>Thief 4: Defenses (and offenses?) in M&M/DCA

>As the final entry in this series, and for the benefit of those new to the system, I’m going to discuss a little bit about Defenses and how they work in DC Adventures, along with something of how they might relate to the real world. 

Defenses: 15 pp
Dodge 7, Parry 8, Toughness 4, Will 6, Fortitude 6

As you can see, there are 5 primary defenses in the DC Adventures game, each one modified by a different ability – and in some cases, by powers or advantages. Defenses exist in pairs; Dodge/Toughness, Parry/Toughness, and Will/Fortitude. Each pair cannot have a total rank higher than twice your characters PL – in this case, twice the PL is 12. Certain types of characters will emphasize one over the other. Our thief is agile, better able to avoid attacks, but less able to shrug off the ones that hit. A barbarian or heavily armored fighter type might go the other way.

Dodge is a measure of how well a character can avoid ranged attacks; bullets, energy blasts, thrown objects, arrows, and so on. It also affects a characters ability to reduce the impact of explosions and similar effects. Parry is the ability to avoid close – or melee – attacks. This includes both evading and actively turning blows aside.

Put more simply, Dodge and Parry determine how hard it is for an enemy to hit you. In game terms, the DC – or Difficulty Class – of an attack roll is determined like this:

Dodge/Parry + 10 = DC

The attacker rolls 1d20 + Appropriate Modifiers, and compares the result to the DC. Which brings us back to the core mechanic of the game. Elegant, no? 

If the various modifiers are confusing at all, your GM can help you remember, but most character sheets will already have your most common attacks totaled out for you on them; all you have to remember is 1d20 + The correct number. But for the record, they work like this:

Ranged: Dexterity + Ranged Combat Specialty Skill + Ranged Attack Advantage
Close: Fighting + Close Combat Specialty Skill + Close Attack Advantage

There are one or two other modifiers that might come up in special cases, but generally these are the ones you’ll have to worry about. Back to defenses!

Okay, so you know the basics about how one avoids getting hit. What happens if you get hit?

That’s where Toughness comes in. Toughness is just like it sounds; it’s a measurement of your physical ability to resist being significantly hurt. The ability to shrug off a blow and keep fighting.

Toughness works a little differently than the other defenses. Once you know if an attack hits, the defender has their own roll to make; a Toughness roll. The DC is the damage bonus of the attack + 15.

Here’s an example. Our thief gets hit by a hammer wielding barbarian. That hammer packs a wallop, with a total damage bonus of +8 – and given our thief’s ability to avoid being seen, that’s quite a feat. Our thief now has to roll 1d20 + 4, and needs to roll a total of 23 or higher to avoid being hurt (on the dice, that means a roll of 19). Needless to say, fighting such a barbarian head on would probably not be his best move.

On the other hand, using hit and run tactics and taking advantage of his partial concealment, our thief might do fairly well. The barbarian I mentioned only has a +4 bonus to hit – and partial concealment cuts that in half! – which means that the barbarian has to roll a 16 or higher in order to hit the rogue in the first place. If the thief uses the defensive attack action, the barbarian will have to roll even higher to hit him. And of course, a good thief won’t fight fair.

Hopefully, this will give you a decent primer on some of the basics of combat in M&M/DCA.


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