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#13857806 Sep 13, 2018 at 03:23 PM · Edited 1 year ago
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21 Posts
In some of the instances I've run, I've come across players who weren't familiar with how Fellowship Manoeuvres in LOTRO work, but were interested to know. For them and other intrigued-but-inexperienced players, I present this summary of the FM system!

What is a Fellowship Manoeuvre?

A Fellowship Manoeuvre (FM) is a co-ordinated attack by members of a fellowship against a targeted enemy. FMs can cause various useful combat effects, for example:
  • damaging or debuffing enemies
  • healing the fellowship's morale or power
  • summoning NPC allies
  • healing status conditions (like wounds or fear)
  • combinations of all of the above

When can I use an FM?
You can use an FM on any target affected by the (short-lived) Vulnerable debuff.

Ok, what makes a target Vulnerable?
Any critical hit by a member of the fellowship (pets and skirmish soldiers included) has a small chance of applying the Vulnerable debuff on a enemy of Signature difficulty or higher --- but these kinds of random FM opportunities are fairly rare.
Certain classes have skills that can automatically apply the Vulnerable debuff (even to Normal-level enemies), or increase the chance of a random one happening:
  • Guardian: Fray the Edge increases the chance (chance tiers up if applied multiple times).
  • Guardian: Turn the Tables automatically makes the target Vulnerable.
  • Guardian: To the King applies the Vulnerable effect on a critical hit.
  • Loremaster: Bog-lurker's Bursting Root has 20% chance to apply the Vulnerable debuff.
  • Loremaster: Sabretooth cat's Throat Slash has a chance of applying the Vulnerable debuff on a flanked enemy.
  • Burglars are the masters of FMs, with various skills and devices that automatically apply the Vulnerable effect (unless resisted).

Note: The Vulnerable effect only occurs in fellowships. It won't happen when you're playing solo.

How do we perform the FM?
When a target becomes Vulnerable, a couple of controls appear on your screen.



  • If you have the Vulnerable target selected already you'll see the FM Wheel, which you can use to contribute to the FM.
  • Otherwise you'll see the Assist Button.
  • Click it, and your target selection will change to the Vulnerable enemy which will cause the FM Wheel to appear.
  • You'll also see the FM queue (initially empty) and your group's target FM (if the leader has set one)

What do the colours mean?
The FM wheel has four colours, which occur as two pairs:
  • the warm colours (red & yellow, on the wheel's vertical axis) cause damage to the enemy
  • the cool colours (blue and green, on the wheel's horizontal axis) restore the fellowship's health

More specifically:
  • Red (Ent's Strength) damages the enemy directly.
  • Yellow (Spider's Guide) causes the enemy damage-over-time.
  • Blue (Stallion's Spirit) restores power.
  • Green (Eagle's Cry) restores morale.

When you contribute a colour to the FM, you individually receive the associated combat effect. So, if you contribute Green, you'll receive a small morale heal; if you contribute Red, you'll do a small amount of damage, etc. These individual effects are relatively minor, and not really worth the time it takes to execute the FM. The real power of FMs comes from players contributing colours in specific sequences -- named FMs -- which greatly multiply the effects and spread their benefits across the entire fellowship.

Contributing to the FM
To contribute to an FM, click ONE colour from the wheel. There are some restrictions on your ability to contribute:
  • you must be level 12 or higher
  • you can't be stunned
  • you must have the right target selected (use the Assist Button, if necessary)
  • you must be facing the target: if the wheel shows all colours disabled, turn around
  • you must be in range:
  • Warm colours require you to be in melee range (exception: Runekeepers and Hunters can contribute warm colours at long range).
  • Cool colours can be contributed by any class at medium range.
  • If you're out of range for a colour, it will be disabled on the FM Wheel: to contribute it, run forward until the colour appears.
  • you only have a few seconds to contribute a colour before the Vulnerable effect times out and the FM is executed. If you don't contribute in time, you won't receive the benefit of an individual contribution - but you'll still enjoy the effects of any named FMs the rest of the group manages to construct.

When you contribute a colour, that colour is added to the Fellowship Manoeuvre Queue. The Queue is filled in the order that players click their colour, so the first player to click will contribute the FM's first colour, the second to click contributes the second colour etc.



After you've contributed your colour, your character will adopt a threatening pose until the FM is successfully executed or times out. Now it's matter of waiting. You won't be able to use your other skills, and moving will cancel your contribution. Just hold your breath until the rest of the fellowship completes their colour contributions.



After you've successfully executed an FM (named or otherwise), the target will be immune to further FMs for 1 minute.

Simple tips for successfully performing a named FM
  • Your leader should assign you a colour and a number: remember your colour and where you are in the sequence:
  • Burglars are a good choice for first position, because they're most likely to have initiated the FM and so know both that the FM is about to happen and already have the correct enemy targeted. This means they can immediately contribute a colour without holding up the rest of the fellowship. In the absence of a Burglar, a Guardian also makes a good choice for the first spot.
  • Warm colours are best assigned to RKs and Hunters, who can perform them at range.
  • Induction-based classes like Loremasters and Minstrels are best toward the end of the sequence.
  • Healers are a good choice for the last spot -- they have enough to do already and being last can give them breathing space to complete a healing action before they contribute to the FM.
  • If you're not first you need to wait for the other players to lock in their contributions. It can be frustrating waiting on other people, but discipline is crucial. Yes, those slower players might cause the FM to fail, but if you contribute too early out of impatience, you'll definitely mess it up.
  • As an exception to the above: if the FM pattern contains consecutive repetitions of a colour, all players with that colour should contribute simultaneously (because the contributions are interchangeable). Example: for the pattern GGGBB, the three players assigned Green should all contribute immediately; the two Blue players should wait for the Greens, then both contribute Blue simultaneously.
  • If you contributed too early, or contributed the wrong colour, move to cancel your contribution and quickly try again.
  • If you've started a lengthy induction when an FM starts - cancel it by moving so you can contribute to FM instead.
  • If you're faster with the keyboard than the mouse, you can bind keys to the Assist Button and each of the four colours (Options > Key Mapping > Fellowship Manoeuvres, near the bottom). The keybinding options are listed by position on the FM Wheel, not by colour. Top = Red, Bottom = Yellow, Left = Blue, Right = Green.
  • You can re-position the FM Wheel ("Fellowship Manoeuvre Display") and FM target & queue ("Fellowship Manoeuvre Attempt Display") using Ctrl-Backslash, as with other UI elements.



Common patterns in named FMs
Most named FMs follow predictable patterns, many called after poker hands.

Flush
All contributors choose the same colour.
Flushes apply the chosen colour's combat effect to the whole fellowship.
Examples:
  • RR "Clash of Arms" - direct damage by every member of the fellowship
  • BBBB - "Power in Numbers" - a power heal for every member of the fellowship

Flushes can be from built from 2-4 contributions. The more contributions, the stronger the effect. Adding a 5th or 6th colour won't improve the FM any further, but will still bestow the individual effects of those colours on the players who contribute them.

Flushes are the easiest named FMs to achieve, but they're also the weakest of all FMs. Nearly any other FM will be stronger than a flush.

Two pair
Two of one colour, followed by two of another.
Both colours' combat effects are applied to the whole fellowship.
Examples:
  • RRBB "Planned Charge" - direct damage to the target and a power heal for the fellowship
  • BBYY - "Deadly Whispers" - a power heal for the fellowship an damage-over-time to the target


Full House
Three of one colour and two of another --- the FM must be either all warm colours or all cool colours.
Both colours' combat effects are applied to the whole fellowship. The colour with the most contributions has an especially strong effect.
Example:
  • BBBGG "Noble Blood" - strong power restoration and a heal-over-time for the fellowship
  • RRRYY "Ent's Rage" - strong direct damage, and damage-over-time

Straight
A cycle around the FM Wheel, in either direction, of 3 or more contributions.
In other words: A warm/cool colour, followed by a cool/warm colour, followed by the other warm/cool colour...[followed by the other cool/warm color] (repeat)
All colours' effects are applied to the whole fellowship. The first colour's effect is especially strong in straights of length 4 or greater. Straights built from 5 or 6 contributions have additional special effects.
Example:
  • GRB "Strength of the Pure" - direct damage to the target, and a morale heal-over-time plus power restoration for the fellowship.
  • RGYB "Ent's Stand" - strong direct damage to the target plus damage-over time, and a power and morale-over-time heal to the fellowship
  • YBRGYB "Dawn on the Deep" - very strong damage-over-time to the target, along with direct damage, slowed movement and attack speed, power restoration and a heal-over-time for the fellowship, plus an NPC Oathbreaker ally is temporarily summoned to fight.

Straights are difficult to achieve, but are among the strongest of FMs. One advantage of trying for a straight is that longer straights are just continuations of shorter ones, so even if you don't achieve a length 6 straight, as long as you get the first 3, 4, or 5 colours in, you'll still achieve a (shorter) straight.

5 + Kicker
Five Reds and one "kicker" (any other colour) in sixth place.
Strong area-of-effect damage to the target and nearby enemies, plus a secondary effect determined by the colour in 6th place.
Example:
  • RRRRRG "Roll the Drums" - strong AoE damage, plus a heal-over-time for the fellowship

Special
Some special length 6 FMs don't follow the common patterns:
Examples:
  • RRRYYY "Tramp of Doom" - strong AoE damage to the target and nearby enemies, plus strong damage-over-time to the target
  • GYRRYG "Hope of Men" - very strong heal-over-time for the fellowship, all wounds and fears are cleared, AoE damage to the target and nearby enemies, and a very strong damage-over-time effect plus slowed movement and attack speed on the target.

Full list of named FMs

FMs in play
If your leader hasn't announced a target FM, pick your colour based on the fellowship's needs.
  • Out of power - Blue
  • Healer struggling (or down!) - Green.
  • In for a long fight with an Elite master boss - Yellow
  • Otherwise Red.
  • Most players will contribute Red by default (aiming for a Flush), but if you see 5 Reds in the queue already, add a different 6th colour for a much stronger FM.

If the leader has announced an FM, establish your position and colour. If the leader has ever successfully executed the FM themselves, they can select it as the target FM from their Skills panel. This displays the FM's colour pattern above the FM queue, as a reminder of the target sequence.
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