Dodge, Block & Parry for Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland/Cairn

I’ve been really inspired by a few things recently: Dark Souls, Elden Ring, and super-sleek minimalist RPG Cairn. This is my interpretation of bringing Soulslike tactical decision making to the tabletop!

The Simple Version

The Warden will declare which enemies will attack which character. Before damage is rolled, a character under attack has 4 options:

  • Fight back. Choose one attacker and deal your damage against it – after you’ve taken the incoming damage.
  • Dodge. Any incoming strong or weak attacks become Impaired.
  • Block. Any incoming fast or weak attacks become Impaired. Requires a weapon or shield.
  • Parry. Choose one attacking opponent that you are able to attack in return. 
    • If you roll higher attack damage than they do, their diceroll is invalidated, and you deal your damage straight to their STR.
    • If the opponent rolls higher, the damage is dealt to your STR instead.

Active Roll Version

The Warden will declare which enemies will attack which character. Before damage is rolled, a character under attack has 4 options:

  • Fight back. Choose one attacker and deal your damage against it – after you’ve taken the incoming damage.
  • Dodge. Make a DEX Save, and add your current Armor to the roll. 
    • Roll with Advantage if the incoming attack is strong or weak. Optionally: Roll with Disadvantage if the incoming attack is fast.
    • On a success, you take no damage.
    • On a failure, you take regular damage. Optionally: damage becomes Enhanced.
  • Block. Make a STR Save, and subtract your current Armor from the roll.
    • Roll with Advantage if the incoming attack is fast or weak. Optionally: Roll with Disadvantage if the incoming attack is strong.
    • On a success, you take no damage.
    • On a failure, you take regular damage. Optionally: damage becomes Enhanced.
  • Parry. Choose one attacking opponent that you are able to attack in return. 
    • If you roll higher attack damage than they do, their diceroll is invalidated, and you deal your damage straight to their STR.
    • If the opponent rolls higher, the damage is dealt to your STR instead.

Weak, Strong, Fast & Sweeping

Each enemy attack falls into one of 4 categories. It should be clear to the players which enemy would deal what type of attack.

  • Weak attacks possess no special properties. Think: goblins, skeletons. Choosing to Dodge or Block should both be valid.
  • Fast attacks move too fast to be dodged effectively: think rapiers, daggers, bows. It’s best to Block these.
  • Strong attacks move slow and pack a punch. Think: hammers, a ogre’s punch. It’s best to Dodge these.

Sweeping attacks cannot be Dodged or Blocked. Think: magic, a dragon’s breath. These are best avoided through movement and cover.

Mix & Match

This system is designed to present interesting player choices: What if a minotaur is about to use his club on your (Strong) and a snakeperson archer is taking aim with its bow (Fast)?

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