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What are maneuvers and how are they used in GURPS?
A maneuver is a specific use of a skill that can be studied on its own, but which isn't complex enough to be treated as a skill in its own right. (Maneuvers are usually used only in high action oriented campaigns and are not used in many GURPS campaigns. For the Matrix, they are used.)
Example: "Kicking" is a specific use of the karate skill and not a separate skill itself, so it is a maneuver that can be specified as a turn action. This maneuver will eliminate the -2 that applies to kicking attacks. Thus, (in GURPS, at least), Kicking is a maneuver based on Karate.
IMPORTANT NOTE: "Maneuver" has two different meanings in GURPS: (1) it is any action that can be performed during one turn (see Combat Basics), and (2) it is as described above, a specific use of a skill. Do not be confused by this unfortunate dual usage of the word.
Some maneuvers have prerequisites that must be learned before the maneuver may be learned. Example: Back Kick has a prerequisite of Karate.
Some maneuvers also have a limit which cannot be exceeded (i.e. you can't be a specialist in one maneuver and have a lousy score in the prerequisite related skill). This means that sometimes the prerequisite score must be increased before the maneuver can be increased. Example: Back Kick cannot exceed the Karate skill level score.
Highly specialized maneuvers can be found in the GURPS Martial Arts book.
HINT: Some maneuvers may be purchased several times depending on the skill, but it only applies to the skill purchased. Example: The Feint maneuver can be purchased for any Combat/Weapon Skill, but it only affects feints made with the weapon(s) it was purchased for. If you have Broadsword and Knife skills, you would have to learn Feint once for each to use it for each.
How do I learn maneuvers?
Maneuvers are bought from a default since they are based on a default skill. As such, there is no real necessity for any character to purchase maneuvers since he will have learned the basic maneuver as part of his prerequisite training. However, they are available for characters desiring to master certain maneuvers within the skill.
The following table illustrates the cost of learning maneuvers:
Hint: Maneuvers may be created by you (with GM permission) if you have certain moves your character will master which are not already listed.
What are the elements of maneuvers?
(1) A Name;
(2) A default;
(3) A prerequisite;
(4) A difficulty level;
(5) A maximum (related to the prerequisite);
(6) A description of the effects of the maneuver.