Pity for Parry

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The Shadow
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Pity for Parry

Post by The Shadow » Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:56 pm

Poor Parry! His older brother Dodge gets all the love and attention, and almost all the cool feats. (Though it has to be admitted that Weapon Bind and Weapon Break do have their uses. Two-Weapon Defense also throws Parry a bone.)

True20 introduced the Parry defense, but honestly not much is done with it. In some cases this is carried to an almost silly extreme: Why is there a Dodge Focus, but no similar feat for Parry? Parry's already crippled by being useless against ranged attacks; why add insult to injury?

And why on EARTH (or off of it) do shields give a Dodge bonus?! This is almost nonsensical, IMHO. The entire purpose of a shield is to deflect blows from one's person - it is, in fact, used for "parrying", though that's not the usual term.

I suppose the rationale is that shields can help against ranged attacks, but Parry doesn't. Fine. You're still quite specifically not *dodging* the attack. Call the shield bonus "Block" and say it adds to Parry and is effective even against ranged attacks. Done.

So, at a bare minimum, I suggest "Parry Focus" and making shields add to Parry rather than Dodge. Anyone else have ideas? Perhaps Deflect Arrows should require one to use the Parry defense; after all, the feat quite definitely does *not* involve getting out of the way! (Perhaps in fact Deflect Arrows should be expanded into a feat letting one use Parry defense against thrown weapons and arrows?)

Also, we need a less clumsy term than "Dodge or Parry bonus". A collective term that refers to either. Not sure what it should be.

The Shadow
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Post by The Shadow » Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:39 pm

Oh, and a question I've been pondering...

Is a character in "Dodge mode" or "Parry mode" for a full round? That seems to be implied by feats like Weapon Bind.

So if you're using Parry, that means you get no bonus to defense at all against ranged attacks that round, right? You can't switch to Dodge.

ValhallaGH
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Post by ValhallaGH » Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:50 pm

You should get your Combat Bonus to defense irregardless of your chosen defense style. After all, you only lose it when restrained or helpless.

So if you're parrying like a fiend, you get to use your full parry defense against melee attacks and your combat bonus against ranged attacks.

Streamweaver
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Post by Streamweaver » Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:05 pm

It's often unclear to me why most bonuses aren't just a Defense bonus that applies to both Parry and Dodge. It seems the conditions they are granted under would apply under both, you are moving when you parry and so forth.

The Shadow
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Post by The Shadow » Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:16 pm

That's what I meant, VGH. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think of it as "Defense bonus", just Defense. The bonus comes from one's Str (for Parry) or Dex (for Dodge).

Baduin
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Post by Baduin » Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:32 pm

I think the whole idea of Parry and Dodge doesn't seem executed very well in True20. Conan d20 also has Parry and Dodge, but there they have different progressions for different classes, and cannot be used in certain situations - so you have to use your weaker defence. What is more, Strength in Conan adds to attack.

In True20 strong but not very dextrous characters cannot hit anybody, but are able to parry any hit. I think it should be other way round. I like the idea from Iron Heroes. There should be a class of weapons, (let's called them Power, or Strenght weapons) which use Str to hit, and other (Dexterity weapons) - which use Dex. On the other hand I would get rid of Parry at all. This way a strong but slow character could hit almost anything with his axe or halberd, but would find it difficult to avoid attacks. This seems to me much more sensible.

Siroh
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Post by Siroh » Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:54 pm

I don't think it states you can't choose whichever defense makes sense throughout the round. After all, defense is a static pair of Difficulties. For example, if you are Little John and you are using a staff when a swordsman attacks you, you should get your parry bonus. If his idiot friend fires a crossbow into the melee, you shouldn't be stuck with a static 10 defense.

As for weapon item bonuses to parry, I'd suggest that half the damage bonus (rounded down) plus any to-hit bonuses from masterwork quality or supernatural bonuses would apply. This way the +2 to hit supernatural longsword is a good weapon to parry with (+3 total= +1 damage, +2 magic)

I would also allow people in certain genres to apply parry to certain ranged atacks directed at them, but that is a GM determination.

Streamweaver
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Post by Streamweaver » Sun Jan 21, 2007 7:03 am

Connected to this is something that seems a little odd to me about True20.

Why is it there is a way for Strength OR Dex to apply to defense, but ONLY Dex to apply to attack? (to hit at least)

Gabriel
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Post by Gabriel » Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:46 pm

I'm going to shoot in a couple thoughts:

1) Regarding parry/dodge/melee/ranged - I have no problem with allowing Str or Dex for a "parry style defense". I see Dodge as nothing more than a Dex-based parry, because the combatants are probably not dropping their sword and just weaving about. I assume it is a misdirection and avoidance defense, as opposed to powering the opponent's weapon aside as with the Parry.

I do not like the implementation of the defense bonus vs. ranged attacks, as I see ranged attacks as being more difficult to avoid. It's fairly easy to block/parry/avoid an opponent's melee attack when you are superior to that person, but even a kid can hit you with a ball/stone/snowball with some level of success. An adult with skill will be more likely to hit someone with a ranged attack than with a melee attack. The problem with ranged attacks is that they often (not always) do less damage and you lose that weapon/ammo after using it (until you get a chance to retrieve it, if still intact).

My proposal:

Dodge and Parry go unchanged, but are both melee defenses
Ranged Defense = 5 (or d20/2 if defense is rolled) + (Combat bonus) + Dex + Shield + Misc

I will give it a try and see if it's worthwhile.

2) Regarding Strength to attack - I would have no problem allowing Strength to add to the attack roll, instead of Dex. I wouldn't mind adding Dex to damage (precision attacks), instead of Str. I say a combatant should play to his strengths...

Disclaimer: I have not done any of these, but am just posting these as my thoughts regarding the subject.

Baduin
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Post by Baduin » Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:06 pm

If you want to limit ability to avoid ranged attack, I would do it as follows:

1. You can use Dodge defence against ranged attack when you can move and are prone, in cover or concealment, or using a shield which can stop projectile in question, or possess a feat like Deflect Arrows or Snatch Arrows.

2. If none of the above applies,

a) Immobile targets (sleeping, bound, not moving for other reasons, eg when duelling with pistols): Defence=5+Size modifier.

b) Mobile Targets: Defence=10+Dex+Size mod

Modifiers
+4 to Defence for target prone,
-4 to Attack for shooting into melee.
+2 to Defence for target running

The Shadow
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Post by The Shadow » Sun Jan 21, 2007 4:50 pm

Huh. I sure thought I had replied to several of the above posts last night, but it doesn't seem to have gone through. Here's try #2...

Streamweaver, I agree with you that many Defense bonuses would work just as well for Parry as Dodge. Probably not all, though.

Baduin wrote:Conan d20 also has Parry and Dodge, but there they have different progressions for different classes, and cannot be used in certain situations - so you have to use your weaker defence. What is more, Strength in Conan adds to attack.


Interesting! What are the situations in which Parry and Dodge don't apply?

Are there any classes that have equal Parry and Dodge?

I like the idea from Iron Heroes. There should be a class of weapons, (let's called them Power, or Strenght weapons) which use Str to hit, and other (Dexterity weapons) - which use Dex. On the other hand I would get rid of Parry at all. This way a strong but slow character could hit almost anything with his axe or halberd, but would find it difficult to avoid attacks. This seems to me much more sensible.


I like that idea too. (Let's call 'em Power and Finesse weapons.) I do think that Strength has something to do with Defense, though, especially when using Power weapons.

Siroh: Of course Little John would get his base Defense, I never meant that he'd have a static 10. I only meant he wouldn't get his Str bonus against the ranged attack, and speculated that he wouldn't be able to use his Dex bonus either that round.

Siroh wrote:As for weapon item bonuses to parry, I'd suggest that half the damage bonus (rounded down) plus any to-hit bonuses from masterwork quality or supernatural bonuses would apply.


So you're suggesting that one should get a modest bonus to Parry from one's weapon damage? Very intriguing! It makes a degree of sense, but I'm not totally sure I like it yet; I'll think it over.

My main concern is that it could bollix up weapon balance.

Gabriel: Ranged Defense has been nagging at me too. I agree with you that the existing rules don't feel right. On the other hand, tilting effectiveness toward ranged weapons, no matter how realistic it might be, might make the game less fun.

In real life, only an idiot would go after an animal the size of an elephant with a sword - the smart thing to do is hang back and pepper it with spears and arrows. But in fantasy it happens all the time, and I for one would like to see it be a viable option in the game.

Baduin's proposal strikes me as a relatively happy medium that doesn't have people literally dodging bullets, but still doesn't make ranged attacks overwhelmingly attractive. But I'll ponder it some more.

Gabriel
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Post by Gabriel » Sun Jan 21, 2007 5:03 pm

The Shadow wrote:Gabriel: Ranged Defense has been nagging at me too. I agree with you that the existing rules don't feel right. On the other hand, tilting effectiveness toward ranged weapons, no matter how realistic it might be, might make the game less fun.


Agreed. That is one of the reasons that I haven't implemented any house rules, yet (except for coins instead of wealth). As written, it isn't a gamebreaker, and I'm will to live with the little things.

Siroh
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Post by Siroh » Sun Jan 21, 2007 5:22 pm

Shadow, I always wondered why a shield gives you a good bonus to parry defense but a staff or sword gives you nothing at all. I also wondered why a well balanced weapon doesn't give you a nicer bonus than a shoddy one. So that's where that comes from.

If you want to force people to enter defense modes, that's fine it's your game. I just don't think the rules demand it.

as for the idea of making ranged fire better, in Savage Worlds (and Deadlands its predecessor) this is the case. There is a static Difficulty to shoot somebody at close range. It's harder to hit a skilled fighter in melee because it is a calculated Difficulty for that. So in SW everybody dives for cover because cover bumps up the static Difficulty or keeps you from being vulnerable in the first place. If you want to change the way ranged combat works in True20, make cover a prime defense, instead of standing around in the open dancing through opponents. I definately think there are reasons for it. (war stories, gritty street tales etc)

GameDoc
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Combat Core Ability

Post by GameDoc » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:40 pm

I've been following this thread with some interest. As far as having more options with style of offense and defense, how about this:

Combat Core Ability

All warriors must designate either Strength or Dexterity as the default basis for their melee combat style. This ability is added to their attack rolls. Strength-based warriors attempt to power through an opponent’s defense and use Parry as their default defense. Dexterity-based warriors use finesse to bypass an opponent’s defense and use Dodge as their default defense. A warrior may freely use either defense, but must declare when he is using the form of defense opposite of his default. A warrior can use a feat (Power Attack or Weapon Finesse) to gain the option of changing attack methods.

Of course, this requires the addition of two feats:

(1) Power Attack (Warrior)
Prerequisite: Dexterity-based combat style.

You may elect to add your Strength score instead of your Dexterity score to your attack roll.

(2) Weapon Finesse (Warrior)
Prerequisite: Strength-based combat style.

You may elect to add your Dexterity score instead of your Strength score to your attack roll.

Any thoughts?

Kuni
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Post by Kuni » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:37 pm

Shadow, I very much like the idea of designating Shields as adding to Parry defense only, but allowing a Parry defense to block ranged attacks. That seems to go a long way towards making a Strength-based character be viable -- the Dex guy can hit and dodge reasonably well, but doesn't hit for much damage, whereas the Strength guy can deal damage, and with a shield, generally has a better defense than the Dex guy.

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