Gamestoppers
Part Two: Grab that Otyugh!

In this installment of "Gamestoppers," we look at the rules for grappling. Last month, the group invaded a goblin temple and stopped a goblin cleric from sacrificing a helpless merchant. We left the group as the goblin cultists opened a grating covering a pit.

DM: Seconds after the goblin cultists pull back the grating, a terrible roar echoes out of the pit below as a Huge, reeking otyugh surges upward toward you! [See the monster statistics at the end of the article!]

PC (Krusk): Now THAT'S more like it! That thing's gonna taste greataxe!

PC (Vadania): What's the goblin cleric doing?

PC (Nebin): Never mind that . . .what about that merchant! We need him alive if he's gonna show us the way to the lost city!

Krusk
-
Lidda
-
Vadania
-
Nebbin

DM: Hang on, one at a time! Let me roll the otyugh's initiative and then we'll do this one at a time.

[The otyugh is entering the combat, and it is already aware of its enemies, so its initiative result is set at 13, which is one greater than the highest initiative roll in the current combat. Last time, Lidda, Vadania, and Nebin all opted to use ready actions to stop the goblin high priest from casting his spell, so the three of them have an initiative of 12. Krusk remains at initiative 11.]

DM: Okay then . . . the otyugh clambers up out of the pit, but it had to do a double move to do it, so it's done for the round. Lidda, what do you do?

PC (Lidda): I'm going to race along the edge of the wall around the pit and try to get by the otyugh to go help the merchant.

DM: That's fine, but unfortunately the Huge otyugh's tentacles have a 20-foot reach. As you try to race by, it gets an attack of opportunity against you. [Rolls an attack roll of 28.] It hits!

PC (Lidda): I knew I should have gone for the Mobility feat.

DM: Well, too late now. You take 11 points of damage, and since it's got the improved grab ability, it can automatically try to grapple you. You and the otyugh need to make opposed grapple checks. The otyugh has a base attack of +9, a Strength modifier of +4, and a size modifier for being Huge of +8, for a total of +21. Luckily for you, it doesn't want to focus all its concentration on grappling you, what with all the other yummy looking targets in reach, so it tries to grapple you using only its tentacle and suffers a -20 penalty to the roll. [Rolls a grapple check of 11.] You need to beat a 11 with your grapple check, Lidda.

PC (Lidda): Okay . . . so that's a d20 roll with a modifier of +7 for my base attack, +1 for my Strength, and -4 for my size, right?

DM: Exactly.

[Lidda rolls a grapple check of 10, failing to equal or beat the otyugh's grapple check.]

PC (Lidda): Stupid traitorous dice.

DM: The otyugh plucks Lidda up off the ground and starts waving her around. [Rolls for constriction damage.] Lidda, you take an additional 4 points of constriction damage from the tentacle. What do you do, Vadania?

PC (Vadania): Great. Um, can I cast flame strike at the otyugh without hitting Lidda?

DM: Sure. It's a pretty big monster.

Vadania hits the otyugh with a flame strike, but the monster makes its saving throw and takes only 19 points of damage.

DM: Your turn, Nebin.

PC (Nebin): Hmm. . .I don't think there's much I can do against that thing to save Lidda, so I'll cast haste on Krusk.

PC (Krusk): Yeah! Krusk approves of Nebin's shrewd battle tactics.

DM: It's your turn, Krusk.

PC (Krusk): About time! I'll save you, Lidda! Krusk don't have silly magic spells to distract him from saving Lidda!

DM: That's nice, Krusk, but what are you going to do?

PC (Krusk): Oh. . .um. . .I'm gonna run up to the monster, grab Lidda, and yank her out of its filthy grabbers! And I'm going to start raging too. . .no one pushes Lidda around but me!

DM: Um, okay -- you race up to grab her. The otyugh can't make another attack of opportunity this round, so you can go ahead and try to grab the tentacle that's holding Lidda by making a melee attack roll.

PC (Krusk): No problem! [Rolls a 33.]

DM: Good job! You've grabbed onto the otyugh's filthy tentacle just below where it has grabbed Lidda. Now you need to maintain the hold by making an opposed grapple check against the otyugh.

[The DM rolls a grapple check of a mere 30 for the otyugh. Krusk's grapple check is modified by his base attack (+10) and his Strength bonus (+6); he gets no size bonus since he's Medium-size.]

PC (Krusk):[Rolls a d20.] Yeah! Check it out! A 19! That gives me a grapple check of 35!

DM: Wow. Okay, then. You've managed to hang on.

PC (Krusk): And since I have haste on me, I'm going to try to wrench Lidda free and toss her to safety!

DM: Okay. You've already got a hold on the otyugh, so all you have to do to break the otyugh's hold on Lidda is to beat its grapple check again.

[The otyugh rolls pitifully low on its grapple check and rolls a 25. Krusk lucks out again and rolls a natural 20 for a grapple check of 36.]

DM: Pretty impressive, Krusk. You wrench open the otyugh's tentacle and Lidda drops to the ground. Unfortunately for you. . .it's now the otyugh's turn, and it looks like you've drawn its full attention.

PC (Krusk): Oops. . .Krusk always showing other party members how the monsters work?

If Krusk hadn. . .t set Lidda free, she could try to use her Escape Artist skill (opposed by the otyugh's grapple check) to wriggle free on her next action. The rules for grappling are found in Chapter 8: Combat of the Player's Handbook. You might want to brush up on the rules for the Improved Grab ability as well, which is detailed in the introduction of the Monster Manual.

Be sure to join us next month when the group takes chase after the goblin high priest and runs into a bit of trouble holding onto their weapons when we look at the disarm and trip combat moves.

Advanced Otyugh: CR 4; Huge aberration; HD 12d8+36; hp 90; Init -1; Spd 20 ft.; AC 17 (touch 7, flat-footed 17); Atk +11 melee (1d8+4, 2 tentacle rakes) and +6 melee (1d6+2, bite); Face/Reach 10 ft. x 10 ft./15 ft. (25 ft. with tentacle); SA Constrict 1d8, disease, improved grab; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., scent; AL N; SV Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +9; Str 19, Dex 8, Con 17, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Hide +6*, Listen +7, Spot +10; Alertness, Power Attack.

Constrict (Ex): The otyugh crushes the opponent, dealing 1d6 points of bludgeoning damage, after making a successful grapple check.

Improved Grab (Ex): If the creature hits with a tentacle attack, it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. The otyugh grapples Large and smaller creatures. The otyugh has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use its tentacle to hold the opponent. Each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals the damage listed for the attack that established the hold, in addition to constriction damage (see above).

Disease: Filth fever. . .bite, Fortitude save (DC 19), incubation period 1d3 days; damage 1d3 temporary Dexterity and 1d3 temporary Constitution (see Disease in Chapter 3: Running the Game of the Dungeon Master's Guide).

Darkvision: The otyugh can see in the dark as though in normal daylight.

Scent (Ex): The otyugh can detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Skills: *An otyugh receives a +8 racial bonus to Hide checks when in its lair, due to its natural coloration.


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