Parry, Block, And other Defenses

I don't like parry. I don't like that it gives a reduction in damage, I don't like that it requires a reaction to use, I don't like that only fighter's can parry, I don't like that it is not assumed that your PC is parrying attacks anyway, and I really don't like that it has been labeled "the fighter's defining feature".

I can live with it existing though but some changes should be made.

What if instead of being called parry it was called Improved Parry. And instead of being a maneuver all fighters know automatically, it was an optional maneuver, just like any other.

With the switch to [W] for maneuvers, parry would have to be changed though. Why not have parry simply grant an enemy disadvantage on a melee attack as a reaction. This would make parry take less time at the table (no rolling 6 dice adding their result, then subtracting from damage taken) while still providing a substantial defensive benefit.

The  fighter could then have the ability to learn an Improved Block maneuver that requires a shield but gives an enemy disadvantage on melee or ranged attacks as a reaction (or perhaps cover?).

Other defensive maneuvers (lightning reflexes, iron will, great fortitude, etc) could follow a similar trend (require a reaction, grant a penalty to an attack or bonus to a save). I vote for utilizing advantage/disadvantage as much as possible, the less math needed the better.

My 5e Homebrew Material

The Warblade: A Mythic Fighter

The Hero: A Modular Class

I like the idea of Parry using disadvantage rather than MDD, but I doubt we'll see it.

As for Block, cover is directional which causes problems in combat without grids and facing, and your proposed mechanic doesn't use dice (WotC: "Yay dice! Dice are fun. MOAR dice! Dice, dice dice!") so I doubt we'll see that either.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

I don't like parry. I don't like that it gives a reduction in damage, I don't like that it requires a reaction to use, I don't like that only fighter's can parry, I don't like that it is not assumed that your PC is parrying attacks anyway, and I really don't like that it has been labeled "the fighter's defining feature".



The system still assumes that your character is parrying and blocking attacks.  That is in you AC and HP.  The fighter's "Parry" is a special move that is above and beyond the ability of other classes, thus the special maneuver.  It is not meant to replace anything, it is in addition.  Perhaps it would help if they called it "Improved Parry" like you suggest, but that is just a name.
I think you are mistaking "a special combat maneuver designed to make the fighter - the class that specializes in breaking faces in melee - more survivable" with "lol i no how 2 not git hit wif stuff".

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

Unfortunately if they called it Improved Parry people would get confused and what to know what the regular Parry is. Sealed
I think you are mistaking "a special combat maneuver designed to make the fighter - the class that specializes in breaking faces in melee - more survivable" with "lol i no how 2 not git hit wif stuff".



That's like a one sentance biography of the Fighter class in D&D (excluding 4E). Martial combat is easy. Anything a Fighter can do is something any random dirt farmer can do, the only difference being some piddly little numbers. Training doesn't allow you to use advanced techniques that a layman can't. It just lets you do what everyone else can do. But with bigger numbers.

And throughout the entire NEXT playtest, anytime the Fighter was given ANYTHING another class did not have, there were cries and screams on the forums for Every. Damn. Character. Having access to them. Because if the Fighter can do it... Anyone can do it.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
The system still assumes that your character is parrying and blocking attacks.  That is in you AC and HP.

I have never understood this theory, to be honest. It seems that if it were true, one's AC or HP would be different if one were armed vs. unarmed, and that simply isn't the case. AC includes dodging, since Dex can alter one's AC. But parrying and blocking? I'd have to ask you how the game's mechanics support that assertion.
The system still assumes that your character is parrying and blocking attacks.  That is in you AC and HP.

I have never understood this theory, to be honest. It seems that if it were true, one's AC or HP would be different if one were armed vs. unarmed, and that simply isn't the case. AC includes dodging, since Dex can alter one's AC. But parrying and blocking? I'd have to ask you how the game's mechanics support that assertion.



I think he meant that first and foremost, HP are an abstraction, they represent not your ability to take damage, but your ability to take a lethal blow, and turn it into a flesh wound.

As for AC, if you're not blocking, dodging or parrying, it means you're just sitting there, helpless.
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Traditionally with 3E or later they would take concepts like dodge, parry or block and just add a defense bonus. However, bounded accuracy has changed the game, so more items are focusing on hit points, damage, and mitigation.
It IS assumed you are parrying, dodging, etc... That is what DEX bonus and HP represent! That is why Fighters have more HP per level, to represent combat ability, including the ability to avoid being hit albeit with some exertion.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

I'm fine with Dex bonus to AC covering all of parry/block (manual dexterity) and dodge (balance/agility). If they're explicitly saying that parry is represented by spending a reaction and making a die roll, though, then that's inconsistent when others don't act that way.

Either give everyone the fighter parry, or re-fluff that ability to not cover what is otherwise covered by Dexterity.

The metagame is not the game.

The system still assumes that your character is parrying and blocking attacks.  That is in you AC and HP.

I have never understood this theory, to be honest. It seems that if it were true, one's AC or HP would be different if one were armed vs. unarmed, and that simply isn't the case. AC includes dodging, since Dex can alter one's AC. But parrying and blocking? I'd have to ask you how the game's mechanics support that assertion.



I think he meant that first and foremost, HP are an abstraction, they represent not your ability to take damage, but your ability to take a lethal blow, and turn it into a flesh wound.

As for AC, if you're not blocking, dodging or parrying, it means you're just sitting there, helpless.

AC clearly includes dodging, as I pointed out. But it also just as clearly does not include blocking or parrying. Wizards do not get a penalty to AC for being unarmed, for all they would not be trained in blocking the fighting limb of an attacker using an edged weapon. Likewise, Fighters do not get a bonus to AC simply for being one of the few classes that would be trained in such a thing.
The system still assumes that your character is parrying and blocking attacks.  That is in you AC and HP.

I have never understood this theory, to be honest. It seems that if it were true, one's AC or HP would be different if one were armed vs. unarmed, and that simply isn't the case. AC includes dodging, since Dex can alter one's AC. But parrying and blocking? I'd have to ask you how the game's mechanics support that assertion.



AC is an abstraction. The dex bonus to AC could represent dodging OR represent blocking OR represent parrying OR a combination. Whether a character is dodging, blocking or parrying a particular attack is fluff. 

Hit points are also an abstraction. This causes a problem because people want to understand the reality of an event through mechanics, which betrays the whole purpose of abstraction.

The system still assumes that your character is parrying and blocking attacks.  That is in you AC and HP.

I have never understood this theory, to be honest. It seems that if it were true, one's AC or HP would be different if one were armed vs. unarmed, and that simply isn't the case. AC includes dodging, since Dex can alter one's AC. But parrying and blocking? I'd have to ask you how the game's mechanics support that assertion.



AC is an abstraction. The dex bonus to AC could represent dodging OR represent blocking OR represent parrying OR a combination. Whether a character is dodging, blocking or parrying a particular attack is fluff. 

Hit points are also an abstraction. This causes a problem because people want to understand the reality of an event through mechanics, which betrays the whole purpose of abstraction.


If that were the case, then why do the mechanics not show this? Fighters do not have a higher base unarmored AC than Wizards. Yet they are more well trained in dodging and parrying. Even if it were an abstraction, there would be mechanical evidence of that abstraction. A Wizard does not get more HP just because he now has a staff to block and parry with, so it clearly isn't HP any more than it is AC.
 If that were the case, then why do the mechanics not show this? Fighters do not have a higher base unarmored AC than Wizards. Yet they are more well trained in dodging and parrying. Even if it were an abstraction, there would be mechanical evidence of that abstraction. A Wizard does not get more HP just because he now has a staff to block and parry with, so it clearly isn't HP any more than it is AC.



One can say fighters are better trained in dodging and parrying, therefore they have more hit points. 

A character doesn't get more hit points or AC when he wields a weapon because the abstraction of hit points and AC is not concerned whether an attack was dodged, blocked or parried. When an enemy misses, the narrative can read to be any of those outcomes. Sure, when you don't have a weapon in your hand you probably didn't parry the attack, maybe you dodged it. Maybe your 14 AC represents a high reliance on dodging, while a different character with 14 AC parries a lot. 




 If that were the case, then why do the mechanics not show this? Fighters do not have a higher base unarmored AC than Wizards. Yet they are more well trained in dodging and parrying. Even if it were an abstraction, there would be mechanical evidence of that abstraction. A Wizard does not get more HP just because he now has a staff to block and parry with, so it clearly isn't HP any more than it is AC.



One can say fighters are better trained in dodging and parrying, therefore they have more hit points. 

A character doesn't get more hit points or AC when he wields a weapon because the abstraction of hit points and AC is not concerned whether an attack was dodged, blocked or parried. When an enemy misses, the narrative can read to be any of those outcomes. Sure, when you don't have a weapon in your hand you probably didn't parry the attack, maybe you dodged it. Maybe your 14 AC represents a high reliance on dodging, while a different character with 14 AC parries a lot. 





A weapon increases one's ability to block and greatly increases one's ability to parry. Even if abstracted AC is not concerned with the reason for the miss, it would be concerned with the varying amounts of that abstracted capability. AC does not do so if it includes blocking and parrying. A greater capability to do so does not result in an increase in AC. The same character would have to have a varying AC depending on weapon use or the lack thereof for the abstraction theorem to be supporting by the game's mechanics.

And throughout the entire NEXT playtest, anytime the Fighter was given ANYTHING another class did not have, there were cries and screams on the forums for Every. Damn. Character. Having access to them. Because if the Fighter can do it... Anyone can do it.



Fighter has a lot of stuff at the moment that other classes cannot do - its maneuvers are the big one. Sure the Monk gets Maneuvers (but they are different) and the Rogue gets Skill Abilities (which are of a similar type, but different), but the fighter has all the cool maneuver options.

What I'd like to see is 'Advanced Maneuvers' and 'Advanced Skill Tricks,' which the characters can only select after level 10, and give them some really cool effects.

(For those who don't know what I mean think Pathfinder Rogue Talents, and Advanced Rogue Talents, except more in the style of the current maneuvers/tricks)

A weapon increases one's ability to block and greatly increases one's ability to parry. Even if abstracted AC is not concerned with the reason for the miss, it would be concerned with the varying amounts of that abstracted capability. AC does not do so if it includes blocking and parrying. A greater capability to do so does not result in an increase in AC. The same character would have to have a varying AC depending on weapon use or the lack thereof for the abstraction theorem to be supporting by the game's mechanics.


The following quote is from the 3e Player's Handbook:


"Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you."


There is a similar statement in 4e and I assume the other editions. An interpretation of the quote can show that AC assumes dodging, blocking and parrying. The rules do not account for every nuance of dodging, blocking, parrying, or any other action, but the rules do reflect the representation. (e.g. shields add to AC, Dex adds to AC.)

The AC rules do not have to match reality one-to-one and/or have a rating for dodge, block, and parry to represent those actions. 

A weapon increases one's ability to block and greatly increases one's ability to parry. Even if abstracted AC is not concerned with the reason for the miss, it would be concerned with the varying amounts of that abstracted capability. AC does not do so if it includes blocking and parrying. A greater capability to do so does not result in an increase in AC. The same character would have to have a varying AC depending on weapon use or the lack thereof for the abstraction theorem to be supporting by the game's mechanics.


The following quote is from the 3e Player's Handbook:


"Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you."


There is a similar statement in 4e and I assume the other editions. An interpretation of the quote can show that AC assumes dodging, blocking and parrying. The rules do not account for every nuance of dodging, blocking, parrying, or any other action, but the rules do reflect the representation. (e.g. shields add to AC, Dex adds to AC.)

The AC rules do not have to match reality one-to-one and/or have a rating for dodge, block, and parry to represent those actions. 


If that were the case armor would lower your AC, because it makes it easier for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow. While it may absorb some impact, it does not take away any capacity of the opponent's.
AC and HP have always had abstraction issues, especially in descriptive text. Which is why I've been trying to avoid descriptive text and abstraction and speak specifically and solely to the mechanics of the game. The mechanics of the game do not support parrying and blocking being represented in or by AC or HP.
 If that were the case armor would lower your AC, because it makes it easier for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow. While it may absorb some impact, it does not take away any capacity of the opponent's. AC and HP have always had abstraction issues, especially in descriptive text. Which is why I've been trying to avoid descriptive text and abstraction and speak specifically and solely to the mechanics of the game. The mechanics of the game do not support parrying and blocking being represented in or by AC or HP.



I have never worn armor, but I thought the whole idea was even if an enemy made contact there was a lower chance of harm to the wearer. So it is harder to land a damaging blow, and therefore higher AC.

You can't avoid the abstraction, because that is how the rules are written. AC is a simple number for a complex event. There isn't a dodge rating and parry rating and block rating, there is only AC.

Also, if AC does not represent blocking (among other things), why does using a shield increase your AC?

A weapon increases one's ability to block and greatly increases one's ability to parry. Even if abstracted AC is not concerned with the reason for the miss, it would be concerned with the varying amounts of that abstracted capability. AC does not do so if it includes blocking and parrying. A greater capability to do so does not result in an increase in AC. The same character would have to have a varying AC depending on weapon use or the lack thereof for the abstraction theorem to be supporting by the game's mechanics.


The following quote is from the 3e Player's Handbook:


"Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you."


There is a similar statement in 4e and I assume the other editions. An interpretation of the quote can show that AC assumes dodging, blocking and parrying. The rules do not account for every nuance of dodging, blocking, parrying, or any other action, but the rules do reflect the representation. (e.g. shields add to AC, Dex adds to AC.)

The AC rules do not have to match reality one-to-one and/or have a rating for dodge, block, and parry to represent those actions. 





True.  But it is also true that Hit Points also, in part, represent how difficult you are to hit.


From the  5N rule (since that is, after all, the edition under discussion):


Your hit points represent a combination of several factors. They include your physical durability and overall health, your speed and agility to avoid harm, and your overall level  of  energy.



Significant phrase highlighted.

Which is why fighters have more of them.


AC represents that part of the equation that is dependant upon what you wear. Hit Points represent that part of the equation that is not dependant upon your gear - i.e. due to training.
  
Carl  
     

 If that were the case armor would lower your AC, because it makes it easier for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow. While it may absorb some impact, it does not take away any capacity of the opponent's. AC and HP have always had abstraction issues, especially in descriptive text. Which is why I've been trying to avoid descriptive text and abstraction and speak specifically and solely to the mechanics of the game. The mechanics of the game do not support parrying and blocking being represented in or by AC or HP.



I have never worn armor, but I thought the whole idea was even if an enemy made contact there was a lower chance of harm to the wearer. So it is harder to land a damaging blow, and therefore higher AC.

You can't avoid the abstraction, because that is how the rules are written. AC is a simple number for a complex event. There isn't a dodge rating and parry rating and block rating, there is only AC.

Also, if AC does not represent blocking (among other things), why does using a shield increase your AC?

"Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you."
That statement makes no mention of converting a damaging blow to a non-damaging blow through kinetic absorption. It only mentions the difficulty in making the blow. Landing the blow is easier.
It is possible to avoid the abstraction when the abstraction is only present in descriptive text. AC does not mechanically support the complex event you say it does. Parrying/blocking as a mechanic has been represented as non-AC/HP options available to all classes in other editions of D&D. In 3.5 it was called "fighting defensively", was available to all classes regardless of armament, and provided a bonus to AC above and beyond the base.
Shields allow for kinetic absorption before a blow hits the armor. Base AC in D&D is all about dodging and kinetic absorption. It isn't about blocking or parrying.

A weapon increases one's ability to block and greatly increases one's ability to parry. Even if abstracted AC is not concerned with the reason for the miss, it would be concerned with the varying amounts of that abstracted capability. AC does not do so if it includes blocking and parrying. A greater capability to do so does not result in an increase in AC. The same character would have to have a varying AC depending on weapon use or the lack thereof for the abstraction theorem to be supporting by the game's mechanics.


The following quote is from the 3e Player's Handbook:


"Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you."


There is a similar statement in 4e and I assume the other editions. An interpretation of the quote can show that AC assumes dodging, blocking and parrying. The rules do not account for every nuance of dodging, blocking, parrying, or any other action, but the rules do reflect the representation. (e.g. shields add to AC, Dex adds to AC.)

The AC rules do not have to match reality one-to-one and/or have a rating for dodge, block, and parry to represent those actions. 





True.  But it is also true that Hit Points also, in part, represent how difficult you are to hit.


From the  5N rule (since that is, after all, the edition under discussion):


Your hit points represent a combination of several factors. They include your physical durability and overall health, your speed and agility to avoid harm, and your overall level  of  energy.



Significant phrase highlighted.

Which is why fighters have more of them.


AC represents that part of the equation that is dependant upon what you wear. Hit Points represent that part of the equation that is not dependant upon your gear - i.e. due to training.
  
Carl  
     


If that were mechanically the case as opposed to descriptively the case HP would be lowered by armor, as armor reduces one's speed and "agility to avoid harm" (a very odd phrase for the English language) as well as reduce your overall energy.