Thursday, May 26, 2016

Auto-Pin, DF, and Technical Grappling

Some of the monsters in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy don't grapple so much as automatically pin. Step-and-pin, in a way, or grapple and then automatically pin subsequently.

But I'm using a subset of the Technical Grappling rules, which don't use pin.

I struggled with how to deal with this. Douglas Cole had some suggestions, of course.

A few things I thought of included:

- automatically inflicts the maximum possible CP the monster is capable of with a standard grapple.

- inflict a multiple of CP every turn.

- inflict some capped amount of CP.

- inflicts one of the above, but only if a sufficient amount of CP are inflicted in the first place.

I found them dissatisfactory, in one way or another. Often, this severely nerfed the monster. Instead of "oh no, it's got me, I'm pinned!" it was "oh no, it's got me, in a few turns it might really have me, but no, I attack to break free." Some just went from lethal threats to minor threats.

Ultimately I went with something more simple:

Automatic Pins

Any "automatically pins" or "pins" attack generally works as written. Instead of "pin" effect the attacker inflicts the maximum CP for its Trained ST. A hold of 1 CP or more is sufficient to launch such an attack if it follows from a grapple.

I felt like that was the most fair to the monsters' intended offensive powers, and the most fair and loyal to the Technical Grappling CP-based rules. In many cases this won't be enough CP to pin a large or very strong opponent, but that's how it goes. In other cases this is so many CP an opponent won't be able even attempt anything, even with Extra Effort and Telegraphic All-Out Attack (Determined). This isn't a flaw - character fully engulfed by a purple worm or immersed in a jellied sphere of immobilization should be totally helpless if he's not a massive physical threat himself. Plus it neatly deals with "just how debilitating is that purple worm that's swallowed the giant's leg?"

Does this make pin suck less? No, and it's not intended to. It's just re-normalizing the intended effect (helpless and held target, very difficult to get free) to a new system instead of throwing the intended effect away to slavishly match the new system.


  1. I like it. The TG rules are designed to make characters work at it to move up to maximum CP totals, and some of those totals can be quite high (something that is effectively ST 15 with enfolding tentacles can probably qualify for max Control Points of 30 or more, for -15 to ST and severe DX penalties).

    And being hugged by an Enraged Giagantic Octopus-bear should suck.

    Another way to do it would be to charge either a Cosmic (all CP at once!) or to allow a few levels of Extra Attack to represent the speed at which the grapple is developed, for those that insist on a procedural approach.

    But for big fights and roll-and-shout, "he hits you, have maximum CP" is the right way to do it.

    1. I like the use of Cosmic to price it out; of course, most monsters don't need to be priced out.

      The nice thing about this is it differentiates between "dangerous grappler" and "total engulfer" in a neat and playable way. Without saying that "total engulfer" must be an effect of "dangerous grappler." You can hack your way out of the octopus-bear's tentacles but allws for the momma octopus-bear's automatic full-body swallow of puny SM+1 and under delvers

    2. I should add that fully engulfing creatures are capped at STx2 in CP. Seems like the best way to deal with big swallowing creatures that aren't also ST 20+ and couldn't actually "pin" a normal human.

  2. Cool. Very cool. This reminds me that I need to use TG in Aeon at some point - cinematic TG, of course. But I DO need to use it.

    1. You absolutely need to grapple Doug's character.


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