Dragons and grapple

Corwin

Explorer
So,

MM: "Grappling: Dragons do not favor grapple attacks, though their crush attack and Snatch feat (see the descriptions of feats) use normal grapple rules."

One of my players is upset that my big bad dragon used fly-by and snatch tactics, managing to kill his PC. He's complaining that dragons don't use grapples and so the Snatch feat shouldn't be used.

I say, there is a difference between Snatch/Crush and making a grapple attack. Even with Fly-by. Talk about a dragon-like thing to do. Swoop in, grab the guy, and fly off to eat him at its leasure.

Of course dragons won't waste time making grapple attacks. Duh. Especially against big opponents. But not picking up a human and flying off for dinner is not the intent of the MM quote, IMO.

Not to mention the vagueness of the word "favor". Does an armored fighter "favor" grapples? Probably not. Most won't. But can he use them whenever he wants? Sure? Will he find instances where he will want to use them? Of course. Is he good at them? Likely (he's a big burly fighter, after all).

Could it be that the meaning of the quote in question, is that dragons don't like to tumble around and wrestle (like with other big creatures)? Because that would make more sense in context.

Thoughts? Opinions? Insights?
 

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hammymchamham

First Post
I vote that you did right.

Now, what I would do (or at least tell my players), is that 'In my world, Dragons favor grapple checks all the time.' And then I'd through a Dragon who would grapple the party members.
 

Tom Cashel

First Post
Hammy! You're back! How's Hamland these days?

I say dragons will use Snatch as much as they can. Your player's protests are

a.) sour grapes, and

b.) annoying (I hate when players quote rules in that fashion. It's one thing to bring up a game mechanic that's being/has been mishandled...but soft rules like that one shouldn't issue from the mouths of players.)
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
Tom Cashel said:

b.) annoying (I hate when players quote rules in that fashion. It's one thing to bring up a game mechanic that's being/has been mishandled...but soft rules like that one shouldn't issue from the mouths of players.)

Yeah, I have a rules lawyer player who about once per game says "You can't do that".

So, sometimes I say "Yup, you're right" and have the NPC do something else.

But, sometimes I say "This guy can do that" and move on. Annoys the heck out of him in return. And, it annoys him even more if I don't tell him later on how the guy did it. Always keep your players guessing is my motto. :)
 

kreynolds

First Post
Corwin said:
Thoughts? Opinions? Insights?

I think you're player was generalizing "Dragons do not favor grapple attacks" too much. This, however, is quite true, and there is a very good reason why dragons do not favor grapple attacks...it's a waste of an action. This does not mean that dragons will not grapple in any way.

What they mean when they say that "Dragons do not favor grapple attacks" is really "Dragons do not favor grappling with their entire bodies, as they are quite large enough and powerful enough to use a mere claw or their mouth to grapple a foe, crush or shred them to pieces, and all the while, still taking attacks against other opponents, or the poor soul they have snatched."

...or something along those lines. :)
 



Corwin

Explorer
Re: Re: Dragons and grapple

kreynolds said:
What they mean when they say that "Dragons do not favor grapple attacks" is really "Dragons do not favor grappling with their entire bodies, as they are quite large enough and powerful enough to use a mere claw or their mouth to grapple a foe, crush or shred them to pieces, and all the while, still taking attacks against other opponents, or the poor soul they have snatched."

This is exactly my point (only said more better). Thank you for making my point clearly for me, k. That was what I was trying to get across.
 

Dr. Zoom

First Post
Corwin said:
MM: "Grappling: Dragons do not favor grapple attacks...

One of my players is upset that my big bad dragon used fly-by and snatch tactics, managing to kill his PC. He's complaining that dragons don't use grapples...

That's a stretch. He went from "do not favor" to "don't use." Did you point that out to him? Furthermore, Snatch is a dragon feat. Why the heck would a dragon not use its own abilities? Your player seems to be pleading a losing case.

I say, there is a difference between Snatch/Crush and making a grapple attack. Even with Fly-by. Talk about a dragon-like thing to do. Swoop in, grab the guy, and fly off to eat him at its leasure.

Of course dragons won't waste time making grapple attacks. Duh. Especially against big opponents. But not picking up a human and flying off for dinner is not the intent of the MM quote, IMO.

Not to mention the vagueness of the word "favor". Does an armored fighter "favor" grapples? Probably not. Most won't. But can he use them whenever he wants? Sure? Will he find instances where he will want to use them? Of course. Is he good at them? Likely (he's a big burly fighter, after all).

Could it be that the meaning of the quote in question, is that dragons don't like to tumble around and wrestle (like with other big creatures)? Because that would make more sense in context.

Thoughts? Opinions? Insights?
I agree with you. :D
 

Shard O'Glase

First Post
I'll have to re-read the dragon section again(snatch in particular) but can they snatch and fly-by. Grapple to the point where you could carry someone off would seem to be more than one attack making it a full attack, and so no fly-by I'd think.

Further-more I might have a problem with a dragon doing this dependent on its size and age, and color. Also I can't see why something as smart as a dragon would use this tactic if his motives were something like food on a adventuring party. Yeah I only like my food when it has a chance to kill me back. It's the big game hunter dragon.
 

Destil

Explorer
Shard O'Glase said:
I'll have to re-read the dragon section again(snatch in particular) but can they snatch and fly-by. Grapple to the point where you could carry someone off would seem to be more than one attack making it a full attack, and so no fly-by I'd think.

Further-more I might have a problem with a dragon doing this dependent on its size and age, and color. Also I can't see why something as smart as a dragon would use this tactic if his motives were something like food on a adventuring party. Yeah I only like my food when it has a chance to kill me back. It's the big game hunter dragon.
This is from memory, but snatch uses the "grapple with part of their body rules" where you take a -20 to the grapple check and if you succede you are no considered "grappled". It specificaly states that the dragon can carry creature off (and that they don't get saves vs. it's breath weapon, which has always seemed a bit much to me). Fly-by allows the dragon to do an arial spring attack, in effect. So Fly in, Snatch (touch attack then 1 grapple check to see if their caught, next round can deal damage), Fly out. Standard action.

Only rules quaft that I could see is that the PC gets a AoO, and if it deals damage the dragon can't try a second grapple attempt, since they only get one attack on the fly-by. (I'm not saying this happened, I have no idea, but it's the part I'd forget, myself... and a good reason this isn't such a great move when you're dealing with a fighter type, save it for the mage).
 

Brekki

First Post
The snatch rules don't work that way. He makes a normal attack and gets a free grapple check when he hits. No AoO's here .... unless someone in the party has the same or more reach than the dragon :)
 

Fade

First Post
1) Dragons are not stupid.

2) Snatch is obviously a useful tactic, as demonstrated by the characters's death.

=> 3) Dragons will use Snatch.
 

tburdett

Explorer
Brekki said:
The snatch rules don't work that way. He makes a normal attack and gets a free grapple check when he hits. No AoO's here .... unless someone in the party has the same or more reach than the dragon :)

Or they have Close Quarters Fighting. This feat becomes VERY useful as you gain levels. More and more creatures gain the Improved Grab ability, and this feat will help to keep you out of their bellies!
 

jasper

Rotten DM
AND THE GREAT DRAGON HIGGINS SWOOP DOWN OUT OF THE SKY BITING SILVER IN HALF AND CARING OFF THE MASKED RANGER IN ITS MOUTH

player but dragons don't grapple

dm ok back up

AND THE GREAT DRAGON HIGGINS SWOOP DOWN OUT OF THE SKY ROLLING DOWN IT SLEEVE HIGGINS CHALLENGED THE MASKED RANGER AND HIS HORSE TO AN ARM WRESTLING MATCH...
 

Shard O'Glase

First Post
Destil said:
This is from memory, but snatch uses the "grapple with part of their body rules" where you take a -20 to the grapple check and if you succede you are no considered "grappled". It specificaly states that the dragon can carry creature off (and that they don't get saves vs. it's breath weapon, which has always seemed a bit much to me). Fly-by allows the dragon to do an arial spring attack, in effect. So Fly in, Snatch (touch attack then 1 grapple check to see if their caught, next round can deal damage), Fly out. Standard action.

Only rules quaft that I could see is that the PC gets a AoO, and if it deals damage the dragon can't try a second grapple attempt, since they only get one attack on the fly-by. (I'm not saying this happened, I have no idea, but it's the part I'd forget, myself... and a good reason this isn't such a great move when you're dealing with a fighter type, save it for the mage).

So spring attack= instant death to all mages then. The monk runs in grapples the mage, runs back to the party which then promtly beats the mage to death. Hey I like this I don't have too do much now to wipe out individual party memebers, just have spring attack and a decent move. Group up all you want and protect your people all you want I'll just run in steal one from the group, and run away to where he is all alone and defenseless.

Also I really have problems with dragons pulling this off because once they are big enough to carry someone off there flight is so crappy in maneuverability this kind of maneuver seems really unlikely. Also add in the to grapple you have to move into opponents square, and when flying really clumsy while being really big like that means you probably enter everyone who is standing nearby's square as well which means a lot of AoO, all of which would seem to spoil your grapple attempt I'd think.

Also I tend to think you should be warry of any tactic that is virtual instant death, with no fault on the PCS actions. With virtually no way for the PC to resist except on a roll of a 20. That doesn't make dragons BADD, that makes dragons Dm fiat, ha-ha I killed your PC.
 

Derren

Hero
You forgot that dragons have the improved grapple special attack when using snatch. The dragon doesn´t enter the square of the PC, it pulls the PC into its square. And to do this the dragon gets -20 on its grapple check and with such a huge penalty the chance of the PC to escape is at least average.
 

Corwin

Explorer
Shard O'Glase said:

So spring attack= instant death to all mages then. The monk runs in grapples the mage, runs back to the party which then promtly beats the mage to death. Hey I like this I don't have too do much now to wipe out individual party memebers, just have spring attack and a decent move. Group up all you want and protect your people all you want I'll just run in steal one from the group, and run away to where he is all alone and defenseless.

Hehe. Your grasp of the rules is undaunting. What does a monk using spring attack have to do with dragons and snatch? These are so unsimilar, it's baffling. At least not in the way your skewed example is trying to present.

Now, if you gave the monk improved grab, and he took a -20 to continue to act and move, then maybe. Good luck pulling that off though.

Not to mention the size conditions. I'm assuming your monk and wizard are both Medium. The Sage has made recommendations regarding moving a grappled opponent. It isn't automatic, to say the least. Unless, of course, you can sight a rule to show how this can be done as you suggest? I didn't think so.

Shard O'Glase said:

Also I really have problems with dragons pulling this off because once they are big enough to carry someone off there flight is so crappy in maneuverability this kind of maneuver seems really unlikely.

Yeah. All those rules regarding dragons not being able to fly when carrying anything...

Oh wait, that's not true at all.

Have you seen the rules for encumberance affecting flight maunueverability? With the dragon's strength, they can easily carry a full sized person without remotely approaching medium encumberance. The point at which they can no longer fly at all (per DotF errata changing it from being OK with Medium encumberance down to Light only).

Shard O'Glase said:

Also add in the to grapple you have to move into opponents square, and when flying really clumsy while being really big like that means you probably enter everyone who is standing nearby's square as well which means a lot of AoO, all of which would seem to spoil your grapple attempt I'd think.

Wow.

First, as the Sage has recommended (and we do this in our group), larger creatures can chose to draw the smaller grappled target into their square instead. Seems intuitive to us, anyway.

Second, AFAIK, the only AOO that spoils a grapple is ther one from the target anyway. None of this applying since the dragon has reach and draws the target into its square.

Shard O'Glase said:

Also I tend to think you should be warry of any tactic that is virtual instant death, with no fault on the PCS actions. With virtually no way for the PC to resist except on a roll of a 20. That doesn't make dragons BADD, that makes dragons Dm fiat, ha-ha I killed your PC.

Yeah. Same can be said for death spells, well hidden poison traps, assassins, etc., right? Silly.

I'm sure the vehement opposition you present has nothing to do with the problems you have with me. Because that would be childish. I'll assume you really do have a problem with this issue on its merits and not your strong dislike of me.
 


AuraSeer

Prismatic Programmer
Shard O'Glase said:
Further-more I might have a problem with a dragon doing this dependent on its size and age, and color. Also I can't see why something as smart as a dragon would use this tactic if his motives were something like food on a adventuring party. Yeah I only like my food when it has a chance to kill me back. It's the big game hunter dragon.
Who says that food is the goal? Intelligent dragons are usually more greedy than hungry. The average adventurer carries some very valuable items, mostly in the form of magic. Snatch one mid-level fighter and you've got a nifty suit of armor at least, as well as a weapon or two for the display case, plus whatever buffing items and cash he happens to carry.

If the party is powerful enough to actually threaten the dragon, then Snatch makes even more sense. Instead of hanging around and getting whacked by the whole group, the dragon just nabs a single character, and proceeds to have a one-on-one battle with him in midair. That should be a pretty lopsided fight, which leaves the party with one fewer member and makes it less of a threat.
 

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