There's a scene in the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier where something like ten opponents try all at once to grapple Steve Rogers in a tiny space: an elevator. Doesn't go their way.

I want to throw the four PCs in my Pathfinder campaign something unexpected and I'm working out how I would map out a "many opponents in a tight space melee" like this. I thought the archer and the magic user in particular might be put on the hind foot if they and the other two PCs were talking in a ten foot by ten foot room with a dozen melee fighters who suddenly turned on them.

I'm specifically looking for Pathfinder rules on how to deal with the battle map for a fight with more combatants than will fit in the standard grid in a confined space.

I'm at the point where I'm asking "Can I find a way to make this fun for my players?" I'm coming to the conclusion that sixteen humans in a ten-by-ten room is not where Pathfinder excels.

I get that some game systems make some things easier and other things harder. Maybe a grid combat in four squares each five-by-five isn't the best way to do this.

I have the Core Rulebook and I see the lines about Multiple Creatures in a grapple:

Multiple creatures can attempt to grapple one target. The creature that first initiates the grapple is the only one that makes a check, with a +2 bonus for each creature that assists in the grapple (using the Aid Another action).

I'm not looking for feats like Gang up (alternate d20pfsrd.com link). I get why that feat would be handy. My question is more looking for official rules (or third-party rules) to help make that combat fun. Say (for example): "Run a grid but use a 4 by 4 grid, with 2.5 foot squares in place of 5 foot squares. If you do that, be sure to consider A, B, and C..." Or, perhaps, "Throw the grid out the window and instead work from the following four principles...."

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    \$\begingroup\$ Use Theater of the Mind instead. This looks like a prime example of a situation where 'official' rules will just hinder the fun and bog everything down into mechanics. \$\endgroup\$ – SpacyRicochet Sep 18 '17 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpacyRicochet Consider formalizing that into an Answer, comments are periodically deleted and even partial answers don't belong in comments \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Sep 18 '17 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the info and warning, @Ifusaso. But I don't consider the comment an actual answer, since it specifically doesn't mention anything the asker is looking for. If people disagree, they're welcome to delete the comment :) \$\endgroup\$ – SpacyRicochet Sep 18 '17 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpacyRicochet is not that they will agree or disagree, but that comments are periodically deleted so the site remains clean and the answers objective. Comments are used for clarification and improvements. Saying use <this> is an answer, which is why Ifusaso suggested you post an answer, as even a short answer is better than a comment. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 18 '17 at 13:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I'm convinced. Added the answer :) \$\endgroup\$ – SpacyRicochet Sep 18 '17 at 15:28

Use the rules of Squeezing

Squeezing allows two medium-sized creatures to share a single 5-feet area.

In some cases, you may have to squeeze into or through an area that isn’t as wide as the space you take up. You can squeeze through or into a space that is at least half as wide as your normal space. Each move into or through a narrow space counts as if it were 2 squares, and while squeezed in a narrow space, you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty to AC.

While the rule is unclear if you can end your movement in an occupied square by another squeezing allied creature, there are other rules, like the Share Stash teamwork feat, that suggests you can.

While you are in the same square as a willing ally who also has this feat,

The movie apparently has more than two occupying the same space, but you can allow more than one creature if you wish so. Simply create a new teamwork feat that allows more than one creature occupying the same space (with or without penalties, it's a feat after all).

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    \$\begingroup\$ They aren't unclear; You can't end your movement in the same square as another creature, however, since they weren't in combat to begin with, this ^ is what I would recommend. \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood Sep 18 '17 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wyrmwood its unclear as wether or not you can end your movement in the same square as another ally, as suggested by the teamwork feat. The rule says you can't, the feat says you can. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 18 '17 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep. It would be nice if the feat was expressing a specific beats general, but it sure doesn't read like it. \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood Sep 18 '17 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras No, the feat doesn't say you can. It gives you bonus options when you do. For a typical creature, the only usable option is the free action one, which can be done mid-movement. There are other options for specific creatures that let you do this, and tiny and smaller creatures can share spaces in general. There's no reason to think the feat lets you share spaces just cause you need to be able to do that to use it effectively. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 18 '17 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am aware of that @thedarkwanderer, the feat is improving the ratfolk's racial trait Swarming. It was simply an example of such feats (and ratfolk have three of them). I was pointing out that sharing the same space is possible within the rules, but you need a specific rule saying so. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Sep 18 '17 at 19:13

Use Theater of the Mind instead.

This looks like a prime example of a situation where 'official' rules will just hinder the fun and bog everything down into mechanics.

Whereas slamming your head back to crack someone's nose, while you stomp on another's toes to free your hand which then punches the third one in the kidney is awesome!

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