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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Timespike

A5E Designer and third-party publisher
Yes, that's why I'm asking how the maneuvers mesh with the Battlemaster maneuvers.

Ah. In that case: they don't. Battlemaster maneuvers use a completely separate resource from A5e maneuvers. You'd keep track of both pools separately and use the maneuvers from each independently of one another. Same as with any subclass-specific resource pool.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I just wish there had been more room in the survey to include these notes...
Agreed, it was a really long survey to have such a short comment box. I think its some of the reason people will post detailed comments here, you just can't fit them in the core survey...not even close.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Agreed, it was a really long survey to have such a short comment box. I think its some of the reason people will post detailed comments here, you just can't fit them in the core survey...not even close.
A list of 187 maneuvers, we physically can’t process a thousand essay responses. It’s impossible. It has to be numerical via the checkboxes so we know where to start looking and which ones got flagged up multiple times. The comment box is for more overall stuff not specific maneuvers. So I strongly encourage people to use the survey form and flag up the maneuvers you feel need another look.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Agreed, it was a really long survey to have such a short comment box. I think its some of the reason people will post detailed comments here, you just can't fit them in the core survey...not even close.
Even resorting to the dreaded text speak didn't give me nearly enough room.

I hope the writing team is reading the comments.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
A list of 187 maneuvers, we physically can’t process a thousand essay responses. It’s impossible. It has to be numerical via the checkboxes so we know where to start looking and which ones got flagged up multiple times. The comment box is for more overall stuff not specific maneuvers. So I strongly encourage people to use the survey form and flag up the maneuvers you feel need another look.
A potential suggestion: if you find that certain maneuvers are getting flagged a lot, maybe have another survey just for those.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
  • sanguine knot, spirited steed, tempered iron, plus tooth & claw here
  • Basic Maneuvers, adamant mountain, biting zephyr, & mirror's glint here
  • Anticipate spell: I'm not sure what this does. Sure the AoO is clear but not so much on the sleight of hand check & if damage is done does it force a concentration check ot something?
  • Deceptive stance: I'm not sure what either of those do in a fight
  • Painful pickpocket. Not sure what the sleight of hand check does but the name gives a suggestion . This kind of pickpocketing through inventory might work well in video games, but I'm not sure that level of detail is normal so it heavily depends on what else that check allows.
  • Perplexing Fury: Being able to impose disadvantage on all of an opponent's attacks till your next turn is a huge boon that can be even greater with some of the mirror's glint type stuff that activates on being missed to setup some very neat synergy
  • Agile feint: If you think it has good AC or you absolutely need to hit this is a nice way to burn a bonus action that might otherwise go unused
  • Force hesitation: Nifty & a bit mind controlly to a degree, but granting advantage on the save if you used this already in the combat makes this one round thing pretty reasonable
  • Mugging hit: again I'm not sure what the slight of hand check does
  • Douse: I'm suspecting this moves throw a flask of acid/holy water/etc from action to bonus action? it could make those more interesting combat options.
  • Feinting strike: With the various ways of getting expertise dice on a skill like sleight of hand this could be a nice way of making a needed hit a lot more guaranteed.
  • Pickpocket: again I'm not sure what the slight of hand check does...
  • Blinding Blow stance: even with the 1 point cost to trigger with an attack after your in stance this is incredible considering blinding blow was 3 points & 2 attacks each time.
  • Challenge Foe: There will certainly be cases where someone wants to force a specific opponent to attack them & till your next turn isn't so long that it's problematic but 60ft is a bit long for range o this kinda thing. Maybe change that to within it's move speed or within half its move speed?
  • Spinning Parry: This one is just neat but again the sleight of hand thing makes me feel like the skills rework has some critical details we are missing.
  • Steal Momentum: This do something to impose restrained condition will feel so much better in play than the mirror's glint speed=0 stuff & has the added benefit of not automatically overriding creatures immune to restrain from the creature spell magic item or whatever.
  • Armor lock: Jumping steal momentum up from restrained to paralyzed is a massive bump with a bigger cost in terms of exertion & attacks used that I think balance it out.
  • Create an opening: reaction to being missed to make an attack that causes your next attack against it to be a crit is a huge boon that will be even bigger if we see weapons more than x2. I think this will be one that makes players feel awesome when it counts.
  • Pilfer Object: This should include a line bout dm discretion & maybe be limited by object size. The bbeg isn't going to let you charge up & steal his 2 handed staff used to cast spells with when faced with 4-6 bloodthirsty killers but you might be able to get the bbeg's poison vial or wand before he does the bad thing you want to stop.

  • Charge: This sounds kinda like the biting zephyr quickdraw from the fluff but the mechanics just seem to amount to move an extra 30ft in a line & make a standard melee weapon attack as an action even if you had more than one attack. It should be cleared up & made to reflect it mechanically if the intent is like quickdraw. If the intent is not like quickdraw that attack should probably get some benefit & absolutely should be worded to work with class features like extra attacks
  • Eye slash: Much the same kind of awesome as other blind a creature maneuvers but this gets bonus points from my GM side for including the words "that relies on sight" after creature.
  • Speed over strength: I just like how this works & feel like it gives the rogue some incentive to not always bonus action disengage. I wonder if changing the you to you or an ally would be justified?
  • Swift stance: These are hard to judge the value on but after 5e removed the speed penalties for wearing heavier armors they became less meaningful. Without some close to constant source of speed penalties like from armor I can't see this ever being worth the investment of taking it over almost any other maneuver unless it comes free with a class feature
  • Parrying counter: This seems like one of those things I might feel an urge to plonk a cost reduction on a fancy by not quite optimal weapon, but even at 1 point it's still going to be useful occasionally once one' bread & butter maneuvers are accounted for since it gives an attack if it causes a miss.
  • Rapid Drink: I've tried doing things like making potions better (ie 2hd+2) & bonus action dependant in o5e but still found players basically never used them because healing word+damage below 0 just goes away being so much more efficient. I think the value to trap ratio on this one will depend on what happens when someone is damaged for an amount greater than their current hp & then hit by healing word as a bonus action without anyone breaking stride. this video gets into the combined problem of unbeatable efficiency nicely.
  • Rolling Strike: This one not needing a straight line & not provoking AoOs makes a nice subjective alternative to charge & shows why charge should be better by being better in nearly every way that will regularly matter
  • Disarming Counter: I liked this wwhen the dbattering strike close cousin was strength based with a slightly different trigger & think the differences between them setup a nice example of rock paper scissors scary for dex vrs strength types without making a clear winner of either.
  • Rapid strike: extra attacks are always nice & this could get extremely vicious with the right weapons/build
  • Whirlwind strike: One of the other traditions had a similar but slightly different ability & it's nice to see it spread around a bit for players who feel like this sort of ohcrud button is fitting their character.
  • First Blood: this will be a life saver for getting caught while stealthing around as a scout alone, but in melee combat with allies the value of going first is often vastly overstated unless you are some kind of controller type build imo. It looks like rogues & rangers won't get 3rd degree till sometime after level 10 though so I wonder if the maneuver tier might be too high for something that basically amounts to a niche tool for scouting
  • Flowing steps: Kind of a neat assortment of things to have advantage against that nicely shows why speed=0 shouldn't be used with maneuvers like warning strike & such when there are conditions that already do that & interact better with other abilities
  • Oncoming Storm: This is good but extremely similar to rapid strike, almost too much so. It feels like there should be more differece between the two since they are both in the same tradition
  • Whirlpool strike: This is a straight improvement over whirlwind strike & the extrad6 escalation makes it significantly so. I really like this.
  • Shifting Currents: I like this so much better than bonus action disengage from cunning action :D
  • Tidal Parry: Most of the really scary melee type monsters are strength based so having a thing to make them take a dex save to miss what would have been a hit is an incredible ace to keep in your pocket as a player & fitting the 5th degree .
  • tsunami dash: getting to dash around smacking foes can do wonders against a defensive line with this awesome "I've got this guys" 5th degree maneuver that would make using lots of mooks as a gm something really worth it to the players rather than a slog & that says nothing about the ways doing it could be leveraged to push for surrender or similar.

  • Dangerous Strikes:crit range bumps are always nice but unlike strike the cracks stance & dispelling strike/explosive stane this is an action not reaction or stance & does nothing but improve crit range. Even as a first degree maneuver it feels like this needs serious improvement.
  • Exploit Footing: This seems a little niche just to trigger dex save or prone. The conditions are a bit iffy & at least in o5e being tripped often means standing up without provoking an AoO at a cost of half the movement that probably wasn't going to be used anyway s & there are a lot easier more reliable ways to trip an opponent in other maneuvers. Even at 1 point it might be too high a cost
  • Iron Will: This kind of save against fear with advantage is great given how debilitating it is so it's nice to see it in another tradition
  • Perceptive stance: I'm not sure if hidden/invis opponents are common enough to justify this stance, it seems a bit like a solution looking for a problem unless there are other changes intended that make it better.
  • Practiced roll: Being able to move around in combat is nice enough that people used to put points into acrobatics just do do that with tumble, the real value here will probably depend most on how mych the AoO enabled tactical grid component of combat is improved from o5e's virtual removal of it.
  • Twist the blade: Having a crit range bump as a reaction is a nice option even if it doesn't stretch as far as the stack down too 17-20 if multiple sources but having it use a completely different system that doesn't mesh well with all of the others so far is something I'm bot sure is worth it. This should be worded so it works better with things like dangerous strikes, perfect edge stance, strike the cracks & so on.
  • Use the pain: Getting crit is almost never a good thing but a maneuver that lets you make sure it hurts the attacker back is a nice tool in the toolbox
  • Drive back: This seems like a pretty expensive shove variant.
  • Instinctive counterattack: attack as a reaction is great & opens a lot of really interesting build options for rogues who could use it for multiple sneak attacks even with the cost
  • Mind over body: DR effects are great, but this one doesn't specify if it triggers before or after rage cuts damage in half & if it can reduce damage to zero.
  • Dashing razor: Feels kinda middle of the road not really great or bad but could be a fun tool in the toolbox for players
  • Focus Foe: This is great & given the duration is sure to be a favorite for many builds even with the cost.
  • Perfect edge stance: amazing crit fisher stance
  • Sharpened awareness: neat little reaction to maybe avoid getting hit & get some benefit if you succeed.
  • Death blow: I started out a bit uncertain about how grouping 3 attacks into one crit would pass the basic cursory math test when crits are usually just double damage but think that comining the crit range enhancing stuff with the if crit target drops to zerohp makes it a nice tough choice with no clear great/bad ranking right where it should be for a 5th degree maneuuver
  • Focused edge: Interesting use of concentration mechanic but +1d8 per point on one attack feels like a pretty bad return given the risk of losing concentration. It should probably be improved to one of multiple attacks, more dice, no concentration or some combo of the three.
  • Heightened concentration: either great or nothing useful entirely based on build so not much to say


Having done this for all quite a few traditions there was one thing I found myself wishing for in the layout. Fate & pf2 both have symbols next to certain kinds of things & many of these fall into [does something to improve your attack(s)], [does something to debuff an opponent], [does something to the movement of an opponent or moves them], & maybe one or two others like [does something to make one or more of your allies awesome]. A simple icon right inline with the maneuver name could help with identifying & remembering maneuvers you aren't personally able to use as a player & could help a GM quickly sort them into mental boxes without a lot of extra overhead
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
Painful pickpocket. Not sure what the sleight of hand check does but the name gives a suggestion . This kind of pickpocketing through inventory might work well in video games, but I'm not sure that level of detail is normal so it heavily depends on what else that check allows.
I had the same question with this and with the other, similar maneuvers. I'm guessing it just lets you pick someone's pocket (or plant something on a person) in combat, but I'm not entirely sure if that's really useful. Unless you're against someone you know you can't defeat, that you know will try to escape, or that you're planning on letting escape, it's likely to be easier to just kill the foe or knock it out, then loot the body like a good PC.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
So what interesting combos have people come up with? I'm not great at combos myself, but was immediately amused by Stand Tall plus Hurl Ally, which would allow you to toss an ally the same size as yourself.
 


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