Errata released for Technical Grappling (plus commentary about biting)

Thursday is GURPS-Day, and thanks to the digital format of e23 releases, there have been some fixes and tweaks to Technical Grappling.

There were three that made it in:
1. (p. 7) The neck hit location has been formally made part of the head region, rather than belonging to both head and torso. The inclusion in both regions complicated referred control to the point that even I, as the author, didn’t know what to make of it. With this much-needed tweak, this becomes much simpler and more intuitive. Less recursive calculation.

New text: Grappling the Neck: The neck is considered part of the head, allowing CP to be spent from both the head and torso. It may only be attacked directly if purposefully grappled.

2. (p. 10) This one made it through playtest, but in retrospect shouldn’t have. Limbs lost their ability to provide stability if they were grappled for 1 CP or more. T-Rex grabbed by a hobbit? Unstable. That just didn’t work. The simple fix was to base being unstable on the DX penalty inflicted to that limb, and that’s the fix that was made.

New Text: A limb may not provide stability if it is maintaining active control or being actively grappled for more than -1 to DX.

3. (p. 27) This is a fine point, but the word “Fine” was dropped from the original text with this erratum, such that if you have no grasping hand but enough of a grip to grab stuff, you basically have No Fine Manipulators-level limitations, and suffer the appropriate penalties. The only thing this really says is that if you have a weak grip but can still write with a pencil or something, just use NFM. It’s a bit of a hair-split, but the difference between No Manipulators, No Arms, and No Fine Manipulators is called out in the rules, but for creatures that don’t really have a hand but can manipulate tools at full DX but less ST was not clear. This change more or less attempts to clarify that.

No Grasping Hand: Extra Arms only. Arms that do not have a hand, suction cups, gecko-hairs, or  hooking claws – but enough of a grip to not qualify for No Manipulators – have only 0.3¥ST per arm instead of 0.5¥ST.

Parting Shot
The first two tweaks, in my mind, really help the rules in play. The third is a semantic point brought about by a bit of phrasing.

But aren’t the Bite rules broken?

No. The difference between “bite to strike for damage” and “bite to grapple and control” are enough to merit the distinction. We decided in playtest that using the full ST of a bite just wasn’t right given the magnitudes of forces involves, plus the need to be able to react to your foe to be able to actually control them. While bite force enters into it, what you can do with that force is much less.

Fine distinctions can be made for those who want them. I could (and may still) write an expanded treatment of bites for Pyramid (the title of said future article is right there waiting to be used, an obvious play on words), but as, is things are more or less fine.

Injury vs CP

Injury and CP are supposed to be synonymous, though. So do you roll more than once to hit on a bite to grapple? Roll for injury and CP separately?

The (lack of) discussion doesn’t really help, but would lean towards rolling thr-1 for the initial bite, and Bite ST (basically thrust based on ST/2) for how much control is applied. For human-scale ST, these two values are usually either equal or about a point apart, so there’s really no harm there in just picking one and rolling it.

If you wanted to pick only one:

Use thr-1: If you do this, just say that while yes, you do potentially a large amount of CP, you spend them in the same way you can spend weapon-based CP: only on things that have a default to flat ST, such as takedowns, Wrench (Limb), etc. So yeah, you chomp down hard, but are limited in what you can do with it.

Use CP: The lower control points for higher Bite ST creatures suggests that once earned, you can spend them however you like. Joint Lock applied to a bitten wrist? Go for it. Furthermore, the ability to bite and worry for additional injury takes some of the sting out of the potential loss of initial damage on the bite. An alligator or crocodile probably doesn’t bite “just a little bit” so that they can hang on better, though, so I can see where this might not be preferable.

6 thoughts on “Errata released for Technical Grappling (plus commentary about biting)

    1. Yep. Trying to write up an excel macro to calculate referred control – and [i]not being able to do so easily[/i] was a really major "whoopsie," and brought about entirely by something that seemed good at the time, but didn't work in play.

    2. Still think Bite deserves an erratum in this regard: formula should be (ST/2) + BiteST, not (ST + BiteST)/2. Otherwise, Bite ST is too expensive relative to a Grip ST for any pair of limbs.

    3. The right comparison in this case would be Bite ST vs the ST of a single arm, not a pair. In any case, recent data has made its way to my attention that allowed a better quantification of Bite ST, and a new rule was found. Look for it in a bit.

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