A reaction to damage caused by one hit that equals 25% or more of the creature's hit points at the time the damage is done. If sufficient damage is done, the character or creature is said to be "stunned." This will result in the character being able to take no action before the enemy's next round has been accomplished.

Being stunned does not remove the character's consciousness or awareness of all that is happening. It should be viewed as the creature staggering, stumbling, perhaps falling to one knee, needing time to regain its balance, clear its eyes and so on, in effect causing the creature to be too 'busy' to take any other action. Creatures that are consistently hit round after round may remain stunned (off balance) until the killing blow finally lands.

If a character is hit multiple times in the space of a round, each individual hit is calculated separately. This calculation is made according to the order in which each hit lands.

For example, suppose a creature with 29 hit points were to be hit three times in succession, hits that caused, in order, 7, 5 and 3 points of damage. The first hit, 7 damage, will stun up to 28 hp, not quite enough to stun the creature - subtracting 7, that leaves the creature with 22 hp. The second hit, 5 damage, will stun up to 20 hp, still not enough, leaving the creature with 17 hp. The third hit, 3 damage, is still less than the amount needed, so that the creature would escape being stunned that round, even though it suffered a loss of 15 hit points.

If, however, the damage was done in the order of 3, 7 and 5, the first hit would reduce the creature to 26 hp. This means that the second attack, for 7 damage, would stun the creature. As the creature is already stunned, the third hit, for 5 damage, would also stun the defender - but while this does not make the defender 'more' stunned, it may mean the defender will fall back further (see falling back, below).

Where bleeding from wounds results in 25% of a creature's hit points, the creature is considered too weak to take any action, and is thereafter stunned each round until treated by an ally.

Any damage sustained by a creature with 4 hp or less (including the negatives) is considered a stun.

Stunning versus Multiple Attacks

When a defending creature has more than one attack, more than 25% of the creature's hit points must be caused in order to stop all the creature's attacks. Whether due to it's natural form - such as animals with two claws and a bite, multiple tentacles, etcetera - or because the creature has increased sufficiently in level to receive additional attacks, creatures with multiple attacks are considered to be better balanced and therefore more difficult to stun.

Causing 25% of the defender's hit points will reduce the defender's attacks the following round by one attack. To reduce the defender by two attacks requires damage equal to 33% (one third) of the defender's hp; reducing the defender by three attacks requires 50% of the defender's hp; by four attacks requires 67% (two thirds) of the defender's hp and so on. See the table below for reducing up to 8 enemy attacks (the number of attacks a carrion crawler has).

% of hp Needed to reduce attacks.png

For example, suppose a character is fighting a lion with 33 hp. During the character's round, the character hit's the lion, causing 9 damage. This is more than 25% of the lion's hit points, but not more than 33% - therefore, the lion would still attack, but would randomly lose the use of either one of the lion's claws or its bite. If the character had caused 11 hp of damage, the lion would have lost two of its attacks - but it would still attack using one of its claws (2 in 3) or its bite (1 in 3). If the character, however, was somehow able to cause a total of 17 hp damage to the lion, the lion would be completely stunned and would get no return attacks before the character was able to attack again.

Falling Back

Creatures that are stunned are judged to fall back one combat hex after being stunned, effectively staggering back from the force of the blow. In some cases, where the attack is particular egregious and delivered by a large or gigantic creature, such as a giant or an elemental, the stunned creature may actually be hurled back a distance of at least one hex. If the damage caused by an attacker larger than 1,000 pounds is enough to wound the defender, the defender is judged to fall back two hexes.

The direction of falling back should be diametrically opposite to the direction of the attack that first stunned the opponent. The defender cannot, however, be forced into a hex containing an enemy or a physical structure - if this applies to the hex to which the defender should fall back, then the defender will fall back 60 degrees to the left or right, away from the hit. If it is impossible for the defender to fall back into any three hexes behind the defender, then the falling-back rule does not apply.

If the hex the defender is forced into contains a single small or medium-sized ally, the creature will be forced to occupy the same hex as the ally. However, if that hex is occupied by a large ally, by two medium allies or three small allies, that hex is judge to be full and therefore the defender cannot fall back into that hex. Once again, if all three hexes are filled with allies, then the falling-back rule does not apply.

If the defender falls back into an hex that indicates a plunge or drop, then the defender is entitled to a dexterity check each time that the defender is stunned that round. Success indicates that the defender does not move backwards when stunned; a failure indicates that the defender falls.

Should the defender be separated from the fall by a railing, merlon or fence, the defender will receive a +1 modifier to the dexterity check for each foot of the barrier's height above 1' (+1 for a 2' barrier, +2 for a 3' barrier, etcetera). If the character has a rigid pole that can be grabbed or used for support, the defender will gain a +1 modifier for that also.

There are numerous other situations into which a stunned defender can be forced back into - for example, into water along a shoreline, into line-of-sight where the character can be seen by others, up or down stairs, etc.

Swapping with Stunned Allies

Allies may swap places with stunned companions, in order to move forward and attack the enemy. Imagine that the forward hex is, at the start of the round, occupied by a creature - Axul - that has just been stunned. Axul's ally, Byzul, begins by moving into Axul's hex. At the same time, Byzul presses Axul back (as they switch places) and Axul stumbles backwards into Byzul's former place. Though technically Axul cannot take an action (because Axul is stunned), Byzul initiates an action for Axul and Axul completes that action. The exchange costs only one action point for Byzul, for moving one hex forward, but none for directing Axul (as Byzul merely pulls Axul back while passing him), while the points Axul spends are dismissed since they are less than what Axul might spend if Axul had the power to take action independently.

The final result is that Byzul ends where Axul was, while Axul ends where Byzul was. Byzul then goes on to use his remaining action points.

See Combat