Grabbing Parry, Giants, and Giant Robots

Had an interesting question from +Mark Langsdorf about a situation that arose in his Mecha Against the Giants campaign. 

A SM+2 mecha (6 tons, ST85, Basic Lift 0.72 tons) wanted to curb-stomp a downed giant leader. That leader is SM+4, weighs 12 tons, and is ST160. He’s also got Wrestling at DX+4, which is a +3 bonus per ST 10, or basically +30% to ST.  The giant has a crippled leg (and a wounded arm) as well. If they actually grapple, the giant will be at +2 to DX and +30% to ST or Trained ST when grapplling due to the difference in relative size modifier.

They’re using the Technical Grappling rules for extreme grappling awesomeness. 

So here’s the situation: the mecha kicks at the giant, and the giant successfully performs a one-handed grabbing parry. The question was, basically, what the hell happens, and what should the giant do next?


Grabbing Parry


Grabbing Parry was a modification and generalization of Hand Catch from Martial Arts, and has some similarities with Aggressive Parry. You defend at some significant penalties (-2 to start, and then more for what you’re trying to actually parry, and very, very high penalties if you’re defending against weapons. 

Even so, many grappling parries are one-handed, and the point of a Grappling Parry is not, in fact, to get an awesome grip. It’s to get even a 0 CP grip, so that you don’t have to make a separate attack roll to achieve a grapple on your own turn. You can proceed to improve your grip, change position or orientation, attempt a lock, etc. 

For those reasons, the CP inflicted by the Grabbing Parry are limited to ST/2 (the assumption for unimproved one-handed ST) with no training bonus. You also don’t get any boosts for relative size modifier until after you’ve already secured a grapple.

In this case, the giant will be rolling vs a one-handed ST 80, with no training or size bonuses. That’s 9d control points. The following turn, his own turn, he’s now grappling, and all the skill and size bonuses apply.

This means:

Two-Handed Trained ST: ST 160 x 1.3 (from Wrestling at DX+4) and another 30% boost from +2 relative size modifier means his final ST vs the mecha, with two hands, is ST 208 with a training bonus of +48 (that’s separated out for a reason), for a total two-handed Trained ST of ST 256.

With a one-handed grapple, you start with ST 80, but the training bonus is supposed to be a flat add, for ST 128, and then the size boost would make a one-handed Trained ST 166.

Making the Training Bonus path dependent made sense when I wrote it, but does make the math a bit more cumbersome. 

Anyway, a successful Grabbing Parry allows an initial 9d CP (average about 31 or 32 CP), and the ST of the mecha means he’s at -1 DX for ever 16 CP applied. So the grabbing parry will, on the average apply about a -2 penalty to the DX of the mecha from the get-go.

The Follow Up

On the giant’s turn, if he can do so, he’ll want to attack with a two-handed grapple. He’s prone (but maybe he has Ground Fighting), but skilled. At worst he’s probably rolling at DX to DX+4.

But he’s got a grapple, so there’s no reason not to double the awesome and just go right for a Leg Lock. This is an attack roll with his Lock technique, which defaults to flat Wrestling. A two-handed grapple will lock the mecha’s leg and inflict 26d extra CP. That’s an extra 91 CP, making a total of about 122 CP, which will be -7 to DX from the grapple on the leg. 

With such high penalties, the mecha will be hard pressed to successful parry.

Next (or even at the same time, if Mr. Giant wants to Rapid Strike or All-Out Attack (Double) and lose his defenses) it’s in the giant’s best interests to establish a weight advantage. The giant’s weight of 12 tons much exceeds the mecha’s 0.72-ton basic lift, and so establishing a weight advantage will put the mecha at a -13 penalty based on exceeding the 16xBL threshold on p. 8.

In fact, the weight advantage is so advantageous that it’s probably a better move overall than establishing some sort of fancy-pants leg lock.

If the giant can establish the weight advantage, the mecha will be at a huge penalty to do any sort of mass-based move, or resist one – explicitly including attacking to break free. Between the CP from any sort of leg lock, plus the penalties due to the mass, well . . . the “pin” may have been removed formally, but at this point the mecha will likely be pretty helpless.

To make it worse, the giant can attempt a takedown, and since that’s a mass-based move, the mecha is still at -13 to resist it in the Quick Contest. 

Parting Shot


Ultimately, what this shows is that mass matters, and being outmassed by 2x, with another 2x difference in ST (and 4x in lifting power) means that getting grabbed by such a foe is going to render you pretty powerless to resist.

I found the same thing when grappling a guy who outmassed me by about 50% at the time, and he was certainly not double my ST either, but while I was able to grapple with him pretty effectively using skill and agility (but I wasn’t allowed to choke him out or torque his limbs, since he was a beginner), when he got on top of me by throwing his weight around, he rapidly crushed me under his weight, leaving me pretty helpless, especially since pressure point techniques and other things that didn’t rely on strength, leverage, and weight were forbidden to me.

But still: the mecha is doubly in trouble. He’s been the victim of a grappling parry by a stronger, heavier foe. If he can’t escape, either through a Change Position maneuver, or a follow-up grapple or lock, he’s rapidly going nowhere fast, even with a foe with a crippled leg.

6 thoughts on “Grabbing Parry, Giants, and Giant Robots

  1. Good stuff, and the gif and the pic accompanying it were spot-on. This shows that getting grabbed by something with an SM two bigger than yours is bad news, as it should be.

    One question: how hard is it for the mecha to defend against the leg lock? Unless I'm missing something, if we assume it's got a 32 CP grab on it when the leg lock is attempted, it's parrying that at -2, and the penalty only increases to -7 if the mecha fails to defend?

    Also, as for weight advantage, it can be established with a quick contest of ST, which, 160 vs. 85… that works out to 16 vs. 9, right? Remind me whether or not "If Change Posture is used by itself, it counts as an attack…" (pg. 35) mean that there's an active defense before the Quick Contest?

  2. I think that's about right, he'll defend at -2, though I'll have to reread to see if being Unstable makes it harder to defend (I don't think it does, but could be wrong). I'd not call the penalty "only" -7, though – that's a huge penalty when it's applied to defenses. It's like being stunned while prone (-4 and -3).

    "Counts as an attack" means that you have to take an attack maneuver to do it, even though the resolution is solely by Quick Contest (much like a Takedown). It's to allow things like Rapid Strike, or to allow it to be stacked with Extra Attack. It invokes whatever rules usually apply to attacks, and ensures it's not ever interpreted as a free action, or combined with other maneuvers that would normally preclude or penalize attacks.

    As for the QC, don't you reduce the lower one to 10? So 19 vs 10, I think – plus the giant could spend CP to influence it, though that might need to be done before you renormalize to be fair. that never came up in playtest.

  3. I will note that not only is the giant's leg crippled, so is one of his hands. LT Renault may be screwed if he gets pulled into a bear hug (assuming he doesn't just press his full auto 20mm cannon against the giant's torso and pull the trigger) but the giant probably isn't going to be getting to use his two-handed grappling ST for a lot of things. And the LT does have Wrestling at DX+1.

  4. I was going to bring this up in my post, but then I finally had the eureka moment about how the Grappling Weight Modifier works and it turned out to be unnecessary.

    Regardless, assuming I make a weak grappling parry as a defense, but I decide I need more CP before I can do anything awful to my foe. TG21 makes it clear that improving a grab is an attack, but I can't figure out if the foe gets a defense against it. Shifting Grapples and Freeing Hands (p 24) make clear that the foe gets a defense against those attacks, but Attack just refers to a successful attack and I can't be sure if that means "an attack roll that isn't countered by a defense roll" or just "a successful attack roll". Sorry if I missed a clarification somewhere, but http://gamingballistic.blogspot.com/2014/11/raw-grappling-and-technical-grappling_26.html didn't address this point.

    1. If it's a normal attack maneuver, and your for gets a defense.

      Also, one important point is that when you were spending control points to influence the contest, this influences your photos role, and does not give a bonus to your own role. It falls under the category of spending control points does not make you better, it makes your opponent worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *