Thoughts on Parrying?

First, let me say that if I missed or forgot a rule or notation in the book about parrying, I am sorry and please direct me to where I can find it.

What do people think about having an option to Parry attacks? It would be done instead of making an attack in a round, so it would be a form of fighting defensively. The defending character would declare they are attempting to parry an attack. To succeed they must make an Attack Throw that equals or exceeds the Attack Throw of the attacker. So if the attacker’s total is 19, then the defender would need to have their total equal 19 or higher to succeed. If successful, the character is unharmed that round.

Note, the character can only attempt to parry once per round and this would replace their normal attack.

What are your thoughts on it? Good? Bad? Any suggested tweaks?

While I’m all for ‘defensive’ mechanics, as I’m reading what you’ve written up there, it sounds as though their actual skill is irrelevant. Is that the case? Or are you adding their to hit modifiers as a ‘roll over’ system (i.e. a 9+ to hit AC0 is a +1 to the roll)?

Doh! Okay… A correction on that. The defender would need to hit an AC at least as good as the attacker. So if the defender has an AC of 6 and the attacker’s total roll would hit an AC 9, then the defender would need to make an attack throw and hit an AC of at least 9 to avoid being hit. Everything else is the same.

Also, I meant to limit it to weapon attacks only. It would not work against natural attacks (bites, claws, etc)

I would have it work against all melee and missile attacks.

There was an official ruling in BECMI. In essence, a character declates that he is parrying and forgoes all his attacks this round and all enemies have a -4 penalty to their attack rolls (melee and missile) if they are attacking the parrying character.

So proposal: what about parrying with a shield? Wouldn’t you think that a shield is more useful in parrying and provide a bonus to the parry-roll or do you think that the bonus of a shield is already accounted for in the defender’s AC and thus the defender should not get a “double-benefit” ?

My thoughts:

An “attack” is not a single attack, but a series of them, and your AC already includes a certain amount of parrying. It is actually quite difficult to fight without parrying.

What you seem to want is “devoted” defense, which would be a step up from defending-while-attacking. Using “fighting withdrawal” and “full withdrawal” as a guide, that should function as a fighting withdrawal, but granting +2 AC instead of allowing an attack.

Shields in ACKS have comparatively little benefit for their mass and requirements, so bumping that +2 to +3 with a shield does not seem unbalanced.

If you want truly aggressive parrying, use the disarm and sunder rules.