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Old 06-11-2019, 09:47 PM   #1
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default [DF] Grappling Crab

This question didn't generate any responses on the DFRPG forum. Since it's a GURPS DF adventure, I though I'd try here.

Despite playing GURPS since the mid-1990s, I'm inexperienced with the basic grappling rules. They came up in an encounter from David Pulver's "Grave of the Pirate Queen" (Pyramid 3/98) with a giant crab. Here's the pertinent text from its description: "It enjoys grabbing prey and pulling them apart. . . . Any hit counts as a grapple, regardless of whether it penetrates DR."

Some questions I've been thinking about:
  1. As it says above, if the crab hits, it grapples automatically. That's pretty simple. Grappling is usually a close range maneuver, but the crab's claws have range 1. So, in terms of the battle map, if it grapples, should I move the grappled character onto one of the crab's two hexes, or would this be an exception to the close-range rule?
  2. Normally, a grappled character can only Attack or All-Out Attack with a reach "C" weapon or their fists. In this case, I'm thinking I would waive that and allow reach 1 weapons since the claws have reach 1. Thoughts?
  3. Once the crab has a character grappled in one claw, that claw can't attack again without letting go, right? Without Constriction or something like that, the claw can't slowly squeeze the character to death. (Though I suppose the crab could grapple someone's neck and then use the Strangle option.)
  4. The effect of "grabbing prey and pulling them apart" would be represented by grappling with one claw and then repeatedly attacking with the second claw, counting on the defense penalties (no retreat, -2 block/parry, -1 dodge) to provide better odds than simply attacking twice. (I haven't run the math to see if this is true.)
  5. A cunning crab versus an armed biped might strike once to the torso to get an initial grapple (without taking any hit location penalties). Then attack the weapon arm with the other claw. If successful, their weapon is neutralized and the other claw can let go and start attacking. Yeah?
  6. From the crab's perspective, does a Takedown or Pin make tactical sense?
Thoughts or experiences with this sort of grappling monster?
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:12 AM   #2
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [DF] Grappling Crab

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
[LIST=1][*]As it says above, if the crab hits, it grapples automatically. That's pretty simple. Grappling is usually a close range maneuver, but the crab's claws have range 1. So, in terms of the battle map, if it grapples, should I move the grappled character onto one of the crab's two hexes, or would this be an exception to the close-range rule?
Either is a reasonable enough rule.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
[*]Normally, a grappled character can only Attack or All-Out Attack with a reach "C" weapon or their fists. In this case, I'm thinking I would waive that and allow reach 1 weapons since the claws have reach 1. Thoughts?
If you want to attack the claw you'd need a close combat weapon. Otherwise, sure, I'd go with whatever weapons work at the actual range you're at.
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Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
[*]Once the crab has a character grappled in one claw, that claw can't attack again without letting go, right?
Depends how it's implemented. It could easily be done like worrying (normally done with a bite), which allows continuing bites with no defense roll.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:33 AM   #3
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: [DF] Grappling Crab

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
If you want to attack the claw you'd need a close combat weapon. Otherwise, sure, I'd go with whatever weapons work at the actual range you're at.
This makes sense and fits my mental image of the scene.

Quote:
It could easily be done like worrying (normally done with a bite), which allows continuing bites with no defense roll.
I've heard people reference worrying but I've never known exactly what it meant. After some poking around, I'm guessing you're referring to the text in the Teeth sidebar in Martial Arts, p. 115. Now that I know the term, I also found a few references to it in DFRPG Monsters (Dinoman, Lizardman, and Sphere of Madness) and the new Monsters 2 (Bloodthorn); these canonical examples confirm that the concept isn't too fiddly to include in DFRPG.

Thank you!
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:41 AM   #4
Expy
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Default Re: [DF] Grappling Crab

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
Once the crab has a character grappled in one claw, that claw can't attack again without letting go, right? Without Constriction or something like that, the claw can't slowly squeeze the character to death. (Though I suppose the crab could grapple someone's neck and then use the Strangle option.)
B370, Choke or Strangle: 'If your SM is greater than your opponent you can squeeze his torso instead, at -5 if you do not have constriction attack' (I haven't read the adventure, so I don't know if this particular giant crab is SM+1 or greater capital 'G' Giant). There's a total -10 to the ST contest to grab and then squeeze with one claw, though if this is a really big crab with 30, 40 ST, this wouldn't be a problem at all.

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Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
A cunning crab versus an armed biped might strike once to the torso to get an initial grapple (without taking any hit location penalties). Then attack the weapon arm with the other claw. If successful, their weapon is neutralized and the other claw can let go and start attacking. Yeah?
Remember that grappling uses halved hit location penalties, that ones slipped by me on more than one occasion.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:33 PM   #5
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: [DF] Grappling Crab

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Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
Any hit counts as a grapple, regardless of whether it penetrates DR.
That sounds a lot like treating crab pincers like teeth since the also have the option to carry an automatic grapple on a successful hit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
Grappling is usually a close range maneuver, but the crab's claws have range 1. So, in terms of the battle map, if it grapples, should I move the grappled character onto one of the crab's two hexes, or would this be an exception to the close-range rule?
If you have long-range grapples that doesn't mean you need to pull your foe into close combat, I think. You would just be occupying the same hex as the claw, since reach 1 weapons occupy 1 front hex.

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Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
[*]Normally, a grappled character can only Attack or All-Out Attack with a reach "C" weapon or their fists. In this case, I'm thinking I would waive that and allow reach 1 weapons since the claws have reach 1. Thoughts?
I've never heard of any rule limiting someone who has been grappled to using reach C weapons.

You might be thinking of B391 where I think when they talk about C-range weapons the assumption is "to hit the person engaging you in close combat". If you have a 3-yard spear and some dog grabs your leg I don't think that would stop you from stabbing OTHER attackers who are 3 yards away, but you'd have trouble hitting the dog with that spear.

Basic set didn't have rules to use melee weapons at lower range, Martial Arts has the -4 to hit per yard shorter you need to target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
[*]Once the crab has a character grappled in one claw, that claw can't attack again without letting go, right? Without Constriction or something like that, the claw can't slowly squeeze the character to death. (Though I suppose the crab could grapple someone's neck and then use the Strangle option.)
I guess it could if you wanted to design crab claws as extra mouths, but otherwise no, I don't think so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
[*]The effect of "grabbing prey and pulling them apart" would be represented by grappling with one claw and then repeatedly attacking with the second claw, counting on the defense penalties (no retreat, -2 block/parry, -1 dodge) to provide better odds than simply attacking twice. (I haven't run the math to see if this is true.)
One thing I don't like about that is it seems slowly ripping apart should be Lifting ST and not Striking ST.

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
If you want to attack the claw you'd need a close combat weapon. Otherwise, sure, I'd go with whatever weapons work at the actual range you're at.
I think it depends on whether they want to target the claw (the extremity sharing their hex) or the arm/body of the crab which is in an adjacent hex.

If the best you have is a reach 1 sword and you want to target the claw, you can just eat the -4 penalty for working at reduced range. Better to try and change grip to reduce it to reach C. Reverse Grip can do that.
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:41 PM   #6
Dalin
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Re: [DF] Grappling Crab

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
I've never heard of any rule limiting someone who has been grappled to using reach C weapons.

On B371, in the Actions After Being Grappled sidebar: "You’re limited to unarmed attacks (striking or grappling) or attacks using weapons with reach C. You can stab with a dagger, but not swing a sword!"


A similar rule is in DFRPG Exploits, p. 41: "Attacks must be unarmed or use reach 'C' weapons."
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:34 PM   #7
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: [DF] Grappling Crab

I see what you mean, couldn't concentrate on a spell or fire a gun even if all that was grappling you was a kitten, pretty brutal. Glad of how TG23 dealt with the "Banned Maneuvers" problem.

Though strangely enough, it might have overlooked addressing this problem? That or maybe I'm looking in the wrong spot.

"unless you have pinned your foe" is mentioned and I can't remember where Basic Set mentioned that pinning a foe who was grappling you suddenly makes you able to do those maneuvers...
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