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Traveller UFC (Everyone was kung-fu fighting ... or ... Greco-Roman grabby feely)


Edited 1488177522
I really should have made this post a long time ago. Really feel the need to now just to let folks know what Kayleb was up to during the last game. Normally combat is pretty much a " roll to hit " then " roll for damage " affair. I was hoping to get into something a little more interesting so a while back I started working up Kayleb's Melee (Unarmed Combat) skill hoping to become a little better at Grappling. The cool thing about Mongoose Traveller's grappling rules is that they move you out of the " roll to hit " then " roll for damage " show. Instead, combat becomes an opposed skill check between the two characters grappling. The awesome things about grappling are: It's a bit easier to be effective. Instead of needing to roll 8+ you just have to beat your opponent's Melee (Unarmed Combat) skill check. You get to do cool, interesting and sometimes brutal things to your opponent. Battledress may stop bullets, but it doesn't save you from being thrown off a cliff! It's great for teamwork. One can pin a guy to the ground while the other can wail on him! You can negate your opponent's strengths and emphasis your own. That PGMP armed goon in battledress can't annihilate anyone with that PGMP if he's busy wrestling someone (the STR bonus from battledress does give him a bit of an advantage in a grapple though). The dark side of grappling however: The risk. If you botch your roll, or if your opponent rolls well, he gets to do something nasty to you instead! "Missing" can have serious consequences.  And you don't always know how combat effective your opponent is. He could be a ninja-judo-greco-roman wrestling champion for all you know! And if he is you're day is about to get ruined. If you don't have the teamwork thing happening you may end up in a drawn out wrestling match. Sometimes it's better to be in there doing damage rather than just getting grabby with people.  You can't do anything else once you're in a grapple. You can only do grapply things. Here are the actual rules for Grappling ( from page 46 of the Core Rulebook ): Grappling A character can attempt to wrestle or grab another person instead of hitting him. The attacker must move to Personal range and beat his target in an opposed Melee (unarmed) check. If he wins, he may do any one of the following: • Knock his opponent prone. • Disarm his opponent. If he succeeds by 6+ he can take the weapon away; otherwise it ends up on the floor. • Throw his opponent up to three metres for 1d6 damage. • Inflict damage equal to 2 + the Effect. • Escape the grapple and move away (as if with a normal movement action). • Continue the grapple with no other effects. • Drag his opponent up to three metres. Throwing an opponent always ends the grapple. With any other option the winner can choose to end or continue the grapple as he sees fit. A character in a grapple cannot move or do anything other than make opposed Melee checks. Each time an opposed check is made the winner can choose an option from the above list. So in the last game, Kayleb charged in and ( luckily ) managed to win the opposed check. Kayleb knocked "Vargr 2" prone because I figured that would be better for everyone. Being prone is a pretty bad position to be in if folks are on top of you. A prone character cannot make melee attacks or dodge . He may make improved use of cover like a crouching character and he may still parry melee attacks. All ranged attacks targeting him suffer a –2 DM penalty. At Close range, the penalty is reduced to +0; a prone character being attacked at Personal range grants a +2 DM to attacks against him. So at the moment it's a win for us because Vargr 2 can't chop us with his cyber claws. Kayleb has wrestled him into a position where that's not an option for him at the moment. The only thing V2 can do is wrestle. Getting into "Personal" ( 0-1m - in the same square ) range to get that +2 DM to hit may get awkward. Let's just say Jeff wants to pop someone at personal range once they have been wrestled into a prone position. Laser Rifles suffer a -3DM at personal range. The +2 DM does go some way toward negating that I guess, but it's not exactly a huge win. Players using pistols or swords only suffer a -1 to attack at personal range, so they're winning a bit. Folks with daggers can go nuts and get the full +2DM with no penalty.  And there is also the Firing into Combat rule: If a character is firing a weapon at a target who is at Personal range to another combatant, then the attack suffers a –2 DM. If the  attack misses , roll 1d6. On a 4+, the attack hits the nearest other combatant to the original target. I'm not sure if this rule still counts if you're also at Personal Range. I'm guessing so. End of the day, it's probably better to go melee if you're ganging up on someone. Also, there is a rule that states that if you move into Personal range you have to stop there. You can move out of personal range the following round if you like. So if folks are wrestling in a doorway or corridor they're going to block traffic. Anywhoo ... just wanted to post this just in case there was anyone here not up on the rules wondering why Kayleb wasn't getting decapitated by Vargr2. Our boy K has been spending the last 20 weeks training up in the ancient Imperial Marine art of touchy grabby.  PS EDIT " DAGGER : A small knife weapon, approximately 20 centimetres in length. Daggers are especially suited to close-quarters combat – while grappling (see page 64) someone armed with a dagger can do Effect + 4 damage if they choose to hurt their opponent." Not sure if Vargr 2's Cyber blades count as a dagger for the purposes of grappling? If so K may not be as safe as he thought he was.

Edited 1488176222
One question I did have for the Ref about grappling was the fourth grapple option: "Inflict damage equal to 2 + the Effect." Yeah it's not a huge amount of damage. You're actually better off standing back outside a grapple and just punching them. But ... I'm struggling to visualize armour negating this damage. If you have someone's arm twisted up behind their back or if you pick them up and dump them on their head pile driver style that flak jacket or cloth armour isn't really going to do much to prevent the damage. Even in combat armour, I'm imagining a ninja style character being able to sneak up behind an armored guard and do the twisty head snapping of their neck ( would need a great roll, but a cinematic looking sneak kill! ). Even with battledress - the strength bonus from the armour has already been applied when making the opposed Melee (Unarmed Combat) skill check. So if you're unlucky enough to lose a grapple while wearing battledress ... maybe that guy who had the guts to go toe to toe with you has earned the right to inflict 2+effect damage on you? Captain America did do pretty well against Iron Man. That said, a house rule where battledress halves Grapple damage would make sense. Because ... you know ... battledress. Or the other option - just subtract armour from the 2+effect damage the same way you'd subtract it from other "roll to hit" attacks. Personally I'd be less happy with this option. Means leather Jack armour or flak jackets would help ... and that doesn't really make sense. Also means we move toward a " I have this item so now I win the game " situation. That hulk on that derelict lab ship for example. In my mind he was scary. Even though my character was in Battledress I could still imagine a big brute of a guy being able to twist off Kayleb's head. But ... maybe that fear was unfounded? I'd rather not be invincable though. 
Whether grappling damage should apply to Battledress, or even some types of Armor, is very arguable. It is certainly possible to build an armor with mechanically limited joints, such that it is impossible to twist someone’s arm out of the reasonable range of motion. Certain deep-sea-diving hard-shell suits are like this; the entire joint is encased in a mechanical surround, to keep the pressure correct, but allows a full range of motion; on a Combat Suit, it wouldn’t be hard to modify it with physical limits to prevent injury. I am inclined to think that Battledress, for very practical reasons, would be like this, except perhaps in opposition to other suits of Battledress. Armors are where things get fuzzy; even if it counts as a Vacc-Suit, that doesn’t mean the entire shoulder and elbow joints have fully mechanical surrounds; the inside of a joint are likely to be cloth, for more affordable flexibility, particularly for cultures where Melee is much more infrequently a thing. This particularly makes things awkward for deciding whether Darrian Guard Armor, which is not Battledress, but is a Vacc-Suit, and one built by a disaster-averse culture, would have such protections too.

Edited 1488489138
Very fair points. Especial about movement range of joints. Looks like we're venturing into house rule land. I'd rather not go there... but there are rules about how different types of armour work differently to different types of damage. Flamethrowers for example. In the CSS flamethrowers half the armour rating of anything that isn't a full body suit of armour like a Vacc Suit, Combat armour or battledress. I know we're not talking about flame throwers here, but maybe that sets a precedent to treat other kinds of armour differently against grapple damage? So if the armour is non-rigid and not a full body suit like vacc, combat or battledress then it is ignored?  EDIT: Wondering if the "Effect 6+ does a minimum of 1 pt of damage" rule would apply to grapple damage? If so then it's back on as being something worth doing.
Well, there are ways for a generally flexible suit to prevent damage from exceeding the available range of motion, too; for instance, steel, and by extension, carbon filament, cables. If the cables wrap around the body such that they go taut before the range of motion is exceeded, then you would have to break the cable before you could, say, dislocate someone’s shoulder. Unlike something more rigid, something like this would have an impact on the wearer, as the cable digs in to the opponent’s flesh, because there’s too little inflexible material dispersing the force. Of course, a suit like this is still plenty vulnerable to punching. Given that, it might be safer to rule that grappling is strictly only useful for disabling someone, except for those not wearing armor of any kind... but that tends to be either people of the “innocent bystander” variety, or people hiding behind a group of guards.