Regain Guard and Retaliate

Does the Minor Action “Regain Guard” provide an opportunity for the Retaliate Reaction?

Retaliate “may be used when an enemy attempts to make a non-attack skill test when within Reach of the character or when an enemy attempts to move out of Reach of the character without using the Withdraw action.”

Regain Guard would seem to meet that requirement.

It was asked in this topic but not answered: Dagger against Spear! Guard and Reach

I don’t have my book in front of me but I don’t remember regaining guard requiring a skill check so it shouldn’t allow for retaliate reaction. If I am mistaken (my players rarely use items with reach so this is rarely a problem) then as it is a skill check then it would.


Regain Guard takes a Parry test. So if someone is within reach then I would say yeah Retaliate can be used. Unless Parry is considered an attack skill test. I don’t think it is though.


Now this I know. As you are not actually parrying but using the parry skill to roll against it isn’t an attack. So, yeah, it would allow for retaliation.

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Personally I’d say that it’s part of fighting so no. I’d reserve retaliate for “let me stop and patch this ally’s stab wound,” “let me perform this magical ritual,” or “let me pretend that picking a lock is a thing I can do in a hectic high stress 6 second combat turn.” If I were to let retaliate go off for a regain guard then I might as well let you retaliate against the opposed parry roll for an attack.


I kinda get this. But… being able to Regain Guard on an unopposed Parry Test makes the ‘Break Guard’ momentum spend kinda bad. Particularly when Disarm is usually the same Momentum cost (and realistically achieves an extremely similar mechanical outcome).

I’m already erring to allow Break Guard off appropriate Exploit actions. I’m running a low fantasy game, so my two PCs are both ‘rogues’ so daggers aplenty, and in the first game one of my players successfully broke his target’s guard by a Persuade check prior to combat to luring a guard into a room and then later by using an Exploit action to Dodge under the boss’ Guard.

So it makes sense to me that you can Retaliate vs a Regain Guard, which would turn the action into a Struggle. Particularly since characters who choose to Break Guard are likely to have low Reach weapons, so it’s likely to be D1 or at most D2 for the character trying to Regain Guard.

That, and I’m a fan of anything that can convince my players to give me more Doom.

Thanks for the feedback though. :slight_smile:

i followed that conversation quite interested and i do understand, why regaining guard gives the enemy a retaliate attack, but why does the parry-skil check to regain the guard get harder from D1 to D2?

also as i read the rule for regaining guard i also was confused about how easy it would be to regain the guard, so also i think the retaliate attack should be provocated

When Retaliating against Regain Guard, that would not be a Struggle though, right? A Struggle is defined on p. 98 as being “When two characters are in direct opposition to one another…” and they give examples of defending against an attack and a chase sequence. In this case it seems like Regain Guard is not “in direct opposition to” (that is, their ability to regain their guard happens, or not, independent of my character).

My read would be that the Retaliate is triggered when the other character “attempts” their non-attack test, the Retaliate resolves, then the other character finishes trying to resolve their Regain Guard.

I’m open to making a change, just want to check my logic there with the crowd :slight_smile:

well im not quite sure how it is in the rules… i still am not 100% knowing the rules yet.

but i think if you fight someone and just took down his guard, you pretty much do everything to not let him get up his guard again. So i would say by the theory you actively try to stop him from regaining guard…
like if he steps back to be able to weild a long weapon again, you follow him and try to step closer, so so can easy block his weapon arm and attack him, without him beeing able to use his (long) weapon to block or counter attack, because he doesnt have enough space to effectively weild it.
im really not sure sure how it is thought off in the rules tho.

I don’t have a page number for you because I’m looking at my custom-built GM screen. But my notes say that Regaining Guard requires a Parry test = to the Reach of the enemy. I’m interested in seeing this rule you found about increasing Regain from D1 to D2, because this doesn’t correspond to my notes.

In our Conan game, no one has broken Guard nor made use of broken Guard. My last PC, I noticed, could have bought a Melee talent that added +2# to attacks vs people without Guard, but, to use it, I expect I would have had to

  1. Attack Successfully.
  2. Spend 2 Momentum (or Doom) to Break Guard.
  3. Spend 2 more Momentum (or Doom, or Fortune) to take a Swift Action and attack again.


On his turn, my opponent most likely is going to Regain Guard (because it’s a Minor Action to do so). Or I might get lucky and he’ll fail, but since usually the benefits to Breaking Guard go to those with weapons with lower Reach, it seems like this would be unlikely. The extra damage for the Talent might be worth the cost in resources, though. It’s an interesting tactical consideration.

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well i just read it from another person in the forum and was not sure about if i didnt see it or if that person was wrong. seems more likely now that he was wrong and not me.

well i have a player character, who has tallents in the melee skill tree.
“adaptive combatant” (p.73) that allowes him to to increase or decrease the reach of his weapon so it gets used kinda often.

also if you fight together with another player against an hard enemy its not that unlikely that player a breaks guard and player b attacks with the benefits of no guard for the players both attack before the enemy (at least normally and witrhout doom beeing spend)

That’s my read. Instead you would want to use the “Create Obstacle” momentum spend to make it more difficult for the Regain Guard action to succeed. This is why it’s important to resolve the reaction before making the Parry roll – with a 3-point Momentum spend plus the possibility of a Wound, you can turn the action from nearly automatic to nearly impossible.

@fencingmonkey : I understand the sence of why it makes sence to first do the reaction first, but how do you get to have a -3 momentum to the parry test?

It isn’t directly -momentum, but you can always spend 2 momentum to make another action have +1 difficulty (repeatable, immediate, limit 3). Because it’s Immediate you can always max it out if you’re willing to pay the Doom. Because difficulty maxes at 5 (not clear from the rules but confirmed in the FAQ) and the difficulty for Regain Guard is the largest Reach weapon, which means it’ll usually be D2, you can push it to D5.
[An earlier version of this post messed up the rules here.]
All of this assumes that your side isn’t outnumbered, which would allow your opponent to instead Withdraw as a free action and then (being outside of reach) Regain Guard as another free action. This would, of course, leave them outside of Reach without the ability to re-engage on this turn, since they can’t take another movement action.

well i get it, thank you.
sometimes its not that easy to find every rule for they are seperated listed in the core-rule book.

I’d absolutely play it as a Struggle. Why, because it makes sense to me to do so.

The rules on this provide intent “direct opposition”: to me a fighter trying to Regain Guard and a fighter trying to land an attack before they do ARE in direct opposition: ie I see it as a fighter trying to get my Spear back on line between them and the cultists with a Dagger vs cultist with a Dagger trying to stab the fighter before they can get their Spear back on line.

But that’s me as a GM: it’s absolutely something that requires GM interpretation because it’s not explicit.

There’s a lot of Retaliate actions I’m likely to resolve as a Struggle simply because both characters are simultaneously trying to affect the other. But it’s not universal it’s contextual:
A character who says “I’m going to attempt to Exploit by tumbling around to flank the enemy I’m in Reach of”, I’m probably going to play that as a Struggle (the Acrobatic movement is opposed by the attempt to strike them as they pass), but someone who says “hey he stabbed me last turn, I’m going to grab the Spear and hold it in me as an Exploit action so my buddy can get a free shot”, I’m probably going to allow Retaliation as a not a Struggle when the opponent goes “in which case I Retaliate by shoving the Spear in deeper!”.

Regain Guard is harder the higher the Reach of your opponent’s weapon.

Many thanks for the responses ; very helpful. :+1:

And my apologies for not acknowledging those sooner ; crazy work schedule… :wink:

From the Core rulebook:

Regain Guard (Minor Action): The character takes a step back from the fray and brings weapons up, ready to defend again. This requires a Parry test with a Difficulty equal to the highest Reach of the weapons wielded by any enemies within Reach. If the character has no enemies within Reach, then the Difficulty of this test is Simple (D0), and Regain Guard may be used as a Free Action.

My interpretation is that this means that even if the character who lost guard is surrounded by six spearmen, the Parry test is only a Daunting (D3) test and this is effectively the struggle. There’s no option for retaliation; the mere fact that there’s a Reach 3 weapon in Reach makes it a Minor Action and D3. As someone else said earlier, the mere fact that it’s a Parry test doesn’t open the door to a Retaliation action; if that were true, then a Parry test with a shield would as well, and it clearly does not.

Another example of how this otherwise awesome game is sometimes complicated to interpret!

Do you make EXPLOIT triggering also Retaliate?
I guess that some exploit should give retaliate…but why should a feint-like Persuade or Stealth skill roll trigger a retaliate?
I mean, I guess it make sense (and it become a kind of struggle, but struggles themselves seem odd in this situation since Retaliate is supposed to happen BEFORE the Exploit or Regain guard, as per core rules p.117.

Furthermore, I guess feinting (Exploit) should be considered to be part of the attack…
By the way, I kind of suspect that the “non-attack skill test” should be read as a “non-combat”.