Popular fiction is replete with master swordsmen deflecting arrows with their blades or martial artists knocking aside or even catching thrown weapons. In our efforts to reduce skill bloat and add a “cinematic” quality to game play we’ve allowed the ability to parry missiles along with the standard option of applying OB to DB against melee weapons. For simplicity we prefer to build it into the normal OB/DB mechanic but we have also play-tested it as a combat expertise skill as well.
Parrying a missile attack uses 2 modifiers: the missile parry modifier of the parrying weapon used (which models the utility of the weapon in deflecting a missile object) and the missile parry modifier of the missile itself (which models the size and speed of the missile). Weapon missile parry modifiers can be found on the “Weapon Attack Modifier Chart” posted on the RM Forum (you need to have a forum account to see and download). The download can be found here:
Missile Parry Modifiers are as follows:
In our current simplified version anyone can parry a missile attack under the following conditions:
- They must be aware of the attack.
- They must have OB to allocate towards the missile parry attempt.
- The allocated OB to DB must exceed the weapon and missile parry modifiers.
Ex. Caylis, the famed Warrior Monk is confronted by a powerful servant of the Unlife, a Messenger of Kulag. Before they can close and engage, the Messenger fires his short bow at Caylis. Caylis decides to full parry the missile attack. His 110 MAStrk OB is modified by +10 (parry weapon modifier) and the arrow is modified by -60 (missile modifier) for a total modifier of -50. Caylis can add +60 to his DB against the arrow.
Note that between the parry weapon modifier and the missile parry modifiers, a character might need a very high OB to offset those penalties and be able to add any DB against the missile attack. This is purposeful and reflects the high level of skill and weapon mastery needed to successfully parry a missile attack.
For those that prefer a skill-based mechanism and a more effective missile parry system we also play-tested “Combat Expertise: Missile Parry”
Missile Parry: This skill reduces the parry weapon and missile penalties associated with blocking or parrying a thrown object or missile. The skill must specify the weapon category to be used. For Unarmed MA, the skill can also be used to catch a thrown object or missile. The character must be aware of the attack and must have available “action” left. The catch attempt is resolved before the attack resolution: Treat as an Absolute Maneuver modified by the attack OB, Missile Parry Mod and Missile Parry skill bonus. Success the object is caught. Failure and the % failed by is added to the missile attack roll.
Ex. Caylis, the famed Warrior Monk is confronted by a powerful servant of the Unlife, a Messenger of Kulag. Before they can close and engage the Messenger fires his short bow at Caylis. Caylis decides to full parry the missile attack. He has +60 in Missile Parry: MAStrk which offsets the +10 (parry weapon modifier) and -60 (missile modifier) for a total modifier of -50. Caylis can add his full +110 OB to his DB against the arrow.
Alternatively, Caylis can elect to catch the incoming arrow in the hopes of impressing and intimidating his opponent. The Messenger fires his arrow. In order to catch the arrow Caylis must roll above 110! (110sb + 60 weapon modifier -60 Missile Parry skill bonus). He rolls an 82, short of success and the Messenger can add an additional +28 to his attack roll since Caylis intentionally put himself in the arrows path during his attempt to catch it!
- We allow unarmed melee the same parrying ability as weapon melee. It’s implied that unarmed combat techniques incorporate defensive block/dodge/parry techniques into their respective combat systems. Additionally, “Parrying” has been defined as not just one specific, physical, blocking of a blow but the general balance between offense and defense.
- Because of this allowance we eliminated the skill “Adrenal Defense”. This always felt like a work around: since MA attacks couldn’t parry then there needed to be a mechanism for martial artists to dodge and evade blows.
4 thoughts on “RM Combat Hack: Missile Parry”
I’m wondering if the idea of missile parry could be integrated into RMU’s new rule about shield parry. In RMU, instead of shields just automatically applying their full DB to all attackers in the attacking arc, shields now have a number of attackers they can block (i.e. apply their full shield DB to). So a wall shield has 4 IIRC, and a target shield only 1. Further, for each foe beyond 1 that you want to use your shield against, you have to make a shield skill roll, with 101+ being full success.
I like this better because it is kind of cinematic: you can actually feel that you really are trying to block a blow with your shield: sometimes you block it, other times it gets through. It sounds like your missile parry rules are not that different, and could be relatively easily integrated into RMU.
I already use # of attackers to shield size in my house rules. However, I personally avoid using secondary combat skill checks whenever possible–I think it’s getting way out of hand and creating a subsystem in the game mechanics: dodge, disarm, evade etc.