There are a wide variety of defensive abilities which may be used to stop or mitigate an attack in Alliance. These may be summed up as four types of defensive calls, each of which has many specific implementations. The source of the defense which is being called must be stated with any defensive verbal, for example “Weapon Shield” or “Resist.”
A given defense can only be used once against a single attack. Example: Terin has two Bane Curses and a Reflect Spell. He is struck by a packet with the call “Spell Paralysis!” Since Paralysis is in the Curse Effect Group, he can call “Bane” to bounce it back at his attacker. Unfortunately for him, his attacker is prepared for this with their own Bane Curse, which they invoke by similarly calling “Bane.” Terin can’t use his second Bane against this attack, since he’s already called Bane against it, but he can still use his Reflect Spell!
This type of defense is used to completely block a single attack. In general, these denote expendable skills, spells, or abilities.
A specific defense was used against the attack, and the attacker will automatically be struck by whatever the original attack was. They may use any applicable defenses they have against this Returned attack. If an attack is bounced back via a Return defense, the one who used Return is now the official “caster.” A Return defense will act as a Guard when used against Ingested delivery, a trap, or a Killing Blow.
The effect of the attack was reduced by some partial amount.
The attack was completely ineffective. In general, if you’re immune to part of an effect, you’re immune to all of it. For example, if you’re Immune to the Spell qualifier, you call No Effect to anything that uses that qualifier, even if you’d normally take the Effect that’s called.
You must always call a verbal for your defensive abilities immediately when used, and in-game it is obvious to anyone watching which defense was used. You may not call a defense and then have your character pretend to be affected in order to fool your attackers. Only one defensive ability may be called at once, even if you have multiple defensive abilities which might apply to the attack.
Defenses are classified as either Smart or Dumb in their description. Smart defenses may be used at the discretion of the player against a specific attack, but may only be used when the character is conscious. Examples of Smart defenses are abilities such as Cloak and Resist Binding. Dumb defenses will go off against the first attack which they would activate against, even if the character is unconscious. Examples of Dumb defenses are Spell Shield and Weapon Shield.
Resist abilities are special. These defenses represent innate abilities of a creature’s body, not the layered defenses of martial skill, magic, and rituals. Resists may not be used until all applicable Dumb defenses are expended. Unlike most defenses, a Resist can be used against the Ingested delivery.
For example, Darlissa the biata has a Spell Shield active but it is her last one and she is hoping not to have need of it any time soon. She is hit by a Sleep spell. Even though she would prefer to use her Resist Command ability, the Spell Shield will be used first. All spell defenses are used as soon as applicable, and you cannot decide when to use them.
If a player doesn’t know what a defense does, they can ask a quick OOG question “What type of defense is that?” The person who used the defense can then reply whether it’s e.g. a Smart Guard, a Dumb Return, or whatever properly describes what the defense does.
If a character is healed by an effect other than Healing or Necromancy, they must announce “Healed” to indicate that in-game their wounds were visibly healed by the effect. Although this doesn’t count as a “defense,” it’s still important to let players around you know what’s happening.
In general, any response which would be repeated over and over (such as “No Effect” or “Healed”) does not need to be repeated for every attack. It is imperative on the player making this call to ensure that players are aware of this (for example, if a new player enters an ongoing combat where the call has already been announced) or if the effect changes (for example, if a character’s ability to be healed from a specific effect disappears for some reason in the middle of a fight).