Combat Maneuvers (Trip Specifically) & Weapon Focus / Flank Questions Pg 43


Combat & Magic


If you are using a trip weapon, like a spiked chain, does the player get the benefit of weapon focus when performing the Trip combat maneuver?

If you are using a trip weapon to perform a Trip combat maneuver does the player get to do weapon damage as well as the trip results?

If the player has flank with an ally against the enemy, does the player get the +2 flank bonus to their combat manuever roll?

All these questions came up in game last night. Our group couldn't find the answers one way or the other on any of these.


I'm kind of wondering this too, and I've got a question in this section that dovetails on this as well. There is some wording that I would take to mean that, yes, you would get these bonuses, but I'm not sure if its intentional, or wording that needs to be cleaned up:

Alpha 1.1 wrote:
When performing a combat maneuver, you must use an action appropriate to the maneuver you are attempting to perform. While most combat maneuvers can be performed as part of an attack action (in place of a melee attack)

The wording above would lead me to believe that any bonus that you would have on a normal attack action would also apply to the combat maneuver that you substituted for the attack.

However, the actual wording of the CMB bonus makes me doubt the above logic:

Alpha 1.1 wrote:

Combat Maneuver Bonus: Each character and creature

has a combat maneuver bonus (or CMB) that represents its skill at performing and resisting combat maneuvers. A creature’s CMB is determined using the following formula:

CMB = Base attack bonus + Strength modifier + special size modifier

I could be dense, it could be implied that an unspoken "plus" is anything that would normally modify the attack roll, but it seems pretty clear and simple what is suppose to be added for the above.

This language also confuses me a bit:

Alpha 1.1 wrote:
When you perform a combat maneuver, roll a d20 and add your CMB to the result plus any bonuses you might have due to specific feats or abilities.

This doesn't mention anything about flanking bonuses or aiding another, for example. I don't know if its implied that you can't get those bonuses, or that its just assumed that if those situations arise, its assumed that those bonuses will be added.

"Specific feats or abilities," could be read to mean that a bonus from weapon focus, for example, would get added on, but I also think that this line may have been added to allow for the "Improved" feats, rather than anything like weapon focus or the like.

Also, "abilities" would seem to imply that fighters could add their weapon group training to this roll as well, and if that is the case, at higher levels fighters actually become pretty good at pulling these things off compared to other classes. But "abilities" could have also been added to account for races that gain bonuses to various combat maneuvers as well.

I know I'm probably being dense or overthinking this one, and others probably read it much more clearly, but I would like this cleared up a bit.

Ironically, some (though not all) of this would probably been an issue in straight 3.5, but without the simplified CMB rules, no one ever really wanted to try many of these options out before.


An added complication that I came up with while making up a rogue gang leader:

She has weapon finesse, but if she uses a combat maneuver, there is a specific feat, agile maneuvers, which allows you to use you dexterity instead of your strength for CMB.

If CMB allows for bonuses for things like weapon focus for the weapon used for the maneuver, it gets slightly more complicated if you don't have agile maneuvers, since your CMB will be based on your strength even though your normal attack is based on dexterity.

It seems like a good argument that, as written, CMB is not suppose to gain any benefit from weapon focus or similar abilities (like a fighter's weapon training), but it could still be that this is just a slightly more complicated hiccup in the system right now.

So, I'm back to wondering if this was suppose to by CMB, and CMB only, with no consideration for weapon focus or flanking, or if these are suppose to be added in.

As it stands, when I run the encounter, if she (the gang leader) attempts a CM, she will have to use her str to hit instead of her dex, but for a normal attack everything is fine. We'll see how this works next Thursday.


In our last game I had an opponent pull one of the PC's from his horse, which would be under the Trip attack (Tripping a Mounted Opponent). It says he PC's can replace his BaB with his Ride skill modifier. It worked out fine, so I would see no issue with a feat like Weapon Finesse replacing the Strength modifier with his Dexterity modifier, after all its still an attack on some sort.


Caelinae wrote:

If you are using a trip weapon, like a spiked chain, does the player get the benefit of weapon focus when performing the Trip combat maneuver?

Yes, because your using a weapon your focused with. Honestly the CMB should say CMB = BaB + Strength + Size + Misc Modifiers.

If you are using a trip weapon to perform a Trip combat maneuver does the player get to do weapon damage as well as the trip results?

No, because the Trip attack is in place of a regular attack.

If the player has flank with an ally against the enemy, does the player get the +2 flank bonus to their combat manuever roll?

Yes, its still considered an attack.


john lopez 19 wrote:
In our last game I had an opponent pull one of the PC's from his horse, which would be under the Trip attack (Tripping a Mounted Opponent). It says he PC's can replace his BaB with his Ride skill modifier. It worked out fine, so I would see no issue with a feat like Weapon Finesse replacing the Strength modifier with his Dexterity modifier, after all its still an attack on some sort.

You know, thinking about it, you still would gain a benefit from Agile Maneuvers even if weapon finesse lets you do this, since your CMB defense is still based on Str without it, and since you only get weapon finesse with weapons that can be finessed.

I do think that the CMB section could probably benefit from having some of this clarified though.

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