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Assessment and Stun Condition

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I ran a combat and left it with some questions about Stun and Assessment. The QuickStart and Cheat Sheet say that one time in which Assessment might be called for is after a character has been Stunned. Language in one area specifies, I believe, that a character’s Stun begins at the moment in which the Stun condition occurs and ends after one Assessment phase and the conclusion of Other Actions. Therefore I interpret the length of time of a Stun to be one full round and whatever time had been left over (in the previous round) from the moment in which the Stun condition actually landed.

However, after Other Actions, the character is again at Assessment, so then (I presume) must successfully Assess or not be able to effectively act for another full Round. Is this correct?

This brings up a design question for the Stun condition. Somewhere in your blog, I believe, you theorized that the original designers must have found the Stun condition to be an essential compenent of the game. But you also, I believe, pointed to the tendency for characters to become “Stun-locked.” (This is basically what caused me to walk away from my most recent RM2 campaign, incidentally.) I appreciate that you removed “Stuns for multiple rounds” in your Critical charts, but are you entirely satisfied? In my recent combat, a powerful Minion of the Dark Master was effectively Stun-locked simply by receiving the Stun condition repeatedly over multiple rounds.

Here’s a design consideration: whenever a Stun condition occurs, perhaps allow the stunned character a TSR vs the lvl of the character that delivered the Stun? Would this upset the design in a significant way?

I see a design change potentially could “nerf” “Unstun” (lvl 3) in the Healing spell list.

In the previous iterations of the rules we actually had a "Save vs Stun" mechanic, but we found it awkward to handle, so we removed it in favor of the current rules.

Regarding the duration of the Stun, yes it usually last one round. You're basically answering a single question each assessment/other actions phase to check if a character is Stunned or not:

- Assessment Phase: is your character Stunned? If yes, he/she remains Stunned until the Other Actions Phase.

- Other Actions Phase: was your character Stunned during this round? If no, he/she stops being Stunned. If yes, Stun carries over to the next round.

You don't actually need to roll for Assessment each time a character stops being Stunned, but only when the GM deems it necessary. I see the problem you're talking about however. I think we left out some small crucial bit of information in the passage from the full rules to the Quickstart.

Good catch, we'll check it out and see to fix this.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Here is a design question: What does it mean to be Stunned?

Currently Rules as Written penalizes Stunned characters in the following way: cannot perform Full Actions, only able to Parry with half OB, attackers get +20 to strike Stunned character. No surprises here for those who are familiar with previous iterations of this family of rules.

However, it’s always been puzzling to me that characters till maintain their Def while Stunned. Def always has appeared to be a static value, never changing (except if the character possesses or does not possess a Shield) unless a character’s Swiftness is altered for some reason.

Articulation of RAW Stun:

The blow rattles your skull. You take a moment to get your bearings. Afterwards, you see your opponent swinging his mace in a counterattack. He has taken your temporary befuddlement to get his attack already under your guard. Your nerves spring into action, and you use all your agility to dodge aside. However, your arms are slow to respond, and you only JUST GET your handaxe partway up in an attempt to deflect the iron ball of studs.

What if, though, the Stun condition means that the character is temporarily open to attack, or, in other words loses his or her SWI to Def?

The blow rattles your skull. You take a moment to get your bearings. Afterwards, you see your opponent swinging his mace in a counterattack. It’s too late to dodge, and your arms are slow to respond. You only JUST GET your handaxe partway up in an attempt to deflect the iron ball of studs.

What to do with any (possible) Shield? This could be up to the GM. Perhaps it happens to still be in the way of the attacker’s blow. Perhaps it’s slipped a little for half Def. Perhaps it can’t be used at all.

Anyway, to return to my question: What are the specifics of (or what is the narrative involved for someone suffering from) the Stunned condition? My instinct tells me to deduct SWI from the Def—or remove all Def. This is in service to a personal project to reduce, minimize and consolidate action modifiers (which you’ll probably soon see in a separate thread).

P.S. I’m also still attracted to a “Save against Stun” feature in my home game. I’m thinking a normal Skill Test roll using Athletics negatively modified by Lvl of creature inflicting Stun x 5. The risk would be that failure could cause more problems for the potentially Stunned character than just accepting the Stun, but highly Athletic individuals might embrace this risk.

A Stunned character is beaten back, staggered by the attack received and probably in shock for the pain, but still conscious and able to at least partly defend themselves.
The idea is interesting, but I'm afraid it would make the (already unpleasant) Stun condition quite deadly, and I'm not sure that would be good. A stunned character already is at a disadvantage, but this would probably just mean almost certain death.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Quick question: A character that succeeds in his Assessment Phase Perception roll stops being stunned? I though so by reading the rules, but this thread has made me think that maybe I misunderstood the rule.

Thanks!

Nope! Stunned characters stop being Stunned only after a complete round of stun (unless they're Stunned again in this period).

Perception rolls in the Assessment Phase aren't actually that common. They can be called by the GM in cases where characters need to refocus or reorient.
A character that has been surprised, Stunned or knocked Prone in a confusing brawl might need to make a Perception roll before declaring their action to understand what's going on.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Thanks. Understood. 🙂

In that case, allow me to make two suggestions, and please don't understand this as a complain against your game, since I think it's amazing! You probably wanted these kind of comments when you called for an open playtest. 😉

- Rewrite the Assessment Phase paragraph to make this point more clear. Explain that is an exceptional situation.

- Maybe allow a difficult Perception roll to shake off the Stunned condition in the Assessment Phase. Take into account that the character already suffered it for a round (unless he had the luck of attacking with the longest weapon). On top of that, this could make more skills useful in combat and allow you to develop more background options (Combat Awareness: +bonus at Perception rolls during the Assessment Phase).

Hello again!

Thanks to new QuickStart, I've read everything again more carefully, and I've realized that there are several situations in the game (like fumbles) that ask the character to pass an asses roll or be stunned during the next turn. This made me think again about this topic, and I've two questions.

- If a character is affected by one of this "assess or be stunned" effects doesn't pass the Assessment roll, he is only Stunned until the Other Actions phase of that same round, is that correct? Technically speaking, only characters suffering from the Stunned condition at the beginning of the Assessment Phase of a round stop being Stunned at the end of the Other Action Phase, so these characters shouldn't count, but I image the spirit of this rule is to not have a character Stunned for 2 rounds. Am I right?

- The Assessment Phase text explicitly indicates that a character that has been struck by a Critical Strike that Stunned him should make an Assessment roll. As far as I can tell, a character can only be Stunned:

--- By a fumble, and only if the fail an Assessment roll.

--- By a critical.

--- By some spells, and only if they fail a Perception or Save roll.

Does this mean that a Stunned character always has a chance to make a roll (being an Assessment for fumbles, Assessment for criticals that Stun, or Perception or Save rolls) to avoid it. Is that correct?

Sorry for all this nitpicking about Stun, but I'm afraid I'm not entirely clear on how it works.

Thanks!

No problem, we're here to help (plus, this help us to make the rules clearer)!

Quote from Rodrigo Garcia Carmona on April 27, 2019, 1:42 pm

- If a character is affected by one of this "assess or be stunned" effects doesn't pass the Assessment roll, he is only Stunned until the Other Actions phase of that same round, is that correct? Technically speaking, only characters suffering from the Stunned condition at the beginning of the Assessment Phase of a round stop being Stunned at the end of the Other Action Phase, so these characters shouldn't count, but I image the spirit of this rule is to not have a character Stunned for 2 rounds. Am I right?

Yes, you can assume that the "assess or be stunned" roll is made at the beginning of the Assessment phase, so the character end being Stunned at the end of the Other Actions Phase.

Quote from Rodrigo Garcia Carmona on April 27, 2019, 1:42 pm

- The Assessment Phase text explicitly indicates that a character that has been struck by a Critical Strike that Stunned him should make an Assessment roll. As far as I can tell, a character can only be Stunned:

--- By a fumble, and only if the fail an Assessment roll.

--- By a critical.

--- By some spells, and only if they fail a Perception or Save roll.

Does this mean that a Stunned character always has a chance to make a roll (being an Assessment for fumbles, Assessment for criticals that Stun, or Perception or Save rolls) to avoid it. Is that correct?

Nope! Stunned characters that succeed their Assessment Roll can simply declare their actions for the round (instead of being limited to parrying with half their CMB), but still suffer the effects of the Stunned condition (and are thus unable, for example, of taking Full Actions).

To make an example, a Stunned character that succeed in their Assessment Roll can try to disengage, moving away with a Half Action. A character that fails must simply stand there, parrying with half CMB and hoping for the best.

To tell the truth, we're keeping an eye on the Assessment Phase, as it probably needs some rewording or adjustment to make it clearer!

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
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