dnd 5e – Does the Brace maneuver work with Unarmed Strikes

You cannot wield an unarmed strike, so this does not work

The Brace Maneuver states:

When a creature you can see moves into the reach you have with the melee weapon you’re wielding, you can use your reaction to expend one superiority die and make one attack against the creature, using that weapon (…)

You cannot wield an unarmed strike. I come to this conclusion because the rules are written using natural language and if somebody told me they were wielding their head, foot, or hand, I would be very confused. However, there is a stronger argument to make:

Unarmed strikes are not weapons, so this does not work

Regardless of whether or not you can wield an unarmed strike, the feature requires a weapon at two different times and unarmed strikes are not weapons:

(…) Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons). (…)

Because unarmed strikes are not themselves weapons, they cannot be used for the Brace Maneuver.

dnd 3.5e – Can a mounted combatant utilize the pouncing charge maneuver from their mount’s charge?

As written, the rules for mounted charges are beyond strange. I don’t know anyone who runs them as they’re written, and I don’t really think anyone should. However, given that they’re all we’ve got, they’re the only things we can analyze with respect to this question. How you choose to modify them to make them closer to most people’s conception of how they “should” work will necessarily also affect this question, and so anyone doing that would simply need to decide for themselves what they’d like the answer to this question to be.

Effectively, there are two different sets of rules that talk about mounted combat and charging. They seem like they were probably meant to align and work together, but they don’t.

If your mount charges, you also take the AC penalty associated with a charge. If you make an attack at the end of the charge, you receive the bonus gained from the charge.

(System Reference Document → Combat → Special Attacks → Mounted Combat → Combat While Mounted)

This rule says that your mount can charge, and if it does, you can attack at the end of it and get the bonus from the charge. It doesn’t say that you actually count as charging, yourself, it just says you get the bonus. Getting more attacks, as with pouncing charge, isn’t a “bonus,” per se, and certainly isn’t “the bonus” in context, which would be the +2 bonus to attack rolls you get from charging. Thus, under this rule, you would not get more attacks from pouncing charge. You would, however, get doubled damage from a lance—that says that your mount must be charging for you to get the bonus.

The problem with this is that Spirited Charge says

When mounted and using the charge action,

(Spirited Charge → Benefit)

which the above rule doesn’t let you do: your mount is charging, but you aren’t, so you don’t trigger this feat. With the above rule alone, you can’t trigger Spirited Charge no matter what you do,¹ which is absurd even by 3.5e RAW standards.

Enter the other rule, what maybe should have been the other half of one rule, but it isn’t:

Your mount acts on your initiative count as you direct it. You move at its speed, but the mount uses its action to move.

(System Reference Document → Combat → Special Attacks → Mounted Combat → Combat While Mounted)

So you can choose to charge, yourself, using your mount’s speed. Your mount has to use its move action to enable this, and you still use a full-round action (because a charge is always a full-round action). Since your mount used a move action to enable this, it cannot charge itself—it only has a standard action left and cannot make a full-round action as required for charging.

Effectively, there’s a rule that allows for the mount charging and carrying you along with it, where you get “the bonus” from the charge but aren’t actually considered to be charging yourself. You can direct your mount to do that on your initiative count. Alternatively, you can charge yourself, directing your mount to move as necessary to trigger the charge. That means you’re charging and get all the benefits of doing so, but your mount cannot charge as it doesn’t have the actions necessary after you’ve used your mount’s move action to enable your own movement for the charge.

Since the latter option is you charging, you can perform the necessary steps to initiate pouncing charge. However, since your mount is technically not charging, you would not, for example, get doubled damage from a lance, RAW, but you would get Spirited Charge, since you are mounted and charging. In fact, RAW, it seems to be impossible to benefit from both a lance’s doubled damage and Spirited Charge’s doubled damage.¹

This is all fairly well nonsense. The way everyone I ever interacted with on this subject has run things, is for both mount and rider to charge simultaneously. The first quoted rule almost gets us to that, RAW—it might arguably seem to suggest that this is what they were going for, what they intended. But it doesn’t actually get us there, just saying we take “the penalty” and get “the bonus.” But it seems very likely that you’re supposed to just be able to do both, or even that you must charge together in order to charge at all.

  1. Unless you’re a Races of Faerûn centaur, since that book says centaurs can use Spirited Charge and/or Trample without being mounted or having the Mounted Combat feat. Note that Races of Faerûn predates the 3.5e Monster Manual, which would be the “official” version of the centaur, and Monster Manual only mentions lances—which Races of Faerûn leaves out. So unless you combine the two—and note their stats differ in other ways as well—even centaurs cannot combine double lance damage with Spirited Charge doubling.

dnd 3.5e – Does a lance deal double-damage for all attacks made when using the pouncing charge maneuver?

The lance probably deals the bonus damage.

First, allow me to clear up this point:

I know that “bonus damage” is only dealt on the first instance of damage…

This is only true of precision damage, like sneak attack or sudden strike, and only with regards to volley attacks (somewhat clunkily defined as multiple attacks made as part of something other than a full round action; since a charge attack is a full round action, you can apply sneak attack to all attacks during pouncing charge). Additionally, bonus damage dice don’t get multiplied by critical hits, specifically. That only applies to critical hits, however.

Since the double damage a lance deals as part of a charge is not precision damage, it can apply to every attack you make as part of a charge. It’s tricky to apply this to more than one attack; effects like Pounce or Psionic Lion’s Charge let you make attacks after a charge, not as part of one. Effects like the feat Dire Charge or, yes, the maneuver pouncing charge give you additional attacks as part of the charge. Any bonuses that apply to a charge—things like a lance, Spirited Charge, or the valorous weapon ability—should apply.

The devil’s in the details, though. The feat Leap Attack, for instance, specifically applies to a single attack at the end of the charge. So what are the details for a lance?

The lance itself says

A lance deals double damage when used from the back of a charging mount.

while the description of the Charge action says

A lance deals double damage if employed by a mounted character in a charge.

Finally, the mounted combat rules say

If your mount charges, you also take the AC penalty associated with a charge. If you make an attack at the end of the charge, you receive the bonus gained from the charge. When charging on horseback, you deal double damage with a lance.

The rules for mounted combat in 3.5 are an absolute quagmire. Basically, you don’t charge, your mount does. Then, at the end of the charge, you’re allowed to make an attack that gets the relevant charge bonuses. This means that your mount would need to be the one to initiate pouncing charge, not the rider; if the rider were to initiate pouncing charge, it would entail jumping out of the saddle or something. Many reasonable DMs will rule otherwise, since it’s a bit silly, but many things in 3.5 are.

But for a centaur who initiates pouncing charge, yes, the lance should deal extra damage.

dnd 5e – Does the Quick Toss maneuver work with a Magic Stone?

This does not work

Quick Toss states (emphasis mine):

As a bonus action, you can expend one superiority die and make a ranged attack with a weapon that has the thrown property. (…)

The magic stone cantrip states:

(…) You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by throwing it or hurling it with a sling. If thrown, it has a range of 60 feet. (…)

The attacks from magic stone are spell attacks1 and so do not use a weapon, and the stones also do not have the actual thrown property.

Note that when using a Sling, though you are not making a weapon attack and are instead making a spell attack, you are making an attack that uses a weapon. However, the Sling does not have the thrown property, so this doesn’t work either.

dnd 5e – Do the attacks from Polearm Master and the Brace Maneuver stack?

Polearm Master allows a PC to make an opportunity attack when an enemy enters within reach.

With the Brace manoeuvre, you can use a reaction to make an attack, expending a superiority die.

BRACE When a creature you can see moves into the reach you have with
the melee weapon you’re wielding, you can use your reaction to expend
one superiority die and make one attack against the creature, using
that weapon. If the attack hits, add the superiority die to the
weapon’s damage roll. Tasha’s Cauldron p.42

Do these features stack?
What would be a way to make use of both of these character abilities?

combat – Grappling Strike Maneuver + Thorn Whip = 30 ft Grapple?

Grappling Strike is a Battle Master Maneuver that reads:

Immediately after you hit a creature with a melee attack on your turn, you can expend one superiority die and then try to grapple the target as a bonus action (see the Player’s Handbook for rules on grappling). Add the superiority die to your Strength (Athletics) check.

Unlike other maneuvers, it doesn’t specify that you have to be making a Weapon attack, (probably so it will combo with the Unarmed Fighting fighting style that was printed in the same book.)

Thorn Whip is a Cantrip with a Range of 30 ft and the following Description:

You create a long, vine -like whip covered in thorns that lashes out at your command toward a creature in range. Make a melee spell attack against the target. If the attack hits, the creature takes 1d6 piercing damage, and if the creature is Large or smaller, you pull the creature up to 10 feet closer to you. This spell’s damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).

Despite having a 30 ft Range, Thorn Whip counts as a Melee attack. So can a character with access to both use their action to cast Thorn Whip, and then spend the superiority die and a bonus action to attempt a grapple from long range, assuming the other requirements for attempting a Grapple, (such as needing to have an empty hand), are met?

world of darkness – How does a Hold or Clinch maneuver interact with the blind fighting rules in Vampire: The Masquerade v20?

Being blinded imposes a +2 difficulty penalty on all actions

The rules break up the relevant information in kind of an odd way, and the description of escaping a Hold or Clinch maneuver is not categorized very clearly. But the key pieces of the issue are that:

  • A character attempts the Blind Fighting general maneuver when they are trying to attack while effectively blind, which corresponds to the Blind maneuver complication
  • Characters subject to the Blind maneuver complication have +2 difficulty on all actions

This is pretty explicit in the description of each:

• Blind Fighting/Fire: Staging attacks while blind
(or in pitch darkness) usually incurs a +2 difficulty, and
ranged attacks cannot be accurately made at all. Powers
such as Heightened Senses (p. 134) and Eyes of the
Beast (p. 199) mitigate this penalty. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 274)

• Blinded: Add two dice to attack rolls made against
a blinded target. Furthermore, blind characters are at
+2 difficulty on all actions. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 279)

The only special thing that the Blind Fighting description adds is to explicitly discuss attacking, specifically. The only relevance pitch darkness has is that it renders you effectively blind.

So that’s pretty conclusive: if you are blind fighting, you cannot reasonably attempt a ranged attack. Outside of using a ranged weapon, if you are blinded you have +2 difficulty on any action. And breaking a Clinch or Hold is an action:

• Clinch: (…) A combatant can inflict Strength damage automatically
or attempt to escape the clinch. No other actions
are allowed until one combatant breaks free.
To escape
a clinch, make a resisted Strength + Brawl roll against
the opponent. If the escaping character has more successes,
she breaks free; if not, the characters continue
to grapple in the next turn. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 276)

• Hold: (…) On a
successful roll, the attacker holds the target until the
subject’s next action. At that time, both combatants
roll resisted Strength + Brawl actions;
the subject remains
immobilized (able to take no other action) until
she rolls more successes than the attacker does. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 276)

Emphasis mine in each section. Breaking the Hold or Clinch is considered an action. As an action, it will be at +2 difficulty if the character attempting it is blind.

A couple of Disciplines directly mitigate these problems. Eyes of the Beast (Protean) allows you to see “perfectly well in pitch darkness”, meaning that you are not blind. Heightened Senses (Auspex) explicitly reduces the difficulty to act in pitch darkness from +2 to +1, and allows for ranged attacks in pitch darkness. The Tongue of the Asp (Serpentis) halves penalties due to darkness because it allows perception of vibrations, though it’s not clear if that allows ranged attacks or not.

So if you’re in mundane pitch darkness and are effectively blinded, you would have +2 difficulty to break free of a Clinch or Hold. If you have Heightened Senses or The Tongue of the Asp activated, you would only have +1 difficulty. If you had Eyes of the Beast activated, you would have no additional difficulty due to the darkness because your vision is not impaired at all.

Notably, Eyes of the Beast will not help you at all if you’ve been blinded for some reason other than pitch darkness, while Heightened Senses and The Tongue of the Asp can still offer some benefit.

Shroud of Night is a special case

Shroud of Night explicitly prevents the workarounds allowed by Eyes of the Beast, The Tongue of the Asp, and Heightened Senses:

Those within the
cloud lose all sense of sight and feel as though they’ve
been immersed in pitch. Sound also warps and distorts
within the cloud, making it nearly impossible to accomplish
anything (+2 difficulty, as per Blind Fighting
on p. 274). Even those possessed of Heightened
Senses, Eyes of the Beast, Tongue of the Asp, and similar
powers suffer the penalty for blindness due to the
unnatural darkness. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 189)

If you’re stuck in a Shroud of Night, there isn’t much help for you and so you will suffer a +2 difficulty for any action. A character gripped by a tentacle from Arms of the Abyss while inside of a Shroud of Night will, therefore, have to roll against difficulty 8 to escape while the tentacle only has to roll against a difficulty 6 to continue restraining its target.

dnd 5e – What happens when you have a creature grappled and use the Bait and Switch Maneuver to move 5 feet away from the creature?

The Bait and Switch Maneuver (Battlemaster Fighter feature):

Bait and Switch. When you’re within 5 feet of a creature on your turn, you can expend one superiority die and switch places with that creature, provided you spend at least 5 feet of movement and the creature is willing and isn’t incapacitated. This movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks.

Roll the superiority die. Until the start of your next turn, you or the other creature (your choice) gains a bonus to AC equal to the number rolled.

Does it just break your grapple since the creature is outside your reach? Does this count as “Moving a Grappled Target” and the creature you’re grappling moves 5 feet with you?

Or does this count as the latter, but since your speed is halved, and the maneuver only allows you to move 5 feet, your speed is 2.5 feet, and if playing on a grid, actually cannot move?

dnd 5e – Is the grappling strike maneuver a part of an attack or used after the hit?

Battlemaster says

Maneuvers. You learn three maneuvers of your choice, which are listed under “Maneuvers” below. Many maneuvers enhance an attack in some way. You can use only one maneuver per attack.

but unlike other maneuvers, grappling strike uses “immediately after you hit” instead of “when you hit”

Is grappling strike limited to the one maneuver per attack clause?

dnd 5e – When I’m mounted, can I use the Bait and Switch maneuver exchanging the mount and my ally’s position?

RAW, no

From DnDBeyond,

While you’re mounted, you have two options. You can either control the mount or allow it to act independently. Intelligent creatures…act independently.

In this case, the end result is the same regardless of your mounting style. If your mount is independent,

[B]earing a rider puts no restrictions on the Actions the mount can take, and it moves and acts as it wishes,

but “Bait and Switch” is your maneuver, not your mount’s. An intelligent mount doesn’t get your class features, and therefore can’t swap with an ally.

If your mount isn’t independent, it still can’t swap with your ally, as it

moves as you direct it, and it has only three action options: Dash, Disengage, and Dodge.