Wait maneuver allows you Do Nothing unless a particular event you specified in advance occurs before your next turn. If the triggering event happens, it can transform into a different maneuver.

It's not technically the same as a Do Nothing, however. Someone limited to doing nothing (such as someone who is stunned) cannot opt to Wait.

shock notes

If you were interrupted during your action by someone Waiting, and get hurt, you do suffer penalties on your current action.

Maneuver options


B366 only mentions four options to start:

  • Attack
  • Feint
  • All-Out Attack (you must specify the option before acting)
  • Ready

Basic maneuvers (other than Wait itself) not included as options:

  1. Do Nothing (which would be pointless, it already operates like that)
  2. Move
  3. Change Posture
  4. Aim
  5. Evaluate
  6. Move and Attack
  7. All-Out Defence
  8. Concentrate

The example for "exactly what your action will be" given is "make an All-Out Attack (Determined) with my sword on the first orc to move toward me.”

This requires specifying the maneuver, the maneuver option (eg +hit or +dmg), the attack type (sword) and overall target ("first orc").

Things not specified in the example:

  • whether or not the waiter plans to step up to the orc as soon as they're in range, or hold position until orc comes within range of non-stepping ("move toward me" only specifies direction, not a hex or distance)
  • whether the sword is impaling or cutting
    • (in example perhaps it's a sword capable of just one type so it's not needed)
      • in the case of a cutting weapon however, the option exists to convert damage to crushing (flatting) so it's unclear whether or not that must be specified ahead of time or not
  • whether he will target a random hit location, torso, or some other hit location
  • whether he will make a Deceptive Attack
  • whether or not the movement the orc makes is voluntary (eg if the orc only moves toward due to being shoved/slammed by another orc)
  • whether or not he's using Extra Effort to get a damage bonus with Mighty Blows (like Strong v Determined this probably would need to be specified)

Ranged weapons (unlike melee weapons) must specify a "zone" and use B390 Opportunity Fire rules.

MA example

M108 introduces a new example:

“I’ll Attack Otto with my rapier if he steps into reach on my right and utters so much as one word.”

A rapier (B273) only lists a thrusting option, so there is no standard option in basic set to do a different attack with it. However, a variety of options are added in Martial Arts for rapiers, so omitting whether or not to do them is conspicuous. Presumably there is a 'default' form of attack which is used when options are not specified. Options which could be specified (though it is unclear if that must be done before or after) include:

This question is immediately answered however with this disclaimer:

You don’t have to name particular combat options or techniques, though;
you can decide these when you act.
For instance, when you Attack with your rapier, you could choose to disarm, stab to the vitals, make a Rapid Strike, etc

MA maneuvers

GURPS Martial Arts 4E was published in 2007

Two new maneuvers introduced are also opted in:

The new maneuvers Committed Attack (pp. 99-100) and Defensive Attack (p. 100) are both valid responses.
If you choose Committed Attack, you must specify in advance whether it will be Determined or Strong.

This strangely means that while "strong" must be chosen in advance, since Mighty Blows is a combat option, it CAN be chosen last-minute.

Presumably the seven maneuvers excluded in Basic Set are still excluded.

Since apparently a Wait>AOA can be converted into a Wait>Attack if one defends, this raises questions other 'conversions'.

  • for example, if defending during that wait, could you choose to incur a -2 bonus and only convert it into a Committed Attack, to retain some level of bonus
    • (presumably half the +4 or +2 you were going to get... nothing at all if Double though since there's no equivalent)
      • would there be an inability to use this to defend with the weapon you PLAN to attack with?
  • could you opt to, if planning on a Wait>Committed Attack, opt to ignore the -2 to defenses and convert it into a Normal Attack?
  • could you opt to, if planning on a Wait>Attack, opt to get +1 to bonuses last-minute by converting it into a Defensive Attack?

If it is possible to convert lower-defense-value maneuvers (AOA) into higher-defensive value ones (Attack), can it be done the other way around? Could someone who planned to Wait>Attack but never got attacked, convert that into an AOA instead?

  • if so, could someone convert a Defensive Attack into an AOA if nobody ever attacks?

a Move is Fine Too

Despite being initially excluded in Basic Set, Tactical Shooting introduced new options for Waits via the Battle Drills rules on TS37.

This perk's 4th bullet allows not just a Move maneuver, but also a Move and Attack maneuver, and notes the usual restrictions:

  • "Normally, Wait can only be turned into Attack, Feint, All-Out Attack, or Ready"

Although TS came out in 2011 (four years after MA) it appears to overlook that you can also now use the new melee maneuvers (Defensive/Committed) with Waits, only acknowledging the basic quartet and not expanded sextet.


Douglas Cole for his Action Points system in The Last Gasp differentiated the two by giving Do Nothing a +4 bonus to HT rolls to recover AP. Untriggered waits merely have an unmodified HT roll just like an Evaluate.

Quick Reference

  • Movement: None until your Wait is triggered. At that point, you may move as allowed by the maneuver you specified (Attack, Feint, All-Out Attack, or Ready).
  • Active Defense: You may defend normally while you are waiting or after your Wait is triggered. But if you defend while taking a Wait, you may not transform your Wait into an All-Out Attack; you must convert your Wait into an Attack instead.
    • probably if you opt to defend at -2 you could transform the wait into a Committed Attack
    • Berserkers probably can't Wait>AOA upclose because they can only AOA if someone's in melee range

FAQ Why does the Wait maneuver not allow you to take the "move and attack" or "move" maneuvers?
Because if you spend some or most of a turn waiting, you're not using that time to move. Even allowing a step (for an Attack) or half-move (for an All-Out Attack) is optimistic. We felt that allowing a full move would be wrong. GURPS is an abstraction, but it simply makes no sense to let someone who can move, say, 5 yards in 1 second wait for 0.75 second and then cover 5 yards in 0.25 second. That would mean he's moving at Move 20, not Move 5.

House rules you ought to use

more maneuvers

  • since the only reason for disallowing a "Wait>Move" appears to be not wanting to allow full move, still allow a Move maneuver but with Movement Points reduce to 50% like with an All-Out Attack. This could be preferably to someone who wants to keep their defence up
    • better yet: allow Wait>All-Out Defence, since that only gets 50% of MP just like AOA. There's no logical reason to allow it.
  • maneuvers which only allow a step (Aim/Concentrate/Evaluate) should be allowed just like Attack since they use less than 50% of Move. These could be desirable options for someone who wants to only move 1 step on their wait and do something other than attack.

modified maneuvers

since "allowing a full move would be wrong" per the FAQ, MA's allowance of All-Out Attack to have full (instead of half) move when using a Slam (MA98 Slams as All-Out Attacks) should be ignored, only allow 50% MP as per basic set

  • if allowing this new rule then there really isn't any grounds to disallow Move or Move and Attack, so allow them unimpeded

modified move

Instead of being Move:None like Do Nothing until the Wait is triggered (at which point ALL of it is triggered, all steps/MP must be spent or lost) allow someone to take steps/MP from the maneuver they plan to do, and just "Wait" to use the unused portions.

  • in the case of Wait>AOA, if someone moves more than a Step (using up to 50% Move allowed by AOA) then they should loses their defences and lose the option to downgrade it to an Attack maneuver, since it does not allow that much movement.
    • if it was only 2 steps then "Committed Attack" could be an option if they take -2 to hit.




NineDays Dread: What happens if the target takes the wait maneuver? It seems the ATR guy sacrifices his defences if the target uses wait, since he can interrupt ATR guy during the all-out-attack, and then attack the defenceless (thanks to AOA) ATR guy.

Kromm: Sure. Nobody said the tactic was perfect. :) But the ATR guy does know that a foe took a Wait (Wait, unlike Feint, isn't meant to be a secret or hard to detect) and can simply stay away from that one opponent.

See also