Evaluation of Toughness


Advice

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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Comments on a recent thread or two showed me some division on the general consensus regarding the viability of the Toughness feat. I figured I'd make a thread and see if I could collect more data from all you forumites regarding your opinions of Toughness.

When is it worthwhile? When is it not worth having? Does the size of your hit dice influence the decision? What about your CON modifier? Does the level range of your campaign change anything? Does its value change from level to level? What about its value specifically in PFS?


Its not worth having 90% of the time, but that other 10% is a dozy.


When you managed to roll really poorly on HP its sometimes worth it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Toughness is a GREAT feat for NPCs. I use it on most of my NPCs, in fact, and if they're humans, it's their bonus human feat 90% of the time.

Not every option in the game needs to be great for PCs.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its not worth having 90% of the time, but that other 10% is a dozy.

Could I trouble you to share what is and isn't in that 10%?

chaoseffect wrote:
When you managed to roll really poorly on HP its sometimes worth it.

Wow, people still roll HP? ;)

James Jacobs wrote:

Toughness is a GREAT feat for NPCs. I use it on most of my NPCs, in fact, and if they're humans, it's their bonus human feat 90% of the time.

Not every option in the game needs to be great for PCs.

First: James Jacobs commented onmythreadSQUEEEE!!!

Second: So am I to understand you consider it to NOT "be great for PCs"?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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I think whether or not ANY feat is "great for PCs" depends on the player's opinion.

Toughness is, in my opinion, a pretty good feat for wizards and sorcerers and clerics and the like who, at low levels, can't yet enjoy things like item creation or metamagic and who don't work well with combat options.

And while I don't roll hp for adventures (always use average there), I always roll hp for my characters and prefer my players to roll hp for their characters (I let folks reroll 1s, and generally let them use average total hp as their minimum).


Its value depends on how often you get hit and how hard. Currently the way most level appropriate challenges are structured things that actually land hits are going to hit fairly hard, to the point where +1 HP or ever level isn't going to make that much of a difference.

Just look over CR appropriate challenges at each level and the "average" HP ranges. Doing some random rolling I hit up Will-o'=Wisp as a CR 6 encounter. 2d8 (9 average) electrical damage. Low HP to High is 23.5 to 44.5 not counting constitution. At this point Toughness is giving +6, which is less then one average hit from the Wisp. It is not going to save you're life if your on the low end, nor really be felt by top end HP guys.

It becomes more useful it your in a situation where you're being attacked by 1000 cuts minion mosh pit.

The way the meta of this game works comes down to the simple equation of "Don't get hit. Period." If you are getting hit then you are likely going to be dying in very short order. Any option that keeps you from getting more often will be far more attractive an option.


Jiggy wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
When you managed to roll really poorly on HP its sometimes worth it.

Wow, people still roll HP? ;)

What do you do, take max or take the median? If you take max, Toughness is never necessary, but I could potentially see it if you went with the median and decided to make a d6 class with 10 or less constitution :o

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Dorje Sylas wrote:

Its value depends on how often you get hit and how hard. Currently the way most level appropriate challenges are structured things that actually land hits are going to hit fairly hard, to the point where +1 HP or ever level isn't going to make that much of a difference.

Just look over CR appropriate challenges at each level and the "average" HP ranges. Doing some random rolling I hit up Will-o'=Wisp as a CR 6 encounter. 2d8 (9 average) electrical damage. Low HP to High is 23.5 to 44.5 not counting constitution. At this point Toughness is giving +6, which is less then one average hit from the Wisp. It is not going to save you're life if your on the low end, nor really be felt by top end HP guys.

It becomes more useful it your in a situation where you're being attacked by 1000 cuts minion mosh pit.

The way the meta of this game works comes down to the simple equation of "Don't get hit. Period." If you are getting hit then you are likely going to be dying in very short order. Any option that keeps you from getting more often will be far more attractive an option.

Interesting... So you'd say AC is more important than HP? Am I understanding you right? If so, then how would you compare Toughness to Dodge? To Lightning Reflexes (since that prevents damage)? To Armor of the Pit (tiefling feat granting +2 natural armor)?

Dark Archive

The interesting thing to me is that the feat gives a higher percentage gain for the classes that melee the least, but the d10 and d12 classes love it, too, since each hitpoint is important to the melee guys. Those that don't value Toughness as much are typically d8 and d10 ranged combatants (spell slingers and archers, for instance).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

chaoseffect wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
When you managed to roll really poorly on HP its sometimes worth it.

Wow, people still roll HP? ;)

What do you do, take max or take the median? If you take max, Toughness is never necessary, but I could potentially see it if you went with the median and decided to make a d6 class with 10 or less constitution :o

I'm currently only playing PFS, and they give you max at level 1, then median (rounded up) thereafter. I typically start my PCs in the neighborhood of 12-14 CON (usually either 12 with the intent to stay away from melee or else get a CON belt; or 13 with the intent to bump at 4th or 8th).

So for PCs like mine, am I to understand you'd call Toughness unnecessary?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I find myself agreeing with Argus. If I'm playing a less combat oriented class or a melee heavey class I take Toughness. My ranged d8 and d10 classes normally skip it.

All of my NPCs have it. Not only does it make them a little tougher for my players it's a feat with a mechanic that's built into the stat block. When running multiple foes every feat I don't have to look up is a blessing. My two top NPC feats are Toughness and Improved Initiative. Both are highly useful in the type of situation my NPCs tend to find themselves in, which is combat with the PCs.


Jiggy wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
When you managed to roll really poorly on HP its sometimes worth it.

Wow, people still roll HP? ;)

What do you do, take max or take the median? If you take max, Toughness is never necessary, but I could potentially see it if you went with the median and decided to make a d6 class with 10 or less constitution :o

I'm currently only playing PFS, and they give you max at level 1, then median (rounded up) thereafter. I typically start my PCs in the neighborhood of 12-14 CON (usually either 12 with the intent to stay away from melee or else get a CON belt; or 13 with the intent to bump at 4th or 8th).

So for PCs like mine, am I to understand you'd call Toughness unnecessary?

I'd say yes, unless you really found yourself with no other feat you wanted or needed.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Balodek wrote:
I find myself agreeing with Argus. If I'm playing a less combat oriented class or a melee heavey class I take Toughness. My ranged d8 and d10 classes normally skip it.

Hm... Then what would you say about a PC that's kind of in the middle: say, a d8 class that's going to spend part of their time in melee? (Like a cleric, bard, oracle, etc who is built for both melee and support.)


Jiggy wrote:
Could I trouble you to share what is and isn't in that 10%?

90% Is not: when you will not be dropped or killed because of the extra hit points

5% when you would be dropped but not killed without the extra hit points

5% when you would be dropped anyway, but the extra hitpoints make the difference between down and dead.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My characters always find room for toughness so I can use my favored class bonus on skills.


Since you mentioned Dodge as compared with Toughness, thematically I'm usually more attracted to Dodge, and it helps with such things as touch attack.

I'm far more likely to think of adding the Dodge Feat to PC or NPC alike than I am Toughness, 'cause I find Toughness dull.

Note that's not a good reason: Mechanically, Toughness is better, because HP are more universally useful (there are plenty of attacks where HP don't matter because they aren't targeted. But there are more attacks where HP matters, but dodge bonuses don't apply, or AC either doesn't apply, or may be overcome fairly easily).

And it is true that for NPCs passive feats that help them but which doesn't leave you forgetting all the options they may have had are good. That said, the more important an NPC is (and by that I mean the longer I expect that NPC to be around, and thus the greater range of possibilities they might encounter), the greater the variety of abilities I want them to have.


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There's nothing wrong with it. It's solid, simple and is likely to keep you standing at one or more points during your career. Exactly the same could be said of Iron Will, Great Fortitude or Lightning Reflexes. It's simply that many builds have something better to do with the feat slot.

Ultimately, it protects a weakness. If loss of hp isn't your weakness, you're likely to be better off using the slot protecting something else which could get you killed (eg Iron Will for fighters, Gt. Fort for wizards).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I guess if you think about it, another way of approaching the topic would be this:

How much HP/level should a PC have for a given role? I.e., if you're spending all your time in melee, how much HP per level should you have? If it's reasonable to have (random guess) about 9 HP/level for a melee type, then I guess it would be up to preference what combination of HD, CON mod, FCBs and Toughness you used to get it.

Anyone have any such baselines?

Silver Crusade

Toughness is rarely a good feat imo, except in two occasions I've taken it.

One was for an elf enchanter with rolled stats. I rolled an 11 for, -2 for elf. And with D6 hit points, I not only took toughness, but the Hit points for favored class (which I HATE doing).

The other was my magus, and I still don't know why I did.

Shadow Lodge

I think it fills a niche that is needed.


This is a hard question to answer because it depends on so many other factors. Basically you want to be able to survive long enough to kill all the monsters, preferably with as large a margin as possible.

Toughness gets better as:
1. Your AC increases
2. Your HP decreases
3. Monster accuracy decreases
4. Monster damage increases
5. Combat lasts longer
a. Your Attack decreases
b. Your Damage decreases
c. Monster AC increases
d. Monster HP increases

Just looking at Dodge and Toughness is a bit easier:
If you normally get hit on an 6+ (15/20) then dodge means you get hit on a 7+ (14/20) which means your HP is effectively 7% higher (15/14). For toughness to be a better option you'd have to normally get <14HP/level.

If you normally get hit on an 16+ (5/20) then dodge means you get hit on a 17+ (4/20) which means your HP is effectively 25% higher (5/4). For toughness to be a better option you'd have to normally get <4HP/level.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And yet I have a character that after 5 adventures has been been taken down with crits (including once to -11 with Con 12). When hit with a X3 weapon that rolls max damage plus the bonus damage then down I went. This particular character has been hit with 5 crits. Toughness for sure can be a boon.

I want to take it with every character because of these things happening. I also understand won't be doing it but my front line guys will for sure. 5 hp might not seem like much at 4th level but a d6 character with 12 Con has 23 hp or 28 with toughness. That crit taking me down to -11 at first would still take me low enough without toughness that I would be hiding and praying to be left alone till someone healed me. With toughness though have enough hit points just hoping not to get hit and likely still going to cast a spell.

The thing is that Toughness is a feat that you can never count on using but that doesn't mean having it is a bad thing. Killing characters isn't something I see often but most I see are ones who were maximized on damage and avoiding hits. I tend to play what I want and rarely make a damage dealer that is really good. That is except when I play psions which is weird as I don't try to go that route.

Toughness to me is if you want to squeeze a little more generic survivability into your character for one feat. I don't min/max enough that I do take it most times.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Of the approximately ~97 characters I have created since Pathfinder's release, about 18 of them had Toughness.


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I find Toughness to be useful for characters that are MAD and spend time in melee combat. Examples being a ranger, monk, or cleric. If you can spare the feat, then you can keep your con 2 points lower, which frees up some points for other stats.

Liberty's Edge

Depends on what you are playing and stats of course.

As a d8 monk in close combat, Toughness is very useful to boost the hp lvls. Porpentines Zen Archer Monk makes use of Toughness to boost the survivability for the class becaue it has enough Feats to indulge.

Doing PFS everyone tends to say 'oh, don't make a char with less than 14 Con else you will likely be dead' so a char with 12 Con and Toughness works.

In some cases it is as simple as looking at what you want to do with your feats and also looking at your stat array and deciding whether you have room for Toughness in your build and would the points saved on Con allow you to boost a primary stat?

For me personally, I would sooner take Iron Will/Lightning Reflexes as a Feat because Saves scare me more than Hp damage.


I don't think it is a bad feat, but it is often a lesser feat.
As an example I think dodge with its +1 to AC saves you more HP than toughness gives you.


for a pc so the answer is yes, in certain situations!

if you go the hp route, then +3 at 1st level and +1 favoured class is a nice boost. I ilke to all my characters to have at least 11 hp at 1st level!

i dont like having to build npcs to pc standards so no debate for me of npcs having toughness, though that is a debate elsewhere

JJ: so you roll hp and re-roll so you have average or better? seems toughness isnt wortwhile then then.

Shadow Lodge

I have three PFS chars with Toughness and one character in Serpent's Skull. Let's forget about one of the PFS chars, since I took the feat about 4 years ago and was far less knowledgeable of the system. Now, those characters left took it on the first level? Why? Fear of melee and the need for multiple abilities(a melee bard, a melee alchemist, etc). No surprises there.

One of the characters is 13th level and nowadays that feat pick feels, not a wrong choice exactly, but an obsolete one for an alchemist. See, I think classes that have ways to regain hp easily or can bolster their hp pool with spells and such, are not the ones that should be worrying about Toughness but their lack of feats in general. Multiclassed d8 characters, melee d8's with low Con and especially characters with no healing ability and low AC(looking at you str rogue) are the ones picking Toughness in my opinion. I feel the first levels to be crucial when deciding whether to pick the feat or not. If you feel safe, for instance, because of ranged duty, party members or you spells, then that's it for you. It's campaign dependent as well.

If playing PFS, those consideratios usually fly out of the window since you can't a) trust staying out of melee b) trust the party composition unless you always play with the same chars c) always sleep to regain spells.

Grand Lodge

If you like playing "up", Toughness's worth is improved. As for ranged pc's that don't need hp: There are several things that enable the enemy to get past the "tanks": ambushes, flying, invisibility etc.


The best use for Toughness is I think for cohorts : with 2 levels under the party, they really need some more HP and Toughness is a good solution.

Shadow Lodge

Then again, ranged PCs usually have a trick or two up their sleeve, since, other than getting in a good shot, that's usually their only worry: that someone were to pass the frontlines and start to harry them. Bards with vanish, barbarian archers with natural attacks, fighters with Snap Shot and so on. Alchemists dropping a bomb at their feet and ignoring their own square with precise bombs - those kinds of things.

It's not really either or in any case: Melee PCs just need more HP than ranged ones.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Balodek wrote:
I find myself agreeing with Argus. If I'm playing a less combat oriented class or a melee heavey class I take Toughness. My ranged d8 and d10 classes normally skip it.
Hm... Then what would you say about a PC that's kind of in the middle: say, a d8 class that's going to spend part of their time in melee? (Like a cleric, bard, oracle, etc who is built for both melee and support.)

I would take Toughness for those classes. Not only do they often emphasize Dex over Con they can't wear heavier armor. If I plan to go into melee then I want 9+ hp per level however I can get it as that's often the difference between Cure Light Wounds and Raise Dead.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You lvl as an additional buffer before you die is good. AC is not the only way you take damage, even combat isn't the only way.

All it needs to do is keep you from being brought to negative con. Or keep you from needing a spot heal in combat (from fear of going to neg con).

Sovereign Court

In my home game we still use Beta-edition Toughness.

Only a slight boost but I like it and it gets plenty of play.


Hp are good. More hp are better. Therefore, the Toughness feat is better than good.


In Kingmaker, I was playing a Dwarven Bear Shaman (Druid), so I got Toughness (plus Great Fortitude as bonus feats). While I would have preferred the immunity to poison, the extra HP's did allow me to live through things. I had a 16 Con, put my favored class bonus into HP and had toughness. I had something like 164 HP at level 15 (we re-roll 1's and 2's).

More than a few times I survived big monsters trying to grab me and eat me by shifting into a huge earth elemental and just being able to survive their abuse with my large HP pool and DR 5/-.

It's a good feat if you need to fix a low HP problem, or if you have high HP and want to push it a little further. People closer to the middle won't see as noticeable of a boost though.


Is a one skill point per level feat worthy? Probably. If so, taking toughness might open up your favored class bonus for you, if you were relying on that.

Dark Archive

I have the intention of, or start with, taking Toughness on all of my characters with a hit die smaller than d10.

Of course, my only other characters are an Archer Paladin and a Throwing Weapon Barbarian, and neither of them is hurting for HP!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

CasMat wrote:
Is a one skill point per level feat worthy? Probably. If so, taking toughness might open up your favored class bonus for you, if you were relying on that.

Since there's a human feat that allows you to take both hit points and skill points by level, the answer is YES...for humans, one SP/level = 1 hp/level, and both are the equivalent of a feat.

==Aelryinth


wraithstrike wrote:

I don't think it is a bad feat, but it is often a lesser feat.

As an example I think dodge with its +1 to AC saves you more HP than toughness gives you.

Again, it depends. The cross over point depends on how often you are getting hit.

If you get hit on (N/20) rolls and you have(N-1)HP/Level, then Toughness is equivalent to Dodge. If you have less than (N-1) HP/Level then Toughness is the better choice. Ignoring criticals...

Liberty's Edge

Toughness can be very useful. It's not a must-have feat, but it can bolster or round out a character not built around Con. It's superior for all the D6 classes (wizards, sorcerers, witch) if melee combat cannot be avoided (i.e. the DM hounds you in the reat).

Toughness is an above average feat for casters in PFS since item creation feats are unavailable.

Not many of my characters take this feat, and I usually take it to match a concept. My prime example is my gladiator from D20 Conan, who naturally took Toughness because it fit the concept.

Cheers


As James said, pretty much all of my NPCs have toughness and either alertness or improved initiative just so i don't have to hunt down what a feat does and slow down games.

For PCs, that little buffer just isn't worth the cost of a feat. If you need the HP then take it from your favored class bonus instead. Take a prerequisite feat for something you really want later if you have nothing else to spend a feat on.

If, on the other hand, it gave 2 HP per level, I'd be all over it...
THAT would be feat worthy


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Mudfoot wrote:

There's nothing wrong with it. It's solid, simple and is likely to keep you standing at one or more points during your career. Exactly the same could be said of Iron Will, Great Fortitude or Lightning Reflexes. It's simply that many builds have something better to do with the feat slot.

Ultimately, it protects a weakness. If loss of hp isn't your weakness, you're likely to be better off using the slot protecting something else which could get you killed (eg Iron Will for fighters, Gt. Fort for wizards).

That's about where I'd rate Toughess too. It's one of those feats that falls into the category of always being useful, but never a real requirement for any build. Worth considering when you have a spare feat, but almost never a must-have.


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Jiggy wrote:
When is it worthwhile? When is it not worth having

Always take it. You'll taste better when we monsters eat you.

(You realize that characters have one calorie per hit point, right? That's why dragons leave tied-up maidens outside their lairs until the high-level adventurers arrive.)


I don't think I have even once taken toughness as a PC, for NPCs sure but that has more to do with making it that little bit simpler to run them.

Now it does have it's place just because I don't take it doesn't mean it isn't a good choice. Well I would never call it good but decent in certain cases.

But My personal preference for feats is to have something little more interesting. Now for example Weapon focus is just a +1 with specific weapon so it's not as interesting as let's say combat maneuver feats, but it has the roleplay aspect of concentrating on mastering a specific weapon. Toughness is just that you can take a little bit more punishment than most. Of coarse you could make a whole concept out of that.

Regardless from a mechanics standpoint, for most characters there are better choices out there. From survibility standpoint the save feats will save your bacon on way more times than toughness ever would.

Grand Lodge

I almost always try to fit Toughness into my feat budget. It makes a lot of otherwise risky moves a little safer. For example, I'm currently playing a Luck cleric (future MT). Uses true strike a lot to do combat maneuvers that provoke AoOs. Without Toughness this would be a much worse idea.

Another player in the same group is playing an "Endurance Artist" concept, whose shtick often involves taking damage. Getting shot in the gut at point blank, walking over hot coals, etc. Toughness is thematically necessary.

In the long run, extra HPs give a little more latitude than the +1 from Dodge. Swarms, environmental effects, AoEs, etc.


Looking at your character sheet and seeing bigger numbers is always worth a feat psychologically.


Toughness is a good feat just not everyone really needs it.


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Jiggy wrote:


If so, then how would you compare Toughness to Dodge? To Lightning Reflexes (since that prevents damage)? To Armor of the Pit (tiefling feat granting +2 natural armor)?

I think few people carefully analyze their options.

Because the argument "do not get hit instead of more HP" is game mechanics nonsense. One always gets hit sooner or later. The only thing influenced by taking toughness or something else is the probability of getting hit.

E.g. level 5 fighter, +1 full plate, 14 dex (+2 AC), +1 natural armor, + 1 protection ring, feats and weapon choices tailored towards offense (e.g. two-handed, power attack, cornugan smash,...) has 24 AC.

With con 14 he is going to have 4*6.5(average roll)+10(level1)+5(favored class)+10(con bonus) = 51 HP

Average lev 5 monster has +10 to hit.

So AC 24, 51 HP fighter gets hit 35% of rounds.

Same fighter with dodge gets hit 30% of rounds. So he avoids 1/7 or 14% of the damage dealt by attacks.

Same fighter with toughness has 56 HP, so has 56/51=1.098 times the HP or 9.8% more HP. Having 9.8% more HP is roughly as good as evading HP damage 1-(1/1.098)=1-0.91=0.09 or 9% of the time.

=> Dodge better. (On the plus side dodge allows to avoid more often attack side effects, e.g. poison; on the minus side it doesnt help when flanked or flat-footed or vs HP damaging spells)

Sorceror lev 5 with con 14, dex 16, mage armor, natural armor +1, protection ring +1 (has no time to always cast shield):
AC 19, HP 35.

Without dodge or toughness gets hit 60% of time.

With dodge 55%. So dodge avoids 1/12 or roughly 8% of the damage.

With toughness 40 HP, thats 1/7 more HP, which effictively means 12.5% of HP dam avoided.

=> toughness better (Of course maybe the sorceror should not be hanging around where he gets hit. But if he gets hit, toughness better than dodge)

So the usefullness of dodge or toughness is highly dependent upon char build and role.

And James Jacobs of course had it right without doing the math, low HP chars with limited armor options who are going to get hit (which means especially enemy caster NPCs, no armor, low budget and the PCs are going to hit them) profit the most from toughness compared to other damage avoidance feats.

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