Thoughts on Parrying...

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One of my players REALLY wants to dual-wield, and neither of us are really happy with the current state of TWF. However, we came up with a proposal that might make wielding two weapons useful while implementing a parry ability.

Here's our idea, let me know what you all think of it.

Parry - Standard Action - Melee
"You position yourself to block your attacker's next blow with your own weapon."

Requires melee weapon; in place of your melee attack for the round, you force the next melee attacker to roll his attack versus your own basic melee attack. If you are wielding two weapons, a critical roll on your melee attack allows you to make an attack roll with the other weapon.

Doesn't really make up for the sad +1 that TWF gives you in basic 4E, but definitely increases the usefulness of wielding two weapons.
it's called a total defense action.
No...Total Defense only gives you a +2 to your AC. This changes the attack dynamic completely, *and* allows someone wielding two weapons to ACTUALLY use their off-hand weapon at least sometimes.
ok....


AC = 10 + stat + armor + shield + 1/2 level
attack = ~10.5 + stat + proficiency + 1/2 level

notice that the attack has a good chance of being lower than the AC.



so, lets step back. What kind of character does your player want to build?
AC = 10 + stat + armor + shield + 1/2 level
attack = ~10.5 + stat + proficiency + 1/2 level


Except that this is being thought of primarily as a method to improve usefulness of an off-hand weapon, so drop the shield from the AC calculation. Plus, from what you've shown above, I don't see how this is unbalancing plus it gives the capability to use the off-hand weapon on a critical parry.

The specific character is a dragonborn paladin, who wants to wield a blade and a blunt, and feels (reasonably to me) that he should be able to use a weapon in place of his armor to parry an attack.
paladin, that's not an easy one.

I don't think parry is a good fix. In plate armor he'd pretty much always be better off using total defense.

I'll assume longsword throwing hammer for now.
And I'm gonna assume he'll invest in TWF and TWD

hmmm... TWF is great to rangers, good for rogues, ok for fighters, but it's indeed pretty lame for paladins.

It gets him to a half way compromise between offense and defense. The good part is that it buys him a basic ranged attack (good for keeping a mark up at range)

so.. next question, would ranger multiclass help? I'm gonna assume he's str based so the stat synergy is there.
paladin, that's not an easy one.

I don't think parry is a good fix. In plate armor he'd pretty much always be better off using total defense.

I'll assume longsword throwing hammer for now.
And I'm gonna assume he'll invest in TWF and TWD

hmmm... TWF is great to rangers, good for rogues, ok for fighters, but it's indeed pretty lame for paladins.

It gets him to a half way compromise between offense and defense. The good part is that it buys him a basic ranged attack (good for keeping a mark up at range)

so.. next question, would ranger multiclass help? I'm gonna assume he's str based so the stat synergy is there.

We're really just starting out, and honestly using the prebuilts from Keep on the Shadowfell as our first steps into the 4E world. So he definitely has the STR synergy. And you're entirely right about him being better off with Total Defense in plate armor - another reason this doesn't seem unbalancing...he chooses to swap a known AC (and likely higher score) for an unknown melee check.

Haven't decided whether TWF would be required for the crit effect, but as I think about it, it might be.
the real issue with parry on a paladin is anything that would work for him, would be overpowered on a ranger or a rogue.

I have to admit I'm stumped.
I do completely agree with that...was considering this with a Fighter/Warlord/Paladin class restriction as well. Though thinking about it, I don't know that it's overpowered for a Rogue, as it only permits basic melee attacks on a successful parry, and takes the place of their standard action.
with a Fighter/Warlord/Paladin class restriction

the multiclass feats make that easy to get around.

for a Rogue

A) TWF is a good option for a rogue to begin with
B) dagger rogues have very high +to hit with only moderate AC
the multiclass feats make that easy to get around.

A) TWF is a good option for a rogue to begin with

Good point.

B) dagger rogues have very high +to hit with only moderate AC

Also a good point, but they're sacrificing their action for the round for a basic melee attack, which doesn't seem to me like something I'd do very often. I'd much rather make a full attack with an at-will power. But that's definitely a concern - a savvy player could parry every attack, nicking away at their attacker. Which actually sounds reasonable to me...plus, this only affects a single attacker, so if the Rogue finds themselves surrounded, this wouldn't be a smart choice.

Maybe a requirement that the weapons be of the same size? Or a penalty if there is a size mismatch - a dagger rogue might get a -2 to their parry attempt if the attacker is using a sword?
But then again, the Rogue still has to roll a crit on their parry check in order to do any damage at all. So in most cases they'd be sacrificing the use of their damage-dealing powers in exchange for a likelihood of blocking an attack, but a longshot at doing base damage.

Doesn't seem like that would be an attractive option for me as a Rogue, unless I'm almost dead.
Overall GH has it right, I'm not sure this is a good thing to add, as I hate parry that is basically 'roll above their strike with your strike bonus'. First off monsters typically have better to hit rolls than the PC's, this means that Monsters can parry better than the PCs.
Overall GH has it right, I'm not sure this is a good thing to add, as I hate parry that is basically 'roll above their strike with your strike bonus'. First off monsters typically have better to hit rolls than the PC's, this means that Monsters can parry better than the PCs.

That's why it's not just "roll above their strike with your strike bonus" - it's an active choice by the PC to forego a full attack for the chance to block another's attack, plus the longshot possibility of doing some damage.

And as a house rule, there's nothing that says any monsters will have this ability.
Then you run into disbelief wall where you have to ask yourself 'Why can' the gnoll chieftain parry'.

It could work and your method behind it is fair. I just think its a little tough to word in a way where its balanced and useful but not become a nuclear arms race.
Then you run into disbelief wall where you have to ask yourself 'Why can' the gnoll chieftain parry'.

It could work and your method behind it is fair. I just think its a little tough to word in a way where its balanced and useful but not become a nuclear arms race.

True, but that's where the DM steps in. Maybe the gnoll chieftain can parry, but that opens him to ranged attacks, since the power doesn't affect those.

Yes...then you get a "Deflect Arrows" request...but that's another discussion entirely, I think.
I'm just saying introducing a parrying mechanic opens a can of worms best left not opened.

Maybe for the paladin make a feat called 'superior' two weapon defense, require it to have lay on hands and he gets the benfit +1 AC +1 Ref -1 damage when wielding two weapons, it still lets him have the verstaility of two weapons and returns him to his better AC and Reflex while removing the inching up of damage.
I'm just saying introducing a parrying mechanic opens a can of worms best left not opened.

I suppose that's the core of our dissent...I think that parrying is a key component of melee combat, and while theoretically AC takes that into account, the additional components of counter-attacking aren't there in this initial ruleset.
the additional components of counter-attacking aren't there in this initial ruleset.

not true.

There are counter attacking powers.
I suppose that's the core of our dissent...I think that parrying is a key component of melee combat, and while theoretically AC takes that into account, the additional components of counter-attacking aren't there in this initial ruleset.

But see snark, the way its setup by you, either only players get the parry, or the players get overwhelmed by monster's parry.

And even if it is straight 1d20 roll, on a 20 you get to counter attack, it favors mosnters over players.
But see snark, the way its setup by you, either only players get the parry, or the players get overwhelmed by monster's parry.

And even if it is straight 1d20 roll, on a 20 you get to counter attack, it favors mosnters over players.

I'm just not seeing the favor on the monster's part here, assuming that the monster would even bother to parry. If you're getting nicked to death by the base damage due to the monster's parrying, then you switch tactics. Or you use the power of your party to take him down. Yes, one-on-one, it's going to be a nick-to-the-death, probably. But if you add ranged attacks into the mix, or if you flank the creature, I don't see it unbalancing. The monster only gets to parry a single melee attack from a single opponent.

Maybe you can't parry when someone has combat advantage against you?
I suppose that's the core of our dissent...I think that parrying is a key component of melee combat, and while theoretically AC takes that into account, the additional components of counter-attacking aren't there in this initial ruleset.

Counter attacks would amount to giving additional attacks simply for being the target of an attack. That sounds a lot like handing out a extra OAs to me. Oh and Riposte Strike (rogue lvl 1 at-will) is a counter attack power, so it is not like the mechanic of a counter attack doesn't exist. Basically you are wanting to give away a gimpier version of Riposte Strike to anyone wielding two weapons. Honestly, I can't see a way to make the ability you have suggested even feel like an attractive use of my standard action without duplicating the effect of either Riposte Strike or an OA.

To take a completely different route, having a feat (i.e. adding one....maybe superior TWD) grant a counter attack flavored encounter power might be a solution. Let me try:

Superior Two-Weapon Defense
You block an incoming attack with your off-hand weapon and strike back against your surprised opponent.
Encounter ✦ Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt Action Melee
Requirement: You must be wielding two weapons
Trigger: You are attacked with a melee attack
Target: The attacking creature
Effect: Stop the triggering attack and make a counter attack with your main weapon.
Attack: Strength vs. Reflex, or Dexterity vs. Reflex
Hit: 1[w] + Strength modifier damage, or 1[w] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Special: When you take this feat choose either Strength or Dexterity as the key ability and use that for both the attack and damage rolls. A daily or encounter power stopped by this power is not expended.

Not too hard. Not perfect I admit, but hey it works at least.
In 4E assume they face enemies equal to their number +2 (accounts for minions), which means pretty much you have several one on one fights going on at any given moment, with Artillery, Controllers, skirms and lurkers for them creating annoyances from the sidelines.

If you want two weapon parry, make it a flat bonus factored into Reflex and AC. Maybe like 'whirling blades' or something. Counter attacking is something that should be done with all weapons not just for two weapon fighters, and giving two weapon fighters much more turns an optional set of builds for fighters into a drastically superior set. Let alone what it does for the ranger.
.

Not too hard. Not perfect I admit, but hey it works at least.

This means every standard action I as a ranger have goes to using Superior Two Weapon Defense, and I replace fighters as tank (I stop one attack, have equal if not a bit better AC and higher Reflex).

This isn't good.
This means every standard action I as a ranger have goes to using Superior Two Weapon Defense, and I replace fighters as tank (I stop one attack, have equal if not a bit better AC and higher Reflex).

This isn't good.

Wrong, it is an encounter power. Once per encounter is not a broken mechanic for a counter attack. Plus it made it an interrupt not a standard action.
Counter attacks would amount to giving additional attacks simply for being the target of an attack.

Wrong - you're using your action for that current round to attempt to deflect the creature's attack, with the possibility of inflicting base damage. This isn't "additional" attacks in any way, shape or form.

Basically you are wanting to give away a gimpier version of Riposte Strike to anyone wielding two weapons.

I don't see how this is "giving away" anything - to even have the chance of inflicting some damage, you have to have one feat, and even then it's only base damage. This isn't a "freebie" in any way, to my reckoning.

Honestly, I can't see a way to make the ability you have suggested even feel like an attractive use of my standard action without duplicating the effect of either Riposte Strike or an OA.

This is based on a completely different style of combat than riposte strike, which DOES essentially grant two attacks. Rightfully, that is a rogue ability...and I think the ability to parry is rightfully a fighter/paladin ability.
In 4E assume they face enemies equal to their number +2 (accounts for minions), which means pretty much you have several one on one fights going on at any given moment, with Artillery, Controllers, skirms and lurkers for them creating annoyances from the sidelines.

If you want two weapon parry, make it a flat bonus factored into Reflex and AC. Maybe like 'whirling blades' or something. Counter attacking is something that should be done with all weapons not just for two weapon fighters, and giving two weapon fighters much more turns an optional set of builds for fighters into a drastically superior set. Let alone what it does for the ranger.

The counter-attack is a bonus - the focus of this power is the ability to effectively parry an opponent's attack, substituting your skill with a blade for your armor, dexterity, or skill with a shield.

The counter-attack idea came into play when we were thinking about wielding two weapons - if you successfully parry with one, shouldn't you be able to sneak in a counter-attack with the other?
Though perhaps it is more appropriate as an Encounter power than as an At-Will...
Oh you are right. In that case its not worth the expediture of a feat for anyone, after all I can get once per encounter stop an attack

Or I can consistently do more damage

Or I can knock opponents around.

Or I can further develop my weapon abilities.
The counter-attack is a bonus - the focus of this power is the ability to effectively parry an opponent's attack, substituting your skill with a blade for your armor, dexterity, or skill with a shield.

Actually 10 times out of 20 (at least) you are better in armor+shield then parrying with this mechanic you presented. Notice that taking 10 or 20 on a skill is luxury not a given.
The counter-attack idea came into play when we were thinking about wielding two weapons - if you successfully parry with one, shouldn't you be able to sneak in a counter-attack with the other?

No more than a rapier fighter pushing aside a blade and immediately attacking the opponent. Its actually Harder to counter attack with two weapons then one, as they have a tendency to get in each other's way.
Actually 10 times out of 20 (at least) you are better in armor+shield then parrying with this mechanic you presented. Notice that taking 10 or 20 on a skill is luxury not a given.

You're absolutely right - 50% of the time, you're better off not using this power. Thus, it becomes a role-playing decision. The point is that it's not an "obvious" power to use every single time it's your turn. I think most people would rather inflict damage than have a 10% chance to do base damage. However, if I'm starting to get low on HP, maybe I'll take that chance.

No more than a rapier fighter pushing aside a blade and immediately attacking the opponent. Its actually Harder to counter attack with two weapons then one, as they have a tendency to get in each other's way.

That's exactly why the critical roll is required, along with the TW fighting feats.
You're absolutely right - 50% of the time, you're better off not using this power. Thus, it becomes a role-playing decision.

4E Strives Away from fluff feats, all feats need to give an advantage to the player consistently. This feat doesn't. You cannot engineer a situation where the parry choice is statisically superior to just hitting and allowing the guy to try and hit you.
The point is that it's not an "obvious" power to use every single time it's your turn. I think most people would rather inflict damage than have a 10% chance to do base damage. However, if I'm starting to get low on HP, maybe I'll take that chance.

If you are getting low on HP someone should heal you, if your leaders are not your leaders are failing at their role. I play palladium system a lot, they have a parry mechanic built into the combat. Their combat ties goes to the defender, DnD ties go to the attacker.
That's exactly why the critical roll is required, along with the TW fighting feats.

So you are going tom ake a feat that allows people with light blades to automatically counter attack on miss? As believe me with a dagger if someone misses me I can easily slip the knife up the arm and cut them.

Or what about heavy blades?

The idea that TWF = Superior Counter Attacking is not in alignment at all with real world, and its not really with cinematic two weapon fighting.
So you are going tom ake a feat that allows people with light blades to automatically counter attack on miss? As believe me with a dagger if someone misses me I can easily slip the knife up the arm and cut them.

Um...where in the world is this coming from? There's no "automatic" involved here at all.

PC uses parry for their round action. Creature attacks. Compare melee attack rolls. If PC > Creature, no damage. If PC rolls crit and has TWF/TWD, they get to attempt an attack in return.

And I think the cinematic tradition of blocking a blade with your main hand and thrusting with your off-hand weapon is common.
4E Strives Away from fluff feats, all feats need to give an advantage to the player consistently. This feat doesn't. You cannot engineer a situation where the parry choice is statisically superior to just hitting and allowing the guy to try and hit you.

Sure you can...if your AC is lower than your potential melee attack, then it is statistically superior. And I'm not sure that I agree there are no "fluff feats" in 4E, not to mention this is intended as a Power, not a Feat.
Um...where in the world is this coming from? There's no "automatic" involved here at all.

Lightblades are Much Much easier to get coutner attacks from then dual wielding. Like I said, with very little training I can use a dagger/knife weapon and cut a man's arm to ribbons when he misses me.
PC uses parry for their round action. Creature attacks. Compare melee attack rolls. If PC > Creature, no damage. If PC rolls crit and has TWF/TWD, they get to attempt an attack in return.

Have you ever played Palladium? they have parry mechanics tied itno the system, and the combat takes forever. Its needless slowing down of the game.
And I think the cinematic tradition of blocking a blade with your main hand and thrusting with your off-hand weapon is common.

Thats not a full counter attack though, thats Two Weapon Defense coupled with a successful strike on your initiative. A counter attack should happen at almost the same time as they thrust at you. (In my mind anyway)
Sure you can...if your AC is lower than your potential melee attack, then it is statistically superior. And I'm not sure that I agree there are no "fluff feats" in 4E, not to mention this is intended as a Power, not a Feat.

Your AC starts at 10+everything else. Most classes at first level can get AC of 17 or 18 easily, even wizards and warlock can get 15's and 16's

To make it worthwhile their attack bonus has to be +11 for a wizard to even Think about it at least unless the player isn't good with math.
Your AC starts at 10+everything else. Most classes at first level can get AC of 17 or 18 easily, even wizards and warlock can get 15's and 16's

To make it worthwhile their attack bonus has to be +11 for a wizard to even Think about it at least unless the player isn't good with math.

Um...then the wizard doesn't choose this ability? Seems awful straightforward to me that I wouldn't expect a wizard to be using this power anyhow - they (generally) shouldn't be regularly engaging in melee combat...
To snarky and Aluman,

Calm the heck down.

@ Snarky:
Way to grammar nit pick! You are focusing on a word or two rather than my sentences. First, I was talking about the counter attack as a mechanic, not about your counter maneuver. Sorry if I was unclear about that. This whole thread is about fixing your presented idea vs. scrapping the concept entirely. I do not feel you are taking the correct approach to the counter attack as a mechanic, so I ignored your initial proposal for the concept and presented a bare bones version of how I would do it. If you want to complain, then insult my proposal instead of nitpicking at words I used to setup (not create) my own idea.

@ Aluman:
Did I say it was perfect? No. Did I say it was God's gift to the game? No. So calm down and try being constructive rather than destructive. No one is forcing you to use the feat power I posted. And last I checked, you were not the one asking for a counter attack ability. I am guilty of picking feats, skills, powers, weapons, armor, and heck even classes that are not the best possible choice mechanically because I like the FLAVOR of those choices. You don't like the power? Then why not offer an improvement? How about upping the damage to 2[w] or 3[w] + mod? Not enough? Then make it a special encounter power you can use additional times per tier. Not hard to balance things once they actually exist.

I do apologize if anything in here sounds rude.
Um...then the wizard doesn't choose this ability? Seems awful straightforward to me that I wouldn't expect a wizard to be using this power anyhow - they (generally) shouldn't be regularly engaging in melee combat...

Wizards have the lowest threshold for this power to be useful. A fighter, ranger, rogue, paladin with his 17AC needs his attack bonus to be +12 to have a reasonable chance of better AC without a good chance of worse AC.
Lightblades are Much Much easier to get coutner attacks from then dual wielding. Like I said, with very little training I can use a dagger/knife weapon and cut a man's arm to ribbons when he misses me.

Yep, you're exactly right - this ability isn't for every class or for every player. It has a specific application for a specific type of character, just like most every other power that is out there.

Have you ever played Palladium? they have parry mechanics tied itno the system, and the combat takes forever. Its needless slowing down of the game.

Yes, I have. And that's why I'm trying to keep this simple. You choose to parry, and you have a 1:20, 1:10, or 3:20 chance to roll an attack. There's no slowdown in this mechanic - you're postponing what would normally be an attack roll, and you don't have a guarantee that it will happen.
Thats not a full counter attack though, thats Two Weapon Defense coupled with a successful strike on your initiative. A counter attack should happen at almost the same time as they thrust at you. (In my mind anyway)
Now we're just toying with semantics - to me, that's a parry with a counterattack, not a Riposte Strike. If you want to do Riposte Strikes, you want to be a rogue. If you want to be a fighter who is skilled with his blade and deflects blows with your weapon (and maybe do some damage), you'd use this ability.
To snarky and Aluman,

@ Aluman:
Did I say it was perfect? No. Did I say it was God's gift to the game? No. So calm down and try being constructive rather than destructive. No one is forcing you to use the feat power I posted. And last I checked, you were not the one asking for a counter attack ability. I am guilty of picking feats, skills, powers, weapons, armor, and heck even classes that are not the best possible choice mechanically because I like the FLAVOR of those choices. You don't like the power? Then why not offer an improvement? How about upping the damage to 2[w] or 3[w] + mod? Not enough? Then make it a special encounter power you can use additional times per tier. Not hard to balance things once they actually exist.

I do apologize if anything in here sounds rude.

Its not about the damage, its mildly useful once. A flat bonus to AC (contiuning evolution of TWD) would better suit, rather than a power that lets you stop an attack completely and counter attack. 4E is striving away from feats that are traps, the ones that are still around are more convulated in the math so its more designer mistake then intent on them being traps.

No one should have to sacrifice efficiency for concept. Ever.