As I mentioned in my previous post , I like the Technical Grappling rules on principle but find them way too detailed for most games in practice. My main goal here is to completely eliminate on-the-fly ST adjustments from the game. This is gone. Use the Wrestling bonus from the core rules for that skill and ignore the concept for the others.
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The weekend before I started my current campaign, Technical Grappling came out. Since I conceived this campaign specifically to teach the combat system to new players, I decided to incorporate the new supplement from the beginning, rather than change downstream.
I now feel qualified to review it not only on the basis of how it reads, but how it plays. I found it intimidating at first, but after actually gaming a few scenes with it, I found it easy to assimilate, certainly no more difficult than the combat system in general, in part because it organically extends concepts already present in that system.
Martial Arts introduced the concept of an armed grapple with weapon skill, but with the requirement that you drop your shield to hold that weapon with both hands, it seemed like a losing proposition as well.
Technical Grappling makes a couple of things more clear: That grappling gets you a situational advantage that you can exploit to hurt the other guy more, and more often, and that this is especially true in weapon combat. Along the way, it makes rules for grappling more consistent with those of combat in general. The book itself is 51 pages dense with crunch, organized in favor of reference rather than presentation.
As someone with little real-world experience of grappling sports, I found this especially daunting. It contributed to a first impression of massive complexity that is not present in actual play. Fortunately, I persevered, and after the first pass, I had enough sense of the overall framework to read it again for understanding.
The core concept is very simple indeed: When you hit with a grappling attack, roll damage thrust-based. You can use it for other things, too, as the name that the author has chosen for this special type of damage makes clear: Control Points. Of the rest of the book, half consists of special cases of this basic concept. My own campaign emphasizes these, as I have fantasy world that makes gladiators of races like centaurs and scorpion-men.
The rules are robust enough to handle these cases plausibly. Chapter 1 introduces the basic concept and many more besides, like the idea that if someone grabs you, their weight with gear affects your encumbrance, and your weight affects theirs. So far, so good. And defenses are derived from DX. Normally, you do the deriving in advance, one time, but with effective attribute scores fluctuating in a grappling situation, you may have to do it several times in a combat that represents only a few seconds of game time.
And if you grab a foe in different places, then he may have different penalties for each limb. In short, high skill gives you a bonus, much as Karate skill gives a bonus to punching damage. However, Wrestling skill gives no direct bonus to the damage control point roll; instead it gives a bonus to the ST score used to derive thrust-based damage.
The good news is, the full potential complexity I just described is rarely seen in actual play, and when it is, a little hand-waving and guestimating is good enough.
Chapter 2 is all about armed grappling, and the most useful part of the whole book, in my humble opinion, is the flavor text introducing this chapter. The big change here is that you can now perform an armed grapple with a weapon held in one hand. As a consequence, you roll damage control points based on half your ST, but you get a bonus from using a weapon instead of bare hands, so it works out about the same for normal human ST ranges.
Chapter 3 is the cool stuff, combat. The organization of chapters is 1 grappling general concepts, 2 important subcategory of grappling with weapons, and 3 actual grappling combat. Like I said, the book is not organized for presentation.
You need to get to chapter 3 before you find out what chapters 1 and 2 are for. Grabbing is pretty straight-forward and defenses work against it just as they would against any other attack, so this chapter is mainly about what happens after that. This is where the control point mechanic shines. First, it introduces some granularity. That always increases complexity, but in this case, you get a lot of bang for the complexity buck, mainly because the control point roll parallels the general case of damage rolls.
If not, his hold is still weaker. Ideally, if you do nothing effective to stop him, he can pile up enough control points to make you all but helpless, then force you into a disadvantageous position with your back to him, then free up his hands by trapping you with some other limb or part of a limb, and then wail away unopposed.
If you can imagine a grappling situation, you can probably model it with these rules, step-by-step. Once you grapple someone, you can basically do two things: hurt them or move them. For hurting them, you spend control points to set bounds on damage.
If you can grab and smash or grab and stab , you can spend the control points directly as bonus damage. This can be a big deal when fighting a foe in heavy armor, the kind who thinks he can All-Out Attack with impunity. However, unless he gets a grip of his own, he does so without the benefit of control points. The benefit of using a grapple to move a foe is alike in kind, to put him in a facing or posture in which his defenses are penalized, and hopefully to keep him there, so that the remainder of the combat is a one-sided affair in your favor.
This is true of causing damage with a lock, and also true of using a grapple to force some kind of change in position. A weak man might have to attack several times in order to accumulate an impressive control point total, but having done so, he can do nasty things to a stronger man by spending those points profligately. One of my players complained that for his Karate-using character, the rules in Technical Grappling seem to make wrestlers overpowered, that a wrestler could grab him and make him weaker, rinse and repeat to make him helpless.
In any case, nothing in Technical Grappling makes the karateka easier to grab in the first place, and the control point roll from a human foe is likely to impose -1 or -2 to ST and DX, favorable to the -4 DX under the original rules. The biggie here is Constriction Attack, which formerly seemed redundant with Wrestling skill but now confers double control points, a benefit it shares with Trained by a Master.
Shall I rate the book with X out of Y stars? Let me say instead that this book is highly useful if you have a campaign that fits any of these descriptions: 1 It uses styles from martial arts 2 It features close range combat gamed out turn-by-turn 3 It features any player characters who are supposed to be highly skilled in close combat 4 It challenges player characters with animals or bestial monsters or aliens It also fairly useful to a GM who uses more of a minimalist, narrative style to run the occasional fight as it crops up, if that GM has little personal experience with grappling arts to base the narration upon.
I needed 3 sessions with big fights to get comfortable with the mechanics, and that was with posting my questions to this forum and getting helpful answers from the author.
The important thing is, this has so far been a fun campaign, in large part due to the technical grappling rules. Likewise 4 levels of ST is a die of swing damage, and 8 levels of ST is a die of thrust damage, at least in the human range, and in the super-human range, 10 levels of ST is a die of damage either way.
Originally Posted by Gef. I found it intimidating at first, …. Last edited by munin; at AM. Originally Posted by munin. I have to admit, I have tried twice and have been unable to actually read through the supplement so this post isn't an actual review, more like an AAR -- army regulations are much easier to read than this supplement.
Yet the examples of play I've read on Gaming Ballistic have made sense to me and seemed like fun. I've read those, and the " introduction ", and I still can't read through the supplement. My first experience with the supplement was that I hit that first crunch paragraph telling me to refer to a table in the back of the book. So in the middle of the very first paragraph I stop reading and flip to the back -- the table is mathematically intuitive so I can memorize the numbers easily, but the list of skills and techniques it applies to makes no immediate sense to me I can't see an easy way to memorize them.
So now I try to go back to reading, but I'm already starting to think I won't be able to use this, so my heart is no longer in it. And still in the first page I keep hitting fine distinctions and exceptions to rules I barely understand. But the first chapter especially could also have used a "roadmap" -- an overview of how the material was going to be presented and how the mechanics were going to be introduced. Tags martial arts , technical grappling Thread Tools.
All times are GMT The time now is AM. User Name. Remember Me? Mark Forums Read. Thread Tools. Find More Posts by Gef. Re: Review of GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling Chapter 2 is all about armed grappling, and the most useful part of the whole book, in my humble opinion, is the flavor text introducing this chapter.
Find More Posts by DouglasCole. Find More Posts by munin. I like the idea and the mechanic, but trying to remember how many APs each maneuver or action cost is too much trouble. It needs to start with some simple mechanic that's easy to remember and called out, not buried in endless prose , then add in complexity for specific maneuvers as an option. Find More Posts by CraigM.
Quick and Dirty Technical Grappling
The weekend before I started my current campaign, Technical Grappling came out. Since I conceived this campaign specifically to teach the combat system to new players, I decided to incorporate the new supplement from the beginning, rather than change downstream. I now feel qualified to review it not only on the basis of how it reads, but how it plays. I found it intimidating at first, but after actually gaming a few scenes with it, I found it easy to assimilate, certainly no more difficult than the combat system in general, in part because it organically extends concepts already present in that system. Martial Arts introduced the concept of an armed grapple with weapon skill, but with the requirement that you drop your shield to hold that weapon with both hands, it seemed like a losing proposition as well. Technical Grappling makes a couple of things more clear: That grappling gets you a situational advantage that you can exploit to hurt the other guy more, and more often, and that this is especially true in weapon combat.
GURPS Technical Grappling Sequence
Martial Arts: Technical Grappling