Over at The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms Talysman ask which of three ways for Dodging seemed simpler / easier. I replied back and suppose that I chose "E: None of the Above." I regret it now, because in reality I wasn't any help. I did offer an option as a knee-jerk reaction, but that really isn't what he was looking for. So, rather than pollute his comments with ideas that he did not request, I figured I would put up the idea that I had on the subject and elaborate a bit.
Talysman's first option for Dodging utilized ideas from Trollsmyth's thoughts on "Shields Shall be Splintered". Talysman suggested, "...give players to skip their attack to avoid damage from one successful hit."
My thought was rather than removing the option for the player to attack, I would propose that the player can still act but is penalized for his damage mitigating action. It would require some additional book keeping and I am not entirely sure that I would want the option in my games. I do realize that many do, so suggest the following:
Perhaps rather than taking the player's following attack, they receive an immediate penalty to their AC, until their next action, and a penalty to their follow-on attack. Both penalties would be equal to the amount of damage that they circumvent.
AC penalties would have varying effect based on whether the character had had their action for the round or not yet. Dodging prior to your action doesn't seem nearly as bad as dodging after your action, but play tests would be required to confirm. This in my mind, if true, is explainable in that the character has time during the round to regroup for his attack. Either way, the penalty to the follow on attack and how many Dodges they perform in a round, should be sufficient to keep this action in the 'life saving' realm.
DM - The first Goblin, needing a 17 to hit, connects for... 4hp...
PC - I Dodge!
DM - Fine, your current AC and next To hit are penalized by 4. The second Goblin goes for your legs as you dodge, needing a 13... hit... 3hp of...
PC - Dodge!
DM - Fine, but now you have a penalty of 7 to your current AC and Attack next round...
PC - I want to crush the little bugger that went for my legs... I rolled a 15...
DM - 8... Modified for your penalty... Your hammer blow goes wide, missing it's mark...
Some additional book-keeping, but it might work ok. Especially if you are looking for a little more granularity and combat options. I tend to go the route that a 'miss' within a round of frantically flailing combatants isn't a miss per-say. A miss means the defender was sufficiently successful in reducing their opponent's actions to not caused them any lasting effects to their own effectiveness. Dodging, in this context, is that the character sees no acceptable way to stop their opponent's attack from doing damage except to put themselves in further danger later in the exchange.
Ok, I realize I have been somewhat long winded in presenting what one would think is a straight forward house rule, but as always, I need to work on conveying my thoughts better.
What do you think on the matter?