D&D 5e: Tough: It’s Just Health. That’s it.

A tough rhino humanoid stands tall with his arms folded.

D&D 5e: Tough: It’s Just Health. That’s it.

SOURCE: Player’s Handbook

Rating the Many Diverse Benefits of Tough

Benefit #1 – 

Your hit point maximum increases by an amount equal to twice your level when you gain this feat. Whenever you gain a level thereafter, your hit point maximum increases by an additional 2 hit points.

More hit points = more good. This doesn’t make you immortal, but it will help you withstand some general sources of harm.

A tough male fighter stands before an idol of a war god.

Mechanics and Requirements

Understanding How It Functions

You gain 2 maximum hit points for every level you have, then whenever you gain a level, you get 2 more maximum hit points. That’s it! Sounds simple, right?

You would be correct: it is simple. Except in the case of the Moon Druid. It was debatable whether the Tough feat increased the hit points of a wild shape form, but Jeremy Crawford clarified that the intent was that the Tough feat did not carry over to wild shape forms.

Key Stats

If your constitution score is low, or if you’re playing as a small hit die class, this feat will grant you a greater benefit to your hit points percentage-wise. A high armor class and good saving throw bonuses will also have a multiplicative effect by increasing hit points and decreasing the likelihood of you taking damage, so don’t neglect your dexterity, wisdom, or constitution saves.

Ideal Characters for Tough

Top Classes

BarbarianAs the only d12 hit die class in the game, the one thing that would be funny is even more hit points. They’re even useful since you go into melee a lot and get hit a lot due to reckless attack.

SorcererSince you likely want to burn your sorcery points on metamagic rather than more spell slots for defensive spells like the Shield spell, this is a good substitute that allows you to take that occasional hit instead of having to Shield it off. You can even play a Draconic Bloodline sorcerer if you want to be unusually resilient for a d6 hit die class.

MonkMonks have two problems that are relevant to this guide: they are somewhat fragile, and they have no good feats that significantly boost their offense unless you’re doing a truly bizarre build with a bow or greatsword or something. The Tough feat is good for everyone, so for a class with no other standout choices, Tough is fantastic, and it even solves its durability problem.

Multiclassing Considerations

Multiclassing isn’t particularly relevant for this feat.

Race or Subrace Choices

If you want to minmax for hit points, the Hill Dwarf gets an extra hit point with every level, leading to 3 extra hit points per level when combined with this feat. Mix with Barbarian for comical amounts of hit points.

Combos, Tactics, and Synergies

Complementary Feats

Resilient will shore up your weak saving throws and ensure that you have no weaknesses, but it’s tough to fit both Tough and Resilient on a build until very high levels. Resilient (Wisdom) is the best since paralysis and charming both ignore hit points completely. Note that increasing constitution to an even number gives you +1 hit point per level, so if your constitution is odd, a “half-feat” that boosts your constitution may be preferable for its other benefits. Tough is best taken with an even constitution score.

Spells that Synergize

If you have the Spirit Guardians spell, or if you or an ally has a similar movement-impairing spell, you can slow enemies and force them to attack you instead of your allies.

Strategies for Maximizing Tough Effectiveness

Hit points provide a multiplicative benefit with armor class and saving throw bonuses, as mentioned earlier. Aside from that, make sure you actually *use* your extra hit points: there’s no sense taking Tough and then staying back as your party members get beaten up by a man-eating shark. Tank that damage for them if you can!

Final Thoughts on Tough

Tough is a very boring feat, but it provides a great benefit. That’s it. I wish there was more to say, but it’s just +2 hit points per level! There’s no nuance, no subtlety, no weird edge cases that need to be clarified: except for the druid’s wild shape, of course, because that’s the most confusing feature in 5e. It amazes me how the druid can raise weird questions even with the Tough feat.

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