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Old 04-11-2015, 09:58 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

Escape is the DX/H skill of slipping out of rope bonds, handcuffs, and similar restraints. The default is DX-6, and the quality of the restraints gives penalties: -5 for modern police handcuffs, making an escape from those impractical for untrained normal humans. Escape can have Techniques for commonly used restraints, and the example is Slip Handcuffs, B233. Escape also covers dislocating limbs to make getting out of restraints easier, although this is risky; improving it as a Technique is worthwhile if you plan to use it. Modifiers are +3 for Flexibility or +5 for Double-Jointed, and +1 per level of Slippery. Escape can also be used to get out of Binding attacks, and from rope bonds, on a Quick Contest of skill with Knot-Tying.

A first attempt at Escape takes a minute, and subsequent attempts each take 10 minutes: this looks like an excellent use for Extra Time on B346. Caravan to Ein Arris gives daily Escape rolls if the characters get caught by brigands and held for ransom. If we assume that's 30x as long for +5, that gives the characters DX-1 each, so somebody should manage it the first day. Of course, escaping from bonds has so much narrative convention entangled with it that it's hard to know what's realistic.

Escape shows up in templates for infiltrators and similar archetypes. Action has several modern kinds of restraints with their Escape penalties, plus use of Escape for getting through narrow spaces, and past razor wire. High-Tech, Low-Tech and Ultra-Tech all have details on restraints for their TLs. Horror has a stage magician template, and Magic has the Freedom spell, which aids Escape. Technical Grappling uses Escape to generate Control Points for attempts to get free from bonds and entangling weapons. Power-Ups volumes 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 all have examples for Escape. Chinese Elemental Powers has Taking the Narrow Passage for superhuman Escaping.

As a DX/Hard skill that often needs to be able to win contests or absorb substantial penalties, Escape seems to be a skill that only high-DX characters routinely buy, but Extra Time can make it worthwhile for the more average character.

I don't think I've ever used Escape in a game; I've always tried to avoid getting captured, since so many games are in settings where killing prisoners makes sense for the villains. The narrative conventions where getting captured is a good idea have always seemed like a fragile shield to me.

What Escapes have you managed?

Note: I skipped Erotic Art, since I have little to say about it.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

GURPS Underground Adventures has detailed rules for using Escape to squeeze through narrow openings in caves. They were part of the inspiration for the power in Chinese Elemental Powers.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Of course, escaping from bonds has so much narrative convention entangled with it that it's hard to know what's realistic.
With handcuffs I allow Escape or Lockpicking for any attempts to escape using tools that aren't actually picking the lock (for that it's lockpick only). EI: various ways of slipping the tension bar.


But realistically speaking... I'm of the mind that some things should get an increased penalty to Defaulted skills or disallow extra time. I've been handcuffed and no amount of extra time would have helped without tools... and then it's less Escape and more some skill in using the tool to destroy the handcuff (or as I mentioned above, the right tools to slip the tension bar or picklock).



Quote:
I don't think I've ever used Escape in a game...
I've used it once in a GURPS Supers game, but that character also had multiple instances of Ridiculous Luck and Super Luck, DX 20, and most DX skils at 25... so... the attempt was a foregone conclusion.



Quote:
Note: I skipped Erotic Art, since I have little to say about it.
Hopefully someone else picks it up.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

Escape comes up frequently in my Supers game, sometimes in concert with Lockpicking or Acrobatics. Given that the PC in question was a former exotic dancer, the possibility of overlap with Erotic Art did not escape anyone. :)
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:22 AM   #5
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

I keep taking this skill for any of my character who happens to have Flexibility/Double-Jointed, but I don't remember ever having the opportunity where it would be useful. If characters were captured, somehow it was always being paralysed by a spell, knocked out and left in a locked room/arena etc., not handcuffed/tied up.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

Most people teaching how to escape from handcuffs use some improvised tools rather than slipping out.

Guy teachs how to open handcuffs with a hair pin

Some people go for brute force techniques.

Guy breaks handcuff

And some really slip out, but mainly due to poorly placed handcuffs (generally on the lower part of the forearm), or because the person has very peculiar physical features (e.g. thin hands). So, I think that Escape is a bit cinematic as described in Raw. Is there any other rule for it in the books?

Personally, as a house rule, if a guy has Flexibility or Double-Jointed, generally I apply raw rules. If not, I apply Equipment Modifiers to Escaping rolls, and someone trying to escape from handcuffs would have -10 without equipment. With equipment, like an improvised shim, I would drop it to a regular -5, if the hancuffs are double-locked, or to 0 if they are not.
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:29 PM   #7
simply Nathan
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

I put a point into this on almost every thief-type character I make, partly because it is a lot of benefit for one point on someone who A) is likely to get captured and chained/tied up anyway and B) already bought Flexible or Double-Jointed for the hefty bonus to Climbing.
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Old 09-25-2015, 04:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

We allow it to substitute ST when escaping from a grapple, though because your penalised by the grapple, only characters with especially high DX or skill can ever make good use of it.
One example was in a fantasy game, a group was trying to catch the Very Beautiful PC for a very special kind of slave (She even had the ringmaster's preferred looks). Since she had very high DX and had invested in Escape, she not only managed to break free from the grapple rather quickly, but then ran through the group of criminals after her and back behind the other PCs.
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Old 09-26-2015, 03:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

Escape came up in my DF game a couple of weeks ago, as the skill for squeezing into a tight laundry chute (Escape-6) and a slightly less tight dumbwaiter chute (Escape-2). All the PCs are SM 0, but I gave modifiers for size: +2 for the Skinny elf wizard, 0 for the wiry fighter, -2 for the Overweight cleric, -3 for the ridiculously stout dwarf knight. (This would have been an ideal job for a thief, or a SM-1 character, or a familiar, or a Wizard Eye, but they don't currently have any of those.)

None of the PCs actually have Escape, so they would have been rolling at default. None of them actually attempted to enter either narrow passage. The wizard, who had the best chance, didn't want to risk getting stuck or isolated from the group. They did later find a scroll of Shrink, which could have made success automatic, but the wizard is hoarding the scroll to learn the spell from later, rather than using it. Maybe they'll come back when they have the spell.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:46 AM   #10
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Escape

Having looked through the various listed supplements, I still can't find a way to factor in SM. What passage sizes count as requiring an Escape roll to squeeze through for what SMs, and what passage sizes don't? Also, how much does Invertebrate decrease the size cap for needing Escape / being able to squeeze on a successful Escape roll? The trait says "you can squeeze through much smaller openings than your size might suggest", but how much of a difference does it make?
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