I've only recently stumbled upon DR, and I have to say I love the combat system, since it's the only one I know that actually reflects the fact that things happen simultaneously within a combat round.
However, one thing I noticed is that the parry skill is somewhat unattractive for investing APs: It increases the Defence Penalty like Dodge, but at greater risk of being disarmed. Also, most weapons come with a negative Parry modifier, while the armor penalty for parry is at most one below the penalty for dodge.
I guess the easiest way to change this would be to alter the weapons table, or give some guidlines for the GM to assign sensible parry modifiders depending on the _combination_ of weapons. For example, a rapier should be rather good for parrying another rapier, while trying to parry a rapier with a dagger should be rather difficult.
Another option would be to say that a successfull parry facilitates the counter-attack. One could, for example, add the parry roll to the attack modifier.
I was just curious if someone else has had some thoughts about this.Cheers,Martin.
Thanks for the comments Martin. I can see your point, although I think you may be underestimating somewhat the value of the lower armour penalties on Parry versus Dodge.
But I like your idea of assembling a table setting out the Parry modifiers for weapons against other weapons. The obvious thing would be to make the same weapons have no Parry bonus or penalty against each other, eg the Parry modifier for Rapier Parrying Rapier is 0. You could also make the Parry modifier between different weapons be the inverse of the other, e.g. the Parry modifier for Rapier Parrying Shortsword is -2 and the Parry modifier for Shortsword Parrying Rapier is +2.
If you put something like this together, please let us know and we'll post it for comments.
So I started looking at this, and the idea of different modifiers for each weapon depending on what weapon it's up against makes things really complicated.
A better solution, it seems, would be simply to revise the weapons stats to give more weapons Parry bonuses. Right now very few have them. Bastardswords, Longswords and Shortswords are the most obvious candidates for Parry Bonuses. (Quarterstaffs and Broadswords already have them.)
Ok, here's another idea: Leave the mostly negative Parry modifiers as they are and introduce one more restriction on the Dodge skill: After dodging an attacker a player is not allowed to attempt a strike at that attacker in the same round. So you can strike at someone and then dodge the counter-attack but not the other way round. This may sound a bit weird, but I think it has several advantages:
1. It reflects the fact that dodging means getting out of the attackers way, which usually leaves you in a bad position for a counter-attack.
2. It makes the Parry skill more attractive because you can still attack after parrying.
3. Being quick (as in good Timing) becomes more important in a fight.
4. A fight between a "swashbuckler" and a knight in full plate armour would play out more realistically: the swashbuckler will strike first (because of the knight's large Timing penalties) and then dodge the knights blows, while the knight would have to try and parry and generally rely more on his armour to protect him.
5. It's simple.
If forbidding attacks after a dodge seems too drastic, one could also think about penalties for attacking after a dodge, but that would make things slightly more difficult again.
Interesting idea. I think it's worth playtesting. Players might find it annoying, i.e. it might turn them off Dodge altogether. If you try it, be sure to post here with your comments on how it worked out.
Well, to balance things out, this is what I did:
One should choose in the beginning of a round whether one will use his weapon. If he does, then he is penalized by the weapon's timing penalty. Thus a parry comes with a cost. When one declares he doesn't want to use his weapon, his timing shouldn't drop.
In addition: When someone wants to use a weapon, one would have to ready it first. Readying your weapon produces an action penalty this round, and hiding your weapon produces another action penalty.
Usually, you don't hide your weapon to dodge, so the timing penalty applies to both the dodge and the parry. So it's only a small penalty...
Now, you could say that a dodge can be used to evade missile strikes. -4 for point blank shots(melee), -3 for short range, -2 for mid range and -1 for long range... a slight bonus
Now, to rebalance the dodge, any dodge that affects someone with higher timing gets a -4 reaction penalty.
Now the dodge and the parry are a bit different, and the dodge has a major flaw for slow characters.
Dodge -> Pros : - Cons: -4 reaction penalty for quicker opponents. Parry -> Pros: Cons: you cannot parry missile strikes. You get timing and action penalties(the action penalties can be minimized with correct play , and the timing penalties are already a part of a dodge)
One would use the parry if he is slow, and the dodge if he is quick.
The -4 may sound a bit exaggerated so use a -2 instead.
Also don't forget that most weapons have penalties to the parry skill, so one would more readily choose to dodge.
In general, tweaking these rules seems to get the job done.
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