In another thread that I do not want to derail further, I claimed that one problem that the (otherwise great) wound rules have is how they deal with wounded characters subjected to effects that do not generate defense totals; in particular, I wrote
A heavily, heavily wounded character can be more easily kiled by a child's kick than by an Incantation of Lightning.
@callen countered by saying:
That's not really true. I've run the numbers on the boards before. People have claimed things like this often, but it's a misperception.
Well, my games do tend to see relatively little "magical combat" (fighting is mostly left to grogs, and magi far more often dominate, bind, trick etc. enemies than bombard them with fire and lightning) so I may be wrong. But I still think I am right. I'd be happy to be proved wrong though.
Consider a big, really tough knight, with ... Siz +1, Def +12, Soak +12, Enc 0 (when uninjured).
He's heavily, heavily injured, having incurred half a dozen heavy wounds (-30), a dozen medium ones (-36) and two dozen light ones (-24).
A magus casts an Incantation of Lightning at him. Damage is stress die + 30 vs. stress die + 12 Soak. Soaking is not an action so it is not penalized by wounds - see the errata for clarification on this. The knight has better than even chances of taking nothing worse than yet another heavy wound (as long as his player rolls no lower than the magus'), and only about one chance in 10 of being killed on the spot (it only happens if his player rolls at least 7 points lower on the the stress die).
Assume instead a child kicks the knight. Let's say the child has Atk -3 and Dmg -3. So the child attacks the knight at stress die -3 vs. stress die + 12 -90. The child has at least 99% chance (unless his player rolls a 0 and the knight's rolls a 1) of hitting the knight with an attack advantage of at least +65, and thus a Damage - Soak Total of 50 that kills the knight on the spot.