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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TheHand

Adventurer
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).
 

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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

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
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

Adventurer
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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