Defensive Maneuvers

All Defensive maneuvers use the same basic system. Each is treated as a resisted action; you defense roll is compared to the opponent's attack roll. If the attacker rolls equal or fewer successes, he misses. If the attacker rolls more successes than the defender, he subtracts the defender's successes from his own. Any leftovers are added to his damage dice. In this way, even though the defender does not prevent the attack, he reduces the amount of damage he takes from the hit.

  • Block [Dexterity + Brawl]: Your character uses his own body to deflect a hand-to-hand bashing attack. Lethal attacks cannot normally be blocked unless the defender wears armor. Your character cannot block ranged attacks.
  • Dodge [Dexterity + Dodge]: Your character bobs, weaves, ducks or dives to avoid an attack. It's assumed that she has the room to maneuver. If not, the Storyteller may disallow a dodge. In melee or brawl combat, the successful defender ducks out of the way of the attack. During a ranged attack, such as in a firefight, the successful defender moves at least one yard and and ends up behind cover or prone on the ground. See the chart below for how this may affect further attempts to attack your character.
Cover Type Difficulty Increase
Light (lying prone, behind streetlight) +1
Good (behind a car) +2
Superior (around a corner) +3
  • Parry [Dexterity + Melee]: Your character uses a melee weapon to deflect either an unarmed or armed close-combat attack. When your character parries with a weapon that can cause lethal damage, the attacker may actually be injured. If you roll more successes on the resisted action, add the weapon's base damage to the number of extra successes you earn on the defense roll. This total forms your damage dice pool, which you roll to determine how much injury the defender inflicts on the attacker.

Defense Complications

  • Although characters' actions in a turn follow a particular order based on initiative rolls, it's important to remember that all combat in one turn occurs over a period of only three seconds. This makes events nearly simultaneous. As a result, your character may defend against attacks that occur later in the initiative queue if you announce that she intends to use a multiple action to either take both a nondefensive action and a defensive one, or just to defend for the entire turn. This differs from what would happen if you wanted to abort your regularly scheduled action to have your character defend against an earlier attack. In the case of aborting, you give up your regular action and cannot defend against subsequent attacks.
  • If you do a multiple action involving both nondefensive and defensive actions, your character attacks when your place in the initiative queue comes up, and then also defends against any attacks thrown at her by characters that follow her in the queue. All of your character's attacks take place on your initiative, but she can continue to defend other incoming attacks until the end of the turn. The multiple-action system applies, though, and each subsequent defensive action becomes more difficult (See Multiple Opponents).
  • Naming multiple opponents to defend against complicates the matter further and adds to the defense rolls' difficulty numbers (See Multiple Opponents).
  • Rather than attack and defend in the same turn, your character can choose to do nothing but defend against attacks. As with the system above, this differs from aborting your turn to defend against an attack that occurs prior to your regularly scheduled action. Instead, you defend against only those attacks that occur simultaneously with or following you in the initiative queue. Your character may not defend against attacks that happen prior to her regular action. If your character does nothing but defend in this manner, do not use the multiple-action system. Rather, you have a full dice pool for the first defensive action and lose one die from it for each subsequent defensive action made in the same turn. When you run out of dice, your character may no longer defend against attacks. It's tough to avoid several incoming attacks.