How Would You (As GM) Handle This?


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Liberty's Edge

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Tacticslion wrote:
Franko a wrote:

Nope in Oklahoma city

I play at games hq. some nice people here.
And I used to go 1701 many years ago...

Ah. Alas. :)

EldonG wrote:
It's Sci-Fi City, nowadays...I was there in the late 70s...when it was 1701. :)
Huh. And here I was starting to feel like an old-school gamer. NOPE. Nevermind. (I wasn't born until '82.)

LOL...it's all good. I remember it fondly...though it has apparently changed a lot. I'd played in something like 20 or 30 campaigns by '82...under several different sets of rules. :)

(My 2 favorite back then were Champions and RQ. I still love both, though they're virtually diametrically opposite!

Err...I should add in CoC...gawd, I love that game.)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
bojac6 wrote:
mdt wrote:
Your implied weight was 1000 lbs. That not a lie, that's out and out disconnect from reality. :)

I thought the only implication to my weight was that I weigh 6 times more than a 40 lbs Gnome. Don't see where the 1000 lbs comes from.

The post you are replying too talked about something weighing 10% of the thing it's grappling. By saying 100 lbs attached to your wrist, you're saying 100 lbs is 10% of your weight, which implies your weight is 1000 lbs. Either that or you completely and totally missed the concept of 10% of your weight, which was the entire point of my post.

bojac6 wrote:


As for the 20 lbs an eagle is carrying, you're right, I got confused. According to Wikipedia, 8.8lbs or so is the established "heavy load" for a golden eagle.

Actually, 8.8 lbs is about what a small male golden eagle weighs, not it's heavy load. Although they can actually lift close to their own weight when they catch it in their claws (and it doesn't slow them down all that much).

bojac6 wrote:

If you picture a grapple as just a step in grab, yes. But in my mind, this grapple check represents a flow of action that you would see in a movie. So the Wyvern snaps at the monk on it's action and the monk grapples back on his. I don't picture them standing still like Final Fantasy. What I picture is the Wyvern has to duck his head down to reach the monk, who tries to jump out of the way or let the teeth slide off his tough skin (Natural Armor). Then, the monk immediately (on his turn) grabs the Wyvern's head, flips up and attempts to grab onto a wing while the Wyvern tries to throw him off. If the Monk is successful, he's grabbed the wing in one action.

So, the monk is doing something incredibly difficult to grapple the wing? What if he just wanted to grapple the thing around the ankle? Shouldn't that be easier than grappling the wing? Either way, the system doesn't differentiate and thus it is a flaw in the system. Lest we forget, combat maneuvers are a relatively new addition to the system and they have not been detailed and worked out as well as the rest of the system.

bojac6 wrote:

It's a monk in a fantasy game, he should fight like he's in a Kung Fu movie.

Shouldn't that be decided by the group, not by default? And shouldn't it be harder to grab the wyvern by the head and use that as a vault to get to the wing? Shouldn't it be one check to grab the head, another to move to the wing, and a third to pin him to the ground by his wing?

bojac6 wrote:
But that was exactly my point. A large cat can make putting itself into a carrier a problem for somebody 10 times it's weight.

I'm not sure you understand your point. The biggest problem I have getting my cats into a carrier is getting my hands on them (which is more due to them being faster than me and me having to corner them so they can't run away). Once I've got my hands on them, they are done. They have no chance of getting away from me.

Now, my wife, they can get away from, which is why I do the penning. She has neuropathy, so her muscles are significantly weaker and her reaction speed is slow. But even with all that she can usually manhandle them if she has to, just sometimes takes a time or two.

And if you don't think cats are trained in 'Escape Artist' all I can say is you have never had a cat for a pet. They are skill focus'd and specialized in it with a racial bonus to it. :)


I like this thread, as it's interesting, but I think there's something that's being missed.

Grappling is being compared to real world examples. However, in the real world no single creature has enough levels or high enough ability scores to overcome their size penalties to strength and CMB. I really like this article, which explains how no-one in the real world needs to be higher than about level 4 or so, and I can't help but agree with that article.

So in the real world, creatures are rather unlikely to be grappled by creatures one size category smaller, and will never be grappled by something two size categories smaller, as the larger creature is just too strong. The smaller creature doesn't have the feats, ability scores or levels to overcome his size penalties. But in the game world, a human hero can actually have more strength than a dragon. That means that if the 40 strength CMB optimized hero gets a good hold on the dragon's knee, he can prevent the dragon from bending it, as he is stronger and better at this sort of thing. If the hero gets a good hold on the dragon's wing, he can prevent him from flying.

In the particular case of the OP, the hero managed to get a good hold on the wyvern, despite being smaller. Thus, if he maintained the upper hand in the struggle they were having (as represented by the CMB checks) he should have been able to stop the wyvern from moving at least one of his wings. A character overcoming his size penalties shouldn't be arbitrarily told that it doesn't work anyway based on real world examples that are totally irrelevant to heroic adventurers. That isn't to say you should throw logic overboard: a Tiny character that, despite all the size modifiers, manages to grapple a dragon, cannot prevent the dragon from moving entirely, as he cannot reach enough of the dragon to do so. But it should still do something.

This how I'd rule it: if a character initiates a grapple on a creature two or more sizes larger (for one size larger I'd use the normal rules, as that isn't such a big difference), he can grapple any body part he is large enough (or can jump high enough) to reach, and he'll prevent all movement that requires that body part. If you're grappling the dragon's leg the dragon can't walk, but can fly. Grappling his wing? He can't fly, but can walk. Want to change where you're grappling? Make a grapple check to move your struggle to another (more or less adjacent) part of the body.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
mdt wrote:
So, the monk is doing something incredibly difficult to grapple the wing? What if he just wanted to grapple the thing around the ankle? Shouldn't that be easier than grappling the wing? Either way, the system doesn't differentiate and thus it is a flaw in the system. Lest we forget, combat maneuvers are a relatively new addition to the system and they have not been detailed and worked out as well as the rest of the system.

The system doesn't differentiate because it doesn't need to. It assumes that the grappler is doing something effective that will successfully put the grapplee into the grappled status. This is a strength of the system because it's flexible enough to allow a character to grapple a wide variety of creatures and body types as the situation warrants.

This is also why discussions of weight alone don't really matter. Dead weight attached to you isn't grappling you, which I take to imply doing something to hamper my movement whether it involves putting me in a hold or simply pitting more strength and weight against mine. It's just weighing me down (after all, what's the grappling modifier or CMB of something inanimate? It doesn't have one.). It can't work to grapple me and thus can never do anything of significant effectiveness as far as the D&D (or PF) grappling rules are concerned. The toddler on an arm or leg isn't a heck of a lot better, because they don't know much about grappling effectively. But a trained martial character good at putting locks and holds on someone by twisting a limb or joint just so? I'm giving them a lot more leeway in what they can accomplish.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Bill Dunn wrote:
mdt wrote:
So, the monk is doing something incredibly difficult to grapple the wing? What if he just wanted to grapple the thing around the ankle? Shouldn't that be easier than grappling the wing? Either way, the system doesn't differentiate and thus it is a flaw in the system. Lest we forget, combat maneuvers are a relatively new addition to the system and they have not been detailed and worked out as well as the rest of the system.

The system doesn't differentiate because it doesn't need to. It assumes that the grappler is doing something effective that will successfully put the grapplee into the grappled status. This is a strength of the system because it's flexible enough to allow a character to grapple a wide variety of creatures and body types as the situation warrants.

This is also why discussions of weight alone don't really matter. Dead weight attached to you isn't grappling you, which I take to imply doing something to hamper my movement whether it involves putting me in a hold or simply pitting more strength and weight against mine. It's just weighing me down (after all, what's the grappling modifier or CMB of something inanimate? It doesn't have one.). It can't work to grapple me and thus can never do anything of significant effectiveness as far as the D&D (or PF) grappling rules are concerned. The toddler on an arm or leg isn't a heck of a lot better, because they don't know much about grappling effectively. But a trained martial character good at putting locks and holds on someone by twisting a limb or joint just so? I'm giving them a lot more leeway in what they can accomplish.

This fails in the fact that the toddler, with no training, in the system, can still grapple the dragon on a natural 20. In fact, if you throw 20 toddlers at the dragon, he will get grappled by 1 on average. So the ancient dragon is grappled and unable to move 5% of the time by tiny tiny creatures. For example, let's say we had a swarm of tiny creatures, each grappling the dragon. Let's say it was 100 of them. Each round they grapple the dragon, he's gargantuan, they can all fit in his spaces to attack at the same time. Each round 5 of them successfully grapple the dragon. He can only try to escape the grapples, or attack one of them, that's it. Each round more and more grapple him, and those that have grappled, each attempts to pin. After 5 rounds, statistically, someone will have both grappled and then pinned the dragon, rendering the 20,000 lb dragon helpless. A tiny creature, weighing less than a lb.

It is NOT a strength of the system. It's a flaw of the system. Because it's combat, there is no situation where you can ever just 'not succeed' like there is in skill use. Yet somethings should fail, like the tiny pixie (or nixie or whatever you choose as the tiny creature) pinning a gargantuan ancient wyrm.


mdt wrote:

This fails in the fact that the toddler, with no training, in the system, can still grapple the dragon on a natural 20. In fact, if you throw 20 toddlers at the dragon, he will get grappled by 1 on average. So the ancient dragon is grappled and unable to move 5% of the time by tiny tiny creatures. For example, let's say we had a swarm of tiny creatures, each grappling the dragon. Let's say it was 100 of them. Each round they grapple the dragon, he's gargantuan, they can all fit in his spaces to attack at the same time. Each round 5 of them successfully grapple the dragon. He can only try to escape the grapples, or attack one of them, that's it. Each round more and more grapple him, and those that have grappled, each attempts to pin. After 5 rounds, statistically, someone will have both grappled and then pinned the dragon, rendering the 20,000 lb dragon helpless. A tiny creature, weighing less than a lb.

It is NOT a strength of the system. It's a flaw of the system. Because it's combat, there is no situation where you can ever just 'not succeed' like there is in skill use. Yet somethings should fail, like the tiny pixie (or nixie or whatever you choose as the tiny creature) pinning a gargantuan ancient wyrm.

That is not how multiple grapples work.

Quote:
Multiple Creatures: Multiple creatures can attempt to grapple one target. The creature that first initiates the grapple is the only one that makes a check, with a +2 bonus for each creature that assists in the grapple (using the Aid Another action). Multiple creatures can also assist another creature in breaking free from a grapple, with each creature that assists (using the Aid Another action) granting a +2 bonus on the grappled creature's combat maneuver check.

So yes, you can have 20 toddlers try to grapple. Assuming the dragon let them all get that close. And in his space. And on average 9.5 will successfully assist, so that's a +18 for the "primary" grappler. On average he will get an 11. Total average result, 29. Even a "perfect" result, 19 assist and 1 perfect 20 is a 54 result.

And what does the dragon do? he spents a few seconds reversing the grapple, or just makes full attacks, or uses his breath weapon. Or takes his AoOs as the toddlers move into range. Your situation is already outrageous, because 20 toddlers would never get to a position to grapple a dragon in the first place.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Multiple creatures can attempt to grapple one target, as it says. However, nothing says they HAVE to attempt to do it together. They can simply go one right after the other, until someone succeeds. Then they either gang up together to help the first maintain, or they all hold their actions to go one right after the other to re-initiate the grapple. The rules don't say you have to work together. They simply say you can, and if you do, you get a bonus.


mdt wrote:
Multiple creatures can attempt to grapple one target, as it says. However, nothing says they HAVE to attempt to do it together. They can simply go one right after the other, until someone succeeds. Then they either gang up together to help the first maintain, or they all hold their actions to go one right after the other to re-initiate the grapple. The rules don't say you have to work together. They simply say you can, and if you do, you get a bonus.

True, they can line up to try for a 20 if they can somehow get that close. But this situation is quite a bit less ridiculous than the pinning scenario you proposed, since it won't get that far.

The Exchange

Tarantula wrote:
...Your situation is already outrageous, because 20 toddlers would never get to a position to grapple a dragon in the first place.

I'd agree that the situation is outrageous.

What if they were ethereal toddlers?!


Lincoln Hills wrote:
Tarantula wrote:
...Your situation is already outrageous, because 20 toddlers would never get to a position to grapple a dragon in the first place.

I'd agree that the situation is outrageous.

What if they were ethereal toddlers?!

"An ethereal creature can't attack material creatures, and spells you cast while ethereal affect only other ethereal things."

So sure, they can get close enough, but then they just float in, around, and through the dragon.

mdt, you're right, they could all go one after another. Except that situation would never happen, because the dragon would just kill them all as they wandered over. Toddlers grappling a dragon is ridiculous, bu tit is a situation that would never happen. A level 20 tetori monk kobold could grapple a dragon, but guess what, he knows how to do it right.

The Exchange

Oh, you know what I meant, Tarantula: what if a group of toddlers on a day-trip to the Ethereal Plane all chose to dismiss their etherealness in the same round?

More to the point, how did it come to this?! We're sending toddlers to do our dirty work?


Lincoln Hills wrote:

Oh, you know what I meant, Tarantula: what if a group of toddlers on a day-trip to the Ethereal Plane all chose to dismiss their etherealness in the same round?

More to the point, how did it come to this?! We're sending toddlers to do our dirty work?

Then initiative gets rolled, dragon wins, he takes a move action to get away from all the toddlers, one might land an AoO and it would be negated from DR. He breath weapons them. Now he has a nice snack.


Toddlers are tiny sized, so they can only grapple medium sized creatures. That's in the rulebook.

So no, they don't. Cats can't grapple storm giants and storm giants can't grapple the world.


Ice Titan wrote:

Toddlers are tiny sized, so they can only grapple medium sized creatures. That's in the rulebook.

So no, they don't. Cats can't grapple storm giants and storm giants can't grapple the world.

Mind giving a quote for that? I seem to remember it from 3.5, but I don't think that sentence made it to PF.


Tarantula wrote:
Ice Titan wrote:

Toddlers are tiny sized, so they can only grapple medium sized creatures. That's in the rulebook.

So no, they don't. Cats can't grapple storm giants and storm giants can't grapple the world.

Mind giving a quote for that? I seem to remember it from 3.5, but I don't think that sentence made it to PF.

Pretty sure that didn't actually exist in 3.5 either. The SRD refers to size modifiers and doesn't mention size restrictions.


3.5 had this sentence as part of the grapple rules:

3.5 SRD wrote:
You automatically lose an attempt to hold if the target is two or more size categories larger than you are.

Pathfinder removed the size restriction.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Are wrote:

3.5 had this sentence as part of the grapple rules:

3.5 SRD wrote:
You automatically lose an attempt to hold if the target is two or more size categories larger than you are.

Pathfinder removed the size restriction.

With the result of tiny creatures grappling a wing that's 30 times their height away from them on an ancient wyrm if they roll a 20.


EldonG wrote:
Pagan priest wrote:
EldonG wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
EldonG wrote:

Orlando.

Not there, not for a long time, but I was...who remembers the old Enterprise 1701? :)

I do. The store still exists, but in a different location and with a different name. It's Sci-Fi city now. I still visit occasionally, but it's not what it used to be.
It's definitely a lot bigger...not as friendly?
Ah... that saddens me. I remember that place from my Navy days, a looooonnnnnggggggggg time ago.
When, precisely? My Navy days, too...'78-'79...

Orlando in 1980. I was at Nuke school.

The Exchange

mdt wrote:
...With the result of tiny creatures grappling a wing that's 30 times their height away from them on an ancient wyrm if they roll a 20.

mdt, I agree that the old size restriction put a cap on the insanity; it was already limited severely by the larger differential (4 rather than 1) that relative size differences imposed. I figure this new system was put in place more to allow characters to slip free of monsters rather than vice-versa: it's not much fun when the dragon grapples you and the GM says, "The DC to escape is... well, you can't ever escape: he's three sizes bigger than you." Realistic, perhaps, but players get crabby if too much of that kind of realism appears.


mdt wrote:
Are wrote:

3.5 had this sentence as part of the grapple rules:

3.5 SRD wrote:
You automatically lose an attempt to hold if the target is two or more size categories larger than you are.

Pathfinder removed the size restriction.

With the result of tiny creatures grappling a wing that's 30 times their height away from them on an ancient wyrm if they roll a 20.

They don't have to "grapple a wing" any more than anything else you decide to describe it as. Personally, I'd go with nose hairs. Grapple a wyrm by his nose hairs.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Tarantula wrote:


They don't have to "grapple a wing" any more than anything else you decide to describe it as. Personally, I'd go with nose hairs. Grapple a wyrm by his nose hairs.

Or eyeball. "Go for the eyes, Boo!"

Yeah, I'm utterly not pursuaded that the system is bad because ridiculous edge and corner cases like dragon-grappling toddlers can be found. The game doesn't and shouldn't try to squelch them all because then it would inevitably rule out cases that should work. Adjudicating cases that should be impossible or only possible under extreme circumstances is the GM's job.

Scarab Sages

Besides, there are real-life martial arts that use joint locks that can disable someone by applying 1-3 pounds of force in a very specific location. It's not outside the realm of possibility for a small creature to stumble across the huge dragon equivalent of a finger lock if they roll a 20 on the CMB check.

The Exchange

Po: No! Not the Wu Xi finger hold!
Shifu: Oh? You... know this hold?


To answer the OP:

I would have handled it by following the rules as written.

To answer everyone else:

The rules should reflect the basic physics (probably 2 size modifiers) so that you can still move. However I'd warn people before introducing this rule.

Grand Lodge

I've watched my GM deal with a similar situation,
Our magis jumps on the back of a flying manticore, grapples it into a hover (he didn't go for the wings because he was something like 100ft above the ground). Things get tricky because he loses the grapple and strength checks to stay on.

Basically I would have ruled that if you have grappled the wings specifically you would be crashing to the ground, other than that (outside of a few variables) you would have grappled it into a hover or at least into a slow decline.

Liberty's Edge

Pagan priest wrote:
EldonG wrote:
Pagan priest wrote:
EldonG wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
EldonG wrote:

Orlando.

Not there, not for a long time, but I was...who remembers the old Enterprise 1701? :)

I do. The store still exists, but in a different location and with a different name. It's Sci-Fi city now. I still visit occasionally, but it's not what it used to be.
It's definitely a lot bigger...not as friendly?
Ah... that saddens me. I remember that place from my Navy days, a looooonnnnnggggggggg time ago.
When, precisely? My Navy days, too...'78-'79...
Orlando in 1980. I was at Nuke school.

Nice. One of those things I didn't qualify for. :)

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