In response to an attack, a character has two tools to prevent damage: a reflexive action or the free dodge.
Reflexive actions can be used for a variety of defensive actions, and are not limited to those listed. A full treatment on actions in combat is available which delineates guidelines for use, but a reflexive action may be used creatively so long as the player wishing to do so has their narrator’s approval. None the less, some common themes among reflexive action defense include:
By rolling fast-twitch musculature minus manipulation against the attacker’s attack roll in a roll-off and winning, a successful block puts a limb or held object between the damage source and the target. If the blocker uses a weapon or shield to block, no damage is dealt on a successful block, though the object in question could potentially be destroyed if something like a drill-hammer is the source of danger. Blocking can not be used to negate bullet damage.
By rolling motor skills minus manipulation against the attacker’s attack roll and winning, a successful parry negates attack damage using a graceful deflection with one’s weapon. Parrying can not be used to negate bullet damage, but can be used to knock a gun’s barrel aside if within 5 feet of the shooter. Parrying a bladed weapon with one’s hand causes one damage to the hand.
The easiest way to avoid damage from an attack is to not be there when the attack lands. By rolling fast-twitch musculature for a leap or motor skills for a graceful turn against the attacker’s attack roll in a roll-off and winning, damage is negated. Dodging can not be used to negate bullet damage unless the character has fourth-tier reflex training or is within 5 feet of the shooter. Also keep in mind that a dodge requires movement, and so a character cannot attempt a dodge without specifying where he will end up. If cornered, a dodge is not possible without first removing impediments to movement.
Apply two armor, but must be used as a reflexive action to do so. This reflexive action may be used in response to seeing an enemy draw a gun, though it may not be used in response to a drawn gun being swung to face the character without fourth-tier reflex training except at range of 5 feet or less from the shooter. Holding a shield at head level will also prevent firearms from dealing triple damage from shots to the head. Once positioned, the armor from the shield applies to all attacks originating from the 90 degree arc in front of the shield, with or without further reflexive actions to reposition the shield, unless an action is taken to negate the shield’s effect by pushing it aside or otherwise removing it from the line of sight to the target.
Each round each player has one free dodge in addition to their one reflexive action. The free dodge may be used either as another dodge against a second source of damage than the reflexive action, or to re-roll the dodge check once to see if you can roll out of the way or fall prone. The free dodge is a move of desperation, and leaves the opponent without any further means of defense.
When the reflexive action and free dodge have been exhausted, or should a character choose to not defend against a given attack, a success on the attack roll by the attacker deals damage. This represents a solid hit, and is likely to leave a mark. When in a brawl with many opponents, it is often important to prioritize which targets most need a parry or dodge and saving defenses when necessary.