Defending indicates your overall ability to defend against attacks, and is in the armor skillset. It replaces Multiple Opponent's functionality as the skill used when being engaged with multiple foes. (Contrary to previous versions of this article, defending does not act as a mastery skill for your three defenses.) Defending is best trained by being in combat and successfully defending against an attack.
Managing multiple opponents in combat is now a skill check of the aggressor's Tactics against the defenders Defending. This allows the skill to grow with you as you fight harder things, rather than requiring defense against five creatures to keep the skill moving at high ranks. In general, fighting more than two creatures at the same time will drastically increase the difficulty to defend.
Spells and abilities that boost Defending
Spells and abilities that decrease Defending
Stance and Stance Points
Your stance determines where you are focusing your defensive capabilities. The STANCE command will show you how you are currently dividing your defensive stance points in-game. You can modify each of these values individually by typing STANCE <EVASION/PARRY/SHIELD> (0-100). The total number of defensive stance points distributed among the three separate defenses may not exceed the total that you have accumulated.
Characters gain stance points over time as their skill in Defending increases. For Armor Primaries, a new stance point is received every 50 ranks. For secondaries, every 60 ranks, and for tertiaries a new stance point comes with every 70 ranks. To accommodate these additional Stance Points, one may create custom stances beyond the basic three provided. See STANCE for details.