Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I have just recently finished watching Season One of Spartacus: Blood and Sand thanks to Netflix. While I was watching it, I was constantly reminded of just how important tactical movement and field placement is to a melee character, and this of course, led me to consider the movement mechanics of Star Wars Saga Edition.
As much as I love the game, it’s tactical options for melee characters seem to be woefully lacking. Your movement options are either a full movement action, or a Withdraw made to get out of combat and avoid attacks of opportunity. Neither of these pair very well with a lot of feats and talents that melee characters get lot of mileage out of (Double and Triple Attack, Dual Weapon Mastery, etc). Now there are some higher end talents in certain classes and prestige classes that does allow for these options to be used more effectively in combat, but to me, there should be some other options for the lower end of play as well.
In the movies we see lightsaber duels that involve the combatants using the entire are open to them, be it Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul fighting on the various catwalks in Theed Palace or Luke and Vader dueling through the various areas of Palpatine’s throne room aboard the second Death Star. Unfortunately, when it gets down to the table top level, these fights will get played out with the two opponents sitting in the same two squares, and letting fly with as many d20 rolls as they can in a round until one of them stops moving more often than not. And that’s just not fun in a system that touts itself as being as cinematic as the movies it was based on.
So, here’s my offering to fix that. A feat that can be taken as early as level 1 to give these melee combatants another set of options:
Your study of combat has given you the knowledge required to make the most out of your placement on the field. You know how to strike and from just what angle to make the most of your attacks.
Prerequisite: Trained in Knowledge (tactics)
Benefit: Make a Knowledge (tactics) check as a swift action against a DC 15. If successful, you gain a number of Maneuver Points equal to 1 + your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). These Maneuver Points can be spent to gain superior positioning on the field in the following ways. These following maneuvers happen immediately and are considered a part of the swift action to activate this ability. In the case of Furious Charge and Sly Charge, the ability is activated and will trigger on a charge attack made in your current turn. Any Maneuver Points that are not spent by the end of your turn are lost.
One Maneuver Point
Watchful Step: You shift 1 square.
Sweeping Blow: You slide an adjacent opponent 1 square.
Luring Blade: You pull an opponent within 5 squares 1 square.
Blade Trap: Your opponent must take a swift action to clear your blade before he can make any attacks. You must remain adjacent to your opponent for him to suffer this effect.
Two Maneuver Points
Furious Charge: You can move an additional 2 squares during a charge action. All other rules for charging still apply.
Sly Charge: After you finish your movement during a charge, but before you make your attack, you can shift 1 square.
Dizzying Attack: Your opponent suffers a -1 penalty to his attack rolls and Reflex Defense until the start of his next turn.
Driving Attack: You push an adjacent opponent 1 square. You then move into the square he just occupied.
Three Maneuver Points
Rapid Step: You shift a number of squares equal to half your speed.
Special: For the purposes of the maneuvers described in this feat, diagonal movement is counted as 1 square. A Push is any movement that takes an opponent away from you. A Pull is any movement that brings the enemy closer to you. Shifting does not provoke attacks of opportunity, nor does any forced movement.
In this feat, you have a tactical option for movement that puts more use into a skill that only one Prestige Class really gets any mileage out of (the Officer) thereby making it a much more useful skill to train in.
Obviously there’s lots more that can be added to this, and I’m thinking about going through the Movement Tricks from the Essentials Thief in order to get some more ideas as well. But this provides a nice base to build off of.