Being hit with a weapon is a jarring experience. A heavy hit will take most targets off their feet, even if the armor protects them from actual injury.
Whenever a combatant is hit by a weapon, divide the power of the attack by 2, and round up. This is the Impact of the hit. The defender must make a Forte or Speed test (defender’s choice) with the Impact as the obstacle.
The Impact test must be taken regardless of whether or not the blow causes injury.
If the test is failed by one, the defender stumbles and is on one knee. If the test is failed by more than one, the defender has been knocked flat and is now prone.
Staring at the Sky
A character who is Knocked On His Ass has fewer hesitation options (if he happens to hesitate - being knocked down by a blow does not, in itself, produce hesitation.). For as many actions as the Margin of Failure of the impact test, the only available hesitation option is Stand & Drool - the character is disoriented and stares at the sky, seeing nothing.
Characters who are still hesitating after this may choose a hesitation option normally.
(This rule affects characters who are injured by blows that knock them down and fail the resulting Steel test, or who are be felled by hammer blows while Running Screaming, etc.)
Joren strikes a cave troll with four extra successes, which he uses to deliver a Superb (B9) hit with his sword. The cave troll must now resist an Ob 5 impact (9 divided by 2, rounded up), or stumble or fall. The cave troll rolls Forte, but only generates 2 successes, failing by 3.
Stunning doesn’t produce hesitation. It only restricts your choice of hesitation options if you happen to hesitate for other reasons (e.g. the hit breaches your armor and you fail your injury steel test, or if you were knocked down while fleeing). I see that this is not clear from what I wrote, I’ll edit this.
Well that makes it less scary. Still, running and screaming during hesitation is sometimes the only thing that saves your butt when a Fight goes badly. Anything that limits that makes the deadly BW combat even deadlier. I would suspect that Charge as a maneuver would be used less if you had the potential to knock someone over with an ordinary strike. I like this better as a Great Strike option. Let a fighter really wind up and then swing for the fences.
This idea grew from the recent Cave Troll vs. Dwarf fight in the arena, plus Zelbinian asking about tripping. Time after time, the Cave Troll smote me with a life-ending blow, but which my armor absorbed, leaving me utterly unaffected.
To me it seems a little bit excessive to have fighters fall over as often as this would make them do. I haven’t been hit by many weapons but I’ve fought plenty in martial arts and kicks can be really heavy. Still they don’t really make you fall over by force but rather when they hurt you enough so your body stops functioning properly (through pain or loss of equilibrium). I see your point in this but as said I think it will have too much effect since hesitation already punishes characters severely for getting injured.
You know what? I think this would be best as a Die Trait, with discounts/restrictions based on Massive Stature and/or Power above a certain level (like maybe B8), rather than a rule for every character in the game. Hits of that caliber would be fairly rare and/or restricted to certain classes of combatants.
Though I might start calling for this sort of thing when Superb hits are shrugged off from armor. I don’t care how tough your armor is, a square shot from a sledgehammer is gonna rattle you some.
Agreed, Dustin. As a special add on to make a specific creature or class of creatures uber scary, I can see this idea being most useful. Having it work across the board for everyone still worries me. I suppose we’d have to see it in action and judge from there.
having it work across the board really breaks verisimilitude; having it for some hamfisted giant as a trait effect, sure.
I’ve never seen anyone knocked over by an SCA swordblow itself; I’ve seen fighters pushed backwards a step, and I’ve seen people fail to keep their footing due to that push-back putting them on treacherous ground. But that’s easily handled by simply making the intent include knocking them flat.
Oh, and if they do fall back with a blow, it absorbs a LOT of the energy of the blow.
And while the double mace to the helm DID leave me on the ground, it was, indeed, best modelled as a pair of 1d injuries resulting in a steel test which I promptly failed, and opted for “fall to the ground”…
But yeah, Stormy, that trait is great. Especially since if you’re applying it to a monster trait point costs don’t actually matter. In fact, I think I’ll be adding that to my undead cave troll right now…
Edit On second thought, I think I would modify that Trait like this: Big Bruiser (Dt, 7pts)
This guy hits hard. He may script a Pushing Strike in place of a strike. The strike is tested normally; if successful, the successes may be spent on damage, location, or as Push successes.