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View Full Version : How do Fighters prevent getting hit ?



Grifthin
2010-02-15, 02:46 AM
AC seems to scale poorly - How do Fighters prevent themselves from getting hit ?

sonofzeal
2010-02-15, 02:49 AM
AC can be pumped in many ways if you know how to do it, but the gold investment can be high.

Cloak of Displacement is nice, though.

Grifthin
2010-02-15, 02:50 AM
Could you please explain good sir ? The highest I have got so far is 54 - there has to be a better way.

Currently have char with:

Combat Expertise
Dodge

16 str
14 Dex
16 Con
13 int
13 wis
17 Cha

I'm playing a Dragon Shaman - I plan to pick up improved combat expertise, I get natural armor. What am I looking at to get the AC into the stratosphere ? What's the most you can end up with at level 20 ? Also what items do you use at low/mid/high levels to prevent getting hit ?

Shpadoinkle
2010-02-15, 02:50 AM
By killing whatever they're fighting before it can kill them. This generally means a Power Attack -> Leap Attack -> Shock Trooper setup, or a focus in archery.

This is assuming the fighter's existance isn't rendered pointless by the fact that there's a full caster in the party, of course.

taltamir
2010-02-15, 02:54 AM
magic. no really...

Twilightwyrm
2010-02-15, 02:58 AM
Well if you are an elf, the Champion of Corellon Latharian helps.

Abd al-Azrad
2010-02-15, 02:59 AM
Spiked shields and spiked armor can each be enchanted (as weapons) to be +1 Defending for 8k each, which allows your party caster to Chain Greater Magic Weapon (probably with the 14k Metamagic Rod) and boost them both. It's a bit expensive at first, but scales very nicely.

There are a lot of tricks. Layer defenses, including Blur and Displacement, to negate enemy attacks. Use Anklets of Translocation to hop 10 feet when subject to a full attack or severe charge, negating multiple attacks and piles of damage.

But there's kind of a serious point to consider: if you're impossible to hit, impossible to damage... why are you in the party? I hate to make it so blunt, but fighters are there to draw attention away from the glass cannons, the mages, sneak attackers, etc. Your job in a party is not to be invincible, because if an intelligent enemy figures this out, they'll stop fighting you. That is a problem. You want the enemy to be fighting you. You are a fighter. Especially at high levels, you need to be able to disrupt and frustrate the enemy just enough that they waste actions trying to hurt you. And you need to be just hurtable enough, that they continue for more than a single round. Every round that an enemy wastes beating you up, is a powerful spell or effect your party can bring to bear winning the battle.

Math_Mage
2010-02-15, 03:01 AM
Hit first. Hit hard. Wear heavy magic armor.

But really, have lots of health, because AC simply does not keep up with BAB.

faceroll
2010-02-15, 03:02 AM
Deepwarden and Fist of the Forest both add con to AC. This is much better than using dex, because you can wear chunky armor.

Killer Angel
2010-02-15, 03:03 AM
AC seems to scale poorly - How do Fighters prevent themselves from getting hit ?

Increasing AC isn't cheap, and for various reasons, it's not worth the price you'd pay.
Brief explanation: you must pump up not only your AC, but also your touch AC, otherwise you'll be vulnerable to a lot of things (spells, incorporeal creatures, etc). It can be done, but it means other money to spend.
If you obtain a good AC, the simplest solution the standard DM will find, will be to use critters able to hit you... that means that said critters will have a very easy time in smashing your friends: no good from a game perspective.

Solution: think as a Wizard and act accordingly. Increase the chance of not being hit, easily obtainable even in Core only. Ring of spell storing with things like mirror image, invisibility, etc. Boots of flying. Cloack of displacement. Ring of blinking.

Grifthin
2010-02-15, 03:04 AM
@ Abd al-Azrad - I want to use my breath weapon as my main damage boost - this means surviving getting hit alot.

Runestar
2010-02-15, 03:04 AM
If I am DM'ing, I would use power attack/expertise to reduce the attack rating of the monsters to a point where they should miss the PCs a fair amount of the time (typically ~50%, but can be more or less depending on your needs).

This of course, assumes they have put decent effort into boosting their AC (~AC40 at lv20, not factoring in temp buffs). If their AC is lower than the norm, then they really deserve to get hit.

Orzel
2010-02-15, 03:05 AM
Fightera tend to go from defensive to offensive very fast. Quickly if changes from "You missed" to "You dead... If I reach you."

But if a fighter wishes to pump their AC, they wrap themselves in gold*.


*Not literally. Items bought with it.

Eldariel
2010-02-15, 03:08 AM
Generally, Fighters can defend themselves quite alright from melee threats by outreaching them and preventing the melee threats from ever hitting them in the first place with stuff like Improved Trip/Standstill. The other common approach is charging and killing everything before they can hit you back.

In short, Fighters aren't very good defensively. It's down to various magic items. Better end includes stuff like Starmantle Cloak [BoED], Amulet of Retribution [MiC], Elusive Target [Feat, CW], etc. that makes hits hurt less. Though AC pump is definitely doable too, just expensive as stated. If you get Magic Vestment and Persistent Mass Shield of Faith from party Cleric, you'll save a lot of money tho. But yeah, there are some invulnerability-items and otherwise you're down to making yourself Displaced, Invisible, and high AC.

Abd al-Azrad
2010-02-15, 03:16 AM
Amusingly, I'd find your stats to work surprisingly well if you were to die. As in, become a Ghost. They get Cha to AC, and they're remarkably difficult to hurt, due to being Ghosts.

Seriously, though. Pull the cheesy Defending Weapon tricks with, like, your armor, weapon and shield for up to +15, easy, to AC. If you can gain Turning somehow (there are ways, like spells or class dips) boost your Cha and grab Divine Shield. If you can find a way to make attacks in a round for free (Belt of Battle, from the MIC, gives a round of free-action attacks for 12k) you can Improved Combat Expertise your entire BAB into AC, allowing you to boost your AC by your class level. Sounds good for a breath-weapon focused build.

Or, trip people at range. If your enemies need to waste actions standing up, they need to waste actions they could otherwise use to hurt you. AC really isn't the focus of high-level D&D. Actions are. Find a way to make your foe waste them, and you win.

Killer Angel
2010-02-15, 03:18 AM
But if a fighter wishes to pump their AC, they wrap themselves in gold*.

*Not literally. Items bought with it.

Well, if is a dex-based guy, sometime you can apply it in a literal sense (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicArmor.htm#celestialArmor). :smallwink:

Lycanthromancer
2010-02-15, 03:34 AM
Remember that your best bet is miss chances, not AC. Having a decent AC is alright, but you're better off with multiple low-level miss chances.

Also, AC only works against some things. You have to consider touch AC (which is even more important than regular AC when it's called into play, because things that target touch AC tend to be really nasty). You also should have the highest saves you can manage, as many hit points (including temporary hit points) as you can get, damage reducers (such as DR, energy resistance, and effects like shield other) to keep your damage intake low, and as many immunities as you can get your mitts on. Also don't forget to be as mobile as you can be; the best way to defend against an attack is to avoid it entirely.

Unfortunately, fighters fail at getting nearly all of these by themselves. They have to rely on casters, either directly via buffs or indirectly via items. Your best bet is to look into Tome of Battle for various stances and counters, and Magic of Incarnum for soulmelds, all of which can be gotten via feats.

Abd al-Azrad
2010-02-15, 03:44 AM
Your best bet is to look into Tome of Battle for various stances and counters, and Magic of Incarnum for soulmelds, all of which can be gotten via feats.

Totally agree. Grab that awful maneuver, what's it called? Iron Heart Surge? Take a standard action, end any effect you wish which currently affects you. Ridiculously broken, I hate it and choose to deliberately limit it's power from the player's side. Like, when I play the class, I feel bad using it. Observe:

DM: "You're within an Antimagic field."
Warblade: "That's an effect, right? I end it with a standard action."
DM: "@&*^@#^^[email protected]@(!"

Ravens_cry
2010-02-15, 03:45 AM
Yeah, because playing all by yourself is the ultimate goal of Dungeons and Dragons.
D&D is a team effort, something even the Batman Wizard guide, Holy Writ it seems to some people, acknowledged underneath all the Wizard ego stroking. Seriously, it was like reading a Warhammer Codex for Wizards.
So, get a bunch of smaller magic items of several bonus type is cheaper then buying a single one. At higher levels, get items that grant miss chances, and ask your friendly casters to select good buff spells.
And hit, and hit hard. If it doesn't get an action, it doesn't matter WHAT your AC is.

Orzel
2010-02-15, 03:50 AM
Well, if is a dex-based guy, sometime you can apply it in a literal sense (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicArmor.htm#celestialArmor). :smallwink:

Pfft. Who picks the gold option? Everyone I know picks the "don't rob me, rogue" silver model.

Killer Angel
2010-02-15, 03:58 AM
Pfft. Who picks the gold option? Everyone I know picks the "don't rob me, rogue" silver model.

Once i've had a rogue-Divine seeker, raised by paladins of Tyr.
When I wasn't using my hat of disguise, I was very proudly paladin-like, with my gold chain. :smallcool:

Indeed, it's a very rare case. :smallwink:

Runestar
2010-02-15, 04:13 AM
@ Abd al-Azrad - I want to use my breath weapon as my main damage boost - this means surviving getting hit alot.

I was under the impression you can only use power attack or expertise when attacking (ie: actually making attack rolls). That is why wizards don't use expertise to give them a free +5AC all day long while casting glitterdust or fireball. They can't.

Attacks that don't involve attack rolls, such as breath weapons, cannot be used in conjunction with them.

Or am I mistaken?

Grifthin
2010-02-15, 04:22 AM
Well I can only use it every 1d4 rounds - so I'll be attacking normally every 1d4 rounds.

What' are some good LA 0 templates to apply for a character like this. I'm currently human.

sonofzeal
2010-02-15, 04:43 AM
Could you please explain good sir ? The highest I have got so far is 54 - there has to be a better way.

Currently have char with:

Combat Expertise
Dodge

16 str
14 Dex
16 Con
13 int
13 wis
17 Cha

I'm playing a Dragon Shaman - I plan to pick up improved combat expertise, I get natural armor. What am I looking at to get the AC into the stratosphere ? What's the most you can end up with at level 20 ? Also what items do you use at low/mid/high levels to prevent getting hit ?

Basics:
Mithral Fullplate (+8 armor, +3 dex) (10.5k)
Tower Shield (+4 shield) (0.03k)

Priority:
+1 armor (1k)
+1 shield (1k)
+1 ring of protection (2k)
+1 ammy of NA (2k)
+1 -> +2 armor (3k)
+1 -> +2 shield (3k)
+2 -> +3 armor (5k)
+2 -> +3 shield (5k)
+1 -> +2 ring of protection (6k)
+1 -> +2 ammy of NA (6k)
+3 -> +4 armor (7k)
+3 -> +4 shield (7k)
+1 armor spikes of defending (8k)
+1 shield spikes of defending (8k)
etc


Special:

-Many class features add to AC, pick these up as you can.

- Size decreases add to AC, but these are difficult to price. A custom
continuous item of Reduce Person is theoretically 2k though.

- Cover gives a +4 to AC.

- Prone gives a +4 to AC vs ranged attacks, and falling Prone is a free (immediate) action

- Total Defensive gives a +4 to AC

- Fighting Defensively gives a +2 to AC

- Combat Expertise gives a +1 to +5 to AC

- Shield Specialization + Shield Ward are potentially good investments; the first gives +1 shield AC, and the second applies shield bonus against touch attacks.

Jayngfet
2010-02-15, 04:46 AM
I recall a certain group of feats that adds your charisma bonus to your AC. With monk levels you gain double your charisma to AC. Going in with particularly light armor with that one exalted type means you can take sorcer levels. Add celestial heritige feats and take wings and . Casting at higher levels with this means you can float above and rain down arrows and bolts.

Better idea is to go monk/paladin/duskblade with no armor and the aforementioned chaisma to AC feats. Grab the Mount and use him as a combatant to keep anyone off you while you fight groups in smaller numbers. Arcane channel through a monks weapons with alchemical capsules to beat the crap out of enemies for massive damage. When dealing with larger mook groups than the party can handle quickly simply cast burning hands. Hell with quicken spell for free 1/day and cure you can heal yourself of any damage.

This means the primary healer won't need to stay too close to you, the ranged fighter will have a couple of guys keeping people at a distance, and the caster can focus on larger magics.

sonofzeal
2010-02-15, 05:00 AM
I recall a certain group of feats that adds your charisma bonus to your AC.
This is usually done with Int, IIRC. Chardemine Monk (or something like that), or Kung Fu Genius. Many classes add Int to AC (Duelist and Invisible Blade come to mind but I know there's others).

If you go this route, Tashalatora PsiWar can help too. You progress Monk AC bonus for those occasional +1's, and get Inertial Armor for fairly decent AC.

Riffington
2010-02-15, 05:18 AM
+1 armor spikes of defending (8k)
+1 shield spikes of defending (8k)


You don't really want these unless you plan to have two of your attacks each round suck.

Tyndmyr
2010-02-15, 08:52 AM
I recall a certain group of feats that adds your charisma bonus to your AC. With monk levels you gain double your charisma to AC. Going in with particularly light armor with that one exalted type means you can take sorcer levels. Add celestial heritige feats and take wings and . Casting at higher levels with this means you can float above and rain down arrows and bolts.

So...do all that, die, and become a ghost, for triple cha to AC, flight, incorporality, and pwn everyone, all the time?

Sinfire Titan
2010-02-15, 09:54 AM
Totally agree. Grab that awful maneuver, what's it called? Iron Heart Surge? Take a standard action, end any effect you wish which currently affects you. Ridiculously broken, I hate it and choose to deliberately limit it's power from the player's side. Like, when I play the class, I feel bad using it. Observe:

DM: "You're within an Antimagic field."
Warblade: "That's an effect, right? I end it with a standard action."
DM: "@&*^@#^^[email protected]@(!"

Yeah yeah, IHS is really poorly edited, we know. It and WRT are the most questionable things that book has (the next step down being RKV's Divine Impestous and the items that grant maneuvers). Everyone has flaws, and this goes extra for books.

No one would be complaining about IHS if it were a 9th level Maneuver, considering there's a spell with the same effect.




Generally speaking, a high AC is a trap. The amount of your WBL you invest into your AC really hampers your access to other magic items, and those items often help your damage output. Generally speaking, you're job is to draw enemy attacks to you. If your AC is really high, most smart enemies (IE: Anything capable of recognizing magical effects or Full Plate armor) will opt to attack someone else over your (unless your DM isn't playing the enemy as intelligently as they should be).


For this reason, a high HP total and Miss Chance like Displacement is considered much more useful than a high AC. The Goad feat, unfortunatly, invokes MAD and is Mind-Affecting, so it isn't that good (same for the Knight's Challenge class feature). You want to encourage enemies to attack you if you are the party's tank, or make yourself such a huge threat to the enemy that they have to deal with you first.


The latter of those two tends to be a much better option, hence the reason Chain Tripper Lockdown builds are so highly recommended.

Grifthin
2010-02-15, 10:09 AM
Thanks Everyone.

ericgrau
2010-02-15, 11:03 AM
AC does scale 1 for 1 with level, without the need to get defending weapons. Besides what sonofzeal posted include a dusty rose prism ioun stone (5k for +1) and a source of haste like boots of speed. 12k is a lot for +1, but that and the AB are just extras on top of the haste attack which is what you really want. Mithral is really expensive both for the base armor and the dex. I'd wait until later levels to get it and simply don't enchant your armor past a +2ish (or not at all and have a cleric buff it) until you've saved up for mithral. And no, assuming you don't have a cleric, losing 2,000-3,000 gp to selling at high levels is not the end of the world. But being 2 points behind on AC at lower levels could be your death. Finally, when your opponent only hits 5 out of 20 times, anything that increases it to 7 out of 20 (like not getting a +2 to your armor), drops it to 4 out of 20 times or drops it to 1 out of 20 times is huge. Don't ignore things like combat expertise, dodge, fighting defensively and (sometimes) total defense in certain situations.

Greenish
2010-02-15, 12:11 PM
D&D is a team effort, something even the Batman Wizard guide, Holy Writ it seems to some people, acknowledged underneath all the Wizard ego stroking. Seriously, it was like reading a Warhammer Codex for Wizards.The guide goes to ridiculous lengths of ego boosting to compensate for the fact that "batman wizard" is essentially a support character.

sofawall
2010-02-15, 12:20 PM
Use Anklets of Translocation to hop 10 feet when subject to a full attack or severe charge

People tend to attack on their turns, not yours.

Eloel
2010-02-15, 12:29 PM
People tend to attack on their turns, not yours.

People actually tend to attack on your turn. There are more chain-tripper builds than any other fighter builds - those tripper guys rely on AoOs

Orran
2010-02-15, 12:44 PM
The point was that anklets of translocation are a swift action, so you can't use them to break up a full attack, or avoid attacks at all really, but for 1400gp they have so many other uses.

Eldariel
2010-02-15, 01:47 PM
The guide goes to ridiculous lengths of ego boosting to compensate for the fact that "batman wizard" is essentially a support character.

Rather, it tries to reason why you should hold back and play normal D&D with a party instead of just making your own fighter with Planar Binding and Polymorph and supercharging yourself with PAO and going adventure alone as an immortal Astral Projection.

sonofzeal
2010-02-15, 01:47 PM
You don't really want these unless you plan to have two of your attacks each round suck.
Those don't need to be your actual attacks for the round. For example, you can hold a Dagger of Defending in one hand and profit from the AC bonus but not use TWF for that round. So you get the spikes, attack with your sword or whatever, and laugh as the enemy fails to hit you.

Riffington
2010-02-15, 02:15 PM
Those don't need to be your actual attacks for the round. For example, you can hold a Dagger of Defending in one hand and profit from the AC bonus but not use TWF for that round. So you get the spikes, attack with your sword or whatever, and laugh as the enemy fails to hit you.

As long as you handwave the "before using the weapon" part of the text.

sonofzeal
2010-02-15, 02:19 PM
As long as you handwave the "before using the weapon" part of the text.
They don't require you to make an attack roll though, which is the usual trigger. Almost everything similar requires a melee attack to activate, but this one doesn't. I believe the line there is to prevent you from buying twenty clubs of defending and strapping them all around you like a bandoleer for +NI AC.

Ravens_cry
2010-02-15, 02:34 PM
The guide goes to ridiculous lengths of ego boosting to compensate for the fact that "batman wizard" is essentially a support character.
And most people seem to have taken only the ego boosting to heart.
There was so much ego stroking the webpages felt sticky, THE WEBPAGES FELT STICKY!
*ahem*
The idea of the tactical and stratigic lock down wizard is as old as wizardry. I read an article 'Sorcery & Strategy' in Dragon #181, that made most of the same basic recommendations as the Batman Guide, but without the massive boosterism.

Riffington
2010-02-15, 02:39 PM
They don't require you to make an attack roll though, which is the usual trigger. Almost everything similar requires a melee attack to activate, but this one doesn't. I believe the line there is to prevent you from buying twenty clubs of defending and strapping them all around you like a bandoleer for +NI AC.

Why do you think you can't have 20 clubs of defending effective in a bandolier, but you can have effective armor spikes that are equally unused?

TheThan
2010-02-15, 04:05 PM
But really, have lots of health, because AC simply does not keep up with BAB.

In other words, take it like the man you are supposed to be! :smallsmile:

Kelb_Panthera
2010-02-15, 09:15 PM
Combat Expertise and Fighting Defensively. Note that these options stack for up to +7 to ac for -9 to hit. Tumble can improve the output on Fighting Defensively even as a CC skill.

Draz74
2010-02-15, 09:48 PM
A Fighter of at least 18th level could pick up the Shifting Defense stance with the Martial Stance feat. That's a great way to break up full attacks made against you.

Runestar
2010-02-15, 09:58 PM
A Fighter of at least 18th level could pick up the Shifting Defense stance with the Martial Stance feat. That's a great way to break up full attacks made against you.

Unless of course, they have reach and move adjacent to you prior to attacking. :smalltongue:

Draz74
2010-02-15, 10:08 PM
Unless of course, they have reach and move adjacent to you prior to attacking. :smalltongue:

Sure, there's a big complicated arms race of tactics that can happen there. (Do you wield a reach weapon and get an AoO when they move adjacent to you?) But I still think it's an incredibly useful defense. (If they have 10' reach, then you can still step out of range after two hits. That's sometimes still pretty good.)