Any rules for knocking someone out?

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Chompy
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Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:30 am

Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by Chompy » Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:15 pm

Are there any rules - official or houserules - for rendering an opponent unconscious rather than killing them? A bandit the heroes want to interrogate or capture, for example.
I'm wondering about two situations:

1) They get someone unaware and by surprise. Smack them on the back of the head, sort of thing.
2) They are not taking someone by surprise, it's an actual combat, but the hero is trying to win by knocking them out not killing them.

All I have so far:
1) I feel could be a simple case of "make an attack" and if it hits, they're knocked out no matter their STAMINA. Perhaps with a -1 or -3 penalty because what you're trying to do is harder than just hitting them any which way.
2) I have a vague idea of handwaving it as "if you reduce them to 0 stamina, but don't finish them off like usual, then they're unconscious" but that also feels a little too easy. So maybe a penalty here, too? Though it could be slightly different - maybe you deal half damage on any round where you're trying to knock someone out. That way the heroes are not just doing it all the time, and so capturing someone is riskier/trickier? In other words you'd fight normally, then when you see their health is low you can start trying to knock them out - dealing less damage since you're holding back from making potentially lethal strikes, but if they're reduced to 0 they are knocked out not killed.

On top of that any opponent that is unthinkingly "killed" by hitting 0 STAMINA can still be saved through either a successful Test For Luck from the attacker, or a successful First Aid attempt from anyone tending to the defeated opponent? Assuming they haven't been obliterated or dealt such a huge amount of damage that there's no hope...

I'm also thinking that any round, no matter your opponent's stamina, if you're trying to knock them out and you roll a critical for that round... they are knocked out instantly no matter their STAMINA.

Nuvole!
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by Nuvole! » Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:32 pm

There should be also a "grappling" option, to capture people without hurting them too much...
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

JoeDuncan
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by JoeDuncan » Tue Feb 09, 2021 11:46 pm

The following rules are from "The Curse of Meraki" (adventure from Fighting Fantazine):

"Town guards wear leather hauberks and fight to the death, but the heroes can attempt to knock them out if they reduce their stamina to 4 or less.
They have to fight at -1 to attack strength, but the next hit will knock them out so that they will come to in 2-12 minutes"

HedgeWizard
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by HedgeWizard » Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:52 pm

Nuvole! wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:32 pm
There should be also a "grappling" option, to capture people without hurting them too much...
Isn’t that covered by the Brawling skill?

JoeDuncan
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by JoeDuncan » Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:24 am

HedgeWizard wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:52 pm
Isn’t that covered by the Brawling skill?
Yup:

"also governs the use of grappling and wrestling"
(AFF2e pg. 26)

I also found the following relevant rules from AFF1e:

"Note that a character may 'pull' a blow at any time in order to reduce the amount of damage it does to his opponent, usually as a prelude to asking him to surrender. The character need simply state that he is doing so; the damage delivered will be reduced to only 1 point."
(Dungeoneer pg. 155)

"...Unopposed Strike. Delivering an Unopposed Strike is quite simple. If your Director rules you are in a position to do this, you should try to roll two dice equal to or less than your SKILL or weapon Special Skill, with a bonus in either case of 3 points.
...
If the strike hits normally, the character has the option of either doing normal damage ... or simply delivering 1 point of damage to the opponent's STAMINA and knocking him out for 2-12 minutes"
(Dungeoneer pg. 163)

"Any character whose STAMINA is reduced to 0 or 1 point by an opponent fighting with bare hands only will not die straight away; rather, he will fall unconscious for 2-12 minutes. A character reduced to -1 or less by an unarmed opponent will die or, in the case of a Hero, be mortally wounded."
(Dungeoneer pg. 168)

And the following in the "Crown of Kings" campaign:

"Special: Blackjacks inflict 1 damage regardless of the damage dice roll, but a roll of 6 will knock the Hero out."
(Crown of Kings pg. 47)

Summary of "Knock-Out" Rules
========================
Unopposed Strike
-----------------------
If enemy is unaware, make a skill check against appropriate combat skill with a +3 bonus.
If successful, deliver only 1 dmg and knock out opponent for 2-12 minutes.

Armed Combat
--------------------
Reduce opponent to <= 4 stamina, by 'pulling' hits to make sure you don't accidentally kill them.
Once at 4 or less stamina, opponent can be knocked out for 2-12 minutes by winning a combat round with a -1 penalty.
Or use a blackjack, and roll a 6 for damage.

Unarmed Combat
------------------------
To deliberately render someone unconscious with unarmed combat, same as above.
Otherwise opponents automatically rendered unconscious for 2-12 minutes when reduced to 0 or 1 stamina in unarmed combat.

Additional House Rules I Use
======================
The rogue in my current game's party is quite the unarmed combatant (which is why I looked all this up!), and has repeatedly tried to subdue armed opponents, so we made this simple "disarming" rule:

Disarming
-------------
If you win around unarmed against an armed opponent (at -4 if they are wielding anything bigger than a dagger), you may disarm them rather than deal damage.
After disarming an opponent as above, they can usually be subdued pretty quickly.

Nuvole!
Archmage
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by Nuvole! » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:17 pm

JoeDuncan wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:24 am
Summary of "Knock-Out" Rules
========================
Unopposed Strike
-----------------------
If enemy is unaware, make a skill check against appropriate combat skill with a +3 bonus.
If successful, deliver only 1 dmg and knock out opponent for 2-12 minutes.

Armed Combat
--------------------
Reduce opponent to <= 4 stamina, by 'pulling' hits to make sure you don't accidentally kill them.
Once at 4 or less stamina, opponent can be knocked out for 2-12 minutes by winning a combat round with a -1 penalty.
Or use a blackjack, and roll a 6 for damage.

Unarmed Combat
------------------------
To deliberately render someone unconscious with unarmed combat, same as above.
Otherwise opponents automatically rendered unconscious for 2-12 minutes when reduced to 0 or 1 stamina in unarmed combat.

Additional House Rules I Use
======================
The rogue in my current game's party is quite the unarmed combatant (which is why I looked all this up!), and has repeatedly tried to subdue armed opponents, so we made this simple "disarming" rule:

Disarming
-------------
If you win around unarmed against an armed opponent (at -4 if they are wielding anything bigger than a dagger), you may disarm them rather than deal damage.
After disarming an opponent as above, they can usually be subdued pretty quickly.
Looks nice to me! A summary like that may perhaps find a good place in a future issue of The Warlock Returns...
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

JoeDuncan
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:25 pm

Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by JoeDuncan » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:42 pm

Oh, one last thing I forgot to mention, is how I differentiate between "Unopposed Strike" (from AFF1e) and "Surprise" (from AFF2e).

Essentially "Surprise" attacks are when you sneak up on an opponent and attack them before they know you're there - BUT they are able to respond/fight back!
"Surprise" in AFF2e is an OPPOSED combat check, with a +6 attack bonus and a +2 dmg roll bonus.

An "Unopposed Strike" is literally that (because it's also an UNOPPOSED combat check!) it's when you are able to attack an opponent - BUT they are NOT able to respond/fight back!
There could be many reasons your opponent can't fight back: maybe they're restrained, asleep, magically weakened or slowed down, perhaps the rogue scored a critical success coming up from behind etc...

The key difference is "Surprise" is an OPPOSED test because the target can fight back, and "Unopposed Strike" is an UNOPPOSED test because the victim cannot fight back.

I should also mention the AFF1e rules allow 2 choices on a successful Unopposed Strike: 1 dmg + unconscious 2-12mins, or regular damage. In the second circumstance, I also give my players the same +2 dmg roll bonus as for "Surprise" from AFF2e.

Chompy
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by Chompy » Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:09 pm

That's excellent info, just what I was after, thanks!
I summarised/collated it a bit so that I can present it to my players. It might be a little altered, to fit the style play we're using , but here's what I have at the moment:
Unopposed/Sneak Attack:
SKILL or Special Skill test, with +3 bonus.

Fumble=They are alerted to your presence if they weren't already - if they're so inclined they might also cry out, alerting everyone nearby. Next round they can fight and act as normal.
Fail=Do 1 damage. Next round, they are Surprised.
Succeed=Do normal damage, or do 1 damage and knock them out for 2-12 minutes.
Critical=A critical hit, or do 1 damage and knock them out for 10-60 minutes.
Note that here I thinking more of a sneak attack situation, so a form of unopposed strike, rather than a round in which you are fighting a surprised opponent. A successful Sneaking roll may be needed to get into the position for this. Or perhaps the enemy is asleep or surrendered thus also making it unopposed. The typical AFF meaning of surprise attack, where you the opponent fights back, is in my mind more akin to the first round of a just-sprung ambush. It didn't seem right for you to so easily miss an opponent that's completely unawares, or just laying there or standing still with their hands up waiting to be knocked out. So unless you really fumble your attempt you still hit them they just don't get knocked out and are probably now annoyed.

Knocking out and pulling blows during combat, to me, fit best alongside the other combat options.
Combat Options:

Pull Blows
On winning this round, only do 1 damage. The existing Fight Defensively option can be used to not make any attacks.

Knock Out : -1 penalty to Attack Strength
On winning this round, only do 1 damage but opponent is knocked out for 2-12 minutes if reduced to 4 STAMINA or below.
A Critical Hit, same result but opponent is knocked out if 8 STAMINA or less, for 10-60 minutes.
I also had a homebrewed Disarm as a combat option. (: The archer in my party wanted to focus on unarmed melee as his backup. One of the reasons I'm really looking forward to that Combat Companion! The Disarm we've been using Is similar to yours, same penalty and everything.
Disarm : -4 penalty to Attack Strength, if do not possess the Disarm skill
Fight using the Disarm skill for this round. If you win, deal no damage, instead your opponent's weapon is knocked from their grip.
A Critical Hit while using the Disarm action allows you to take the weapon from them, rather than knock it away.
Generally if people lack a Special Skill and are just doing a basic test I give them either a -2 if it's an uncommon skill/action (eg. Acrobatics, Sneaking), or a -4 if it's a more expert skill (eg. Locks, Crafting). While some things can't be attempted at all without the skill (eg. magic, awareness, and most lore checks)...

HedgeWizard
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by HedgeWizard » Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:11 pm

Thanks for doing all this research and sharing it with us, Really interesting!

Chompy
Posts: 61
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Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by Chompy » Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:24 pm

Also this talk of grappling made my train of thoughts run off with ideas for that, though... these are ideas and not at all thoroughly considered and probably even ill-advised. Could be fun though?
Grappling : -4 penalty to Attack Strength, if do not possess the Grappling skill
Perhaps an extra -3 penalty applies for a non-humanoid opponent.
Though also some director discretion would be required as to which opponents can be grappled - grabbing an eye stinger might be especially difficult...

Fight using the Grappling skill for this round. If you win, deal no damage, instead your opponent is Grappled and has -3 penalty to physical actions.
They can be released at any time, but they will also be released if winning any following combat round against you.

At the end of each subsequent round you may do any one of the following Grappling Actions if you still have hold of them:

Secure:
Can only be used against opponents that are about the same size as you, or less. So, a human can't properly Restrain a dragon, for example... without some magical size changing.
Secure your position, restraining any Grappled opponent and increasing their penalty to -6.
or Immobilise a Restrained opponent, making them unable to perform any physical actions unless they pass an opposed Grappling check against you.

Injure:
Deal 1-3 STAMINA damage to a Grappled opponent, 1-6 STAMINA damage to a Restrained or Immobilised opponent.

Subdue:
Knock out a Restrained or Immobilised opponent for 10-60 minutes regardless of STAMINA. Can't be used on non-breathing opponents such as undead, golems, plant creatures, etc.

JoeDuncan
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:25 pm

Re: Any rules for knocking someone out?

Post by JoeDuncan » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:30 am

Chompy wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:09 pm
Note that here I thinking more of a sneak attack situation, so a form of unopposed strike, rather than a round in which you are fighting a surprised opponent. A successful Sneaking roll may be needed to get into the position for this. Or perhaps the enemy is asleep or surrendered thus also making it unopposed. The typical AFF meaning of surprise attack, where you the opponent fights back, is in my mind more akin to the first round of a just-sprung ambush.
I rule it pretty much the same way, like if the player is able to sneak all the way up behind someone without alerting them, I give them an Unopposed Strike - and then regular combat if they don't knock them out.
If the target is completely restrained (like tied to a post or unconscious and can't wake up), and the player wants to stick a knife in their ribs or slit their throat or something, I'd just let them do it with no roll.
Otherwise, if they take a swing at a sleeping target, or someone awake with their hands tied etc... I have them do an Unopposed Strike.

I use the Surprise rules for things like ambushes or when a player has snuck up to a guard, but can't attack without revealing themselves, or when the baddies are pre-occupied and the PCs kick down the door and attack immediately etc...

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