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Using dodge defensive reaction against melee attack

Noob question about using dodge against a melee attack. Am I understanding the rules correctly that this is allowed, but generates a doom point?

The talent Pantherish Twist states that it allows this and reduces the amount of doom generated to a minimum of 0, so by my thinking this is allowed without possessing the talent, but generates the 1 doom?

Is this correct?

Also, if the defender is unarmed, how does this affect his defensive reaction?


In the pre-final version of the Conan 2d20 rules you could choose to Dodge or Parry as a Reaction, Dodge used the Acrobatics skill, Parry the Parry skill. (That is the way it was handled in Mutant Chronicles or Infinity, the predecessors of Conan - but in those two games you don’t have a dedicated Parry skill, you simple parry using your Melee skill, you dodge using your Acrobatics skill.)

There had been lengthy discussions on Google+ about some players maxing out their Agility and thus being able to attack using Melee and dodge using Acrobatics very well, making the Parry skill and Coordination attribute unnecessary for a close combat character.

To make the Parry skill more attractive, the option to make a Dodge Reaction versus Melee attacks was removed. Dodge now only is applicable versus Ranged Combat attacks and always generates Doom - as usual for Reactions.

With the “Pantherish Twist” Talent, the Doom cost is reduced by one point, and you are allowed to use the Dodge Reaction to defend against Melee attacks. Without this Talent you cannot Dodge a Melee attack at all.
(This is similar to the “Reflexive Block” Talent (Parry) which allows to use the Parry skill to make a defense against Ranged Combat attacks. Without this Talent you cannot Parry a Ranged Combat attack at all.)

The Parry skill encompasses not only binding/parrying the opponent’s weapons, but also footwork, evasion, weaving, ducking, etc. - so it is applicable even if you are an unarmed defender.

If you are unarmed, your Reach is 1, so every attacker will not have any raised Difficulty due to longer Reach of the defender as Reach 1 is the minimum Reach you can have. Other than that, there is no advantage or disadvantage for an unarmed defender.


Thanks for the great reply Frank!

Got it, no more using dodge against melee attacks anymore.

That being said, am I understanding correctly that an armed attacker (say a broadsword) does not gain any advantage against an unarmed defender using parry as defensive reaction? That makes no sense to me.

That models the setting of Conan quite well: being unarmed is not much of a problem for a Sword&Sorcery character, at least in the defense.
On the attack, though, the Conan 2d20 rules for Reach make it harder to succeed, unless you manage to make the armed opponent lose Guard. And if the opponent already had a Reach 1 weapon, even that does not make much of a difference.

Parry includes footwork, evasion, “dodging” (in the general sense, not the Dodge Reaction as a rules term). So if you are unarmed, yes, you can defend yourself without any higher Difficulty.

(In Mutant Chronicles, the “ancestor” of the 2d20 RPGs, there is a distinction between Close Combat skill and the separate Unarmed skill. In MC3 you need a special Talent to allow you making unarmed Parry reactions - while everyone can make a Dodge reaction against close combat attacks anyway.

I wish Conan 2d20 had an Unarmed skill. Talents regarding grappling and unarmed martial-arts are distributed everywhere, under the Athletics (Pugilist, Brutal Brawler) and Melee (Grappler) skill and in the Wanderer source book (Martial Arts Talents - recently, and wrongly, renamed as “Unarmed” Talents, although some are about weapon-wielding martial arts) - those unarmed Talents would fit better under a dedicated Unarmed skill, maybe associated with Agility or Coordination.)

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Another point to consider:
If you are unarmed, you only do 2[CD] Stun, Improvised damage (plus your Melee damage bonus). That is not only a very low damage rating, the Improvised Quality means, that you don’t cause 1 damage on a rolled Effect.
That makes it really, really hard to stand against an opponent with a broadsword doing 5[CD] plus Melee damage bonus, which also has the Parrying Quality, Reach 2, which makes the base Difficulty of an unarmed attack D2 instead of D1 the other way around.

If, as some here in the forum already suggested, you raise the Difficulty for a Parry Reaction of an unarmed defender against an armed attacker, this would shift the already significant survival chance difference even further.

In the Conan 2d20 rules as written, it is a very BAD idea to face an armed opponent with empty hands (unless you have a some Talents from the Martial Arts tree in Conan the Wanderer, which help to mitigate that a bit).

I may implement that raised difficulty for a parry reaction like the others have suggested at least until I see how it works out in combat (and determine if its to much advantage).

Awesome information Frank and thanks!

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