Grappling (hand-to-hand)

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Describes a form of combat attack where the opponent is wrestled as a means to overpower, restrain and potentially cause damage. This form of combat is usually done while unarmed, though under certain conditions a weapon may also be employed. Grappling requires a variable expenditure of action points (AP), depending upon the specific action attempted.

The intention is to gain a superior position, gaining hold of the other combatant to physically immobilize them so that they cannot take any action, or to wrench, twist or crush the opponent as a means to render them unconscious or dead.

Unskilled Grappling

Describes two forms of grappling that any combatant can perform, regardless of training or experience: make a grab and brawling.

Make a Grab

This is the attempt to grasp or seize an opponent suddenly, grabbing at their arms, legs, head, ears, nose, hair or what they might be wearing, including clothing, belt, backpack or other equipment. Some opponents may be grasped by their beards, horns, spines, tentacles and so on. This move requires 3 AP to perform. The attacker must make an ordinary roll to hit. Success indicates the attacker has gotten the grip desired.

The attacker's weight is then added to the defender's, with the attacker adding 3 lbs. per point of strength. The defender's strength is not considered. The percentage of the attacker's weight is calculated against this total, and a d100 rolled to determine if the enemy can be pulled off balance. Success indicates the enemy has been stunned, but no damage results. The enemy can then be swung forward, into a combat hex to the left or right, or into the attacker's own hex for brawling. Effectively, the enemy is pulled out of the way; this may mean being pulled off a wall, against a physical barrier like a wall (causing 1-3 damage) or to where they can be made vulnerable to attack by someone else.

For example, a 170 lb. attacker with a 14 strength attempts to grab a 180 lb. defender and succeeds in hitting with a d20. We add 170+42+180 for a total of 392; the result is a 54% chance of success for the attacker. A failure indicates the defender is not stunned and that the attacker's momentary grip is lost.


Attacker's Weight vs. Opponent Modifier
one quarter -12
one third -9
one half -4
two thirds -2
three quarters -1
even none
one third greater +1
one half greater +2
twice as much +3
three times as much +6
four times as much +9

Contrariwise, an unskilled attacker may attempt to brawl – the combatant rushes the defender in the enemy's hex (or seizes an enemy that has been pulled off-balance), attempting to seize the whole body and pull them to the ground. The action requires the combatant's full movement that round.

As with overbearing, the attacker's mass is measured against the defender's, adjusting the roll to hit as indicated by the table shown. Success indicates that the attacker has grasped the enemy, causing 1d4-2 damage. This is adjusted by the character's strength-damage bonus. Potentially, no damage is caused, but if the defender is stunned, the defender is considered to be held, or pinned. Thereafter, the attacker may continue to cause damage as described without the need to hit, while the defender is helpless to resist until let go.

If the damage is insufficient to stun, the defender must brawl as well, either to better the attacker or to break free. Which must be declared before an attack die is rolled (or else it will default to continuing to brawl). If attempting to break free, then upon a successful hit the defender may hurl the attacker into any adjacent hex.

After the initial attack, with each round of brawling, either combatant may attempt to hold the other; and either attacker may attempt to hurl the other into an adjacent hex. For either, the damage is the same. Therefore, a character hurled into another hex may be stunned, and then attacked with a weapon; or hurled and then pursued with another attempt to grapple (or potentially pummel). Or the other may not be stunned, and be able to turn around and attempt to brawl again, or choose to draw a weapon. This process continues until the fight is suspended, one combatant is held or one combatant is knocked unconscious.

Unskilled brawlers cannot effectively employ weapons while grappling.

Attempts to Disarm

If the unskilled attacker attempts to make a grab or brawl with an armed opponent is armed, then upon a successful hit there is a 1 in 6 chance that the weapon held by an unskilled defender will be knocked or forced from their grip. This is treated as a fumbled weapon. Otherwise, the brawl is carried out as above.

However, if the defender has amateur knowledge in either the studies of unarmed combat or puissance, the chance of the weapon being dropped is reduced to 1 in 12. Additionally, if the defender is holding a magic weapon, the defender is also entitled to a saving throw against paralysation, modified by the weapon's bonus – the success of which indicates that the weapon is not dropped.

Further Notes

Because the payoff is minimal, the unskilled attacks as described above are most likely to be used in sporting contests or in circumstances where none of the combatants possess a weapon, such as will be common in public houses or at peaceful gatherings.

Up to four attackers may attempt to make a grab or brawl a single defender each round. Very large defenders that occupy more than one combat hex may be so attacked by four combatants per hex. Multiple attacks will increase the damage that's done and the chance that an enemy will be overwhelmed and held. Town guards will usually attempt to brawl if they outnumber perpetrators, in order to avoid accidentally killing someone.

Creatures with natural claws and fangs will do full damage when given an opportunity to brawl. If not held back by weapons or torches, many such animals, even those of semi or less intelligence, will instinctively brawl, as this considerably weakens their humanoid opponent.

Skilled Grappling

This includes a wide range of sage abilities such as clinching, takedowns, throws and escapes that are unavailable to the unskilled combatant. Descriptions for these tactics may be found listed under the sage study, unarmed combat.

See Attacking in Combat