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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
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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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 04-17-2023, 08:23 PM   #7
TippetsTX
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Just stack Toughness I with Unarmed Combat V
Achieving UC V is no small feat... it's a 40-point character plus the cost of the talents. Worse, however, is that I'm not convinced reaching that pinnacle (even w/ TOUGHNESS) is worth the investment or the opportunity cost.
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Old 04-18-2023, 02:46 AM   #8
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

I was always fine with the old version of Toughness; the Warrior and Veteran talents. I felt they fitted well with the classic Barbarian style character; strong and dangerous in combat but lightly armoured. The 1 or 2 points of extra protection afforded made these characters more viable in my games and was worth the trade off from IQ to buy as barbarians didn’t need a lot of fancy Talents and could sacrifice Literacy.
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Old 04-18-2023, 03:52 AM   #9
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

Classic (starting) Warrior
ST 14, DX 9, IQ 9
Crossbow (1), Horsemanship (1), Missile Weapons (3), Sword (2), Warrior (2)

Raising ST to 16, DX to 13 and IQ to 12 (41 attribute points) requires 2500 EP. At around 60 EPs per session this is 42 play sessions and if he ever hits adjST zero then start over.

Legacy (starting) Tough guy
ST 12, DX 11, IQ 9
Crossbow (1), Horsemanship (1), Missile Weapons III (3), Sword (2), Toughness I (2)

Raising ST to 15, DX to 13, and learning Toughness II requires 2300 XP, and at around 60 XP per session, this is 39 play sessions. He can routinely drop to adjST -1 with a little help from his friends, and can go lower depending on how many healing potions he seems to be worth.
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Old 04-18-2023, 07:24 AM   #10
Bill_in_IN
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Toughness

I did like the old Warrior (2 IQ pts, ST 14) and Veteran Talents(3 IQ pts, ST 16) in Classic TFT. Both were IQ 9 Talents. Warrior was resonably achievable but Veteran was much harder, if not impossible to get. I think the fact that we played the game into the mid-1990s is what did make it possible for some characters.

I really have no problem with the Legacy Toughness 1 and 2 Talents as they are stated. I think that it fits the more restrictive (draconian) XP to Attribute cost.

In my opinion, Toughness Talents help with anything that inflicts physical damage via being hit. It would not help against mental or poison, or poison gas type attacks. So, it would help against a spider or snake bites (physical attack). If these attacks result in at least 1 point of damage, it enables the delivery of the poison which then does damage past armor or Toughness.

Does Toughness make a character impervious to such attacks? If these creatures are limited to 1 or 2 points per attack, they can still deliver double or triple damage via their DX roll which enables damage to get past most armor and/or Toughness. Therefore, even Toughness 2 does not make a character impervious to snake or spider attacks. It does greatly decrease the probability of such an attack being successful which is the reason most characters would obtain the Toughness Talents. Two IQ points or 1,000 XP for each level of Toughness along with ST prerequisites of 12 and 14 is VERY expensive and their usefulness against any kind of physical attack should not be diminished.
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