|The person on the right is parrying,|
just in case you don't know what
An active defense is an abstraction of performing an action to not get hit, usually in the context of fighting, and usually either through one of:
- Dodging - finding a way to keep a blow from even connecting by moving out of the way.
- Parrying - finding a way to deflect a blow by pushing it out of the way.
- Blocking - finding a way to interpose a sturdy object between yourself and a blow so that the energy of the attack is completely absorbed and dissipated without incurring injury.
- A character with the Acrobatics (or in other environments, Aerobatics, Aquabatics, Astrobatics, etc.) can perform an Acrobatic Dodge once per turn with a decent bonus on success but a penalty on failure.
- A character may retreat (except in a few unusual circumstances) once per turn. This requires changing location, and is usually most effective when used with a dodge. More nuances and details can be found on p.377 of Basic Set - Campaigns.
Weapons that have a fencing parry, those with an 'f' after the parry modifier, and some advanced unarmed combat skills (see p. 377 of Basic Set - Campaigns for a full list) in their stats acquire the retreat advantage of a dodge, but also the susceptibility to encumbrance penalties as well.
Parries can be used once per turn, or optionally, at a GM's discretion, multiple times with a stiff penalty. The advantages Trained by a Master and Weapon Master always allow consecutive parries, and cut this penalty in half. Weapons that have a fencing parry also cut the penalty in half. If both conditions apply, the cumulative parrying modifier is "stacked" and the penalty is quartered, making Weapon Master an especially good compliment for a user of, for example, rapiers.