also tend to disagree with most folks in that I think the grappler has all of the options the graplee, plus several more. But again, some of those options present severe limitations in continuing the grapple.

As has been reiterated by Paizo in a couple of places, the grapplee can ignore any attempt to break the grapple, and instead make a full attack action (including a monk's flurry). However, both the grappler and grapplee must utilize one arm (or mouth, or tentacle, or appendage, or whatever as the case may be) as part of the grapple. This changes the number or type of attacks the either can attempt. This would prevent use of two weapon fighting, as well as limit the number of natural attacks. In other cases (such as the Rake ability), the grappled condition may allow them to access additional abilities or attacks.

The grappler must continue to maintain the grapple, usually a standard action. The Grab or Snatch extraordinary special quality of some monsters would then allow them to effectively maintain the grapple as a free action (technically they are ending and restarting the grapple every round, but the effect is the same).

Alternatively, the grappler could bypass their normal attack progression, and instead performa a grapple check. This grapple check would not only maintain the grappled condition of both the grapplee and grappler, but also allow them to move, damage, or pin, the grapplee. (Note this means that something with a high CMB could effectively bypass a high AC and instead roll against their opponents CMD).

Lastly, I would point out that opinions on grapple are kinda like big toes, most people have even more then one, and stench is prevalent. My opinion clearly differs from others here, and until official errata/FAQ/clarification is released, I doubt we will reach an overall consensus. Even when such declaration has occurred, I suspect that grapple rules will remain one of the most commonly house-modified. The short version of what I'm trying to say is that your mileage (or views) may vary.


Anburaid wrote:

Actually, as far as I can tell, you don't need to keep pinning someone every round, you just need to maintain the grapple. This also allows you to damage your pinned foe as a part of maintaining the grapple.

Father Dale wrote:

Thats how I read it too, once the pin is made the grappler can subsequently do any of the other grappling activities. So that by making a check to maintain the grapple/pin he can deal damage to the pinned creature.

You know... you might actually be right. Never thought about it in this way.

However, IMHO this should be clarified in some way, since there is another action apart from damaging the opponent which can be messy:

"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. 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."

Now, this can be read in two different ways:

1) The pinned condition doesn't wear off if you made it in the first place (as most of you believe - and you might effectively be right). You (as a grappler) can pin the opponent in a round, and then in the following one you can tie him up. The opponent is still pinned, so the CMB check is without penalty.

2) The pinned condition must be kept every round (as I initially thought). You (as a grappler) must possess the Greater Grapple feat to tie your opponent up without penalties (one standard/move action to keep him pinned, and one move/standard action to tie him up), otherwise your CMB check is at -10 penalty (the opponent is NOT pinned while you tie him up).

I truly hope that your reading is the correct one - grappling has already been nerfed a little (see my example here).

The Wraith wrote:

'I'm Iohannes Felicitus Cena , great grappler and master of Pankratium. I've an astonishing CMB value of +30 while grappling, and now that I've come near you and taken a hold on you, you already know that the next 6 seconds you will yield to my powerful Finishing Move - the SCREW-U'

'Greeting, I'm Ali Marcus Amman the Magnificent. While you are holding me into your powerful arms, great as the greatest logs of the northern forests, let me hit you with my +3 Vorpal Keen Scimitar of Speed for 5 attacks...'

'D'oh !'


Laughing Goblin wrote:
Alternatively, the grappler could bypass their normal attack progression, and instead perform a a grapple check. This grapple check would not only maintain the grappled condition of both the grapplee and grappler, but also allow them to move, damage, or pin, the grapplee.

Forgive me for resurrecting an old thread, but I have a question on this.

If I maintain my grapple with a grapple check and I chose to damage my opponent as my option of actions allowed after a grapple check is maintained, is the damage automatic? Or does it require an attack roll? Or does it require another CMB vs. CMD roll?

I just couldn't find the details on that in the book.

Is there published errata or elaboration on grappling?

It is still, (in my opinion), needlessly complicated and this is one area I wish Paizo had cleaned up 3.5 even more than it already did.


DofC wrote:
Laughing Goblin wrote:
Alternatively, the grappler could bypass their normal attack progression, and instead perform a a grapple check. This grapple check would not only maintain the grappled condition of both the grapplee and grappler, but also allow them to move, damage, or pin, the grapplee.

Forgive me for resurrecting an old thread, but I have a question on this.

If I maintain my grapple with a grapple check and I chose to damage my opponent as my option of actions allowed after a grapple check is maintained, is the damage automatic? Or does it require an attack roll? Or does it require another CMB vs. CMD roll?

I just couldn't find the details on that in the book.

Is there published errata or elaboration on grappling?

It is still, (in my opinion), needlessly complicated and this is one area I wish Paizo had cleaned up 3.5 even more than it already did.

It's automatic. Instead of making the attack roll, you made the CMB roll to maintain the grapple.

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