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Old 09-12-2020, 02:43 AM   #1
Jaware
 
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Default Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

So, the group was in a place where they were having a 1v1 with another unarmed individual MMA style near gladiatorial combat for entertainment purposes, and one of the PCs did a grabbing parry and asked how it worked.

So I told him from memory, and then we looked it up because I couldn't remember the modifiers of the top of my head.

Well. He noticed that the description doesn't specify that it works like Jam and Aggressive parry (I had honestly never looked I just assumed. and it is 100% my fault)

so. now im confused.

Jam and aggressive parry work by giving a minus to your parry (assuming you haven't bought it off as a technique), and then roll defense.

if you succeed the defense, roll vs. underlying skill at a modifier depending on what you are trying to hit, if you succeed do stuff, if you don't, not enough damage to cause injury.

But Grabbing parry, at least from what i look at it, doesn't say it works that way.

the scenario was the PC used grabbing parry on a punch from a fighter with 2 levels of rapid retraction. he succeeded by 0. before the rapid retraction was taken into effect. and he asked if he failed his parry because the other dude pulled his arm back fast enough.

I was stumped. I ruled no, he succeeded his parry, but failed the grab. and we continued. but i told him i would ask.

What is going on here? is there supposed to be a (if parry successful, roll vs. underlying skill) clause in there? or is there something im missing?
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:23 AM   #2
Plane
 
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
Jam and aggressive parry work by giving a minus to your parry (assuming you haven't bought it off as a technique), and then roll defense.

if you succeed the defense, roll vs. underlying skill at a modifier depending on what you are trying to hit, if you succeed do stuff, if you don't, not enough damage to cause injury.
It's zero damage, or I guess fractional damage that rounds down?

It's a weird concept since parries establish contact so the to-hit roll isn't for determining contact but rather it's effectiveness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
But Grabbing parry, at least from what i look at it, doesn't say it works that way.
TG5 establishes that even if you have pathetic ST a success can be useful:
A successful grappling attack or Grabbing Parry (p. 42) achieves a grip on your opponent, even if you roll 0 CP.
One thing I often forget is it can't be used against incrementing:
to grapple the attacker back when attacked with a strike or a grapple on a new location, use Grabbing Parry
TG42 also:
You may not use Grabbing Parry if your foe is attacking to improve an existing grapple.
Next best thing is Escaping Parry because if you remove all CP then excess can establish a counter-grapple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
the scenario was the PC used grabbing parry on a punch from a fighter with 2 levels of rapid retraction. he succeeded by 0. before the rapid retraction was taken into effect. and he asked if he failed his parry because the other dude pulled his arm back fast enough.
TG30:
You get +1 on all rolls to avoid techniques enabled by a successful enemy parry, including Grabbing Parry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
I was stumped. I ruled no, he succeeded his parry, but failed the grab. and we continued. but i told him i would ask.

What is going on here? is there supposed to be a (if parry successful, roll vs. underlying skill) clause in there? or is there something im missing?
TG42 does seem to gloss over some elsewhere-implied steps...

Choose a legal parry and defense option (if desired);
you can capture a striking arm (or weapon!), grab a kick, slip in and grapple the torso (see Retreat Options, Martial Arts, p. 123), etc.
Success grapples your foe with the limbs used
There's no mention of a roll to hit there.
Nor if there is a defense against that hit.
The end penalties I think are meant for that hit
RR also implies active defense
which AP/Jam don't get...
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:17 PM   #3
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

Grabbing Parry points back to Hand Catch (MA82), which automatically grapples on a success. Additionally, if it called for an attack roll, with the opponent using a defense roll, there'd be no need for Rapid Retraction to cause a penalty to the initial Parry, as it would function just fine giving its normal bonus to defense. So, all told, I'd say the intent for Grabbing Parry is that success on it automatically starts a grapple, albeit a weak one (damage based on half ST).

As for how to handle the interaction with Rapid Retraction, the RAW looks to indicate that the character would have indeed failed their defense and been hit by the enemy. However, I think your handling of it - introducing a third state (Parried but didn't grapple, as opposed to the normal states of failing at both or succeeding at both) - makes more sense, and is arguably more fair. The RAW version has the benefit of simplicity.
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Grabbing Parry points back to Hand Catch (MA82)
I'm seeing it on MA84, maybe different printings?

I forgot about the "It’s a one-handed parry, even if the prerequisite skill usually parries with two hands" part. If GP took that approach it would explain the "0.5x regardless" approach Cole took.

Feels like Judo ought to be better at that since they normally do 1H parries. My headcanon is that wrestling/sumo should be -1 do normal parries 1handed, so grabbing should be also, with an option to do 2H "hand catch" except since you can only fit one hand per hand, your other hand just targets the wrist/forearm instead.

which automatically grapples on a success.
[/quote]
I'm not seeing that, I'm seeing:
Success means you parry and may roll against the prerequisite skill to grab
It's just that the next stop seems to imply a lack of active defence:
Success on this skill roll means you grapple the extremity
Much like MA65 ("Success on this skill roll inflicts thrust-4 crushing") or MA75 ("Success on this skill roll inflicts thrust-3 crushing").

MA65's callback to basic ("Weapon parries against unarmed attacks are essentially aggressive “for free”; see Parrying Unarmed Attacks (p. B376).") causes us to think of Aggressive Parry (and thus the similarly "neglects to mention active defence option against free attack") in those terms.

PUA
Immediately roll against your skill with the weapon you used to parry.
This roll is at -4 if your attacker used Judo or Karate.
If you succeed, your parry struck the attacker’s limb squarely.
He gets no defense roll against this!
Roll damage normally.
The "NDAT" disclaimer isn't present on MA65/MA75/MA84 though, so it isn't obvious when reading these techs in Martial Art. They merely don't mention whether or not the target can defend, rather than explicitly say he cannot as B376 helpfully did.

Comparing these 3 techs in MA to PUA via "essentially aggressive" is also a bit oversimplifying, because MA adds options here which aren't noted in B376:
1) "attack the attacking body part or weapon" .. 376 only attacks a LIMB (ie you hit the arm, not the fist, when parrying a punch with your knife) and there's no option to use it against a weapon
2) Aggressive Parry has no listed penalty to hit the limb of someone using Judo or Karate, only Aggressive Parry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
if it called for an attack roll,
with the opponent using a defense roll,
there'd be no need for Rapid Retraction to cause a penalty to the initial Parry,
as it would function just fine giving its normal bonus to defense.
Point of clarification: Judo/Karate then Rapid Retraction never penalized the "initial parry" but rather the attack roll you got to make if that parry roll succeeded.

B376 explicitly doesn't allow a defence, which is why the strike roll being penalized had to be done instead.

B376 never really explained what a failed roll means though...

Like for example "not forcefully enough to damage" makes sense for crushing attacks. We know those can do 0 damage. But what about cutting attacks? Those always do minimum basic damage of 1.

I could understand it for impaling weapons like spears because that could reflect parrying with the blunt shaft (parrying with the tip is actually a very strange thing to picture... feels like there ought to be a penalty for it... but maybe that just reflects using a spear-based instead of staff-based parry)

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
So, all told, I'd say the intent for Grabbing Parry is that success on it automatically starts a grapple, albeit a weak one (damage based on half ST).
At first I didn't think so, but on taking a closer look I agree with you. He took out the hit roll, you just roll parry, then roll CP. Same on MA41 for using Binding as Grabbing Parry. TG36's "Escaping Parry" as well, no attack/hit/strike roll mentioned there either...

The most notable change here (aside from no mention of a 2nd roll against skill, as I initially assumed he just accidentally omitted it) is how Cole dealt with hit locations.

MA65/75 used -2 to hit limbs and -4 to hit extremities.
MA84 uses -2 to hit extremities and doesn't even allow you to target a limb, so it might not even be a valid defence against stuff like Elbow Strike or Knee Attack...

Like 65/75 counterstrikes, 84's counter-grapple has a -1 against Rapid Retraction ... RR giving a -1 to a DX-based roll of the non-RR party, as opposed to a +1 to a DX/2 based roll of the one with RR.

That kind of inequivalence is seen with Feints / Defensive Feints, so there's not always a 2:1 ratio like with telegraphic attack, deceptive attack or technique pricing.

"-2 to hit a hand or foot" from Hand Catch is clearly using the "halved hit location to grapple" rules, but on the followup to-hit roll when a parry is successful.

HC's basic penalty was slightly larger (-3) compared to GP (-2) though which might have something to do with why Cole is willing to shift the hit locations for the grapple target onto the base roll to build it up again.

"Grabbing Parry vs Limb" is essentially the same difficulty hand catch used to be (-3) while "Grabbing Parry vs Extremity" is HARDER (-4).

One advantage to this of course is that by buying up their active defence technique, they aren't just increasing the likelihood of parrying but the likelihood of attacking too.

It wasn't necessary to merge them to do that but perhaps one realistic thing Cole is going for is you can't really divide the components: trying to smack a guy's foot instead of his leg is probably going to decrease likelihood of you parrying at all, not just likelihood of the parry doing damage.

"Damage" in this case being control points.

OTOH let's look at the change from MA51:
get +1 on all rolls to avoid such techniques as Arm Lock and Leg Grapple when they follow an enemy parry
to T30:
get +1 on all rolls to avoid techniques enabled by a successful enemy parry, including Grabbing Parry, Judo Throw, and Leg Grapple.
I expect the first example of GP that maybe Cole wrote that when he intiially had GP still working as HC did, alike to 376/AgPar/Jam with a separate followup strike roll after the parry roll.

Perhaps he changed that but forgot to go back and rewrite the T30 note on RR?

Cole also included the note in the rewrite of Leg Grapple on TG39:
"If your foe has Rapid Retraction, he defends at +1 per level of the perk."
Point of confusion here is that Hand Catch is multifaceted the parry itself. There's basically two components we can name, the "Hand Catch Parry" (roll to see if you stop the attack: success also gives you a roll to hit) and the "Hand Catch Strike" (roll to see if your strike hits) just like with 376/AgPar/Jam

B376 never calls this roll a "strike", it's described as a roll to hit "squarely" the limb of the attacker. Doesn't explicitly say the ATTACKING limb but I think that's strongly implied (common sense).

"strike" is used on MA65/MA75 though: "roll against the underlying skill to strike"

In these techniques is the hidden benefit of Rapid Retraction never mentioned on MA51: the penalty AgPar/Jam have to hit the limb/extremity (but not weapon) of unarmed attackers who have Rapid Retraction.

Although a fixed -1 is all that's mentioned, I think that's also implied to scale up (like the +1s) where it can be a leveled perk.

AgPar/Jam relationship with Rapid Retraction (-1 or possibly more on the strike/attack roll) is basically what B376 had with Judo/Karate. RAW it seems never the twain shall meet (Judo/Karate doesn't penalize AgPar/Jam and Rapid Retraction doesn't penalize B376) but given the similarity of concept I can see people floating the benefits both ways.

Cole's applying the "+1 on rolls to avoid" to Grabbing Parry does seem like you can get a defence against the attack. Otherwise he would've just made it a note like MA65/75 had: inducing a -1 to the attack roll resulting from the 2nd half of Grabbing Parry.

TG42's "-1 per level of foe’s Rapid Retraction" applied to a DEFENCE roll (based on HALF skill, not FULL skill as before) makes RR far more effective against Grabbing Parry than it was against Hand Catch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
As for how to handle the interaction with Rapid Retraction, the RAW looks to indicate that the character would have indeed failed their defense and been hit by the enemy. However, I think your handling of it - introducing a third state (Parried but didn't grapple, as opposed to the normal states of failing at both or succeeding at both) - makes more sense, and is arguably more fair. The RAW version has the benefit of simplicity.
So basically, have Grabbing Parry function like B376 / MA65 / MA75 as it originally did in the hand catch incarnation?

Ironically enough, the "parry and hit merged" idea makes way more sense for those three than for Grabbing Parry, since grappling has a clear "closing my fingers around" sort of aspect to it after "just flat-palm pushing the incoming limb" response.

Allowing active defences inherently against these freeish pseudoattacks (whether they auto-hit like Grabbing Parry / Escaping parry or require followup rolls like Aggressive Parry / Jam / Hand Catch) not to mention the classic B376 weapon option (which explicitly says no defence) might require Cosmic Defences, but another idea is just to allow anyone to defend in "no defence" situations at -4. The benefits/drawbacks comparison of All-Out Attack with Technique Design implies that relationship strongly.
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:42 PM   #5
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
I'm seeing it on MA84, maybe different printings?
Got my wires crossed; it is indeed MA84.

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
I forgot about the "It’s a one-handed parry, even if the prerequisite skill usually parries with two hands" part. If GP took that approach it would explain the "0.5x regardless" approach Cole took.
Grabbing Parry is probably just fine being able to be a two-handed grapple - in fact, that should probably be required for (Sumo) Wrestling - it's just that you don't get full "damage," as it were.

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Success means you parry and may roll against the prerequisite skill to grab
Ah, I missed that. Checking Aggressive Parry and Jam, it looks like Grabbing Parry just failed to make mention of the roll against skill - and that the modifiers it lists apply to that, not to the defense. So, in the case of MoS 0 against a foe with Rapid Retraction 2, the initial roll is sufficient to be able to attempt a grab, but said grab is at -2 for Rapid Retraction (on top of the -1 for an arm, for a total of -3).

As for my mention of defense, I was under the impression the target of an Aggressive Parry was able to make a defense against it, but I see now that is not the case (and for good reason; the last thing we need is an endless exchange as two characters keep trying to use Grabbing Parry or similar on each other over and over and over and...*).

*EDIT: Now that I think about it, I've seen something like this in a video game, and it was incredibly annoying there. In Ehrgeiz, throws can be reversed with the right timing, but unless the result is the character simply breaking the grapple (which does happen with a few throws), the throw that it gets reversed into is also reversible. Playing against the AI on the highest difficulty renders throws unusable, as they will always reverse whatever you try - indeed, I once put two max-difficulty AI opponents against each other in training mode, and once it came to a grapple they basically danced until I got tired of it and exited training.
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Last edited by Varyon; 09-12-2020 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 09-13-2020, 03:58 AM   #6
Jaware
 
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

This is pretty much what I suspected. Just a simple oversight, and a line of "roll vs underlying skill at these modifiers" was missing.

I appreciate the help, and the delve into the guts of the system for an explanation.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:48 AM   #7
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
So, the group was in a place where they were having a 1v1 with another unarmed individual MMA style near gladiatorial combat for entertainment purposes, and one of the PCs did a grabbing parry and asked how it worked.

So I told him from memory, and then we looked it up because I couldn't remember the modifiers of the top of my head.

Well. He noticed that the description doesn't specify that it works like Jam and Aggressive parry (I had honestly never looked I just assumed. and it is 100% my fault)

so. now im confused.

Jam and aggressive parry work by giving a minus to your parry (assuming you haven't bought it off as a technique), and then roll defense.

if you succeed the defense, roll vs. underlying skill at a modifier depending on what you are trying to hit, if you succeed do stuff, if you don't, not enough damage to cause injury.

But Grabbing parry, at least from what i look at it, doesn't say it works that way.

That's correct. You take a penalty to Parry equivalent to -4 to skill, -2 to Parry, plus modifiers for what you're trying to grab. And if you're successful, you've achieved a (usually very weak) grapple of the foe's limb.

Even at ST 20, half ST is 1d-2 CP, and a more usual ST 14 hero is 1d-3...so half the time you have "grappled" the foe but don't have enough control to even interfere slightly with their movement (by spending CP).

Having an additional roll in this case was discussed and discarded in the playtest, because the rewards for the parry are so low.

Quote:
the scenario was the PC used grabbing parry on a punch from a fighter with 2 levels of rapid retraction. he succeeded by 0. before the rapid retraction was taken into effect. and he asked if he failed his parry because the other dude pulled his arm back fast enough.

I was stumped. I ruled no, he succeeded his parry, but failed the grab. and we continued. but i told him i would ask.

What is going on here? is there supposed to be a (if parry successful, roll vs. underlying skill) clause in there? or is there something im missing?
Having to make the parry by an MoS equal or more than levels of rapid retraction is an excellent way to rule this one. It's a PERK, not a power, so it shouldn't be that good, but on parries, as opposed to contests, it "counts double" because an MoS of 1 or 2 requires 2 or 4 skill levels to cancel out.

But ultimately, that's what the thinking was when it got put in there. The rewards for it are low, and the expectation is that you don't have to "waste" an attack achieving a grapple on your own turn, not that you parry and lock 'em up super tight ready for destruction.

Given low expected reward, the overhead of an extra Quick Contest was deemed to be a waste of game time.

And note that even if the grab is successful, and the person who parried goes to develop the grapple on their own turn . . . the now-defender can use Escaping Parry on p. 36...which allows 0.5 x Trained ST (slightly better than the Grabbing Parry's 0.5 x ST) to shed the (probably weak) grapple.

So there's some back and forth built into it, and Grabbing Parry and Escaping Parry are built the same way: make the Parry, roll CP.

If you wanted to make BOTH work more like "make parry, roll QC" that's a fine way to go! Anything that reduces cognitive overhead in play is a good thing for a particular group. The above explanation gives the WHY of it...at least according to my mind in 2012 or so when I first wrote the darn thing.
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

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That's correct. You take a penalty to Parry equivalent to -4 to skill, -2 to Parry, plus modifiers for what you're trying to grab. And if you're successful, you've achieved a (usually very weak) grapple of the foe's limb.

...
Having an additional roll in this case was discussed and discarded in the playtest, because the rewards for the parry are so low.
The additional roll will often make the chance of success higher, because it puts the additional penalties on the second roll, not the first. Consider a character with skill 12 in a grappling skill, who hasn't trained up Grabbing Parry. With the two-roll version, to grab an arm that's punching at him, he needs to roll against 7 (his Parry is 9, -2 for Grabbing Parry) then 11 (skill 12, -1 to grapple an arm). His chance of pulling it off is (0.162*0.625)=10.125%. With the one-roll version, he needs a single success against 6 (Parry 9, -2 to Grabbing Parry, -1 for arm, as stated in the Technique), which is a 9.25% chance. If he had bought up the Technique to full, the two-roll version would be a roll against 9 then 11 for (0.375*0.625)=23.4%, while the one-roll version would be a single roll against 8, with a 25.92% chance of success. That's slightly higher, but if you work out probabilities for characters with skill above 12 (that is, the majority of characters who are likely to actually try Grabbing Parry), two-roll consistently gives a better result than one-roll. This also has the advantage of matching with the way Aggressive Parry and Jam work.

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Given low expected reward, the overhead of an extra Quick Contest was deemed to be a waste of game time.
The roll for attempting to damage the target when using Aggressive Parry/Jam is unopposed, so if we have Grabbing Parry work like that, we don't need to worry about a QC. Indeed, as it stands, if we just add in this extra roll to Grabbing Parry, it behaves almost exactly as one would expect from an Aggressive Parry that replaces the strike with a grapple (the modifiers to hit are halved, as normal for hit locations when grappling, the only difference is that the damage penalty is in the form of using 0.5xST rather than taking a -3 to damage).
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Old 09-13-2020, 01:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Ah, I missed that. Checking Aggressive Parry and Jam, it looks like Grabbing Parry just failed to make mention of the roll against skill - and that the modifiers it lists apply to that, not to the defense.
Not sure if it's failure to make mention, I'm thinking perhaps it was intentional removal of that step.

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As for my mention of defense, I was under the impression the target of an Aggressive Parry was able to make a defense against it, but I see now that is not the case
I have no concrete answer for this since they went and took out the explicit note Basic set had for weapons. Despite the comparison they make to that, there are other critical differences AP has (can target extremities or weapons) that make me hesitant to assume it follows Basic Set policy for "free aggressive parry".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
(and for good reason; the last thing we need is an endless exchange as two characters keep trying to use Grabbing Parry or similar on each other over and over and over and...*).

*EDIT: Now that I think about it, I've seen something like this in a video game, and it was incredibly annoying there. In Ehrgeiz, throws can be reversed with the right timing, but unless the result is the character simply breaking the grapple (which does happen with a few throws), the throw that it gets reversed into is also reversible.

Playing against the AI on the highest difficulty renders throws unusable, as they will always reverse whatever you try - indeed, I once put two max-difficulty AI opponents against each other in training mode, and once it came to a grapple they basically danced until I got tired of it and exited training.
I don't think GURPS has to worry about the endless exchange problem. In most cases you'll just hit a failure wall due to cumulative -4. It might go a bit further for TBAM with their smaller -2 cumulative, but it will still happen.

Eventually the penalties will be so bad you won't bother doing GPs you'll just do normal parries to guarantee success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
The rewards for it are low, and the expectation is that you don't have to "waste" an attack achieving a grapple on your own turn, not that you parry and lock 'em up super tight ready for destruction.
That makes sense for 2H GPs done by wrestle/sumo (half as much as CP as you'd usually do) but not for the 1H judo ones since you get 100% the CP you normally would when using a 1H grapple, so it's just as effective as opting to attack w/ 1 hand.

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And note that even if the grab is successful, and the person who parried goes to develop the grapple on their own turn . . . the now-defender can use Escaping Parry on p. 36...which allows 0.5 x Trained ST (slightly better than the Grabbing Parry's 0.5 x ST) to shed the (probably weak) grapple.
TG4 "For techniques, this is relative to DX, not to the skill it defaults from"

TG48 the unarmed skills are listed under note 1, slow progression, so you need to buy skill up to DX+4 just to get +1 to ST...

getting your parry up to DX+4 would be especially difficult since it's based on 1/2 skill.

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the only difference is that the damage penalty is in the form of using 0.5xST rather than taking a -3 to damage).
That's not even a penalty at all unless you actually have incredibly beyond-DX training in your skill though.

-3 to damage is like -6 to striking ST.

By comparison to get +3 to trained ST via high skill (at ST 19 or less) via the slow-progress skills people normally use requires DX+19.

To get up to DX+19 on a baseline use such as an attack first requires (for Hard-difficulty Judo) spending 4 points to buy it up to DX, then 4*19=76 points to get it up to DX+19.

This still only gives you a (DX+19)/2+1 Grabbing Parry, meaning to get your Grabbing Parry technique 19 points higher than your DX is going to require you to get your base skill up to DX*2+37.

That strangely would require more skill investment to get a ST bonus the higher your base DX is.
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Old 09-13-2020, 02:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Technical Grappling: Grabbing Parry clarification

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I have no concrete answer for this since they went and took out the explicit note Basic set had for weapons. Despite the comparison they make to that, there are other critical differences AP has (can target extremities or weapons) that make me hesitant to assume it follows Basic Set policy for "free aggressive parry".
To be clear, Aggressive Parry does not state that you make an attack roll, or anything of the like. Rather, it states that, on a successful Aggressive Parry, you roll against skill (with modifiers as described) and, on a success, inflict damage. That's hardly ambiguous, I think.

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
I don't think GURPS has to worry about the endless exchange problem. In most cases you'll just hit a failure wall due to cumulative -4. It might go a bit further for TBAM with their smaller -2 cumulative, but it will still happen.
Endless, no, but with good Parry scores (and using a one-handed skill, where you can keep alternating which hand you use to Parry to slow the accumulation), it can certainly go on long enough to get rather annoying... and potentially silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
That's not even a penalty at all unless you actually have incredibly beyond-DX training in your skill though.
I wasn't saying the penalty for Grabbing Parry was worse than the penalty Aggressive Parry, but rather that it was calculated differently. There are some ST's for which 0.5xST is worse than a flat -1 damage and -1/die or -2 (whichever is worse), there are some where it's better, and there are some where it's equal. For example, a character with ST 10 is at 1d-4 at ST/2 but 1d-5 at -3, a character with ST 20 is at 1d-2 at ST/2 but 2d-4 (which can be simplified to 1d or 1d-1, depending on how you round) at -3, and a character with ST 15 is at 1d-3 either way.
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