Saving a single paladin from four grappling ogres

Noumenon

First Post
I'm going to be running the 3.0 adventure The Giant's Skull (I'll keep the spoiler level low) and the defender of said skull is a high-level fighter type with lots of attacks and Smite Evil (should be great because the players play angry ogres in this adventure).

The problem is, I'm sure he'll never get to fight that way. The ogres are gonna grapple him. They have +20, he has +16, so he'll lose about 67% of the checks. Well, he does get three checks a round, so if he passes the first one, I guess he will still get his other two iterative attacks. And the ogres don't have Improved Grapple, so he would get his first attack back in the form of an AoO, which hits on a 4. Does that make it balanced? He doesn't have Combat Reflexes, though, so the second ogre will always grab him.

The guy has four level 2 fighter guards. It seems like they ought to be able to help him with the grappling. But the SRD says they have to win a grapple check even to join the grapple, and doesn't give them any options for helping each other once they're in. Does anyone have a houserule that would help with that? It seems like it would be nice for PCs to be able to pile on a Large monster and save someone who's being constricted, so the house rule would see play beyond this adventure.

Is there anything that changed after 3.0 that made grappling easier for ogres? I know they didn't used to have reach, or rather they had a one-square space, two squares of reach but only one on the diagonal.
 

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greyscale1

First Post
The mental picture here is extremely silly.

If the players are high level the level 2 guards wont do anything to help.

It will be four huge guys grabbing one little guy while four other smaller guys fruitlessly whack at them.
 

Noumenon

First Post
It will be four huge guys grabbing one little guy while four other smaller guys fruitlessly whack at them.

Something about the way you said this, after I chewed it over for a while, finally made me think of the Aid Another action. Three of the four fighters should be able to hit AC 10, making the paladin's first grapple check a +22... he'd escape one ogre 57% of the time then, but that's not enough to help against the whole ogrepile.

One problem I'm seeing is that all four ogres can reach him, even in a narrow hallway, if I use the 3.0 rule where they only take up one space. Maybe I should upgrade the ogres to 3.5 space and reach rules -- it'll make the players feel bigger and clumsier than normal PCs, it will be more fun that way.
 



Noumenon

First Post
Grease is a good grapple tactic for PCs, but it wouldn't help here because using Escape Artist is a standard action. As a "solo monster," the paladin can't afford to give up a standard action the way he would as a PC. He'd lose all his attacks.

Because this is ogre PC's versus a single paladin, there is no automatic "have the cleric cast Freedom of Movement." There is a high-level cleric in the compound, but The Giant's Skull has a really detailed "Alert Factor" system where everyone in the castle reacts independently to incursions by ogres. So you are supposed to find the cleric in one place if the alert factor is low; in another, buffing the troops, if the alert factor is high; and sallying forth for battle if there's an all-out battle at the gates. Nipping out to grant the paladin freedom of movement is something he might not have time for and wouldn't do anyway if the ogres invaded with any stealth.

I realized that if the ogre mage is smart enough, he can make each ogre invisible before it goes in for the grapple. That means no AoO for the paladin and an auto-hit on the touch attack. So even if the paladin escapes on his first grapple check every round, it won't help him much.

It seems like a ring of freedom of movement is my only option, but it's 40,000 gp, and it's kind of cheesy, and it doesn't help any of the other fighters in the castle, because I'm realizing that this grapple tactic will nullify all of them too, except the cleric who might stay out of range. Suddenly I'm wondering if this adventure ever plays out as cool as it looks.
 

Noumenon

First Post
One thing I could do is house rule that starting a grapple provokes attacks of opportunity from everyone around instead of just the one being grappled -- and if any of those AoOs hit, the grapple fails. Would this help the PCs too much when we go back to regular games, I don't know. Seems like most things that grapple have Improved Grab, so it wouldn't necessarily apply to them. Medium characters in general could use some help against grapple, I think.

Edit: but it doesn't help against the invisible-grapple tactic. Maybe that's OK; if the ogres -- ogres! -- manage to coordinate that well and figure out that tactic, they deserve to win the fight easily.
 

Runestar

First Post
Another tactic would be to fight fire with fire, and try to access enlarge person, maybe via a potion. Being large and the minor str bonus might just tip the scales in your favour, because he will now have a +21 grapple check as opposed to the ogre's +20. :p
 

Noumenon

First Post
Hey! What I really like about that is it will play like this:

Ogre grabs paladin and thinks "Yay! I'm gonna win!"
Paladin escapes on one of his three grapple checks
Paladin uses his move action to drink an Enlarge Person potion
Now it looks like the paladin is a brilliant strategist who was prepared for precisely this situation -- without the "you can't do that" DM fiat effect of freedom of movement.

But you just made me think of an even better option. A potion of Protection from Evil! Now the ogres can't grapple him. They'll be forced to fight him the way I want. Oh, wait. (Reads SRD) The hedging effect only applies to summoned creatures. Whatever! This potion also hedges out evil creatures. Not for attacks, just for wrestling like grapples and trips. I'll make sure to signal to the players somehow that getting too close to that 3-foot circle and staying there is not going to work.
 
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Starbuck_II

First Post
I'm going to be running the 3.0 adventure The Giant's Skull (I'll keep the spoiler level low) and the defender of said skull is a high-level fighter type with lots of attacks and Smite Evil (should be great because the players play angry ogres in this adventure).

The problem is, I'm sure he'll never get to fight that way. The ogres are gonna grapple him. They have +20, he has +16, so he'll lose about 67% of the checks. Well, he does get three checks a round, so if he passes the first one, I guess he will still get his other two iterative attacks. And the ogres don't have Improved Grapple, so he would get his first attack back in the form of an AoO, which hits on a 4. Does that make it balanced? He doesn't have Combat Reflexes, though, so the second ogre will always grab him.

The guy has four level 2 fighter guards. It seems like they ought to be able to help him with the grappling. But the SRD says they have to win a grapple check even to join the grapple, and doesn't give them any options for helping each other once they're in. Does anyone have a houserule that would help with that? It seems like it would be nice for PCs to be able to pile on a Large monster and save someone who's being constricted, so the house rule would see play beyond this adventure.

Is there anything that changed after 3.0 that made grappling easier for ogres? I know they didn't used to have reach, or rather they had a one-square space, two squares of reach but only one on the diagonal.

Can you give the Paladin the feat from Complete Warrior?
The one that improves grappling: Close Quarter Fighting (each grapple provokes attack of opportunity) only requires BAB +3?
 


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