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Is withdrawing from close combat a free action in Savage Worlds Deluxe?

The rules seem to say moving up to your Pace is a free action, but I'm not really sure about this, as moving, in my current understanding, might involve (?) an Agility roll (based on how drawing a bulkier weapon may require one), and actions that require rolls... aren't free?

Whether it's a free action is crucial because shaken characters can only take free actions.

Could someone please clarify?

(Yes, I'm a total newbie to this system. Sorry. I've read the rules over a few times, but questions remain, especially when I'm trying to put them into practice.)

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Moving your pace is always a free action. From Savage Worlds Deluxe:

Characters may move their full Pace (usually 6” for humans) in a round. This is considered a free action and doesn’t inflict a penalty to any other actions, such as firing a weapon or taunting a foe.

(Emphasis mine). Note that when a character is Shaken, they can still move their Pace because when you are Shaken, you can only take free actions and this is a free action.

The rules for withdrawing from close combat are as follows:

Inevitably, your hero will decide discretion is the better part of valor. Whenever a character retreats from melee, all adjacent non-Shaken opponents get an immediate free attack (but only one—no Frenzy or other Edges apply unless they specifically say otherwise).

Note that withdrawing isn't an action or anything, just an extra consequence if you are moving away (a free action) to get away from an enemy in melee. So you can still withdraw if you are Shaken.

The rules on withdrawing from melee also specifically draw attention to the Defend combat option (+2 Parry, but no other actions that turn). You can normally Defend at other points in combat as a regular action, but as a special case when you are withdrawing, you have the option to use the Defend action as you are retreating:

A character may take the Defend option (+2 Parry) while retreating from combat, but won’t be able to perform other actions that round besides movement and still suffers the free attack.

The benefit to using it as described above is that you would get +2 Parry against the free attacks against you. Using the Defend action in this situation is entirely optional (as affirmed by this official answer on the Pinnacle forums). So you can also choose not to use the Defend action and still take normal actions afterwards, provided you survive the free melee attack.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Its possibly a little unclear from what you've written - is it worth mentioning that you can use the Defend manoeuvre in circumstances other than withdrawing from combat too? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jun 28 '14 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phil Yup, you can use it in other circumstances. This basically lets you use it "early" by Defending as you are withdrawing. I've revised the wording to make it clearer, let me know if I should make further revisions. \$\endgroup\$ – Thunderforge Jun 28 '14 at 21:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're not really "using Defend 'early'". Savage Worlds allows you to take actions at any point in your turn, whether before, after, or in the middle of moving. Using Defend while moving is not a special case. (I can't find where this is stated directly in the rules, but the Multiple Actions section on SWD 66 uses the example of "a character might shoot a pistol, move a few inches, then issue a Taunt", making it clear that you can act both before and after moving.) \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Sherohman Jun 29 '14 at 13:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveSherohman, you're right, the terminology I was using is a bit confusing, so I can change it. It can still be helpful to think of it as being "early", but technically that's not accurate since, as you said, you can move before, after, or between actions. \$\endgroup\$ – Thunderforge Jun 29 '14 at 18:27

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