Rake's Dodge Ability

Discuss B/X rules, BECMI rules, Rules Cyclopedia, and the crunchy bits from the gazetteers here.
The Book-House: Find Classic D&D (BECMI) products.

Moderator: Blacky the Blackball

Post Reply
User avatar
Irondrake
Ogre
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:17 pm
Gender: male
Location: Michigan, United States

Rake's Dodge Ability

Post by Irondrake » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:04 am

In adventure module DDA1 Arena of Thyatis, the rake class was given the Dodge ability, although it was later removed in the sequel module DDA2 Legions of Thyatis. Has anyone attempted to keep the Dodge ability as part of the rake's special abilities, and if so, how did you keep it balanced?

Per page 10 of DDA1:
A rake with initiative can dodge one melee attack by rolling his "Hide in Shadows" percentage. If he declares no attacks, he can try to dodge each incoming melee attack in the round.

Ranged spells, area effect attacks, and missiles cannot be dodged, and the maximum chance do dodge never exceeds 90%
Reading this as is, the rake could dodge melee attacks, but not thrown or missile attacks. He could also dodge touch spells. Thus, he could dodge one incoming attack and still be able to attack in the same round if he won the initiative roll for the round. But if he choose to not attack that round, and won initiative, he could attempt to dodge all perceived incoming attacks.

One would presume the rake could also use combat movement normally while while dodging, as it is not stated that this is not possible.

Now, at low levels, this ability does not seem too unbalanced, as the Hide in Shadows percentile chances are low, but as the Rake climbs in levels, this chance goes up. Eventually the dodge ability would cap out at 90% chance of success. This would seem to be crazy unbalanced, as a rake who won initiative could dodge a melee attack that struck him with relative ease.

Part of me likes this ability, but I can see that it is obviously overpowered at the top end. Any suggestions on how this ability could be modified to make it balanced for game play with the rake class?

User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
Posts: 19412
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: Rake's Dodge Ability

Post by Havard » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:21 am

Rakes have to give up Backstab and Pick Pockets, so it is not unreasonable that they get a real compensation for this. DotE also notes that they aren't part of a Thieves Guild, which to my mind makes them less interesting to play. The only advantage DotE provides to the class is that they are "trusted more than Thieves".

I like that DDA1 revisited the class. I don't like how this ability is handled, however. As you say it can become really powerful, but at the same time not being allowed to make attacks while using it seem like it might get a little boring for that player who is just trying to stay alive? Although I suppose situations where killing the opponents is not the only way to win the day can become quite fun for the Rake player.

One possibility is just to give out a flat AC bonus. Maybe even allow Rakes to use the AC bonus chart for Mystics (RC p 31)? I'd keep it maxed at -6 like regular Mystics though.

I am not sure how the "respect among people" should be handled. Rakes lose the ability to form their own Thieves Guild, so they need some other options for high levels.

I also allow Thieves and Rakes to use 1d6 for HP and Find Traps becomes an automatic effect instead of having to declare it for both classes.

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
THRESHOLD Magazine - The Mystara Fanzine
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

User avatar
Irondrake
Ogre
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:17 pm
Gender: male
Location: Michigan, United States

Re: Rake's Dodge Ability

Post by Irondrake » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:59 pm

The AC bonus as per the Mystic class is interesting. Though that bonus would likely be on top of leather armor, magic bonus (if any) and DEX bonus (if any), which could lead to a very high AC at the higher levels of play too. Maybe a flat AC bonus of +2 (or +4?) versus all perceived melee/touch attacks would work better?

I have considered capping the Hide in Shadows percentile roll to 50% (reached by 12th level for rakes), but even that seems too high. Maybe something lower, like a 20% or 25% cap? That may work better considering that the rake can also attack in the same round when dodging one melee/touch attack.

Perhaps the rake's "respect among the people" is because they are seen more as swashbucklers or dashing rogues than thieves. I had not thought about the loss of the Thieves Guild aspect of the class, and I believe you are right, Havard, in that rakes do need something at higher levels. I would tend to see them forming dominions similar to fighters at higher level.

Korro Zal
Orc
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:11 am
Gender: male
Location: Japan

Re: Rake's Dodge Ability

Post by Korro Zal » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:05 pm

Being a big fan of the DotE boxed set, I’ve run lots of games with Rakes (and Foresters), and I always gave Rakes the Dodge ability (and the Charisma bonus) from Arena of Thyatis. It’s potent, but no more unbalancing than Fighters with weapon mastery and multiple attacks, Thieves with good stealth capabilities and backstab, or the numerous spells Clerics and Magic-Users can use. I never saw a need to change it or water it down.

NPCDave
Stone Giant
Posts: 779
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:11 am
Gender: male

Re: Rake's Dodge Ability

Post by NPCDave » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:30 pm

At high levels, the rake is almost immune to one melee attack per round...however, a high level fighter gets multiple melee attacks, which means some attacks will still go through and it just puts the rake on a more even footing with the fighter as they fight with very different styles.

The only issue I see with game balance is if the high-level rake opts to avoid all melee attacks against two high-level fighters, eventually they are going to win but the rake could potentially tie them up for a long time. But the smart play is for one of those fighters to break off and engage someone else while the other puts up with what will be a drawn out melee.

Post Reply

Return to “Classic D&D”