Another thing I realised was that the 'Block' skill is better than the 'Dodge' skill if you want to take advantage of heavy armour. So I made another character, this time specialising in Swords, and Block. And this character had a good time. It seemed like he would master every encounter, crushing all his enemies under his blade.
Which brings me to another thought: when playing Age of Decadence, you have to leave all moral concerns aside. In this game, fighters must take every opportunity to kill a character, in order to gain skill points and treasure. It doesn't matter if the victims are completely innocent.
So how far did my Sword character go? Very far. He became a friend of the imperial guard commander and overthrew the city's king. But then he was captured and caged. Then he was given a chance to escape. But before he could escape he had to kill two guards, while being completely naked except for a dagger. Since the character had put all his skill points into Block and not Dodge, he had approximately zero chance to survive. You need a shield in order to block attacks.