Technical Grappling Q&A – Part 1

With any new system that introduces new mechanics, questions come up. Technical Grappling introduces some new stuff, such as Trained ST, Bite ST, Control Points, and a host of changes and tweaks to existing mechanics.

I thought I’d throw down a list of the questions I’ve had to answer, either on the SJG Forums, my own blog, or the general Google+ community, not only for those who read, but for myself as well, so that once I answer a question, I hopefully can give the same answer the second time. So here goes.

(Note – if you asked a question about TG and I answered it, and your question isn’t referenced in this list, just ping me. I want to be comprehensive.)

There will be other parts to this, since there are lots of questions!

From +Jason Woollard originally, concerning breaking free from ropes.

Ultimately, escaping from bonds is no longer the Quick Contest it was, because the bonds have Control Points that they inflict on you, and that “effect roll” replaces the utility of the Quick Contest. So someone ties you up, rolls Control Points, and if they are good at it, the knots might have some Control Resistance.

To break free, you must make successful attacks to break free on the ropes – all the while penalized by the active control the ropes are maintaining on you. If you succeed, you remove CP from the ropes, loosening them and making following rolls more easily.

You don’t resolve this in combat time mostly – you can use a variant of the Extra Time rules so that each escape attempt takes about a minute. This rule isn’t designed to flip in and out of combat time and have the exact same probabilities of success. It’s just an application of the rule that says “don’t be silly and resolve long-term stuff in combat time.” When it’s dramatically appropriate, rolling second-by-second will be faster; blame adrenaline or something.

Are you serious about the penalty for casting spells with your hands tied?

According to RAW, before TG came out, you cannot cast a spell at all while grappled. So that he has to make a Will roll is a less harsh version of the rules, which is why I included them.

The fact that the binding is passive rather than active might be worth something, and that’s for any individual game group to decide. If you wanted to rule that “being tied up or placed in handcuffs only impacts concentration if it’s tight enough to inflict pain” wouldn’t bug me one bit.

The key bit is that active grappling is, well, rather distracting. Being tied up is probably much less so – If the bondage-maker takes the time to make the knots and bindings PAINFUL, I’d apply an affliction as with “Inflicting More Pain with Locks” with CP as your guide, and apply that to a Will or Will+Something roll. You could make it Will to do it second-by-second, but allow the usual Extra Time rules to apply. Take a full minute to concentrate and steady yourself, and roll at Will+6 less Pain. 

TG is meant to be very much a toolbox, like the rest of GURPS. Take what you want, modify the rest. I might point out what my intent was in some cases, but all of GURPS is the players’ to frack with, and I highly encourage frackin’ with it!

If picks cause damage while yanking them out, that is is possible to voluntarily leave in any impaling weapons for the purpose of active control/wrestling, shouldn’t any impaling weapon also cause damage on their way out when a character decides to pull the weapon out? ( +Christian Blouin )

I suspect the answer is a bit tautological – the weapons
that you can “leave in” are mostly impaling.  I suppose if you slash with a blade and it’s
embedded in a guy, you can twist it or something (that’s often modeled as a
Rapid Strike). However, extending the rule to all impaling weapons, instead of
just swung impaling weapons, seems quite reasonable.
And that might be the answer, mechanically speaking. You do
a Rapid Strike (or AoA – Double) and “hang” the second hit. If it
works, you can use the rules for Impaling from TG, and when you decide to pull
it out, roll damage as per the usual rules for pulling out a pick. Or don’t!
The extra nasty that the TG rules allow might mean that the damage on
extracting the weapon isn’t necessary.

I’d want to see how this works in play – it’s not a great
use of a weapon, obviously, but if you can afford to hang out with your sword
in the guy’s abdomen saying “stick around” or something with an
Austrian accent, you probably should be able to do it. 
How do you use TG rules in free-fall?

In retrospect, perhaps “Weight-based moves” would have been more accurate. 🙂
Unless you can exert torque on something, you’re going to have a hard time exerting your full ST and leverage (which is why victims in a Pickup are at ST/2). I’d apply at LEAST that. Ulzgoroth made some great comments, too, and I’m totally stealing them. Start by treating everyone’s weight as zero and never treating anyone as ‘on top’ of everyone else. Any “mass-based” move that benefits or is penalized by how much someone weighs, rather than their truly mass-based inertia, loses that modifier. Damaging throws should use a rule based on throwing an equivalent-mass object at the floor or something using the collision rules, assuming that the thrower is braced well enough to actually perform a throw.
Most creatures will usually be unstable (p. 10) unless specially equipped or deliberately wedged into a corner. Obviously, nobody is capable of falling down as a result.
This might make a good Pyramid article. Doesn’t have to be written by me . . .

6 thoughts on “Technical Grappling Q&A – Part 1

    1. "He was bigger when I couldn't see him." -Jayne Cobb

      Fixed. I think I had a magnification feature on when I composed it on my screen at home – when I logged in to my own blog from work, I agree – that was a tiny font.

    1. Want? 🙂

      I think it's a useful point of clarification, but it's involved enough that it makes me want to write an article about it, rather than just a blog post. The title writes itself.

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