Attacking a creature grappling you


Running the Game

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

This topic came up in this thread, but I thought it was worth breaking out and starting a new thread about it.

Suppose you are playing a Fighter, and you are grabbed by a creature with a long reach. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that it's a Kraken, which has a 60 foot reach. You get grabbed when you're 60 feet away from it.

Can you attack the kraken in melee?

On the one hand, by the Rules as Written, you are not within range to Strike the creature with a melee attack.

On the other hand, from a narrative standpoint it seems ludicrous to me that you wouldn't be within range to attack a creature that is literally touching you.

Thoughts? Do we need a rule for how to handle this?

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

It seems to me that there are three ways of approaching this:

1) Say that you can't attack the creature if you are not within your own reach. This means that things like grappling on creatures with long reach become extremely powerful, perhaps much more so than intended.

2) Say that you can attack a creature that is grabbing you, regardless of how far away it is. This seems to me to make sense narratively, but seems a little bit clunky as a rule. You'd have to find it buried somewhere in the rules, and I could see a lot of people missing it.

3) Say that when you get grappled, you are also moved adjacent to the creature grappling you. This would be easy to adjudicate, but could lead to some weird questions like, "why can't the kraken just hold you in place where you are?"

Personally, I think #2 is best, but I'd be curious to see if anyone else has any ideas.

Thanks!


Well, with alternative 2 you have to take into consideration just what the creature is using to grapple you at a distance.

A) Is it an appendage, like a tentacle?
B) Is it a weapon, like a Man Catcher or a Sasumata?
C) Is it something disposable, like a lasso or spider webbing?


I would not really like to have a blanket rule that the creature automatically moves you adjacent to it. That rule is impractical for monster concepts like Roper or Cave Fisher or Grell. Also, if striking the body is the ONLY way to damage reach grapplers with melee weapons (which is currently the case), then it's suicidal for them to drag their dangerous prey next to their vulnerable body.

I would love to have rules for attacking the grappling appendages of reach grapple monsters.

This might get a bit weird.

Can I sever the appendage? Does it take the same HP to sever one appendage as it takes to kill the monster? If not, what percentage of its HP are in the single appendage? If a kraken has 1/5 of its total HP in one arm (and can be killed by severing 5 arms), then can I attack the arm of an orc to sever that? Does the orc's arm also have 1/5 of the orc's HP?

That's probably not all the questions, but it becomes a slippery slope that might require a lot of rules if the developers want to add a fully functional releset for striking appendages of reach grapplers that also limits shenanigans against non-reach grapplers.

That is what I want them to do.

As of now, all you can do is attack the body of the grappler, even if it's 60' away. This is pretty hard to do with most melee weapons, so I hope you brought a backup ranged weapon. Also, given how the damage of weapons is based on their potency rune, I hope your backup ranged weapon has a decent rune on it - don't put all your cash into a super rune for one weapon but save some for a good rune for the backup weapon.

Me, for a house rule (but not in the playtest), I usually say that a grappler will let go if you can do 20% of its total HP to an appendage BUT that damage doesn't count toward its total HP. Severing an appendage requires 50% of its total HP from a single hit and can only be done if the appendage is unable to move - even a kraken grappling a PC might be moving the appendage, writhing around up, down, left, right, even if the kraken's body and the PC are not moving, the tentacle in between them is moving.

I'd like to see something like that in the final version of the rules.


The above is why I'd like to see the general rule of being able to attack reach grapplers normally even if held at reach, but then with specific exception listed in monster stat blocks where this is different (Which we have some already).

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Mats Öhrman wrote:

Well, with alternative 2 you have to take into consideration just what the creature is using to grapple you at a distance.

A) Is it an appendage, like a tentacle?
B) Is it a weapon, like a Man Catcher or a Sasumata?
C) Is it something disposable, like a lasso or spider webbing?

Hmm, good point. Though in the case of a weapon, probably it does make sense that you couldn't attack the creature. But you could attack the weapon (and if you broke it, presumably you wouldn't be grappled anymore).

Liberty's Edge

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Something as simple as a line of text reading

'\...when grappled, a creature is treated as being adjacent to the opponent grappling it for the purpose of the grappled creatures Melee Strikes & Touch Based Effects.'\


Tamago wrote:

It seems to me that there are three ways of approaching this:

1) Say that you can't attack the creature if you are not within your own reach. This means that things like grappling on creatures with long reach become extremely powerful, perhaps much more so than intended.

2) Say that you can attack a creature that is grabbing you, regardless of how far away it is. This seems to me to make sense narratively, but seems a little bit clunky as a rule. You'd have to find it buried somewhere in the rules, and I could see a lot of people missing it.

3) Say that when you get grappled, you are also moved adjacent to the creature grappling you. This would be easy to adjudicate, but could lead to some weird questions like, "why can't the kraken just hold you in place where you are?"

Personally, I think #2 is best, but I'd be curious to see if anyone else has any ideas.

Thanks!

If #1 is the case, seems worth noting that it only takes 1 action to break a grapple this edition. In PF1 losing your standard action really sucked.

I think #2 would be my preferred solution though.


#2, you can always attack the creature grabbing you, is the obvious logical solution. It would just be stated in the Grabbed condition, as well as probably restated in the actual grapple entry in the combat section. That way if you're looking up grabbing anyway you're going to see it.


The only problem with #2 is that this solution makes it possible to kill a kraken (etc.) by just damaging the very end of one tentacle.

Judging by the number of 7-armed octopi and 9-armed squids and even 6-armed octopi, etc., not to mention 4-pointed starfish or 5-legged crabs, etc., etc., etc., in our real world, it seems counter-intuitive to think that you can just do 360 HP damage to the tip of a tentacle and kill it.

In addition to "You can always attack a creature that is grabbing you", there really needs to be a max amount of damage that causes it to let go or even severs the grabbing appendage, and that amount needs to be a fraction of the creature's HP.

Which is, of course, a slippery slope because if I can attack an arm of a medium squid (normal-sized, not Kraken), then why can't I attack the arm of a medium orc?

I personally prefer an approach that makes it useful to attack a grabbing appendage to make it let go (e.g. doing 1/10 of the creature's max HP causes it to release its grab) but does not apply any of the damage to the creature's actual HP. A 360 HP Kraken has 36 HP in each tentacle. Doing 36 HP to a tentacle makes it let go, but the Kraken still has 360 HP.

This way, we have a mechanic to attack the appendage and a reason to do it, but chopping away at the tip of an appendage is not a means to kill anything and we are motivated to NOT waste our time doing that unless we need to break a grapple.


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I could live with ability to kill the kraken by hitting the tentacle. After all, whenever a medium sized creature kills a gargantuan baddie you have to assume he did it by chipping at his toenails excessively anyway.
What I would like is a generic rule comparable to "swallow whole" - the Kind of damage you Need to do to an appendage in order to force release. No Need to get more detailed than that.


Honestly, being able to attack body parts is a generally sweet idea, it just makes for very fiddly mechanics. There have been various called shot rules for a while. Bur I don't think they play that nicely with HP as a concept.


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Ran into this last night with Rocs and their 15' reach. I had Enlarge up so I also had reach and could hit them, but the fight would have gone very differently had I just been stuck trying to squirm away instead.

A grapple that lets you hold something at range where you can strike it with impunity and it can't fight back at all is far too strong and not fun, especially since it's far more likely to be used against players than by them.


The above being why I don't believe for a second that it is RAI, only RAW.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Noted, thanks!


Themetricsystem, that line does not seem to appear anywhere in the playtest rulebook. Do you have a page reference?

I actually disagree with the idea that it's too strong. The problem is that if you can attack the limb grabbing you, then grabbing is useless and actually damaging for creatures with reach.

Only the stupidest person would attempt to grab or otherwise wrap their arms around an opponent with a knife, in a way that did not restrain them from using that knife!


hyphz wrote:

Themetricsystem, that line does not seem to appear anywhere in the playtest rulebook. Do you have a page reference?

I actually disagree with the idea that it's too strong. The problem is that if you can attack the limb grabbing you, then grabbing is useless and actually damaging for creatures with reach.

Only the stupidest person would attempt to grab or otherwise wrap their arms around an opponent with a knife, in a way that did not restrain them from using that knife!

They aren't quoting an existing rule, they're suggesting how a hypothetical rule that does allow this could be simply phrased.

As to attacking a reach grappler I personally disagree that it's too strong. It does flat-foot and immobilize your opponent, so it will weaken them and ensure they are in your reach or otherwise burn actions escaping. If it's a foe who has no problem with just standing around in your reach and hacking at you then grabbing them may just be a bad idea in general, similar to how grappling Monks in PF1 was a bad idea. Also most reach grapplers have additional abilities that key off of grab and if not then I think they can escalate grab to something like PF1 pinned. I'm not sure there though and don't have the book on hand.

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