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Old 12-02-2020, 09:47 AM   #11
DouglasCole
Doctor of GURPS Ballistics
 
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Burnsville, MN
Default Re: Arm Lock with and without Technical Grappling rules

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If you manage to survive that without giving up the grab or having to release one hand to Parry, then you can perform a lock, adding CP. Again, that doesn't do very much to your foe other than immobilize one arm (which is very good), and maybe face him with a -1 or so on that next punch which is coming.
...or -5 to punch, -7 (including the -2 to DX from a kick) to kick if you slide into the side arc. :-)

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God forbid he perform a Telegraphic Rapid Strike on both turns. In that case, you either have to completely give up the grab/lock, give up one hand and hope you can absorb the multiple parry penalties, or risk Dodges which will likely still be low in spite of the bonus you get from your foe doing a Telegraphic Atk.
If your foe is capable enough to perform a telegraphic rapid strike, then you're in an MMA type situation where the skill levels are equal. In that case, you see a lot of striking, full-body grapples, and only then are you following that up with ground-level locks that leverage weight advantage, relative position, and (frequently) beating the holy heck out of the other guy, taking advantage of shock.

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I think when most players, myself included think of a skilled character performing an Arm Lock (followed by a Knee Strike and a Kiss the Wall), they think of something like this.
If they think that - and no denying it's awesome - then to enable this you need to turn on the cinematic switches. Because these partners - and stunt men are partners - throw telegraphic all-out attacks, which are merrily parried by the hero, and then freakin' stand there as hero does Cool Martial Arts Stuff to them.

I am not trying to be dismissive of the skill of the primary actors or their stunt-man partners. I know a few of these guys and they're amazing. But those movies are designed to show off intricate skills through careful choreography, and Real Life is messier than that. You've trained: you know this!



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The Parry happens at 1:16, the Arm Lock at 1:17, the Knee Strike at 1:18, and Kiss the Wall at 1:19. While you could make an argument for a Stun happening somewhere in there, none of that sequence would work if the bad guy got to make 2 - 3 punches in the middle of it.
But it works great if the bad guy only AoA's, which is what most of the movies represent. Shock penalties impact their ability to strike successfully, and my read of many of those scenes (including most of Black Widow's supposedly expert opposition in the scene in Iron Man 2) is "stunt man AoAs and stands there as Hero beats 'em up."

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To be able to pull off stuff like this in TG, you need a very strong character with very high skills, points in several techniques, and either the Cranking it Up or Quick and Dirty switches in TG. And even then, you still run the risks I outlined above.
I think all of those movies, though, have Cranking it Up on.

The other thing that is worth considering here is the exploitation and training in combinations or, even better, Extra Attack. That allows you to (say) apply an arm lock AND apply pain each turn, which imparts stacking penalties from -2 for Moderate Pain to -6 for Severe...and of course if you manage to score Agony they're done.

My experience is that Extra Attack is 100% worth it for grapplers who can afford it (and cinema heroes can), because it turns a lot of the moves that usually have to be trained as Rapid Strikes (arm-lock/attack is a big one) or on sequential turns and turns them into one-move things.

My more hands-on training does suggest that applying an arm lock and pain in one move is the most common thing - the position for most joint locks (as opposed to "simple" holds that immobilize limbs without reaching the limits of movement) puts the joint in a position of near-zero leverage and usually very much non-zero discomfort. Moving the "apply pain as a free action" to the same turn as the Arm Lock attack rather than the following turn should fix up the issue you see with "and now I have to wait for my foe."

The requirement to spend CP to apply pain is something that I did away with in Fantastic Dungeon Grappling, and it's something I'd do away with in a notional TG 2nd Edition too. That mechanic "makes sense" from a game perspective but for things like strangles and locks, never feels right in play.

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For what it's worth, I think the Technical Grappling book is a masterpiece, and there are tons of components that I love (spending CP for dmg/lowering hit penalties, more details on armed grappling, relative facing, etc.). I just think it reduces the utility of a previously overpowered technique to one of almost uselessness outside of a sporting competition.
My own experience is that a lot of the "formal" joint locks only work when your foe is surprised at your resistance. Being grabbed at a bar or a table was my own example, where someone got mad and grabbed my shirt, reaching directly to his left. It was a perfect setup for a C-Lock (and why I always insist grapples are mutual!) and so I just grabbed his hand as I stood up and turned, which moved him into "locked" position. Stepping away, he was then forced backwards, tipping his chair over and him with it. No harm to anyone other than that. But it was not something I feel I could have done had he tried that as a quick shot rather than "I will grab you and be intimidating, rah!"

In actual sports grappling, I see a lot more "big moves" in terms of using the entire body rather than the sort of "I have you at arm's length with a finger lock" precision manipulation.

Regardless: if you want cinematic fights you do have to employ cinematic switches, let your guys buy Extra Attack so they can do a lot of "combo" moves without a rapid strike, or really leverage that side and rear arc Change Position maneuver...which you can combine with any other Maneuver that allows a step. As Arm Lock is an attack, you can Change Position-Arm Lock in one move. That should take the wind out of their sails!

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Has it come up in any of your games since TG was published, and how did it work out?
I'll admit most of the games I have run use the shorter "Fantastic Dungeon Grappling" rules, which take a lot of the fiddle out of the sequences, and make some improvements in speed of play. Exxar has a great post extrapolating almost all (all?) of the techniques listed in MA:TG to the FDG ruleset.
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Last edited by DouglasCole; 12-02-2020 at 09:50 AM.
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arm lock, martial arts, technical grappling

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