Defensive stance grants an additional evasion reaction and causes incoming melee attacks to be made at a -20 penalty. The tradeoff for this is that you can't attack (I'm paraphrasing the rule while I wait until I have access to the rulebook). Counter Attack allows for a once per turn (notably not once per round, one per turn) attack made after a successful parry.

Can the two be used together, as far as I know, RAW, they can, but I'm seeking errata, statements from developers, and general public opinion on the matter, as the rules don't specifically address it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Apologies for the confusion. The [rules-as-written] tag is not for question about what the rules are, confusing as that is. It's specifically for when doing strict rules-as-written shenanigans. As this question is merely about the [rules], a banned tag, it does not merit having the [rules] tag, and the [rules-as-written] tag is not meant to substitute for that banned tag. (To avoid homebrew or opinions, it's enough to say so.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 10 '17 at 7:07

I don't see why this would need to be addressed by a developer. Defensive Stance only imposes restrictions on how you can spend your Reactions:

Until the start of his next turn, the character can only use his Reactions to make the Evasion Reaction

while Counter Attack gives you the opportunity to make a Standard Attack as a Free Action, not a Reaction:

Once per turn, after successfully Parrying an opponent’s attack, this character may immediately make a Standard Attack action as a Free Action against that opponent using the weapon with which he Parried

Thus the two features don't conflict at all.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Defensive Stance also prevents you from making any attacks. Counter Attack allows you to make attacks as a free action following a successful parry reaction. RAW, this means you can use both, but RAW you can also overwatch fire infinite times a turn every turn, so I'm going to need some kind of clarification as this seems like it could have been an oversight. \$\endgroup\$ – Space Ostrich Feb 14 '17 at 3:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SpaceOstrich Defensive stance doesn't say anything about preventing you from making attacks. It says you adopt a defensive stance instead of making attacks that turn, but that doesn't apply to attacks you make outside of your turn. \$\endgroup\$ – Zso Feb 14 '17 at 14:55

Defensive Stance is on page 221 of the Dark Heresy 2nd Ed. Core Rulebook.

Could the two (Defensive Stance and Counter Attack) be used together?


When you take a Defensive Stance you are given one (1) extra Reaction that turn, but that extra Reaction and all other Reactions must be taken as Evasion actions. If you are stuck evading attacks using the Evasion Reaction then you cannot be Parrying them with the Parry Reaction, and thus cannot utilize Counter Attack since you're never triggering it.

RAW reference source listed above but copied here for posterity - emphasis added:

Defensive Stance

Type: Full Action

Subtypes: Concentration, Melee

The character makes no attacks and instead focuses solely on self-defense. Until the start of his next turn, the character can only use his Reactions to make the Evasion Reaction, but may make one additional Reaction, and all opponents suffer a –20 penalty to Weapon Skill tests made to attack him.

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    \$\begingroup\$ But the 'Evasion' reaction includes two subtypes (that the character must choose from); the 'Dodge' test and the 'Parry' test. Parrying an attack is part of the Evasion reaction, it's not a separate reaction. \$\endgroup\$ – Zso Feb 16 '17 at 0:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oops. You're right. I think I accidentally conflated Evasion Reaction with Dodge Reaction. \$\endgroup\$ – smiley trashbag Feb 16 '17 at 0:14

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