Do Wound Penalties Increase Damage?

This is similar to the discussion here:

But what I really want to know is if wound penalties can increase damage.

John as been taking a beat by Jane and he has 2 Heavy wounds and 2 Medium wounds and 2 light wounds to a total of -10-6-2 = -18 wound penalties
Jane has no wounds (she is awesome)

Jane then casts PILUM OF FIRE (description bellow) that does +15Dmg
John has soak 2.
Jane rolls a 6, doing 21Damge
John rollls a 3 having 5 soak
Total damage is 21-5-(-18).
so is the result damage

The question is: "Is the negative from wounded penalties added to damage or does it cap soke at zero?"

R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind
A 2-foot, thick, spear-shaped jet of fire
flies from your palms, doing +15 damage to the
individual it hits.
(Base 10, +2 Voice)

I think the general answer has been that it does penalize rolls.

So for combat damage, it penalizes the defense roll. No roll is made for Soak, but the increased attack advantage from the lower defense roll reseults in more damage suffered.

For non-combat damage, Soak is rolled, thus the penalty is applied directly there.

At least that's what I remember from the thread you referred to.

John will need to roll his soak in this case, since spell damage is not combat damage (page 181 of the rulebook). So he rolls 2+D10 for soaking the POF. The wound penalty is subtracted from any rolls the character makes, so the wound penalties do not accumulate here and he will subtract 18 from his soak total and is likely to die a terrible torched death.


The rule of thumb is penalties are applied at the die roll; applying it at the die roll reduces the risk of double applying, too. Combat has the die rolls at attack and defense. Magic it has it at the casting (if the caster is wounded) and at the soak for the recipient of the spell, if it deals damage, and the recipient is wounded.

The soak total for your example is: 2 (Base soak) + 3 (Die) -18 (wound penalties)=-13
So the damage is: 15 (Base Pilum of Fire) + 6 (Die) -[-13] (Soak)=34

Soak never caps at zero. Keep in mind that it is quite possible for characters to have a negative stamina, and therefore a negative soak total as a base soak.

RAW is pretty clear, it penalizes all "(rolls and totals)", including defense total, soak total, and non-combat soak total. Soak isn't capped at 0 you get a negative total.

So assuming John's soak before penalties is 5, he would have -13 for his soak total and with his roll of 3 -28 for his non-combat soak, and a spectacular 49 for damage.

That said people around here don't like adding the would penalty to the soak total, and only add it to defense or the non-combat soak total leaving him with a much nicer 34.

Thanks for all for the fast replies.

My main questions were:

  • does defenseTotal for combat cap at 0
  • does the soak role for non-combat cap at 0

And it seems they don't.

btw Lamech, it is explicit said in the roll that the penalty does not apply to Combat soak "note that Polandrus’ Wound Penalty does not apply to Soak because
Soak is not rolled", under page 172 combat example.

Lamech, no it does not apply twice.
See the Combat:Simple Example insert on page 172 for a clear example

You apply the wound penalty once (per applicable roll) or to the total. If a roll isn't necessary for something, but a total is, I can see it applying there, certainly.

Btw, something that I just thought about, is this true for damage also?

Meaning I have a +5 damage spell, I have -15 wound penalties and roll a 5 on the damage roll.

That is a total of -5, do I actually heal my target? or I just do 0 damage?

In my opinion, no, it does not apply to the damage roll. It applies to the casting total, though. So it means you might not be able to cast the spell.

I asked the same question before here, and the discussion there was a bit longer. Maybe you'll find some more input there. :wink:

The example pretty clearly says it doesn't apply because its not rolled, so it wouldn't apply to any non-rolled totals. Of course, that pretty blatantly contradicts the "penalty to all actions (rolls and totals)". Meh, not the worst contradiction I've seen.

The last post in the thread is probably the most important. Interpret it one way, if everyone at the table agrees and understands it, that's that way it is in your saga. I tend to take a very conservative interpretation of RAW, and would see wound penalties applying to soak rolls from non-combat damage (I mean you're weak from losing a gallon of blood, duh).

As long as whatever interpretation you've chosen to follow is applied consistently, I don't think it's wrong. If players at the table start grumbling about the choice not being fun, it's time to reevaluate the issue...

It's already had a penalty to the action and totals involved in combat, it's part of the defense roll, which is used to determine attack advantage, which is used to calculate damage. Now, when comparing Damage total to Soak Total, if you subtract the penalty from the Soak total, you are effectively double counting the wound penalty. You defend worse, and you take more damage? Ars Magica combat is deadly enough as it is.

Maybe there needs to be errata that says, Wound penalties are applied only once in all totals and rolls, including derived totals of combat. Personally, I don't care if they are applied at the beginning or the end, it just makes more sense to apply them with the roll, always.

added colour for more effect :slight_smile:)

K. We are a group of new players (for Ars Magica that is) and we are trying to as faithful to the rules as we can, as we are testing the system.

So far we are enjoying it a lot, but the rules can be hard to find sometimes :slight_smile:. Luckily it seems that it has a very active community, at least here in this forums. Thanks to all of you.

And I like that rule, "don't apply it twice". Our main question was with it capping at 0 or not. But I think it makes sense.
Actually our first question was "how do people die if they keep getting only 10 damage since there is no limit to wounds and wounds do not agravate in combat?"
And now it makes sense, and it seems you do die fast :stuck_out_tongue:

I had that same question run through my mind when I first came in contact with the new wound rules, and followed a similar train of thought as yourself. :laughing:

Corollary: Yes, +10 continuous damage can and does kill you rather quickly. :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually the downward spiral for Ars once you start accumulating negatives is REALLY FAST! The minuses add up and you will find that after a couple injuries you'd be better of backing of and conceding defeat that staying stalwart. Because in Ars stalwart people fill a lot of graves. That is a significant change over other systems, so be careful! :slight_smile:

So I was a bit confused with your signatures, but I think I figured it out :slight_smile:

As with everything, it can be found at the Project Redcap page about it.

Yeah I found there.

I was going to add some of this to the soak page

But I just don't feel worthy :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe someone with more experience could do it?