Thursday, January 31, 2013

Honoring Basic Fantasy Role Play: A Rule I REALLY Like

Maybe you are familiar with Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game.  Maybe you aren't.  To be honest, it is probably one of the most overlooked of all of the retro-clones.  In fact, I often overlook this gem myself.  While my ideal cup of tea lies within B/X, this has a solid rule set, good presentation, and a great price Free for the PDF and very cheap for hard copies.  These can both be acquired here.  There you go.  I'm happy that I helped to get you a free copy of a new game, maybe some modules and supplements too (did you see those?)  

Now that you have this let me draw your attention to something that I REALLY like.  Page 48:  Wrestling rules.  This ruling is what many modern rpg's refer to as "grappling."  Typically the rules for grappling are long winded and difficult to remember.  This version of the rule is a good rule.  I think a variation of it should replace the "grappling" rules in every game that contains them, and be given as an option in games that do not yet have such a rule.  This is really a good way of handling said action.  Let's take a look:

A wrestling attack requires a successful melee attack roll,
where success indicates the attacker has grabbed his or her
opponent. This hold is maintained until the attacker
releases it or the defender makes a save vs. Death Ray,
which is attempted at the defender's next action (according
to Initiative). A successful wrestling attack causes the
attacker to move into the same “space” as the defender (if
miniature figures are used).

After achieving a hold on an opponent, the attacker can
automatically inflict unarmed damage (as if striking with a
fist), prevent a held opponent from speaking, use simple
magic items such as rings, or take any other action the GM
allows. The attacker may also attempt to acquire an item
the opponent is holding (such as a weapon) or attempt to
move the opponent (as described below). A held
character may be voluntarily released whenever the
attacker so desires.

The attacker can’t draw or use a weapon or use a wand,
staff, scroll or potion, escape another’s wrestling attack,
cast a spell, or pin another character while holding an

Moving the Opponent: The attacker can move up to
one-half speed (bringing the defender along) with a
successful attack roll, if the attacker is strong enough to
carry or drag the defender.

Acquiring an Object: The attacker may attempt to take
an item away from the defender. This requires an
additional attack roll; if the roll fails, the defender may
immediately attempt an attack roll (even if he or she has
already attacked this round) which, if successful, results in
the defender pinning the attacker; or, the defender may
choose to escape instead of reversing the hold.

Actions Allowed to the Defender: The target of a
successful hold is usually immobile (but not helpless) at
least until his or her next action, as determined by
Initiative. Such characters suffer a penalty of -4 to AC
against opponents other than the attacker.

If the defender is significantly stronger and/or larger than
the attacker, he or she may move at up to one-half speed,
dragging the attacker along.

On the defender's next action, he or she can try to escape
the pin with a saving throw vs. Death Ray; the defender
must apply the better of his or her Strength or Dexterity
bonuses (or penalties) on this roll. If the escape roll
succeeds, the defender finishes the action by moving into
any space adjacent to the attacker.

If more than one attacker has a hold on a particular
defender, a successful escape roll frees the defender from
just one of those attackers.

Held characters may also use simple magic items such as
rings. A character being held may not normally cast a
spell, even if he or she has not been silenced by the

Multiple Opponents: Several combatants can be
involved in a wrestling match. Up to four combatants can
wrestle a single opponent of normal size in a given round.
Creatures that are smaller than the attacker count for half,
while creatures that are larger count at least double (as
determined by the GM). Note that, after an opponent is
pinned, other attackers benefit from the -4 AC penalty
applied to the defender. However, this AC penalty is not
cumulative (that is, each successful attack does not lower
the defender's AC further).

It is also possible for another character to attack the
attacker in an ongoing wrestling bout. In this case, a
successful hold on the attacker grants the original defender
a +4 bonus on subsequent escape rolls.

Wrestling With Monsters: In general, the rules above
can be used not only when character races wrestle but also
when humanoid monsters are involved. The GM will
decide whether or not to allow wrestling involving nonhumanoid
creatures on a case-by-case basis; if this is
allowed, the following adjustments apply:
Creatures with extra grasping appendages (more than the
usual two) gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls or saving throws
for each such appendage. This includes creatures with
feet capable of grasping (such as monkeys or apes, giant
spiders, etc.)

Large creatures able to fly may attempt to carry off their
opponents (even if the flying creature is the defender).

Wrestling attacks against creatures with touch attacks (such
as wights) will cause the attacker to suffer one such attack
automatically every round.

This is all really good stuff!  I dig it.  It would take minimal effort to insert (or replace an existing rule) in any D&D based system.  That being said all that would need to be replaces is the "save" required to break free.  I would argue that this might be better (and more universal) if it were altered to making opposed strength checks or attack roles.  Either way, I do believe that I am adopting this into my C&C and S&W games!  Enjoy your free game!