Can scripting defensive action make you easier to hurt?


I’ve been looking at the strike block/avoid interaction and it seems to me that defensive actions can be counterproductive in some cases. With a strike scripted against nothing or another strike 1 succes gives an incidental hit, 3 a mark and 5 a superb hit (assuming add 2). However under strike is says that “margin of success in versus test are used to increase damage and target specific locations” (page 441). It seem to me that means that 1 success gives an incidental (it specifically states earlier on the page that tied vs test gives no result), 2 a mark and 4 a superb, meaning that if you don’t roll any successes or if your successes are eaten up by obstacle penalties, you’re more likely to get hit by a mark or superb result.

This seems counterintuitive to me for 2 reason. First because defensive actions should make you harder to hurt and while I can buy that a particularly clumsy defense could hurt you, but with a superficial would you’d need 5 dice or so to make a defensive action worthwhile . Secondly because it narrows the gap between an incidental and a mark result.

Am I reading the rules wrong somehow? Should I be assuming that 1 success is “consumed” by actually landing the hit, or that a defensive action simply can’t make you worse of that no action?


Should I be assuming that 1 success is “consumed” by actually landing the hit

This is how I’ve always played it.

It always takes one success to hit. Then a weapon’s Add stat determines how many more successes are required to increase damage. Since most weapons have Add 2, it takes one success to score an incidental hit, three successes to score a mark and five successes to score a superb.

In a versus test, you need a margin of success of one to get an incidental, a margin of success of three to get a mark and a margin of success of five to get a superb.

Defensive actions are also useful because they give you bonuses afterwards as well. For instance, Block if you win you can spend extra successes to get more dice in your next action, increase ob for the opponent, or to make them hesitate, while avoid just strait reduced their successes by yours.

Avoid is advantageous when you have a low or non-existant weapon skill, or are fighting multiple opponants (avoid counters any attack made against you; block only counters one).

Ok, we’re in Fight, neither has advantage. You script strike and roll 5s. I script block and get 3s. Your margin of success is 2, so you treat it as if you had rolled 2s. So you get an incidental result, and you may move it one location.

If I had scripted strike instead, your 5s means you would have a superb result.

Seems there’s pretty wide agreement that one succes is consumed by the incidental hit, which also strikes me as the most reasonable interpretation. In restrospect my “literal” reading was probably sligthly pedantic. Thanks for the feedback guys.

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Also see Page 26: Versus Tests.

The interaction goes this way: Strike with Sword vs. Block, Block has three successes so the Strike will need at least four to land the blow. In order to take advantage of the Add value of your weapon, you need at least six total successes as Add is spends beyond what you needed to land the blow. When reading the rules for Add on page 466, imagine that Ob simply means “the number of successes needed to land the blow” since in the case of a Versus test (Block vs. Strike for example) the test difficulty that you log for advancement is different than the number of successes the aggressor needs to succeed.