I'm thinking about adding something called Defensive Withdrawal to my game. Some other d20 RPGs I've played have some kind of "full defense" option & it's nice for those characters who are in the back ranks and don't have a missile shot or some other potent option available that round.
This would work identically to Fighting Withdrawl (including the declare requirement), except that it would remove the option to attack a pursuing opponent who comes within reach, instead providing a +2 bonus to AC.
Note that a character wouldn't have to move backwards but could stand in place, weaving and watching for any incoming blows or missiles.
I'd probably rule this wouldn't stack with Cover else a guard spying out arrow slit or similar be virtually untouchable.
Thoughts? Potential problems?
Just in case it’s useful, I previously asked about fighting defensively here: http://www.autarch.co/forums/ask-autarchs/fighting-defensivelytotal-defense
As long as defensive withdrawal otherwise parallels fighting withdrawal as you suggest, I can’t think of an issue. I’d say try it and let us know how it works.
Note that fighting withdrawal applies to engaged opponents, so I’m not sure what you have in mind with respect to characters in the back ranks. If they are “poised to run away”, for example, that might be reflected by an initiative wait followed by running (as they are not engaged).
Thanks for the link, CharlesDM. Without even trying it, I prefer Alex's suggestion to my own. It has added benefit for a front line Fighter-type who realizes (too late?) they're suddenly in a lot of trouble and need to turtle up and hope for the best until they can declare a Fighting Withdrawal on the following round.
It also provides a more flexible option for me as a judge; I can create a stronger frontline for my intelligent monsters who are protecting something/someone without me being reliant on a 3-5 Morale result for my baddies. I can also use it as a slight safety valve for when things are going poorly for the PCs; I make all rolls in the open & am often praying I don't hit a PC. Defensive fighting by the occasional wounded bugbear would help answer that prayer.
As you noted, the terminology/category of the option I came up with is also not as hygenic rules-wise; I'll keep "withdrawals" for engaged opponents only.