Stunning is a mechanic related to combat. When stunned, a character is unable to move or attack for a few seconds, and can be picked up and carried like a corpse.
Stunned characters can be easily differentiated from dead corpses by the cartoonish 'circling birdies' above their head.
Unlike a Damsel, a stunned enemy being carried will still wake up after a short delay, dealing contact damage as they do so.
A stunned enemy lying on the ground will be seen shuddering just before they get up, but there is no such indication for when a carried character is about to wake up. This makes carrying Mantraps especially dangerous.
A character that was frenzied prior to being stunned (such as a Caveman or a Hawk Man) will wake up with no recollection of the incident, and will return to a passive state. The one exception to this are the Shopkeepers, who never forget and never forgive.
Stunned enemies do not take damage from the whip or by being stomped on until they wake up again.
There are several different methods of putting certain characters into a stunned state, but not all characters can be stunned.
The most common way of stunning a character is to inflict damage. While weak enemies with only a single hit point will be killed, tougher characters that receive non-fatal injuries will usually be knocked unconscious by them.
Other characters may be stunned under special circumstances. A Damsel will always faint when picked up, and Mantraps fall asleep after eating something. A Scorpion found inside a pot will always be stunned at first, but still has two hit points.
The Spelunker will be stunned when they take fall damage, as well as when flung by an enemy such as a Shopkeeper or when hit by a projectile, but not when taking ordinary contact damage. They will be stunned without taking damage if hit by an object that doesn't cause harm, such as a broken arrow shaft. Monkeys can also stun the Spelunker (as an alternative to stealing their items), and such a stun takes a particularly long time to wear off. Getting stunned at the wrong time is a frequent cause of instant death on the best of runs.
When a stunned character is placed upon an Altar, they will disappear in a shower of blood as Kali grant the player favor equal to the value of the offering. At certain thresholds of favor, Kali will bestow free items as gifts.
Stunned enemies are always worth more favor than dead corpses, but it is usually safer to kill an enemy before taking the time to place them on the altar. However, some stunnable enemies don't leave corpses, and thus must always be sacrificed alive. Also, keep in mind that sacrificing takes a second or two, so stunned enemies that wake up before they are sacrificed must be stunned again.
It is possible to stun almost any enemy in the game (even The Ghost) with the bright flash of a Camera. However, characters that are not ordinarily possible to stun under normal circumstances (such as snakes) will only be dazed - not truly stunned - and therefore it is not possible to sacrifice them in this state.
Bats and undead monsters will simply be killed when photographed, and the length of time a character is stunned by the camera flash is usually much shorter than if they had taken damage, although they can easily be stun-locked by photographing them repeatedly.