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Looking around
(2/4/03 2:06:56 pm)
Grappling and improved grab
Could someone explain to me the rules for grappling and improved grab? An example would be the grell in the moathouse. How does the grappling with this creature work? Thanks for an help.


Still here? Wow.
(2/4/03 3:33:25 pm)
Re: Grappling and improved grab
First, you may find this essay by Sean K Reynolds useful:

Second, the quick one-line explanation of improved grab is that it allows a creature to immediately start a grapple attempt following a successful melee attack. (The improved grab may be limited to only certain melee attacks, like the grell's tentacles but not its beak, and the opponent may have to be of a certain size or smaller - these conditions will be listed in the creature's description of its improved grab ability.)

Third, there is some confusion about how improved grab works with the "-20 to avoid consequences of being grappled" rule. (be forwarned - what follows slightly contradicts what SKR wrote in that essay! so don't be confused!)

Let me start by describing that rule. Normally, when a character grapples someone, he is also considered grappled, and suffers the consequences of being grappled (primarily, losing Dex bonus to AC and no longer threatening the area around himself). Any creature (with or without improved grab) may choose to take a -20 on his grapple check in order to avoid these consequences. The "flavor" explanation for this rule is that the creature is choosing to conduct the grapple with only a single appendage (hand, tentacle, whatever), rather than using their whole body in the grapple.

Now, it's not entirely clear, but the latest descriptions of Improved Grab in the Monster Manual II suggest that a creature who starts a grapple using improved grab may use the "single appendage" and thus avoid the grapple consequences on their initial, free grapple check, without having to take the -20. However, on any other grapple checks made by the creature, it must take the -20, or else it does suffer the grapple consequences.

Some examples with the grell:

* Grell hits Lidda with a tentacle melee attack.
The grell may immediately make an opposed grapple check at its regular bonus vs. Lidda. If it wins the check, it has grappled Lidda. It is not considered grappled - it may continue attacking with other tentacles, make AoO's with other tentacles, etc.

* Lidda tries to escape the grell's grapple.
The grell has to make an opposed grapple check against Lidda (Lidda may use escape artist instead of a grapple check). This is not a grapple check made because of improved grab. So at this point, the grell now does have to decide whether or not to take the -20 on its check. If it does not, and it beats Lidda, it can no longer make AoO's, it loses Dex bonus to AC, etc. (If Lidda wins and escapes, no one is grappling, so the point is moot.)

* Krusk tries to grapple the grell.
Assuming Krusk avoids AoO from the grell, hits with his touch attack, etc., the grell will make a grapple check against Krusk. Since this grapple check was not initiated by improved grab, once again the grell must choose whether or not to take the -20 on this check. (Krusk has the exact same option here.)

Anyhow, that's my take on how the -20 and improved grab work together. As I said, the rules are a bit ambiguous on this point, and other interpretations are certainly possible, but this is the one I like best.

Here for a while
(2/4/03 5:10:32 pm)
Re: Grappling and improved grab

This is something I wrote for my players this past week. Some of it conflicts with other posts, so YMMV.

1. Starting a grapple: Grab an opponent
a. melee touch attack
b. draws AoO from the opponent you a trying to grapple
c. if that AoO succeeds and damages you, you failed to grab

2. Starting a grapple: Hold an opponent
a. Grapple check (Base Attack + STR + size modifier)
b. If you succeed, you move into your opponent's space, which draws AoO from other opponents around you.
c. You are now grappled, and deal unarmed damage.

3. Notes on Grappling
a. When you are grappled, you lose your dex bonus to AC versus everyone with whom you are not grappling. Ranged attacks have 50% chance of hitting either opponent.
b. You can make as many grappling checks per round as you normally have based on your Base Attack Bonus (2 at BAB of +6, 3 at BAB of +11, etc).
c. While grappling, you can't take AoO on others.

4. Actions requiring grapple checks:
a. Damage your opponent if you win (1d3 subdual + str)
b. Pin your opponent if you win (they are prone)
c. Break the hold on a pinned ally
d. Escape if you win, you can still take a normal move

5. Other actions:
a. Attack with a light weapon (requires melee attack roll, no special bonuses). Can't use 2 weapons, but can have multiple attacks (due to BAB)
b. Cast a spell. Spell can have Verbal components, Somatic or Focus components if they are already in hand. Concentration check of 20 + spell level required.

Improved Grab (How is it different?)
1. If they hit you with a certain type of attack, they can start with Step #2 from above. Note that they forfeit the remainder of their attacks to do this.
2. Instead of 2.b., they drag you into THEIR space (no AoO)
3. Instead of 2.c., they don't deal any grappling damage this round, unless they also have the Constrict special attack.
4. Instead of 4.a., they can choose a natural weapon which deals normal damage.

Special Cases:
1. An Annis Hag has a Tear ability. If the Hag starts its action grappled, it can hit with all melee attacks (including its rend) without making either a grapple check or melee attacks. This is in lieu of all other actions this round.

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