This is for the 1948: Signals game. Their combat rules can be found at: http://www.1948-signals.org/rules_policies/rules_intro_7_combat.shtml
From the 1948 Las Vegas game, I noticed that combat was really slow. The main reason for this was because everything was GM moderated. There were two things that really required GM attention for the most part, that being grappling and strange weapons. In this post I am discussing grappling.
My goals are to create an elegant solution that is both playable and fits in the RTLB system. Also, I would like grappling to be slightly less efficient than just punching your opponent, as the results are more beneficial. By that I mean that when you have grappled someone you get to decide whether to kill them later or not, but by beating them to death you are sort of stuck with the damage you did, and that means that grappling has better results.
I suggest adding a new type of damage, White stars. White stars represent your immobility. When you are out of hp due to white stars, you are successfully grappled. White stars are ignored for determining death.
Anyone may translate their yellow stars to white when involved in unarmed combat. In addition, Combat Maneuvers should be added for grappling, similar to the ones that already exist. As soon as you have done 1 white star to someone, neither you nor they may take a step. You are locked in a wrestling maneuver that prohibits movement.
"Pinned": Someone who is out of hp due to white stars is pinned. They may not perform any actions, but they are consious and aware of what is happening around them. There must be one person who is holding them at all times, otherwise they are "Released", below. The person holding them can only do three actions: "Hostage", "Release", or "Drag". Even if you are healed, once you are pinned you stay pinned.
"Drag": The pinned target and the person holding them may take 1 step in any direction.
"Hostage": The pinned target is held hostage. As long as they are a hostage, the person who took them hostage may use a future action to automatically hit them with an attack, rolling "10" on their first damage roll. Yes, this is very powerful, but being able to rescue anyone who is a hostage easily removes any drama or use from taking hostages. Someone can still be a hostage even if combat has ended.
"Release": The pinned target is released. If everyone who was holding a target releases them, they are free to act. They still have white stars, and if they have more stars than hp, they must perform actions to remove them before doing other actions.
"Escape" or "Recover": Someone with white stars may perform the escape or recover action. If someone is actively attempting to grapple with them, then they make an unarmed attack against that person, except they remove their damage in white stars from themselves. If noone is actively grappling with them, they remove all their white stars. Someone with more stars than hp may not make an unarmed attack, therefore may only perform this action if no one is resisting them.
This system uses the RTLB star mechanic. It allows a grapple, but only after you would have knocked someone unconsious in a normal brawl. So grappling doesn't become the fast way to take someone out in one round. But it does let you restrain someone in a non-permenant way...