Wrestling Practice in Boldhome

Berra — Wrestling Practice 01

????, Sea Season


In late Sea Season, Berra and Varanis wrestle in a rather less angry rematch than their first fight. This is used as a test of wrestling rules. Rajar provides beer, and curses his computer, which keeps him from joining in.

Timing: Just after the play 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.


Varanis has made arrangements to borrow warriors’ training grounds. She and Berra have been itching to have a go at each other, for some time now. It’s a chance to learn and to test skills. Berra suggested that Rajar might be good to have about too, as it’s a chance for Varanis to get to know the large Praxian a little better. It’s also true that if you can manage a grappling technique against a larger foe, you probably understand the technique and are using it right.

As Rajar notes, “I’m always interested in training. A warrior should hone their skills like an axe.” And he brings beer.

Berra has brought her sword with her, and her shield to lay it on. She puts Wind Tooth down on a bed made from a shield, so her beloved sword will not touch the ground, and limbers up by rolling her shoulders and almost touching her elbows behind her back. “So, if anyone taps the ground or yells to stop, take the pressure off,” she says. “No gouging, no biting, and no kicking male wrestlers in the groin. Any questions?”

Varanis grins fiercely. “Victory conditions?” she asks.

“When it’s obvious somebody has won.”

(( A successful grapple attack means you’ve caught the hit location that you roll. There are rules about weapons and parrying but they don’t currently count. ))

(( Berra has a lower strike rank (SIZ DEX in the a round in which you are closing) and gets to roll her attack first. Success: location 18. ))
Without much warning beyond a perfunctory bow, Berra launches herself to grab at Varanis, straight around the chest. If she were any heavier, it would knock the air out of Varanis, but probably not, to be honest, the Air.

(( Failed grapple-based parry. ))
Varanis tries to deflect Berra’s movements, but misjudges.

Varanis stumbles backwards with Berra’s attack, but regains her footing, drops her weight into her stance, and attempts to wrap her arms around the Humakti’s middle.

(( If they had grabbed a limb, they could attempt to throw or immobilise. As they have non-limb locations, they can attempt to throw. They have both grabbed each other by non-limb locations, as Berra failed to parry. Next turn they try to throw, and they both gain a success – so no change. ))

They shift back and forth, each trying to gain an advantage over the other.

There is a long, locked moment of arms digging and contorted faces and Berra trying to get lower than Varanis and Varanis trying to get under Berra’s centre of gravity – always a tricky thing to try.

(( Berra fails her next grapple roll. Varanis gets a 29, success. No change in target as she is already holding on. There is an opposed roll of STR DEX. Both roll, and both fail. Varanis keeps her hold and Berra’s is broken, but nobody goes down. ))

Rajar is watching and thinking. He fetches a bucket of water for cooling drinks.

There was a volunteer wrestler for Rajar, but he seems far more eager to help fetch water than to get between the Storm Bull and the ground at any speed.

Rajar sips from his beer (what only water are you MAD?) and offers helpful comments like, “That must hurt.”

Berra gets her arm displaced as she tries to creep up around Varanis’ neck, which would frankly have needed a step to help her with, and Varanis now has the chance to put her down again.

(( Opposed rolls. Berra fails, Varanis succeeds. ))

That must have hurt indeed, either by bruising or by denting pride. Berra is briefly in the arms of Orlanth, and the air, and at whatever mercy Varanis may have.

“Yeah,” the volunteer replies. “Glad we’re not doing that. I say, did you bring any more of that? I’ve just got watered apple juice.” He sounds wistful.

(( Rolling for a pin – and immobilisation – is another set of grapples. This time, Berra is at a disadvantage, on the ground. GM rules that it is the standard 40 for Varanis, but the chance to parry unmodified for Berra seems a bit off, so her grappling score is halved to represent the difficulty of fighting while on the ground. This is a change from rules as written. ))

Varanis follows Berra’s fall to drop onto the Humakti’s chest. She attempts to snake one arm under her opponent’s head, while the other reaches for a wrist.

(( Pass from Varanis meets critical from Berra, and it’s Berra’s attack. ))

It should work. It would work with anyone else, but Berra just bends in a way that a human being should not, and there’s a slither and she’s rolling sideways and somehow she has grabbed at Varanis’ ankle with hands strong enough to pull a Humakti up a rock face, or twist that knee in a really awkward way. Varanis tried to parry with a kick, and there was some awkward flailing.

(( GM rules it’s reasonable to parry with kick against someone on the ground. ))

“Ooooh,” says the man by Rajar, watching. “Nice.” He’s still angling for beer.

(( Special from Varanis to grab Berra, pass from Berra to parry. They have each other again, in some awkward way. ))

(( Immobilise attempts come before the throw attempts, which might also be a fall on Berra heavily on purpose attempt… At this point both attempt Inspiration with movement. Berra successfully inspires herself, because she’s a slippery, slithery sort and hates to be held down. Varanis fails, presumably because she is trying to hold someone down, and gets a -20. ))

Rajar passes beer to the other guy, not forgetting to drink his own.

(( For immobilisation, which Berra now has most chance at, it’s STR vs STR. GM decides that opposed rolls in this context do not have enough support, and turns to the resistance table. Berra is the active one and passes. ))

The man with his lovely new shiny beer watches over the rim of it as Berra uses not just her hands but a leg for leverage, spinning herself and thus Varanis, and ending up on top with that leg pushed up towards the Vingan’s chest, and then uses that to pull herself upright and lift and twist and…. Varanis is not going to be moving that limb unless she breaks it somehow. Berra, dusty and triumphant, scowls at the ankle she nearly got kicked by, and remembers to breathe.

Rajar points and chuckles and sips his beer

Varanis yelps, begins to laugh, and pounds the floor with a fist. “You win, Berra,” she says between bursts of laughter. “Let go!”

Rajar claps loudly. In the polite distance, not getting too close, people ignore the Storm Bull.

Berra does just that, stepping back towards Rajar and the beer to hold out a hand. “Thank you. Want to have me try to do the same with you?” She’s asking for the beer, not a fight, but the fight is optional.

Rajar considers wrestling and hands over a beer

Varanis, still laughing, drags herself from the floor and collapses against the wall near the guy who has been watching with Rajar. With a cheeky grin, she reaches out to pluck the cup from his fingers and takes a big gulp of his beverage. As he stares at her, she hands it back. “My money’s on the Humakti,” she says in a stage whisper.

The beer gets taken. Berra glugs at it. The man who had a nice shiny new beer until a moment ago bows to Varanis. “As you say, Lady.”

Rajar laughs and declines the offer of wrestling. More beer though…

Oh, definitely more beer, and the checking on of a beloved sword, in the mean time. Berra looks to Varanis to see if there will be another bout, but would obviously like to get back to her sword and her drink and her sword…


The way to ‘win’ wrestling is to either agree that a throw wins, or to get to an immobilisation. To do these you chain together two grapples successfully, and then win a STR (immobilisation) or STR vs DEX (throw).

For people with high grappling scores, this is a quick, easy system. For the relatively low grapple scores of these PCs, there was a high chance of failure, and the match could be too drawn out. As there is (modulo cliffside fights) little chance of radical HP loss or significant danger, there isn’t enough tension to make up for breaking the scene into multiple dice rolls for low-score PCs. This scene is significantly edited to remove the rolls that scrolled over the screen.

The scene’s GM felt that the opposed rolls got in the way, and were not clearly explained. STR v STR could be a STR * 5 roll, but then there is STR DEX as well, and that would have to be added up and then de-rated. That’s not much maths in itself, but it’s enough of a break in the action to be jarring, so the recommendation from this scene is to use the resistance table, which gives a solid result quickly. A special or a critical can be used to make the opposed roll unnecessary as well, further speeding up the process.

In addition, grappling at the body should allow wrestlers to try to change where they are gripping. The rules as written would make you take a new grapple check to get to a new position, so the GM suggests that a situational bonus to grappling should apply if you are changing places. Take the new roll as if you are in the first round of grappling again, but add a situational bonus of 20 if you are both fully holding onto each other, or 40 if you are the only one holding. No bonus to your parry in that round. This allows someone who has a hold that they don’t like to try to swap it for one that they do like, before they attempt to immobilise or throw.