For those new to the DnD 5E world, a feat (Core or Homebrewed) essentially refers to a specific talent or area of expertise that equips your character with special abilities beyond what your chosen class entails. After certain levels, you will be offered the Ability Score Improvement option, which you can forgo to take up a feat instead.
For those who are well-integrated in the fan club, you’ll know of the DnD 5E Tough feat. If you are tired of one more low-level character being slain by goblin arrows, building your third wizard in one too many sessions since you rolled poorly on any random encounter table, or feeling whitewashed by the Dungeon Master’s kobolds who won’t stop rolling crits, chances are, you have used the 5E Tough feat somewhere down the line.
The DnD 5E Tough feat admittedly does not get a whole lot of love, but with the proper build and gameplay, it can be a winning factor!
DnD 5E Tough Feat Explained
What is the 5E Tough feat?
Some feats will allow you to keep a check on spells, abilities, and special conditions. Undoubtedly one of the simplest feats to take up, the Tough feat does precisely what it states: increases your toughness.
Here’s a direct quote from the Player’s Handbook:
“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.”
What this means is, upon taking up this feat, you can avail yourself of a retroactive pile of hit points twice your level. So, to put this into perspective, if you are a level 4 Dwarf Barbarian and take up this feat, you will immediately be awarded 8 points. From here on, every time your character gains a level, you get additional 2 points along with the result rolled on your Hit Die (or a D12, in your case) and your Constitution modifier.
You may ask, is the DnD 5E Tough feat any good? Well, the answer is yes. Here’s why:
If your character is anywhere between level 1 to 20, the 5E Tough feat will give you an additional 40 hit points over the total course of your adventure career. If you are a lower-level character, this feat can prove to be a lifesaver if used well.
Characters within the first three levels tend to die to just about anything, from a failed Dex saving throw, a 30-foot fatal drop while scaling a normal-sized hill, to a goblin’s critical hits. In such cases, a few additional hit points would go a long way!
While many feats decrease in their effectiveness as you level up, the DnD 5E Tough feat, being a retroactive hit point gain, is always an opportunity awaiting the patient souls who choose to level up before taking up this feat. The 5E Tough feat scales up as you level up.
If you are a martial character with low Hit Dice (Monks and Rogues, for example), the D&D Toughness feat will give you a confidence boost to get into melee range and deal some significant damage.
Playing a squishy martial class in a party that has no tank or healer? Chances are, you will have to spread out the damage a considerable bit. The DnD 5E Tough feat will definitely be a lifesaver in these scenarios. Are you the designated one in your party to draw in enemies, as your allies do their magic with missile fires, spells, and whatnot? You could do well with the 5E Tough feat, as well!
Simply put, the Tough feat comes to aid in different scenarios but does the same consistent job: it makes you tougher. Sometimes, that is all you need to save yourself when you run out of time and abilities.
Classes That Should Consider Using Tough Feat
There is never any class that “must” take up the DnD 5E Tough feat. However, here’s an idea of which the addition of this feat would benefit classes:
- Tanking characters who would need to take up a lot of destruction on behalf of the party
- Squishy characters who had rolled poorly on the hit point Dice to level up, and now need more life to survive somehow
The two classes that come to mind are Barbarian and Fighter.
If you choose to play as a Barbarian, you are automatically designed to max out Constitution (especially taking the huge level 20 bonus into consideration). So, an additional 40 hit points from the 5E Tough feat (equivalent to 80, as you will be Totem of the Bear), coupled with a D12 hit points Dice and maxed out Constitution score, is inexplicably good!
If you are playing as a Fighter, you might want to max out your Constitution right after your Dexterity and Strength. However, with the extra Ability Score Improvement offered during level-ups, you will have more room to accommodate an additional upgrade. That’s the sweet spot for the D&D Toughness feat, which at this point would be no short of 40 free hit points for a 20th level campaign.
The 5E Tough feat won’t necessarily be a recommendation at all times, but if you are sitting on a mere 14 hit points at level 5, you might need to slide this in for the sole purpose of survival! As for which classes should not take up this feat? Well, technically none. A little more toughness never hurt anyone- literally and figuratively.
The bottom line is, know your character and its purpose well. That would be the best giveaway as to whether the DnD 5E Tough feat is the best choice for you at the moment. Depending on what role you serve in your party, taking up this feat can go a long way in saving you from another loss.
Alternatively, if you are out of hit points and your character’s future is not looking all too well, the D&D Toughness feat can quite literally save your life. The key is to know the difference between when to use the feat and when to wait for your character to level up before you cash in on the double hit points.