Age of Heroes
Fighting Defensively as a Standard Action:
You can choose to fight defensively when attacking. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to Active Defense checks for the same round. If you have a shield, you may choose to fight defensively with it. You take a –4 penalty on all attacks in the round to gain a +2 coverage bonus to all Shield Defense checks made in the same round. Essentially, you hide more of your body behind your shield, which makes it harder for you to hit opponents but harder for opponents to hit you.
Fighting Defensively as a Full-Round Action:
You can choose to fight defensively when taking a full attack action. If you do so, you take a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to all Active Defense checks for the same round. You can opt to fight defensively with a shield, taking a –4 penalty on all attacks in a round to gain a +2 cover bonus to all Shield Defense checks for the same round. You may not switch between these two modes of defensive fighting in the same round, though you may change tactics from round to round.
You can defend yourself as a standard action. You get a +4 dodge bonus to your Active and Shield Defense checks for 1 round. Your Defense improves at the start of this action. You cannot combine total defense with fighting defensively or with the benefit of the Combat Expertise feat (since both of those require you to declare an attack or full attack). You cannot make attacks of opportunity while using total defense.
At any time when you would be granted your Wisdom bonus to Shield Defense (whether you have one or not), you may defend an adjacent character or even an object with your shield, warding off an attack directed against them. You must be aware of the attack to do this, though they do not have to be.
The character you defend must be directly adjacent to you and no more than one size category larger than you are. This takes up one of your Shield Defense uses for the round. You make a Shield Defense check to defend another at a –2 penalty, as it is harder to defend others than to defend yourself.