Combat Maneuvers

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The creature surged forward, unleashing a devastating blow against the shield, shattering it to flinders!

In Epic Path, there are actually TWO ways to fight.

The most common way of getting a fight done is by making attack rolls, using a D20, and this is explained in complete detail on the Combat page.

But, while the basic D20 combat system is powerful and can be quite detailed, it is not terribly...cinematic. There's no way to swing from chandeliers, climb up the giant Ogre's back, kick down a door, do a dive-and-roll to get behind the bad guy, etc, etc, etc. How...boring.

But fear not! For all you latter-day Errol Flynn's out there, we present the Combat Maneuvers system!

During a combat, and often, even during a skill challenge with the GM's permission, you are allowed to make skill rolls instead of boring old attack rolls, right in the middle of the fight. These skill rolls are called Maneuver Offense rolls, and they allow you to do all kinds of crazy, exciting, and interesting things during a fight, that do all sorts of fun and interesting things to the bad guys, and they can even do damage to those bad guys, so that you can be as cinematic as you want, and still win fights.

Heck, if you take the right feats, you can do a LOT of damage with combat maneuvers. Indeed, if you are playing a Class that has three or four attacks in a Full Attack action, you will frequently discover that those last attacks are really tough to land...the normal boring way. But Combat Maneuvers made with your last attack have the exact same chance to-hit as ones made with your best attack. So trading away your last, or second-last, normal attack for a fun, fancy combat maneuver is often a way to be MORE effective in a battle, while getting rid of bland boredom at the same time. So if you want to be as acrobatic as the most exciting fight scenes in books, comics, and movies, you absolutely can, and should!

Indeed, we want to emphasize that the Combat Maneuver system laid out here is just the guideline. We encourage players to be as imaginative and free-form as they want. Most GM's will be able to find a Maneuver listed below that at least gets close to what the player wants to do, and then, well, it's up to the dice, how well you do!

If you want to use combat maneuvers, you will want to be good at a few skills, but there's always a price to pay for all that awesome. If you want to be really good at combat maneuvers, we direct your attention to Improved Combat Maneuvers (Feat). Have fun exploring the possibilities!!

During combat, you can perform maneuvers that can hinder or even cripple your foe. Although these maneuvers have vastly different results, they all use a similar mechanic to determine success.

Performing a Combat Maneuver

  • To perform any combat maneuver, you make an applicable Skill roll, and if it equals or exceeds your target's Maneuver Defense, your maneuver is successful, inflicting the listed effect of the maneuver and a small amount of damage.
  • Some maneuvers, such as bull rush, have varying levels of success depending on how much your skill roll exceeds the target's Maneuver Defense. Rolling a natural 20 while attempting a maneuver adds a bonus (usually +5) to the result like other skill rolls, while rolling a natural 1 is always a failure. Rolling a natural 20 does not qualify a combat maneuver for additional damage, the bonus to the result is what you get.
  • Maneuvers are considered attacks. As a result, they can inflict damage (although this is entirely optional; you may always choose not to deal damage with a combat maneuver). However, unlike attacks, they may not be used to add any types of precision damage, such as a rogue's Sneak Attack, ranger's Quarry, etc., or to apply any effects that rely upon an attack, like a paladin's Smite Enemy, a prowler's Encroaching Jolt, or a fighter's Challenge.
  • Maneuvers do not benefit from bonuses to hit, such as flanking or a Warlord's Battle Standard any more than any other skill does. Maneuvers do benefit from bonuses to skill rolls, such as a Bard's ability to grant re-rolls.
  • If you are performing a full attack action, and use a maneuver that only requires an attack action to perform, you can perform it with your worst remaining attack action at any point during your full attack action (that is, you don't need to use up your best attack actions before trading away your worst one to perform the maneuver, you can do the maneuver early, then finish up your remaining attack actions, exactly like trading away your worst attack action for a bonus 5-foot step). Of course, if you are not performing a full attack action, then the attack action requires your standard action to perform.
  • Only one combat maneuver may be attempted per round, and only during your turn. The exception to this rule being when you spend an action point to gain an action type sufficient to perform the maneuver again, or you have some ability that specifically lets you break this rule.
  • Combat maneuvers may never be performed as part of an attack of opportunity.
  • If your target is helpless, unconscious, or otherwise unable to perform any actions, your maneuver automatically succeeds, as if you rolled a natural 20 on the skill roll. This allows you to drag or reposition unconscious creatures automatically, for example.
  • If your target is suffering any condition that denies it an action of any type (such as Rattled), you receive a +4 bonus on your skill roll to perform a maneuver against it.
  • If the target creature has concealment (miss chance), cover, or otherwise inflicts penalties on attacks made against it, those same penalties are also applied to the skill check you make to perform combat maneuvers against it.

Maneuver Offense

Maneuver offense is a generic term for a skill check to perform a combat maneuver. The combat maneuvers and their associated skill checks are:
Combat Maneuver Skill Action Required Description
Bull Rush Might Attack Action Shove an enemy away from you
Charge Movement Standard Action Move directly up to a foe and attack them
Clamber Movement Attack Action Crawl underneath, or climb on top of a foe
Cleave Might Attack Action Attack a foe adjacent to a foe you just attacked
Demoralize Intimidate Attack Action Shake the confidence of a foe
Dirty Trick Sleight of Hand Attack Action Discombobulate your foe using an unconventional attack
Disarm Sleight of Hand Attack Action Strip a weapon out of the hands of your foe
Drag Might Attack Action Pull yourself and a foe backwards
Feint Bluff Attack Action Make your foe drop their guard momentarily
Grapple Might Standard Action Tackle your foe and wrestle them into submission
Overrun Movement Standard Action Run through an enemy's space and knock them prone
Reposition Sleight of Hand Attack Action Shove an enemy into the space of your choosing
Shield Bash Might Attack Action Rattle an opponent by hitting them with your shield
Steal Sleight of Hand Attack Action Why wait until they're dead to loot them?
Subdue Sleight of Hand Attack Action Incapacitate your foe instead of killing them
Sunder Might Attack Action Destroy your foe's weapon or shield
Trip Sleight of Hand Attack Action Sweep the leg, and lay them out flat
Tumble Acrobatics Move Action at half speed Get yourself into a bad situation, hopefully unscathed
Withdraw Movement Standard Action Get yourself out of a bad situation, hopefully unscathed


Combat maneuvers are performed by making a skill check with the appropriate skill, versus a DC of the target creature's Maneuver Defense. If the check equals or exceeds this target DC, the maneuver is successful. Refer to the individual maneuvers to resolve the outcome of this success.

Maneuver Damage

Combat maneuvers can inflict some damage when performed, in addition to the other effects of the maneuver in question. This damage is optional; the character performing the maneuver may elect not to inflict damage while still inflicting the other effects (assuming the maneuver is successful). Damage from combat maneuvers is less than the damage the character would do with a normal attack, but is still based on the primary weapon the character is wielding. A character's exact Maneuver Damage is determined using the following formula:
(Primary Weapon's Base Damage (Dice Only) x Level Damage Multiplier) + Weapon Quality + Feat Bonus + Class Feature + Racial Trait + Other
  • Primary Weapon's Base Damage (Dice Only): Maneuvers deal original base weapon damage of the weapon you are wielding, not including any adders, such as enhancement bonuses, STR modifiers, feats, spell effects, precision damage, bonus damage, etc. This is just the base weapon damage dice of the weapon.
  • Level Damage Multiplier: Base weapon damage increases at each experience tier above courageous (i.e. at 6th level, 11th level, 16th level, 21st level, 26th level, and at 31st level). As these increases occur, they increase maneuver damage accordingly.
  • Weapon Quality: Some weapons possess qualities which directly improve the damage of one or more combat maneuvers, when that weapon is wielded as your primary weapon. Typically, weapon qualities only apply to a particular maneuver (or set of maneuvers).
  • Class Feature: Some class features grant a bonus to combat maneuver damage, or to damage dealt when performing particular maneuvers.
  • Racial Trait: Some racial traits grant a bonus to combat maneuver damage, or to damage dealt when performing particular maneuvers.
  • Other: Other bonuses may grant increases to damage dealt by combat maneuvers. These could come from magic items, magic weapon properties, or permanent boons from a powerful entity. Oftentimes, such bonuses will only increase the damage to a particular maneuver (or set of maneuvers).
If you have natural or class-based non-weapon attacks (e.g. Brawler or Monk), you may roll just the dice you would normally roll for an attack you are allowed to make during an attack of opportunity at your current class level for that class, not including any adders (such as enhancement bonuses, STR modifiers, feats, spell effects, precision damage, bonus damage, etc).
Example: a 5th level fighter would roll just the dice from their +1 longsword (1d8), while a 5th level Monk would roll just the dice of their Echoing Strike attack (2d8), and a 5th level Brawler would roll just the dice of their Cross attack (also 2d8).
Combat maneuvers can gain the skill critical bonus effect on a roll of a natural 20 (usually +5 to the total result), which can result in a greater effect from the combat maneuver, but maneuvers never inflict additional damage due to a critical hit, and therefore do not require a critical confirmation roll.

Maneuver Defense

Each character and creature has a Maneuver Defense value that represents its ability to resist combat maneuvers such as Trip, Overrun and Bull Rush, among many other uses. Maneuver Defense can be thought of as a general statistic used to represent how well a character or creature can handle rough physical treatment. It is related to but different than Armor Class, and is derived in a different way. Maneuver Defense is based on a character's overall experience with the school of hard knocks; the physical size, power, and deftness of the character, combined with their ability to dodge or deflect events. A player character's exact Maneuver Defense is determined using the following formula:
10 + ½ Character Level (rounding down) + Size Modifier + STR modifier + DEX modifier + Dodge AC + Natural Armor Bonus + Shield AC + Shield Enhancement Bonus + Miscellaneous + Penalties
  • Size Modifier: Fine -4, Diminutive -3, Tiny -2, Small -1, Medium +0, Large +1, Huge +2, Gargantuan +3, Colossal +4, Titanic +5.
  • Dodge AC: This typically comes from feats, such as the Dodge feat, but can also come from class features, racial traits, etc. Unlike most bonus types, dodge bonuses stack (are added together) with other dodge bonuses.
  • Natural Armor Bonus: This nearly always comes from a magic item, such as an Amulet of Natural Armor, but it can sometimes be gained through other means, such as class features or racial traits. Natural armor bonuses do not stack; only the highest available bonus is used.
  • Shield AC: This is the bonus to AC provided by the shield itself, typically ranging from +1 (a buckler) to +4 (a tower shield).
  • Shield Enhancement Bonus: This is a magic bonus applied to the shield, in the form of plusses. For example, a +3 shield is "plus three" because it has a +3 shield enhancement bonus, which adds to the AC granted by the shield and also contributes to the maneuver defense of the wearer, while the shield is being actively wielded or worn.
  • Miscellaneous Modifiers: Some feats and abilities grant a bonus to your Maneuver Defense when resisting specific things.
  • Penalties: Any penalties to a creature's AC also apply to its Maneuver Defense for physical attacks. For example, a flat-footed creature suffers the same -4 penalty to its Maneuver Defense as it does against its AC.