Last night we had another session of our At the Mountains of Madness campaign. Following some burly looking fellows in a taxi, we suddenly found ourselves in a scuffle in a New York warehouse. We of course decided to help a poor fellow being questioned by the thugs, and we got to test the grapple rules. This got me thinking, and I'll do that out loud for a bit.
Do any of my dear readers remember the Strike and Wrestling rules from the old D&D Companion set? I just took a look at them again. Calculate Wrestling Rating, having odd exceptions for classes and odd monsters. Good grief. As someone who have played D&D3 knows, the grapple rules in that game is a mess. I've seen people running other D&D rules having bent over backwards trying to invent good grapple rules. It seems like unarmed combat just wont play nice.
So, when we entered the grapple last night I felt a shiver as I realized we were up for something complex. It was a very smooth fight, and the rules didn't get in the way at all. Roll to attack and that's it! Now it is nothing new that fans of BRP usually say that the best trait of the system to get out of the way. Still, I had forgotten how smooth it was!
You can probably spend a lot of time to discuss why this worked as it did, contrasting class based and skill based systems. I wont do that. What I will do is to toss out the question if there are any games out there which lacks unified resolution mechanic that have a simple and workable system for unarmed combat. I bet there are dozens, but I for the moment can't think of any. I don't think it can't be done, but maybe it's been overlooked?