Reflexive Defense

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bizarrojoe
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Reflexive Defense

Post by bizarrojoe » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:00 am

After judging a couple of 0-Level games, a thought occurred to me based on some feedback from my players. There's no way to burn Luck in order to boost defense; players simply have a modified AC to guard against attacks. I feel that the spirit of the Luck stat should allow players to perform extraordinary dodges in dire situtations. So I have come up with an idea that I call 'reflexive defense' as a potential house rule. The rule would go something like this: In combat, following a successful attack from an opponent, a player may choose to burn Luck to make a Reflex saving throw. If the saving throw is successful (versus, say, a DC equal to the total attack score of the opponent), then the attack misses. However, here is the balance: the dodging player cannot attack the next turn (since the defender is simply amazed that the attack missed!), and the dodge can only be pulled off once per encounter per player. Furthermore, the reflextive dodge cannot be used to avoid critical hits.

This is an untested house rule, so I have no idea how it would work out in a game. What are your thoughts?

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Ravenheart87
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by Ravenheart87 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:28 am

How about instead of reflex save, making a roll of d20+(AC-10) vs the attack roll? It includes both the dex bonus that reflex gets and the armor's ability to deflect blows.
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TheNobleDrake
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by TheNobleDrake » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:39 am

My opinion as if I were a player being told I had that option: Not even remotely worth it.

My opinion as a Judge that felt the same way that motivated you to think up this rule: While it doesn't seem like Luck plays into your ability to stay alive, it actually does in a very distinct way that only matters so long as someone is left at the end of the encounter to recover your body - you roll a d20 then, and if it is under your Luck you happen to be alive despite the fact that it seemed like you had certainly just died.

That is as "he got lucky and avoided the attack" as is needed, especially with the extreme abstraction of hit points and the particular spin on the genre that DCC takes.

Examples: Getting hit and taking damage, but not enough to drop them to 0 HP, can already (outside of critical hits) be described as a lucky break just barely getting out of the way (and in my opinion it almost always should be so that players get used to the idea that weapons/claws/teeth actually making contact with their characters most likely means it's time for their character to lay down a bleed a while like real people do) - so we don't need Luck to give us that.

A downed character being recovered and found to be alive could even be described in the following way:
Recovering party member: By the Gods, I thought you were dead!
Recovered party member: Wha? I guess I must have passed out from fright... that thing barely scratched me, but man does my back hurt. I definitely fell on something rough when I went down.

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finarvyn
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by finarvyn » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:10 am

Nobledrake is wise.

Luck is a very valuable coin to spend, and using luck to deflect a single attack is a poor return for your value unless it's a final scene in an epic adventure. Perhaps then you might figure "well, I've got no reason to keep any luck in reserve..." and jump at the chance to avoid a certain-death attack.

Certainly as a regular means of defense, burning luck wouldn't be a good option.
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meinvt
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by meinvt » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:36 am

Remember that the "Recover the Body" rules don't apply to Level 0 characters. We just ran a level 0 the other night and had this exact same discussion.

I like the rules as-is because it forces the players into pro-active mode. Want to burn luck? do it on your action. Go big and attempt something that takes out the threat. If you succeed, great! If not, then it is the DM's turn and what happens to you happens. This is particularly important at level 0 when everyone has 3 or 4 characters and the expectation is that many will die. Allowing Luck to save a character who would otherwise be hit doubles their life expectancy and throws a lot out of whack.

Plus, I don't think it would be to player's advantage to go to first level with a whole bunch of Luck 3 characters.

So, the rule seems harsh, but is good.

bizarrojoe
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by bizarrojoe » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:34 am

So... not a lot of love for this idea, eh? :lol:

I appreciate your comments, and I can see your point of view as to why it could throw things askew. However, I still like the idea that Luck could somehow play a role in permitting dire defensive capabilities. From a story-telling perspective, it makes sense to me that a character should be able to narrowly dodge an arrow to the knee or an axe to the head by not only being agile, but also by just being lucky enough to duck that extra inch or so.

I just don't know how it would best be translated into balanced game mechanics. :?

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beermotor
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by beermotor » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:46 am

The idea of rolling for defense has been discussed elsewhere. It's an intriguing idea IMO, but probably too complex for a tabletop RPG. For a simulation wargame, like Warhammer or something, having "saves" is okay, because one group rolls "hits" but there's nothing that the defender can DO to affect that aside from saves. So you roll hits, then you roll saves, then you remove dead models. It's pretty simple.

RPGs just work a lot differently, at least under the standard model. Armor decreases an opponents probability of scoring a hit, then you get randomized damage, applied against randomized hitpoints. Having another roll in there to negate a hit just adds an extra layer of complexity and probably prolongs combat a lot.

I think if you were going to do it, you'd need to totally re-write how armor works, and probably move it in a much more wargame-like direction. For example, you make an opposed defense dodge roll and add your Agility bonus (- any armor or weight penalties), then subtract that from the opponent's to-hit roll. If they succeed (either a static DC like 12 or maybe a moving DC for circumstances, fatigue, lighting, morale, whatever), roll damage dice, then you get some sort of armor save against the damage... maybe each piece of armor has a certain damage reduction die that you roll and subtract that from the damage done.

This would make it viable to have a lightly armored or even no-armored warrior, particularly if you had a high Agility, but still provide some strong incentives to using armor which exist in "reality."

But it would make combat resolution a whole lot more involved and, probably, longer. I don't know that is a good thing.

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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by AJClark » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:46 am

bizarrojoe wrote: However, I still like the idea that Luck could somehow play a role in permitting dire defensive capabilities. From a story-telling perspective, it makes sense to me that a character should be able to narrowly dodge an arrow to the knee or an axe to the head by not only being agile, but also by just being lucky enough to duck that extra inch or so.

I just don't know how it would best be translated into balanced game mechanics. :?
In a way it is in the game mechanics... just not for every hit. A PC's luck modifier effectsthe outcome on the monster critical hit chart. If you wanted to take it further, house rule that the PC could burn more luck to further reduce it.

meinvt
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by meinvt » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:35 pm

If you really want to use luck this way then perhaps just house rule that you can use Luck to change your own AC against a single attack. So, if a monster hit by a margin of 3 you could spend 4 luck to negate the hit.

oncelor
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Re: Reflexive Defense

Post by oncelor » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:19 pm

In our campaign we've been experimenting with a house-rule to allow thieves to burn luck to reduce damage taken. Damage from any one source is reduced by an amount equal to the total on the luck dice, but any one source of damage cannot be reduced by more than 50% in this manner (and in this case, excess luck-dice results are lost.) It's had the effect of making the party thief less timid despite his low hit points and armor class, which is what I was hoping it would do.

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