Editor’s Note: This is an Alternative Rule.
If a PC is hit, he may reduce the effect of the hit by one wound level by throwing himself heroically out of the way of (at least part of) the blow. However, this heroic evasion will put the fighter at a temporary disadvantage: -2 on the next combat round in addition to any other penalties that may be accrued. This penalty disappears in subsequent rounds, as the hero is able to recover his equilibrium after a brief flurry of wild parrying. This may be repeated, but there is an additional -1 for every turn in succession that this is used.
For example, D’Artagnan would be hit by Milady for a Light Wound (Hurt result). He heroically evades, taking only a Scratch, but is at -2 on the following round. In this round, he would be Very Hurt, but again he heroically evades, taking instead a Hurt result. The next round he is at -4: -2 for evading this round, an additional -1 for evading two rounds in a row, and -1 for being Hurt. If he can avoid having to evade on the next round, he’ll only be at -1 for being Hurt. Good luck D’Artagnan!
If the penalty for an heroic evasion drops a fighter’s skill level to below Terrible, he may still take the evasion.
But he automatically collapses: his weapon drops from his nerveless fingers and his throat is helplessly exposed to the enemy for an instant death blow if the foe is so minded. A plea for mercy may accompany such an evasion, but the opponent isn’t necessarily bound to honor such a plea.
Heroic Evasion can be used for major NPCs, too, of course.