Boss Tenacity House Rule

Sometimes, you throw your player’s up against a Boss NPC that is so fearsome, the storyline would be ruined if they could kill it in a single lucky attack roll. For those situations, you can try Boss Tenacity

Boss Tenacity

Bosses have a tenacity score equal to their Boss Edge score. A boss with tenacity remains at 1 hp, regardless of how much damage they suffer until their Tenacity is reduced to 0. Each attack that deals 1 or more damage reduces the boss’s tenacity by 1.


I love this rule. I like how you made it work with their edge score. Way better than my initial proposal.

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I like how this rule makes bosses lasts a while longer, even against lucky shots, and will make them feel more threatening in a mechanical way. I ran the Starfall Island introduction adventure a few weeks back, and when the players faced the boss of the Ziggurat, two of the players hit initiative 44 and 46, and both of them hit the boss for half its total HP. Which meant the boss went down before anyone else could do a thing, and it felt like an anticlimactic letdown. I’m going to use this rule from now on and forever =)


In this case though, unless you ran it at a higher level, a lvl 1-2 boss would have an edge of 1 and would still be dead after two hard hits. Or am I missing something?

Hehe, yeah you are totally right: If he recieved two hard hits he would die. But he only got hit for half his total HP by each attack, so technically he would have survived until another player had had a chance to engage and do something, which in any case would’ve still made for a quick and brutal slaughter of the boss. I’d think im going to give my bosses a little more tenacity than 1 or 2. Just to let the players wail on it a little.

I like it when the boss gets at least one series of actions before being reduced to an exploded bag of meat.

Perhaps instead of making it “X more hits” it could be “X more rounds, where X is reduced by 1 if the boss is hit during the round”.

Or, alternatively, go with a “Damage Threshold” similar to what vehicles use for the boss. Each block of hit points that’s chewed through results in a Disadvantage 1 to the actions of the boss, but he gets to hang on for a while. Massive hits will still bring him down faster, but Jay’s boss would have lingered a little longer than 3 hits total. Most importantly, the rising number of disadvantages would make the PC’s feel like they were doing something more meaningful than grinding HP or checking off tenacity boxes that don’t recognize the difference between a scratch and a crit.

The only issue with Damage Threshold is it raises the question of why HP doesn’t work that way for everyone/everything. There’s no disadvantage before you’re actually taken out at 0.

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