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I have argued before against any sort of parry as a free action. But what about the Defend option? I feel it is not powerful enough.
Against characters with low to moderate attributes it is fine. But when you are fighting against experienced figures it is a waste of time.
Some people argue that DX above 16 to 18 are useless. However, in my campaign, people are often fighting at DX negatives, so higher DX is useful. (You are hitting someone with a height advantage and they have a Haze ring for a total of -4 adj DX on your roll. If you change facing you are at an extra -2 DX for rough ground, etc.)
So experienced characters do not think that DX 16 is a stopping point.
But let us look at a Selina, a DX 16 figure. You are in a fight with her and need to buy a few turns so your friends can help you. If you defend, she has a 76.08% chance of hitting you. Usually it is better to just take the hit and strike back.
My first crack at improving the Defend option was to allow you to "Defend And Aim". Each turn defending (up to two turns) gave you a +1 DX when you eventually tried to hit the opponent. (If you were defending against several opponents, you got the +1 DX against whichever you decided to eventually hit.)
I also allowed "Defend And Edge Away". If you took this option twice, you got a free 1 hex retreat at the end of two turns, after all second shot missiles and other retreats.
These improved defend options helped but they still were not enough vs. Selina and other high DX figures. I was thinking that when you defend, and the opponent hits you with a total that is evenly divisible by 3, then they auto-miss.
(On 4d6 this would result in an automatic 33.33% chance of a miss, rounded off to two digits.)
So against weak opponents a Defend is a great option, that vastly reduces your chance of being hit. Against strong opponents, you get at least a 33% chance of blocking their blows.
I've used the two options: "Defend And Aim" and "Defend And Edge Away" for a long time and quite like them. The idea of 1/3 of the time is an auto-miss, is new and I've not playtested it. It is an extra rule designed to help reign in the problem with attribute bloat.
I welcome comments!
Warm regards, Rick.
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