(last updated: 06/12/19)
Tougher than your average fighter, characters with the TOUGHNESS ability tend to be the sort to care less about getting hit and more about charging through their opponent's attacks by any means necessary in order to deliver as much damage as possible. Legendary tough guys like Raiden, Guile, or Grant would be some obvious examples, though TOUGHNESS can often be justified by other means as well.
When charging or keeping a focus bonus up, most characters take an increased amount of damage. But not those with TOUGHNESS! Also, when someone with TOUGHNESS endures an attack that takes them below 0% health, their endure bonus is not cut in half like it is for characters without TOUGHNESS.
The benefits of TOUGHNESS change significantly with each Ability Rank, but in a nutshell, folks with TOUGHNESS gain benefits for opting to react to damage in ways that would completely wreck characters without it: enduring and poke interrupting.
TOUGHNESS is a character trait; if you have the STYLE ability, it must exist in both Styles.
In TOP: Higher chance to trigger a Tough Out when enduring.
D Rank: Avoid damage penalty from focus and charging.
C Rank:  PL reduced damage through pokes.
B Rank: Endured attacks have a chance to trigger a Tough Out.
A Rank: Failed endure attempts yield a % "barely endured" bonus.
S Rank: Failed blocks reduce the PL of the attack based on block chance.
[B:90] = [0.1]PL reduction. [B:0] = [1.0]PL reduction.
SIG ABIL: MOMENTUM: No penalty for projectile attacks,
no penalty when poking projectiles,
% of endure speed bonus will improve chances of next block.
When in TOP, there is a higher chance to trigger a Tough Out when enduring.
D Rank is the first step in a character's journey toward being tough. At this point, you can +charge and +focus without taking increased damage, unlike characters without TOUGHNESS.
C Rank is where a character really starts to shine in the area of being a more durable fighter, especially in the area of trading blows with their opponents directly. At this point, you will take less damage when successfully poke-interrupting an opponent's attack.
B Rank is where a fighter fully grows into the miracle that is Toughing Out. Their body is so durable they can intentionally take the full brunt force of an attack and stand a chance of taking reduced damage while powering through it!
When enduring, a character with TOUGHNESS rank B or higher has a chance to trigger a Tough Out! Toughing out an attack means you take from 1/3 to 2/3 less damage and have a much higher cap on how high your speed bonuses can reach for successfully enduring. Also, characters with TOUGHNESS in addition to PARRY or JD will receive a small bonus to the chance for Tough Out to fire.
A Rank represents a charcter's use of evolved tactics or positioning to allow themselves a greater variety of options. Even when a reaction fails to work completely in the character's favor, the character's tenacity allows him or her to make the most of it anyway.
S Rank is where characters are tougher outside of endures and interrupts. One of the challenges many of the archetypes for TOUGHNESS face is that they tend to have lower Reflex. Having lower Reflex tends to mean poorer block odds, which means these characters tend to spend a lot of time failing blocks too.
With S Rank Toughness, when you fail your block, your damage will be reduced based on how risky the block was. This damage reduction stacks with all other damage-reduction mechanics.
Normally we do not reward for rolling poorly, but this was a rare case where it actually makes sense from a design standpoint. We wanted the Power Level reduction to factor in more if you were failing low block odds than if you were failing high block odds. If you are getting low block odds, you are either being targeted in a defense stat you are particularly weak to, or your blocking defenses have been horribly crushed. Which means this mechanic has the best chance to help you when you need it most and the least impact when you need it least: blocking your strongest defense type with a low block penalty. This, we feel, is the epitome of what it means to possess TOUGHNESS.
As an example case, let's say you have a 90% chance to block -- failing this block attempt will only reduce the incoming attack by 0.1 PL. But if you were to attempt blocking an attack that had only a 20% chance of success, your characters TOUGHNESS will reduce it by 0.8 power levels. You will get a CSYS message to yourself that lets you know just how tough you were in case you want to factor it into your pose! (...you all ARE posing this stuff, right??)
Signature Ability -- MOMENTUM
Some fighters become complete juggernauts in the ring. Once they start moving, they can't easily be stopped. They will plow through attacks sent their way without the slightest loss in momentum, defying attempts to slow down their onslaught. Their powerful momentum is so great that even after barrelling through an opponent's attacks, their ability to fend off the next attack only becomes all that greater!
- You will not get the projectile penalty when hit by projectile attacks.
- You will not have any penalty to poking projectiles.
- When you endure, % of your endure speed bonus will be added onto
your next block attempt within two turns. Note that once you block, the
block bonus is consumed, so it cannot be used against multiple attacks
in the same round.