06 December 2018

Grappling should be simple, advantageous, and risky

UPDATE: I no longer like the rules I placed here and have now deleted them. I am replacing them with the following:

Yes, every oldschool RPG blogger eventually seems to make a post about grappling. Here's mine.

I tried to keep mine as simple as it possibly could be while still giving players clear access to some important choices to make before entering combat, not just during it.

I also made grappling risky instead of just a way to automatically remove an enemy from combat. It's a tactical decision, not an easy out.

Combat Maneuvers

Instead of attacking, a PC may attempt a combat maneuver against an enemy.

  1. Roll a Check (usually Dexterity, Strength, or Attack.)
  2. Add a Boon if the enemy would find it difficult to prevent this Maneuver or add a Bane if the enemy would be likely to prevent it. 
  3. If the Check succeeds, the maneuver occurs.
  4. If it fails, the enemy prevents the maneuver, putting the PC in a disadvantageous situation if possible.


  • Shoving
  • Tripping 
  • Disarming
  • Grappling
  • Breaking through enemy lines to engage in melee beyond the first rank.

Notes on grappling:

  • When a grapple is in progress, the grappler must follow the combat maneuver procedure again each combat round.
  • Anyone involved in a grapple who is armed with a close weapon (a dagger, brass knuckles, a derringer, fangs, claws, etc.) is granted a successful attack each combat round.

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