Dodge/ Parry Roll


We instituted a house rule in a campaign I am currently running where you rolled for your parry or dodge value rather than having a static number modified by certain intangibles.

Basically instead of adding the bonus to a base of 10 a d20 is rolled and the bonus is added to it.

I proposed this because when d20 debuted the omision of a parry opttion of some kind was my biggest compaint. Being able to roll against being hit made me feel more in control of my own characters defence rather than hoping the adversday did not roll higher than my AC.

My group of 4 players loved it immediatly following the first combat and it has been a house rule since.

Some of the things we liked:

Being more in control of defence as stated above.

As a DM I loved it because the players who were not attacking at the time had their attentions held more closely.

We usually stay pretty focused be jokes pop out from time to time or when its not someones turn in combat they may get unfocused particullary if its a long combat but having to roll for your dodge or parry gave them something to do rather than just wait for the DM to dole out the result.

Another interesting aspect is that even the highest of attack roles could be repelled by a high defence roll or a poor attack roll may hit. It add a variable to the game which we thought added to the excitement.

We also decided that when you are considered flat footed you would roll a straight up d20 no bonus rather than going with the static 10.

Has anyone else tried this out and what does your group think?
Yeah, sounds like it's working well for you. It's like Chaosium's Pendragon rpg where each combatant rolls and the better roll wins his way. I like the sound of it myself, being a fencer it sounds closer to how we deal with engagements (I work with rapier & dagger combinations with actors), but as my players aren't, I haven't changed the rules as written. Still, sounds good, and let us know if other successes have come up.
I'm glad it works for you. But D&D has parrying options. You can fight defensively, trying harder not to get hit at the expense of accuracy. You can exercise total defense, giving up your attacks for even more self-preservation. And there's also the Expertise feat, which allows you to apply some of your BAB to your AC on top of any defensive fighting you may do. Then there are feats like Dodge and Two-Weapon Defense, both of which let you modify your AC. Any or all of these, and other options I've missed, will make combat more dynamic and keep players involved even when they're not attacking.

Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of holes in the D20 system, and lack of granularity in the combat rules is one of them. But let's not malign the system for flaws it doesn't have. :)
I think the point is that they disliked the static nature of DV and have inserted a randome factor. I does make things more unpredictable and, I would guess, a lot more deadly.
It wasn't my intention to malign the game. I love it. I guess I should have said lack of a parrying option was my only real complaint.

Yeah, I gave the book a read a few hundred times over and saw the defensive rules and feats you mentioned and they are used in our group as much as any other group I am sure but Sutek nailed one of the main points.

The opposed roll makes the players feel like they have some true influence over the outcome of their dodge or parry (random as it may be) if they roll a die rather than looking up at the DM to await the result against a static number.

In some cases it has made it more deadlier but in an equal number of instances it has made some attacks that would have been deadly ineffective since it works both ways.

The other part we like is it keeps the players involved when it is not their turn. Its like getting more turns in between your turns. (Of course when I mean another turn all you can do is roll a parry or dodge)
It's worth noting that this rule makes it slightly more likely to hit a foe normally hard to hit, and slightly harder to hit a foe normally easy to hit.


Default rule: character needs a 3+ to hit.

With variable defense: high defense roll raises this number by the value above 10. Low defense rolls lower this number by a maximum of 1 point.

Default rule: character needs a 16+ to hit.

With variable defense: low defense lowers the target number by the value of the defense roll below 10. High rolls raise this number by a maximum of 4 points.

The closer the normal target number is to 10, the less effect the rule has on actual outcomes. There further away from this you get, the more the rule skews things away from the norm.

Whether this is a good, bad or irrelevant thing will come down to personal choice.
It occurs to me that this has some potentially very interesting repercussions regarding the efficacy of various iterative attacks. In the end, without actually crunching the numbers, I would think iterative attacks would usually go a fair way towards "unskewing" the final results from the norm.
Yes, probably, but I think that's where a lot of these "house rule" arguments are falling apart. While I like the idea of this variable DV, it generally is only going to make a huge difference at lower character levels. When they start trying to fight monsters that have high static DV but roll low and they kill them in like a round and a half of combat due to itterative attacks, feat mods, etc....they'll possibly reconsider.

Not to mention the shere madness of the number of rolls one is needing to make during a round of combat. It's too much rolling, unless you only have the one attach to begin with. Once you get more attacks, you're rolling 2-4 dice every round just to hit or avoid being hit. Thus, the static DV system inherent to d20.

We will see how things go at higher levels and perhaos we will reconsider. The players are averaging about 4th level.

You are correct that some encounters may go flat if a powerful creature rolls low on its DV but I don't think its is very unrealistic. (Which I know you did not say or imply)

Interactive mods and all the trimmings aside sometimes a monster gets dropped in a round due to supriour numbers or strategies though I do wnat my players to feel challenged. I guess we are still to low enough level for it to be an unbalance.

Unfortunatly for my players they all have a tendency to roll pretty low pretty consistantly so perhaps it will even out.

THe extra rolling hasn't been that much extra to keep up with as of yet.

But as proposed we may feel differently in a few more levels.

Thanks for the comments.