Removing maneuver cost

I was thinking of removing the maneuver cost from some of the combat talents, like side step, bodyguard and others that are similar.
My thought for this is in my games alot of players do not use these abilities often. I feel it is cause the cost is too high, taking strain and using maneuver for something you may not even gain a benefit from, depending on if you get attacked. So I was going to removed the Maneuver cost from these talents.

I just wanted to see if others felt this way, has done this before, or wants to give advice against doing it. I appreciate your thoughts.

Yes, this is definitely something that has occurred to me. In fact, I made a topic similar to yours back on the old forum (FFG Forum Archive).
After a couple answers, I got the impression that it was more-or-less okay as-is.

One of the main difficulties in using the talent is that you generally have to have 3 ranks to do much at Short range, or 2 ranks past Short range/for melee attacks. If you don’t dip into it enough, you don’t get enough benefit to justify the maneuver cost. When you’ve pumped it up a bit, you’ll be in a better position. However, you can quickly run out of space for the strain if you aren’t careful.

If you want to remove it as a Maneuver, I’d say that it takes 2 Strain at a base, +1 for each upgrade. So 3 Strain for 1 upgrade, 5 Strain for 3 upgrades.
Another option would be to make it a once per encounter incidental. That would probably actually increase its frequency of use, and makes it feel a bit more important.

I would not recommend that change for Bodyguard though. In fact, I’d be interested in seeing about rewriting Bodyguard to specifically effect a non-combatant character without maneuvers. Something like “select an ally in engaged range. Upgrade the difficulty of all attacks against them until they perform a combat check.” Strain up to ranks, and then it applies ongoing without constant “reupping.”

Personally, I would not change any of them. I think they are okay as-is. But I understand your concerns and share them, to a certain extent.

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What I’ve been considering doing for these talents is when you take the improved version of the talent if you then take the maneuver as a second maneuver reduce the strain cost by 1 (minimum of 1).

From my perspecive as a player I do two maneuvers very often in combat either by suffering strain or getting two advantages. I often use advantages to recover strain during the combat encounters.

Things like Side step I kind of look at as an insurance. The GM had planned to attack me and chooses to attack another character instead that’s fine by me. I avoided the risk of damage alltogether.

I’ve never felt that I’m limited by the maneuver cost. Sometimes, obviously, I have more than two things I want to spend maneuvers on and would’ve liked to be able to get a third maneuver by spending my action.

But if you have a bunch of different combat talents I get that the maneuver cost is limiting. Maybe instead of removing the maneuver completetly you could say that for one maneuver you can activate multiple talents (like two or three?) that cost one maneuver?
That way you could activate Side step and Defensive Stance with a single maneuver.

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