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Defend Option - More discussion.
I'm going to ramble on a bit, which will address most of the points
that people have brought up in this discussion in the last little while.
There have been a few people who had discussed WHEN it is a
good idea to defend. No arguments there. Sometimes defending
is a good tactic and sometimes it isn't. However, when you decide
to defend I would like it to be a significant detriment to being hit.
Defending is an all out defense in GURPS terms. You are giving
up all chance of hitting the other guy. If you are sacrificing your only
option this turn. The defend option, should darn well make you
harder to hit!
I'm not totally happy with my "see if the dice are evenly divisible by
3" mechanic. However, it has a couple saving graces. No new dice
must be rolled. It works with 5 or 6 dice (if you have Dance of Death
talent or UC iv or UC v).
I am not troubled by it making magic numbers. 15 is a magic number
already. When you consider how often people get -2 DX for this and
-4 DX for that, the whole concept of magic numbers tends to blur away
in any case. (I can not remember the last time someone said something
like, "I've got to DX 15. Since 16 is an auto-miss, there is no point in
going higher." People want to strike at weapon arms at -4 DX. There
is a lot of broken ground in my combat maps. People have Shield iii
talent (-2 DX to hit thru his shield). There are plenty of reasons why
people are still interested in a higher DX when they have a 15.
The argument that the "1/3 miss rule" should not help weak defenders
as much as strong ones has a bit more sympathy from me. But I want
to have rules that are simple and fast. Making it some sort of contest
is likely to not be both. I have an 18 DX and I'm fighting a goblin who
defends. Is it so outrageous that he has a 1/3 chance of living an extra
turn? He spent an action for the privilege.
The argument that Defend should make the attacker roll 4 dice AND
the defender stops a couple of extra hits also has an attraction. More
armor is a precious commodity so the idea has merit. However, there
are plenty of situations where 2 extra armor is not that helpful. (If you
are a little weeny guy and a DX 19 Shadow Knight with a magic
Greatsword that is doing 5d+8 is striking at you... well you won't last
long in any case.)
As for will it make combats longer. Yes. But not as long as the
parry as a free action will. A free defend slows every single blow in
the game with an extra roll. And the parries pop up all the time. A
better defend help when someone defends, but currently, there are
darn few defends. If the option was better, they likely would happen a
bit more often, but unless you are in a fairly specialized situation, you
are better hitting & killing the other guy.
I believe Peter questioned the usefulness of "Defend and Edge Away".
Wouldn't jut disengaging be faster? Sure. But if you are likely to be
hit and killed if you don't defend, two defends for a free disengage is
an attractive option. I've seen plenty of characters take this option for
good and sensible reasons.
Jeffrey points out that 1/3 auto-miss affects all characters equally. Well...
yes. But low attribute figures are affected far more by the 4 dice to hit
roll. So low attribute figures are missing a lot because they have to
roll 4d to hit. So the figures MOST affected by the 1/3 miss rules are
those who pretty much ignore the fourth die. If you go for my "To Hit
Rolls Evenly Divisible By 3 Auto-Miss" rule, then the defender is
guaranteed to have at least a 1/3 better better chance of not being
hit. But 2/3 of the time, he is on his own.
To summarize my key point. If I am sacrificing my only option this turn,
Defend has to be meaningful to me. Too often in my campaign, I am
finding it is not.
Warm regards, Rick.