- Beowulf struggles with Grendel. Sinew parts, and the beast, now with only one arm, flees, mortally wounded.
- The crocodile's mighty jaws close on an unsuspecting antelope, and with relentless force, drags it underwater to drown.
- Gilgamesh and Enkidu's struggle is epic, shattering the walls of the surrounding buildings. With a twist and a bent knee by Gilgamesh, Enkidu is cast down. The two become fast friends and companions.
- The giant scorpion seizes the mailed warrior in its powerful claw. At first, the metal mesh protects, but then with a mighty blow, the venom-filled stinger pierces the armor. A gasp, and then the struggle ends.
- The assassin lightly leaps into the air, wraps her legs around her target's neck, and flings him to the ground. She rises, a dagger buried in his neck.
From the first story ever told, to tales on the silver screen. Gilgamesh and Beowulf. Hunting cats and giant scorpions. They all have at least one thing in common: they engage in one of the oldest forms of combat on the planet. Dungeon Grappling delivers that to your tabletop, for editions including OSR-based, the PFRPG, and 5e.
Audiences have thrilled for thousands of years to tales of wrestling matches, decorated ornamental pottery with depictions of them, and trembled when a mighty monster clutched a desperate hero in its grasp.
Grappling is thrilling, dangerous, and has made for thousands of years of epic storytelling.
Dungeon Grappling brings those thrills to the oldest fantasy RPG with rules and examples for several editions from the OSR, PFRPG, and Fifth Edition. It unifies the mechanics with those of weapon combat, providing for simplicity and flexibility in execution. Everything from simple wrestling to throws, locks, and choke holds are given mechanical guidance. Plus, of course, support for fearsome talons, crushing jaws, and grasping tentacles.
Grappling just got scary again.
First and foremost, this book contains rules based on Open Gaming Licence content from several editions of the industry’s most popular RPG to make grappling fun, exciting, and easy to play.
In the immortal words of Princess Jehnna from the movie Conan the Destroyer:
Jehnna: How do you attract a man?
Zula: You'd grab him, and... and take him. Take him! Like that!
Jehhna: But then what? I mean, you've got him. What do you do with him?
Like Miss Jehnna says: once you have grappled your target, what can the book help you do? Let’s look inside:
Introduction: Why write a book on grappling? How can grappling be as epic at the tabletop as it has been in stories throughout history?
Core Concepts: Rather than break out special rules, Dungeon Grappling shows that the same basic concepts that you use to smite a foe with your sword are perfectly appropriate when grappling. The attack roll, target number, and effect roll – all things that are intimately familiar to those who play RPGs – are all unified in the context of grapples to minimize special cases.
Grappling Effects: Once the monster has you in its clutches, what happens? The book presents a variable effect roll - using both "control points" as well as conditions - for basic games as well as more recent editions.
Grappling Techniques: This section gives you options, from simply rendering them immobile, to tossing or dragging, to takedowns, throws, and even choke holds. And more: it also includes bits for grappling with weapons as well as using magical spells to grapple in a way that makes all of them follow the same basic principles.
Monstrous Grappling: Let’s face it. Grappling is for monsters. Specifically, to make monsters terrifying to the PCs. A dozen examples are provided to highlight how to calculate the attack bonus, grappling target number (the equivalent of armor class for grappling), and the grappling damage roll, as well as brief discussions of how such monsters fight.
The book will be laid out by Nathan D. Paoletta in standard letter-size format at the basic funding level. If the stretch goal for alternate formatting is unlocked, it will also be made available as an eBook, for better readability on small screens and tablets.
I was thrilled to get Nathan to agree to work on the book. His design on The World Wide Wrestling RPG was top-notch, and won the Indie Game of the Year award in 2015. He brings his design sensibilities to Dungeon Grappling to great effect, as you can see!
The artists that have agreed to work on the project are top notch, and have already agreed to begin illustrations for the project as soon as funding is confirmed. The art will be custom-created and unique to the game, showing all manner of creatures locked in mortal struggle. Gaming Ballistic is very excited to bring you these fine artists’ creations as part of the Dungeon Grappling project.
The manuscript has already been written and edited, and critiqued by a team of playtesters that have been working with me for more than six months on another, larger project. The team includes Peter Dell’Orto, prolific GURPS writer and competitive martial artist, who also worked with me to create the original basic ruleset that formed the core of this project.
The draft of the book as it goes into layout is about 17,500 words - which lays out as a 44-page PDF including art and index, but not yet the table of contents or some of the front and end pages. I expect the final book, including cover pages, to be 48-50 pages.
The Kickstarter funds are to take the book from finished manuscript to final product, and the basic level for the product includes:
- Layout by Nathan D Paoletta, author and layout artist for The World Wide Wrestling RPG. This will include hyperlinks within the document.
- 22 pieces of interior art. Now that the layout is finished, art direction is complete and what will go into each image slot is known. The artists that will supply the art are Gennifer Bone, Juan Ochoa, Emily Smirle, Rick Troula, and Christian Villacis
- Basic cover art using a stock background, public domain images, and figures from the project image
- An index to the topic and sub-topic level
These are the basic requirements to make a product that is both good-looking and functional.
In addition. the product will be available via DriveThruRPG as print-on-demand - see Print Availability below.
The stretch goals are designed to improve the overall aesthetics and usability of the book.
Gaming Ballistic is pleased to offer Dungeon Grappling as a premium, print-on-demand physical product through DriveThruRPG.
I was nervous about offering a physical product, but DriveThruRPG has the costs well understood and well communicated, so I feel using them as a fulfillment partner to deliver physical product is both low risk and will deliver a quality product.
There are five reward levels specifically for the print copies, and each physical copy will come with a PDF copy as well, which will be delivered at the same time as all the other PDFs.
The list of countries currently enumerated is a broad selection, but not comprehensive. DriveThruRPG has many other places it can ship, and each one has unique costs. If you're not from one of the listed countries, do not just pick the closest one! Send me a message, and I'll get the costs tabulated and added to each tier.
There are three caveats.
- Shipping will be added separately to your pledge when you choose the destination. For example, a single book shipped to the US, UK, and most other places will cost $18 for the raw pledge, plus $5 shipping.
- I don't control shipping rates or times. Some destinations, such as Australia, can take up to 10 weeks for delivery. Some places are a few business days.
- I really, really don't control (or have any visibility to, for that matter) any customs fees or delivery charges or duties that you might have to pay when it shows up at your door. So please be aware that such fees are not - and cannot be - included in your pledge,though mundane shipping charges are.
The skeleton of the rules for Dungeon Grappling was first laid out based on concepts that were working well in over a year of play in another system, and converted for OSR-style games in Tim Shorts’ Manor #8. These rules were then adopted for inclusion in Night Owl Workshop's Guardians RPG by David Pulver and Thomas Denmark. Both of these derived, finished products are available as add-on benefits at any reward level that includes the Dungeon Grappling PDF. My thanks to the authors for allowing me to make their products available as related add-ons for the Kickstarter!
To add these items to your pledge, simply include the listed cost as part of your pledge. After the project closes, Gaming Ballistic will send you a survey through BackerKit, and you can tell us exactly what you want.
To help manage post-campaign add-ons, as well as the distribution of the final product(s) to backers, Gaming Ballistic will be using Backerkit to conduct the post-Kickstarter surveys and fulfillment. Backerkit is a company whose purpose is to help creators manage these details, including add-ons and shipping costs (since all the products are electronic, this won’t be an issue!)
Risks and challenges
The primary risk to backers is the timing of delivery.
The manuscript is 100% complete, and Nathan and I are already working on layout concepts and ideas. This preliminary pass will inform the size and placement of the art spaces in the book, which will allow me to provide art direction to the artists.
Of course, the artists have already agreed to work the project, the indexer has already completed a first pass, and the process by which art and index are combined is set by Nathan and moving smoothly.
All of the stretch goals are art-related, and there are no physical products to distribute or be destroyed in a tragic zeppelin accident. Once the art is in hand, it should be a matter of weeks until the final product can be delivered.
The add-ons are already done, and just need to be collected and provided to Backerkit for fulfillment. Add-on fulfillment will precede completion of the primary project.
I believe that there are very few things that would disrupt the project other than mild schedule slips – though of course things can always go pear-shaped. Gaming Ballistic will provide regular updates as to the project’s progress, and do everything possible to deliver the final PDF on or ahead of schedule.
- (28 days)