This page includes a collection of rules updates that are being beta tested for the 2023-2024 Realm of Strife season, as part of the Volanthia Divided: Horn of Agathor campaign.
As these rules are tested and feedback is gathered this page will be updated to reflect the latest versions of these new rules. Some rules may be published directly to the main RoS website as they are tested.
Reactions are a new component to each combatants available options during a full round of combat, much like an instant or action, but in addition to them. They always take place during someone else’s turn rather than your own, typically being an opponents turn. Only one Reaction can be taken each round of combat. Reactions are triggered by something else occurring during the round, most commonly being an enemy attacking, though triggers can vary and will always be stated in the rules for a specific reaction.
For the this beta test the following existing skills or game mechanics will be treated as Reactions:
Out-of-Turn Weapon Attributes
Impale: now counts as a Reaction, but otherwise the rules remain the same, with the exception that you cannot Impale AND Ward-off, as each of these is considered its own Reaction and only one Reaction may be made each round.
Ward-off: now counts as a Reaction, but otherwise the rules remain the same
Parry: now counts as a Reaction, and has been completely rework for this beta test, see Parry Section below. Must choose between Parrying or Blocking, cannot do both.
Block: now counts as a Reaction, and has been completely rework for this beta test, see Parry Section below. Must choose between Blocking or Parrying, cannot do both.
Out-of-turn (OOT) Instants
Any skill or spell in the game that is listed as an OOT Instant is treated as a Reaction instead. Unlike an OOT instant, using a Reaction DOES NOT count as an instant in your next turn.
While this may make certain OOT Instants unbalanced during the beta test, these will eb investigate for potential nerfs The most likely source of unbalanced Reactions will be for Defensive Focus skills, which can eb quite strong but came at the cost of removing the ability to attack with your instant on the next round. Effort will be given to properly balance this.
Roll With the Blow: now counts as a Reaction, triggered AFTER an enemy hits you. Nuance here is that, if you used your Reaction to attempt to parry the blow but failed, who could NOT roll with the blow.
Attacks of Opportunity (AoO): the free attack(s) granted when an opponent moves out of base contact are now considered a Reaction
Secondary or Passive Skills
Some secondary skills and passive skills may prove to be good candidates for the new Reaction rules. At this time, these at e ones that will be treated as Reactions, and the list will be expanded as more are identified.
Battle Casting (Rank 1 – Intercept Cast): Once per turn, as a reaction, may immediately use a direct damage ranged/LOS power against an enemy
that moves just before they move into base contact so long as the caster was not in base contact with any enemy on the previous turn. Doing so negates any Impale weapon effect and prevents any casting on your next turn.
Bludgeon Specialist (Rank 3 – Guard Break): If not using any action based special abilities that round, can instead elect to use a bludgeon weapon to do a Guard Break; if hitting Guard Break causes half-damage but prevents the target from using any
defensive measures for 1 full round (i.e. block, parry, ward-off, Reversal, Catch Weapon, etc…) defensive Reactions for 1 full turn.
Axe Specialist (Rank 3 – Momentum Blow): When an enemy moves into base contact and attacks you, as a Reaction, you may elect to use an axe to do a Momentum Blow immediately following the enemy attack; if hitting Momentum Blow cause +1 damage per inch that the enemy moved to come into base contact with you;
using a Momentum Blow prevents using any action based special abilities on your next turn. Can only be used once per round, regardless of how many attackers.
Staff Specialist: (Rank 4 – Disengage): During enemy turns, any time you successfully ward off an attack with your staff, as part of the same Reaction you may immediately disengage from combat without being attacked for doing so
Bow and Crossbow Specialist (Rank 4 – Quick Aim): Can fire an arrow/bolt, as a Reaction,
an out of turn instant, at an enemy that will end its movement phase in base contact with you; can be a Slowing Shot if you do not use any special abilities in your next turn; if combining with a Pinning Shot the half movement is instead applied immediately, potentially preventing the enemy from getting into base contact
Shield Specialist (Rank 4 – Sacrifice Shield): As a Reaction, can chose to ignore a single blockable attack (essentially 100% block) as well as a Critical hit, however the shield is then damaged and can no longer be used until repaired, must decide after roll to hit
New Block and Parry Rules
To fall more in-line with the new Stat Test rules already implemented earlier this year (see Stat Tests), Block and Parry will be no longer be based on a flat percentages chance, but instead use a modified form of Stat Test. In order to facilitate this and balance the relative difficult of blocks and parries, two new calculated defensive stats are being added to the game.
Block = Strength – 10
Parry = Agility – 10
This formula may be adjusted as the beta tests proceeds, but current represents a success chance of 15% at a rather average stat value of 13 (with 0% at 10, and 50% at 20). This is before weapon attribute modifiers. Long term plans would be to incorporate this directly into the Defensive Stat Section of the Character Sheet, however for the beta test player’s can manual add these two stats where the see fit.
Choosing a Block or Parry Reaction (in response to an opponent indicating they are rolling to hit) will require a stat test with the associated defensive stat.
Like all stat tests, roll 1d20 and add the value of the block or parry, then apply any Advantage (+) or Disadvantage (-) modifiers to the outcome.
|1d20 + Stat + Adv. – D’adv.||Outcome|
A natural roll of 1 on the d20 is always a failure, even when the sum total is greater than 20 (due to high stat values combined with advantage modifiers). In some cases GMs may want to treat this as a “Critical Failure” and apply further negative consequences, such as the weapon or shield being knocked out of their hand (counting as a Disarm for the defender) or the attacker becoming Vulnerable.
A natural roll of 20 on the d20 is always a success, even when the sum total is less than or equal to 20 (due to low stat values combined with disadvantage modifiers). In some cases GMs may want to treat this as a “Critical Block/Parry” and apply further positive outcomes, such as the blocked or parried weapon being knocked out of the attackers hand (counting as a Disarm for the attacker) or the attacker becoming Vulnerable. However, in instances where a natural 20 is the ONLY chance of success this should never be considered a “critical success”.
When a shield or other item with the Block attribute is equipped and you are aware of an incoming attack, you may choose to attempt to Block a single incoming attack as a Reaction. Both melee and ranged attacks can be blocked, as well as most projectile based ranged spells.
To block an incoming attack a Block Stat Test is taken at the same time as the attackers hit roll. Shields typically list a positive number next to their Block attribute, representing the advantage applied to your Block Test when using that shield. There may also be other sources of advantage (or disadvantage) applied to your block test.
Success vs Ranged attacks: No damage is inflicted, except for Crushing Blow damage. Critical Hits/Casts cannot be blocked, except on a “Critical Block”, which effectively cancels a Critical Hit/Cast and treats it as if it were a regular hit/cast.
Success vs Melee attacks: Minimum damage is inflicted, plus Crushing Blow damage. Critical Hits/Casts can be blocked, but inflict 2x (minimum damage, plus Crushing Blow damage), instead of double damage. This also causes damage to the shield and can potentially cause a crushing injury to the hand, arm or shoulder. A “Critical Block” effectively cancels a Critical Hit/Cast and treats it as if it were a regular hit/cast.
Failure: If the attack hits, full damage is inflicted. Crushing Blow does not apply.
During the beta test, assume the following conversions for the Block attribute:
|Shield / Weapon||Existing Block %||Advantage (+)|
|Bone Hide Shield||10%||2|
When a weapon or other item with the Parry attribute is equipped and you are aware of an incoming attack, you may choose to attempt to Parry a single incoming attack as a Reaction. Only physical melee attacks can be parried (unless otherwise stated).
To parry an incoming attack a Parry Stat Test is taken at the same time as the attackers hit roll. Parrying weapons typically list a positive number next to their Parry attribute, representing the advantage applied to your Parry Test when using that weapon. There may also be other sources of advantage (or disadvantage) applied to your block test.
Success: No damage is inflicted. Critical Hits/Casts can be blocked, but doing so causes the parrying weapon to be knocked from your hand (counting as a Disarm for the defender). On a “Critical Parry” there is no disarm.
Failure: The incoming attack ignores Dodge. If the attack hits, full damage is inflicted.
During the beta test, assume the following conversions for the Parry attribute:
|Type||Weapon||Existing Parry %||Advantage (+)|
|Hand Weapons||Bladed Tonfa||8%||1|
Improvised Block and Parry
While swords and shields are design for these purposes, in an emergency almost anything can be used to block or parry. This is known as an improvised block or parry, represents using any weapon or item that does not explicitly state a block or parry attribute in its description.
For blocking this could be an improvised shield like a barmaids serving tray or a piece of a broken door. While for parrying it would more likely be a weapon such as an axe or bludgeon that isn’t expressly designed to parry due to wooden elements in its construction.
Improvised blocks and parries use the same stat tests as other blocks and parries, but carry some additional risk.
On a natural roll less than or equal to 10, the improvised shield or weapon is knocked from your hand (counting as a Disarm for the defender), regardless of the total score after modifiers.
On a natural roll less than or equal to 5, in addition to being knocked from your hand, the improvised shield or weapon will also become damaged (cracked, weakened, broken), unless otherwise immune to damage.
When using improvised blocks or parries, the size of the weapon or item used can grant additional advantage or disadvantage as follows:
Overpowering as a weapon attribute serves to counteract blocks and parrys. As such it must also be converted from a flat percentage to a disadvantage applied to an opponent block or parry attempt. Expect to see more weapons given the Overpowering attribute as the test continues.
During the beta test, assume the following conversions for the Overpowering attribute:
|Weapon||Type||Existing Overpowering %||Disadvantage (-)|
Specialist Skills Effected
The following Secondary skills are being temporarily modified as we beta test the new block and parry rules. If you find others that should be modified, please let us know.
Sword Specialist (Rank 4 – Riposte): During enemy turns, any time you successfully parry a melee attack immediately make a free half-damage attack with your sword against the parried target, as part of the same Reaction
does NOT include when adding block to parry
Hand Weapon Specialist (Rank 4 -Disarm):
Any time you combine the parry of your two hand weapons into a single parry you also gain disarm equal to half of the combined parry value plus any existing disarm chance (i.e. twin Reaper Claws when combined have a parry value of 20%, therefore they also have 10% disarm, this stacks with the existing 6% disarm for a total disarm of 16%) Any time you successfully parry with your hand weapon, you may also choose to Disarm your opponent.
Shield Specialist (Rank 2 – Critical Block):
Receive a 5% Critical Block chance (if rolling 5 or less when blocking, can Block a Critical hit) You now score a “Critical Block” on a natural 20 or 19, and receive -5% Critical miss when attacking any type of shield
Sword and Board Specialist (Rank 1 Stand Ready): Adds
+5% +1adv to the block attribute of any type of 1 handed shield and +5% +1adv Parry (Swords) or +3% Crit (Axes) or +5% Stun (Bludgeons) or +5 hit (any other weapon type). Can also Block AND Parry, as a single Reaction.
Duelist Specialist (Rank 2 – En Garde): When in base contact with a single opponent gain +0.5/lvl Dodge
contribution to AC and gain a 10% parry the Parry attribute with ANY weapon when no weapon is in your off hand that can be added to ANY weapon type or +1adv Parry if it already has the Parry attribute, (increase s to 15% by +1adv at lvl 10 and 20% by +2 adv at lvl 15)
Great Weapon Specialist (Rank 1 – Heavy Swing): Adds
+10% to -2 to Overpowering weapon effects OR +2 to Crushing Blow weapon effects OR +3% to Cleaving weapon effects when wielding two-handed melee weapons
Paired Weapon Specialist (Rank 1 – Paired Combat): Receive +1 weapon damage to both weapons when wielding two identical weapons (Not including advanced/rune crafting or enchants) and can either combine the parry modifiers of your paired weapons to attempt to parry a single attack OR attempt to parry two separate attacks (with you main hand and then off hand), as part of the same Reaction.
Freestyle Specialist (Rank 1 – Adaptable): You can use any weapon used in the main hand, even if lacking the correct weapon proficiency, without suffering the Combat Penalties for using a weapon they are not trained in; does not apply to weapons that are forbidden for a particular class (i.e. that they can never gain proficiency in regardless of training, see Class Codex for details); if using a main hand weapon you have proficiency with, gain +2 weapon damage; if using Rank 3 Strongman to wield a two handed weapon in your main hand this bonus weapon damage is lost. Can either combine the parry modifiers of your paired weapons to attempt to parry a single attack (both weapons must be the same size) OR attempt to parry two separate attacks (with you main hand and then off hand), as part of the same Reaction.
Freestyle Specialist (Rank 2 – Leftie): Off hand attacks made with a weapon you are proficient with gain +5 hit, +1 damage, and +5% to
Parry, Stun, Cleaving, or +1 to Parry and Entangle effects
Warder Specialist (Rank 2 – Rapid Ward): May Ward-off one additional attack
each round as part of the same Reaction.
Warder Specialist (Rank 4 – Circle Ward): A special Reaction that allows a ward-off to be made against
off one melee attack from every enemy within melee range of your weapon at -5 Disadvantage to your Initiative Stat roll-off, however this negates any regular Ward-Offs and does NOT benefit from any of the effects of previous Ranks of the Warder combat Specialization