From Project: Redcap
Soak is a combat statistic in Ars Magica. It represents a character's ability to resist damage from a successful attack or unavoidable environmental damage (such as being in a fire or even falling), to "soak up" a blow or other attack without getting hurt.
Soak has slightly different mechanics to cover two different situations.
The formula for a character's Soak Total, which is used in combat, is given on page 171 of ArM5. Note that there is no die roll involved in the Soak Total, so rules that affect "rolls" or "die rolls" don't apply to a character's Soak Total.
Non-Combat Soak Total
When a character is damaged by something other than a physical attack (such as by fire, or falling, or a magic spell), this is considered Non-Combat Damage. The Soak Total used against non-combat damage does include a die roll. The formula is found on page 181 of ArM5.
What Can Affect Soak
- The character's Stamina score
- Muto magic, especially MuCo and MuAn
- The strength of a magus's Bronze Cord binding him to his Familiar
- Virtues such as Tough (ArM5 page 49)
- Do Wounds and Fatigue affect Soak rolls?
- Penalties from Wounds and Fatigue do not affect a character's Soak Total.
- The rules only state this in an obscure place, on page 172 of ArM5 under "Combat: Simple Example." The penultimate paragraph says "note that Polandrus's Wound Penalty does not apply to Soak because Soak is not rolled." That's pretty clear, but awfully hard to find (especially in the middle of a game session).
The history of this page before August 6, 2010 is archived at Legacy:soak