When you stand in defense of a person, item, or locationunder attack, roll+Con. ✴On a 10+, hold 3. ✴On a 7–9, hold 1. As long as you stand in defense, when you or the thing you defend is attacked you may spend hold, 1 for 1, to choose an option:

  • Redirect an attack from the thing you defend to yourself
  • Halve the attack’s effect or damage
  • Open up the attacker to an ally giving that ally +1 forward against the attacker
  • Deal damage to the attacker equal to your level

Defending something means standing nearby and focusing on preventing attacks against that thing or stopping anyone from getting near it. When you’re no longer nearby or you stop devoting your attention to incoming attacks then you lose any hold you might have had.

You can only spend hold when someone makes an attack on you or the thing you’re defending. The choices you can make depend on the attacker and the type of attack. In particular, you can’t deal damage to an attacker who you can’t reach with your weapon.

An attack is any action you can interfere with that has harmful effects. Swords and arrows are attacks, of course, but so are spells, grabs, and charges.

If the attack doesn’t deal damage then halving it means the attacker gets some of what they want but not all of it. It’s up to you and the GM to work out what that means depending on the circumstances. If you’re defending the Gem Eye of Oro-Uht and an orc tries to grab it from its pedestal then half effect might mean that the gem gets knocked to the floor but the orc doesn’t get his hands on it, yet. Or maybe the orc gets a hold of it but so do you—now you’re both fighting over it, tooth and nail. If you and the GM can’t agree on a halved effect you can’t choose that option.

Defending yourself is certainly an option. It amounts to giving up on making attacks and just trying to keep yourself safe.

GM: Avon, you begin weaving the spell to push the necromancer’s ghost back through the gates but the zombies are bearing down on you.

Lux: Don’t worry, squishy Avon, I will save you. While Avon casts his spell, I swear to protect him—I slam my hammer on my shield and yell “If you want to stop him, you’ll have to come through me.” I’d like to defend Avon.

GM: And with such gusto, too. Roll+Con.

Lux: I get an 11, three hold, right?

Avon: Better get ready to use it, Lux. I got an 8 on my spellcasting roll—I choose to put myself in danger.

GM: Of course you do. The zombies are drawn by the magical disturbance, lurching toward you on the attack. Suddenly, you’re swarmed by them, they’re everywhere! What do you do?

Avon: Squeak helplessly?

Lux: I’m on it. I spend a point of my hold to redirect the attack to me—I shove Avon aside and let the full fury of my goodness spill out in waves, angering the undead. To be safe, I’m going to whip my hammer in an arc and deal my damage. I might as well use it all up and reduce the damage by half. My god protects us!

GM: So, Hadrian, you’ve been defending Durga while she heals Willem, but now Willem is better. What do you do?

Durga: I leap forward to drive back the troglodytes!

Hadrian: I want to tangle with this crocodilian.

GM: Okay, Durga, the trogs come at you with their clubs.

Hadrian: No way, I still have hold left over, I want to spend it to redirect that attack to myself.

GM: You two are spread out, now. How are you going to do that if you’re 20 yards away? You lost your hold when you attacked the croc, my friend.

Hadrian: Yeah, I guess I’m not “standing in defense” anymore. Forget it, you’re on your own, Durga!