[CONAN] Parry and Dodge

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Supplement Four
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[CONAN] Parry and Dodge

Postby Supplement Four » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:41 am

There really is no choice when it comes to Parry and Dodge, is there? When I first read the rules, I envisioned players swithing back and forth between the two defenses. Parry this blow. Dodge that one.

But, in reality, a character just uses his best defense (and why wouldn't he?), over and over again. There's no reason to use a 11 Dodge when a character has a 15 Parry, is there. It seems that the only time that character would use Dodge instead of Parry is if the character has no weapon or shield with which to Parry.

Does anybody use a house rule where it is beneficial (or the character is forced) to mix up his Dodge and Parry defenses?
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:59 pm

So, no ideas on making it attractive for a character to use both Parry and Dodge when the character is stronger in one defense over the other?

I'm trying to simulate the block-swing-parry-dodge nature of real combat.





One thing I've "discovered" since putting in the facing rules is that the Dance Aside maneuver becomes more valuable, allowing a character to maneuver into his foe's shieldless flank for a +2 bonus on his attack.

Of course, a character cannot make the Dance Aside maneuver without Dodging, thus, there's one attractive benefit to Dodging rather than Parrying (when a character's Parry is better).

Ideas like this--giving the players options--is what I'm aiming for.
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:29 am

Here's a thought. I don't think many of you (the few of you on this board) will like it, but I'm just brainstorming here.

What if the attack throw indicated the type of defense that was necessary to defend against it?

In cinematic movies, warriors are bobbing around, dodging, blocking, and doing everything they can to not be hit. In the game, the player uses his characters best defense over and over.

A warrior with a shield and a one handed weapon really has three types of defense, yes? Say the guy is a 1st level Barbarian with STR 17 and DEX 14. He's using a targe. That means that he's +6 (AC 16) Parrying with the shield, +3 (AC 13) Parrying with the sword alone, and +2 (AC 12) Dodging.

So, what if most of the time, the character could defend however he wanted. But, the dice might indicate that only a certain type of defense can be used against a blow, or the character is considered flat-footed (kind of like he might be victim to a feint).

I'm just thinking off the top of my head, but let's say any attack throw that ends in 5 or 0 means that the character has to use his second best defense, or he's flat-footed.





Here's how I'm thinking it would play out.

1. Barbarian is attacked by a 17 throw, he Parries with shield.

2. Barbarian is attacked with a 13 throw. He Parries with shield.

3. Barbarian is attacked with 18 throw. He Parries with shield.

4. Barbarian is attacked with a 15 throw. He must Parry with is sword, or he is considered flat-footed.





Let's say the same Barbarain gets his shield sundered. He drops it and fights with his sword.

1. Barbar gets attacked with a 20. This is the "total" attack throw, so it's not necessarily a critical threat because it may have not been a natural 20 thrown. He must Dodge this blow, or be considered flat-footed.

2. Barbar gets attacked with a 11. He Parries with his sword.

3. Barbar gets attacked with a 14. He Parries with his sword.

4. Barbar gets attacked with a 10. He must Dodge this blow.





What do you think of something like that. Remember, the NPCs are subject to this rule, too.
Boneguard
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Postby Boneguard » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:13 pm

I could see 2 options, not really rule based but more story/circumstantial:

1) A bit like you say, big burly foe, who will break your arm/sword if you try to parry his blow, thus forcing you to dodge rather them parry. Obviously you will try to dodge that big swinging gorilla/ barbarian with the big kick... two-handed sword rather then trying to parry with your arming sword.

2) environmental circumstance: Depending where you stand you might either parry (say a ledge) or (more rarely) dodge (swinging on a rope) since the other forme of defense is impossible.
kintire
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Postby kintire » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:59 pm

The main purpose of parry and dodge is to intorduce some weaknesses into a character. There are occasions when you can't dodge: confined spaces for example. there are occasions when you can't parry: missiles, large attacks for example. It allows people to use tactics that overcome the enemey's strngths, unlike the all encompassing AC.
Nyarlathotep5150
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Postby Nyarlathotep5150 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:53 am

In addition to ranged attacks, if you have a PC that is really good at parrying (either with or without a shield), you can occasionally, to add challenge to a battle, add in a foe with improved disarm (Don't do it too often though, cause then you're just picking on that PC for having a strength). Then you have an enemy who singles out the Parry heavy character and forces him to dodge.

To expand on Boneguards example, you could have something like,
"The Burly Cimmerian swings his maul at you, clipping your shield and shearing it from your arm. It clatters off into the chaos of the battle around you."

Then that PC either has to Dodge further Maul attacks, or parry at a lower score (and the Barbarians next attack can take his weapon). He can retrieve his shield, but even thats going to cost him time and actions, while the barbarian keeps swinging.

I learned from running Scion (which has a similar "Flawed" Dodge/Parry system, except in Scion there's really no way to get your Parry up as high as your dodge will naturally be) that it's part of the GMs job to infuse that level of cinematicly appealing diversity of action that makes fights interesting.
The players will almost always default to their statistical best course of action, and if they can't use it directly, they will try to manipulate the situation until they can (and in my opinion, thats exactly how it should be). But every specialization has a counter, and since D20 all but requires PC's to specialize heavily, it should be rather easy to discern what those specialties are and how to counter them (barring some unforseen, broken combo that would require house ruling).
My typical rules on the issue are
1) I only put in a "player counter" NPC about once every 4-5 encounters.
2) I try to rotate which PC I pick on so that no one PC feels singled out.
3) Each time I pick on a given PC, I try to describe how the enemy is "defeating" him differently enough that they don't figure out exactly what I'm doing.
4) I never pick on more than one or two PC's in the same combat, save for in the occasional, once per Campaign, climactic showdown in which I give each PC a "perfect enemy".
Supplement Four
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Postby Supplement Four » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:40 am

Nyarlathotep5150 wrote: My typical rules on the issue are
1) I only put in a "player counter" NPC about once every 4-5 encounters.
2) I try to rotate which PC I pick on so that no one PC feels singled out.
3) Each time I pick on a given PC, I try to describe how the enemy is "defeating" him differently enough that they don't figure out exactly what I'm doing.
4) I never pick on more than one or two PC's in the same combat, save for in the occasional, once per Campaign, climactic showdown in which I give each PC a "perfect enemy".
I don't think it's my style, but it sure is an interesting approach. Thanks for posting.

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