Combat Maneuvers

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

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 to be attacks. As a result, they do damage (just a little). They may not be used to add any types of precision damage, such as a Rogues Sneak Attack, Ranger's Quarry, etc., or any effects that ride upon an attack, like a Paladin's Smite, 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.
  • When performing a maneuver, you must use an action appropriate to the maneuver you are attempting to perform.
  • Maneuvers may only be attempted on your turn, never as part of an attack of opportunity or a bonus attack, such as an attack granted by Haste (Spell).
  • Each maneuver may only be performed once per round. This means a character can't use two attacks to perform a pair of trips in the same round, but could use those two attacks to perform a trip and a sunder.
  • If your target is immobilized, unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated, your maneuver automatically succeeds (treat 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 which denies it an action of any type, 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 any Maneuver Offense rolls made to perform combat maneuvers against it.

Maneuver Offense

Disambiguation: Maneuver Offense was formerly known as Combat Maneuver Bonus (CMB)
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
Bull Rush Might Standard action, or as part of a charge, in place of the melee attack.
Dirty Trick Sleight of Hand Standard Action
Disarm Sleight of Hand Standard Action, or in place of a melee attack.
Drag Might Standard Action
Grapple Might Standard Action
Overrun Might Standard Action, or during the movement portion of a Charge, or as Part of a Move Action.
Reposition Might Standard Action
Steal Sleight of Hand Standard action, or in place of a melee attack.
Sunder Might Standard Action, or in place of a melee attack.
Trip Might Standard Action, or in place of a melee attack.
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.
In most cases, unless you have a feat to prevent it (such as Improved Bull Rush), performing a combat maneuver provokes an attack of opportunity from the target creature. Obviously, creatures which are flat-footed or unaware of you cannot make attacks of opportunity.

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 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 of the weapon.
  • Level Damage Multiplier: Base weapon damage doubles at 8th level, triples at 15th level, quadruples at 22nd level, and quintuples at 29th 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).
  • Feat Bonus: Some feats grant an increase to combat maneuver damage, though most will only increase the damage 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, you may roll just the dice you would normally roll for an attack you are allowed to make during an attack of opportunity, not including any adders (such as enhancement bonuses, STR modifiers, feats, spell effects, precision damage, bonus damage, etc).
Example: a 3rd level fighter would roll just the dice from his +1 longsword (1d8), while a 3rd level Monk would roll just the dice of his Echoing Strike attack (2d8), and a 3rd level Brawler would roll just the dice of his 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

Disambiguation: Maneuver Defense was formerly known as Combat Maneuver Defense (CMD)
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 characters 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 (Round Down) + Size Modifier + STR modifier + DEX modifier + Dodge AC + Deflection AC + Miscellaneous + Penalties
  • Size Modifier: Fine -4, Diminutive -3, Tiny -2, Small -1, Medium +0, Large +1, Huge +2, Gargantuan +3, Colossal +4, Titanic +5.
  • 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 does not add its Dexterity bonus to its Maneuver Defense against a Trip maneuver.