Combat Maneuvers (Rough)



  • This is an idea I'm considering. Basically, I want maneuvers to be organic from combat and not like in ACKS where it's not even worth it. In this system, a solid damage attack does a little more, though the enemy still gets its saving throw to avoid the negative outcome.

    Input welcome. And, if folks are opposed to the idea and want to do a traditional penalized attack, we can try that instead. The main concern I have is seeing damage output in practice.

    Here's how it works:

    Combat Maneuvers are accomplished by dealing high amounts of damage in a single attack. When you reach a damage threshold or higher on a damage roll, you may choose a maneuver from the list or make one up. Your opponent gets a saving throw to avoid the effect. If you reach a higher threshold (20+) you can never-the-less choose something from the lower thresholds.

    Minor Effects | Damage = 10+

    Trip - Knocked to ground.
    Feint - Thrown off balance.
    Pin - Pinned to surface, immobilizing someone for 1 round (like an arrow in a cloak).
    Push - Shoved back (medium or smaller; large requires 10+; huge requires 20+).

    Moderate Effects | Damage = 15+

    Disarm - Weapon is knocked away.
    Bitch Slap - Helm is knocked off.
    Blinded - Blind for 1 round.
    Hobble - Movement reduced for 1 round.
    Overrun - Give way for attacker.

    Major Effects | Damage = 20+

    Sunder - Weapon is damaged.
    Smash - Shield is shattered.
    Stunned - Stunned for 1 round.
    Intimidate - Morale check forced.

    Wounds | Damage = 25+

    Wound - Save or suffer a mortal wound.
    Crush - Armor is damaged.

    Death | Damage = 50+

    Death - Save or die.



  • Some awesome notes on emergent features and synergy:

    • Special maneuvers do not require additional rolls, they are always worthwhile because they don't require special penalties or actions or trading the chance of dealing damage, and they help fictionally set apart a big damage hit from a small damage hit
    • Anyone can do a special maneuver, but Fighters are better at special maneuvers than everyone else because they deal more damage, especially when they get to a level they can perform a power attack
    • Bigger weapons are better at special maneuvers (tripping with a dagger is a whole lot harder than a two-handed sword)


  • Would it make more sense to base it off of the successful attack roll rather than the damage threshold?

    Example: I roll 5+ more than what is required to strike a target. I then choose a maneuver from the 5+ minor effects to affect the target.



  • @TomunistParty said in Combat Maneuvers (Rough):

    Would it make more sense to base it off of the successful attack roll rather than the damage threshold?

    Example: I roll 5+ more than what is required to strike a target. I then choose a maneuver from the 5+ minor effects to affect the target.

    Debated it! But ultimately decided on damage as the best option for a few reasons.



  • I concur after mulling it around, it would be pretty rough rolling 15+ more than needed on attack.

    Now what if a char, say using the blade-wall spell, inflicted 25+ damage in one turn but to 7 different enemies. no one enemy was damaged more than 4 points. Could that receive some sort of maneuver?

    or would we take it on an enemy by enemy basis.



  • These effects are for melee / missile attacks. Spells generally already include special maneuvers in the spell effect.

    But if I were to extend it to spells, it'd definitely be damage per target basis.


  • Ven

    While in theory this seems pretty interesting, I'm concerned about lengthening combat sequences. While it might not seem too cumbersome during small, low-level skirmishes, I can see a time when large groups of monsters vs PCs will necessitate constant bog down for table lookups, tracking affects on numerous creatures (monster A is blinded for 2 rnds, monster B has reduced movement for 3 rounds, monster C has a damaged weapon, Mungo the Fighter has damaged armor and was shoved back, etc., etc, etc). And while tracking penalties on PCs is a simple matter, how will we track affected monsters in large scale melees given they are operating under the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (by rule)? :)

    Also, will magic weapons and armor add bonuses to saving throws to avoid being damaged (per the table)?

    This is just a start...



  • What if it focused on out of combat afflictions?

    Like the harmed character must carry a lighter load, eats twice as much food, leaves an easy to track trail of blood, needs rest much more frequently, or can't cast a spell for X hours. Adds to the survival aspect.

    In regards to combat length, I think you would be tracking a -1 attack penalty (as the alternative) anyway, so it wouldn't be too much more effort to manage them falling over themselves, getting hobbled, and getting stunned.
    It would be easier to manage if maeuvers were caused by a single attack that caused X amount of dam rather than tracking the actors health to certain thresholds.

    I'm down for giving it a go.



  • @JohnY said in Combat Maneuvers (Rough):

    While in theory this seems pretty interesting, I'm concerned about lengthening combat sequences. While it might not seem too cumbersome during small, low-level skirmishes, I can see a time when large groups of monsters vs PCs will necessitate constant bog down for table lookups, tracking affects on numerous creatures (monster A is blinded for 2 rnds, monster B has reduced movement for 3 rounds, monster C has a damaged weapon, Mungo the Fighter has damaged armor and was shoved back, etc., etc, etc). And while tracking penalties on PCs is a simple matter, how will we track affected monsters in large scale melees given they are operating under the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (by rule)? :)

    That's a good point. Fortunately, most of the effects are simple and immediate. We can modify it to be all effects are immediate or last for a round. That shouldn't be too hard to track.

    The constant lookups I imagine will be reduced over time as we eventually just memorize the table. And, fighters could even write down some of their favorite maneuvers to use to reduce their options each time.

    This is the kind of thing I'd like to see in play though. If it does bog down shit way too much, it'd be easy to notice that quickly and nix the idea.

    @JohnY said in Combat Maneuvers (Rough):

    Also, will magic weapons and armor add bonuses to saving throws to avoid being damaged (per the table)?

    Magical weapons and armor can't be destroyed by normal means.

    @JohnY said in Combat Maneuvers (Rough):

    This is just a start...

    Keep 'em coming. Good thoughts.



  • @TomunistParty said in Combat Maneuvers (Rough):

    It would be easier to manage if maeuvers were caused by a single attack that caused X amount of dam rather than tracking the actors health to certain thresholds.

    This is how it works. It's not damage on the creature threshold. It's "when you inflict 5 or more damage in a single blow... you also trip them!" or "when you inflict 40+ damage in a single blow... oh shit! they must save vs. death or be decapitated!"

    Doesn't matter how many hit points the enemy has. And, the great thing is since you're still dealing damage, on those 1HD creatures, most of the time you don't even need the special so we can skip right past it (since the creature will be dead).



  • Tweaked damage output thresholds to make maneuvers a little rarer. Let's see how that happens in play.


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