Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Here's what I'm contemplating for my new, improved* parrying rules. If a player wants to parry an attacker's blow, the defender must follow the ensuing procedure:

Step 1: Declare his intent to parry after an attacker has successfully rolled to hit--there's nothing more shameful than a premature parry--but before the ensuing damage die is rolled.  Once the die is cast, it is loo late for action.  Parrying takes quick wits.

Step 2: Once the intent to parry has been successfully declared, the parrier** must achieve a higher result on a d20 roll than the attacker rolled, adding combat level and other to-hit bonuses.  If the attacker rolled a natch 20 then put your dice away, the blow cannot be parried.

Step 2 Option B:  For those preferring the extra-convoluted approach, the defender can roll as if trying to score a hit using the attacker's weapon speed factor as AC.

Step 3: If the defender rolls successfully, he or she then rolls damage as if they had hit their opponent.  This is the total amount of damage the defender has deferred from their person. 

Step 4: The attacker rolls damage.  If the damage roll is equal to or less than that rolled by the defender in Step 3, the defender receives no damage from the assault.  Any damage in excess of the defenders damage roll, however, is applied to the defender's person.  Thus, a dagger-wielder is not likely to successfully stave off the entirety of a bardiche attack.

Exceptional Rolls:
20--Roll a nat'l 20 and all damage is blocked.  Other possible results of a criterical hit might  include: riposte--an immediate attack against the opponent; roll to hit as normal. Prise de fer--the attacker is disarmed.

1--The attempt to parry fails and no damage is blocked.  Additionally, a despicable die roll might result in the parry attempt leaving the defender in an awkward position allowing the attacker a second, immediate attack; the defender may find himself suddenly bereft of weaponry; and, indeed, his or her weapon might be decimated in the attempt to stymie the assault.  

  1. Regardless of the success of the parry attempt, the parrier loses any further attack this round (with the exception of the possibility of a riposte as mentioned above).  If they have already attacked this round, then they automatically lose initiative in the next round, should they survive.  They may, however continue to parry blows, though each successive attempt puts them further on the defensive.
  2. Anytime the attacker rolls in excess of twice the damage blocked, the defender is disarmed. 
  3. If the defender rolls max "dmg" when parrying yet the attacker's dmg roll exceeds that total, the defender must roll a saving throw for his weapon or it is sundered.


Depending on which option you use, either the combination of skill and luck of the attacker or the swiftness of his weapon determines how hard a particular blow will be to parry.  The heft of your weapon is a significant factor in determining how effectively you will parry.  Parrying results in diminished offensive opportunity and a fairly decent likelihood of disarmament or worse.

Thoughts?  Comments?

*Regular readers of this blog will understand that "improved" in Caveman-speak generally means "Now more convoluted!"

** Sadly, this is not a real word. 


Jayson said...

I quite like it, and I'm tempted to slot it into my increasingly house ruled B/X game, if only I can keep reminding the players that this is an option.

Timrod said...

After the second or third time some random orc blocks their attack, they'll get the picture.

Jayson said...

Aha, But there's the rub--I tend to be just as guilty of forgetting these rules as they are! But I do plan to give this a whirl.