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Only someone caught completely by surprise, a fool, a masochist or a martyr stands still and takes whatever an enemy has to dish out. Most combatants seek to avoid getting hit and hurt.

A target is automatically allowed a degree of evasion when an opponent uses a Brawl, Weaponry or thrown attack against him. Such a response is a reflexive action and applies even if your character is attacked before his place in the Initiative roster. This reaction is called your character's Defense, a trait equal to the lowest of his Dexterity or Wits. Your character's Defense is subtracted from an attacker's dice pool. In essence, your character bobs and weaves to avoid the blow.

This automatic Defense does not normally apply against Firearms attacks. The only instance in which Defense does apply against Firearms-based attacks is when the attacker shoots within close-combat range; within a yard or two of the target[1]. Defense does apply normally against thrown weapons, such as rocks, knives and spears.

Multiple Attacks

If multiple close-combat attacks are directed at your character in the same turn, he may try to evade each of them, but doing so becomes progressively more difficult. Each attack after the first diminishes your character's Defense modifier by one. So, if three attacks are staged against your character who has a 3 Defense (his Dexterity is 3 and his Wits is 4), the first attack suffers a -3 penalty, the second suffers a -2 penalty and the third suffers a -1 penalty. A fourth attack would suffer no Defense penalty. Basically, your character's Defense is subtracted from incoming attacks, but it gets progressively harder to avoid them.

If you elect, your character doesn't have to apply his Defense modifier until a specified attack comes in. Maybe he singles out the foreseen attack of a specific opponent over all others. You declare one attack as the primary. Your character gains his full Defense against that attack and you can apply a reduced Defense to any attacks that come after that prime attack. You cannot, however, use any of your character's Defense against attacks that take place before the primary. Your character tries to weather any attacks that come first, reserving his evasiveness for one in particular and then any that follow.


A target who is tied up, unconscious or simply unmoving does not receive Defense as protection. Nor does one who's taken by surprise or who is unaware of an incoming attack (say he has his back turned). That is, the attacker's dice pool is not modified by the target's Defense trait. A completely dormant target -- a person who is tied up so that he cannot move at all, or who is unconscious -- is a sitting duck for a killing blow[4]. The attacker need not make a roll; he delivers damage equal to his dice pool. If the target wears armor, its rating is automatically subtracted from the damage inflicted.


A further option is to spend a Willpower point to increase your character's Defense by two against a single attack. If his Defense is normally 2 it increases to 4 for the incoming attack. If he has already evaded other attacks in the turn and his Defense is currently reduced to, say, one, a spent Willpower point increases it to 3 to avoid a single attack. Basically, your character puts special effort into avoiding a particular assault[5]. At the start of each new turn, your character's full, normal Defense trait is restored.
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