Ranged attacks into a grapple?




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  1. #1
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    Ranged attacks into a grapple?

    Forked from: Running a marilith - strategy

    [On making a ranged attack into a grapple, and another poster's statement that the attacker is 50 percent likely to hit either grappler.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wilder
    Out of curiosity, Glyn, do you know where "50 percent" is codified? I've never been able to find anything except that the target is determined "randomly." I keep forgetting to see if the Rules Compendium clairifies this.

    (My personal rule is that I use a ratio of base-sizes. So two Medium grapplers would be 50/50, but a Medium and a Large grappler would be 20/80. I like this primarily because it seems absurd to me that, say, a Colossal creature grappling a goblin sets up a 50/50 chance to hit either.)
    That's a house rule, obviously. Does anybody know if the chances are specified anywhere?
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    This has been discussed to death elsewhere on the forum. The result is that there is no consensus as to how the determine the chance. It's up to the GM.

    I use the size-differential technique as well, using the number of squares occupied by each creature. I used to use the size modifier for the grapple, but I decided that didn't work well when creatures other than Medium-size were involved.

    Now I just count up the number of square required by all grapplers and roll a dice with that many sides (I use a dice rolling program). So a Large vs. a Medium results in a 1d5, with 1-4 indicating the Large creature and a 5 indicating the Medium creature.
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    (double posted by the board)
    Last edited by azhrei_fje; Tuesday, 24th March, 2009 at 07:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wilder View Post
    That's a house rule, obviously. Does anybody know if the chances are specified anywhere?
    Well, Skip Williams says in Rules of the Game: All About Grappling (Part One) that "any ranged attack aimed into your shared space has an equal chance to strike you or the creature you're grappling. Roll randomly to determine which creature a ranged attack strikes (see note 3 on Table 8-6 in the Player's Handbook)."

    Of course, Skip doesn't cite any authority for that, so take it with a grain of salt.

    Personally, I use the same size-differential technique as azhrei_fje does. Equal chances regardless of size just doesn't make any sense to me.

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    I use the same method as the other 2 posters. I can't cite anywhere that it is listed in the rules though. It makes sense to me that if a Halfling is grappling a Gargantuan Dragon you have more chance of hitting the Dragon than the Halfling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olaf the Stout View Post
    I use the same method as the other 2 posters. I can't cite anywhere that it is listed in the rules though. It makes sense to me that if a Halfling is grappling a Gargantuan Dragon you have more chance of hitting the Dragon than the Halfling.
    Well, this assumes the dragon isn't doing anything to stack the odds in its favour. Since the dragon will typically totally dominate a grapple against a halfling, wouldn't the dragon try to use the halfling as a shield?

    Anyway, I'm with Skip, mainly because it's a simpler rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhaelen View Post
    Well, this assumes the dragon isn't doing anything to stack the odds in its favour. Since the dragon will typically totally dominate a grapple against a halfling, wouldn't the dragon try to use the halfling as a shield?

    Anyway, I'm with Skip, mainly because it's a simpler rule.
    That's a pretty small shield he's using! He'd have to have pretty good dexterity to make sure the small halfling got in the way of a whole heap of arrows coming at him (and possibly aimed at very different areas on his body.

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  • #8
    It also logically leads to this interpretation: If a medium size character is totally dominating a grapple against a different medium size character, he can use the other medium size character as a human shield and thus skew the percentages to his advantage.

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    I would also make it dependent on which party in the grapple the ranged attacker is trying to hit - if the intended target is the larger party - there's more room to aim away from the other grappler.
    If, however, the intended target is the smaller party, it's more difficult.

    Houserule Alert:
    I've considered treating being in a grapple as providing varying degrees of cover, dependent on the opposing grappler/how many of them there are, and how well (or poorly) the target is doing in the grapple. If the attack would have hit without the cover bonus, the attack roll is compared against the AC of the opposing grappler, if it missed them without cover bonus, it hits the intended target, otherwise they get hit.
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    The rule is right here, under Combat Modifiers --- Armor Class Modifiers. Check the table.
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