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BRP Combat Maneuvers


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I just feel to share and look for ideas:



Combat Maneuvers

A simple method to create custom Combat Maneuvers in BRP that can be trained and increased as per normal rules.


General Idea:
Skills get combined to a new skill in order to create a character trademark.
- Actions can be combined to create a new combat maneuver with pre-defined outcomes
- Combat Maneuvers become a distinguished characteristic 
Skills are added together and divided by the number of skills (usually two). A successful roll against the new Skill counts as a normal attack - the effects listed are in addition to possible normal damage. 
These skill combinations can only be used for attacks. The character still relies on his main skills to parry incoming blows or Dodge.
Combat Maneuvers can be used untrained - add the skills together, divide them by their number, start rolling. CM's can become a genuine characteristic at any time the character wishes, but only a maximum of INT/3 CM's can be learned. This is an artificial maximum to prevent players collecting too many maneuvers. A character has to show some commitment to train a CM.
Thieves Backstab: Combines Stealth & Dagger to a new skill
Effekt: Defender can only make a Difficult Dodge
Barbaric Berserk: Effort & Sword
Effect: Damage Bonus is doubled (e.g. 1d4 becomes 2d4)
Troll Attack: Size x5 & Club divided by 2
Effect: Target needs to make a POW x5 roll in order to be willing to attack. An other character could make a successful Command roll to override this condition.
Mongol Bow Shot: Bow & Ride
Effect: Attacker is able to shoot and reload his bow while riding without any modifier.
Vicious Viking: Axe & Shield
Effect: A furious attack that drives the defender backwards, basically hacking and pushing the target over the battlefield. In addition to the normal combat, the target has to make an opposed Damage vs. DEX roll (if not Dodging the blows) to prevent tripping.
Air of Superiority: Persuade & Hammer
Effect: The attacker constantly mocks the target while furiously hammering at it. The defender must make a Damage vs POW roll each time he is being attacked - otherwise he flees in panic and needs to succeed in a POW x5 roll to continue fighting.
What do you think? The goal is to be relatively free in creating combat actions and support player creativity to make combat more exciting, maybe even tactical.
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I like your approach and creative way to make customized "flair"- my question is how you would differentiate your Combat Maneuvers from the Martial Arts skill?


Hi, did not even think about that. ;) Rules wise Martial Arts says: "to make specific moves and strikes that cause maximum damage to their opponents.".


My idea is to add individual special rules to the system to add flavor and the goal is not to increase the damage but to create special conditions (induce fear, knock prone, push back, intimidate, insult, etc). But all very specific and tailored to a character, as a kind of trademark ("It's the way he fights ...").


But on the same side I do not want to limit characters during a fight. It should still be possible to blind an enemy by throwing sand, jump on a table to get a better position, push back an attacker, etc ... but these actions would be simple Combat Actions - the only action a character is able to do during a Combat Round.

A trained Combat Maneuver is allowing to do two things (or maybe more) at the same time (up to a certain degree), because the character incorporated these actions into his fighting style. It could also be a trademark of an army, as a fighting school trains all men at arms to fight that way (use of Pole-Axes come into mind, or English Long Bows).

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...What do you think? The goal is to be relatively free in creating combat actions and support player creativity to make combat more exciting, maybe even tactical.

Hmm - looks pretty solid. I'd be tempted to say rather than calculate a new skill, just roll and if the roll gets under BOTH skills it succeeds (and the character gets a "tick" in their choice of ONE of the skills). Specials and crits would likewise require making the threshold for BOTH skills, and if it only rolls under ONE of the skills it partially fails (as GM deems appropriate to specific skills and circumstances). Makes them tougher to pull off for characters with unbalanced skills (which I think is a good thing) and makes the targets etc simpler - LITERALLY anyone can attempt e.g. a back stab, but characters skilled with weapon and stealth will be better at it, without adding specific skills.

Mind, I tend to run BRP fairly fast and loose and, without using the specific lists from RQ6, tend to let players choose / described their own "special effects" as the benefit for SPECIAL and CRITICAL results in a fashion very reminiscent of RQ6's system.



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@Loz: I hold your work in high regards and I like Monster Island very much - but RQ6 somehow does not do it for me.

Porting the stuff over from RQ6 to BRP could be an option, but as Nick I like open and loose role-playing and RQ6 seems to put things into a shape-jacket. Although a loose one - and I also might get it wrong. ;)


@Nick: you know, actually my post was going too far again. What I really want is a system that supports player imagination and a bit more action than simply "roll-to-hit, check, roll-to-defend, check .....". I want a system that has them describing their actions, using skills they are good at and have role-playing (!) fun at the table (I do not want them miniature pushing).


So your post and idea got me thinking. What you describe is basically in the rules, p.173, Combined Skill Rolls. Using that rule during combat is a great idea and I completely forgot about it.

Instead of a new rule I will write down some examples how skills can be combined to archive an additional goal besides damage. I think that will help the players to come up with a more descriptive way, using their environment more and make combat memorable. Being a more generous at these combined skill rolls will also encourage the players to do cool stuff, as will be "leading from the front" to show how it can be used successfully.


Thanks for the input, guys, problem solved - nothing needed, it's all there already :)

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Yes you are just providing some structure to the Combined Skill rule, but its still a great idea to print off heaps of maneuvers as examples for your players to try out.

For example, " Backstabbing" is combining Sneak & Attack, " Mounted Archery" is combining Ride & Bow Attack, etc


I usually insist the characters expend a Power Point when they combine skills to do a maneuver, as it is kinda like assuring a special effect so I think it should be seen a little differently to standard skill use. In this case, Power Points represent effort, not magical essence. It also it makes Power Points relevant to non-magic using characters as well.


But a big list of example maneuvers would be great for examples for players, so it wouldn't take much just to 'tweak' the examples you provided to fit these rules, taking some inspiration from RQ6 Combat Styles in some cases.  


(Not sure if you can model 'Beserker' under these rules however...perhaps Perform (Beserk) and Attack possibly...?)


Anyway, I'm sure many of us GMs will download a list like that :-)

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" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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This wouldn't replace a Feats system as this is a structure for manuvers, not personal trademark abilities.

I think if skills are combined, then perhaps the rolls should have a Difficult (half %) modifer applied,I'm unsure. (In cinematic games you could rule that 1 PP counters this modifer)

The Stunts system from Blood Tide is a great way of portraying a Feats system for BRP, if that is what you are after. It is easily ported over to over cinematic settings such as High Fantasy or Pulp Era Adventure etc

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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Yeah, I was going through my list of feats and most couldn't be replaced with duo-skills realistically.

And you're right about Blood Tide. While I think some of the stunts presented there are a bit overly powerful, it's a neat system.

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Personally I settle on these rules when playing BRP:


1) never ever add new rules that are not setting specific.

2) use what is already given.

3) don't change the system.

4) make it more simple instead of more complex.

5) reinterpret the rules.

6) play it more loose if needed.


The section in the combat rules (p.190) reads: "It is suggested that these actions, if potentially combined with combat actions or multiple non-combat actions, incur a DEX rank penalty of 5 per action."

So actually, IMHO there is nothing needed to added to the rules - except some written examples.
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Yes you are right in not making it more complex as the rules are generally pretty good.

The example I had in mind was firing a gun while driving a car.

Then I realised that besides the DEX rank penalty you just roll both Drive and Handgun skill, although I would deem the handgun attack roll to be a Difficult action (as broadly indicated in the BGB), with the Drive at usual difficulty.

So the BGB rules win out again, no need for altering :-)

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" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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An example for a combat action came up from a post in the LEGEND section of this forum regarding a 'Power Attack' as a Heroic Ability.


I have a similar concept that I use with the BRP BGB rules, except it is a maneuver that anyone can attempt using the Combined Action rules, so I thought I should post it under this thread




Action requirements:

  • The STR minimum must be +3 greater than indicated on the weapon chart for this attack action (making it more likely that many characters may need to use two hands to attempt the attack).
  • Take a -5 DEX Rank Penalty, then choose whether to attempt this action as a standard maneuver or a difficult maneuver

Standard maneuver:

  • Roll under Attack % and character's Effort % (STR x5)
  • If successful, receive +1 minimum bonus to their Damage Bonus roll. This cannot exceed their usual Damage Bonus, unless they have no Damage Bonus at all, in which case they have +1 DB for this roll.

Difficult maneuver: :

  • May attempt to make the Attack % roll at Difficult (half), and to also roll under the character's STR attribute
  • If successful, the Damage Bonus increases by one dice step for that attack ( ie: +1d4 DB goes up to +1d6)


Anything more powerful than this would be in the realm of magic for BRP BGB I would suspect, rather than a mundane combat action (unless playing in a cinematic setting with Stunts).

Anyway, I just thought this is an another example of using the Combined Action rules for a house ruled combat action. Maybe a way of portraying a Beserker style attack as well, for all those raiders out there

Feel free to pillage this idea if it appeals to you :-)

" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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