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Old 04-17-2023, 04:59 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Default Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Toughness provides a nearly indispensable benefit for front-line fighters: protection from injury (one point of wound reduction per level) without DX penalty. Toughness isn't cheap, though; the first level requires ST 12, the second level becomes available at ST 14, and each level costs two talent points. Although both levels require higher than average ST, the IQ prerequisite is only 9.

This all seems straightforward, but questions still arise. For instance, does Toughness protect against the bite from venomous snakes, which "ignores armor" (Bestiary 163 and and ITL 95)? In my opinion, it does not, but players who have bought Toughness tend to disagree--spiritedly. The same players sometimes will also argue that Toughness should provide some benefit to resisting poison gas.

Toughness is especially good for characters who use two-handed weapons which prevent them from using shields, but it is obviously good for anybody. I once played a pyromage who had Toughness II and a small, focused spell list.

The ST prerequisites for Toughness is a rarity in TFT. For my games, I've adopted a couple of talents inspired by Toughness: Rugged and Sturdy.

Players in my games often choose Toughness for their characters, and it can be found on many an NPC's character sheet. In fact, I don't mind ignoring the IQ prerequisite and giving it to the odd animal (like an alpha wolf) or monster, just because I love my players and want them to be happy. If there were ever to be a second edition of ITL, I'd recommend a lower IQ prerequisite for Toughness (n the original Wizard and Melee microgames, IQ 8 seemed to be more typical for mundane types, and that has stuck with me). I once played in a game in which the GM allowed characters with Toughness whose ST had been reduce ST to zero or less to roll 4d/ST roll each turn to stay conscious, which was produced some fun heroic deaths.

Conversation Starters
  • What questions about Toughness have arisen in your games?
  • Do you use a RAW version of Toughness, or have you tweaked it?
  • Describe the character from your games who was the most surprising to have taken Toughness.
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Old 04-17-2023, 07:03 PM   #2
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

I wouldn't call "nearly indispensable" though it's nice to have. It's probably worth more than it costs if you're getting ST 12 anyway.
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Old 04-17-2023, 07:06 PM   #3
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

The description of Toughness on ITL 38 makes it sound at least as much about DX as ST, but the prerequisite puts it in the ST camp. The cognitive dissonance is distressing. Perhaps there should be a DX-based defensive talent as well or instead.
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Old 04-17-2023, 07:15 PM   #4
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Toughness is a talent sink: it provides a bland combat advantage and takes up talent points which a player might otherwise have put into something that made the character different from other characters - Climbing, Sex Appeal, Swimming, Bard, Priest, Streetwise, Boating, Seamanship, Horsemanship, Dancer, Miner, Butcher... The advanced combat talents like Weapon Expertise and Shield Expertise do the same, sucking the distinctiveness out of characters. This has become a much worse problem in Legacy than it was in Classic. The solution might be to decouple talent points from IQ and/or force players to buy some non-combat talents. I realise it's unfair to blame Toughness...
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Old 04-17-2023, 07:19 PM   #5
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

The ST 12 prerequisite is a problem. ST 12 is about as useful as any other ST so having a special ability appear at ST 12 makes it something of a magic number.

ST 14 is traditionally anti-magic because there is no ST 14 one-handed weapon or pole weapon. So adding Toughness II at ST 14 actually reduces that problem, though in a really gamey way.
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Old 04-17-2023, 08:03 PM   #6
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Just stack Toughness I with Unarmed Combat V
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Old 04-19-2023, 08:07 AM   #7
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Toughness is especially good for characters who use two-handed weapons which prevent them from using shields, but it is obviously good for anybody. I once played a pyromage who had Toughness II and a small, focused spell list.[/LIST]
The idea here is that you need some armour, but not a lot of armour, that the benefit to the character of the first point or two of armour is greater than the benefit of the fifth or sixth point of armour. It's not clear this is true: in some campaigns the benefit of armour can go up as the character gets more of it, because they become immune to the main sources of damage. The game might be better if this were true.
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Old 04-19-2023, 07:31 PM   #8
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
The idea here is that you need some armour, but not a lot of armour, that the benefit to the character of the first point or two of armour is greater than the benefit of the fifth or sixth point of armor.
i've no idea how you arrive at that conclusion. Every point of damage reduction is a benefit. Those that come without a DX or MA penalty or require the use of a hand are especially good. In my experience with the wizard who had Toughness, that point of protection was the difference between living and dying more than once. But, if he had had more protection, he would have had a longer career.
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Old 04-19-2023, 09:20 PM   #9
Axly Suregrip
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Hi,
Toughness talents are common for both PCs and NPCs. As Henry has pointed out that Legacy has changed to be more favorable to high DX characters with ST becoming the least important of the attributes. So, having a talent that prereqs ST is great and helps to balance the game. In particular, I love the fact the second version kicks in at ST 14. We were just discussing how two handed weapons are at a disadvantage. Toughness 2 pairs well with them.

Q1) What questions about Toughness have arisen in your games?
A1) Pretty much the ones you mentioned. How is it used very stingers (pierces up to leather armor, etc); Does it work against venom and/or gas bombs. What about Staff-3 damage, it penetrates armor but toughness is not armor (or so a player argued). My answer is that it strictly increases armor protection. It states, '...“Toughness” acts like armor
to subtract one point from every attack made against you.' That is, armor & toughness does not help with staff3, poison or gas. Armor blocks some stingers and I allows the points reduced to be an equivalent armor. That is, Leather + toughness is chainmail for stingers, etc. Just like it would if it was magic leather +1.

Q2) Do you use a RAW version of Toughness, or have you tweaked it?
A2) I use the Legacy version of Toughness. I thought the old versions Warrior & Veteran were good but I like this better as it is now harder to increase attributes and ST in general needed some love.

Q3) Describe the character from your games who was the most surprising to have taken Toughness.
A3) No surprises here. Fighter with a Lt Crossbow seems to be a common one that kind of is a surprise since they are not a front-line fighter (paired with Missile Weapons 3 to then also shoot every turn). Nearly all the experienced dumb tanks and some of the offensive fighters like to get the extra IQ so they have have a bit more armor without impacting their movement. If you are in the front line, it is top choice.

PS. One more question: resistances to molotail damage once it has soaked into the armor. Player was arguing that Toughness should continue to help since oil did not soak into the character. Molotails ignore armor after the first turn, so I also ignore toughness after the first turn.
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Old 04-20-2023, 03:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

I use Toughness as the "Armor" talent, to take some of the sting out of playing a big tough hero: https://www.hcobb.com/tft/house_rules.html#IQ9Talents
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