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Stun, Knockout, and Pulling Punches

A player can announce that his character is trying to stun or knock his opponent out rather than damage her.

Using the flat of a blade instead of the edge, for example, can accomplish this. Damage is figured normally, but any damage inflicted doesn’t wound the opponent: it stuns her instead.

In this case, a Hurt result is called a “Stun” a stunned character cannot attack or all-out defend, and is at -1 to defend for one combat turn only. However, the Stun result stays on the character sheet: that is, a second Stun result, even if delivered more than one combat round after the first, will cause the character to become Very Stunned. (Stun results heal like Scratches: after combat is over.) A Very Hurt result in a stunning attack is called a Very Stunned result instead: no attacks and -2 to all actions for two combat rounds.

A result of Incapacitated or worse when going for stun damage results in a knockout. A knocked-out character doesn’t need healing to recuperate to full health just time. (Only a harsh GM would roll for the possibility of brain damage this is fiction, not reality.) The GM may simply decide that a successful Good blow (or better) to the head knocks someone out automatically.

In an Opposed action, the Good blow would also have to win the combat, of course.

Likewise, a player may choose to have his character do reduced damage in any given attack. This is known as “pulling your punch,” even if you are using a sword.

This commonly occurs in duels of honor, where it is only necessary to draw “first blood” to win, and killing your opponent can get you charged with murder. A Scratch will win a “first blood” duel it is not necessary to Hurt someone.

To pull your punch, simply announce the maximum wound level you will do if you are successful. A fencer can say he is going for a Scratch, for example. In this case, even if he wins the Opposed action by +8, and adds in +3 for his sword, the worst he can do is nick his foe. He was just trying for a Scratch but the Scratch is probably in the shape of the letter “Z” with such a result!