# Mini Six: How can I avoid the “dodge” skill tax?

I have been reading over the "fast static combat" rules for Mini Six. A character's dodge value is equal to the number of pips in their dodge score, so a character with dodge of 6D would be hit if the attacker rolls over 18.

Having static defences removes the need to roll the dodge skill for anything, and the fact that D6 system combat is so lethal means that you really, really, don't want to get hit. Therefore, just about everyone will spend the maximum 2D in dodge.

That smells suspiciously like a "skill tax" to me, and I'd like to tweak the combat system to remove it.

I have two ideas:

1. Make the PC's dodge value twice the number of pips in their agility stat, so a PC with agility 4D would have dodge 24. This is actually a buff for characters with more than 1D+2 in agility, but I'm thinking of allowing specialisations in combat skills to compensate.
2. Make the PC's dodge value equal to the number of pips in their highest combat skill, a la Feng Shui.

What implications would each of these have (whether problems or benefits)? Am I missing a more obvious fix?

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… combat is so lethal means that you really, really, don't want to get hit.

And yes, that's the way it should be. :) And your players may have to go through a couple of (dead) characters before realising that. The best way to avoid getting hit is to avoid combat at all costs.

In my opinion, modifying the formula for a character's dodge score will only alter the skill tax you mentioned in some manner, causing people to invest less in Dodge and more in Agility or their other combat skill. It will not remove the tax. It will only change how it is collected.

You may be relying on the Dodge score too much. There are other similar scores in Mini-D6, like Block, Parry and Soak and they also depend on an investment in skills. If they don't cause the same effect you mentioned, you may be overusing Dodge or under-using the others.

This may be because of the way your group interprets the potential of Dodge. Theoretically, you may dodge a fist, a sword or a bullet. But though not so obvious in the rules text, the intent of the rules seems to be that you are expected to use Block, Parry and Dodge against brawling, melee and firearms respectively. I think, if you have been using Dodge in an omnipotent manner, relegating it to be useful only against ranged attacks and having your players decide between using skill points for various defensive scores will help your cause.

Even renaming Dodge into something more firefight-specific like "Duck & Cover" or "Evasion" may help.

If that doesn't turn out to be enough, you may invent more specific defensive scores for other things as well and use them. The first thing that comes to mind is a "Fight" score based on Courage, used for defending against intimidation of all sorts, or "Focus", used to defend against distracting influences when working with delicate stuff.

And you should make sure that these additional defenses are brought into play often enough so that your players see them as a worthwhile investment, rather than putting all their dough in a catch-all Dodge.

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Thank you for the detailed response. Notice that Block and Parry are defences that come as a side-effect of a combat skill, whereas Dodge is still a defence that costs skill dice but is never used for checks. Perhaps it should key off some other skill (acrobatics?)? I am trying to tweak the combat system to give it an "action movie" feel, similar to the Feng Shui RPG. Having PCs fall incapacitated after a single hit doesn't really give the correct vibe. I am considering switching to the body point system and making BP equal 4 times the number of pips in might. – Jack Kelly Aug 8 '12 at 2:52
Yep, a skill like Athletics or Acrobatics should help to calculate Dodge if you want a cinematic feel. For a more realistic and gritty game, it could be Tactics or Firearms to imply that you don't actually dodge the bullets but just avoid being shot at properly in the first place. – edgerunner Aug 8 '12 at 7:31

I would houserule dodge defense to be derived from several different attributes/skills, so player's wouldn't feel like they have to buff up a single defense skill (dodge).

For example; back with D6 (with 6 attributes), I made a static dodge defense stat that was equal to 4 + the number of D you have in Dodge + the number of D you have in Perception (plus any range or cover modifiers).

The Dodge skill could probably be done away with all together, though. In Mini Six, static dodge defense could be derived from D in Wits + D in a ranged weapon skill of your choice + some base number (4?). Just a thought.

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I think that due to the differences between dodge/block/parry and under what circumstances they are useful, dodge probably doesn't need to be adjusted, (ie it's better than the alternatives in some situations, worse in others, and in some it's your only option).

My interpretation of the defences in mini six are...

When attacked you can dodge, block, or parry. Which is best to use depends on the nature of the attack.

Dodge is the most versatile because you can use it reliably against any attack, and if you do nothing but defend during your turn you get a +10 to your dodge score. On the other hand if the attack is coming at point blank range (the case for most melee combat), dodge is at a -5 compared to a block or a parry, (which is one good reason to perhaps prefer the other two in close quarters situations).

Parry is based on your weapon skill and is probably the best to use for general melee combat because it doesn't have the -5 of dodge, and it's tied to the same stat that allows you to attack. The downside to parry is that you can't parry ranged attacks, and if you don't have your weapon for whatever reason, you can't parry then either

Last but not least is block. If you are hand to hand fighting this is probably the best bet. The down side I see with block is that if you are fighting someone who has a weapon and you do not, then I would think your arms/legs would be hit by the weapon, thus negating the defensive effect of blocking. If you had a shield to block with then I would think you could still use block in a fight with weapons, and I think assuming you had a shield I would even allow blocking certain types of ranged attacks like arrows and the like.

These are merely my interpretations, take with a grain of salt.

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Another option would be to penalize Dodge in Melee combat. Where a -5 Penalty is supposed to apply you could apply a -10 Penalty for using Dodge vs. Melee attacks. So, a Static Dodge score of 19 would only be a score of 9 vs. Melee Attacks.

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