Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pricing of Enhanced Parry

Is Enhanced Parry priced economically?

Enhanced Parry (one Melee Weapon skill) doesn't get purchased a lot in my games. It did occasionally in 3e, but not at all in 4e so far.

Even folks who really want a high Parry don't buy it.

The price is 5/level for Enhanced Parry (one Melee Weapon skill). It gives you a +1 to Parry with that weapon skill.

Two levels of weapon skill costs 8 points. This gives you:

+1 to Parry, and:
+2 to hit
+2 skill for all purposes of combat options or special attack modes (make or resist Feints, add another level of Deceptive Attack, mitigate use of a large shield, mitigate against a level of bad footing, etc.)

In 3e, the same thing cost you 16 points, and Enhanced Parry (one skill) was 6 points. So 6 points for +1 Parry vs. 16 for +1 Parry + stuff was a potentially good tradeoff.

In 4e, not so much.

So if people avoiding purchasing it because the price is a bit too high for what they get out of it, I think it's worth considering re-pricing it.

So what would be a fairer price?

If you line it up with 3e, 6/16 is 37.5%. In 4e, that would be 8 x 37.5% = 3 points.

That's a bit generous - weapon skills do a lot, but really it's two things - attack, and defend. Attack is pretty big, and it includes some passive enhancement of your defenses (resisting Feint), but defense is huge. Blow a defense roll and bad stuff happens. Make it and bad stuff doesn't. I'd rule that a limitation (Parry Only, -50%) is probably more fair.

That would make Enhanced Parry (One weapon skill) 4/level in 4e.

I think that's more in line with what players will actually lay down for it. Yes, you could have bought 2 levels of skill instead of Enhanced Parry 2, but it's +2/+1 vs. +0/+2, when that +2 is what is important to you. While 3 points is a strong bargain - buy it ASAP as soon as you are allowed, in as many levels as you can get (+3 Parry for 9 points is a great deal, especially at moderate points) - 4 is a tradeoff. I like when things are a tradeoff.

What about the rest?

The full version - 10 points for +1 to all Parry rolls for all combat skills - is still useful. Pricey, but if you use multiple weapon skills or unarmed skills, and want better defense, it's a good deal. Especially if you're buying 2-3 levels of it. Sure, +1 DX is 20 points, but it adds +1 to your skills and +0.5 to your Parry, while 2 levels of Enhanced Parry (All weapons) gives you a nice +2 to Parry. +5 skill is 20 points, too, and that's +2.5 Parry . . . for one skill. If you're using Wildcard skills, 24 points for a +1 Parry vs. 20 for a +2 Parry is a potentially good deal, too.

So I'd say at 10/level, it's fair if you're worried about defense more than anything else.

Enhanced Parry (bare hands) is 5/level for a +1, but it's effectively covering as many as 5 skills - Boxing, Brawling, Karate, Judo, and Wrestling. Since you can't always use the same parry to do the same thing, it's not terribly uncommon for unarmed fighters to master a couple of those skills (usually one striking, one grappling). 5/level is okay here, since it's +1 any time you parry unarmed regardless of what skill you use for it.

The other enhanced defenses are probably okay as well. Enhanced Block is 5/level but the primary use of a shield is defensive. It is also an offensive weapon, but let's face it, people buy it up primarily to get better defenses. Plus its multiple defense cascade is rough (-5, -3 with TBAM or WM.)

Enhanced Dodge is pricey at 15/level, but as anyone who has fought a high-Dodge opponent will tell you, it is the most broadly useful defense. It annoys flail fighters, archers and throwers, slam guys, grapplers, and shooters alike.

How did this work in actual play?

It hasn't, yet, but I think I will offer it up at this price and see if I get any takers. I know one of my players might bite, another might not - he's still more focused on "versatile" than on "narrow excellence." But 4/level makes it at least a tempting choice. 3/level feels too cheap, and it's hard to re-cost something higher, later.


  1. An advantage that gives +1 to a skill is 2 points. Since Parry (and Block) are at half-skill, you need two levels—4 points. "Parrying Only" sounds like it would be a -25% limitation. It isn't worth -50%; "Accessibility: Only on psis" is worth -50% and that's a lot more limiting. Applying the limitation, Enhanced Parry (One weapon) and Enhanced Block are 3 points/level.

    1. "An advantage that gives +1 to a skill is 2 points."
      I'm curious about this assertion. If that's true, why would anyone ever pay 4 points per level in a skill once they reached the 4/level point in the skill cost progression?

    2. An advantage that gives a +1 to skill is indeed 2 points (p. B118), but it's not necessarily an extension you can apply to partial uses of a skill. You can end up with 3/level, but I just think that's too damn cheap.

    3. I think Peter's approaching this a lot like overbooking an airplane. If the first offer is $1500 worth of tickets per passenger, the plane is empty, and you can't undo it. If the first offer is an extra snack pack, then a $100 voucher, then a free ticket and a meal, and THEN you get enough takers to make the flight work, but not so many that you've just created new problems, you hit your target.

      If he lowers the price to 4 per level, and he gets a few takers, booyah. If not, he can later drop it to 3 per level, and then see how many take it or not. Can't put the cat back in the bag, or the ship in the bottle, or whatever.

    4. That's pretty much it - plus I don't think that 2 for +1 in Basic works extended past 3 levels (the stated max) or for combat skills (which get lots of exemptions). Enhanced Parry is best cost-compared against the actual skill you'll be cost-comparing it to in play, not a theoretical combat-skill-for-parry-only advantage you can't really make. That's the other part of it.

  2. One possible solution is to assume that the 5 point Enhanced Parry applies to a class of weapon skills, rather than one weapon skill. So +1 to Parry with all swords, or all pole weapons, etc. That matches up with the Enhanced Unarmed Parry.

    1. I think that could work, although some people are still going to want to add to parry with a single weapon. Those folks still won't buy a 5-point Enhanced Parry because it just doesn't help them more than upping their particular skill.

      I do like the idea, though, and I may use it - with cost scaling by the size of the class of weapons.


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