Monday, December 26, 2016

Ready, Set, Grapple!

Rasslin'! (clip art)
The grappling rules I've seen in the classic books left me scratching my head, so I ignored them. The ones from AD&D, if I remember correctly, read like an alchemical formula. That's when you shake your head and laugh sentimentally at Gygaxianism's funny moments (I'm looking at you, psionics).

In my games when someone tackles or grapples I have always used one rule: wing that mother. Normally I'll have them make a hit roll and if it's a good one then I'll have the target make Str or Dex checks to break the hold. Whatever seems appropriate.

I track non-lethal combat exactly like lethal combat, but the end game is subduing, not killing. So when hit points reach zero you are DONE fighting.

Another simple rule I would employ is this. When a successful non-lethal hit roll exceeds the target's Str or Con, they have to save vs. Paralysis or be immediately subdued (like a boxer being knocked out). This way you CAN have a one-punch dramatic moment.

Against monsters (traditionally without Str or Con scores), just use a target of 15.

I know that grappling rules are a bit contentious and some folks love more complex rules. After all, a good grapple is a lot like a wrestling match, which is itself kinda like a mini-story. So it makes sense for there to be a desire for blow-by-blow rules. I just prefer to keep things moving in my games and try not to get bogged down in minute details.

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