Poise is the player's resistance to being staggered. Poise works similar to stamina in that it is reduced and refills on its own. Poise is reduced each time the player takes a direct hit. Shields prevent damage to poise when used to block an attack, instead reducing the player's stamina. If poise is reduced to zero the player will become staggered. Poise will begin to refill after some unknown amount of time has passed without being hit or it reaches zero. The rate at which poise refills is an unknown percentage per second.
To utilize the full benefits of poise adaptability must be considered.
The player innately has very little poise, which can be increased by leveling the Endurance and Adaptability stats. Poise is primarily added by the armor currently equipped, heavier armor typically providing more poise. Poise can also be increased further by using the Ring of Giants.
Every weapon has its own value of poise damage it does per hit, similar to any other of its damage stats. On average weapons which are physically larger will do more damage to poise. Holding a weapon with two hands also increases the amount of poise damage it will do in combat. Poise damage can be increased by using the Stone Ring.
The above information is based on testing and commentary by some of the authors of the strategy guide. It is subject to change pending further testing.