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The Full Defense action is, mechanically, somewhat unreliable compared to the Defend action: Defend gives you a straight +2 Parry, while Full Defense lets you roll Fighting+2 to set your Parry. Since that's statistically identical to 2 + half Fighting for Extras, and only slightly statistically better if you've got a Wild Die, Full Defense doesn't seem very… full.

However, I just re-read the opening sentence of Full Defense (SW Deluxe Explorer's Edition, p. 82):

In addition to the usual Defend option, a character can go for a full defensive action.

I initially read that as just a fluffy introduction to the Full Defense action, saying that it's just another option for someone who wants to go on the defense.

Does it actually mean, though, that Full Defense is not merely an alternative to Defend, but is actually done simultaneously (the other way to read "in addition to")? That would make a Full Defense more effective, since you'd be guaranteed at least a +2 Parry, and more if you rolled well.

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This question also came up in our games this week and I had no answer too. –  David Allan Finch May 3 '13 at 21:55
    
My gut tells me they are separate actions, but I don't have my book handy. –  Toast May 3 '13 at 22:05
    
@Toast Yeah, my gut says the same. I just found this too, and if they could be stacked I would expect Clint to have said so; plus, they have the MAP and move distinctions to make them useful in different ways. Maybe they're just badly named. :) Still, stacking doesn't seem broken, so I'm not sure which interpretation makes most sense. –  SevenSidedDie May 3 '13 at 22:14
    
@DavidAllanFinch and I both found the same thread, which breaks down the different uses pretty well. It's much more character/edge dependent than I first thought. Also, a character with a low fighting (d4,d6) has a better chance of raising their parry. –  Toast May 3 '13 at 22:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

From Clint:

Um, nope. Even discounting the Wild Die and Acing, the average for a die is not half it's highest value, it's half the highest value +1 (for it's lowest value). So the average for a d4 is 2.5 not 2.

And once Acing is accounted for, it goes even higher, such that the dice average more than half their highest value +1. So to use the d4, the average for an Acing d4 is 3.33.

And then when the Wild Die is accounted for (to represent PCs where Full Defense is meant to be used primarily), the average roll is almost exactly at half the die type +2, the same as Parry.

So Full Defense with the +2 added averages the same as Defend, but with different options and tactical choices.

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Ah! So my stats are just that far off. That's useful to know. –  SevenSidedDie May 3 '13 at 22:38
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My check for SW probabilities is this online probability calculator - it lets you turn the wild die on and off and shows you the probability of raises too cameralovesyou.net/swprob/swprob.rb –  Timonides May 4 '13 at 10:23
    
@Timonides That's a very handy tool. So the chance for every die size of improving Parry by at least 1 is 50/50 or better, and greater than that at d6 or d4. That's good to know. –  SevenSidedDie May 5 '13 at 18:26

It seams that the difference is that with Defend you can Move but you can't use an Action but with a Full Defence you can do an Action but not Move.

So if you use something like Two Weapons you can attack with one and be on Full Defence with the other. So you are dropping your attack by -2 (or -4) to gamble you can increase your parry. Clint seams to suggest that this is 50/50 in this thread on the Pinnacle forum. Not sure I agree but some players may think it is worth it.

Looking at Defend and Full Defence it depend if Full Defence is an Action. If it isn't they they stack and you get to gamble on increasing your Parry and the additional +2 from Defend. I think that is how I would rule it works in my game.

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Yeah, a lot of people miss that the only limitation to Full Defence is that you cannot move. –  Phil May 3 '13 at 23:05
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The rule of thumb I've seen is that something is an action if it's proactive and takes a roll to succeed, so Full Defense would be an action. The stuff in that thread about using it with a MAP also indicates that it's officially an action. –  SevenSidedDie May 4 '13 at 1:26
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Full defence is an action. If you want to undertake another action at the same time you would have a multi-action-penalty of -2 on both actions. peginc.com/forum/… –  Timonides May 4 '13 at 10:29

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