Resolved Do players take damage from too-hard hits?

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On the field this weekend I made a call that if a hit was too hard, you should inform the player and not take the damage and should bring it to the attention of a marshal later, but searching the rule book afterwards there doesn't seem to be any explicit indication of how to respond to a too-hard hit. What I have found so far:

A. "excessive zeal" is specifically stated as a valid reason to call a hold, as long as it is then reported to a marshal
B. The line "You do not actually have to hurt your opponent in order to cause damage to the character" implies to me that hits that actually do hurt the opponent would also cause damage to the character if they are otherwise valid, since it isn't necessary but also isn't precluded.
C. On the other hand, in the Player's Handbook "Hitting too hard with a weapon" is listed as "Dangerous Combat Infractions" and should be reported to a marshal. Other Combat Infractions, such as not finishing an incant and machine gunning, do result in the ability having no effect.
D. "You should mention to your opponent when you think you got a hit in, and all players should acknowledge hits upon themselves whenever possible[...] Acknowledging which hits you are accepting and which ones you feel you blocked will help reduce disputes from your opponent" doesn't have a suggested way to say that a hit was too hard.

What should a player do if someone hits them too hard, besides reporting it to a marshal? Particularly given that "too hard" can be very subjective and the rulebook also cautions that hitting too softly may cause people to not take hits they can't feel, encouraging player-to-player calibration in the moment seems particularly helpful, but it isn't clear from the rulebook what form that should take.


The reason it's not defined as a hard and fast item in the ARB is because it really does depend on the specific situation, chapter, and environment. If someone hits you too hard, it is always OK to call a Hold to let them know (as you note in your item A). Beyond that, how specifically to respond/enforce infractions is left up to the Chapter's rules, as different chapters may want to handle the issue differently. This is similar to how different chapters might allow certain weapons but not others - if you regularly play below freezing temperatures, for example, you might not want to pass certain weapons while a chapter which always plays in 80 degree weather is fine with those same weapons; similarly, what constitutes "too hard" can depend on the environment and even the specific players involved. When I'm wearing stainless steel greaves, for example, you *need* to hit my leg harder than if I'm not wearing any armor so that I can feel it.

Bottom line - if someone's hitting too hard, let them know and call a Hold if needed to get that message across. Beyond that, check with your local chapter's Marshals.

-Bryan Gregory
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