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Level Up (A5E) How to Evaluate Maneuver Balance?

Legendweaver

Explorer
I'm trying to go through the combat-oriented rules in detail, but for me the big Gordian knot left to untangle are Maneuvers. Can any of the devs speak to how Maneuvers were balanced or how we should try to evaluate their action economy?

So far, I've tried assuming a Maneuver is equal to a restricted version of a spell whose level is equal to the maneuver's degree, but this seems to break down at higher levels - for example:
  • 1st level: Catch Your Breath is roughly analogous to Cure Wounds, Cleaving Swing deals extra damage equal to 1st level spell, and Lean Into It is comparable to Grease.
  • 2nd level: Shrug it Off combines aspects of protection from poison + heroism. Battering strike is similar to the Disarm in 3rd party 5E sources.
  • 3rd level: Crushing Blow can paralyze any type of creature (like a 5th level Hold Monster) but has a shorter duration.
  • 4th level: Unstoppable can fix petrification (among other things), which otherwise requires a 5th level greater restoration, but is far less general
  • 5th level: Unyielding reads like a 3rd level cure wounds, while World Shaking Strike seems like a weak Slow or weak Plant Growth spell.
The varying action cost makes this tough to evaluate, too, since in the right circumstances, a character can take advantage of up to four maneuvers per round (one concentration spell stance, one bonus action maneuver, one reaction maneuver, and either one action maneuver or all their attacks). This makes it complicated to evaluate compared to evaluating regular spell casting (where there's a hard limit of one non-cantrip spell per turn, one concentration spell, and only a meager handful of reaction spells). I tried to figure out a matrix of maneuver flexibility vs cost, but any sort of comprehensible formula eluded me.

Has anyone had better luck trying to get a handle on Maneuver balance?
 
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I haven’t given it as deep a dove as I should but I will state that “stun on every attack” maneuver for tempered iron seems strong as heck. But no more so than what some spells can pull of I guess. Seems like an auto pick for a number of my players.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I haven’t given it as deep a dove as I should but I will state that “stun on every attack” maneuver for tempered iron seems strong as heck. But no more so than what some spells can pull of I guess. Seems like an auto pick for a number of my players.
Yeah, now that I am looking at it, that manuever does seem a bit crazy. Especially when you compare it to the Crushing Blow manuever.

Stunning Assault vs Crushing Blow

1) 2nd level vs 3rd
2) Con Save vs Strength Save
2) Get to keep all your attacks vs 1 attack
3) Can force multiple stun saves a round vs 1 save
4) Stun till end of your next turn vs paralyzed until its damaged again

Paralyses is better than stun, except you get at most one coup de grace out of the paralysis, where the stun can help the entire party. Stunning Assault does more damage AND allows for more stun saves. So while a strength save is generally a better save to target, I'll take 2-3 con saves vs a single strength save.

If the two manuevers were equal level I could go with it, but I do not think crushing blow is a "superior manuever". A fighter specializing in Stunning Assault (7th level) is going to be wicked strong!
 

Stalker0

Legend
Yeah, now that I am looking at it, that manuever does seem a bit crazy. Especially when you compare it to the Crushing Blow manuever.

Stunning Assault vs Crushing Blow

1) 2nd level vs 3rd
2) Con Save vs Strength Save
2) Get to keep all your attacks vs 1 attack
3) Can force multiple stun saves a round vs 1 save
4) Stun till end of your next turn vs paralyzed until its damaged again

Paralyses is better than stun, except you get at most one coup de grace out of the paralysis, where the stun can help the entire party. Stunning Assault does more damage AND allows for more stun saves. So while a strength save is generally a better save to target, I'll take 2-3 con saves vs a single strength save.

If the two manuevers were equal level I could go with it, but I do not think crushing blow is a "superior manuever". A fighter specializing in Stunning Assault (7th level) is going to be wicked strong!
Oh wow its even better than I thought, as there is nothing that prevents you from adding in off-hand attacks with Stunning Assault. Crushing blow is specifically a single attack, but SA works on all attacks you make.

That means that at 7th level, a fighter could make 4 stunning attacks a round (2 regular, 2 off-hand) at a meer 1 exertion cost (and with better saves and more damage). That is so much better than what an Adept can do, I actually think that's an exploit (and I've reported it on the bug forum).
 

Oh wow its even better than I thought, as there is nothing that prevents you from adding in off-hand attacks with Stunning Assault. Crushing blow is specifically a single attack, but SA works on all attacks you make.

That means that at 7th level, a fighter could make 4 stunning attacks a round (2 regular, 2 off-hand) at a meer 1 exertion cost (and with better saves and more damage). That is so much better than what an Adept can do, I actually think that's an exploit (and I've reported it on the bug forum).
My player is an adept, took warrior monk, and then specifically Bee lined for taking this maneuver. “Now I don’t need to take stunning strike!” Ugh.
 

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