Created By: MysteryMan23June 26, 2010 Last Edited By: MysteryMan23June 26, 2010
Troped

Defend Command

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The Defend Command is a common command in RP Gs. Basically, you enter a stance in which you take less damage than you otherwise would. Usually, the damage is divided by half. However, doing so means you can't do anything else, usually. Hence, this command is often seen as useless; though this depends on the game, of course.

Comes in handy for character classes which can Counter Attack. One variation is the command where the defending character becomes the target for all enemy attacks, i.e. shielding other party members from taking the hits. Which works especially well if combined with characters who can Counter Attack.

See also Stone Wall, which any character using this command becomes while it's in effect.


Examples

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons And Dragons adventure WG6 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. The Big Bad Tomorast replaced his hands with magical versions. One of their powers is that when clasped together in defense, they provide strong protection against both physical and magical attacks.
  • Shadowrun. Early editions allowed characters in melee combat to use the Full Defense option, which reduced incoming damage and could cause an opponent to miss altogether.

Video Games
  • In Persona4, the defense command not only reduces the amount of damage you take, but also prevents attacks that you're weak to from knocking you down; plus, any status conditions the enemy tries to inflict are cancelled.
  • In Final Fantasy games, Defend only halves physical damage, but in games with ATB, the character will hold that posture until you actually issue them a new command, making it a useful thing to do if you want to keep one character on standby.
    • Final Fantasy X's Aeons had the ability to greatly reduce the damage done by the next attack, though this prevented their Overdrive gauge from filling up. It also seems to make them lose a turn.
    • The Final Fantasy series is replete with examples of the 'defender becomes target of enemy attacks' variation, and it's frequently a job requirement of the Knight and/or Paladin classes.
      • Cecil, in FF 4, automatically shielded characters with low HP from enemy physical attacks, and also included a "Cover" ability that could be used to shield any other character from harm.
      • In FF 7 the "Cover" materia provided this function.
      • Steiner, being a Knight, featured this ability in FF 9.
      • Auron featured this ability in FF 10, including an improved version that cut incoming damage by 75% rather than 50%. (Tidus had a related ability, "Provoke", which would cause a single enemy to attack only him)
  • And of course, it appears in the Dragon Quest games.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, the Hero and Angelo can get the Defending Champion ability, which is similar to the defend command except it reduces damage to 1/10th instead of 1/2.
  • In Legend Of Dragoon, Defend not only halves all damage and blocks all status attacks (other than instant KO), but it also heals 10% of the character's maximum HP. Yes, a turn-based RPG with free healing.
  • In the first Dark Cloud, the Defend command reduced damage from attacks, but it required a target lock to function, and did not protect the player from powerful attacks that would knock them to the ground.
  • Dark Cloud 2 improved the Defend command over its predecessor, greatly reducing (or entirely blocking) incoming damage, protecting the player from being knocked to the gorund. If an attack was blocked entirely, any status effect from it would be blocked as well. It was also part of the button combination required to pick up and throw enemies.
  • Rogue Galaxy's Defend command was very much similar to Dark Cloud 2 (block or reduce incoming damage, prevent knockdown, pick up and throw enemies). But all party members had action meters that periodically needed recharging; successfully blocking an attack during this time would recharge the meter immediately.
  • Lords Of Magic has a "defend self" command, where the unit will stand still and not attack, but gains extra defense. This one was actually useful vs. the AI in the game.
  • Golden Sun has a defend command (though I can't remember if it reduces damage that much), characters automatically go into defend if you tell them to wait (or take too long in a linked battle).
  • Warcraft 3's footmen have the Defend ability, in which they raise their shields to greatly reduce incoming piercing damage (e.g. arrows), sometimes sending the attack back. However, it makes them move veeeeeeery slowly. Spell Breakers presumably had a magical version of this spell, though they now have complete immunity to magic.
  • Sort of used in the Civilization series, with the Fortify command, which provides a defensive bonus to any unit using it. But it does mean they can't move until you unfortify them.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • June 24, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Needs A Better Title, somehow....

    Part of the reason the "Defend" command is considered useless is that in turn-based environments, you can't predict which character will be on the receiving end of any given attack, because enemies usually select targets at random. If you want to guarantee that an attack is halved, you must put your entire party on defense.

    See also The Law Of Diminishing Defensive Effort.

    Actually, in Persona 4 the "Defend" command didn't neutralize a character's elemental weaknesses (they'd still receive twice as much damage as another attack would), but Defend at least prevented them from getting knocked down (and allowing the enemy a free turn) by it.

    • In Final Fantasy games, Defend only halves physical damage, but in games with ATB, the character will hold that posture until you actually issue them a new command, making it a useful thing to do if you want to keep one character on standby.

    • In Legend Of Dragoon, Defend not only halves all damage and blocks all status attacks (other than instant KO), but it also heals 10% of the character's maximum HP. Yes, a turn-based RPG with free healing.

    • In the first Dark Cloud, the Defend command reduced damage from attacks, but it required a target lock to function, and did not protect the player from powerful attacks that would knock them to the ground.
    • Dark Cloud 2 improved the Defend command over its predecessor, greatly reducing (or entirely blocking) incoming damage, protecting the player from being knocked to the gorund. If an attack was blocked entirely, any status effect from it would be blocked as well. It was also part of the button combination required to pick up and throw enemies.

    • Rogue Galaxy's Defend command was very much similar to Dark Cloud 2 (block or reduce incoming damage, prevent knockdown, pick up and throw enemies). But all party members had action meters that periodically needed recharging; successfully blocking an attack during this time would recharge the meter immediately.
  • June 24, 2010
    Pickly
    Lords Of Magic has a "defend self" command, where the unit will stand still and not attack, but gains extra defense. This one was actually useful vs. the AI in the game.
  • June 25, 2010
    EricDVH
    I'm not sure whether this example fits here or somewhere else, but Realmz had a “guard” command which would cause you to lash out with a preemptive melee attack against the first enemy to enter an adjacent tile on the enemy's next turn, in exchange for not performing any actions on your turn (other than moving.) Since this didn't interfere with your next turn, it allowed you to get in two attacks on one turn.
  • June 25, 2010
    Chabal2
    • Golden Sun has a defend command (though I can't remember if it reduces damage that much), characters automatically go into defend if you tell them to wait (or take too long in a linked battle).
    • Warcraft 3's footmen have the Defend ability, in which they raise their shields to greatly reduce incoming piercing damage (e.g. arrows), sometimes sending the attack back. However, it makes them move veeeeeeery slowly. Spell Breakers presumably had a magical version of this spell, though they now have complete immunity to magic.
    • Final Fantasy X's Aeons had the ability to greatly reduce the damage done by the next attack, though this prevented their Overdrive gauge from filling up. It also seems to make them lose a turn.
  • June 25, 2010
    Recon5
    Comes in handy for character classes which can Counter Attack.
  • June 25, 2010
    Stratadrake
    One variation is the command where the defending character becomes the target for all enemy attacks, i.e. shielding other party members from taking the hits. Which works especially well if combined with characters who can Counter Attack.

    The Final Fantasy series is replete with examples, and it's frequently a job requirement of the Knight and/or Paladin classes.
    • Cecil, in FF 4, automatically shielded characters with low HP from enemy physical attacks, and also included a "Cover" ability that could be used to shield any other character from harm.
    • In FF 7 the "Cover" materia provided this function.
    • Steiner, being a Knight, featured this ability in FF 9.
    • Auron featured this ability in FF 10, including an improved version that cut incoming damage by 75% rather than 50%. (Tidus had a related ability, "Provoke", which would cause a single enemy to attack only him)
  • June 25, 2010
    Meophist
    In Dragon Quest VIII, the Hero and Angelo can get the Defending Champion ability, which is similar to the defend command except it reduces damage to 1/10th instead of 1/2.
  • June 25, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Disgaea has a defend ability, altho personally I haven't noticed it having any major effect.
  • June 25, 2010
    Meophist
    As for the "Cover" ability(which is probably a separate trope), the True Knight accessory grants this in Final Fantasy VI.

    Somewhat different but related are the moves Protect and Detect from Pokemon, which grants immunity for the next turn but its success rate halves with each use.
  • June 25, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Sort of used in the Civilization series, with the Fortify command, which provides a defensive bonus to any unit using it. But it does mean they can't move until you unfortify them
  • June 25, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In Pokemon, the Follow Me attack causes the user to become the target for enemy attacks, even though it does not reduce damage taken.

    In Super Smash Bros, there is a shield command, which can eliminate damage until the shield brakes.

    Do either of these count as examples of this?
  • June 25, 2010
    TJ
    This command turns you into a Stone Wall.
  • June 25, 2010
    Meophist
    The Shield command of Super Smash Bros was also in, or rather originated from, Kirby Super Star.
  • June 26, 2010
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons adventure WG6 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. The Big Bad Tomorast replaced his hands with magical versions. One of their powers is that when clasped together in defense, they provide strong protection against both physical and magical attacks.
    • Shadowrun. Early editions allowed characters in melee combat to use the Full Defense option, which reduced incoming damage and could cause an opponent to miss altogether.

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