Wrestling Practice, Civilised Version

Berra — Wrestling Practice 02

????, Sea Season


In late Sea Season, Berra and Xenofos wrestle in a slightly more official, undressed way than the bout between Berra and Varanis. Nobody oils Xenofos down afterwards.

Timing: Shortly before the End of Season in [[[s01:session-30|Session 30]]]

(( OOC comments and rolls are in double brackets. ))
(( GM comments are in double brackets and italics. ))

There is a brief GM overview of how this could be improved at the end of the scene.

No NPCs were harmed in the making of this scene, but some did lose money on the betting.


What’s the use of having negotiated practice grounds if nobody takes the chance to use it? If Xenofos had not heard of the bout, they might not have come back, but here they are, out plitely on the edge of the grounds where nobody can accidentally attack the palace, and they can be seen from up on most of the walls. Berra puts her sword down on her shield, giving it a martial bed that does not touch the ground. “No biting, no gouging, no kicks to the groin of male wrestlers,” she tells Xenofos. “Tap-out or yell, you stop. Want to do it for falls, or submissions?”

Berra has not taken off her clothes, and there is no oil in sight.

Varanis finds a seat against the wall, a gleeful grin on her face.

“Submission is ok I guess.” Xenofos gets rid of his armour, weapons, tunic and sandals. Pauses for a moment – seems to blush – and leaves loincloth.

Berra watches Xenofos take off his armour in something like amazement, and looks to Varanis for confirmation.

Xenofos walks to the area, feeling the ground with his bare feet and rolling his neck around.

Varanis’ grin simply increases. She leans forward, elbows on her knees. “This should be interesting.”

The area is a scratched area of ground that from the marks on it looks like it is used for wrestling, surrounded by a kicked-up trench just deep enough to be visible if you look for it.

Given that Xenofos is mostly naked, Berra does the same, stripping off rapidly to chest wrap and loincloth herself, and getting to the area only just after Xenofos.

(( Berra is SIZ 11, but stocky, so she’s short and muscular. SR 0 2. Xenofos is SIZ 12 but about 30cm taller than Berra and longlimbed, bordering on too thin. SR 1 2, for a slightly lower DEX. ))

“Referee? Or we call the beginning ourselves?” asks Xenofos.

“Oh. Right. We don’t do things so officially here, but if you would like Varanis to call the bout I don’t object.” Berra is already dancing on the balls of her feet, but stops to answer.

“I’ll referee if you want, but I’m happy to just cheer you on too,” replies Varanis

“Ready?!” Xenofos makes up his mind.

Berra, who was about to answer Varanis, just nods, and then that odd weaving from foot to foot begins again, and she is watching Xenofos without yet committing.

(( Xenofos and Berra are test-driving a rule where a special on a grapple gives 20 to the next attack roll, and a critical gives 40. This is a one-roll offer only. Some rolls are left out for ease of reading. ))

Berra is fast when she does move in, but in ducking under an arm to try to get a low waist-hold on Xenofos, she gives up that advantage for little gain, as she cannot keep to it, and that lets Xenofos in from the top, and he’s tall already. He goes for the headlock as her clinch fails.

Xenofos attempts to pull Berra forward with his headhold, while turning his back to her.

(( Inspiration with movement for Berra: 43. Success. Attack, 85, failure. ))

Berra somehow manages to wriggle about to get an arm around Xenofos’ waist as she is moved, but even her solid muscles cannot hold it there, and now she’s in a bad position as she let herself get off-balance.

Xenofos gracefully raises his foot up and sweeps with it aiming to outside of Berra’s thigh.

(( 01, critical attack from Xenofos. STR DEX, as an opposed roll, to throw. 33 vs 27, with a 40 modifier for Xenofos as thanks to the critical roll. Normally a 20% chance, as Berra is made of muscle and very dextrous. 57/60. ))

Varanis laughs. “Get her, Xenofos!” She’s enthusiastically supporting her cousin right now.

Berra is got. She gets flung over as Xenofos’ foot impacts, and then she’s over, still trying to reach for him, but definitely thrown and it’s up to him when or if he releases.

Xenofos guides Berra to her back. And takes a few steps back.

Berra taps one hand ritually on the ground, and gets to her feet slowly. “Keep going?” she suggests.

“Best of three?”

“You didn’t pin her!” Varanis is still laughing.

“Oh, he… well, I just submitted. He didn’t have to pin.” Berra shrugs. “Three.” Then she’s coming in for what looks like the same attack as she failed at last time, only to go much higher at the last minute, getting up close and personal.

“I think her shoulders did catch the dirt. Besides she is far too quick and strong for comfort on the ground.”

“That might have been my problem… I keep trying to fight her on the ground. I’m out of my element there.” Varanis has stopped laughing and is looking thoughtful now.

(( Special attack from Xenofos. Ordinary dodge from Berra. Here, the GM ruled that you cannot dodge if you are already gripping someone. Letting go to dodge seems reasonable, if a little strange given the ruleset, but you might want to given a critical coming in for you. ))

There are a few moments where Berra fails to get over Xenofos’ elbow, because she’s almost comically short compared to him at his full height, and then he is ducking down once her hands are busy. She flings herself back but it is too late.

(( Berra passed her last dodge roll, so the players agreed Xenofos would not have a 20. This generalises well, so a critical attack vs a special defensive move would also give no ongoing advantage, but a critical attack vs a normal defense would give a 20. ))

(( Xenofos inspires himself with Earth at this point, normal pass – he wants to get solid touch with Ernalda, preferably on his feet. ))

Seeing that Xenofos is already grabbing at her leg, Berra tries for a sweep of his, putting all of her weight onto the left ankle and bending her right knee to try to break his strength. She is risking being completely thrown over if she fails, of course. She seems to be a high-risk wrestler, all movement, all the time, and backing it up with the strength of her frame.

(( GM notes: I should probably get people who know wrestling better than I do to decide how it goes. I’m just habitually GMing here… But as it turned out, the players got into a rhythm where a parry and the next attack would be rolled together, and those who understood the dice would explain a little what they thought the rolls meant. ))

Xenofos refuses the leg by going down and…

Varanis watches eagerly, waiting to see the Humakti fly again.

(( Berra’s player would like it known that Berra was very good about taking this fall for the good of testing the system. ))

Xenofos avoids the sweep, grabs Berra’s left leg with both hands, and wrenches her ankle backwards and knee forward sending her forward to her face.

“Ouch! That looks… yeah.” Varanis winces in mock sympathy for Berra. She’s really enjoying the show.

Berra has to go over in a wild spin, and she rolls over her head and almost onto her feet as the force and speed comes off her. There is plainly dust all over her shoulders, and she has plainly lost. She gets to her knees, reaches down to tap the ground again, and having done so briefly puts her hands together to bow from where she is, acknowledging the full bout. Dusty Humakti.

“You still have one more round,” Varanis observes gleefully.

Berra’s shoulders relax, and then rise in a puzzled way. “But he beat me twice,” she says.

“We can do one more just for fun, if you like. I am not yet too exhausted.” Xenofos grins. “Unless my cousin tired you out already.”

“And? Three rounds. He already wins, but surely you won’t miss the chance to try just once more? Maybe he gets a clean sweep. Maybe you give a little back. Vinga encourages us to take the opportunities where they arise.” Varanis there.

“Sure.” Berra stands, shrugs, and casually weaves her way towards Xenofos. “Personally, I’d use a different opportunity,” she says. She fails at that, though, a fast grab that does not make contact properly.

Apparently Xenofos is a bit winded, for this time he fails to catch Berra.

Berra is not slowed at all, although her style can barely be called a style. It is a loose mixture of Esrolian teaching, Sartarite gung-ho attitude, and opportunism. It comes up short as she tries again, whirling low past Xenofos to kick at his leg and failing to make a proper connection.

As she passes Xenofos stoops low and catches her right leg…

And she just flicks up her ankle, goes straight over his arms, and turns to face him again, backing up only for long enough to know if she is safe, and then moving in again. Fast passes seem to suit her. Then, either irritation catches her, or inspiration does. She dives for his foot, and somehow launches herself up, tall and hard, in a way that should just be impossible, to go for an aggressive arm to the neck. (( Normal parry… 01 attack! Location 19, head. ))

((Yay. Inspiring. Special grapple parry. with roll 17. My attack 02 – I like these dice… ))

Again Xenofos snakes his arm around Berra’s muscular neck. Now they both have headlocks.

Muscles vs muscles are definitely no laughing matter. Berra’s halfway off the ground, but she still manages to twist somehow, and there is a twist, and he might be able to hold on, but all the strength she has is concentrated on a couple of small spots and she is trying to use the fact his feet are just there to put hers just here….

(( A round of nothing happening still had tension, as the chances of something happening were high. ))

Xenofos counters the head twist with lots of grunting and twisting. Trying to ground Berra.

Berra’s face is a picture of fury and concentration, her feet scrabbling for a better purchase than the one she has, and she just won’t give up. Every time Xenofos manages to get his weight in the right place, she has moved again. It’s like trying to wrestle water. That is the rune all the way around the wrist that is around his neck, so it might not be too far from the truth.

Water may flow, but it banks of rivers direct its flow. So Xenofos follows and directs Berra towards Ernalda.

And Ernalda loves all of her children. Berra’s foot catches on her opponent’s ankle, where he left it for just such a reason, and she is off-balance for that moment.

Xenofos keeps the headlock, rolls to his side with his foot passing between Berra’s feet and throws her in a fluid rolling motion with a sacrifice throw.

Other watchers have materialized on the training grounds, drawn to the contest. There’s quiet murmuring coming from them. As Berra flies through the air, some money seems to change hands.

Berra tumbles, lands on a foot and a hand as she comes to a stop, and for one brief moment looks irritated. Then she sneezes, as dust gets up her nose, and she shakes her head to clear it.

Xenofos maintains visual contact with Berra while standing up and offers his hand for her to get up.

Berra obviously needs no help, and yet she takes Xenofos’ hand anyhow, using it. “That was well done,” she says shortly. “And I need a drink now. You?”

The Humakti looks not at all winded, as if the exercise has not yet got through to her.

“Even beer might be good now .” Xenofos is clearly looking for the servants to do the oil and scraping customary, but not with true hope.

Varanis stands, applauding. “Where’s Rajar when we need him? He brought beer last time.”

“I think he went to look for more beer.” Berra goes to get her water-skin. “But I just got a direct blessing from Ernalda, and I should give it back to her with Magasta’s addition.” And with that said she swills her mouth out and spits to the side of the ground.


This was more official, and Berra was accepting a throw as a ‘win’, meaning there was no need to make called shots to the limbs, or pin her once she was on the ground – a tricky proposition given it means doing the same thing over again.

The 20/level worked to make things faster. Xenofos had a significant advantage over Berra in many ways, but in terms of STR DEX, which point they reached three times, he was outmatched, and a 20% chance to throw her would have slowed things down. It would also not really have done justice to his grapple skill. If this had been a weaponised fight, he would not have had to win three consecutive dice rolls to beat Berra in one bout.

Other options we considered:
A special could win you two rolls in a row, and a critical could win you three.
A special or critical could move you up the strike rank, letting you go again directly.
A special or critical could allow you to change grips.

All told, this version of 20% per ‘step’ of difference seemed to work well by tipping the bout in the direction of something happening, rather than nothing happening, and generally doing it towards the person who had already won an advantage. Xenofos did already have a higher grapple skill, however.

As well, the adventurers/GM had practiced the grapple rules once already, so this would be expected to be faster, but it did seem like the 20/40 rule had made a difference. So did the fact it was a polite bout, and therefore ‘down’ meant starting again. However, given how quickly the fighting went, it would have been over faster anyhow.

We’ll keep on play-testing this. Look out for Rajar vs Varanis, and understand just how lucky Berra got in her draw…