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Dodging and Parrying


Ryan Kent

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Each new defensive tactic suffers another 20% reduction. Ruric parries a trollkin spear, figuring he will have plenty of HPs to block the incoming damage should the critter hit. He dodges a manticore’s sting figuring even a little damage getting by his armour or weapon hit points will inject the obvious venom dripping from its sting. 

The Trollkin specials and Ruric parries to soak up all the trollkins extra damage with his shield’s 12 HP but having a spear through it forces Ruric to throw it away His dodging the sting will be 20% less then usual due to it being his 2nd defensive manoeuvre this Melee Round. Should he survive he will have to decide to dodge or parry his third opponent but the penalty for whichever skill he uses (sword parry or dodge) will be now at 40% less than normal. 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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Page 200: "An adventurer may make a subsequent parry with a weapon they have already parried with.  Any subsequent parry is at a cumulative –20% penalty..."

So, a parry with a weapon or shield that you have not parried with is not "subsequent" so is not penalized.  This is a minor benefit to using a 1H weapon and shield.  You get two parries at full skill.  Assuming both are good...

I don't think you can parry and dodge in the same round but I might be wrong there.

Edited by Rodney Dangerduck
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Jason has been quite clear in his clarifications about this. 
 

All subsequent defensive actions after the first (no matter whether from different weapons, shield, or dodges) suffer the same cumulative minus penalty.

Of course you could house rule that differently. For instance some people prefer not to allow dodges and parries to be used together. 

 

Edited by Paid a bod yn dwp
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9 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Page 200: "An adventurer may make a subsequent parry with a weapon they have already parried with.  Any subsequent parry is at a cumulative –20% penalty..."

I would interpret the first clause to mean that one can perform multiple parries with the same weapon -- rather than being limited to one parry per weapon (unless applying the equivalent of split attacks for split parries if skill >100%).

The second clause is independent of that, and applies to any parries performed.

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10 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Page 200: "An adventurer may make a subsequent parry with a weapon they have already parried with.  Any subsequent parry is at a cumulative –20% penalty..."

So, a parry with a weapon or shield that you have not parried with is not "subsequent" so is not penalized. ..

I see the ambiguity here, but I'm pretty sure you are mis-reading the intent of the rules.

"Any subsequent parry is at a cumulative –20% penalty..." (including a weapon you have already parried with) is as-valid a reading, and I believe it's the design intent.

But yeah -- the RAW is ambiguous here.

And in fact... it doesn't make a big difference, really!  It's well within the normal range of BRP-variant rules, and won't break anything if HR'ed away from the RAW intent!

Edited by g33k
HR made me
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5 hours ago, g33k said:

But yeah -- the RAW is ambiguous here.

There are several occurrences in RAW of statements like this:  "(A) Blah blah rule. (B) Blah blah precision about rule. (C) Specification of, say, a roll modifier about rule".

And people read it differently:

  • A is the rule. B is a precision. C is the roll modifier for A, because B was only a transient parenthetical or clarification.
  • A is the rule. B is a precision. C is the roll modifier for B because the context has now shifted to the situation specified in B.

If I'm not mistaken, several times, now, Jason and the other designers have confirmed that it's the first reading. So even though I instinctively read texts using the second interpretation, I have to consciously rewire my brain to interpret them using the first interpretation when reading RQG. I really hope that the RQG authors have become aware of this problem and are going to take it into account in future products because it has caused a lot of confusion in the past couple years... and so far, their answer has been, basically, "of course the dancer is spinning clockwise! that's what it looks like, no?!".

Edited by lordabdul
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12 hours ago, Ryan Kent said:

I am leaning towards each weapon or dodge having full defense on its initial use each round. Gives a benefit to weapon and shield use that is reflective of historical accuracy.

I certainly don’t think the intention of the rules is that you get full use of dodge in addition to full parry, or that you get full parry with both sword and shield, making two handed weapons clearly an obviously terrible choice. 
And dodge is already clearly the least good option to rely on (it’s terrible if your opponent specials or critical), and shield use already has quite a few advantages for a decent shield (parry thrown weapons, passive protection, etc) that make it the best choice for most in a normal warfare situation at least. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

quite a few advantages for a decent shield (parry thrown weapons, passive protection, etc) that make it the best choice for most

I disagree.  Or at least, I'm not sure yet.  With augments and Trance spells, two handed weapons look mighty good, not to mention their much better damage.

Even when you use Shield and 1H weapon (e.g. Sword), if you cast Sword Trance, or make a great Sword Augment, you are likely to parry with the sword.  My Vingan crit her Air in Duel at Dangerford and didn't use her shield at all.

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Also don’t forget breaking weapons. If you’re playing by the rules there’s a chance a parrying weapon might break in combat. Shields extend the life of a good weapon. You get unlucky with a parry and you could be weaponless. Not forgetting can be ruled to give half protection if slung over your back, and can  also defend against missile fire. 
 

Edit: Personally I quite like these unified defensive actions. If they all share the same cumulative penalty then there’s less bookkeeping, and for me It also has a cool narrative with diminishing parry/dodge chance after the first attempt, showing the capabilities of the warrior gradually being stretched by overwhelming numbers. 

Edited by Paid a bod yn dwp
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7 hours ago, davecake said:

And dodge is already clearly the least good option to rely on (it’s terrible if your opponent specials or critical), and shield use already has quite a few advantages for a decent shield (parry thrown weapons, passive protection, etc) that make it the best choice for most in a normal warfare situation at least. 

Depends on the expected damage of the attack. Parrying a 5D6 damage will likely result in only a negligible amount of damage being blocked by the parry, leaving enough damage to come through to insta-kill your character unless you DI successfully. A successful dodge will avoid all damage.

Yes, specials and criticals are a risk, but if the ordinary damage already is way more than you can parry, destroying your parrying weapon while dying isn't going to be satisfactory.

Getting into melee range with such an opponent is a desperate gamble already. There are plenty of parameters going into the calculation - the effective attack percentiles (after resolving skills >100%), the effective defensive action percentiles (where Dodge will in all likelihood have a different value from parry), and then the chances of facing an uncountered or countered special or critical and how that extra damage may invalidate your parry. A special trample even by a horse isn't something you want to parry. A crit bypassing all your armor while doing maximized special damage (simplifying here, it's more complicated with only damage bonus doubled for crush etc.) is lethal news if your opponent has any oomph.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 11/7/2020 at 8:11 AM, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Page 200: "An adventurer may make a subsequent parry with a weapon they have already parried with.  Any subsequent parry is at a cumulative –20% penalty..."

So, a parry with a weapon or shield that you have not parried with is not "subsequent" so is not penalized.  This is a minor benefit to using a 1H weapon and shield.  You get two parries at full skill.  Assuming both are good...

I don't think you can parry and dodge in the same round but I might be wrong there.

I agree with this based on my experience fighting with sword and shield as a historical reenactor and HEMA (yeah I know...)

One can quite easily rush between two dudes and be very sure of survival, taking one blow on the shield and parrying the other.

any more than that DEFINETIVELY feels like -20%

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38 minutes ago, Joerg said:Depends on the expected damage of the attack.

Well, it’s obviously situational, but stick with parry if you want a long life. If you are a relatively normal human who regularly has to deal with 5D6 attacks, you probably are going to die pretty quick anyway, so whether it’s from damage that goes through your parry, or that time they special and your dodge fails, doesn’t really matter. 

 

41 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Getting into melee range with such an opponent is a desperate gamble already.

Yes. If you are a hero type, you want to be able to dodge, and parry, and have piles of Shield, and magic weapons to parry with, and all that, and life is still risky. 
But if you are a normal soldier, mostly fighting normal people using a combination of melee and ranged normal weapons, armour and shield is pretty much the most reliable option, and dodge a risky second best. 
And even if you don’t parry with it, passive use of shields can be pretty useful. 

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7 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

disagree.  Or at least, I'm not sure yet.  With augments and Trance spells, two handed weapons look mighty good, not to mention their much better damage.

Did you read the bits of the paragraph you didn’t quote? Do you think a Trance spell  and Augments, not to mention you are clearly assuming you can close to melee range without having to worry about ranged combat, counts as a common and normal situation? 

9 hours ago, davecake said:

make it the best choice for most in a normal warfare situation at least. 

For a Sword with Trance up and enough Shield up you can shrug off most ranged attacks, a great sword is pretty good - the increased damage compensates for the decreased flexibility of not being able to attack with both weapons opportunistically. But ‘most’ people aren’t Swords (or Babeester Gor Axe Ladies), so don’t have Trance, and do have realistic concerns about ranged attacks in a normal combat situation. So they do value shields. 

And actually, if you are an Axe Lady of Babeester Gor, you might want to consider either learning to wield two axes and going Berserk, or relying on your standard augmented attacks and going in with 1H Axe and a shield and casting Earth Shield. Even going Berserk with a shield in your off hand has its merits, obviously your shield is going to be sub-optimal in damage and SR but your shield is probably much higher than your off hand axe, and you can still passively shield while charging ranged attackers. They are all also pretty effective tactics, against the right opponents. But at that level there are a lot of factors to consider, and a lot of them have to do with exactly who your opponent is. It’s true that, with Trance spells adding to both attack and parry, two handed weapons - great sword or great axe - are very effective. But it’s also risky, you’ve got no defenses against ranged attacks at all (even a berserk can passively shield), and if a ranged attack takes out any location you are in very big trouble. Maybe a risk worth taking for close combat dominance - for the very small number of rune lords with access to those spells. In a high powered Rune level confrontation, tactics become complicated, every choice of magic used can be a bet on what your opponent is doing. Are you fighting elves or trolls or Lunars or Orlanthi? Makes a difference. 

Edited by davecake
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7 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Even when you use Shield and 1H weapon (e.g. Sword), if you cast Sword Trance, or make a great Sword Augment, you are likely to parry with the sword. 

Yes, it’s often the case that if you get your sword high enough, it’s a more attractive parry option. And an Augment and a Bladesharp can easily be enough to make it the case (especially there is almost no magic that helps your shield parry). 

But a shield can parry a thrown weapon (and those javelins at 1D10 + DB + maybe a Speedart can really hurt if you have no parry), and a passive shield can protect a few vital locations from missile weapons, and that can be worth it. Plus having both weapon and shield to parry with makes you less vulnerable to unexpected weapon breakage, fumbles, etc. Shields aren’t always the most effective option for ending a fight quick, but usually the best option for long term survival. 

(large or medium ones, anyway, small ones seem pretty pointless).

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On 11/7/2020 at 8:11 AM, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Page 200: "An adventurer may make a subsequent parry with a weapon they have already parried with.  Any subsequent parry is at a cumulative –20% penalty..."

So, a parry with a weapon or shield that you have not parried with is not "subsequent" so is not penalized.  This is a minor benefit to using a 1H weapon and shield.  You get two parries at full skill.  Assuming both are good...

I don't think you can parry and dodge in the same round but I might be wrong there.

Your reading is the one that makes most sense from the actual rules text, but the official ruling (as in so many other cases) goes against this direct reading of the rules. The ruling is -20% per any block or parry.

(Use whatever you like - at this point, the actual rules text and the ”rulings” are becoming pretty divergent, with the rulings being fairly decoupled from any rules text, and more a set of official house rules.)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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i run it as subsequent parries after the first (regardless of what weapon/shield is used) are at -20% cumulative. subsequent dodges after the first are at -20% cumulative.

it's easier to dodge  and parry than to parry twice because your weapon has to get to multiple places in shorter time, similarly dodging multiple times is more difficult because your body has to move around even more contortionist like.

This is a reasonable read of the rules as well IMO.

The note that Jason has said ALL subsequent defenses regardless of type are at cumulative -20s is baseless from the rules, and isn't MGF either. So until its changed and in the actual rules that way, i'd ignore it as a fairly silly approach.

 

Tbh, shields should probably have had a benefit to parries as well, seeing as parrying blows is literally their purpose, either through higher than normal hp, or reducing the penalty for subsequent attempts. But hey ho.

Edited by Blindhamster
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6 hours ago, davecake said:

Shields aren’t always the most effective option for ending a fight quick, but usually the best option for long term survival. 

(large or medium ones, anyway, small ones seem pretty pointless).

This is true if you're playing a human adventurer. Small shields/Bucklers are a pretty poor choice of shield, by games-mechanics; poor HP total for blocking damage and near useless against missile fire.

Durulz, Trollkin and even some of the weaker Green & Brown Elves can't carry even a medium shield, so they're stuck with small shields/Bucklers. Expect many of these to rely much more on dodge, and as dodging is a poorer choice in melee, vs. parrying, this may explain their races reluctance to engage human-sized, or larger opponents in hand-to-hand combat.

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I’m looking to fix the shield rules, and separate the size of the shield from the material, so that you could have a large hide or wicker shield that covers a lot but doesn’t protect too much, or a small wooden shield that’s sturdy but covers less body.

Not sure how period a buckler is in the first place, but a smaller thick all-metal metal shield should be all but unbreakable. Compare a dhal, you would have to work it over with a sledgehammer in order to even dent it.

This way, a small shield would still make sense, and the material would be an actual trade-off and not a no-brainer.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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7 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Your reading is the one that makes most sense from the actual rules text, but the official ruling (as in so many other cases) goes against this direct reading of the rules. The ruling is -20% per any block or parry.

To bring some (potential?) clarifications, note that there are other references to this rule in the text.

p194:

A parry does not take any strike ranks, though subsequent parries become increasingly difficult (see Subsequent Parries, page 200).

p197:

An adventurer may attempt to parry additional attacks at a reduced chance (see Subsequent Parries, below).

p200 (in the "summary" box):

Each subsequent Dodge and/or parry after the first is reduced by –20%, cumulative.

Based on this (especially that last one), and based my aforementioned history of treating precisions as parentheticals and not as context for following sentences, I'm pretty sure RAW says it's just -20% to any subsequent defense roll and nothing more complicated than that.

Edited by lordabdul
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48 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

To bring some (potential?) clarifications, note that there are other references to this rule in the text.

p194:

A parry does not take any strike ranks, though subsequent parries become increasingly difficult (see Subsequent Parries, page 200).

p197:

An adventurer may attempt to parry additional attacks at a reduced chance (see Subsequent Parries, below).

p200 (in the "summary" box):

Each subsequent Dodge and/or parry after the first is reduced by –20%, cumulative.

Based on this (especially that last one), and based my aforementioned history of treating precisions as parentheticals and not as context for following sentences, I'm pretty sure RAW says it's just -20% to any subsequent defense roll and nothing more complicated than that.

True, it's not completely unsupported (but the last quote doesn't really establish which it is, or even if (third option!) you track dodges separately from parries but combine all parries.)

I think p. 200 main text has the stronger wording:

Quote

An adventurer may make a subsequent parry with a weapon
they have already parried with. Any subsequent parry is at
a cumulative –20% penalty for each additional parry 

The text strongly seems to indicate a connection between the first and second sentence. When I read the rules the first time, I saw that there might be grounds for uncertainty, but leaned towards penalty per weapon. There have been designer comments that this was considered during game design but made defence a bit good in playtesting, but it's easy to guess that some pieces of rules text could be remnants from that period of the rules (I mean, considering that the rulebook has RQ2 legacy text that escaped editing...). 

Plus, from a balance perspective, it would make two-handed weapons a little less overwhelmingly good if you had some parry benefits from a sword&board (I house-ruled away the Greatsword both on historical and especially balance grounds - it's just outright the best weapon choice, and even moreso for Humakti - and even the dagger-axe is a bit too good, honestly).

(I really wish that when doing this "both main text and box" rules, they would at least state the same thing... and don't even get me started on how examples tend to introduce confusion more than anything.)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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17 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

True, it's not completely unsupported (but the last quote doesn't really establish which it is, or even if (third option!) you track dodges separately from parries but combine all parries.)

The last quote at least establishes that you're not supposed (per RAW) to track different cumulative penalties per weapon.

At best it may indeed hint at different cumulative penalties tracking between cumulative dodges and cumulative parries... but even that isn't substantiated if you actually go check it out in the actual rulebook. That's because I didn't mention that the same sentence appears both under the "Parry" summary and the "Dodge" summary. Since both parry and dodge are mentioned in that sentence, and since that sentence is repeated under each defense option, that's an argument IMO for mixing both defense options in the penalty (which is just easier on everybody anyway). Otherwise, I think the authors would have written a dodge-specific version under "Dodge", and a parry-specific version under "Parry".

Quote

I think p. 200 main text has the stronger wording:

The text strongly seems to indicate a connection between the first and second sentence.

Like I said earlier, this is a phrasing/construction that's common in RQG and doesn't read the way you (or I) read it. It's endemic through the rulebook and you sadly have to change your thinking to the way the authors' brain works. It's not ideal, especially for a game rulebook, but I don't know what else to tell you except "yes, I know, but that doesn't change anything: we have to deal with it through errata and Q&A, until we get a new edition".

Edited by lordabdul
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24 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Like I said earlier, this is a phrasing/construction that's common in RQG and doesn't read the way you (or I) read it. It's endemic through the rulebook and you sadly have to change your thinking to the way the authors' brain works. It's not ideal, especially for a game rulebook, but I don't know what else to tell you except "yes, I know, but that doesn't change anything: we have to deal with it through errata and Q&A, until we get a new edition".

I agree that this is at least a case where both readings are reasonable (although we seem to agree that the one not supported by ruling is the more intuitive one?), while I'm just stunned and agog at the ruling on cost of variable spells, which isn't even hinted at in the rulebook but is apparently now what it's supposed to be like. Or the "clarification" on two-weapon fighting, which was a 180-degree contradiction of the actual rules text. Or the time required for practice/training. The "ruled" game is drifting increasingly far from the RAW game. I really hope for a new edition that says what the designers meant it to say (and includes all the errata that we still don't have).

I was also genuinely surprised about defensive boosting - I long argued, "hey, I'm sure this isn't intentional, but it's what it says" only to get confirmed that yeah, it's intended, at least retroactively.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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