Why are Strength and Armour modifiers so important? It’s 2d6 what you roll for damage, a mere +1 or -1 doesn’t seem so much. That’s wrong!
The damage Roll in Bushido is based on the average roll of 2d6, which actually is 7. The more you get close to the limits (2 or 12), the crazier the damage modification gets, up to +/-3 wounds. Bear in mind a human being’s hit points are generally 6.
Negative strength and armour modifiers stack together. Positive strength and armour negate each other.
Now, if a 2d6 roll is quite random, does armour actually ensure wound prevention? Does a positive strength modifier ensure extra wounds? Depends on how we consider it. They will not always make the wounds go up or down. Theire main effect is that one of the roll’s edges will be mitigated, making it impossible to roll an extremely low (if high strength) or high (low strenght or armour) result in the roll.
Let’s do some quick math. A +2 strenght modifier will always ensure extra wounds, except if rolled a 6 or a pure 12 (already maximum damage). When rolled a 6 + 2, we get a 8 which is still not enough to get any extra damage. Moreover, even the worst (2) roll will be softened, turning the 2 into a 4. That means that a -3 wounds turn to -1.
A +2 strength modifier ensures not only a very probable extra wound, but ensures that the worst roll will end just in -1 wound. The effect will be exactly the opposite with a -2 strenght modifier or when facing a Armour (2) model. The maximum damage roll will only give an extra wound, making it very probable to inflict less wounds tha the Success Level.
Let’s consider, then, what could happen when we roll with higher modifiers. A +2 strength when charging turns into +4. A -2 modifier, when facing Armour (3) turns into -5.
To sum up, +/-1 modifiers may not seem very game changing because they don’t ensure extra or less wounds. But from +2/-2 on, they really affect the damage roll and should be taken into consideration when planning on wounding enemy models.