How to prevent grabs?

As I’ve been playing the game, I’ve found that once I get dodge fairly high I can reliably dodge most actual attacks, but grabs still happen frequently. Do grabs use a separate system from regular attacks? If so how do I go about avoiding grabs? Or is it the same system and I’m just seeing something that’s not actually there?

1 Like

Sadly there’s not much to avoid grabs asides keeping your distance and hoping your dodge helps.

Maybe Some heavy armor can help. Wont help your dodge, but if the armor strong enough’ most blows will simply deflect.

As far as I know keeping out of grab range is the only defense. I don’t think armor has any role to play in avoiding being grabbed (I don’t think strong armor prevents an attacker from grabbing hold of the armor), but it can certainly help protect you from the bite attacks you’ll be subjected to while grabbed.

high strength and or dex can help you break grabs when you try to move away. I highly recomment you try to move away while running when grabbed as a grab gives you a very severe speed and dodge debuff.


Turn on the Brawling martial arts style and get melee to level 6. At level 6 you get Grab Break for armed melee. You also get it for unarmed combat at unarmed level 6.

If you don’t know how, hit _ (underscore).
Another way to get there is to hit enter, followed by 4 (Combat…), followed by _ (Select Martial Arts Style).
Once there.hit F1 to see a description of the highlighted style.

Things to keep in mind about grabs:

  1. it’s a very common zombie ability, and quite a few zombie types have special grab attacks as well (zombie brawler, etc).
  2. you don’t really notice grabs that failed to connect
  3. once a single grab is established, your overall situation might very well go from “ok” to “you’re about to die, statically speaking” — your dodge just dropped like a rock, all the nearby zombies can now bite at their leisure, etc

The above is one of the reasons, by the way, why dodge by itself is highly questionable as melee defense — when it fails, it can fail big time.

Anyway, in practical terms, you might be more interested in being able to break grabs quickly, rather then avoiding them.
If you are great at avoiding grabs, but mediocre at breaking them, the first one that lands (sooner or later one will) might very well be the last.
If you are mediocre at avoiding, but great at breaking grabs, however, you are much more likely to have consistent “painful yet manageable” experience.

Anyway, in even more practical terms, just max out strength (12 at minimum, 14 highly recommend). Strength breaks grabs, gives you HP to sustain some damage (should the need be), and, perhaps most importantly, gives you strength buffer to keep breaking grabs quickly even after you’ve accumulated some pain (or other debuffs).

Not entirely. Although dodge is bad at protecting you against multiple opponents. It is highly effective if you engage a single opponent. This means that if you want to use dodge effectively you should try to avoid engaging more than one opponent at a time. This can be done by either aggrowing/fighting a single enemy at a time or clever positoning and movement can be used to engage only one or two oppenent at a time even if you are fighting multile enemies at once. The latter option does become much more difficult if there are enemies nearby with a ranged mellee or grab attack.

What exactly are the other defensive options you are comparing dodge against?
The only two I can think of are:

  1. Armor (equipment dependent)
  2. Keeping your distance (speed and terrain dependent)

Of the three, dodge has no advantage against solo targets (all three are viable).
What dodge has is a unique disadvantage when facing multiple enemies.
Moreover, armor has the advantage of being equally effective irregardless of how your character is feeling (it still works even if you are literally paralyzed). While keeping your distance has the advantage of having no “bleed through” (there is nothing for the enemy to “high roll” for an odd hit) and communicating it’s effectiveness before you have actually engaged.

I´m comparing dodge to option 1 armour. Option 2 is effectivly kiting and ranged combat. Both dodge and armour can be used in conjunction with kiting. For ranged combat armour is indeed more effective, you can´t dodge projectiles and only armour can protect you from electric and acid ranged attacks. But this discussion is about mellee combat.

Dodge has the advantage of allowing you to effectively avoid damage alltogether. Armour only reduces damage. It can do this to the point of completely negating damage but anything short of power armour
won´t protect you against certain high damage attacks (hulk mash attack) or certain types of armour piercing enemies (armoured centapied). Dodge also has the adventage of being able to avoid grabs in the first place instead of having to spent turns and stamina to break free. This gives dodge the adventage in a one on one fight as if your dodge is high enough you can effectively avoid all damage against creatures such as hulk who can deal damage even through heavy survivor armour.

Always pay attention to the moves per attack of your melee weapons. The lower the M/A the faster the attack speed, which allows you to make 1 or more attacks and then move away before the Z has a chance to strike back. And of course you can combine that with obstacles and traps for even greater efficacy. Using a bashing weapon also allows you to stun-lock opponents, so you don’t even have to move away unless you have more than one Z on you.

Using a reach weapon also works, just remember to keep an eye on the moves/attack rating. The basic pipe spear is attainable very early on but also has a very high attack speed, so enemies can move in and hit you in one turn if you’re not careful.

Not really.
You can hit-&-run with melee weapons just fine.
Case in point: I’ve killed several hulks by kiting into a swamp/forest while smashing with my trusty peasants flail.

By exactly the same token dodging does not negate hits completely, just makes them much less frequent. And it also doesn’t work against some attacks.