View Full Version : Grappling, Choking & Grappling Weapons

2013-02-17, 03:04 PM
Hello and welcome to part something-or-other of my many-part series, "Mechanics for a Game System I'm Never Going To Finish Building." Today's subject is... Grappling!

So, I'm hoping that this system won't be too complicated (no keeping track of specific body parts or anything like that), while allowing grappling to be a powerful tool in combat. "I'll hold him and you punch" should actually be a viable tactic.

Grappling Basics
Grapples may be entered into as a basic attack, or, sometimes, a counterattack or attack of opportunity. At this point, the defender may get a chance to make a dodge attempt, an attack of opportunity, or a free Escape attempt.

Once a person is engaged in a grapple - as attacker or defender - they get a number of counters, which represent the level of freedom remaining to them. Having a lot of counters means that you retain most of your freedom of action, and have a significant range of motion available to you. Having very few counters means that you are significantly invested in the grapple, and have a very limited ability to act. At zero counters, a person becomes pinned, and is unable to take further actions at all.

Each grappler tracks their counters independently; it is possible for both combatants to lost almost all of their counters to one another.

All combatants engaged in a grapple have counters, and any single fighter's counters are shared across all opponents they're grappling with. This means that it is very difficult to grapple with multiple opponents at once (although some creatures have physiologies that allow them to do just that.) During a group grapple, opponents keep track of which of their enemies they've lost counters to; those counters are returned when that opponent is removed from the grapple, or through certain actions, described below.

Normal Actions while Grappling
While engaged in a grapple, actions fall into one of three categories - free, contested or prohibited. Prohibited actions may not be taken at all; free actions either have no effect on the grapple, or have their own rules in regard to grappling. Most actions are "Contested"; a player may take a contested action while grappling, but they take a penalty based on the number of counters they have already lost, and sacrifice an additional grappling counter in the process. This represents leaving yourself vulnerable in the grapple in an attempt to do something else; so, a grappled fighter may attempt to draw a weapon, but in doing so, he allows his opponent to improve his position.

Grappling-Specific Actions
While grappling, contestants get access to specific actions, discussed below. In addition to these, certain people or creatures may have additional options as a result of training or physiology.

Wrestle - the basic offensive grappling action. The person taking the action attempts to further confine the movement of their opponent, possibly resulting in a pin. If the wrestler is successful, their opponent loses several grappling counters. Failures may result in their opponent re-gaining their own counters, or taking counters from the failed wrestler.

Struggle - the basic defensive grappling action. The person taking the action attempts to increase their own freedom, regaining counters in the process. Successes return counters to the person struggling. If a player holds any of their opponent's counters, they may release them for bonus successes.

Escape - the character attempts to pull free entirely. This is treated as a check against the number of counters held by a single opponent, or set of opponents (player's choice.) If successful, the two players cease to be considered grappling, and any counters held by the targeted opponents are returned. If a player holds counters from the opponent he's attempting to escape, he may return them for additional successes.

Choking - a grappler attempts to suffocate their opponent. This is treated as a check against the number of counters a person has remaining.If successful, the defender is considered choked for that round; if choked for enough consecutive rounds, they are rendered unconscious or dead. If the person being choked is pinned, all choke attempts are an automatic success.

Environmental Hazards - a grappler may attempt to force their opponent into certain environmental hazards. In the case of standing water, an opponent may attempt to drown another; this is treated as a choke attempt, with a bonus based on the depth of the water. For all other cases- fires, toxic liquids, moving components - the mechanics work the same as a choke attempt, but with results based on the specific hazard.

Grappling Weapons
Certain unusual weapons - mostly rope-based - are intended specifically for use in grappling. These weapons may fill a number of rolls; untied rope gives bonuses to choke attempts, nooses ensure successful chokes once they are initially applied, handcuffs may "Lock up" grappling counters until they are removed, limiting the degree of freedom an opponent can gain.

Zombies in this system fight almost exclusively by grappling, and attempting to choke or drown their opponents to death. This means that zombies are relatively little threat in small numbers, as the unengaged party members may quickly dispatch the undead long before they could successfully suffocate whichever specific members they attacked.

In groups, however, Zombies become more dangerous; if enough undead are able to close, every party member may be grappled by one or more zombies. The fight will then become a struggle for the most grappling-adept party members to escape in time to rescue their less martial friends.

Lone zombies may also prove a threat, so long as other enemies or dangers are also present. In the middle of a major fight, a zombie may fall out of the shadows and attack the party mage; the party will then have to choose between continuing to focus on the larger threat without the mages help (planning to rescue the mage after the main enemy is dispatched, or pull resources from the larger fight in order to quickly dispatch the zombie and get the mage back in the fight.