A situation came up in game where a battle master wished to use a Goading Attack maneuver inside the area of a silence spell. As DM, I ruled that the enemy would get advantage on the wisdom save since the goading could not include any vocal component in this situation. The player thought that was incorrect, and I agreed to take a closer look after the game.
Upon careful re-reading of the maneuver afterwards, I conceded that the maneuver does not state that the target has to be able to see or hear the battle master for the maneuver to work.
I see nothing in the description of the battle master archetype to suggest that the maneuvers are considered magical. The victim gets a saving throw for some of them, but saves are not limited to resisting magical effects.
If the maneuvers are not magical, how do they work? The fact that the save DC is based on the battle master's strength or dexterity suggests that bonus effect comes from something about the way the weapon strikes the target, which I'm having a hard time making sense of for many of the maneuvers. Similarly, I'm unclear on how a battle master's skill, if that really is all that these maneuvers are supposed to represent, could grant another player an additional action in a round, via Commander's Strike.
I think RAW is pretty clear (they are not stated to be magical, and require only what their descriptions say they require) but feel free to correct me if I've missed something. But has there been any insight on RAI or does anyone have a better way of thinking about these maneuvers that makes sense to them?
To clarify what I'm asking:
- Have I missed any rules that would clarify this?
- Have the developers provided any RAI insight into the maneuvers?
- How does your group
interpret them in a way that makes sense to you?
- Do you (or your DM) allow them to work flawlessly in every circumstance, or can advantage/disadvantage be applied as logical according to the "flavor" of the maneuver?