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Saturday, February 11, 2017

A quick Review of "Dungeon Grappling"

As per the title this is going to be a quick Review of "Dungeon Grappling" by  Douglas Cole.

The Preamble:
  • This is an unsolicited review.
  • I did not receive a review copy, nor did I request one.
  • I don't know Mr. Cole beyond our exchanges on G+ and few e-mails regarding role playing games.
  • Douglas Cole's Blog, Gaming Ballistic is here. His Website, is Here.
    The  Document started as a successful Kickstarter campaign the  description of which is still available here.
  • Here is the  link where you can buy "Dungeon Grappling." Available in soft cover print version and PDF (or a bundle of both). 
    • I bought the PDF so I can't speak to the physical quality of the soft cover print.
  • I invite Douglass Cole, or anyone else to jump into the comments section  to correct any mistakes I make in the following review.
OK. That covers all the prelim stuff right? 

TLDR Version:
I'm not a reviewer. I don't usually do reviews, and when I have they have been pretty brief. There are quite a few other reviews out there for this product, so as usual I'm a bit behind the  curve.

My quick impression after reading through the rules quickly is this. Dungeon Grappling is very  well thought out and very well produced supplement for fantasy games. As a supplement "Dungeon Grappling" will be best used by  players and game masters who believe grappling is under-served by the rules normally provided in traditional fantasy games. While there is a bit of extra set up and book keeping involved, the result is more detailed and eloquent grappling for your game.
Conclusion: It's legit. If you think your game will have or should have more grappling, it's easily worth the purchase.


More detailed Observations:

This is a well put together PDF.

The lay out is clean, it's easy to read with nice font choices and clearly defined sections covering Core Concepts, Grappling effects, and Monstrous Grappling respectively.



The PDF is fully indexed and bookmarked making it easy to navigate.


The art is all good quality and  all on topic. My favorite plate is the Jennifer Bone piece on page 15, because it reminds me of how my own 5th ed monk  fights. I also like that many of the art pieces show a variety of  situations where an attack can be  handled with grappling. Spiders webs, entangle spells, dragons scooping up victims, are all featured in the art.


The writing is overall clear and concise, though It did some times thing it got a bit bogged down trying to cover, OSR, Pathfinder and 5th ED options all at once. Thankfully the Rear of the  document features reference sheets that cleanly  summarize the mechanical  bits form the  text. If I was using this at the table I would print out or copy those references.

This is a 53 page pdf focusing on a subject that usually gets a couple paragraphs in a players hand book. It is a one stop shop for your groups  fantasy graps needs. With all the content here the  piece that ties it all together and in my view is the clever part of the whole thing is the  concept of "control Points" Based on your rolls vs a grapple DC your character earns control points against a target. Control points build up putting your opponent in progressively worse positions and can be spent to  shove, throw, hurt and incapacitate a foe. More attention than normal is paid to the position grappling puts an attacker in by way of making it easier for others in the combat to hit even the more dominant participant of a grapple. Its a good detail that is usually overlooked by less detailed systems. It's a bit "Gurpsy" in it's execution, but it's not so complex as to be off putting, or intimidating. It is definitely not for the "rules light" crowd.  I'm not sure any one looking for rules light games would be out looking for more detailed grappling rules so that's a non sequitur anyway.



The monster section  gives good examples of how to stat out monsters for  grappling and why large monsters can be very dangerous up close. Universal application of this system in a game will add a layer of complexity, but it will also add a new level of threat for many monsters.


Conclusion:


A more complex but very deep grapple system for your  fantasy games. I already focus on grappling  with my monk using the  5th ed rules, but it's a bit bland and repetitive. I will certainly ask if I can bring this system to the table. Not for any boost in effectiveness, but more for the interesting options it provides during combat. Opportunities like throws and grapple damage open up the  floor for a hand to hand combat focus character. 
I recommend this  supplement to any one who is a fain of grappling style combat, and would like to see more of it in their fantasy games.


Thanks for reading 
- Mark