Parry and Dodge with a dice roll


Erm... I seem to have alot of questions these days... but its always nice whan one is starting out a new game to see how more experienced players and GM's run it in that particual game... so:

My players and I myself prefer to have a defence-roll instead of having a set value, like AC, or in the case of Conan, a Dodge/Parry defence value.

I think if letting my players roll d20 and add their bonus against any attacks that comes at them... in the case of being flat-footed, they loose all bonuses and roll an unmodified d20 for defence...

I am aware that this slows combats down a trifle, but since me and my players like it this way, I concider it worth it.

So, anybody else running it this way? Any comments? Does it run smoothly and keep players happy? And, if running it this way, is there any better way than a straight d20 roll for flat-fotted characters? Any thoughts on this?
I did this once. NOT in a Conan game though -- I did it in a heavily house-ruled D&D game (the setting was based on Birthright, if I recall).

However, we didn't use a d20. We used a d10 as the base roll + modifiers. That way your skill and natural aptitude meant more than your luck and the fickleness of fate.

But the concept is the same, rolling your defense. I can tell you from experience that it's pretty fun and adds a new level of 'participation' to combat. Unfortunately, it can also get really dull eventually, and some players may decide they want to go back to the old 'set defense' value rather than rolling.

Depends on your players.
Higa said:
I am aware that this slows combats down a trifle, but since me and my players like it this way, I concider it worth it.
Well, that is prety much the whole story right there isn't it? The number one objection to rolling for DV is that it bogs the game down, but if you don't mind...

There are a few other points to consider though. First be aware that rolling for DV increases randomness. It is a truism of game design that, over the long term, anything that increases randomness works against the players since the players make far more rolls than any given NPC (who is probably only present for a single combat). Ergo rolling for DV will probably increase the body count of PC's somewhat over time. Secondly rolling for DV will decrease the utility of feats like Power Attack and Combat Expertise which are best employed by deducing the enemy's DV and then calculating your odds to hit for a given penalty. The human calculators at your game table probably wont' like it so much.

Me, I like static DV but I won't come kicking in your door if you choose to roll for it either.

Hope that helps.
Here's a not-so-obvious effect of rolling for DV:

In a circumstance where a target would usually be unlikely to be hit, he becomes more vulnerable, and where he would normally be likely to be hit, he becomes less so.

This effect can become fairly extreme in circumstances that normally require a natural 20 to hit, or a fumble to miss.

As an example, consider a character with a hypothetical DV of 14, against a character with a +12 to hit. Under normal circumstances, a 2+ is required.

When rolling for defense, low rolls do not hurt the defender - he's already as badly off as he can be. A defense roll of 20 will up the target number to hit all the way to 12, however.

Whether you consider that a good, bad or irrelevant thing is -- naturally -- entirely up to your own preferences, I merely submit this for your consideration.
Hmm, yes...

Finesse attacks become much more likely to pass through heavier armours under this system, and it's the PCs who will suffer the most from that (unless they never or only very rarely face finessing enemies).

Not necessarily a reason to rule variable defense out as an option, but certainly something to give pause before making a decision.
Yeah. Rolling low on your defense can result in a Finesse attack easily ignoring the DR altogether and doing enough damage to kill through Massive Damage. Thieves and other sneak attackers would be far too powerful.