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QUOTE (Jaid)
if nothing else, replace dodge with gymnastics... you have a melee skill that you can use as long as you can move, and gymnastics allows full dodge outside of melee. if possible, the entire athletics skill group is nice.

Is this accurate? I'd thought Gymnastics + AG v. ranged combat was only possible with full defence.

Edit: correcting to Gymnastics + RE, not AG. I knew better. Really I did!
From what I understand (I'm no expert) it's Reaction (alone) versus most ranged attacks, but Reaction + Gymnatics versus ranged attacks on a full dodge (or whatever the term is, an instance where you sacrifice an action in order to try not to get shot).
It's Reaction alone versus a Ranged Attack normally.
With Full Defense it's Reaction + Gymnastics. Agility does not apply under any circumstances.

I did mean RE. Correcting the first post now.
The overall point of the initial post is that Dodge really isn't as "worth it" if you've already got a melee skill. If you're not a combat guy? Sure, buy Dodge, because you can "double dip" in it (if you're just a geeky Hacker or scrawny Mage who wants to not get hit) and use it against both ranged and melee attacks.

But if you're already good in melee, and can take advantage of block and parry instead... Dodge isn't as worth it. You've got melee defense covered, right? So buy Gymnastics, instead. You can use Gymnastics the same way you can use Dodge versus ranged attacks, and your character will have all the other stuff the Gymnastics skill normally gives (jumping and tumbling and junk like that).

You're not paying for half a skill, the way you would be with Dodge, basically.
Gymnastics is equivalent to dodge for ranged attacks. Okay, so there's no "ranged" specialization for gymnastics, but a specialization in tumbling should be the equivalent. Gymnastics is also easier to improve with bioware (enhanced articulation or synthcardium) or adept improved ability (it only costs half as much). Note that full defense in ranged combat is the only time that you add gymnastics or dodge; normally, you only use Reaction.

Gymnastics sucks in melee combat, though, so like others have said, only take it if you have melee defense covered with another skill.
I don't think you can use any specialization of the gymnastics when dodging. I also don't think you can use the synthcardium as it only applies to athletics tests and a gymnastic dodge is a dodge test not an athletics test. The adept powers or enhanced articulation would work just fine though.
Rotbart van Dainig
Keep in mind that you need Dodge for moving efficently under Supressive Fire.

Also, most GMs rule that you need more room to mov around for gymnastic doge.
Valid points on Gymnastics vs. Dodge.

To summarize some of the above, and add a few others to reasons Dodge is NOT worthless -

* Depending on the reading, you may not be allowed to roll Gym.x2 in melee the way you can roll Dodgex2.

* It is cheaper than Gym + a melee skill.

* Most GMs will probably throw you out of the game as a hopeless munch if you try to take a gym. spec. that is vs. ranged attacks, and that can be a cheap +2 dice to add to your Dodge roll (all the more important now that guns are double-deadly in SR4).

* A lot of GMs will tell you you can't use gym defense in a confined space, whereas they will likely be more lenient on the more flexible Dodge skill.

* Only Dodge is specified as usable in Suppressive Fire (though it might be assumed that that encompasses all forms of full-defense).

* Fluff though it may be, some role-players make up manly-man characters or ungainly troll tanks that they just don't think cartwheels and backsprings are well suited for.

* Dodge is also more useful than gym because it is the test a GM will call for when you are faced with all those NON- combat things you want to get out of the way of - like pianos dropped from roofs or a steel door slamming into where you are standing or whatever.

I think Dodge is a good skill to have, but concede that its usefulness is indeed limited for some character types, especially if they are going to be athletic kung fu guys.

Note that a lot of my points (some repeated from earlier in this thread) are based on guesses about what "most" GMs would do - a quick discussion about Dodge vs. Gymnastics with your GM during chargen might definitely swing the argument one way or the other.
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