This is the single most important rule in this entire book. Read it and take it to heart.
Anyone who sees an unsafe situation happening or about to happen can call a Hold in a fight. “Hold!” should be yelled so that everyone in battle can hear it—otherwise, it may be followed by another flurry of swings. When a Hold is called, stay exactly where you are and drop to one knee. Do not look around you or talk to people about anything not connected with the Hold. This is not a time to study someone and see if they are an NPC or a PC, nor is it a chance to look behind you and see if anyone is sneaking up on you. Please play fair and try not to gather information while the Hold is being sorted out.
You can use this time to update your tags and remove any spells that you have cast. You can also pick up spell packets from the ground or from your pouch as long as you return to your original spot before the game is resumed.
When the reason the Hold was called is resolved, then the person calling the hold should call a Lay-on. First, ensure that everyone is ready to resume play, then call “3. . .2. . .1. . . Lay-on!”
A Hold can also be called for excessive zeal on the part of an opponent. The infraction should be reported to a marshal. Repeated complaints will get a player removed from combat.
A Hold can also be called if you are unsure about a rule that has an immediate effect on the battle. Do not call a Hold for minor rules clarifications; usually you can just ask someone while the battle rages on around you. “How much damage does that do?” and questions of that sort are encouraged. Holds should be rare.
Understand that the game rules have been written in such a way to try to prevent Holds from being necessary except in rare out-of-game situations. Do not abuse this rule.
Collecting tags or treasure is not a legitimate reason for calling a Hold. Tag bookkeeping should be done after the battle is over, not during it. If someone is claiming to have an outrageous amount of power that you cannot believe, please wait until after the battle is completed to question it. If the person was wrong or was cheating, a marshal can be called and, if necessary, an adjudication can be requested.
If you see a crowd of people kneeling down, then they are probably in a Hold. Do not approach the group until the Hold is over.