Grapple

Grappling means wrestling and struggling hand-to-hand.

There are three stages to grappling: grabbing, holding, and pinning.

Grabbing

Normally, a grab is just the first step to starting a grapple. If the character grabs an opponent, but fails to go on to hold him or her, the character doesnít actually start a grapple. However, sometimes all a character wants to do is grab the target.

Holding

Once a character has established a hold, he or she is involved in a grapple. From a hold, a character can attempt a number of actions, including damaging the opponent or pinning the opponent. A character canít get a hold on any creature more than two size categories larger than the character. (However, such a creature can get a hold on the characteróso while a character canít initiate a grapple with a creature more than two size categories larger than, a character can still end up in one.)

Pinning

Getting the opponent in a pin is often the goal of a grapple. A pinned character is held immobile.

Grapple Checks

When a character is involved in a grapple, he or she will need to make opposed grapple checks against an opponentóoften repeatedly. A grapple check is something like a melee attack roll. A characterís attack bonus on a grapple check is:

Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + grapple modifier

Grapple Modifier

Table: Grapple Modifiers
Size (Example) Grapple Modifier
Colossal (blue whale [90 ft. long]) +16
Gargantuan (gray whale [40 ft. long]) +12
Huge (elephant) +8
Large (lion) +4
Medium-size (human) +0
Small (German shepherd) Ė4
Tiny (housecat) Ė8
Diminutive (rat) Ė12
Fine (horsefly) Ė16

A creatureís size works in its favor when grappling, if that creature is Large or larger in size. Conversely, a creature of Small or smaller size is at a disadvantage because of its size when grappling. Instead of using a creatureís size modifier on a grapple check (as would be done for a melee or ranged attack roll), use the appropriate grapple modifier from Table: Grapple Modifiers.

Starting a Grapple

To start a grapple, a character first needs to grab and hold his or her target. Attempting to start a grapple is the equivalent of making a melee attack. If the character gets multiple attacks in a round, he or she can attempt to start a grapple multiple times (at successively lower base attack bonuses). Follow these steps.

1. Attack of Opportunity: A character provokes an attack of opportunity from the target he or she is trying to grapple. If the attack of opportunity deals the character damage, the character fails to start the grapple. If the attack of opportunity misses or otherwise fails to deal damage, proceed to step 2.

2. Grab: The character makes a melee touch attack to grab the target. If the character fails to hit the target, the character fails to start the grapple. If the character succeeds, proceed to step 3.

3. Hold: Make an opposed grapple check. (This is a free action.) If the character succeeds, the character has started the grapple, and deals damage to the target as if with an unarmed strike.

If the character loses, he or she fails to start the grapple. The character automatically loses an attempt to hold if the target is two or more size categories larger than the character is (but the character can still make an attempt to grab such a target, if thatís all he or she wants to do).

4. Maintain the Grapple: To maintain the grapple for later rounds, the character must move into the targetís square. (This movement is free and doesnít count as part of the characterís movement for the round movement.) Moving, as normal, provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening enemies, but not from the target. The character and the target are now grappling.

If the character canít move into the targetís square, the character canít maintain the grapple and must immediately let go of the target. To grapple again, the character must begin at step 1.

Grappling Consequences

While a character is grappling, his or her ability to attack others and defend him or herself is limited.

No Threatened Squares: A character doesnít threaten any squares while grappling.

No Dexterity Bonus: A character loses his or her Dexterity bonus to Defense (if the character has one) against opponents the character isnít grappling. (The character can still use it against opponents he or she is grappling.)

No Movement: A character cannot move while held in a grapple.

If the Character is Grappling

When a character is grappling (regardless of who started the grapple), he or she can attempt any of several actions on his or her turn. Unless otherwise noted, each of these options is equivalent to an attack. (If the character normally gets more than one attack per attack action, he or she can attempt as many of these options as he or she has attacks available, using his or her successively lower attack bonus for each roll.) The character is limited to these options only; he or she cannot take any other actions.

Damage the Opponent: Make an opposed grapple check; if the character succeeds, he or she deals damage as with an un≠armed strike.

Pin: Make an opposed grapple check; if the character succeeds, he or she holds the opponent immobile for 1 round. The opponent takes a Ė4 penalty to Defense against all attacks from other people (but not from the character); however, the opponent is not considered helpless.

A character canít use a weapon on a pinned character or attempt to damage or pin a second opponent while holding a pin on the first.

A pinned character canít take any action except to attempt to escape from the pin.

Escape from Grapple: Make an opposed grapple check. If the character succeeds, he or she can escape the grapple. If more than one opponent is grappling the character, the grapple check result has to beat all their check results to escape. (Opponents donít have to try to hold a character if they donít want to.) Alternatively, the character can make an Escape Artist check opposed by the opponentís grapple check to escape from the grapple. This is an attack action that the character may only attempt once per round, even if the character gets multiple attacks.

If the character has not used his or her move action for the round, the character may do so after escaping the grapple.

Escape from Pin: Make an opposed grapple check. If the character succeeds, he or she can escape from being pinned. (Opponents donít have to try to keep the character pinned if they donít want to.) The character is still being grappled, however.

Alternatively, a character can make an Escape Artist check opposed by the opponentís grapple check to escape from the pin. This is an attack action that the character may only attempt once per round, even if the character gets multiple attacks.

Break Anotherís Pin: Make an opposed grapple check; if the character succeeds, he or she can break the hold that an opponent has over an ally.

Draw a Light Weapon: A character can draw a light weapon as a move action.

Attack with a Light Weapon: A character can attack with a light weapon while grappling (but not while pinned or pinning). A character canít attack with two weapons while grappling.

If the Character is Pinned

When an opponent has pinned the character, he or she is held immobile (but not helpless) for 1 round. (the character canít attempt any other action.) On the characterís turn, he or she can attempt to escape from the pin. If the character succeeds, he or she is still grappling.

Joining a Grapple

If the target is already grappling someone else, a character can use an attack to start a grapple, as above, except that the target doesnít get an attack of opportunity against the character, and the characterís grab automatically succeeds. The character still has to make a successful opposed grapple check and move in to be part of the grapple.

If multiple enemies are already involved in the grapple, the character picks one against whom to make the opposed grapple check.

Multiple Grapplers

Several combatants can be in a single grapple. Up to four combatants can grapple a single opponent in a given round. Creatures that are one size category smaller than the character count as one-half creature each; creatures that are one size category larger than the character count as two creatures; and creatures two or more size categories larger than the character count as four creatures.

When involved in a grapple with multiple opponents, the character chooses one opponent to make an opposed check against. The exception is an attempt to escape from the grapple; to escape, a characterís grapple check must beat the check results of all opponents.

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