Grappling Grapples - An Inquery for PFS consistency


Pathfinder Society

3/5

Hello everyone,

I have starting looking into a character that focuses on using the Grapple Maneuvers are my latest PFS character. I asked around my local GMs, including my resident VL, and got a varied response on the subject. I am going to post a series of questions, and would appreciate people citing their sources if they reference one in their answers.

I also plan to start simple, so all of these initial questions will be in reference to material in the CRB.

1) Weapon Focus explicitly calls out Grapple as an option, even though weapon proficiency grapple doesn't exist. Can I still take Weapon Focus Grapple?

2) Assuming yes to #1, does WF Grapple give my a static +1 on all my grapple attempts, regardless for source. So it would equally be +1 if I start a grapple as a standard action or if I got Grab as a Wild-shaped Druid.

3) Assuming yes to #1, as a 4th level Fighter, I can take Weapon Specialization Grapple, as per the writing of the feat. How does this feat work? Is it +2 damage whenever my grapple results in damage? (Ex: As a multiclass Fighter / Druid with constrict OR when I choose to do damage while maintaining a grapple as a standard action)

4) Armor with spikes have 2 separate equipment entries. Spiked Armor under the weapon section says I can do damage in a grapple. Armor Spikes in the armor section says I deal damage on a successful grapple attack. So if I successfully start a grapple as a standard action while wearing armor upgraded with Armor Spikes, do I get my 1d6 damage, or do I have to wait until next turn?

5) Assuming I get the damage immediately in #4, when I choose to maintain grapple the following turn, is the 1d6 from Armor Spikes freely added, or does it consume my "Deal damage with a weapon"?

6) Do I add my Strength to all damage done by Armor Spikes?

7) Assuming I get damage immediately in #4, does Weapon Specialization Grapple add +2 damage to my Armor Spikes?

8) Assuming yes to #7, if I then took Weapon Specialization Spiked Armor, would I get +4 damage on each successful grapple check?

9) Armor Spikes reference a grapple attack. Combat Maneuver checks are classified as attack rolls. Is there a difference between a "grapple attack" and a "grapple check"? (Please explicitly cite proof on this if you think there is, because the CRB as written seems there is not)

That is all I have for now. If we can get a clear set of answers to these, I will move on to other books that add more complexity to the situation.

Thanks for your input in advance, and happy pathfinding.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Even though its for PFS, this is really a straight rules question. Brace for impact as its moved over there.

Quote:
1) Weapon Focus explicitly calls out Grapple as an option, even though weapon proficiency grapple doesn't exist. Can I still take Weapon Focus Grapple?

Yes but...

It only adds 1 to grapple. You're better off taking the improved grapple line of feats at +2 per feat.

Quote:
2) Assuming yes to #1, does WF Grapple give my a static +1 on all my grapple attempts, regardless for source. So it would equally be +1 if I start a grapple as a standard action or if I got Grab as a Wild-shaped Druid.

Yes. Grab uses the grapple mechanic so anything that increases your grapple will help that.

Keep in mind grab won't come online until your wild shape uses beastshape II , around 6th level for a regular druid

Quote:
3) Assuming yes to #1, as a 4th level Fighter, I can take Weapon Specialization Grapple, as per the writing of the feat.

Effectively no. A grapple check never does damage so there's no point in taking weapon focus grapple. It might trigger something that does damage though.

Quote:
How does this feat work? Is it +2 damage whenever my grapple results in damage? (Ex: As a multiclass Fighter / Druid with constrict OR when I choose to do damage while maintaining a grapple as a standard action)

A grapple check deals damage as an unarmed strike. So what you would want is weapon focus with bite , and weapon specialization with bite, which will make your grapple check hurt more.

4) Armor with spikes have 2 separate equipment entries. Spiked Armor under the weapon section says I can do damage in a grapple. Armor Spikes in the armor section says I deal damage on a successful grapple attack. So if I successfully start a grapple as a standard action while wearing armor upgraded with Armor Spikes, do I get my 1d6 damage, or do I have to wait until next turn?

There are two ways to jabby someone with armor spikes. 1) is to punch them with the pointy end. The other is to grapple and deal armor spike damage.

5) Assuming I get the damage immediately in #4, when I choose to maintain grapple the following turn, is the 1d6 from Armor Spikes freely added, or does it consume my "Deal damage with a weapon"?

It is your damage when you chose the deal damage with a grapple option

So you could

round 1 start grapple
round 2 pin
Round 3 damage

Without dealing damage until round 3. (don't ask me HOW you're not hurting them when you bear hug them. Then again don't ask me how you're not stabbing yourself or your horse with them either)

6) Do I add my Strength to all damage done by Armor Spikes?

Yes.

7) Assuming I get damage immediately in #4, does Weapon Specialization Grapple add +2 damage to my Armor Spikes?

No. You would need weapon focus armor spikes. For a druid fighter you'd either need wild armor or you'd have to have spiked barding made for a form that can wear armor (not a snake)

8) Assuming yes to #7, if I then took Weapon Specialization Spiked Armor, would I get +4

9) Armor Spikes reference a grapple attack. Combat Maneuver checks are classified as attack rolls. Is there a difference between a "grapple attack" and a "grapple check"? (Please explicitly cite proof on this if you think there is, because the CRB as written seems there is not

When armor spikes reference a grapple attack, it means the "damage someone with a weapon" option

Under 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.

Silver Crusade 4/5

Bruno Breakbone, a handsome and beautiful tetori, will grapple with your grappling grapples post.

1) Weapon Focus explicitly calls out Grapple as an option, even though weapon proficiency grapple doesn't exist. Can I still take Weapon Focus Grapple?

Yes.

2) Assuming yes to #1, does WF Grapple give my a static +1 on all my grapple attempts, regardless for source. So it would equally be +1 if I start a grapple as a standard action or if I got Grab as a Wild-shaped Druid.

Yes.

3) Assuming yes to #1, as a 4th level Fighter, I can take Weapon Specialization Grapple, as per the writing of the feat. How does this feat work? Is it +2 damage whenever my grapple results in damage? (Ex: As a multiclass Fighter / Druid with constrict OR when I choose to do damage while maintaining a grapple as a standard action)

It would apply to the grapple option to inflict damage. It may not apply to bonus constrict. See #7.

4) Armor with spikes have 2 separate equipment entries. Spiked Armor under the weapon section says I can do damage in a grapple. Armor Spikes in the armor section says I deal damage on a successful grapple attack. So if I successfully start a grapple as a standard action while wearing armor upgraded with Armor Spikes, do I get my 1d6 damage, or do I have to wait until next turn?

You would do damage on the successful initial grapple.

5) Assuming I get the damage immediately in #4, when I choose to maintain grapple the following turn, is the 1d6 from Armor Spikes freely added, or does it consume my "Deal damage with a weapon"?

Per the quote, emphasis mine: "Armor spikes deal extra piercing damage (see “spiked armor” on Table: Weapons) on a successful grapple attack."

6) Do I add my Strength to all damage done by Armor Spikes?

Yes.

7) Assuming I get damage immediately in #4, does Weapon Specialization Grapple add +2 damage to my Armor Spikes?

Expect Table Variation.

The source of the damage is not specific to the grapple itself (like a grapple option do damage), but is bonus damage.

It'll be really easy to get in the weeds here, but one line of thinking would be:

a) Standard Action: Maintain Grapple to do damage. WeapSpec: Grapple applies here. It would stack with WeapSpec (unarmed/1H weap/natural attack) on the damage.

b) Bonus Constrict Triggers. WeapSpec: Grapple would not apply.

c) Bonus Armor Spike Triggers. WeapSpec: Grapple would not apply.

Again, expect table variation.

8) Expect table variation. As most GMs do not understand (or like) grappling, expect ruling NOT in your favor.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

And in your first 2 answers, Table Variation.

I'd suggest hashing this out with your local GMs to get how they rule on this to get a sense of how it would work at your FLGS or regular VTT group.

Grappling rules are a place that need a serious clean up and has been a place of confusion/contention. Let's not even get into "can you Standard Action Grapple/Move Action Pin/Swift Action Pin" in one-turn argument.*

tl;dr:
James Jacobs (edited to fix last name), not a rules guys, said that's how the feats were intended to work. Mark Seifter, dev, said in an unofficial thread that it would take 2 turns (i.e. you can't "maintain" until the second turn). Either way, there is no official ruling on how its supposed to work.

Please don't argue with me, I'm just passing this on.

3/5

Checking back in, I have 1 set of restrictive answers, 1 set of permissive answers, and 1 "its messy, you probably shouldn't bother".

Hardly the resounding clarity I was hoping for, but I'll address some issues in hopes that things better come to light.

@BigNorseWolf:
- I agree Weapon Spec Grapple is weird, but it exists, even if the rules in no way support it. I left it out of my build because A) +2 damage isn't really worth it and B) I am certain no one is ever going to provide a clean explanation of when it applies.

- Grappling is less clean than it simply deals damage as an unarmed strike. It applies the condition on successful check. That condition can then be maintained as a standard action. If you choose to maintain, and succeed, you can choose to deal damage with an unarmed strike, natural attack, or light weapon (including armor spikes, as they are light).

- Why do you assert that not all grapples are grapple attacks?

Core Rulebook PRD wrote:
When you attempt to perform a combat maneuver, make an attack roll and add your CMB in place of your normal attack bonus. Add any bonuses you currently have on attack rolls due to spells, feats, and other effects. These bonuses must be applicable to the weapon or attack used to perform the maneuver. The DC of this maneuver is your target's Combat Maneuver Defense. Combat maneuvers are attack rolls, so you must roll for concealment and take any other penalties that would normally apply to an attack roll.

Since all grapple maneuver checks are attack rolls, the baseline assumption should be all grapples are grapple attacks, unless something says otherwise. And if you deal Armor Spike damage on a successful grapple attack, that would explain why hugging someone DOES in fact hurt them when you bear hug them. Then, after you maintain (which is another grapple attack) you get to deal damage with a light, natural, or unarmed attack.

So you:
1) run at them all spiky-like, which hurts, [move action to approach and standard action to initiate grapple, plus armor spike damage, round 1]
2) then a couple second later you squeeze them into the spikes, which hurts, [standard action to maintain grapple, plus armor spike damage, round 2]
3) then you punch them in the face, which hurts. [free action to deal damage after successfully maintaining grapple, still round 2]

@Bruno
Thanks for the reply, and I, as stated above, agree with you. I would like to see others weigh in to whether they follow our interpretation or BigNorseWolf's. You put a lot of explanation into how Weapon Spec Grapple could be implemented. I honestly think they should probably just errata Grapple out of Spec because it makes no sense. That or explain how it applies.

@Sammy T
I appreciate the note from two official-ish sources.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Ian Johnstone wrote:

@BigNorseWolf:

- I agree Weapon Spec Grapple is weird, but it exists

No.

You have interpolated it's existence from other rules.

The ability to do that rests on a systems ability to be known, sensible, and consistent. It also requires a good logician. In both of these senses, extrapolating from knowns to unknowns is like a bridge: you want as few steps as possible or it's going to collapse.

Quote:
- Why do you assert that not all grapples are grapple attacks?

Because "grapple attack" is an undefined term. What you are describing is a grapple check, a term the book could have very easily used if that's what it meant. I see no reason why the rules would have said "grapple attack" if it had meant "grapple check". So I have to ask "what the heck is a [grapple attack]? "

1) I can very easily see why the rules would have said "grapple attack" instead of the space consuming "when you chose to damage your opponent as part of maintaining a grapple check" There is no reason for grapple attack to exist if all grapples are [grapple attacks]. They could have just said grapple, or grapple check. They did not.

2) 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.

This option specifically calls out the armor spikes and how to use them

2a) This would mean that armor spikes would inflict double damage. You could damage as part of maintaining the grapple , which would set off the armor spikes. Double your damage for 50 gp seems like a bit much.

3) Anaconda Coils Having what amounts to an easier to enchant constrict from a 50 GP purchase seems a bit much compared to the 8,000 gp increase over the base +2 +2 belt.

4) , as it seems like you're planning on, You could get tripple damage out of this with grab, constrict, and armor spikes. That's kinda nuts.

5) Grapple is already one of the more powerful combat manuvers. I don't see a gray area in the rules making it stronger. No other combat maneuver lets you do the manuever and deal damage for 50 gp. That's usually in the realm of 6th level and higher feats.

Quote:
the baseline assumption

No. You cannot simply declare your view the assumption that is right unless disproven. If anything you should assume the worst case scenario when building and planning your character.

Shadow Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ian Johnstone wrote:

@BigNorseWolf:

- I agree Weapon Spec Grapple is weird, but it exists

No.

You have interpolated it's existence from other rules.

The ability to do that rests on a systems ability to be known, sensible, and consistent. It also requires a good logician. In both of these senses, extrapolating from knowns to unknowns is like a bridge: you want as few steps as possible or it's going to collapse.

Straight from the PRD....or use the OGC Link for Direct Link without Searching

PRD wrote:

Weapon Specialization (Combat)

You are skilled at dealing damage with one weapon. Choose one type of weapon (including unarmed strike or grapple) for which you have already selected the Weapon Focus feat. You deal extra damage when using this weapon.

Prerequisites: Proficiency with selected weapon, Weapon Focus with selected weapon, fighter level 4th.

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on all damage rolls you make using the selected weapon.

Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new type of weapon.

so yes .. you can Weapon Spec Grapple

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Better Link

Shadow Lodge

Nefreet wrote:
Better Link

thanks for Cleaning that up Nefreet

further more from what I have seen Bruno is one of the foremost experts on grappling on the forum Community ...chances are .. if its come up ... hes dealt with it

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

okay, so you can weapon specialization grapple I guesse it would apply to your unarmed strike grappling.

Still a LOT of leaps from there to armored spikes being constrict for 50 gp.

Sovereign Court 1/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
No. You cannot simply declare your view the assumption that is right unless disproven. If anything you should assume the worst case scenario when building and planning your character.

No, you should assume that the rules work as written.

The rules, as quoted above, very clearly say that all combat maneuvers are attacks. Therefore, all grapples are attacks. Therefore, all grapples are "grapple attacks". This isn't rocket surgery, nor is it crazy leaps in logic or interpretation assumptions.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Wayne Bradbury wrote:


No, you should assume that the rules work as written.

The rules, as quoted above, very clearly say that all combat maneuvers are attacks. Therefore, all grapples are attacks. Therefore, all grapples are "grapple attacks". This isn't rocket surgery, nor is it crazy leaps in logic or interpretation assumptions.

Except that's not what's written. Thats what you interpret. Right here

all combat maneuvers are attacks. Therefore , all grapples are attacks. Therefore, all grapples are "grapple attacks"

is the difference between what the rules say and how you interpret them. I agree that that isn't a crazy leap of logic , but it is still a leap of logic that winds you up in some very odd territory as far as results go.

-Its what the rules say!- in pursuit of mechanical advantage has a very, very poor track record against "the rules say this if i read it this way, and that if i read them that way... but this is kinda nuts, lets go with that". That record is even poorer if you want to work something accross 5 different DMs, which is what happens in society play.

Scooting the argument over to here

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