Sweeps vs. Takedowns (or Force Posture Change)

In +Christian Blouin‘s campaign they’re using Technical Grappling (which is now over 250 sales!) and this seems to lead to more attempts to do grappling-related things. I consider this a win.

One thing that came up during play was Drolf, +Justin Aquino‘s character whom I was driving for the day, was going to run by an orc, dumping him onto the ground as he did.

We debated between Hook and Sweep very briefly, but were all inclined to sweep. Still, I’ve been thinking about sweeps vs. takedowns (in TG, Force Posture Change) a bit.

Let’s step on to the Grappling Mat for some guidance:

Sweep

Skill-3, Wrestling at -4 was added as a “new basic attack.”

You roll to hit with Sweep, and if successful, you roll a Quick Contest Sweep or Trained ST vs his own Trained ST, DX, Acrobatics, or best grappling skill.

If you hit, he fails to defend, and you win the contest, he falls prone. You can’t change your posture to get bonuses.

The rules are the same if you start from a grapple, but you still can’t leverage posture changes. A grapple isn’t required, though, and if you sweep someone from a grapple, the assumption is you may not retain CP (p. 19 in the Takedown Table).

Force Posture Change/Takedown

A takedown in this manner requires a grapple. It’s also a contest that is basically even up: both parties’ Trained ST, DX, or best unarmed grappling skill. However, you take penalties based on what you want to do to them, and what you do.

Throw him prone, but stay standing yourself? You’re at -4, similar to a Sweep with Wrestling. Go all the way down with him, going prone yourself? You’re even-up.

You can maintain CP during this move unless you run into impossible positions (p. 11).

Parting Shot


This isn’t profound, but it drives tactics and intent. You do FPC when you want to retain a grapple, doubly so if you don’t mind (or actively wish) to drop with him.

You do a sweep when you want to remain standing, and want to put your foe on the ground without grappling him first.

If you have high Trained ST as your forte, you’ll roll against that in both contests, so you’d only do FPC if you really want to (a) retain CP or (b) change posture with your foe. By the way, the easiest way to retain CP while remaining standing is to ensure you have a grapple of a limb – this is commonly taught in my HRD class, and you can maintain that grapple from standing or (more likely) a crouch position.

Sweeps are really sweet when moving through a target, or if you really need that mobility. The fact that they default from weapon skill at -3 also means for warriors that have sky-high melee weapon skills (and maybe ST) but not a lot of unarmed grappling oomph they can put a guy on the ground at a decent clip. A DF character with ST 14 and (say) Melee Weapon at 20 will Sweep at 17 and have a Trained ST of 15 which isn’t too shabby.

5 thoughts on “Sweeps vs. Takedowns (or Force Posture Change)

  1. I totally love the idea of Trained ST. More so, I'm thinking that it should be expanded to armed damage as well. But this is beyond your point.

    Sweeps are nice and using trained ST for them is very appropriate. Did you use trained ST for the contest on Tuesday? It didn't matter for the orc…

    I have made a number of foes using grappling/pinning as their main tactic, but they have to be backed by enough hit points to withstand multi-turn aggravation in a many vs many or one vs many battle. My Trolls barely managed to grab before they were knocked out. My Lossoth warriors managed to do well with hooks (pre-technical grappinlg), but only in one-on-one setting. My walruses used pinning as a tactic and did awesome because of their high DR and tons of HPs.

  2. In my fantasy gladiator campaign, one PC has developed a signature move, hook'n'sweep with his axe. Hooking the leg affects stability, and he typically gets a couple of control points. Spending them counts double as a bonus in the contest, and here's the important part: Sweep contests the technique (based on DX) with the foe's Trained ST, so he can sweep guys who are much stronger than him, pretty reliably since he gets on average +4 to the contest from CP expenditure. Then he gets to find out how good the big guy is at groundfighting. I don't think a takedown would work as well for him. His next development priority is to buy Hook/Sweep as a combo.

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