So this idea comes from a video recently uploaded by Shadiversity - I assume people on this forum are likely to be familiar with him but if not then go check out his videos, he has a great series on what real world weapons would be best for fantasy creatures/races. Lots of stuff in those videos can be applied to OL and I can assure your players will remember a battalion of orcs with ballista-like warbows more than your cut and dry orcs with battle axes.
His newest video was on Fairies and he basically concluded that because of their size, they would have more proportional strength than humans (because ants and physics) which means they could wield swords up to double their own height. They could then zip around with rather long, razor-like swords and use their momentum to slice their enemies to ribbons.
Interesting tactic, but it got me thinking. With this strategy, they would be very hard to hit, but if they were forced into a situation where they had to block/parry and couldn’t evade, they would be woefully ineffective, especially with brittle, razor-thin swords. This got me thinking about other races that are maybe small and nimble creatures (or even just swashbuckling types) but terrible at blocking attacks head on; so here’s my attempt at a feat to bring this concept into OL.
Fancy Footwork (I-III)
Cost: 2 points
Tier 1 - 3: None
Whether through cybernetic implants, muscle enhancing nano-machines or just pure dexterity you find your defensive talents are far superior when skilfully evading a blow as opposed to absorbing the force behind it with a parry or a block.
Tier 1 - When dodging an attack, treat your guard as 1 point higher, when parrying or blocking treat your guard as 1 point lower. Additionally, when using a Defend action to actively dodge you receive advantage 1. When using a Defend action to actively block or parry you receive disadvantage 1.
Tier 2 - When dodging an attack, treat your guard as 2 points higher, when parrying or blocking treat your guard as 2 points lower. Additionally, when using a Defend action to actively dodge you receive advantage 2. When using a Defend action to actively block or parry you receive disadvantage 2.
Tier 3 - When dodging an attack, treat your guard as 3 points higher, when parrying or blocking treat your guard as 3 points lower. Advantage and disadvantage for Defend actions are the same as in Tier 2.
I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever use this feat, I’m just theory-crafting it as an idea on how to make fast and frail characters feel simultaneously more nimble and more fragile. I don’t think that dodging and blocking being put into one ‘Guard’ stat is necessarily a bad thing but I think it’s a good idea for PCs to be given the option to specialise in one or the other if it fits their character. (Perhaps an opposite of this feat could also exist?)
I feel like overall this would be a buff to a character as in most situations they will be able to describe how their character evades the incoming attack and therefore gets the bonuses - but when they aren’t able to evade they pay the price. This also limits their ability to use Defend actions to heroically jump in front of an ally to absorb an incoming blow which I think is an interesting trade-off as it effects the rest of the party.
Let me know what you think, is there another way to achieve this (perhaps with a perk or some other mechanic)? Is it horribly unbalanced? Have I been a boob and missed an existing feat that already does this?