I’m continuing to poke through the elements of the character roles — how each one interacts and overlaps with the others — and how they restrict themselves. Before, I observed that defenders were owed Opportunity and Immediate actions.

I had a different realization recently.

As part of an exercise to get myself thinking about which elements best belonged with each role, I realized there was nothing inherently defender-ish about Readied actions. Previously, I had attributed virtually all off-turn actions to defenders.

Upon closer examination, I realized that it wasn’t so much that defenders required triggered, off-turn actions, but rather interrupts. Opportunity actions and especially immediate interrupts both interrupt the triggering action.

Immediate reactions by comparison, ought to be considered “fair game” in class design, since they don’t affect any change on the triggering action itself. Many other role features have some way of altering game mechanics — not reactions so much.

Of course combining “Opportunity actions” and “Immediate interrupts” into one feature of the defender role left me with a gap in what I had already figured was it for them — defenders are a difficult role to really get right — which meant I had to sift through the elements of the class to find something else that makes them defender-y.

The Mesmer is what I needed to kick-start my thinking.

Revised Mesmer (Jul 11, 2013)

Much as a striker’s basic features are damage and then reliability, a defender’s basic features include their defenses — generally that’s Armor, Fortitude, Reflex, and Will but also hit points which is something I usually attribute to ‘class’ more than ‘role.’

The Mesmer doesn’t have a ton of hit points, and its defenses aren’t the best, but it pulls off many of the other things characteristic of a defender. So it’s got me thinking about hit points and defenses as something to seriously reconsider.