Combat Maneuvers (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Source[edit]

This has been taken from a post on the Wizards Boards: http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=586236

Introduction[edit]

Ah, combat. It seems to be the main event of a D&D game when your Half Orc Fighter brings down a Huge baddie with one smooth crit from his lucky Battleaxe. Or when you finally defeat that BBEG that keeps escaping your grasp time and time again. So, to honor combat, and all it's exciting glory, I've dedicated this thread to a new option, Combat maneuvers. A new way to make Combat more cinematic with more than just flavor. I Caution to you, this idea is for DM's and players who aren't afraid of more advanced Combat. Combat maneuvers may also help new gamers describe what they wish to do in combat. Veteran gamers may not like this option because it provides a concrete combat system instead of the more abstract one they are use to. However, these advanced gamers may find Combat maneuvers to add something new to the table, and the players will find they have more options available to them when they are in a fight.

How Combat maneuvers work[edit]

Combat Maneuvers work like button combinations do in a video game. They more easily explain what your character and his opponents are doing in combat. If you wish to flip an opponent with your staff, you can do so using a combat maneuver. If you need to end the fight quickly, you can use your expert skill with a sword to sweep and coup de grace a victim before a fight begins. Basically, a combat maneuver is an advanced tool that a character (or monster) can use to defeat his or her opponent.

Combat maneuvers work like feats. Each maneuver has a requirements you must meet to use one. However, You can use any Combat maneuver listed, as long as you meet those prerequisites. There’s no limited selection you must “buy” like feats. Instead, you pick what you want to perform, and do it. Fighters will benefit the most from combat maneuvers, because requirements to use a maneuver usually rely on your fighting ability, selection of feats, Base attack bonus, and fighting ability scores. Barbarians and Rangers will use combat maneuvers to great advantage, especially when raging or fighting against favored enemies. Rogues will find some combat maneuvers to enhance their sneak attack abilities, and will also find them assets. Monks can use unarmed combat maneuvers to help further their martial arts tactics. Spellcasters will benefit the least from combat maneuvers, because their selection of skills and feats usually don’t form a fighting backbone.

How do Combat maneuvers differ from what you can already do in combat?[edit]

The current Combat system provides the basis for what you can do in combat, which is pretty much anything you put your mind on doing. What Combat maneuvers do is build on combat actions already present. They bring your skills, feats, abilities, and other attributes of your character to the table so your character can excel in their chosen style of combat.

Some of the combat maneuvers will replace feats that allow you to do beneficial things (they are abundant in Complete Warrior) because I think you shouldn’t spend a feat on one thing. Examples of these are Hamstring, Flying kick, and Defensive throw.

Forming Combat maneuvers[edit]

Making all the possible combat maneuvers can be a hard task, but a creative baseline can help grease the wheels enough to start making a ton of options.

Take an idea, and classify it into one of the following categories:

Melee maneuvers[edit]

Gut (Melee, slashing)[edit]

Using a slashing weapon, you lock the blade of it to your opponents mid-section and pull sideward, forcing the creature onto it’s knees, holding it’s stomach.
Requirements: Str. 13+, Base attack bonus +4, Combat Reflexes, Power attack
Benefit: When using Power attack, You sacrifice the extra damage to for a chance to stun and knock the target prone. The target must make a fortitude save equal to 10 + 1/2 your base attack bonus or become stunned for 1d4 rounds and fall prone. Any creatures that are immune to critical hits (such as undead) are immune to this maneuver,

Hamstring (Melee, slashing)[edit]

You cut the back of the creature’s knee, it snaps to look down, grabbing it in pain.
Requirements: Int. 13+, Base attack bonus +4, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes

Benefit: Taking a -2 on your attack roll, you can reduce the speed of the target by half on a successful attack. The target’s speed is reduced until after 24 hours have passed or it receives a DC 15 Heal check. The target must be within one size category of you. If the creature is a quadruped (4 legs), it takes two hamstring attacks to reduce it’s speed. Creature with no legs or more than four legs are unaffected by this maneuver. Creatures immune to critical hits are also unaffected.

Slit Throat (Melee, slashing)[edit]

Your ability to lay down unaware foes quickly helps you as you take out another victim effortlessly.
Requirements: Int. 12, Sneak attack 3d6, Nimble Fingers, Quick Draw
Benefit: When you catch an opponent by surprise (Flat-Footed and unaware), you may take a full round action and sacrifice 2d6 of your sneak attack damage to send the target prone, and by chance dying. After a successful attack, the target knocked prone must make a fortitude save equal to (10+½ your base attack bonus). If the target fails, then it’s HP is reduced to -1 and is dying.
Alternatively, you may attempt to slit an opponents throat while they're already pinned. If the attack is successful, the player sacrifices 2 dice of sneak attack and the target must make a fortitude save equal to (10+damage done from sneak attack) or be reduced to -1 HP and begin dying.

Bone Breaker (Melee, Bludgeoning)[edit]

Your ability to lay down heavy blows allows you to hamper your enemies ability to fight.
Requirements: Str. 15, Power Attack, Base Attack Bonus +4
Benefit: When you make a melee attack, you can choose to take a -2 penalty to ATK and 1d6 to DMG in exchange for doing 1d6 CON DMG (Fort. save: DC 10+1/2 your BAB)

Flash Attack (Melee, Slashing)[edit]

The ability to use a concealed light weapon to pull from it's scabbard or holster attack and return it without the target even seeing the movement.
Requirements: DEX 18+, Quick Draw, Improved Quick Draw, Weapon Juggle, Sleight of Hand 6+ ranks.
Benefit: If using a light weapon that is concealed from view the attacker may make a sleight of hand skill roll the result of which the target of the attack must use as the Spot DC, if the target fails the spot skill check then the attacker may make an attack roll with the weapon, the target losses all DEX bonus to AC (which can apply sneak attack damage). This manuver may be performed on the same target multiple times but for each time the Spot DC is increased by 2.


    • Ranged maneuvers
    • Grapple maneuvers
    • Unarmed maneuvers
    • Environment maneuvers (using what’s around you)
    • Subcategories
      • Weapon specific
        • Slashing
        • Piercing
        • Bludgeoning


  • Now that the idea is classified, Give it a name based on what it is.
  • Give the requirements (Feats, skill ranks, ability score, special, etc.).
  • Then describe the benefit from the maneuver.



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