Hyboria's Fiercest: Combat Manoeuvre Design Philosophy


First up, since this post is essentially a complaint, I would like to point out that overall, I am very happy with Hyboria's Fiercest. It is an excellent book, with a lot of very useful information in it; great feats and manouevres and a wealth of stuff I will enjoy making use of.

However, I am a little disapointed with a few of the manoeuvres that are included -- specifically, Leaping Onto Your Horse, Rider's Leap and Snatch and Grab; and, to a lesser extent Straddling Two Horses and Sidestep.

My problem? That these manoeuvres are essentially actions that would normally be resolved simply by skill checks. By including them as combat maneouvres, players are being told by implication that they can't even attempt these things if they don't meet the pre-reqs. I would never say to a player, "No, you can't try to jump off the veranda onto your horse," simply because he didn't have a Dex of 13+. I might indicate that his chance of success was minimal, but to outright deny such an attempt is, IMO, restrictive and poor GMing.

IMO, combat manoeuvres should allow characters to break the rules, perform more efficiently (often with a trade off) or the like. They shouldn't form the fundamental way in which a task is performed.

I do realise that the manoeuvres I have a problem with all fall into the category of mounted manoeuvres, and it is obviously much more difficult to come up with manoeuvres in this category that don't amount to an exception to a normal skill check. Still, I would like to suggest to Vincent, in all humility, that he consider this factor when developing combat manoeuvres in future. Combat manoeuvres should provide options, never limit them.

It's quite possible that I would not have noticed this at all under normal circumstances. I was struck by this perceived flaw when reading the Rider's Leap manouvre, however. One of the PCs in my group performed a manouvre very similar to this some time ago. It was a critical moment in the session, performed at great difficulty, and turned the course of the session. Running strictly from Hyboria's Fiercest, I may have had to dissallow even the attempt, which would obviously not have been the right thing to do.

Again, I would like to stress that I consider Hyboria's Fiercest to be an excellent product, and this is but a small blemish -- one I can easily work around. This is just some honest, constructive criticism, that will hopefully be seen as such.

Keep up the good work. 8)

Edit: Changed the topic to make it a less argumentative, and more accurately reflect my intent.
Does the book actually say you absolutely have to have the prerequisites to perform the manoeuvre? Why not have a skill check for having no manoeuvre and no skill check for having the manoeuvre? Doubtless that's the way they're meant to be used.

Really though it's just an optional rule, as are all supplementary rules. So if you don't like it just don't use it.
The manoeuvres in question require a skill check to be made in order to be used successfully.

A better way to have implemented them, IMO would have been to base the requirements on a range on non-ride skills, and them have them provide a bonus to the appropriate check. Or, if the skill check in question was not a ride check, base them on ride and other factors and offer a bonus to that skill.

With respect to Leaping Onto Your Horse, the standard skill check without using the combat maneouvre could be more likely to result in damage to rider and mount, as well as more difficult.

In all these case, the manoeuvre would do as you suggest: increase the character's ability. As things stand, the manoeuvres actually enable the tasks.

Really though it's just an optional rule, as are all supplementary rules. So if you don't like it just don't use it.

Well, that goes without saying. Doesn't mean I'm not going to try and point out to Mongoose where I'd like to see them improve.

As I implied in my first post, these perceived problems are worked around without too much difficulty. I just hope that they do not set a trend in future products.

Since it appears you don't have HF yet, I should also point out that the manoeuvres I mention are but a handful amongst a great many, and there are a lot of really good ones in there.
No, I've got it but I haven't perused it in depth yet. Good stuff, from what I've read.

But yeah, I'd probably house-rule my way around these then.