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Playtest (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document #16: Combat Maneuvers

Welcome to the 16th Level Up playtest document.

Last year we released the first half of the combat maneuvers as part of the fighter class playtest. Now it’s time to show you the revised chapter.

This is a long document with about 170 maneuvers; combat maneuvers occupy the same conceptual space for martial characters that spells do for magical characters (although, of course, they are all non-magical).

We don’t expect you to evaluate every maneuver in this document. Maneuvers are divided into 11 Traditions and we ask that you pick one or more Traditions to focus on and then give us your feedback via the playtest survey.

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When you are ready, please fill out the combat maneuvers playtest survey.

 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Faolyn

(she/her)
I'm sorry but these Maneuvers need a total revamp and many need a rewrite. There is not enough space in the survey of this playtest to write what needs help.

There are just far too many that are written using some seriously bad grammar.
I noticed a lot of vague and weirdly-written sentences as well. Try listing the grammar-os here. Maybe they'll read it.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Also, in case any of the writers see this: if a maneuver says "weapon attack," can I use it unarmed? The adept I'm making wants to know.
 

I came up with a somewhat broken but hilarious combo using an extrapolation of the degree scaling presented in the document and the earlier Fighter playtest, by assuming that 5th degree maneuvers are gained at 16th level.

With this combo, you can zip around from enemy to enemy, critting them into oblivion without consequence with more attacks than should logically be possible in a six second window.
This is how:
First, pick the Samurai subclass from Xanathar's Guide for its 3rd level ability to use a bonus action to get advantage on all your attacks for the turn three times per long rest.
Second, be level 16.
Third, take Tsunami Dash from Rapid Current and Perfect Edge Stance from Razor's Edge.
Fourth, make sure you have Perfect Edge Stance activated before combat or on a previous turn (-2 exertion)
(Optionally: Have the Mobile feat. Not strictly necessary, but enhances the experience by increasing your speed and negating opportunity attacks.)

Then, the combo commences.
Bonus action: Fighting Spirit (samurai subclass) to get advantage on all attacks for this turn.
Action: Tsunami Dash (-3 exertion). Move at double speed and attack five different enemies at advantage with a 15% crit chance per roll. Not per attack, per roll, because anything from 18-20 on the die is a crit thanks to Perfect Edge Stance, and due to advantage the higher number will always be the one used, so no crit is overwritten.
Since Tsunami Dash only consumes two of the three regular attacks you have at this Fighter level, take the remaining one, too, for two more attack rolls.
Action Surge, Attack action, for three more attacks, adding six attack rolls. (Theoretically you could use Tsunami Dash again with your Action Surge? I'm not sure whether that's possible, but if it is... 160ft of movement (40ftx2x2) 12 attacks at 10 different folks, all at advantage with a 15% crit chance per roll... oh boy.)

Congratulations, you just rolled 18 attack rolls for 9 attacks on one turn, five of those at different creatures, four at anyone you wish, each roll having a 15% chance to crit, moved double your speed (80ft if Mobile feat), and can do all that two more times before short resting, three more times if the final time is a separate combat from the previous (so you regain one spent Fighting Spirit use upon rolling initiative.) And if you have Mobile, anyone you swung at as you zoomed by with your 80ft speed cannot even AoO you.

If this skeleton is combined with a weapon with a large die (like a d12 greataxe), crit-enhancing features or abilities (like a half-orc's Savage Attacks), damage-per-attack bonuses (such as a die-based weapon buff such as Elemental Weapon or Holy Weapon), or effects that grant additional attacks (say, Haste), it gets kind of ludicrous.
Combining all of those, you would move 80ft, make ten attacks at 1d12+2d8 each, which provide twenty opportunities to crit at a 15% chance, for 3d12 plus 4d8 damage each, in one turn, while ignoring AoO from anyone you attack at least once.

The only limitation at that point are the abundance of your party members' spell slots to cast Holy Weapon or Haste, your own exertion pool (though with the ability to do this four times a short rest if it's all you use your exertion on, it really isn't much of a limitation), and the requirement that half your attacks be targeting different enemies. Otherwise, as long as your foes are standing on the ground (or you can fly someway), within range and you get to your initiative before being crowd-controlled or dead, you will eat the enemies' hit points like a black hole. A very, very speedy black hole.

I hope you enjoyed my insane little experiment.
I had a lot of fun playing around with these maneuvers to come up with this broken build, in the attempt to create a fighter flavoured as a time-bender. Though many maneuvers feel overcosted or need a buff because they're too situational or underwhelming, it's already clear what potential this has and I can't wait to get my hands on the final version.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
That's really cool! But there are two big problems:

1) There is no Action Surge.
2) Tsunami Dash takes 2 attacks.

So you get a total of 6 attacks. Your Proficiency Bonus number, and then 1 more from Extra Attack. Though they all do have Advantage and Crit on an 18-20, which is great!
 

dave2008

Legend
That's really cool! But there are two big problems:

1) There is no Action Surge.
2) Tsunami Dash takes 2 attacks.

So you get a total of 6 attacks. Your Proficiency Bonus number, and then 1 more from Extra Attack. Though they all do have Advantage and Crit on an 18-20, which is great!
FYI, if you don't quote someone they may not be notified that you responded to their comment.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
FYI, if you don't quote someone they may not be notified that you responded to their comment.
Yes... Yes.. I do realize that, now...

Friday I was still under the impression that the "Auto-Follow" for every thread you post in was the default of how people approach dealing with the forum. Rather than an auto-on function many people shut off.
 

dave2008

Legend
Yes... Yes.. I do realize that, now...

Friday I was still under the impression that the "Auto-Follow" for every thread you post in was the default of how people approach dealing with the forum. Rather than an auto-on function many people shut off.
Yes, it also worth noting that even if you follow a thread, it only gives you notice for the first new comment in the thread (since you last checked), not for each new comment. So if your not specifically quoted it is very easy to miss that someone responded to your post if don't check every post since the last time you got a notice.
 

TheHand

Explorer
I really like the concept behind the maneuvers and the Exertion resource management. As others pointed out, some need some rewording or rebalancing, but my question is more about design philosophy:

Are the maneuvers intended to be something on-par with a 4th Ed (martial) At-Will power or are they meant to be weaker? At what "Degree" should one expect them to equal or exceed a 4th Ed At-Will attack?

As a side-note, I'd almost prefer reducing the number of Degrees from 5 to 3, allowing for a greater range of selection across levels.

Thank you!
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Are the maneuvers intended to be something on-par with a 4th Ed (martial) At-Will power or are they meant to be weaker? At what "Degree" should one expect them to equal or exceed a 4th Ed At-Will attack?

As a side-note, I'd almost prefer reducing the number of Degrees from 5 to 3, allowing for a greater range of selection across levels.
First, this is 5e, not 4e, so you can't really compare the two of them that way.

Secondly, remember that degree = level (like with spell levels).
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Are the maneuvers intended to be something on-par with a 4th Ed (martial) At-Will power or are they meant to be weaker? At what "Degree" should one expect them to equal or exceed a 4th Ed At-Will attack?
I can barely remember 4E's powers. These weren't designed with them in mind.
 

TheHand

Explorer
Thanks for the replies! To follow up, do you have (or will there be) any tips or guidelines for DM's to design their own maneuvers into their campaigns? I'm really enjoying these and have just found myself wanting to create more (hence my earlier question on their power-levels).
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Thanks for the replies! To follow up, do you have (or will there be) any tips or guidelines for DM's to design their own maneuvers into their campaigns? I'm really enjoying these and have just found myself wanting to create more (hence my earlier question on their power-levels).
May I ask what maneuvers you want to write up? I've felt that there was space for a few shield-based maneuvers.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
May I ask what maneuvers you want to write up? I've felt that there was space for a few shield-based maneuvers.
This gives me the urge to make the "Lonely Wall" combat tradition. All about a solo-shield using character rather than a phalanxer.

Things like a combat stance allows them advantage on any saving throw to avoid a basic maneuver and allows them to expend a reaction in response to a line or cone spell targeting an ally within 15ft to move to a square adjacent to the ally and between the ally and the point of origin for the effect to provide the ally advantage on the relevant saving throw.

You know, 'cause it's hard to charge someone with a shield and shove them, since the shield can deflect your impact, or be brought up into an attempted grapple to make it harder to grab you, things like that. Plus the Lone Wall is totally the one who rushes over to block the Dragon's Breath to save his companion.

A Shield-Bash combat maneuver that makes their shield do 1d6/1d8 damage based on it's size and also shoves a creature. A combat maneuver Reaction to getting grappled by a Natural Weapon to disable that natural weapon as long as the grapple continues (Using a shield to stop a Purple Worm from swallowing you, for example).

Problem is I can't think of many more than that that aren't Marvel Comics infringements...
 

TheHand

Explorer
Yes, a lot of where my mind was going were maneuvers that would help protect your comrades or give them some small advantage or movement. Shield maneuvers fit right in with that. Steampunkette, I really like the Lonely Wall, love to see some more like that (even if we have to stay legally distinct from certain Marvels).

So here's some places I might go; just rough ideas that I don't think are repeating existing ones (I'm old so I can't remember them all!)

Biting Zephyr-ish ones:
  • Put to Flight: Fire a shot and pushes your enemy back 5 or 10 feet.
  • Draw Their Attention: Shoot an enemy, if you hit one of your engaged comrades can use their reaction to move without provoking an opportunity attack.
  • Bounding Escape: You can Disengage and move half your speed from an enemy before shooting.

Rogue-ish ones:
  • Riposte: I like the idea of an enemy missing you with a melee attack, then you can spend a reaction to make an opportunity attack against them.
  • The Ol' Switcheroo: Attack and then switch places with one of your nearby comrades (maybe they need to spend a reaction too).
  • Hamstring: Your attack Slows the target.
  • The Set Up: Your successful attack will give advantage to the next ally that attacks the target (basically a guiding bolt in melee form)

Fighter-ish ones:
  • Parry: Taking a note from knights and veterans in the Monster Manual, just a simple maneuver that would let you use your reaction to raise your AC by a couple points against a single attack.
  • Lunge: Using a 2-handed weapon or pole-arm, you can attack 5 feet further than normal.
  • Heavy Hitter: You attack with a 2-handed weapon as normal, but if you roll a '1' or '2' on your damage roll you can roll again.
  • Drive them Back: You attack, if you hit, you can shove the target back 5 feet and step toward them 5 feet.
  • Don't Turn your Back: A maneuver that emulates an aspect of the Sentinel Feat: if an enemy attacks one of your adjacent comrades, you can use your reaction to attack them.
  • Off-Balance: Again, another Sentinel Feat aspect. As above, but you just impose Disadvantage.


Thanks for letting me indulge!
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
This gives me the urge to make the "Lonely Wall" combat tradition. All about a solo-shield using character rather than a phalanxer.

Problem is I can't think of many more than that that aren't Marvel Comics infringements...
😜 Although apparently Vikings threw their shields too. So take that, Marvel!

You could have a shield bash, a charge-and-shove/knock prone, "lonely walls," as you put it, being able to hold a shield and a weapon in the same hand, protection from being knocked over, deflecting arrows, bash + shove, and deflecting spells and breath weapons at a high enough degree.

The site I got that from also suggested throwing shields to cover wounded (prone) comrades, or using one to smother a prone foe.

Definitely useful for fighters, berserkers, and heralds who want to go sword-and-board.

Writers? You listening?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Though of course to clarify — our monster book doesn’t make monsters more powerful, it makes them more interesting (and a little surprising sometimes) and adds useful GM tools to each entry. Like you say it’s about adding variety. Generally speaking A5E characters are about the same power level as O5E characters, but they have more options (and their ability scores are a little lower) and an entire exploration pillar to play in.
Good point. Even with the extra exertion fighters get, it's not a lot. I have to wonder if this is going to cause players to rely more heavily on the dreaded one-fight-then-rest combo.

Idea: Analyze the battlefield new ability make a skill check (analyze) and trades an attack from your attack action to regain an exertion point ... ie recoup your will/discipline while actively finding openings in the enemies gard
 
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