Grapple CMD Bonus versus Escape Artist.


Rules Questions


In a game I'm playing in, we have a Grappler. He has the Serpentine Squeeze as well as improved grappling. Both add an additional bonus to CMB and CMD. For CMD it's when your opponent tries to Grapple you.

If the opponent uses the Escape Artist skill to escape the grapple, do these bonuses still apply to the CMD? Basically, is that Escape Artist skill attempt still considered trying to grapple the PC?

I've only seen one response to this question on the message boards, and it was muddy at best, so if I've missed an official response to this, feel free to call me out on it.

Thanks!


No. Escape artist is entirely separate. HOWEVER, you CANNOT reverse a grapple with escape artist, you can only escape it.

So they don’t get their bonus to CMD, but you don’t get to grapple them.


Are you asking if you can use an Escape Artist Skill Check to deny your opponent his Grapple Bonus to his Grapple CMD? Of course you can't. You can choose to escape the Grapple with a Grapple check of your own or with an Escape Artist Check. In either case it is your check vs. the Grapple Maneuver Defense.


His bonus to grapple wouldn’t apply. Improved and greater grapple clearly state:

“receive a +2 bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense whenever an opponent tries to grapple you.”

Escape artist is *not* attempting a grapple check against the opponent. Therefore the bonus doesn’t apply


So, this is what I found.

Grapple rules, If you are Grappled wrote:
If you are grappled, you can attempt to break the grapple as a standard action by making a combat maneuver check (DC equal to your opponent’s CMD; this does not provoke an attack of opportunity) or Escape Artist check (with a DC equal to your opponent’s CMD). If you succeed, you break the grapple and can act normally. Alternatively, if you succeed, you can become the grappler, grappling the other creature

So this says that whether you are making a Grapple Check or an Escape Artist Check, if successful, you have the option of either simply escaping or becoming the Grappler yourself. That being the case, it seems that either check is indeed an attempt to "grapple you."

Escape Artist just says

Escape Artist (aon) wrote:
Grappler: You can make an Escape Artist check in place of a combat maneuver check to escape a grapple (see Combat) or a pin.

It says it's not a Combat Maneuver Check, but it does not say it is not an attempt to Grapple.

It does say that the DC is

Escape Artist (aon) wrote:
Grappler’s CMD

And that would be his Grapple CMD. I don't think there is any such thing as a generic Combat Maneuver, and I can't think of a reason why the Escape Artist DC to escape a Grapple would be the Grappler's Steal CMD, do you?

Meanwhile, the rules seem to be trying describe pitting one opponent's ability to Escape vs. another opponent's ability to Grapple. It really seems like the bonus from Improved Grapple should be part of that.


So does a person with improved grapple get a bonus to their escape artist check? Obviously not, because it isn’t a grapple check. And there is no such thing as “Grapple CMD,” there is CMD vs a grapple attempt, CMD vs *blank* attempt, etc... if you play as “there is no basic CMB/CMD” that’s your prerogative, but it’s not RAW. The point of Escape Artist (and you cannot reverse a grapple with escape artist, you can only escape, or lessen a pinned condition to grappled, it’s seen right there in the Escape Artist entry if you would read the whole thing instead of the tag line ya muppet), is for a non-grappler to have a chance to escape grappled and similar conditions. A dex Rogue is likely not going to be able to grapple against a STR full bab class, so instead of (“in place of”) attempting to a grapple check to get out or reverse it, they can attempt an escape artist check to get out. “In place of” does not equate to “this functions as,”. In fact, the language “in place of” implies ‘here is a secondary, different option’. And if you can get off of being hung up on your interpretation of combat maneuvers, you *only* get your bonus to CMD against *grapple* checks, there is no “well I’m in a grapple so this is my CMD now” (would a character in a grapple use their “grapple CMD” against a trip attempt? Or a disarm attempt? Or any attempt other than an actual grapple check against them? Even if the maneuver might end their grapple? (Yes, there are situational ways to end a grapple with disarm checks, See ‘Weapon trick, arm bind’ and if it was used against someone grappling with a different hand).

Or do you get a bonus to avoid being knocked prone against any effect that might knock you prone if you have improved trip? Or a bonus to your will save to avoid being moved (similar to bull rush) by a telekinesis spell if you have improved bull rush?

The main point is that your personal interpretation of the way Combat Maneuvers work doesn’t change the actual RAW of the exclusivity of bonuses against *actual* combat maneuver checks of the same kind, which escape artist is not.


CMantle wrote:
The main point is that your personal interpretation of the way Combat Maneuvers work doesn’t change the actual RAW of the exclusivity of bonuses against *actual* combat maneuver checks of the same kind, which escape artist is not.

Then it is a very poor point: between you and me, I am the one who is actually bringing the RAW into this argument.


Okay, then isn’t it strange that every single one of your CMB/CMD’s are identical unless you have a racial/class/feat ability that improves one of your combat maneuvers?

Not to mention there is an example (probably several) of going against someone’s “general” CMD... the feat Stand Still, which gives you an UNTYPED combat maneuver check which then *has to be* against an UNTYPED CMD. Or when you use acrobatics to move through a threatened square, it is against the enemies UNTYPED CMD (RAW, I don’t care if you think it’s supposed to be against a certain one).

You have a Combat Maneuver Bonus/Defense, and certain abilities improve certain specific combat maneuvers. You do not have a “grapple maneuver defense/bonus,” you have a +x bonus to your combat maneuver bonus/defense when you make a grapple check or are the target of a grapple.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
CMantle wrote:
The main point is that your personal interpretation of the way Combat Maneuvers work doesn’t change the actual RAW of the exclusivity of bonuses against *actual* combat maneuver checks of the same kind, which escape artist is not.

Then it is a very poor point: between you and me, I am the one who is actually bringing the RAW into this argument.

You haven’t brought any RAW in. You’ve given your interpretation of RAW that had already been stated...

Answer these questions RAW please.

does a person with improved grapple get a bonus to their escape artist check?

do you get a bonus to avoid being knocked prone against any effect that might knock you prone if you have improved trip?

do you get a bonus to your will save to avoid being moved (similar to bull rush) by a telekinesis spell if you have improved bull rush?

Is any effect that ends a grapple considered a grapple check and thus grants the bonus to CMD?

Does “In place of” equate to “this functions as,” and if not, where is your RAW argument to claim that Escape Artist checks to escape a grapple constitutes making a grapple check against the enemy. Not your interpretation, writing by Paizo that equates this check to a grapple combat maneuver check.

Here’s the RAW on combat maneuvers.

“Each character and creature has a Combat Maneuver Bonus (or CMB) that represents its skill at performing combat maneuvers. ”

“Some feats and abilities grant a bonus to your CMB when performing specific maneuvers.”

“Each character and creature has a Combat Maneuver Defense (or CMD) that represents its ability to resist combat maneuvers.”

“Some feats and abilities grant a bonus to your CMD when resisting specific maneuvers.”

“A” or “one” [general] combat maneuver bonus/Defense is RAW.

Escape artist is *not* a “combat maneuver,” ergo they do not gain the bonus from their feat/ability to their CMD.

RAW enough for you?


CMantle wrote:
Okay, then isn’t it strange that every single one of your CMB/CMD’s are identical unless you have a racial/class/feat ability that improves one of your combat maneuvers?

No, it's not. There are lots of Bonuses that apply to all sorts of things. Your Dex Mod applies to your Reflex Save, your AC, and your Attack Rolls with Ranged Weapons. If you take Weapon Finesse, you can apply your Dex Mod to your Melee Attack Roll. If you take Combat Reflexes, you can potentially take your Dex Mod's worth of extra Attacks of Opportunity.

So, your Base Attack Bonus and your Strength Mod apply to both your Melee Attack Roll, and to all Combat Maneuvers. That doesn't seem very strange to me.

CMantle wrote:
Not to mention there is an example (probably several) of going against someone’s “general” CMD... the feat Stand Still, which gives you an UNTYPED combat maneuver check which then *has to be* against an UNTYPED CMD.

Interesting counterexample: let's take a look.

Stand Still wrote:
When a foe provokes an attack of opportunity due to moving through your adjacent squares, you can make a combat maneuver check as your attack of opportunity. If successful, the enemy cannot move for the rest of his turn.

I do not see where it says that you must make an untyped Combat Manever Check vs. an untyped CMD. It just says that you make a Combat Maneuver Check. It looks like any check will do here. It looks to me that this Feat lets you apply as an Attack of Opportunity, any Combat Maneuver, but that the effect of it will only be to arrest Movement.

I do not see where Stand Still contradicts the general Combat Maneuver rules:

Combat Maneuvers wrote:
During combat, you can attempt to perform a number of maneuvers that can hinder or even cripple your foe, including bull rush, disarm, grapple, overrun, sunder, and trip. Although these maneuvers have vastly different results, they all use a similar mechanic to determine success.

A Combat Maneuver is not 1 thing, but a family of related things.


CMantle wrote:
does a person with improved grapple get a bonus to their escape artist check?

huh,

Improved Grapple wrote:
In addition, you receive a +2 bonus on checks made to grapple a foe.

It doesn't say that it gives you a +2 bonus on Grapple Combat Maneuver Checks, but on any check "made to grapple a foe."

If You Are Grappled wrote:
If you are grappled, you can attempt to break the grapple as a standard action by making... [an] Escape Artist check (with a DC equal to your opponent’s CMD). If you succeed, you break the grapple and can act normally. Alternatively, if you succeed, you can become the grappler, grappling the other creature (meaning that the other creature cannot freely release the grapple without making a combat maneuver check, while you can).

Honestly, I was about to accuse you of strawmanning me, but this is interesting.

The Core, general Grappling Rules do describe an Escape Artist Check as an attempt to Grapple, and Improved Grapple does give a +2 on all attempts made to Grapple, not just Grapple Combat Maneuver Checks.

So, yes, when you are making an Escape Artist Check to Escape a Grapple, I would rule that if you have Improved Grapple, you do enjoy that +2 on your Escape Artist Check.

You still can't actually use Escape Artist to gain control of the Grapple because Escape Artist says

Escape Artist wrote:
You can make an Escape Artist check in place of a combat maneuver check to escape a grapple or to change from a pinned condition to merely grappled.

And while the general Grappling Rules allow it, the Escape Artist don't: specific trumps general. But Escape Artist does not say that the Skill Check is not an attempt to Grapple. Specific trumps general only specifically.

You have convinced me of something that I did not believe before.


CMantle wrote:
do you get a bonus to avoid being knocked prone against any effect that might knock you prone if you have improved trip?

I don't see the relevance here, but

Improved Trip wrote:
You also receive a +2 bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense whenever an opponent tries to trip you.

Nope.

Not all attempts to knock someone Prone are Trip attempts, and Improved Trip only applies to Trip Attempts.


CMantle wrote:
do you get a bonus to your will save to avoid being moved (similar to bull rush) by a telekinesis spell if you have improved bull rush?

Well, let's see:

Telekinesis wrote:
Combat Maneuver: Alternatively, once per round, you can use telekinesis to perform a bull rush, disarm, grapple (including pin), or trip. Resolve these attempts as normal, except that they don’t provoke attacks of opportunity, you use your caster level in place of your Combat Maneuver Bonus, and you add your Intelligence modifier (if a wizard) or Charisma modifier (if a sorcerer) in place of your Strength or Dexterity modifier. No save is allowed against these attempts, but spell resistance applies normally. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration.

The spell says "you can use telekinesis to perform a bull rush... Resolve these attempts as normal", so you do get to apply your Improved Bull Rush Bonus to your CMD.


CMantle wrote:
Is any effect that ends a grapple considered a grapple check and thus grants the bonus to CMD?

No.


CMantle wrote:
Does “In place of” equate to “this functions as,”

Not necessarily.

CMantle wrote:
if not, where is your RAW argument to claim that Escape Artist checks to escape a grapple constitutes making a grapple check against the enemy.

Right here:

If you are Grappled wrote:
If you are grappled, you can attempt to break the grapple as a standard action by making a combat maneuver check (DC equal to your opponent’s CMD; this does not provoke an attack of opportunity) or Escape Artist check (with a DC equal to your opponent’s CMD). If you succeed, you break the grapple and can act normally. Alternatively, if you succeed, you can become the grappler, grappling the other creature

This here RAW says that you are making a Standard Action to attempt to break Free of the Grapple, either by Combat Maneuver or by Escape Artist Skill Check, and if either succeed, you either can be free of the Grapple or be the one in control of the Grapple. That means that both are attempts to Grapple.

The my-personal-opinion part of is verisimilitude and fairness: it seems to me only fair that the DC for the Escape Artist Check is set by the grappler's grappling prowess, and that means the Grappler enjoys his Improved Grapple bonus to his CMD vs an Escape Artist Check. It really does not seem right that just because you are using a skill that that somehow negates the grappler's grappling skill. It really seems to me that when someone is grappling you, whether you are countering it with your own strength and skill to break the hold or whether you are cannily trying to slither out, the thing you are doing is attempting to grapple your way out.

But my real argument here is based on the most literal possible interpretation of RAW.

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