Last night, my players were battling a hob, who had 4 stress boxes, plus 4 more from his inhuman toughness. One of the characters hit the Hob before they knew it was fae and did 5 stress. The inhuman toughness absorbed 2, and its three stress box was filled. The other, having been informed by another character that the beast was fae, hit it with a steel IV stand, inflicting 9 stress. The Hob took its mild and moderate consequences, reducing the stress to 3, and with the catch had to take that three, rolling up to the 4 stress box. After the rest of the exchange, the first character, now armed with the knowledge that she was facing a fae, picked up a scalpel and leapt towards the Hob, planning to drive them through its eye.

She did 9 stress, it took a severe consequence (the scalpel drove through its hand), and had to take the other 3 stress. That three stress rolled up to the 5 stress box, and took the hob out (she pinned its hand to his eye, driving the scalpel into its brain).

My question is, was the hob taken out at that time, i.e. does the catch reduce the number of physical stress boxes to the normal amount? It actually had 8 stress as I said, though 4 of those came from its inhuman toughness, that the catch had been satisfied for, so I presumed that the stress doesn't apply either. One of the players was glad that the others had taken the hob out, but concerned because he hadn't read it that way, and was a changeling that this affected also. Reading the book again (YS185) I see that it could be interpreted the way that he was, though I think that my interpretation is correct.

For reference

The Catch [+varies]

Description: Your Toughness abilities are limited in some way.

Effects: The Catch. You must specify something that bypasses your Toughness abilities.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought the cold iron catch had to be satisfied with cold iron. Worked steel is not cold iron, at least in my interpretation. Iron is more easily broken than modern day steel (which is what most modern tools are made of). I.e. you either have a good tool, or a fey bashing tool. An old fashioned fire poker would work, but a modern stainless steel scalpel or IV stand would not. Otherwise the catch is super easily satisfied by pretty much everything in the world and the supernatural toughness isn't work being taken. \$\endgroup\$
    – user4237
    Aug 13, 2012 at 16:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There are some interpretations in literature that would allow for that. However, in the DFRPG referencing the source material, "cold iron" is any iron, even if it's been smelted into steel. Fae creatures generally have zero tolerance for it in any form — injured by mere contact with anything containing Iron. When cut with it, the Iron sets the Faerie blood on fire. It was noted by one Fae that even if the damage is not fatal, it will leave pain that lingers for a long time. Also, bringing iron into the Nevernever is roughly equivalent to carrying around uncontained nuclear waste. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Aug 13, 2012 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


I would rule for fae that any toughness which is granted by their supernatural nature is not applicable against weapons (even improvised ones) made of iron. Harsh but fair and in keeping with the books -- see Murphy, the Clorofiend, and the chain saw. So, I punch it gives the Hob 8 stresses. I stab it with rusty blade, the Hob has only 4.

On a side note, some scalpels are not made from iron...

  • \$\begingroup\$ From what I remember Murphy also had additional bad-assery because she wasn't really a part of the Fae's realm (unlike Harry, who broke his promise 3 times to his fairy godmother) so the Clorofiend was a lot weaker against her. \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Sep 21, 2011 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sardathrion Some don't, but I didn't compel that (I should have). \$\endgroup\$
    – Chuck Dee
    Sep 21, 2011 at 17:35

The way I've always interpreted it was that any attack that utilizes a catch is only applied to the stress that the monster would have without the toughness. If the stress done by the attack would roll off the monster's normal stress track, then it's taken out.

Also, the monster doesn't get the armor bonuses provided with the toughness as well.


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