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Author Topic: Roll to Defend  (Read 535 times)

Ghost Planet

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Roll to Defend
« on: November 28, 2020, 04:53:32 pm »
There have been a couple RPG's that have come out over the last few years that use Player Facing Defense. Mork Borg with its target number, and the Black Hack with its roll under mechanic.

When testing out these games my group had a ton of fun being in control of if their character got hit or not. They expressed that especially in an OSR style game where death is a lot more likely, having more control was really nice. "Ah damn, I would have made it out of the dungeon too if I hadn't rolled that 4 to defend against the orc."

So it was clear to me that Player Facing Defense was a rule I wanted to adopt, but I had to figure out how to adapt it to the system I was using. Both Mork Borg, and Black Hack also use a Armor is damage reduction system I didn't necessarily want to fit in as well.


The answer is actually pretty easy, and works with almost any D&D based games.

Your AC is 12  minus your Bonuses/Penalty. (In most games this is 10 +- your bonuses) [or 9 if BX]
 When you get attacked you roll a d20 and subtract your AC from the roll. If that number is equal to or higher than the enemies attack bonus they successfully defend. The math works out just the same as if the monster was rolling to hit their AC, it is just in reverse.
What I mean by bonuses are: We are playing BX, Jim is wearing Leather (AC 7 or [+2] and a shield [+1] with a Dex mod of 0. So his bonuses are (2 + 1 + 0) = 3. Which means his AC 12-3= 9.
If we were playing 5e and Jane's AC was 17 then to convert you would do 12 - 7= 5.

Let's give an example of play:
DM- "Jim you are being attacked by the Orc Chieftan, roll to defend!"
Jim- "Alright I rolled a 14 minus my AC of 9. That's a 5 to defend."
*The Orc Chieftain has an attack bonus of 4 (THAC0 15)*
DM- "Success. You lift your shield up just in time to deflect the cheiftain's axe with your shield."

If Jim had rolled a 12 he would only have defended against a bonus of 3. The Chieftain would have hit him as his bonus is higher at 4.


The final thing using roll to defend does is shift the critical hits and fumbles from the monster to the player.
Use whatever makes most sense in your game, but I would recommend the following.

Natural 20 on the Defense roll: The player was ready for, and predicted the attack, they may roll to make a counter attack.
Natural 1 on the Defense roll: The player zigged when the should have zagged. Automaticly Hit (potentially extra damage)

rytrasmi

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2020, 11:08:39 am »
Interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Does Player Facing Defense provide any additional choice to the players or is it all in the fact that the players are rolling the dice? I've never used it, but I have occasionally offered my players the chance to roll for the monsters to hit on their characters. Some take it, some prefer not to.

Ghost Planet

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2020, 08:12:36 pm »
No, as I have it in this post there are no additional choices provided mechanically it is the same as letting the players roll for the monsters.

However, I think it provides opportunity to give them additional choices on defense. In my game I do allow them to have their shield splintered to not take a hit. It is easier for them to make that choice if they are the one rolling the die than if I am as they are already active. In a game like DCC where you can burn luck maybe you might allow them to burn luck to add to their defense roll. Stuff like that.

For me the biggest advantage I find is that I am often trying to introduce people to OSR style play. Because they are not accustomed to that style yet, and the lower HP they often die. With them rolling to defend they learn that I am not the one killing them THEY are responsible for their own death faster.

ConflictGames

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2020, 05:24:41 am »
do you feel like combat is slowed down too much but the additional defensive rolls? I like the idea, just wondering it combat is going to take too long to resolve.

consolcwby

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2020, 12:33:19 am »
No, as I have it in this post there are no additional choices provided mechanically it is the same as letting the players roll for the monsters.

However, I think it provides opportunity to give them additional choices on defense. In my game I do allow them to have their shield splintered to not take a hit. It is easier for them to make that choice if they are the one rolling the die than if I am as they are already active. In a game like DCC where you can burn luck maybe you might allow them to burn luck to add to their defense roll. Stuff like that.

For me the biggest advantage I find is that I am often trying to introduce people to OSR style play. Because they are not accustomed to that style yet, and the lower HP they often die. With them rolling to defend they learn that I am not the one killing them THEY are responsible for their own death faster.
Let me say this, what it sounds to me as if the DEFAULT is that the Monster always hits unless the player actively defends. This means, a player may decide they will not actively defend that they will be automatically hit. It sounds somewhat wrong, doesn't it? There should always be a chance for an ineffective hit. Maybe I'm thinking of it wrong though, I dunno...
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Wicked Woodpecker of West

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2020, 02:07:44 pm »
Sound quite realistic - in real life even most valiant knight will be killed by peasant if he just allow peasant to hit him without any action.

That said of course Armour as DR is superior mechanics ;)

Ghost Planet

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2021, 06:39:09 pm »
Let me say this, what it sounds to me as if the DEFAULT is that the Monster always hits unless the player actively defends. This means, a player may decide they will not actively defend that they will be automatically hit. It sounds somewhat wrong, doesn't it? There should always be a chance for an ineffective hit. Maybe I'm thinking of it wrong though, I dunno...

The way I run it is: if they are being attacked I always ask them to roll to defend. How that goes is up to the dice. If someone wanted to say "I don't want to defend I let them hit me." They could do that. However, I do not require them to take any sort of defense action on their turn. Alternatively, I guess you could allow them to take some sort of defense action and get a bonus on their roll.

Sound quite realistic - in real life even most valiant knight will be killed by peasant if he just allow peasant to hit him without any action.

That said of course Armour as DR is superior mechanics ;)

I do like armor as DR quite a bit. When you use it do they still have an AC, are they rolling to dodge like in Black Hack or Mork Borg, how is it working?

Thondor

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2021, 11:37:04 am »
There are also games where you roll to attack and the opponent rolls to defend. Hackmaster 5e does this and uses DR (heavy armour makes you a little easier to hit).
It can be a little slower but I find it very engaging.

Heck my Simple Superheroes engine has roll a dice pool to attack vs a defense dice pool, with a success threshold (on a d6 a one and a 2 never succeed or deal damage).
It's basically a modified RISK mechanic, that is quick and suits the genre.

Best of both worlds.
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Chris24601

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2021, 08:53:13 am »
Armor as DR adds an extra step to the usual D&D order and is only truly realistic with a further extra step of being able to bypass it. Even full plate had points that someone with a dagger or half-handing a longsword could slide a blade through.

Honestly, the best system I’ve ever come across for resolving combat is damage based on margin of success. This allows armor to reduce damage without being absolute defense if it’s value is too high.

HappyDaze

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Re: Roll to Defend
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2021, 06:44:30 am »
I'm interested in this thread since I'm about to run WFRP 4e. It has rolled defense (sorry, defence) with damage based on Base Damage (per weapon, usually modified by Attacker's Strength Bonus) + (Attacker's Success Levels - Defender's Success Levels) - (Defender's Armor + Defender's Toughness Bonus). In theory, it has all of the elements I like applied in the ways I want, but I've heard it can be cumbersome in play, so I'm curious as to how it will shake out at the table.