Parrying by Batlin
Welcome, aspiring shieldsfighter! If you seek to better yourself in the ways of parrying, look no further! This essay is comprised of hundreds of hours of research, hard work, blood and sweat on the part of many other shieldsfighters in the land. Hopefully this knowledge that has been collected will aid you in your own quest for parry.

The Tale of a Shieldsfighter

I've always been one for a challenge. As it turned out, parry would be one of the greatest challenges I've ever sought. Starting my life in the land with a generous amount of skill (50), my first destination was the east Britain woods. I started fighting Ettins and Trolls on a regular basis. Both creatures seemed to give me moderate gains in skill. In a few days I had gone from 50 parry, into the low 60's. On average, I would gain .1 per every other monster I fought. Skill gain was slow at this point, so I decided to look elsewhere for my skill. I had heard that fighting Earth Elementals was excellent for gaining parry, so I gave it a shot. I traveled to dungeon Shame, level 1, and started brawling the Earth Elementals that roamed the caverns. I did manage to gain a few full points of skills, which took me into the mid 60's, but I wasn't gaining skill at an acceptable rate. I've heard Earth Elementals can take you all the way to 80, but still, the rate in which I was gaining skill was steady, but very slow. I'd gain maybe .1 every 4 to 6 elementals that I fought.

I ventured into the new lands in seek of further advancement. I first journeyed to the ridges near the Ophidian fortress, east of Papua. There I fought Ophidians, usually 2 at a time. I got some decent gains from them. I then moved into the heart of the Fortress and started fighting Terathan Warriors. My parry skill literally skyrocketed! I was gaining anywhere from .1 to .4 per fight! Terathan Warriors can get a good wallop in every now and then, so I had to be careful and watch my Hit Points very closely. I spent about a week straight, dodging the local PK's, trying to avoid those pesky Terathan Matriarchs and Avengers, while my focus was on gaining parry. One monster at a time.. then two.. sometimes even three, which was very risky. Thanks to my healing skill I was able to keep myself from death. I ended at 73 Parry before I grew tired of killing the spiders, not to mention spider blood is very nasty stuff! I peered north to the desert to see what awaited.

I sampled the inhabitants of the desert to see which monsters satisfied my now vampric thirst for parry gain. I fought my way through imps, orcs, hoards of scorpions, and other various monsters. When I came across my first Stone Gargoyle I had hit the jackpot. My thirst was quenched when I saw my first gain in a full day of fighting. I would typically gain .1 parry per melee with a Stone Gargoyle. Fighting 2 at once seemed to help even more, but unfortunately coming across 2 Stone Gargoyles at once was rare. I stumbled upon another stone creature. A Stone Harpy. I engaged it in a fierce battle. Both the Stone Gargoyles and Stone Harpies would hit through my studded leather armor for an average of about 13 points of damage per hit. I often fought to near death, then retreated to heal. Sometimes running circles around the monsters while waiting for the bandages to take effect, other times running around the corner and hiding while healing.

I came across my first Cyclopean Warrior in the desert. Mean looking beast. That lone beady eye, with its placid look of stupidity was almost mesmerizing if you met its gaze for too long. Shaking off the distraction, I charged. I was welcomed with a ferocious blow for 20 points of damage. Then another for 25.. then again for 20.. *OUCH* I backed away, thinking I had made a mistake. I healed my wounds then decided to try once more. This time it didn't hit me as hard. More along the lines of 10-15 per hit. Must have just been lucky before. It did occasionally land a blow causing up to 30 points of damage (makes you wonder if they're a cousin of the infamous Ogre Lord). I could tell when I parried a blow because instead of loosing a chunk of health, I would only loose 1-3 points of health. I didn't let my 100 HP's fall below 40 before backing away to heal. After the fight was finished I checked my skills and noticed I had gained .2 parry! So it appeared as though Cyclopean Warriors, and stone creatures were the way to go at my current level, which was slowly rising from the low 70's. At this point in my quest for parry, gains were sporadic. Sometimes I would not gain a single point from fighting multiple creatures, while other times I would gain .2 per fight. I learned to live with it. I spent many weeks in the desert fighting these creatures. I did make a decent amount of profit, since my only real expense was armor repairs and bandages, which isn't too costly. I even found several treasure maps!

Once I hit 85 Parry, the gains seemed to come to a drastic halt. I only gained .1 every hour or so. I accepted the fact that no other creature would give me the satisfying gain of .1 or .2 every single fight, since my skill was now at a very high level (at least as far as parry went). I battled on against the Cyclops's and stone creatures. Slow gains, but still gains none the less. A few more weeks of this brought me to 92. One of my good friends, whom I considered my "Parry Buddy" had gotten all the way to 96.9 parry. I picked his brain for advice. He told me he fought the same creatures I did up to about 92, then started fighting summoned Daemons. I would have done this instantly, if it wasn't my very poor magic resist.

So how do I make GM?

Oh.. isn't this the question of the century?  HOW do I achieve GM in the elusive skill of Parry?  Three words for you my friends: Daemons or Drakes!
I hit GM Parry fighting summoned Daemons in my Tower.  It worked out fairly well for me since I had a guildmate who was working towards GM Magery.  She would summon the Daemons, I would fight them, usually 2 at a time.  Of course, I did die a LOT.   This works very well in a tower, or another type of house that has stairs.   You can position yourself just right on the stairs, so you can attack the Daemons while they're on the floor and you're on the stairs.  When you're almost dead, simply take a step up the stairs, and you are out of harms way.  Play around with it, and you'll should be able to figure out what I mean.  While fighting 2 Daemons at once, I would usually gain a steady .1 every 30-45 minutes (from around 94 to 100), on average.   While fighting 2 Daemons at once, it wasn't uncommon to take 70 points of damage within 1.5 seconds, so watch out!  It will work you up in skill though, trust me.   Just keep at it!

But what if I don't have a house with stairs, or any sort of house at all?  Well, not all hope is lost.   You have a few options.  You can fight just 1 Daemon on open ground.  This isn't too lethal if you're using a decent character (high resist helps, 65+).  You need someone to summon for you, unless you have the abilities to do it.  Just stand toe to toe with the Daemon and go at it.  You won't gain as fast as if you were fighting 2 Daemons at once, but you'll gain, none the less.  If you get gutsy, go ahead an try going toe to toe with 2 summoned Daemons on open ground.... but I don't recommend it!  If your friend who is  summoning can heal you, that makes it all the better.  If not, you'll more than likely need to run out of range of the Daemons attacks, and heal yourself.  This can get very tedious and time consuming!  I have not tried fighting normal Daemons (like in Hyloth).  I am guessing these will work close to the same.

So you don't have a house.... you don't have friends who can summon Daemons.... and Hyloth gives you the hebee-geebies.  What do you do?  You head down to your local dungeon (Destard, or the SE corner of Wind are both good places) and fight some Drakes!  You will die A LOT, so don't bring valuable loot.  Just your parry armor, weapon and bandages!   Drakes hit pretty hard at times, and that firebreath can really cook ya, so watch out!  This is very dangerous and I would only resort to this method if you simply cannot find someone to summon Daemons for you.  Drakes will work, and take you to GM, along with Daemons.

Tips and Facts about Parry


Fighting multiple creatures at once seems to help. If you think about the way parry works, this makes sense. Parry is only checked when you get hit.  If you get hit more (since you're fighting more than one monster), your parry skill gets checked more. Therefore you should theoretically gain skill faster.


I've noticed two things that seem to be in consensus amongst shieldsfighters. Your parry gains will come with hard and FAST hits from your opponent. I've noticed the majority of my gains are coming when I get hit 3 or 4 times in a row within a few seconds. Getting hit hard and fast seems to be the way to go! Of course, monsters don't always hit you with a hefty thump, not to mention a hefty thump 3 or 4 times in a row without a miss.


A MUST for a shieldsfighter is HEALING. I cannot stress how important this skill is! You will get nowhere fast without it! You gain parry from monster that all hit fairly hard. You will need to heal a lot. Reagents and potions are not cost effective because you WILL do a lot of healing. Bandages are the way to go. Dirt cheap, and they do the job.


Fight on foot. For some odd reason, your parry seems to go up quicker while on foot, as compared to on horseback.


Your chance to get hit has to do with your chosen fighting skill, and your opponents fighting skill.  So it makes sense that the lower your fighting skill, the better chance you have of getting hit.  It may be wise to start your parrying career earlier in your characters development, when you're chosen fighting skill has yet to reach GM.  Also remember that while you have a spellbook equipped, you do not gain any skill in wrestling... so if your wrestling skill is already low...*hint, hint*


Earth Elementals will NOT take you to Grandmaster. Neither will Bone Knights. I have fought these for hours upon hours,and even at the low 90's, I haven't gained a single point. The skill level of your opponents parry seems to be one of the determining factors if you will gain skill or not. Monsters will much higher parry than you, will provide you with better gains. Earth Elementals and Bone Knights don't seem to have much to offer once you reach the mid 80's. Other people have mentioned that Paladins will take you to GM. I would have to agree with that... if you play on a brand new server where no one is working on the parry skill. I've sparred with 2 Paladins for hours, and not gained any skill from my current level. Their swords will hit you pretty hard, but they don't hit you very fast. Blade spirits hit you with extreme speed. I sparred with these for a bit, but didn't gain anything at my level. I have seen Blade Spirits work well for lower levels of parry, sub 75. Other people say NPC Harbormasters give you good gains (go figure).


If you can stand the poison, Wyverns and Silver Serpents work well towards your advancement in parry. During the period of time when monster poison was broke, I fought a few Silver Serpents & Wyverns and saw pretty decent gains. Other monsters that have been passed my way via advice for gaining parry are: Ice Fiends, Snow Elementals, Drakes/Dragons and Corpsers. These seem to work for mid range levels of parry, ranging from 60-75, possibly higher.


At one time, taking more damage helped in gaining skill. This may not be the case anymore. So you may see the same results if you went out in Full Plate, as compared to studded leather. Just be aware of this.


In ending, I will leave you with a few more miscellaneous tidbits of advice that will hopefully aid you in your adventures in parry.

Sparring with friends may help. If your friend has significantly higher parry than you do. Significantly higher meaning 15 points or more.

For all you powergamers out there; macroing parry is not exactly feasible. You'll see what I mean when you wake up in the morning and find yourself dead from a mis-timed macro! Earn it the legitimate way, and you'll feel better about it anyway, guaranteed!

You WILL die a lot. Don't get discouraged. You'll be fighting that Cyclopean Warrior, hit a lag pocket, and wake up dead. If you follow my advice, the only thing you'll loose when you die is some old beat up studded leather, bandages, your weapon and shield. I usually carry 150-200 bandages on me for ever trip out into the wastelands of parry searching. Even 200 bandages will only cost you a couple hundred gold. You'll loose more time stacking them than anything else.

- Batlin/Devlin of BaH - Napa Valley

Editors note: This essay was put together with information from numerous sources. The essay itself is comprised of the most common instances of shieldsfighters in agreement regarding the parry skill and skill gains. Nothing in UO is for sure; hopefully you'll find the information in this essay more of a guide than an exact path to your own success in raising your skill.


Guide to all that is Parry, by Thomas Ravensha, Grandmaster Warrior

The Parry skill is it’s own Zen
Parry governs the effective use of your shield in melee combat. It helps absorb melee and missile damage as well as give a higher armor rating (AR). Many have found that in melee combat the way of the shieldsfighter can be very beneficial. But, the skill is a difficult one to raise causing many players to discard it as a less desirable skill. If you prefer melee to magery, I encourage you to look into the art of the shieldsfighter and discover the Zen of Parry.

Before we begin

Reading the message boards or talking to others, you will find that the Parry skill is not understood well by many players. Using a shield does NOT make you harder to hit. At this time, shields do not absorb any magical attacks. When I refer to 'missile' damage, I am speaking only of attacks by archery. To get the full benefit of this essay, you need to have a complete understanding of the UO combat system. This work is a compilation of all I have learned about the parry skill as I advanced from Neophyte to Grandmaster Warrior . It was made possible with help from many friends who also shared an interest in de-mystifying the parry skill. Numerical results for base shield AR are based on data taken in game. Other information was gathered from my communications with Faceless at OSI.

What is parry?

Parry is the ability a player has to use a shield effectively. When you wear a shield in combat, all melee attacks to you will be subject to a check against your parry skill. Thus, if you are wearing a shield, parry is only used after you are successfully hit. Again, In UO shields have nothing to do with making you more difficult to hit. A successful parry check will reduce the damage of the melee or missile attack by an amount based on the type of shield you are using. The AR a shield gives a player (the displayed AR) is completely determined by the parry skill, and is representative of your ability to ‘parry’ attacks i.e. reduce damage. The same shield in the hand of players with different parry skill will display a different AR.

To parry or not to parry

If you don’t plan on building your parry skill, don’t bother picking up a shield. Shields are only as effective as your skill in parry. A heater shield in the hands of someone who has low parry is nothing more than an ornament for the arm. At the lowest parry skill, all shields give 1 AR. Just as the swordsman uses a sword to raise his swordsmanship, the shieldsfighter builds parry skill to increase the effectiveness of the shied he/she carries. The point is, either you parry, or you don’t. Decide early on if you would like to use a shield. You will gain a bonus to AR, and the ability to absorb melee and missile damage with any shield.

How parry works in combat

In the combat sequence, after your opponent successfully strikes you and the damage of his attack has been determined, you have various ways to reduce this damage. After magical defenses have been checked, there is a check for a shield and parry skill. You have a chance to parry a missile or melee attack as long as you have a shield in hand. The percentage chance to parry is half of your parry skill:

% Parry Success  =  (Parry / 2) %

If you do not parry the blow, the damage goes through as normal. But if you are successful, your shield will absorb some of the damage thus reducing the attacker’s blow. The amount of damage subtracted depends on the type of shield you are using. A shield will absorb an amount of damage equal to half the base AR of the shield for melee damage, and the full base AR for missile damage.

Damage reduced for melee attacks = (Base AR) /2
Damage reduced for missile attacks = Base AR

Base AR for Shields
Shield Type Normal GM made Defense Guarding Hardening Fortification Invulnerability
Buckler 7 8 12 17  22  27 32
Wooden 8  - 13 18 23 28 33
Bronze 10 12 - - - - -
Metal 11 13 - - - - -
Wooden Kite 12 14 17 22 27 32 37
Metal Kite 16 19 21 26 31 36 41
Heater 23 27 - - - - -
Order 30 - - - - - -
Chaos 32 - - - - - -

(Note that GM smithed shields do NOT give better AR as the same shield type of defense. At least in the case of shields, this should lay to rest the myth of GM smithed armor being better than magic.)

Since damage to the shieldsfighter is reduced, high parry allows you to combat the stronger monsters in UO. Also, you can survive longer while being attacked by multiple attackers.

Other than AR, durability is a factor in the shield you use. The more hit points a shield has, the longer it will retain it’s AR higher over a period of time. Compare the durablilty of AR of the metal Kite and Heater shields for example. One has lower AR but more HP’s.

As you parry blows, your shield will lose hit points. This lowers the base AR of your shield, and thus the amounts of damage your shield will absorb. Keep your shields repaired to keep that shield AR high!

Higher AR with parry

The AR that is displayed when you don your shield is determined by your parry skill. With the following formula, you can determine at what skill level you will see the next AR jump for a particular shield. This will be accurate to within .1 skill points.
        200 * [(displayed AR) - 1]
      ----------------------------------   = parry skill
                (shield base AR)

Raising parry skill

Parry is included in the batch of UO skills that is considered tough to raise. Skill gain is difficult because of the mechanics of the system. To raise parry, you need to be hit increasingly hard and quite often! Praying to the Parry god also helps.

It is best to train parry up when your weapon proficiency is low. Since ‘hit or miss’ is determined by your weapon skill, a low weapon skill means you will be hit frequently, and thus parry will be constantly checked. As your weapon skill rises you will be hit less often, and thus parry will be checked less frequently.

Raising parry skill is all about finding strong monsters to melee. Skill gain is based solely on the amount of damage being dealt to you. This is why you cannot spar parry up to GM with a friend. Skill gain is determined by the base damage dealt to the shieldsfighter, and is awarded before the damage is applied to the shield, armor, or to you. This makes the type of shield or armor you wear irrelevant to skill gain. But the higher your AR the better, so that you can go longer between heals. Also note, the parry skill of your opponent has absolutely no bearing on your parry skill gain at all.

Strength, weapon, and other types of creature attacks affect the damage inflicted to the shieldsfighter, and thus your skill gain. Confronting multiple creatures at the same time works well for training parry. The more often you are hit, the better chance you have in a given period of time for skill gain.

What to fight?

Batlin’s essay on fighting monsters is a good source of what monsters to fight for the level of parry you are at. So, all I will add here is that when you look for creatures to fight, you are looking for the ones that deal high melee damage to you. Damage can be due to strength, weapon, or other types of attacks. The Snow elemental is an example of a creature which gives good parry gain not because it is strong, but because it’s cold blast is calculated into total creature damage.

When you suit up for parry training, wear a full suit of plate armor, a shield which gives high AR, and bring a slow weapon if you use any at all. GM armor works well since it is easily replaceable and has a high durablity. The maximum armor will absorb most of the damage and you will not have to heal as often. The slow weapon (along with your huge dex penalty) will make the battles last longer so you can squeeze every last drop of parry skill out of your foe. If you are going for pure skill gain, stay out of combat and let the creature beat up on you. Since you want the creature to hit you more often, if you stay out of combat while holding a weapon you have low skill in (or a spell book) you will increase the creature's chance to hit you. It helps a great deal if you can bring a friend to heal you, or if not, proficiency in the healing skill is greatly desired by the shieldsfighter. Also, having protection cast on yourself will raise your 'natural' AR, and thus allow you to go longer between heals. Protection cast by a GM mage will bring your natural AR to 10.

Slow is better - ‘The Slow Blade’

I was out one night with a friend sparring Ophidian Matriarchs for parry skill. My skill (around mid 70’s at this time) was higher than hers by about 2 points. I was gaining .2 - .3 points of parry per matriarch while she was gaining none. You would think she would be gaining more skill since she had the lower skill, but this was not happening. This went on for about 6 matriarchs (we trade off – one heals while the other spars) and she was getting frustrated that my skill kept going up and hers was not. I was using a viking, while she was using a kryss. Both of us are GM’s in our weapon skill. We figured that maybe she was hitting the Matriarch so fast (she has 100 dex) that the Matriarch could not get as many hits in. She switched to a war fork, and started gaining skill instantly.

But how do I get to GM ?!?!

Friends. Bandaids. High Armor. Wisps.

A small group of shieldsfighters armed with bandages, and high AR can rotate between sparring wisps and healing. The wisp does large damage, and you cannot beat the speed of it’s attacks. Letting a wisp beat up on you will do wonders for your parry skill. The trick is staying alive long enough to gain skill. That is where your parry crew comes in – healing constantly. Gather your highest AR rating suit and shield and keep protection cast on you at all times. Our crew trained with shields of fortification and invulnerability along with GM and magic armor. Our AR ratings ranged between 50 and 68 AR. Casting protection is a must because it adds to your natural body AR (which is normally 0), so you take less damage from the wisps. We found it best to have two wisps beating up on the sheildsfighter while two healers burned through bandaids. Once the wisps have been drained of mana, they will no longer cast on you - as long as you do not hit them. Staying out of combat works well in this instance. This also allowed me to hold a weapon I had 0.0 proficiency in to maximize the rate at which the two wisps scored hits on me.

Fighting wisps over extended periods of time is dangerous. You will die due to lag or other mishaps of healing. But, fame is a small price to pay for GM parry. One of our crew went from Eminent Lord to Kind by the time he was GM. But fame comes easy compared to parry.

Parry and PvP

Parry is not one of the top PvP skills of choice. Most who PvP would rather save the points for another skill, and leave a free hand to drink potions. This is based on the fact that if you are loaded with GH’s, you can drink up more points of health, than your shield can absorb in damage. On the flip side, a high parry skill allows you to survive longer when multiple attackers are on you. This, along with the new skill delay in healing a fighting buddy, has made parry a popular town fighting skill. But for non-guarded areas where magic is a factor (especially when dueling), shieldsfighters are rare.

Future of parry

When the next combat revison comes, the parry skill should see improvements. Shieldsfighters await a patch which OSI previously tried to implement whereby shields will be able to absorb damage from projectile spells.

When this comes I would like to see other changes as well.

  • Shields should have a chance to absorb damage from all projectile attacks. This would include not only archery, and some magic spells, but from creatures who breath fire or have other non-magic projectile attacks as well. The classic scene from 'Dragonslayer' comes to mind when the fighter defends himself against the dragon's breath with his shield.

  • Smiths should be able to craft 'superior' quality shields. Right now they cannot. This would require a revision of the base AR for some shields.

  • Too many useless shields! Remove magic wooden shields and/or  bucklers and make magic Heaters.

  • Chaos/Order shields need to be balanced in some way. They should either have the same base AR, or the hit points of the Chaos shield should be reduced.

  • A 'parry' sound effect would be nice, so we knew when our shields are being hit.

Miscellaneous parry facts

Candles, fishing poles, and torches check for parry skill (they do not give any AR).

Using magical clothing/armor of Protection raises parry skill 9.1. There is a bug that will give you different AR depending on what order you put on your shield and magic item of protection.

Parry started in UO alpha as ‘Battle Defense’ and determined how well you defended in combat. Some time before beta, this was changed to ‘parry’ for shield use. The fact that magic items of ‘protection’ raise parry skill (unlike the spell ‘protection’) is an artifact of the old ‘battle defense’ skill.

Thanks to all who made this possible!
- Faceless of OSI (The God of Parry), for taking the time to talk to me
- The Pacific Grandmaster Parry Crew (Kodiak, Arnot, Lief, Elly)
- Everyone on pacific who stripped naked to try on 33 different shields while I recorded their AR.

Thomas Ravensha, Grandmaster Warrior