The Ascension Project
Your Defense represents how hard it is for opponents to land a damaging blow on you. It’s the attack roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit you. Your Defense is equal to the following:
10 + Dexterity modifier + size modifier + other modifiers
If your Dexterity is high, you are adept at dodging blows. If your Dexterity is low, you are inept at it. That’s why you apply your Dexterity modifier to your Defense.
Sometimes you can’t use your Dexterity bonus (if you have one). If you can’t react to a blow, you can’t use your Dexterity bonus to Defense. (If you don’t have a Dexterity bonus, nothing happens). You lose your Dexterity bonus when, for example, an invisible opponent attacks you, you’re balancing in a narrow edge, or you’re caught flat-footed.
Some other Defense bonuses represent actively avoiding blows. These bonuses are called dodge bonuses. Any situation that denies you your Dexterity bonus also denies you dodge bonuses. Dodge bonuses do not stack with each other.
Cover is probably the most important bonuses you will have for Defense. Cover bonuses are gained by taking cover behind objects, walls, doors and perhaps even other creatures and characters.
This is used when a character is caught by surprise. For this type of Defense, Dexterity modifier is only considered if it is negative, otherwise it is not considered. This means flat-footed targets are also considered as having their Dexterity bonus to Defense denied.
Movement Bonuses to Defense:
Moving around makes it difficult for others to target and hit the character. For each 15 feet a character moves in his round, he gains a +1 bonus to Defense against ranged attacks. These bonuses last until his next turn.
Your hit points tell you how much punishment you can take before dropping. Your hit points are based on your class and level and your Constitution modifier applies. When your hit point total reaches 0, you’re disabled. When it reaches –1, you’re dying (see Injury and Death). Hit Points are only recovered through healing and rest.
These defenses can be generated by a characters armor or other devices. They grant an additional protection to any character. Shields work like a second pool of HP, and can be damaged like normal Hit Points can. Unlike a character’s HP, once the Shield HP reaches 0 they are considered to be removed. A character with its Shields and Plating (if any) removed is considered Unprotected.
Shields are the first pool of HP to be damaged with successful attacks.
Note: if your attack deals, 20 damage on a character with just 10 Shield HP, you do not divide the damage between Shield HP and the character’s HP. This means that each attack targets a specific HP pool and cannot affect the others, no matter how much damage the attack deals.
Plating is the third, and most uncommon, protection a character can have. It indicates the character has specific natural or artificial protection against damage. Plating works like a another pool of HP, and can be damaged like the normal Hit Points can. Unlike a character’s HP, once the Plating HP reaches 0 it is considered to be removed. A character with its Shields and Plating (if any) removed is considered Unprotected.
Plating is the second pool of HP to be damaged with successful attacks. Plating can only be recovered through rest.
Note: if your attack deals, say, 20 damage on a character with just 10 Shield HP, you do not divide the damage between Shield HP and the character’s Plating HP. This means that each attack targets a specific HP pool and cannot affect the others, no matter how much damage the attack deals.
The best way to avoid taking damage is to avoid it, but things happen. Damage Reduction is a value that limits the amount of hit point damage a character takes from an attack. The amount of damage that is reduced from each attack is equal to the DR value.
A characters natural damage reduction is equal to their constitution modifier. All forms of armor, including held shields add to this DR value.
Damage reduction may come from other sources. Certain species have natural damage reduction and some feats may increase this value.
Example: A character with a Constitution score of 16, has a Con modifier of +3. They are wearing heavy ballistic armor with an equipment bonus of +9 and their total DR is 12. The character is hit by a rifle shot for 13 points of damage. 13 points of damage reduced by 12 from the characters DR equals 1 point of damage taken.