A radically simple idea for maneuvers

Here's a thought. Make a universal list of maneuvers that everyone can access. No entry required. No feat necessary. Even a wizard can try to lash out with his staff and trip a Giant, or push an Orc off a cliff, or disarm a Naga. It might be ill advised (low strength score etc...) but it's still an option.

The resolution mechanic for each maneuver might be slightly different, but in general all maneuvers would work as a contest of some kind. Usually strength vs strength or dexterity.

However, martial classes — particularly the fighter — would have class features that grant training in a number of maneuvers. When you have training in a maneuver, you add your skill die on all contests related to that maneuver.

There might also be a feat that you could take to gain training in a single maneuver.

Simple, elegant. What do you think?

Here's a thought. Make a universal list of maneuvers that everyone can access. No entry required. No feat necessary. Even a wizard can try to lash out with his staff and trip a Giant, or push an Orc off a cliff, or disarm a Naga. It might be ill advised (low strength score etc...) but it's still an option.

The resolution mechanic for each maneuver might be slightly different, but in general all maneuvers would work as a contest of some kind. Usually strength vs strength or dexterity.

However, martial classes — particularly the fighter — would have class features that grant training in a number of maneuvers. When you have training in a maneuver, you add your skill die on all contests related to that maneuver.

There might also be a feat that you could take to gain training in a single maneuver.

Simple, elegant. What do you think?




The problem with that would be that everyone could do one of these things, but not everyone gets spells, interesting class features, wild shape, etc.

The Fighter's only ability can't be "slightly more of what everyone else gets." That's what it was in 3.5, and it is still criticized to this day.

I get where you're trying to go with this, but that isn't the solution. 
No, because the fighter would still have expertise dice and all the class features that go along with that. This would be in addition to what they currently have. This is just my way of replacing the silliness of "can't push a guy without a feat" and the blandness of martial bonus feats. 
Technically speaking one can improvise actions in battle. One can attempt any of those things, but without codification it's up to the dm on how to handle it. Previous playtests show a preference towards some codification for abilities. It would also be easy for a dm to just say "all characters and monsters have bull rush, disarm, and trip."
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No, because the fighter would still have expertise dice and all the class features that go along with that. This would be in addition to what they currently have. This is just my way of replacing the silliness of "can't push a guy without a feat" and the blandness of martial bonus feats. 



But you haven't solved anything then. What you've done is replaced Bonus Feats with Bonus Maneuvers, and replaced Martial Feats with Maneuvers. It's the exact same situation we currently have (which has met with a decent amount of backlash) only slightly worse, since it seems there is less of an entry than Martial Feats currently have.

Plus, the Fighter is dreadfully overcomplicate for what little interesting class features it currently has, and trying to add to what it has won't fix that.

Not trying to be mean, but this either seems like the exact same thing as martial feats, or needlessly complicating an already messed up class. 
This would also allow some progression on a character's ability to knock down and bull rush. Currently, there's no way to improve as a grappler as you go up in level, whereas at higher levels you're generally facing monsters with higher ability scores. I'd like to see high level fighters, barbarians and monks capable of grappling dragons.
No, because the fighter would still have expertise dice and all the class features that go along with that. This would be in addition to what they currently have. This is just my way of replacing the silliness of "can't push a guy without a feat" and the blandness of martial bonus feats. 



But you haven't solved anything then. What you've done is replaced Bonus Feats with Bonus Maneuvers, and replaced Martial Feats with Maneuvers. It's the exact same situation we currently have (which has met with a decent amount of backlash) only slightly worse, since it seems there is less of an entry than Martial Feats currently have.

Plus, the Fighter is dreadfully overcomplicate for what little interesting class features it currently has, and trying to add to what it has won't fix that.

Not trying to be mean, but this either seems like the exact same thing as martial feats, or needlessly complicating an already messed up class. 

Hmm... you seem to want to talk about how the fighter is broken. That's not really what this thread is about. This thread is about a way to have a universal combat maneuver system that is simple and elegant. Is this a solution to every problem that is plaguing the fighter class? No. Is this an interesting way to implement combat maneuvers that all characters should have access to? I think so.
Improvised Action and Ability Contest covers these kinds of simple maneuvers. I do agree it could be better outlined though.

Lets look at Disarming Strike. It allows someone with the feat to Disarm with a STR contest. This tells me anyone can attempt to Disarm with a STR contest, but only those with the feat can do it AND do normal attack damage.
No, because the fighter would still have expertise dice and all the class features that go along with that. This would be in addition to what they currently have. This is just my way of replacing the silliness of "can't push a guy without a feat" and the blandness of martial bonus feats. 



But you haven't solved anything then. What you've done is replaced Bonus Feats with Bonus Maneuvers, and replaced Martial Feats with Maneuvers. It's the exact same situation we currently have (which has met with a decent amount of backlash) only slightly worse, since it seems there is less of an entry than Martial Feats currently have.

Plus, the Fighter is dreadfully overcomplicate for what little interesting class features it currently has, and trying to add to what it has won't fix that.

Not trying to be mean, but this either seems like the exact same thing as martial feats, or needlessly complicating an already messed up class. 

Hmm... you seem to want to talk about how the fighter is broken. That's not really what this thread is about. This thread is about a way to have a universal combat maneuver system that is simple and elegant. Is this a solution to every problem that is plaguing the fighter class? No. Is this a decent idea and preferrable to the current silliness? I think so.



If that's true, then your suggestion can just be boiled down as "Re-add the ability to bull rush, trip, etc. to core, instead of in feats." There's no need to add an entirely new mechanic to the game of "Generic Maneuvers" if that's all you're trying to do.

I think basic combat options (bull rush, knockdown, grab, charge, etc) should be available to everyone. The feats can be improved versions (which grant advantage on your ability check?).


But these should not be "maneuvers". Maneuvers should be way more interesting than the basic combat options everyone can already do. Yes, Joe the farmer can attempt to grapple the orc using the basic grab rules. On the other hand, John the fighter can grab the orc and throw him 10 feet into a group of 4 other orcs knocking them all prone and doing some damage to each one.

Improvised Action and Ability Contest covers these kinds of simple maneuvers. I do agree it could be better outlined though.

Lets look at Disarming Strike. It allows someone with the feat to Disarm with a STR contest. This tells me anyone can attempt to Disarm with a STR contest, but only those with the feat can do it AND do normal attack damage.

Agreed that improvised actions can cover these things, if the DM feels so inclined. However, I'd love to be able to progress as a grappler or a tripper if that's the character I choose to build. The skill die already exists as a mechanic. Seems like an elegant and obvious way to do things, no?
No, because the fighter would still have expertise dice and all the class features that go along with that. This would be in addition to what they currently have. This is just my way of replacing the silliness of "can't push a guy without a feat" and the blandness of martial bonus feats. 



But you haven't solved anything then. What you've done is replaced Bonus Feats with Bonus Maneuvers, and replaced Martial Feats with Maneuvers. It's the exact same situation we currently have (which has met with a decent amount of backlash) only slightly worse, since it seems there is less of an entry than Martial Feats currently have.

Plus, the Fighter is dreadfully overcomplicate for what little interesting class features it currently has, and trying to add to what it has won't fix that.

Not trying to be mean, but this either seems like the exact same thing as martial feats, or needlessly complicating an already messed up class. 

Hmm... you seem to want to talk about how the fighter is broken. That's not really what this thread is about. This thread is about a way to have a universal combat maneuver system that is simple and elegant. Is this a solution to every problem that is plaguing the fighter class? No. Is this a decent idea and preferrable to the current silliness? I think so.



If that's true, then your suggestion can just be boiled down as "Re-add the ability to bull rush, trip, etc. to core, instead of in feats." There's no need to add an entirely new mechanic to the game of "Generic Maneuvers" if that's all you're trying to do.

Re-add the ability to bull rush to core AND allow a way to get training so that you can add your skill die. The second part is the interesting part.
 Re-add the ability to bull rush to core AND allow a way to get training so that you can add your skill die. The second part is the interesting part.



But again, you talk about simplification and elegance. 

Go back to the previous packets Bull Rush.

Add a feat to give your skill die to bull rush.

Wouldn't that be simple, instead of re-defining and generalizing maneuvers? 
 Re-add the ability to bull rush to core AND allow a way to get training so that you can add your skill die. The second part is the interesting part.



But again, you talk about simplification and elegance. 

Go back to the previous packets Bull Rush.

Add a feat to give your skill die to bull rush.

Wouldn't that be simple, instead of re-defining and generalizing maneuvers? 

Ok, so you don't like my use of the word maneuver. My 3.5 roots must be showing. Forgive me. Call it something else then.

That's basically my idea yes, except:

1. Expand the list of "maneuvers" to include more than just knock-down, grapple, bull-rush, disarm.
2. Codify all of these "maneuvers" in one clear section of the rules, similarly to how spells are codified.
3. Grant the ability to gain training in certain maneuvers as a class feature to certain classes.

That's it. Seems a lot more elegant than having to search through a rather daunting list of feats to choose your bonus feat. Bonus feats are getting the axe anyways. Thought this might a decent replacement.
I agree with the OP.  It works for Pathfinder, it can certainly work here.  

I would make it so that all maneuvers were available to all players/monsters as an action, however, Specific feats would allow a player to perform a maneuver as part of an attack action.

The alternative bonus for fighters can be:
A:  Allow fighters to add expertise die to maneuver checks (both to attempt and to defend against a meneuver)
B;  Allow fighters to pick X number of maneuvers for which they add their Attack Bonus to the ability check involved for both offensive and defensive use (eg.  A monster tries to trip the fighter with a Strength Check, the fighter contests with either Strength or Dex as usual, but also adds his attack bonus to the check)
 Ok, so you don't like my use of the word maneuver. My 3.5 roots must be showing. Forgive me. Call it something else then.

That's basically my idea yes, except:

1. Expand the list of "maneuvers" to include more than just knock-down, grapple, bull-rush, disarm.
2. Codify all of these "maneuvers" in one clear section of the rules, similarly to how spells are codified.
3. Grant the ability to gain training in certain maneuvers as a class feature to certain classes.

That's it. Seems a lot more elegant than having to search through a rather daunting list of feats to choose your bonus feat. Bonus feats are getting the axe anyways. Thought this might a decent replacement.



I have no issue with what its called.

But you're creating a whole new aspect to the game, that it doesnt seem is necessary. I agree all the 3.5 basic combat abilities should be open to everyone: trip, disarm, bull rush, etc. But to try to make them overly interesting and cool just adds one more layer that isn't needed. You compared the entire section that would need to be devoted to this to the spells section. Giving spell-like abilities to every character doesn't simplify anything.

And Bonus anything (feats, maneuvers, whatever) isn't good game design, it's lazy game design. Classes should have interesting abilities unique to their class.

And if your whole suggestion is just to do it the way 3.5 did, with a combat section that has different options like trip and bull rush, with the occasional feat that allows you to specialize, isn't that what I said to do?
Improvised Action and Ability Contest covers these kinds of simple maneuvers. I do agree it could be better outlined though.

Lets look at Disarming Strike. It allows someone with the feat to Disarm with a STR contest. This tells me anyone can attempt to Disarm with a STR contest, but only those with the feat can do it AND do normal attack damage.


+1
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I agree with the OP.  It works for Pathfinder, it can certainly work here.  

I would make it so that all maneuvers were available to all players/monsters as an action, however, Specific feats would allow a player to perform a maneuver as part of an attack action.

The alternative bonus for fighters can be:
A:  Allow fighters to add expertise die to maneuver checks (both to attempt and to defend against a meneuver)
B;  Allow fighters to pick X number of maneuvers for which they add their Attack Bonus to the ability check involved for both offensive and defensive use (eg.  A monster tries to trip the fighter with a Strength Check, the fighter contests with either Strength or Dex as usual, but also adds his attack bonus to the check)



But that means the fighter's core characteristic is being slightly better at something everyone can do. That's not enticing for a class. At the very least, if you want a section of generic maneuvers everyone can do, then the Fighter needs to be able to do that and something else in the same action. Even that though is the lazy man's way of giving a class something exciting. I'd prefer having the standardized list of 3.5 combat options (trip, disarm, bull rush, etc.) and have everything else be Fighter-specific, so that everyone can do some basic things, but all the extraordinary ones are done by Fighters, giving them a unique area to call their own.
 Ok, so you don't like my use of the word maneuver. My 3.5 roots must be showing. Forgive me. Call it something else then.

That's basically my idea yes, except:

1. Expand the list of "maneuvers" to include more than just knock-down, grapple, bull-rush, disarm.
2. Codify all of these "maneuvers" in one clear section of the rules, similarly to how spells are codified.
3. Grant the ability to gain training in certain maneuvers as a class feature to certain classes.

That's it. Seems a lot more elegant than having to search through a rather daunting list of feats to choose your bonus feat. Bonus feats are getting the axe anyways. Thought this might a decent replacement.



I have no issue with what its called.

But you're creating a whole new aspect to the game, that it doesnt seem is necessary. I agree all the 3.5 basic combat abilities should be open to everyone: trip, disarm, bull rush, etc. But to try to make them overly interesting and cool just adds one more layer that isn't needed. You compared the entire section that would need to be devoted to this to the spells section. Giving spell-like abilities to every character doesn't simplify anything.

And Bonus anything (feats, maneuvers, whatever) isn't good game design, it's lazy game design. Classes should have interesting abilities unique to their class.

And if your whole suggestion is just to do it the way 3.5 did, with a combat section that has different options like trip and bull rush, with the occasional feat that allows you to specialize, isn't that what I said to do?

Please let's try to keep things civilized. I think you could ease off a bit. You seem to be getting a bit aggressive.

Some class features are unique and self-contained, like expertise dice and spell-casting. Some enhance and expand on universal game mechanics, like extra skills for the rogue, or advantage on magic lore checks for the wizard, or rolling twice on initiative for the barbarian. I like those three features, and I see nothing wrong with giving martial classes a similar kind of feature for performing basic combat maneuvers. It's certainly not lazy game design. A "whole other section" to codify maneuvers could be like 3-5 pages in the player's handbook. You're really making mountains out of mole-hills.
I agree with the OP.  It works for Pathfinder, it can certainly work here.  

I would make it so that all maneuvers were available to all players/monsters as an action, however, Specific feats would allow a player to perform a maneuver as part of an attack action.

The alternative bonus for fighters can be:
A:  Allow fighters to add expertise die to maneuver checks (both to attempt and to defend against a meneuver)
B;  Allow fighters to pick X number of maneuvers for which they add their Attack Bonus to the ability check involved for both offensive and defensive use (eg.  A monster tries to trip the fighter with a Strength Check, the fighter contests with either Strength or Dex as usual, but also adds his attack bonus to the check)



But that means the fighter's core characteristic is being slightly better at something everyone can do. That's not enticing for a class. At the very least, if you want a section of generic maneuvers everyone can do, then the Fighter needs to be able to do that and something else in the same action. Even that though is the lazy man's way of giving a class something exciting. I'd prefer having the standardized list of 3.5 combat options (trip, disarm, bull rush, etc.) and have everything else be Fighter-specific, so that everyone can do some basic things, but all the extraordinary ones are done by Fighters, giving them a unique area to call their own.

Nobody said it would be the fighter's core mechanic.

Adding attack bonus to maneuvers is also a decent idea. I prefer using skill dice, because skill dice are already used to modify ability checks. Allowing that die to be added to ability checks made to perform a combat maneuver is an extension of the same functionality that makes intuitive sense.
Please let's try to keep things civilized. I think you could ease off a bit. You seem to be getting a bit aggressive.

Some class features are unique and self-contained, like expertise dice and spell-casting. Some enhance and expand on universal game mechanics, like extra skills for the rogue, or advantage on magic lore checks for the wizard, or rolling twice on initiative for the barbarian. I like those three features, and I see nothing wrong with giving martial classes a similar kind of feature for performing basic combat maneuvers. It's certainly not lazy game design. A "whole other section" to codify maneuvers could be like 3-5 pages in the player's handbook. You're really making mountains out of mole-hills.



I was being civilized. I was trying to be nice, and getting you to clarify how this could possibly be useful, but I (and a few others to have posted here) don't see it at all.

Since you keep insisting it's not adding complexity, and insist it's something other than the examples given (such as bull rush, trip, etc.) can you please explain what this would add to the game? Perhaps provide some examples?

 Nobody said it would be the fighter's core mechanic.


The Fighter had an interesting core mechanic in it's maneuvers last packet. That was removed and replaced with Martial Feats, and Fighters were given an extremely generic list of Expertise Dice abilities. The guy I was quoting in that post suggesting replacing fighter abilities with this. Which means it would be the fighter's core mechanic.
The problem with that would be that everyone could do one of these things, but not everyone gets spells, interesting class features, wild shape, etc.

The Fighter's only ability can't be "slightly more of what everyone else gets." That's what it was in 3.5, and it is still criticized to this day.

I get where you're trying to go with this, but that isn't the solution. 



Then just give everyone access to all the class features as well while we are at it.
The problem with that would be that everyone could do one of these things, but not everyone gets spells, interesting class features, wild shape, etc.

The Fighter's only ability can't be "slightly more of what everyone else gets." That's what it was in 3.5, and it is still criticized to this day.

I get where you're trying to go with this, but that isn't the solution. 



Then just give everyone access to all the class features as well while we are at it.



That would be one solution, yes. But then you get into a class-less system that isn't D&D. I play my fair share of RPG's without classes, and I like them. But they aren't D&D. D&D is a class-based system, and as such, the classes need to have interesting and unique mechanics.
Nobody said it would be the fighter's core mechanic. 

Adding attack bonus to maneuvers is also a decent idea. I prefer using skill dice, because skill dice are already used to modify ability checks. Allowing that die to be added to ability checks made to perform a combat maneuver is an extension of the same functionality that makes intuitive sense.



It's been the Fighter's core mechanic since the Fighter had mechanics. 

Making Manuevers more like ability checks is a bad idea - you want this to feel distinctive, like casting a spell is distinctive.  
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I like the OP's idea.

And to me it only matters that the game makes sense. I couldn't care less if wizards have something exclusive of their class and fighters don't. The important thing is for the game to make sense.
Besides, while anyone can try a maneuver, the fighter is the one who can really shine while using them, and a maneuver is an infinite resource while spells aren't, so from a supposed "balance" perspective to me that is more than enough.

When playing an RPG players are putting their imagination inside the skin of a character. While the game does not need to be utterly realistic it needs to make sense or the game begins to feel weird to those playing it.

Saying to a player "you character can't use spells because he has never studied magic" is acceptable. The player can relate to something like that from his real life experience. If he hasn't studied nuclear physics in his real life he probably won't know a thing about it.

Saying to a player "you can't try to push the enemy back" doesn't make sense. Every living person can try to do that, even though some trained men would be much better at that. Many of the actions described as maneuvers in D&D fall into the same case.
Manuevers like spells is just a general design space concept. It can be represented differently for each class like monk ki, barbarian rages, rogue schemes, but it offers benefits similar to spells with scaling if done right.
What happens if a rogue or fighter TRIES to cast a spell?
Sort of a tangent, but related to this thread... and I honestly don't think I've seen it done... nor is it logical for it to be an auto-fail IMO. 
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I like the OP's idea.

And to me it only matters that the game makes sense. I couldn't care less if wizards have something exclusive of their class and fighters don't. The important thing is for the game to make sense.
Besides, while anyone can try a maneuver, the fighter is the one who can really shine while using them.



The problem is that "makes sense" is very subjective. To me, it doesn't make sense that wizards are the only folks allowed to do exclusive stuff, but a wizard who's spent his whole life studying magic knows how to disarm someone.
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
What happens if a rogue or fighter TRIES to cast a spell?
Sort of a tangent, but related to this thread... and I honestly don't think I've seen it done... nor is it logical for it to be an auto-fail IMO. 

Well, 5e gives at least one background that lets you know a cantrip or two.

And, if it does, indeed, use 3e style multiclassing, a rogue or fighter who is persistent in trying to learn to cast a spell could eventually level up, take a level in a caster class, and get that spell off.

Similarly, in 4e, a rogue or fighter who tried to cast a spell and was persistent could take a multi-classing feat and gain an at-will spell as an encounter, or even start retraining exploits for spells.

Similarly, in 3e, a rogue or fighter who tried hard and long enough to cast a spell could take a level of sorcerer or wizard and start casting spells.

Less similarly, in AD&D a human rogue or fighter who tried to cast a spell and worked at it presistently enough could dual-class to magic-user and start casting spells, though he'd never get to go back to gaining levels as a rogue or fighter.

 

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

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 To me, it doesn't make sense that ... a wizard who's spent his whole life studying magic knows how to disarm someone.

Maybe he just points his wand and shouts "expeliarmus!"

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

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 To me, it doesn't make sense that ... a wizard who's spent his whole life studying magic knows how to disarm someone.

Maybe he just points his wand and shouts "expeliarmus!"




If someone wants to come up with a Expeliarmus spell, that's fine by me. 

What I'm not thrilled about is the idea that most of the more dynamic combat options should be general combat options. For one thing, I think this doesn't really represent how combat works - it takes training and practice to learn how to disarm somebody, or how to charge someone and not get yourself killed, etc. For another, I think it has a negative effect on the Fighter class who's supposed to be a master of arms - it tends to straightjacke their abilities into a "Roll and Add" paradigm that isn't particularly interesting, or evocative. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.

I like the OP's idea.

And to me it only matters that the game makes sense. I couldn't care less if wizards have something exclusive of their class and fighters don't. The important thing is for the game to make sense.
Besides, while anyone can try a maneuver, the fighter is the one who can really shine while using them.



The problem is that "makes sense" is very subjective. To me, it doesn't make sense that wizards are the only folks allowed to do exclusive stuff, but a wizard who's spent his whole life studying magic knows how to disarm someone.




That's because "Disarm" doesn't necessarily mean making a swiping flourish with your rapier and spinning the weapon away from your opponent's hands.

A player can say "I'm just gonna rush at the opponent, grab his axe with both my bare hands and try to yank it from his grasp." And that would be a disarm attempt.

Sure, it would probably be a feeble attempt if the character is not trained, especially if he is a Str 9 wizard in which case it will almost certainly fail. So you can have all kinds of penalties in the rules for that (-To Hit, attacks of opportunity, or whatever).
But just saying to that player "You are not allowed to do that," would make the game lose sense. Any person can try to do that. Whether it's a good idea or not is another matter.

A true combatant trained in Disarm, on the other hand, would probably use the maneuver in a very different way, and would certainly have a much better chance to succeed.


But spells, by their very nature and description in D&D, isn't something anyone should be able to try and cast, not without formal studies.
(Unless you are running a campaign where every living being has an inate capacity for emanating magic out of the blue, which isn't the case in "standard" D&D.)

As a comparison, you can't for example enter a Nuclear Power Plant and say "I'm no engineer or physicist, and I've never operated any of this equipment in my life... but I'm gonna fix this malfunctioning anyway."
You wouldn't even know where or how to start. Magic is like that for those who've never studied it.
I think expertise dice should be grouped into manouevres based on broad schemes like the last packet so the fighter gets the basic attack and defence augment plus a choice from the manouvres. So you would have the basic improised action, the feat hat allows the improvised action plus damage, and teh manouvres that allow fighters to spend expertise dice to augment the manouevres.  I'd also be in favour of reducing expertise dice to 1d4 but augmented by one half of a secondary stat modifier but I don't know how complex that would make things. 

Deep Wound 1d4 plus half Con mod
Ricochet 1d4+full dex mod against opponent 5 plus 1d4 plus half dex bonus feet away
Strike Command 1d4 plus half Int mod to attack roll
Disarm 1d4 plus half Dex modifier to opposed roll or knock weapon 5 plus 1d4+ half dex mod feet away
Trip 1d4 plus half Wis modifier to opposed roll or opponent has to spend action to stand
Superior Defence 1d4 plus half wisdom bonus
Unstoppable 1d4 plus half charisma bonus

Well you get the idea...

I like the OP's idea.

And to me it only matters that the game makes sense. I couldn't care less if wizards have something exclusive of their class and fighters don't. The important thing is for the game to make sense.
Besides, while anyone can try a maneuver, the fighter is the one who can really shine while using them.



The problem is that "makes sense" is very subjective. To me, it doesn't make sense that wizards are the only folks allowed to do exclusive stuff, but a wizard who's spent his whole life studying magic knows how to disarm someone.




That's because "Disarm" doesn't necessarily mean making a swiping flourish with your rapier and spinning the weapon away from your opponent's hands.

A player can say "I'm just gonna rush at the opponent, grab his axe with both my bare hands and try to yank it from his grasp." And that would be a disarm attempt.

Sure, it would probably be a feeble attempt if the character is not trained, especially if he is a Str 9 wizard in which case it will almost certainly fail. So you can have all kinds of penalties in the rules for that (-To Hit, attacks of opportunity, or whatever).
But just saying to that player "You are not allowed to do that," would make the game lose sense. Any person can try to do that. Whether it's a good idea or not is another matter.

A true combatant trained in Disarm, on the other hand, would probably use the maneuver in a very different way, and would certainly have a much better chance to succeed.


But spells, by their very nature and description in D&D, isn't something anyone should be able to try and cast, not without formal studies.
(Unless you are running a campaign where every living being has an inate capacity for emanating magic out of the blue, which isn't the case in "standard" D&D.)

As a comparison, you can't for example enter a Nuclear Power Plant and say "I'm no engineer or physicist, and I've never operated any of this equipment in my life... but I'm gonna fix this malfunctioning anyway."
You wouldn't even know where or how to start. Magic is like that for those who've never studied it.

The problem is that forging effective weapons shouldn't be possible without heavy training, and it's the same with many craft, but currently, there are highly specialized tasks that are just high DCs that almost everyone can reach with enough dice rolls.
Tracking requiring a feat is good, but a lot of other "skills" should require a feat or a background, and XP investment throughout the PCs careers, as you cannot maintain a high level of competence without very regular practice.

As a DM, I never allowed a player to be a competent artisan if he couldn't maintain a reasonable activity in the domain during his adventuring life, and never allowed a master artisan if the character couldn't devote at least 30 hours a week to his craft.
I consider that the class is the job of a PC.
You can't be a master artisan and a master adventurer.

And concerning martial maneuver, I don't think everyone is able to perform one under the stress of a combat situation without having been trained. A wizard or rogue trying a maneuver should be heavily punished by a trained fighter (in a world where thieves are not all highly trained weapon masters, of course, which is not the case since 3rd edition, lol).

A player can say "I'm just gonna rush at the opponent, grab his axe with both my bare hands and try to yank it from his grasp." And that would be a disarm attempt.

Sure, it would probably be a feeble attempt if the character is not trained, especially if he is a Str 9 wizard in which case it will almost certainly fail. So you can have all kinds of penalties in the rules for that (-To Hit, attacks of opportunity, or whatever).
But just saying to that player "You are not allowed to do that," would make the game lose sense. Any person can try to do that. Whether it's a good idea or not is another matter.

But spells, by their very nature and description in D&D, isn't something anyone should be able to try and cast, not without formal studies.



Cant disagree more. If an untrained combatant tries to yank an axe with bare hands, they're going to get an axe to the face. So unless the default Disarm action includes Disadvantage and AO for classes without proficiency in martial weapons, I don't buy it,

By the same token, I see no reason why an observant rogue couldn't memorize a set of magic words, hand gestures, and steal some spell components. Chances are their brain is going to explode, but they should at least have a chance.
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Cant disagree more. If an untrained combatant tries to yank an axe with bare hands, they're going to get an axe to the face. So unless the default Disarm action includes Disadvantage and AO for classes without proficiency in martial weapons, I don't buy it,



That's why I said some kind of penalty should be applied if a character tries it untrained.
Disadvantage and/or attack of opportunity seem like reasonable enough penalties to me.
Saying a character will probably fail or something bad will happen if he tries that untrained is one thing, and it's fine by me, but mechanically prohibiting a character to even trying that would be very weird for the campaign.

It's like a player saying "I want to take the left corridor."
And the DM saying "You can't. It's dark and you don't have darkvision. You have to take the right corridor."

Besides, if you imagine for example a group of characters, like an angry mob, crowding over an armed man to knock him to the ground and yank his weapon out of his hands... it's perfectly reasonable. One of them may get hurt in the process but they'll probably overcome the trained guy.
A rule that says that this just cannot happen unless every single person in the crowd is trained in Grapple and Disarm is just plain weird for an RPG.

I understand that when people defend those maneuvers to be an exclusive thing for fighters they're really trying to give the fighter some nice things that only he can make.
And I'm not opposed to that idea as a whole, but it cannot come at the expense of the game making sense. Maybe we should just think of other exclusive stuff for the fighter and not maneuvers which in their very description are things any person should be able at least to try, despite perhaps facing some consequences or difficulties.


By the same token, I see no reason why an observant rogue couldn't memorize a set of magic words, hand gestures, and steal some spell components. Chances are their brain is going to explode, but they should at least have a chance.



Because (by D&D standards) there is more to casting a spell than gestures and words. Those do take part in the process, yes, but they're not all. Whatever it is: building a magic potential in yourself, bending reality with your strength of will, etc; it requires long and arduous studies to be able to even tap into the art.

Your idea, however, is not bad for an optional feat or Rogue class ability, or whatever...
A character can train to have a level of observation for details and mimickry so great that he can actually try to cast a spell untrained. However, I see a task like that only possible by a very few exceptional individuals (probably something on the lines of a "Mentalist" guy, if you know what the term mean).
It could be a special ability of some sort (not unlike a Rogue/Thief's ability to try and read arcane scrolls). That's not something every common man can accomplish though.
 Re-add the ability to bull rush to core AND allow a way to get training so that you can add your skill die. The second part is the interesting part.



But again, you talk about simplification and elegance. 

Go back to the previous packets Bull Rush.

Add a feat to give your skill die to bull rush.

Wouldn't that be simple, instead of re-defining and generalizing maneuvers? 



I actually like this idea! After we play with the real rules for a while I'll implement this and see which one goes over better.


Besides, if you imagine for example a group of characters, like an angry mob, crowding over an armed man to knock him to the ground and yank his weapon out of his hands... it's perfectly reasonable. One of them may get hurt in the process but they'll probably overcome the trained guy.
A rule that says that this just cannot happen unless every single person in the crowd is trained in Grapple and Disarm is just plain weird for an RPG.

I understand that when people defend those maneuvers to be an exclusive thing for fighters they're really trying to give the fighter some nice things that only he can make.
And I'm not opposed to that idea as a whole, but it cannot come at the expense of the game making sense. Maybe we should just think of other exclusive stuff for the fighter and not maneuvers which in their very description are things any person should be able at least to try, despite perhaps facing some consequences or difficulties.


Easiest way to do that is a rule that says that anyone trained in martial weapons can try any of the combat actions, but untrained take Disadvantage and suffer AOs. 


Because (by D&D standards) there is more to casting a spell than gestures and words. Those do take part in the process, yes, but they're not all. Whatever it is: building a magic potential in yourself, bending reality with your strength of will, etc; it requires long and arduous studies to be able to even tap into the art.

Your idea, however, is not bad for an optional feat or Rogue class ability, or whatever...
A character can train to have a level of observation for details and mimickry so great that he can actually try to cast a spell untrained. However, I see a task like that only possible by a very few exceptional individuals (probably something on the lines of a "Mentalist" guy, if you know what the term mean).
It could be a special ability of some sort (not unlike a Rogue/Thief's ability to try and read arcane scrolls). That's not something every common man can accomplish though.



See, that just reeks of special pleading to me. Martial combat is something that takes years and years of training, the same kind of "long and arduous studies" that magic does. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Maybe a fighter could get something like the following class feature:
Improvised Martial Art: As an action, make an attack AND an improvised action .

If anyone is trained to use his weapons in an original way, it is the fighters.

On another note, I would call for a motion to give casters the improvised spell action. Things like expelliarmus (disarm), magical ram (push) or even spectral trip (knock down) should be available farely commonly.
Here's a thought. Make a universal list of maneuvers that everyone can access. No entry required. No feat necessary. Even a wizard can try to lash out with his staff and trip a Giant, or push an Orc off a cliff, or disarm a Naga. It might be ill advised (low strength score etc...) but it's still an option.

The resolution mechanic for each maneuver might be slightly different, but in general all maneuvers would work as a contest of some kind. Usually strength vs strength or dexterity.

However, martial classes — particularly the fighter — would have class features that grant training in a number of maneuvers. When you have training in a maneuver, you add your skill die on all contests related to that maneuver.

There might also be a feat that you could take to gain training in a single maneuver.

Simple, elegant. What do you think?

I've been wanting this from day 1. I'd much prefer the maneuvers for tripping or disarming or whatever be ones that grant an advantage of some kind to these actions. Mellored also had a thread about making all maneuvers the improved version of a base action.

It's one of those things that if WOTC doesn't do this, I will.

On another note, I would call for a motion to give casters the improvised spell action. Things like expelliarmus (disarm), magical ram (push) or even spectral trip (knock down) should be available farely commonly.

If they work the same way and at the same range as the non magical counterparts I see no reason why not. Not quite the same thing but I keep going back to magic and thinking that the problem with martial combat isn't so much to do with how inclusive it is (everyone can try) as it is to do with how exclusive magic is (only those with training can try).

Another way to give martial characters a big advantage is to let them add their weapon attack to improvised action checks.