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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dodge Follow-Up

Here's two follow-up points on the question about optional dodge rules.

First: None of the three suggestions went over well, but zornhau raised some questions about whether it should be a withdrawal rather than a "dodge", since both the attack roll and the hit point abstraction are supposed to cover dodging. Plus, an objection that occurred to me later is: if a PC can skip an attack to dodge damage, doesn't this mean that ranged attacks become meaningless, since they can be mostly avoided? So in response to zornhau and the ranged attack problem, I offer a fourth suggestion:
  • A character can dodge attacks from a specific opponent by moving just out of reach if the character's movement rate is faster than the attacker's. This only works against one opponent and if the character is not cornered or backed against a hazard.
Better? Simpler? Less objectionable?

Second: My copy of Holmes is in storage, so I can't check this, but wasn't there a dodge rule there? I remember there was a parry rule. Could someone look that up for me, please?


  1. This doesn't really address your question directly, but I allow my OD&D players to choose to go totally defensive for the round. They give up the opportunity to attack, and in return get +2 to their AC.

    It turns out a nice option for front rank shield bearers, for example.

  2. The rule you propose covers evading initial engagement nicely.
    I think you also need a rule for when people are already engaged. Otherwise the faster character will attack, dodge, attack, dodge....

  3. @zornhau: I think instead of a different rule for a different situation, it might just need a clarification. The dodging character is moving out of reach, so either the character has to move back into reach to attack (giving the opponent an opportunity to strike) or has to have a longer weapon than the opponent.

    There's also the briefly-mentioned situation of being backed into a corner or into a hazard. Faster character moves back out of reach; slower character loses an attack, but gets to move towards the faster character's new position. Repeating this several times may push the faster character back into an undesirable position. It's the classic "Erol Flynn backing up the staircase while fending off attacks" situation.

  4. Hang on, though, what determines who gets first attack?

  5. First attack, or first action?

    Whether or not the faster character has a chance to withdraw depends on whether that character has already moved. I believe that's what you're asking.