In ACKS most special combat maneuvers incur a -4 to your Attack Throw, which is nice and consistent. I’m not sure the balance of risk and reward is right, though, especially as in some cases the defender gets a saving throw to boot. (I’m not really concerned with realism aspects: as long as something doesn’t strike me as egregiously wrong, it’s fine.)
When would I like to see combat maneuvers?
- When there are tactical considerations in play: pushing someone into lava, avoiding being pushed into lava, keeping a larger force behind a chokepoint, forcing your way past a chokepoint, gaining high ground for a clear line of fire, etc. I think Force Back, especially if combined with Charge, is reasonably functional for this sort of thing, but I’m less convinced about Overrun.
- When there are strategic considerations in play: getting to someone before they can pull a lever, capturing someone alive, etc. I think Disarm, Sunder, and non-lethal damage systems are mostly fine for this purpose. Wrestling… maybe.
- When fighting an opponent with a superior AC, that you have a hard time hitting otherwise. Currently that’s not the way it works — if hitting someone is hard, pulling a maneuver is even harder.
- When fighting an opponent that you need to take down fast, even if it requires pulling off something incredibly dangerous. Eg. when fighting someone who’s killing one PC per turn. Wrestling might work here as written.
- Sometimes just for color.
Let’s see what I can cook up.
Closing In. You can use Closing In in lieu of normal Force Back, Overrun or Wrestling rules. When Closing In you suffer a -4 penalty to your AC till your next action. Additionally, you must succeed in an unmodified melee attack throw against your opponent. If they’ve yet to act this round they can attack you as you close in, even if their initiative is lower than yours. A successful attack on their part does normal damage and aborts your attempt to close in. You cannot Close In on someone who has already hit your this round. If you successfully close in, you’ve either overrun your opponent, forced them back, or have them in a wrestling hold. Massive size differences are factored in as penalties or bonuses to your initial attack roll.
Wrestling. In addition to the options listed in the core book, the dominant wrestler can automatically strike the held wrestler with a short weapon such as a dagger.
Opportune Maneuvers. Having thrown a natural 20 on an attack throw, roll a d6 and consult the following chart:
You’re presented with an opportune moment for that maneuver, and can choose to perform it instead of doing damage. The required attack throw is already considered to have succeeded, though the opponent is still entitled to save versus paralysis. In case of overrun, if you haven’t yet moved you can move past your opponent and attack another.
MAYBE! This is all untested as of yet. Still:
Opportune Maneuvers seems like a harmless injection of color and variation — I’m pretty confident it’s not a problem.
Allowing stabbity-stabbity with Wrestling suits me fine as well.
In Closing In AC -4 neatly mirrors -4 penalty to attack throw, and makes these maneuvers easier but riskier: currently they just have an opportunity cost. Replacing saving throw with attack throw makes fighters better at resisting this shit than mages, which also seems right.
So in principle I think they should be OK…