The Manhattan Project
As it’s a slightly complicated combat subsystem, here are the full grappling rules:
To initiate a grapple, you make a normal Strength + Brawl – target’s Defense attack roll, with only one success needed. Once you have “hit” with your attack, you and your target are now grappling, which degrades both of your defenses by 1 as long as the grapple persists (as if you had been attacked in melee once already each turn, stacking as normal with other attacks from outside the grapple; this degradation does not stack with the one from the attack you used to start the grapple).
Until the grapple ends, on their turns either character uses Strength + Brawl – opponent’s Strength (instead of Defense, though Celerity will still subtract from your opponent’s pool if they attempt to damage you) to either escape or to perform a grapple action. Only one success is needed to do so in either case, though some actions are more effective with more successes.
If none of the other participants in a grapple oppose one of the combatants leaving it, they may do so as a Reflexive action without a roll. Otherwise, it is always an Instant action to try and break free.
Knock Prone: You may make both participants in the grapple prone, and they cannot stand until the grapple is broken. Once out of the grapple, standing up is an Instant action; any combatant on their feet gets a +2 to melee attack rolls against a prone target.
Damage opponent: Your successes from your grapple roll deal bashing damage, as per normal combat. Vampires may bite with their fangs to deal lethal damage.
Pin: You restrict your opponent, stopping them from doing anything but attempting to escape; while pinned, their Defense stops applying to any opponents outside the grapple. You can do no other actions except maintaining the pin, but don’t need to keep making rolls in future turns as long as your opponent fails to break the pin.
To break the pin, your opponent must roll more successes on his Strength + Brawl – your Strength check than you rolled on your initial pinning roll.
You can specify that you are covering an opponent’s mouth when you pin them, preventing them from speaking or shouting.
Draw Weapon: You draw or otherwise acquire a small (knife, pistol, etc) weapon from within arm’s reach. The Quick Draw Merit doesn’t apply normally when in a grapple, but does give a +1 to the roll when actually drawing the weapon from on your person.
Damage opponent with a weapon: Roll Strength + Brawl + Weapon Bonus – opponent’s Strength, dealing bashing or lethal as appropriate. Only small or otherwise appropriate weapons (knives, chains, etc) can be used in a grapple.
Turn opponent’s weapon: You try and turn your enemy’s weapon against them without having to disarm them first. Your opponent can attempt to reverse this action with a grapple check of their on on their next turn. If they fail to do so, you must attack them with their weapon on their next turn or lose the benefit of this manoeuvre.
Disarm: Removes a weapon from your opponent’s hand(s) – either person must then succeed at a Draw manoeuvre to wield it.
Cover: You can use this manoeuvre to hold your opponent in place to use as cover against ranged attacks (this typically gives anyone firing from the direction you hold your opponent in a -2 to fire at you).
Feed: Once a vampire has successfully bitten an opponent who possesses blood or Vitae, they may feed instead of continuing to deal damage. This doesn’t require an additional roll, though an opponent may make a grapple check on their turn to force the fangs out (dealing themselves a level of lethal damage in the process). Barring unusual powers, a vampire may only drain one point of blood or Vitae per turn. Drinking blood from a living target will deal the target one point of lethal per point taken.
Sleeper Hold: A living target may be carefully made unconscious through pressure on appropriate parts of the neck. A grappler must successfully perform this manoeuvre for a number of turns in a row equal to the target’s Stamina, at which point the target passes out for 15 minutes.
Instead of degrading your opponent’s Strength from successive grapple rolls, you instead make it more difficult for them to escape the grapple or take other actions within it – your opponent’s pool subtracts the highest Strength being used against him, +1 for each opponent past the first.
For example, if three people grapple a single target and the strongest among them has a Strength of 4, the target would roll Strength + Brawl – 6 in order to attempt escape or try another grapple action.
If you are grappled by more than one opponent at once, each one continually degrades your Defense, as if they had attacked you each turn. The target in the above example would be at -3 Defense for the first attack made against them by an enemy outside of the grapple, -4 against the second, etc. Each of the three grapplers holding them would be at -1 Defense.
When grappling, you cannot take Dodge or All-Out Attack actions or make any attacks against opponents outside of the grapple.
Most Disciplines work as normal inside of a grapple, though some (particularly Theban Sorcery and Crúac) will be at severe penalties or outright impossible.