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I've been consulting a few RIFTS and Palladium system forums online to try and figure out exactly how the Automatic Dodge system in the games work and have been rather unsuccessful. So I'm turning to the RPG stack to try and come up with a legitimate explanation for the ability and its mechanics.

Automatic dodge is an ability conferred by certain Hand to hand skills, classes such as Juicer, super powers such as Extraordinary Physical Prowess, Super speed, etc. that confers the ability to dodge without using up one of your melee actions for the round.

There are other dodge bonuses in the game systems that confer similar bonuses to dodging. It doesn't state anywhere in any book I've read in the Palladium system whether or not the dodge bonuses from hand to hand, or other skills can be added to automatic dodge bonuses to determine if an attack is dodged.

So my question is thus:

Can Automatic-Dodge Bonuses and Dodge Bonuses added together to determine whether or not an attack is evaded without using up a melee action, and where if any can I find the rules to support said answer?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If automatic dodge versus dodge is inconsistent across the two tagged games, do you want an examination of both or one in particular? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 7 '15 at 1:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ An examination of both would be superb. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Dec 7 '15 at 3:18
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Dodge bonuses and automatic dodge bonuses are tracked separately; they are not combined to determine a character's automatic dodge bonus

Automatic dodge as per Rifts Ultimate Edition (fourth printing, June 2010) says, in part, that

Bonuses to auto-dodge [i.e. automatic dodge] come from the character's P. P. [Physical Prowess] attribute and any special bonus specifically for it (the bonus, skill or enhancement will say "automatic dodge"). (344)

Automatic dodge as per Heroes Unlimited, Revised Second Edition (first printing, Mar. 1998) says, in part, that

When a character is trying an automatic dodge, only the automatic dodge bonuses (if any) are used. The automatic dodge and regular dodge bonuses are not cumulative. The two maneuvers rely on different techniques and thus have separate bonuses. (67)

This is a big enough deal that the Palladium FAQ (which isn't technically official but which pulls from official sources for answers) for Combat includes this exchange:

  1. I am a bit confused on this autododge issue. Bonuses for normal dodge are for dodging during your HtoH combat. If you run out of attacks, you may still dodge or parry with autododge/parry and the bonuses of autododge only apply to when your melee actions/attacks are used up. Correct?...

    Answer: You can use the auto dodge whenever you want in place of a parry without spending any additional attacks/actions to do so. Bonuses from Auto-Dodge come from the P.P. dodge bonus (if any), and any bonuses to auto dodge. This generally means your auto-dodge bonuses are less that normal dodge bonuses, so you may elect to auto dodge and use a smaller bonus, or do a normal dodge with higher bonuses (but using a attack/action). ...

The FAQs were last updated June 2002, so it appears this issue was clarified over a decade ago, but, given that my version of Heroes Unlimited is older than the last FAQ update and that I prefer the original Rifts softcover to the fancy Ultimate Edition (which vastly and unnecessarily limits the availability of secondary skills ), it wouldn't surprise me that many folks still play with a character's regular dodge bonuses applying also to the character's automatic dodge. Here is even a 2014 thread on the Palladium messageboards curious about how this affects products not yet updated for this change.

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While I'm not too sure about dodge in Rifts, In Heroes Unlimited your Automatic Dodge bonus is equal to the abilities giving you automatic dodge, in addition to any bonuses conferred to you by having more than 16 Physical Prowess.

So in this instance, if your Physical Prowess is 20, which confers a +3 to dodge, and you have the Super Power "Extraordinary Physical Prowess", which confers a +3 to Automatic dodge, those are the only bonuses which count towards your automatic dodge rolls.

If that was further augmented with Sonic Speed, your Automatic dodge would gain an additional +4, topping you out at +10 Automatic dodge!

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