Super Toughness

"Any sufficiently durable individual is indistinguishable from immortals."

The power of unambiguously superhuman durability, ranging from being "merely" resistant to bullets, to getting hit by a nuke and finding it to tickle a bit, and even beyond that.

This is a Required Secondary Power to be able to do anything with Super Strength; without it, Newton's Third Law would result in you ruining your hand every time you threw a super-punch, and every bone and muscle would snap/tear under the tension of lifting a car.

A Sub-Trope of Nigh-Invulnerability (specifically, the Made of Diamond type). Compare Made of Iron, where an explicitly non-superpowered character can take a lot more punishment than is normally possible for no apparent or explained reason, though Charles Atlas Superpower can blur the line between Made of Iron and Super Toughness.

This applies to a lot of superpowered powerhouses, Flying Brick-type characters, as well as many of those who utilize extensive cybernetic enhancement, Ki Attacks, Supernatural Martial Arts, and/or Functional Magic. It's sometimes a side-effect of particularly adaptive Healing Factors. Most Super Soldiers possess it, and it can also be achieved with Mind over Matter.

Combine it with Super Strength, and you're likely to end up with the Implacable Man. Often part of Super Speed users as well as per Required Secondary Powers, as anyone with otherwise ordinary human physiology would literally tear themselves apart very quickly. When it's just their skeleton see Unbreakable Bones.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball has this in spades. Goku is shot by Bulma in his first meeting with her, and he barely even notices. As the power levels get higher and higher, not only guns, but rockets, tank fire and pretty much anything else have 0 effect. In fact, it's a Running Gag in the series for the Earth's entire armed forces to launch an all out assault on the arc villain, only for them to laugh it off. This happened as early as King Piccolo, and by the time of Dragon Ball Z, the very first villain, Raditz, is introduced by catching a shotgun round and flicking it back at the attacker far harder. All the main and supporting heroes (yes, even Krillin) are strong enough to laugh off entire armies worth of ordnance.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, Mokoto Kusanagi, courtesy of bionics. In the various animes,Batou was even more so, though in the original Manga he only had a few bionic parts rather than having a full prosthetic body like the Major or his anime incarnations and therefore wasn't substantially tougher than a normal human.
  • In InuYasha, Yokai and Hanyou can take more damage than a human can.
  • In Macross, Zentraedi were designed to be much tougher physically than a human being. Lampshaded by Breetai, who had just been Thrown Out the Airlock without a spacesuit and came back in:
    "I am not built as weakly as you are."
  • Attack on Titan has the Female and Armored Titans. The Female Titan has no skin and all her muscles are exposed, yet she takes horrific injury without a sound and it barely ends up slowing her down. Given that she can and does react to serious injury occasionally, it would seem that these wounds do hurt in the normal fashion, but she may have been trained to work past it, along with the other shifters. The Armored Titan shrugs off cannon fire, attacks from the Rogue Titan, and explosions that decimate an area for miles, without a scratch, and its introductory scene shows it demolishing the fifty-meter wall in front of it and still having to slow and stop itself afterwards. The Rogue Titan would qualify, except that its injuries do cause it some detriment as it tends to be so single-mindedly focused on murdering its target that it attacks without regard for the critical state its body is in and usually ends up worse for it.
  • Bleach
    • Shinigami life force is affected by their spiritual power. The more spiritual power they possess, the harder it is to even scratch them, let alone kill them.
    • Arrancar possess Hierro note , a supernaturally tough skin which makes it difficult to injure or kill them. Nnoitra is singled out for having exceptionally hard Hierro even by the standards of other Espada.
    • Quincies possess Blut note . Blut Vene channels reiatsu through their veins via reishi manipulation to massively increase their defensive power, making it very hard to injure or kill a Quincy. Cang Du and Mask de Masculine can further use their Schrift powers to shrug off attacks even Blut Vene can't cope with.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!! Someone once shot a ballistic knife into his chest at almost point blank range. It went in about half a centimeter.
  • One Piece had the CP9, an assassin group that knew the special ability Tekkai (lit. "Iron Mass"). It made their bodies as hard as iron to resist damage. The downside was that you couldn't move when in Tekkai, Jabra being the one exception as a master of Tekkai.
    • Armaments Haki can also be used to this effect, usually just relevant parts of the body rather than all of it at once, but Vergo demonstrates a full-body hardening at one point.
  • Seems to be a standard trait of yokai in Kamisama Kiss.
  • Armitage of Armitage III can take bullets, stab wounds and head-on grenade hits and keep going, with only cosmetic damage to her flesh. She even managed to survive her own self-destruct mechanism.
  • In Brave10, Seikai can turn blades with pure muscle. Jinpachi is then introduced blocking Seikai's strike with one hand.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • This is Saitama's other power alongside Super Strength and Super Speed. Throughout the story, he never takes a hit that seems to cause him any actual pain or damage.
    • Boros has a potent enough case of this that, coupled with his Healing Factor, he actually survives a punch from Saitama. Several, in fact. He still dies once Saitama decides it's time to be serious about this.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman is one of the most iconic comic book examples. Most of his enemies also have this ability to better justify their ability to throw down with him.
    • In Krypton No More Superman fought one-time villain Protector that can change his body into diamond to become extra-tough.
    • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man a Lex Luthor's robot slams Superman into a building. The blow is strong enough to bring down a chunk of the wall, but Clark barely feels it. Spider-Man's hide is not so tough, but he takes several metallic tentacles to the face when he fights Doctor Octopus, and he doesn't even get knocked out.
    • In War World:
      • Martian Manhunter hits Superman with strength enough to shatter rocks, but Superman endures their blows.
      • Shortly later, Superman and Supergirl endure the impacts of Warworld’s planet-killing weapons. Supergirl rams through Warworld at inconceivable speed. She knocks herself out but she doesn't suffer further harm.
      • And Superman flies so fast that he bursts through the barriers of reality. The narration notes that strain would reduce other beings to shapeless paste.
    • In the first chapters of Kryptonite Nevermore, Superman tanks cannon fire several times. However he loses most of his invulnerability throughout the story.
  • Supergirl is a nigh invulnerable Flying Brick on par with her more famous cousin.
    • In Supergirl vol 1 #3, a giant mutant venus fly-trap tries to swallow Linda/Kara whole but it ends up spitting Supergirl out because it can't bite her skin.
      Supergirl: This brute may become a vegetarian now! Trying to chomp down on my invulnerable body would ruin the appetite of any meat-eater!
    • In Supergirl vol 2 #1, she shielded several men from a shower of molten steel with her body.
    • In Supergirl Vol 5 #21, Kara got a locomotive dropped on her. It knocked her out for several seconds. Then she woke up and threw it out of the planet.
    • Post-Flashpoint Kara, first discovers she is very, very hard when she gets caught in an explosion and she doesn't get harmed.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton Kara gets hit by missiles, punched into a moon and hurled into the Sun. She endures everything.
    • In Demon Spawn, Supergirl endures the heat of a burning building and flies through a wall without getting hurt.
    • In The Supergirl From Krypton, Kara's body is extremely tough. When she loses a sword-fight, her cousin overreacts, thinking her adversary is about to stab her. Wonder Woman reminds him that Artemis' sword would've shattered on impact.
  • Incredible Hulk is famously durable, as are many of his gamma irradiated foes.
  • Rogue of the X-Men, when she was a Flying Brick (due to a certain instance of power absorption), was usually tough but not fully invulnerable. One comic had her taking a bullet to the head, which knocked her out (whereas such things would simply bounce off of other Flying Bricks).
    • She often referred to this as "nigh-invulnerability". The "nigh" part was meant to mean that there were indeed still things that could hurt her, so it's not the Nigh-Invulnerability we speak of in trope-speak.
  • Wonder Woman. Being a Flying Brick on par with Superman means she's got toughness to spare.
  • Similarly, Aquaman is able to take machine gun fire, but it does cut his skin and draw blood, so he wears Atlantean scale armour.
  • Being completely invulnerable is the sole power of Brit to the point that one mission consisted of strapping a nuclear bomb to his chest, setting it off to kill the superpowered henchmen of a villain, and then taking a beating from the guy until his enemy was completely exhausted.
  • Jessica Jones from Alias and The Pulse has this power as a part of her Flying Brick power set. She was capable of taking a severe beating from Iron Man and the Vision (two very powerful heroes) which resulted in damage to her neck, nose, spine, and retina. She's later shown withstanding a venom blast (a burst of concentrated electricity) from Spider-Woman that causes her noticeable pain before she gets back up and decks the other woman in the face. She later receives a slash across her back with a knife that cuts her skin, but the only medical attention she required was a bandage. While threatening a group of armed men, Jessica's internal monologue reveals that she isn't quite sure if she's bulletproof. The Pulse revealed that Jessica's internal organs (including her uterus) are also super tough, which was good news for her after the Green Goblin attempted to blow her up while she was pregnant. Bottom line, she may not be invulnerable, but she can take a beating and keep on fighting.
    • Her husband Luke Cage is even tougher. While he's not a super strong as his wife and can't fly he is incredibly durable to the point of outright bulletproofness; leading to many referring to him as the man with unbreakable skin.
  • Hardcase from Strikeforce: Morituri could increase the density of anything he touched to produce this effect, and use it to incapacitate enemies.

    Fan Works 
  • Derpy from the Pony POV Series is implied to have a form of this, as her special talent appears to be 'being a Determinator.' Dark World!Derpy, however, is upgraded by becoming the new Element of Loyalty, which takes this Up to Eleven to the point getting hit with lightning doesn't even seem to effect her. This seems to be a Required Secondary Power of her Super Mode, which otherwise would tear her body apart.
  • In Marionettes the title androids have this on account of being constructed out of mithril (an extremely durable, but light weight magical metal). Lightning Dust slams face first into a tunnel while on top of a speeding train and only loses her false skin and one of her eyes while being knocked offline for a short period. During her fight with Masquerade, Trixie is repeatedly thrown and smashed through walls without any serious damage. Ace and Teddy, the two G2 Marionettes, are made of steel, and just a little less durable than their 'little siblings'. Ironically, the reason for the choice of materials in both cases was the Generation 1 Marionettes lacked durability.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Incredibles:
    • Besides Super Strength, Mr. Incredible has this going for him. Especially since he seems perfectly fine mere feet next to boiling lava.
    • The Omnidroid series of robots get progressively tougher with each model until v.10 can only be really hurt by itself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the case of Robocop, this arguably is his main superpower, with super strength and justified Improbable Aiming Skills as his secondary ones.
  • To King Kong, Godzilla, and other Kaiju, human weapons are puny.
  • The Terminator, especially in its debut film. It's not indestructible, it takes damage throughout the film. Actually getting what's left of it to stop is another story.
  • In Unbreakable David Dunn discovers that he has this power when he's involved in a train crash:
    ER Doctor: And, to answer your question, there are two reasons why I'm looking at you like this. One because it seems in a few minutes you will officially be the only survivor of this train wreck, and two, because you didn't break one bone, you don't have a scratch on you.
    • There are limits to his durability however. David himself believes he wouldn't be able to survive being shot point-blank, which makes for a very tense scene in the movie when his son believes he can prove his father's indestructability by doing just that.
  • I Come in Peace: The two aliens are much tougher than ordinary humans. The cop still lives for quite a while after half his torso is shot off, and the drug dealer isn't even phased when Jack tries to kick his ass, while gunfire barely slows him down.
  • The Hidden: Any human host that the evil parasite possesses becomes durable enough that they need to be shot over fifteen times before it decides to swap it for a better meatsuit. The cops note that one vacated host simply bled to death, because the alien wasn't around anymore to keep it alive.

  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Star Beast Lummox shrugs off a shot from an anti-tank rifle, consumes poisons happily, and survives an attempt at drowning. The Sheriff who wanted to kill him considers tricking him into eating explosives, but fortunately doesn't get the chance, seeing as her race might have destroyed earth if their lost princess were killed.
  • Phylip Wylie's Gladiator.
  • In the Tales of Kolmar trilogy, Varien is cut with a sword, but rather than getting his arm cut off as everyone else expected, he actually stops the sword with his arm and manages to still fight the guy. It's because he used to be a dragon, and his bones and muscles are still as strong as they were in his dragon form.
  • In Mistborn, allomancers who can use pewter can increase all of their body's physical abilities, which includes not only strength and speed, but also resistance to injury (and a mild Healing Factor). The drawback of this is that an allomancer who turns his or her pewter off without seeking medical attention first can simply keel over on the spot, from injuries that were trivial in their enhanced state but are much more harmful (or even fatal) to an ordinary human body. The Inquisitors, who have pewter but also a ridiculously strong Healing Factor thanks to mixing all three of the setting's magic systems, not just allomancy are considered all but unkillable.
  • The Boy who was as hard as Stone has the main character gaining this ability.
  • The Saga of Arrow-Odd: Over the course of his feud with Arrow-Odd, Ogmund Eythjofslayer gets every bone in his body broken, his face torn off, his buttocks sliced off, and jumps from a 80 yard cliff into the North Atlantic. Yet he survives all and recovers every time, even if gruesomely scarred.
  • Cassandra Kresnov: GIs' construction means they can survive hits that would incapacitate or kill a human. In Crossover Sandy crashes a motorcycle at very high speed and hits the ground running, while in Killswitch she's gut-shot and only suffers blunt-force trauma. She also explains to Vanessa in Crossover that her equivalent to a carotid artery and jugular vein are housed inside her spinal column, so a Slashed Throat doesn't work on her either.
  • The Witchlands: Aeduen is superhumanly tough, and even if something manages to break thorugh his skin, he still has his Healing Factor.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives us Buffyverse vamps, Slayers and many species of demons. All of them can take quite a beating, ranging from being able to take a full-force beatdown from someone with super strength to needing a specific way to be killed. Get hit by a car? Walk it off. Fall from a skyscraper? Continue with your day. Have a bomb explode in your hands? Lament on how it ruined your jacket. Get zapped by a live wire in water? How's my hair?
    • Also, while slayers are actually a little stronger than vampires, vampires can take a more thorough beating because they're technically not alive and thus don't have to worry about things like internal organ damage.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation Data is an android who possesses this ability, on top of being The Needless. In Star Trek: First Contact for instance, he casually shrugs off machine gun fire.
  • On The 100 Clarke empties a clip of bullets into a rampaging (possibly mutated) gorilla. All that does is slow it down for a few seconds; it then gets back up and keeps attacking just as hard as before, with seemingly no ill-effects.


    Other Sites 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The discipline of Fortitude in the Vampire: The Masquerade is explicitly this, giving characters a larger 'dice pool' (i.e. a larger chance) to 'soak' (reduce or ignore) damage. It also allows those who have it to partially soak damage they normally couldn't, like a vampire reducing damage from sunlight or fire. Fortitude is not an automatic reduction, however, and a bad roll of the dice means you can still get just as carved up with a knife as anyone else. There's just a lesser chance you will.
    • It shows up in Vampire: The Requiem as Resilience. Activating it grants a temporary increase in health levels, and allows a vampire to downgrade a certain amount of aggravated damage to lethal.
  • Any superhero RPG or universal system will quite naturally feature at least one way to model this.
  • Available in The Dresden Files RPG in various degrees of the Toughness and/or Recovery power (potentially up to all-out Physical Immunity). These are only available to characters with a suitable high concept — i.e., actual supernatural creatures, which in many games will be primarily NPCs — and must be assigned at least one "catch" that bypasses them (like the classic example of silver for werewolves).
  • From Warhammer 40,000, Plague Marines are among the toughest regular infantry an army can field. On top of being a genetically engineered super soldier armed with power armour, they have been touched by the "gift" of Nurgle, and turned into a walking pandemic too inured with pain to feel it anymore and too necrotized too rely on their natural physiology anymore. In terms of shots from a bolter, (roughly) 1 in 20 will actually manage to kill one. To put that into perspective, a regular human would be lucky to survive 1 in 3 shots.
    • One of the more well-known Plague Marine Headquarter choices, Typhus, takes this up to a ridiculous degree. In the game he can be, and usually is, one of the most durable HQ choices, befitting for a Nurgle champion. With Toughness 5, Terminator Armour, and 4 Wounds, he can weather over a hundred STR-4 BS-4 shots with AP-3 or worse. In fact, since that's the profile for a Hot-Shot Volley Gun wielded by a Tempestus Scion, and hence of interest, the exact number of shots (remember, it's Salvo 2/4) it takes to kill him on average is 108.

    Video Games 
  • Master Chief of Halo fame is a Spartan-II who can survive atmospheric reentry and subsequent impact with the ground almost unaided. The fact that he didn't turn into a squishy soup like mixture is a testament to his Super Toughness.
    • It helps that his armor was upgraded immediately before Halo 2 (and that he has Plot Armor). In Halo: First Strike a group of Spartan-IIs tried that in the last-gen armor and half of them died.
  • [PROTOTYPE] gives us Alex Mercer. He isn't unkillable, but multiple RPGs, choppers, tanks and zombies aren't going to do the job unless the player is playing the game wrong.
  • Kirby: For such a cute little guy, Kirby is EXTREMELY durable. Thanks to his pink, stretchy body, he can survive being flattened, electricity, rocket flames, cannonball explosions, atmospheric reentry, sharp blades, and in Kirby: Triple Deluxe, a a planet sized explosion!.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The absurd durability of krogans is something of a running joke. Due to evolving on a Death World where they were a prey species until they invented gunpowder, they have second and often third copies of nearly every organ in their bodies (including a redundant nervous system), thick hides, a camel-like hump that stores nutrients, and great strength. As a result they can shrug off things that would kill other species, and BioWare never lets us forget it: to give you just one example from Mass Effect 2, the description of the M-98 Widow anti-materiel rifle states that it's intended for use against "armored vehicles and krogan."
    • It is telling that many people, including some krogan, think this about Commander Shepard. In the finale, s/he even takes a full-on shot from Harbinger's battleship-destroying main gun, and, while injured, gets up and continues. S/he's a badass human with cybernetic enhancements, but still.
  • Albert Wesker from Resident Evil has this, probably as a Required Secondary Power to his strength and speed. It's generally overlooked and he can be damaged by gunfire or sufficient force, but a ton of girders on the head, RPG exploding in his hands or falling from a plane would reduce a human being to bloody smear, not disorient them for half a minute - Healing Factor or not.

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    Web Original 
  • Plenty of supers at Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, but Peril is a good example. He field-tested an inventor's jetpack. It exploded at two hundred feet up (so he took the blast and then the fall). He's fine now.
  • The Brute classification in Worm. Examples include Weld, who is Made of Iron, Aegis, whose body is filled with enough redundant parts that injury doesn't really bother him, and Siberian, who is a combination unstoppable force and immovable object.
    • The Endbringers take this Up to Eleven. Their bodies are composed of multiple layers, each one stronger than the last, with a central core that surrounds and protects their only vital components. With the data provided in the story, fans have made some calculations on just how tough they are, which have been confirmed by Word of God. One result was 30.3 trillion MPa of pressure to destroy their limbs and 560 novemdecillion MPa to destroy their cores. For the record, the latter measurement is more pressure than all the matter in the entire observable universe could provide.
  • Similarly, many people in RWBY qualify. Yang especially seems to have this really bizarre immunity to being slammed into things with great force. Being punched through a concrete pillar by a house-sized Humongous Mecha really only succeeded in dazing her for a few seconds... that and making her really mad.
    • This ability served her well in her fight against Tifa in Death Battle: even though Tifa was physically stronger and more experienced in battle, the combination of Yang's Aura and natural toughness meant she could tank Tifa's attacks before eventually finishing her off.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park gives us the Member Berries, intelligent grapes that continue to talk solely about how great Star Wars was and neo-reactionary ideology even after being baked into a pie, being set on fire, or doused in acid. As soon as the stimulus is ceased, they resume talking as if nothing happened.

Alternative Title(s): Super Tough