Why Make a Combat Maneuver


Rules Questions


I'm a new player, so please pardon my ignorance. Thanks.

Page 244 of the Core Rulebook under the heading "Action Types" reads:

In a normal round, you can perform one standard action, one
move action, and one swift action, or you can instead perform
one full action.

Why would I choose to make a combat maneuver if I cannot follow it in that same round with an attack? If I choose to "trip" my foe as a standard action, I can't perform an attack with the remaining move action or remaining swift action.

But during my foe's turn, he can perform a move action to stand up and then a standard action to attack me first?

So why would I ever perform a combat maneuver rather than two attacks during a full action?

Or is the combat maneuver done in the hope that my foe will fail his move action to stand up and I will get a chance to attack him while he is prone?

Thanks.


Because its a group game. You trip the guy, then your whole party whales on him when hes down and then when he tries to stand up


The temporary debuffs from combat maneuvers are pretty potent in this game. Even the ones that can be shrugged off with an action represents a severe penalty in the enemy's action economy and limits their options.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If you trip someone, your team mates get a +4 bonus on their melee attacks against that target, which is a big bonus.

You might consider making yourself prone to get a bonus against ranged attacks For that matter.

Other combat maneuvers have their purposes, like or moving someone in a acid pit. You can find plenty of situations where their benefits are well worth the attempt.

Someone whom is tripped, have to use their move action to stand up, and melee attacking from prone gives penalties. Worth mentioning, standing up does not provoke OA. Someone whom is prone is not getting away from you as easily either.

Hope that helps a bit, there are plentiful of other possibilities.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If your enemy casts spells, trip and grapple can both prevent them from moving away before casting, so that if they attempt a spell, they have to risk the spell being interrupted by an opportunity attack.

Disarming an enemy of their ranged weapon before jet packing back out of reach can give you an overwhelming advantage against them.

Some characters also get extra benefits with certain maneuvers, like Armor Storm soldiers still dealing unarmed strike damage with a bull rush, vanguards/operatives with garrotes doing full entropic strike/trick attack damage while grappling, or soldiers with the correct feat boost actually getting AoOs on an enemy that tries to stand.

The list of conditions that can be inflicted with Dirty Trick also include some things that make enemies significantly more susceptible to your spell casting friends.


Unbestechlichen wrote:

I'm a new player, so please pardon my ignorance. Thanks.

Page 244 of the Core Rulebook under the heading "Action Types" reads:

In a normal round, you can perform one standard action, one
move action, and one swift action, or you can instead perform
one full action.

Why would I choose to make a combat maneuver if I cannot follow it in that same round with an attack? If I choose to "trip" my foe as a standard action, I can't perform an attack with the remaining move action or remaining swift action.

But during my foe's turn, he can perform a move action to stand up and then a standard action to attack me first?

So why would I ever perform a combat maneuver rather than two attacks during a full action?

Or is the combat maneuver done in the hope that my foe will fail his move action to stand up and I will get a chance to attack him while he is prone?

Thanks.

Grapple: Straightforward. Massive debuff on them, they can't make attacks of opportunity, can't move unless they break it, can't use both hands, and if you pin them even better.

Trip: On the ground, would have to spend an action to get up in order to do most things, melee attacks get +4 vs them, etc.

Sunder: Breaking a worn piece of equipment can render someone with a large advantage over you a lot less potent if their armor or gizmo is broken.

Disarm: Sometimes better than breaking, just knock that giant weapon that's killing you out of their hands and pick it up yourself. Then you kill them with it.

Reposition/Bullrush: Move them out of cover/defensive position, into the crossfire of allies, or into an environmental hazard.

Dirty Trick: All sorts of various debuffs to hamper their offensive or defensive capabilities to capitalize on.

I think you may be approaching the idea of these wrong. You're correct in that regular rank-and-file mooks are more easily dealt with by just stabbing or shooting them. But in situations where you're fighting one or two big bad guys for many rounds, holding one at bay, spending a round to severely hamper their fighting style, or just giving them a debuff that your allies can capitalize on, can make a big difference compared to just slamming numbers into one-another until someone's dead.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The other big, common reason to use bull rush and reposition will spark more argument.

Pathfinder had a rule that forced movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Starfinder does not.

Now, there are some threads arguing about this, with some people reading in an implication that you have to move voluntarily to provoke, and people citing examples of specific abilities specifying whether or not the movement they compel provokes. There's no need to rehash that argument here, since there are already multiple threads for it.

How it relates to this thread that if your table is running with the "Starfinder doesn't have any rule about forced movement not provoking" camp instead of the "forced movement has never provoked in D20" camp, you might push someone past your friend who does way too much melee damage, to give them a free swing.


The new Character Operations Manual provides some enhancements to trip maneuvers in particular via feats and a soldier feat boost option.


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Why bullrush?

If starwars has shown is anything its that the future has no osha compliance and inexplicable bottomless chasms are everywhere.

Exo-Guardians

A 9th level Armor Storm soldier with Improved Combat Maneuver (Bull Rush) and Juggernaut Boosters is actually better off bull rushing than attacking normally (effectively a net +2 to attack, and does unarmed/Hammer Fist damage).

I very much cannot wait to do this at Thursty's table at Skalcon next year.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Similarly, a fully optimized strangler vanguard grapples more easily than they could land a normal attack against EAC.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Why bullrush?

If starwars has shown is anything its that the future has no osha compliance and inexplicable bottomless chasms are everywhere.

I think that sort of map design should be encouraged. "Terrain with possibilities" is so much more fun than level ground rooms.

Sovereign Court

HammerJack wrote:

The other big, common reason to use bull rush and reposition will spark more argument.

Pathfinder had a rule that forced movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Starfinder does not.

I don't think we ever got a standard rule that forced movement doesn't provoke, for Pathfinder 1? It's just that in the vast majority of ways to forcibly move people, it had a "does not provoke" note.

Pathfinder 2 is pretty clear, an enemy has to take an action with particular traits (such as Move) to trigger an AoO.

Given that Starfinder was developed sort of as a spin-off of research for Pathfinder 2, and that forced movement almost never provokes in either edition, there's a pretty high burden of proof for forced movement provokes in Starfinder.

What do the Starfinder rules say about it? How is AoO provocation defined?

Starfinder CRB p. 248 wrote:
When you threaten a space and the opponent moves out of that space in any way other than a guarded step (see page 247) or withdraw action (see above), you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against the opponent.

Note the active tense: "the opponent moves". The other two things that provoke AoOs are also things that the opponent actively does.

This idea is again reinforced in the description of Reach and threatened squares:

Starfinder CRB p. 255 wrote:
An enemy that takes certain actions while in a square you threaten provokes an attack of opportunity from you (see page 248).

It's taking certain actions that provokes.

* Creatures forcibly moved by Solarian Black Hole do not provoke.
* The Command spell can force creatures to spend actions to move, and that movement specifically does provoke; but that's an AoO caused by the creature taking actions.

Pretty much every feat or ability that interacts with AoOs talks about AoOs that you provoke by doing something.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Why bullrush?

If starwars has shown is anything its that the future has no osha compliance and inexplicable bottomless chasms are everywhere.

I think that sort of map design should be encouraged. "Terrain with possibilities" is so much more fun than level ground rooms.

Agreed. Similarly, cover should be generously available without being absolute. Unless a place has specifically been designed as a fortress ( fortified high cover position surrounded by clear kill zones ), everyone should be able to find cover, and move between cover, and ultimately threaten and flank covered positions.


Ascalaphus wrote:


Note the active tense

This isn't a thing.

The wording doesn't distinguish between moving and is moved. If they used "is moved" then ONLY forced movement would provoke.

Quote:
Pretty much every feat or ability that interacts with AoOs talks about AoOs that you provoke by doing something.

Which wouldn't be neccesary if forced movement didn't provoke. Now its possible that they're just reminding you, OR it could be that they need to specify.


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What awesome responses! Thanks very much to all for your help. I know the value of teamwork and my group of six will benefit from the combat maneuver. Unfortunately I'm the only player running a melee character (tank) along side four ranged (more like deranged) attack characters and a Mystic. I am looking for a way to do my own damage along side the tactical maneuvers and the suggestions here are great. Hopefully I can figure a way to utilize the Vanguard Entropic Strike in a charge or bull rush tactic.

Thanks again to all.


One more thing to note, Ysoki get to stand up from prone as a swift action (See the Moxie section on the first page of their race description).


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Some tactical notes for the lone melee fighter in a party full of ranged attackers:

1. If there are 4+ ranged attackers, than one should be able to spend time providing you with covering fire. Make sure whichever opponent who is a biggest threat to you, the melee fighter, is always at -2.

2. Similarly, somebody can probably afford to cast a defensive/buff spell on you, or toss a smoke grenade, or otherwise provide support to help you attack.

3. Unless the battlefield is incredibly precise ( and possibly unfair ) in its design, there should be positions where engaging an enemy in their defensive position means you have cover from at least most of their friends. Aim for them.

4. Remember, you yourself can Fight Defensively. Sometimes its more important to position yourself and force the enemy to react and reposition, than to actually attack. Make yourself a target they can't ignore while defending yourself as best as possible. Total Defense costs you your attack, but adds +4 to AC and does not penalize attacks of opportunity.

5. When all else fails, remember: Don't engage the enemy on their terms. If they've got a strong defensive front, take the extra time to maneuver around them, flanking them. Sneak past defensive lines. Create distractions. Crash a vehicle into something. Feign a route and draw them away from their defense. Do surprise attacks followed by immediate retreats. Set something on fire. Shut off the life support, or the artificial gravity, or the lights. Bribe, or trick, or convert, their susceptible minions. Make friends with locals and bring your own army. You are Player Characters, you have more options, more mobility, and more staying power than most opponents. Use it.

Sovereign Court

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Yesterday a certain admiral thought he was locking out the ranged characters with walls of force. But actually, he was locking himself in with the melee character.

Also, the Advanced Coordination Feat Boost (COM p. 88) was really good in practice.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Also remember that thrown weapons are a great thing for a strength-based character to keep on hand, because sometimes, especially at low level, you won't be able to handle standing out in the open and taking an entire party's supply of incoming fire.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

Yesterday a certain admiral thought he was locking out the ranged characters with walls of force. But actually, he was locking himself in with the melee character.

Also, the Advanced Coordination Feat Boost (COM p. 88) was really good in practice.

I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me!

-Rorschach

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