Raw Grappling and Technical Grappling: Defend yourself!

The quickie follow-on post to what happens when someone grabs you.

Active Defense


This one’s easy: they attack, and you defend. Just like any other move, you may make any legal active defense against a grapple. This includes a parry with a weapon (which will have the usual injurious effects), a block (if your foe is trying to enter close combat, you absolutely can stuff your shield in his face), or a dodge. Retreating is not precluded, though if the grapple winds up succeeding, you don’t get your step back; you’re held in the original position.

Breaking Free


If your defense fails, you’ve been grabbed and grappled. All is not lost – you can still try and get out.

Breaking Free in the Raw


With the Basic Set, once you’re grappled, you can try and Break Free (p. B371) by winning a Quick Contest of ST vs ST. If you have Wrestling or Sumo Wrestling at high enough to get a ST boost, you get it. If you have Power Grappling (Martial Arts, p. 51) you can roll ST-based skill (yow!). The grappler is at +5 in the Quick Contest if he’s using both hands.

Note that posture penalties are to skill, not ST, so being on the ground or whatnot doesn’t seem to have an impact.

This does mean that for two grapplers of equal skill and ST, the attacker is significantly advantaged: that +5 is, to paraphrase, a big freakin’ deal. I’m not sure if the bonus is mutual, such that if you grapple your foe back the bonuses equalize. I get the feeling that just means you two are locked together, each with a +5 against your foe’s ST to stay clinched.

Boot to the Face


Anther way to break free is to knock your foe out. If you can use a free limb (you can’t use grappled limbs) or your head, if you can render your foe unconscious, he’ll let go, effectively giving you a Flawless Victory in the contest to Break Free. Strong blows to the head might be a valid option here. 

This remains an option for TG as well.

I think if you stun your foe, he might let go of a grapple as well; I remember writing a rule or note on this one, somewhere. The pitfalls of writing 450 posts. Even Google fails me.

Technically Breaking Free


Using TG, escaping from a grapple means using a grappling skill to attack the grapple itself. You may use a grappled limb (with penalties) to attempt to break free. If you succeed, you roll with your effective Trained ST (reduced for your foe’s grapple) to remove CP directly from the foe’s grapple. If his CP total goes negative, you’re out.

Simple Example: I grab Peter by the torso with both hands, rolling 4 CP to do so; let’s say this makes him at -2 to DX and ST. He will attack me to break free. He’s strong and a good grappler, so normally he’ll roll 1d+2 CP on me, but the ST penalty drops his CP roll to 1d+1. So he rolls to attack at -2 for the DX penalty. I try and defend. If I fail, he rolls 1d+1, and if he rolls 4 or higher, he’s totally out. If he rolls 1-3, he’ll remove 2-4 CP from my grapple. If he removes 4 CP, I still have a 0 CP hold on him; it’s a grab, but he’s not impaired in any way. Let’s say he rolled a 2, removing 3 CP. The 1 CP I have left isn’t enough to penalize him in any way, but I could (notionally) spend it for something, like the Quick Contest on a Takedown (Force Posture Change).

Mostly, I want you to wriggle


Bad me, I completely forgot about a useful addition to Technical Grappling for the purpose of breaking free: The Escaping Parry.

It’s basically a grappling version of Aggressive Parry (Martial Arts, p. 65) where you fend off an attack and attempt to escape from an existing grapple at the same time.

It’s implied that you’re defending against a grappling attack, but it’s not stated, and I don’t think it’d break anything if you allowed it if you’re being grappled and pummeled at the same time.

You won’t remove many CP, but if you can absorb the penalties (or spend the 3 CP to buy it up to full Parry) there’s no reason not to use it on every grappling defense. It even says so in the book: Grapplers will often attempt every parry using this technique; they are taught that the entire point of defense is to create space – reducing your foe’s CP – for a counterattack.

Parting Shot

That’s really it on the defense at this point. You can either break the grapple or grapple back. In RAW, it’s going to be hard to do unless you’re much stronger than the other guy, and if you’re not out, you’re fully grappled. On or off.

With TG, tracking Control Points means you can struggle to increase or decrease control and restraint over your foe. You can have “partial credit” and wriggle free enough to reduce penalties, but not enough to be totally free.

It really depends how much detail you want to have.

Are there ways of having the variable effects provided by CP without actually tracking CP? It would be pretty easy to make it that way, but I’d rather you buy my book. Hey, every two copies means I get a mocha at Caribou! And we all know how important buying overpriced caffeine and chocolate is.

2 thoughts on “Raw Grappling and Technical Grappling: Defend yourself!

  1. I think a big change in TG is that a skilled grappler can eventually escape the grapple of a strong grappler. Wrestling-16 hits more often and parries more often than Wrestling-10, so even if the former is rolling 1d CP (10 ST with Wrestling at DX+4) and the latter is rolling 1d+2 CP (17 ST), the former has a good chance of escaping the grapple.

    Whereas, in Basic+MA, I'm supposed to roll 3d6 and get further below 10 than the other guy gets below 22? I hope I have a dagger and enough skill to get past the -4.

  2. MA119 (Pain and Breaking Free) discusses pain, stun, and knockout in the context of breaking free from a grapple. Shock and stun penalties apply to ST checks to break or keep a grapple, but being stunned explicitly does not release it.

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