Monday, February 28, 2011

Advanced Combat Maneuvers - Maim

This new combat maneuver actually is based on a class feature of my house-ruled version of the Fighter. I created it after reading an excellent post at the Paizo about which signature abilities a Fighter should possess to strength its niche as master combatant in terms of options and tactics (instead, for example, of resilience and brute force, hallmarks of the Barbarian class).

I’m still not sure if this mechanical approach was the best. For some time I struggled with making of the Maim maneuver a new feat – like Vital Strike or Penetrating Strike –, but in the end I decided for the Combat Maneuvers system. Also, it made more sense to me that bigger creatures are more resistant against Maim than smaller ones, and the CMD easily reflects that.

To counterbalance that fact that Maim usurps some of the effects of the Dirty Trick combat maneuver, I tried to limit it with Weapon Focus. It’s worth remembering that – as an Advanced Combat Maneuver – it also requires a feat, as opposed to Dirty Trick.

You can attempt to temporarily maim your foe as a standard action. Your maim attack can be directed against the one of these options, chosen by you before rolling: one natural attack (or arm/tentacle/tail), the legs (or equivalent limbs), the wings, one body part linked to a special attack (like the mouth for a breath weapon or eyes for a gaze attack) or the head.

If your attack is successful, the foe has that body part or special ability temporary disabled for 1 round. If it is a natural attack (like bite), an arm or something like a breath weapon, the target can’t use it (if an arm, any held item is dropped). If it is the legs, the target’s speed is reduced to 5-feet (or by half it has multiple legs). If on the wings, it can’t fly or hover. If on the head, the target is blinded, deafened or sickened (your choice). If the Gamemaster permits, a head strike can instead disable any other sensorial ability like tremorsense or blindsense. For every 5 by which your attack exceeds the target’s CMD, this effect remains for 1 additional round. The target can spend a standard action to remove this temporary disability.

New Feats
Advanced Combat Maneuver [Maim] (Combat)
Prerequisites: Power attack, weapon focus, fighter level 6th.
Benefit: You acquire the Maim combat maneuver when wielding the selected weapon.

Greater Maim (Combat)
Prerequisites: Improved maim, advanced combat maneuver [maim], power attack, weapon focus, fighter level 12th.
Benefit: Whenever you successfully maim a foe, the penalty lasts for 1d4 rounds, plus 1 round for every 5 by which your attack exceeds the target’s CMD.
Furthermore, instead of the normal effects of this maneuver, you may choose to inflict a penalty to any ability score of the target equal to 2, plus an additional 1 for every 5 by which your attack exceeds the target’s CMD. You must explain to the Gamemaster how your attack inflicted such damage – for example: a strike to the head could inflict Intelligence damage. This penalty does not stack with itself.
Commentary: At first I thought about enabling the Fighter to do actual ability damage (like the rogue’s talent), but the approach felt wrong to me. Ability damage should be something more like a Critical Feat – anyway, it is an attack I believe the Fighter should have.

Improved Maim (Combat)
Prerequisites: Advanced combat maneuver [maim], power attack, weapon focus, fighter level 6th.
Benefit: You receive a +2 bonus on attempts to maim a foe. You also receive a +2 bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense when an opponent tries to maim you.
Finally, you can remove any maim effect with a move action, instead of a standard action.

Maiming Strike (Combat)
Prerequisites: Advanced combat maneuver [maim], power attack, vital strike, weapon focus, fighter level 6th.
Benefit: When you use the attack action, you make one attack with a –5 penalty. If you hit, you deal damage normally and can execute a Maim combat maneuver as a swift action.

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