Changes to the way parrying works have been a long time coming. I shortly discussed general skill mechanics (including the the Brawl and Close combat skills) in this dev update. Now it's time to implement those changes.

The Close combat and Brawl skills both allow characters to parry melee attacks (see Core Rulebook, pages 40, 55, and 56). Currently, parrying has roughly the same effects and the same AP costs as dodging an attack. The big difference is that a character can only parry once per Round while dodging attacks can theoretically be done an unlimited number of times. This was implemented and kept in place by myself in order to give dodging a definite advantage over parrying. After all, if characters can entrust their full defense and offense to the Brawl (parry) or Close combat (parry) skill, why would anyone ever choose Agility (dodge)?

That’s the wrong approach. Skill favoritism is not going to make the Stage more fun. Instead, this is a perfect opportunity to allow for more versatility in defense against attacks. So, instead of limiting the use of parrying, I’ve decided to change it:

  • Characters get a maximum number of parry attempts per round that is equal to their Brawl (parry) or Close combat (parry) skill level (whichever is higher).
  • The AP cost for the Brawl (parry) and Close combat (parry) skills is reduced to 0. (It is of course still a Reactive action.)
  • Using the Brawl (parry) and Close combat (parry) skills costs 1 Stamina point.

Now, parrying becomes an effective, but costly way to defend against melee attacks. It takes less time than dodging (0 AP instead of 1), but takes more effort (1 Stamina point instead of 0). Also, it will still only work against melee attacks, not against ranged or thrown attacks or traps.

This would result in the following changes:

Amendment to Core Rulebook, page 40

The Brawl (parry) skill allows unarmed characters to block attacks without incurring damage. The Brawl (parry) skill cannot be used in combination with a weapon. Characters may only attempt to parry an attack once and characters cannot attempt to parry more attacks in a Round than they have Brawl or Close combat skill levels (whichever is higher). Attacks made with the Ranged combat (attack) or Athletics (throw) skill cannot be parried, unless the attacker is within Lethal range of the defender’s unarmed attack. Parrying an attack costs 1 Stamina point or (if the character has no Stamina points left) 1 Vitality point. Parrying is a Reactive action and costs 0 AP.

The Close combat (parry) skill allows armed characters to block attacks without incurring damage. To use the Close combat (parry) skill, a character must hold a melee weapon. Characters may only attempt to parry an attack once and characters cannot attempt to parry more attacks in a Round than they have Brawl or Close combat skill levels (whichever is higher). Attacks made with the Ranged combat (attack) or Athletics (throw) skill cannot be parried, unless the attacker is within Lethal range of the defender’s melee weapon. Bonuses granted by a weapon do not apply to Close combat (parry) skill checks, unless stated otherwise. Parrying an attack costs 1 Stamina point or (if a character has no Stamina points left) 1 Vitality point. Parrying is a Reactive action and costs 0 AP.

Brawl (parry) application

Skill check: Flat (opposite) check

Time: 0 AP (Reactive action)

Cost: 1 Stamina

Mechanics: A character may parry an attack while unarmed. The parrying character sets the Action difficulty for his opponent to hit him. Characters may only attempt to parry an attack once and cannot attempt to parry more attacks in a Round than they have Brawl or Close combat skill levels (whichever is higher). Attacks made with the Ranged combat (attack) or Athletics (throw) skill cannot be parried, unless the attacker is within Lethal range of the defender’s unarmed attack. For more information on parrying, see Chapter 5: Game mechanics.

Close combat (parry) application

Skill check: Flat check

Time: 0 AP (Reactive action)

Cost: 1 Stamina

Mechanics: A character may parry an attack with an equipped melee weapon. The parrying character sets the Action difficulty for his opponent to hit him. Characters may only attempt to parry an attack once and cannot attempt to parry more attacks in a Round than they have Brawl or Close combat skill levels (whichever is higher). Attacks made with the Ranged combat (attack) or Athletics (throw) skill cannot be parried, unless the attacker is within Lethal range of the defender’s melee weapon. For more information on parrying, see Chapter 5: Game mechanics.

Power: Defensive stance (Athlete, Body)

The athlete can assume a defensive stance to optimize his ability to deflect incoming attacks.

Tier: 5

Prerequisites: Wrestler, Strain, or Iron constitution power, Brawl skill level 6

Type: Active

Time: 0 AP (Reactive action)

Cost: 2 Stamina

Mechanics: A character may, at the cost of 2 Stamina points, parry an attack with the Brawl (parry) skill that does not count against his maximum number of parry attempts per Round.

Special: This Power can only be used once per Round.

Power: Dueling (Warrior, Body)

The warrior is skilled at deflecting the attacks of others in melee combat by making expert use of his own weapon.

Tier: 3

Prerequisites: Armsman, Trooper, or Squire power, Close combat skill level 4

Type: Active

Time: 1 AP (Reactive action)

Cost: 1 Stamina

Mechanics: A character may, at the cost of 2 Stamina points, parry an attack with the Close combat (parry) skill that does not count against his maximum number of parry attempts per Round.

Special: This Power can only be used once per Round.

Let me know what you think, here!

Impact Assessment

  • I would need to implement the above in the Defense section on page 40;
  • The Skill descriptions and Power descriptions need to be amended as per above.
  • I am considering adding Powers that allow characters to add Close combat/Brawl (parry) and Agility (dodge) skill checks together for extra effect at the cost of extra Stamina points. This should be part of the greater Power overhaul discussed in this dev update.
  • For balancing purposes, the Double dodge power of the Thief power tree will need to have its limitations on uses per Round removed or made equal to the character Agility skill level.
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