Types of Damage: Real Damage and Stun Damage

Attack Method: Thrust Damage and Swing Damage

Damage Bonus

Penetration Damage: Crushing, Cutting and Impaling

How do I apply damage?: Hits, Critical Hits, Stun, Recovering Stun, Stun Limit, Loosing all Stun Points and Toughness

Healing & Recovery: Stabilisation


This file is covered the application of the various types of combat damage and how to apply them to a victim. The end of file covers stabilistation and the recovery process.


There are two types of damage in Dark Age: real damage and stun damage.

As stun damage suggests, it is merely temporary and simply stuns you. This type of damage is frequently caused by fist fights, attacks with some blunt weapons and shock weapons which are designed to knock a target down rather than kill them. People are naturally resistant to stun damage and can recover over a fairly short period of time. Large amounts of stun damage can cause real damage too, so it's entirely possible to be beaten to death.

On the other hand, you have real damage. This is killing damage that permantly hurts your character and only armour will protect a person from this type of harm. People can heal real damage, but it's more a case of days rather than hours. Real damage reduces a character's HITS score and when a character reaches zero, they're dying (true death occurs a bit below this however). A person also takes stun damage equal to the real damage done due to the effects of shock and pain.


In addition to the different forms of damage, how a person uses a weapon has a big effect on how damage is calculated. Attack methods can be either swung or thrust.

Thrust damage (or TD) includes weapons that are pushed towards a target such as a spear or other stabbing weapon. These include spears, daggers and rapiers, but punches are also included too. Basic thrust damage is based on a total of your character's STR + SIZ divided by three. In unarmed combat this value is the number of dice thrown for stun damage (be it a punch, kick or headbutt). In armed thrust attacks the value is used instead of strength when calculated extra damge dice (see weapon damage, below).

Example: Mac has STR 10 and SIZ 9. This makes a total of 19 and dividing this by three gives 6.3 which we round down to 6. Mac has a sword that does 4D6 damage and has a minimum strength requirement of 3. Mac's trust damage (TD) is 6, which is 3 points over the minimum strength required. As per the damage bonus rules (below), Mac gains an extra three damage dice and that brings his sword up to 7D6 thrust damage.

Swing damage (or SD) includes all weapons that a swung towards a target, swords, clubs and axes. Basic swing damage is equal to the average of your character's SIZE + STR (round down). This is compared to a weapon's minimum strength requirement and for each point over that, the weapon's damage is increased by one die. However, you can't increase a weapon's damage beyond double it's original number of dice.

Once a weapon has hit a target, you have to look at how the weapon causes damage. Crushing, cutting or impaling weapons all perform differently and this is covered under penetration damage.


A person's damage bonus is worked out by comparing their swing and thrust strengths against a weapon's minimum strength requirement.

    1. For swing damage (SD) use an average of a person's SIZE + STR scores.
    2. For thrust damage (TD) use a third of a person's SIZE + STR scores (round down!).
    3. For each point over a weapon's minimum damage, add one extra die of damage until the user has no additional points (from either SD or TD).
    4. However, the maxium number of damage dice for a weapon, is equal to twice it's original damage rating!


A mugger has a 5 swing damage, 3 thrust damage and has a tonfa that requires a minimum strength of 3. If the tonfa was swung, the mugger would gain an extra two damage dice (swing damage of 5 - min. str of 3) but would not gain any extra damage on a thrust attack. The tonfa causes 4D6 stun damage normally, but when held by this crim, it does 5D6 stun when swung and 4D6 on a thrust attack.

Mac has a knife and that has a minimum strength requirement of 1 and causes 2D6 killing damage. Mac's SD is 9 and his TD is 6. Now, both these values are way over the knife's strength requirement, but the maxium damage a weapon can do is equal to twice it's original damage dice. In this case, the knife's basic killing damage is 2D6 and Mac's strength increases this to 4D6 for both thrust and swing attacks.


How a person is damaged depends on the method of attack and also how the weapon does it's damage. Some crush a target breaking ribs and mashing flesh; others cut into a target causes blood loss and leaving gaping wounds; while the really dangerous ones impale a person, penetrating vital organs and suchlike. This is referred to as penetration damage.

Crushing damage is the most common form but it's also the least deadly. Armour stops crushing damage on a point per point basis; i.e: 20 AP stops 20 point of damage. Bullets, fists and blunt trauma are all forms of crushing damage, indeed all stun damage is thought of as crushing damage.

Cutting damage is caused by a bladed weapon slashing through a target. Unlike the simple blunt impact of a crushing attack, a cutting weapon can leave a large gash on a victim which causes more localised damage, blood loss and shock. To this end, any cutting attack damage is increased by 50% BUT ONLY WHEN IT PENETRATES ARMOUR (round up). Swords, cyberclaws and just about all bladed weapons cause cutting damage. Some weapons are capable of both cutting and impaling attacks, in which case the player should specify which attack form they are attempting.

Impaling damage is the worse type of attack as it penetrates deep into the target and ruptures blood vessels and affects internal organs. Weapons which stab, rather than slash, are impalers. These include daggers, picks (!), cybersnakes and rapiers. Once the weapon has penetrated any armour, the resultant damage is doubled!


Following on from the previous examples, the mugger's tonfa is a weapon that causes crushing stun damage. This means that damage is done on a point for point basis after armour penetration. Mac is wearing an armoured jacket that gives him 10 AP, so this would reduce any damage done by the mugger's tonfa by 10 points.

Mac's sword can be used to make swinging cutting blows or thrusted impaling attacks. Mac swings his sword at the mugger and hits rolling 20 damage. The muggers armour knocks 18 damage of straight away and this means that 2 damage penetrates. As the blow was a cutting attack, the penetrating damage is increased by 50%, namely 3 points.

For his second attack, Mac makes a thrusting attack to use the sword's impaling ability and rolls 24 damage. The mugger's armour stops 18 points of this, which leaves 6 points of penetration damage. As this was an impaling attack, penetration damage is doubled, making the new amout 12 points!


As mentioned above, there are two forms of damage: real, or killing damage and stun, that which shocks and subdues a person. Each of these damage types are applied to a person's HITS and STUN pools respectively.


Your HITS pool is equal to double the sum of their HEALTH and SIZE characteristics. At zero hits your character is dying but may act if they can roll under half their WILLPOWER on a D10. (But only if they have any remaining STUN points). On zero HITS or less, you loose an extra hit per round until stabilised and you die at a negative value equal to twice their HEALTH + SIZE stats. Stabilisation is covered under healing.

Example: Kat has HT 6 and SIZE 5 so her HITS are 22. She will die at -11 HITS. If the referee was using a critical hit system then Kat would take a severe wound at 11 HITS! Kat is typical of your average person while Jack with his 9 SIZE and 10 HT has 38 HITS (he would would die at -19).

Critical Hits

This is optional and entirely up to the Referee. In this case, when a character's HITS falls to below their ENDURANCE but is still above zero, then the wound that damaged them is a critical hit. This could mean the loss of a limb or the reduction in it's function.


Your STUN pool is equal to double the sum of their ENDURANCE and WILLPOWER stats. For every point of killing damage taken to the HITS pool, you loose on point of STUN and at zero stun you are knocked out.

If you are hit with just stun damage, say from a fist fight or stun weapon, then this damage is reduced by your character's toughness (see below). Note that too much stun damage can be fatal, as every five full points of stun damage causes one point of killing damage.

Example: Grunn (a SHARC) has END 11 and WP 9 which makes his STUN 40 points. If Grunn was shot for 10 points of damage his HITS and STUN pools would drop by 10 points each. However, if someone punched him, Grunn would modify the stun damage by his toughness. If Joe Average has stats of 5 in END and WP, then he'll have 20 STUN.

Recovering Stun

You recover one point of STUN per ENDURANCE point per round if you choose to do nothing and try and recover. If you have lost over half your STUN then you only regain points on a minute basis and if you have been laid out cold by being reduced to zero stun (or less) then it will take hours rather than minutes of recovery.

Stun Limit

It is possible to stun a target if they take a lot of stun damage in one go. Add your ENDURANCE and WILLPOWER together to get your "stun limit". If you take more stun damage than this from any one action then you are stunned for one round. You may not perform any other action other than attempt to defend yourself - and that is at a penalty of -6!

Example: Decker has 32 STUN points and has a stun limit of 16. He gets jumped by muggers and whacked by the first one for 10 points of stun damage (which also drops Decker's HITS by two). The second thug puts the boot in for another 8 points of stun damage (and that causes him a single HIT loss too).

So, in this action alone Decker has taken 18 points of stun damage - which means he is now stunned for the next round. For the remainder of this and the following round, he can defend himself but at a penalty of -6.

Loosing all Stun Points

Stun damage is not as lethal as a killing blow but if you loose all your STUN (and are knocked out) then any remaining points are divided by five and applied as real damage (i.e.: to your HITS pool). Getting a serious kicking will kill you if your attackers don't back off.


This is your character's ability to shrug off stun damage - think of it as a kind of hardman's armour, it protects you from stun damage but not real damage.. This is equal to an average of your character's HEALTH and WILLPOWER.

Example: Stig has 8 HT and 9 WP, making his toughness 9. He can deduct 9 from any stun damage hit. He steps in to help Decker take on the thugs and gets punched for 20 points of damage. His toughness reduces this to 11 points and Stig's player reduces the stun pool accordingly.

Stig sticks one of the muggers with a knife and as this is real damage the mugger does not get any toughness to reduce the damage. The knife does 12 points of damage and this is applied straight to the mugger's stun pool


Everyone heals at a rate of HITS equal to their ENDURANCE stat per week. Some characters will have END scores that let them heal on a daily basis - for those that have fractional healing rates you should put the extra points towards the end or middle of the week.

Example: Jack's 9 SIZE and 10 HT gives him 10 ENDURANCE, so he heals at a rate of 10 HITS per week. He will heal at least one point per day on four days of the week and on the other three days he'll heal two points. Joe Average will have END 5 so he'll heal at a rate of 1 point every day bar two days of the week.

This can be modified by any bonuses from cyberware or medical attention. Daily attention by qualified medical personnel in a hospital adds +2 to healing rates per week. Successful first aid rolls and bed rest adds +1 to healing rates (and these rolls should be made daily!).

Characters should be taking it easy and not doing anything too strenuous and if they do, they must make an average [15] ENDURANCE test in order for any healing to take place that day.


For characters that have been reduced to below zero HITS, they must first be stabilised before the healing process can begin. This requires a test using first aid or medical tech against a difficulty of 10 + 2 difficulty per hit point under zero.

[Optional: Subject to Ref discretion, a dying character can be kept alive by constant first aid if the helpers are unable to make a permanent stabilisation. The difficulty for this is 5 + 1 difficulty per hit point under zero - however, the temporary stabilisation only lasts for two minutes per success point!]

The following modifiers apply:

No medical kit or suitable equivalents
First aid kit only
Field surgery kit or doctor's bag
Field hospital or emergency services' vehicle
Accident & Emergency department / E.R or Trauma Centre.