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PitaChip
2018-10-11, 12:59 PM
So I've been DMing and playing for some time, and I've been thinking recently. The only real way you can dump dexterity in D&D 5th edition is if you play cleric, fighter, paladin, or some other class that lets you have heavy armor since Armor Class is ENTIRELY dependent on your Dexterity modifier unless you're wearing heavy armor. Obviously, heavy armor imposes disadvantage on stealth and is probably one of the design-breaking items for a character if you didn't really want them to be the "knight in shining armor" type.


I was thinking, why isn't there an armor option under light and medium armor that doesn't require you to have a high dexterity? I mean you're already taking a huge leap when you're saying "Hey, you know the most commonly-used saving throw that really really punishes you for failing each time? Yeah, I'm gonna take a negative stat to that", so why not give out some decent armor class? Why not have a static 13 option for light armor, and a static 15 for medium armor? I mean Breastplate has always been the "meta" in my games for characters with decent Dex so they get that automatic 16, and proficiency in medium armor is pretty hard to come by if you're not playing a class that doesn't already use Dex as its main stat.

The reason I'm so passionate about this is because I was making a level 6 character for a one-shot my friend was making. I haven't gotten to play a character in 2 years, so I was excited. I'm huge on homebrew, so I came up and we talked about a 3/3 multiclass between Matthew Mercer's "Runechild" sorcerous origin in the Tal'dorei Campaign Guide, and a class that I've personally worked on from DM's Guild, the "Swordmage", which is a 5e adaptation of a 4e class. I'll link it at the end of this post. I'm taking the Spellsword subclass at level 4, and after writing my character's backstory, we determined my stats and personality, which I had pictured this guy as a giant, but stumbly guy with a humble attitude and really smart, so I gave him a 7 in Dexterity. Then I picked out all my spells, weapons, and abilities, before I reached my armor class. I only have proficiency with light armor, so that left me with an AC of.... 9...

So you mean to tell me that the BEST option this badass 6-foot-7-inches guy who casts spells through a GLAIVE and can dish out an average damage dice roll of 54 (via anydice.com) in a single turn at level 6 has is an armor class of NINE?? Just give me the 13! I'm not asking to be ridiculously powerful, but I should have a viable option at my disposal so that I can get into the thick of battle like I'm built to be and not be the ultimate squishy!

I'm stumbly, but that shouldn't reflect all the armor options available to me! My stealth, dex saving throws, and fall damage can all go to hell, but my Armor Class should be a separate item if I deem it.

What do you guys think? (Sorry about the exposition on my character, but I'm really excited to play him)




Citations:
(EDIT: Alright, this is my first post on here, apparently the site won't let me post links. I'll replace the .'s with [dot] so they're still accessible if that's okay)

Swordmage class, created by The Arcane Anthenaeum, (also contributed to by me, Peter S)
www[dot]dmsguild[dot]com/product/224413/Swordmage-A-True-Arcane-HalfCaster-for-5e

Anydice, I use this for literally everything:
anydice[dot]com

Man_Over_Game
2018-10-11, 01:08 PM
There are a few options you can utilize instead.

Sorcerers can get 13 AC without armor.
Barbarians can use Constitution for AC
Monks can use Wisdom for AC
Dragonborn can get a feature to set their AC to default to 13.
Bladesingers get a special stance that gives them AC equal to their Intelligence Mod
And there's Mage Armor (default armor becomes 13+Dex) and Shield

If you're not using armor, and you're not nimble, and you don't have a naturally tough hide, and you aren't using magic (for mage armor), then....how exactly do you expect to not be hit?

Or rather, what's your character doing to avoid being hit? I'm not sure what's included with those classes, but that's part of the problem with homebrew's, they aren't always perfectly designed. A class that uses spells while incentivizing melee combat should have some form of defense, and those things already exist (like with the Bladesinger, Eldritch Knight, or even Arcane Trickster post level 5). If it's missing that key component, then maybe that's the problem and not how the system is implemented.

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 01:51 PM
I'll second what MOG said. You intend to be a frontline character with poor dex and no heavy armor... What do you expect?

Lalliman
2018-10-11, 01:55 PM
I can see no thematic way to justify a static AC in light armour. If it inhibits adding your Dex bonus to AC, then evidently it isn't light armour. And while I sympathise with the struggle of wanting a seemingly-simple concept to work but the system not supporting it, you're effectively asking to get a major power boost just because. You decided to boost your other stats at the cost of Dexterity and to take a highly-specific multiclass that doesn't provide good defences, a set of decisions that surely led to the aforementioned 54 damage per round. Poor AC is the price you pay for that, it's simple calculus. There's nothing stopping you from dipping fighter for medium armour, which will give a number of great features and delay your magical abilities just a little. Is that really unreasonable?

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 01:56 PM
I can see no thematic way to justify a static AC in light armour. If it inhibits adding your Dex bonus to AC, then evidently it isn't light armour. And while I sympathise with the struggle of wanting a seemingly-simple concept to work but the system not supporting it, you're effectively asking to get a major power boost just because. You decided to boost your other stats at the cost of Dexterity and to take a highly-specific multiclass that doesn't provide good defences, a set of decisions that surely led to the aforementioned 54 damage per round. Poor AC is the price you pay for that, it's simple calculus. There's nothing stopping you from dipping fighter for medium armour, which will give a number of great features and delay your magical abilities just a little. Is that really unreasonable?

Cleric would be better. Increases casting and gets Heavy Armor. (Assuming you have the Wisdom for it.)

Edit: Also, while Dex saves are very common, they're almost all just straight damage. It's not like a Wisdom save, where you can be Paralyzed, it's just HP damage.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 01:58 PM
Of course I'm going to be wearing armor, that's what I'm going for here. I know barbarians and monks get unarmored defense, and sorcerers get a decent armor class IF they take the draconic bloodline sorcerous origin, but my whole point is that the game is too dependent on Dexterity to be a high stat that it's so destructive to dump.

I'm asking if there should be a static AC option for light and medium armor, much like how heavy armor works. I shouldn't have to multiclass into monk or barbarian, take a different sorcerous origin, or take TWO feats just to have a half-decent AC, should I? If I wanted to play a stumbly wizard with the Xanathar's guide subclass (War Magic), why not support that archetype?

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 02:00 PM
Of course I'm going to be wearing armor, that's what I'm going for here. I know barbarians and monks get unarmored defense, and sorcerers get a decent armor class IF they take the draconic bloodline sorcerous origin, but my whole point is that the game is too dependent on Dexterity to be a high stat that it's so destructive to dump.

I'm asking if there should be a static AC option for light and medium armor, much like how heavy armor works. I shouldn't have to multiclass into monk or barbarian, take a different sorcerous origin, or take TWO feats just to have a half-decent AC, should I? If I wanted to play a stumbly wizard with the Xanathar's guide subclass (War Magic), why not support that archetype?

Wizards can get away just fine with a crap Dex. They tend to stay in the back, and so don't NEED a great AC. (And even with the best Dex humanly possible AND Mage Armor, they rock AC 18. Same as a Fighter with Chain and Shield, or with Plate and a Greatsword.)

So, to answer the question of "Should there be a static option for Light?" the answer to that is "No. Not at all."

You CHOSE to focus on offensive power and other stats. You could easily have gotten a decent AC, but you chose not to build your character that way.

Edit: Also, you can get AC 10 easily. Just wear Studded Leather.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:00 PM
Note that 13 is NOT a good AC. It IS low for a martial class, and I think it's fair to give to low-dex characters

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 02:02 PM
Note that 13 is NOT a good AC. It IS low for a martial class, and I think it's fair to give to low-dex characters

Why? Again, you're basically asking for a 3 point AC upgrade because you didn't feel like investing in it.

Should I say my Barbarian gets free Wisdom save proficiency? Or that my Wizard gets a permanent Mage Armor for no slots?

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:06 PM
Because an AC of 10 is abysmal, at level 6, most creatures have a +6 or +7 bonus to hit, which means that anything above a dice roll of 3 or 4 will hit me. An AC of 13 is less than ideal, and that's what I'd be getting for not putting my strengths into it. It's not a strength itself as much as it would be avoiding a legitimate design flaw.


(also yeah, sorry I did my math wrong with studded leather)

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 02:07 PM
Because an AC of 10 is abysmal, at level 6, most creatures have a +6 or +7 bonus to hit, which means that anything above a dice roll of 3 or 4 will hit me. An AC of 13 is less than ideal, and that's what I'd be getting for not putting my strengths into it. It's not a strength itself as much as it would be avoiding a legitimate design flaw.

(also yeah, sorry I did my math wrong with studded leather)

You say you average to 54 damage in a round? With only level 3 in two classes?

A Fighter, for reference, averages to 4d6+10, rerolling ones and twos, or 27.

You have literally twice the DPR of a Greatsword Fighter, because that's what you invested in.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:08 PM
I'm not saying that covering up all your character's flaws is a good thing, and by no means would I argue that it is. But I do believe that low-Dexterity characters are a little over-punished if they suffer in Stealth checks, Dexterity saving throws, AND Armor class. It basically disables them in any remotely hostile environment!

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:11 PM
Yes, if I pour all the resources of my class abilities into one round, yes, I can deal an average of 54 damage in one round if I hit all my abilities and roll well. But that exhausts everything that my classes give me, mind you, and I doubt it would be fruitful to pull it off unless the situation was dire.

Glaive 1d10 + Scorching ray (spell strike) 6d6 + Zephyr Strike 1d8 + Fire bolt (quickened spell) 2d10 + 4 + 4 from abilities and strength. Oh, and when I ran that I had an extra d8 from a homebrew spell that's irrelevant to this conversation

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:15 PM
That same fighter also gets action surge, second wind, and two ability score improvements / feats whereas I've gotten none. That's on top of their 3rd level subclass ability as well. They have their resources that they've spent and I have my own. By no means is an AC of 13 ridiculous to ask for when dealing with characters that could potentially have 17 with the same light armor class just because they chose Dex over Strength

Lalliman
2018-10-11, 02:18 PM
Answer me this: What are your full ability scores? Could you actually have achieved an AC of 13 without decreasing your power elsewhere?

I suggest you just ask your DM about acquiring elven chain in play. That'll give you AC 12 without need for this discussion.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:19 PM
What do you lose if you dump Strength? You can't lift things. You don't even suffer much from grapple checks since you can use athletics OR acrobatics to escape. Not much else, really.

What do you lose if you dump Intelligence? You can't think real good. Intelligence saves are few and far between, and you're not going to be missing out on much in combat.

What do you lose if you dump Charisma? Basically nothing. Oh no you can be plane shifted elsewhere.

Constitution? You have 0 hitpoints all the time every day.

Wisdom? You're basically blind and you can be manipulated on a whim.

Dexterity, however? Your AC is trash, your maneuverability to get out of that fireball is trash, you can't hide if your life depended on it, and you hit the ground like a rock.

Sound fair?

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 02:19 PM
Again, you chose to invest heavily in everything except AC. And, if you have a decent hit die, you're by no means toast.

Barbarians have Reckless Attack-while they might have an AC of, say, 16, enemies have advantage. So with a +7 to hit, enemies have an 84% chance to hit. (79.75% chance if they're rocking a +6.) Sounds pretty similar to yours, no?

Edit: You dump Strength, and then get Restrained. That's a Strength save or check, usually. No movement, disadvantage on attacks, and enemies have advantage to hit you.

Intelligence has Intellect Devourers, Illusions... Although yeah. Int is a relatively safe dump stat.

Charisma saves are pretty rough to fail. They're not horribly COMMON, but they are horrible.

Constitution is even more important than Dex. No one can get away with crap for Con. Not even a backline Wizard.

Wisdom has a ton of saves that do a LOT WORSE than just damage.

And with a low Dex, you can't dodge a Fireball or hide. You can easily have a good AC if you invest in it, and your maneuverability is pretty much the same as a Dex-focused person.

Hell, it's BETTER in some cases-climbing is Strength-based, if it calls for a check.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:22 PM
Answer me this: What are your full ability scores? Could you actually have achieved an AC of 13 without decreasing your power elsewhere?

I suggest you just ask your DM about acquiring elven chain in play. That'll give you AC 12 without need for this discussion.

For this session, we went with 3 down, 3 up. All you need to know is that the point total is always 75:
Strength: 19
Dexterity: 7
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 7
Charisma: 16

By no means am I trying to make an overpowered character, but I want him to be good at what he does. I don't want him to have completely broken flaws that break him, but I don't want him to be even close to perfect. I know I could've put a point from strength into Dexterity instead, but I didn't. I'm not trying to idealize, I'm trying to argue that it's fair to have my character have flaws without suffering this one specific aspect of the game's lack of mercy.

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 02:24 PM
For this session, we went with 3 down, 3 up. All you need to know is that the point total is always 75:
Strength: 19
Dexterity: 7
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 16
Wisdom: 7
Charisma: 16

By no means am I trying to make an overpowered character, but I want him to be good at what he does. I don't want him to have completely broken flaws that break him, but I don't want him to be even close to perfect. I know I could've put a point from strength into Dexterity instead, but I didn't. I'm not trying to idealize, I'm trying to argue that it's fair to have my character have flaws without suffering this one specific aspect of the game's lack of mercy.

Is low Dexterity really a flaw, though?

If we're talking Mary Sue style "perfect" characters, they're oftentimes clumsy. But that's not a character flaw. That's a physical note.

But yeah, you invested a TON in Strength, Charisma, and Intelligence. You could easily switch points over to Dex (for a better AC) or Con (so you have HP to take a hit) but you chose not to.

This is NOT a design flaw. This is your own fault for making a character who didn't focus enough on defense.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:28 PM
Barbarians take half damage to negate the fact that they're easier to hit. I'm half sorcerer, my hit die is 3d6 and 3d10. Not terrible, but not outstanding either.

And yes, I fully agree with you that nobody should have a high AC if they didn't put their resources into it. But an AC of 13 is not high. It's barely passable, really. Any monster in the manual with any amount of respect has AT LEAST 15. Not like I'm trying to compare myself to an ancient dragon with AC 22, but you get the point that I'm trying to make here, I hope. My point is that there shouldn't have to be a resource demand by the game to have an AC that's not going to break your character. When I designed my character, I designed him thematically, not mechanically. New players approach this way extremely often, and probably would find themselves in similar shoes.

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 02:30 PM
Zombies have AC 8.

You're asking for a free three points of AC. That's equivalent to a +3 suit of armor, which is a Legendary item.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:32 PM
Of course low Dexterity is a flaw- why wouldn't it be? It's a base ability score of the game, just like any other flaw would be? Note: I'm not talking about personality flaws.

My character teleports around, deals damage, and is used more for utility than anything else. Yes, I have lots of strength, but that's not a reason to break my character because I have a single strong point, is it? My character is good at something, so therefore he's bad at something else. That's what I would like my character to be, rather than: My character is good at something, so therefore he has an unrecoverable issue that tears him apart.

Man_Over_Game
2018-10-11, 02:33 PM
There are three pillars to AC:

Strength (which gives you armor, effectively low-stat with high AC)
Dexterity (which gives you raw AC)
And avoiding being attacked (which is how spellcasters get by).

Some classes break these pillars (sorcerer with free Mage Armor, for instance), but the pillars still stand amongst a sea of exceptions built into the class.

What it seems like you're looking to do is add more of an exception rather than something that adds (or breaks) one of the three pillars. You need something specific to the homebrew classes to cater to what you're looking to do. It's already a homebrew class, it seems like it's missing that key component in the first place, so I'd recommend fixing the design on the thing by fudging some of the numbers to be a bit weaker to gain some sort of defensive trait.

If you want it to avoid using Dexterity as part of the AC calculations and be competitive in melee combat, I'd make it something that scaled somewhat with the power of the class to avoid overpowered multiclassing.

Maybe something like "your AC is equal to the number of levels in this class, and you always have the Shield spell prepared."

JNAProductions
2018-10-11, 02:33 PM
Of course low Dexterity is a flaw- why wouldn't it be? It's a base ability score of the game, just like any other flaw would be? Note: I'm not talking about personality flaws.

My character teleports around, deals damage, and is used more for utility than anything else. Yes, I have lots of strength, but that's not a reason to break my character because I have a single strong point, is it? My character is good at something, so therefore he's bad at something else. That's what I would like my character to be, rather than: My character is good at something, so therefore he has an unrecoverable issue that tears him apart.

Okay, so you're not talking character flaws.

You are saying that you intentionally focused very hard in one area, and chose not to invest in another area. You're then complaining that you're crap in where you didn't invest. Do you see why we're not taking your complaint very seriously?

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:33 PM
Zombies have AC 8.

You're asking for a free three points of AC. That's equivalent to a +3 suit of armor, which is a Legendary item.

Yes, it's a +3 bonus to what would have been a HORRENDOUS armor class. Are you really meaning to tell me that you would give out a legendary suit of armor that yields an armor class of 13? To a level 17+ character that earned it?

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:36 PM
I'm complaining that the area I didn't invest in is over-dependent. If I choose to dump a stat (like Intelligence), I shouldn't be forced to put resources in to fix that. And for the most part- I'm not. If it was intelligence that I'm dumping, as a fighter, I can literally walk away without a worry to mind. But Dexterity? Here's the mile-long list of issues that you're going to run into because of it. I'm not saying that I don't want weakness, I'm saying that the weakness is so overwhelming that it's not even close to being akin to having a normal "weakness" such as a low intelligence

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 02:46 PM
There are three pillars to AC:

Strength (which gives you armor, effectively low-stat with high AC)
Dexterity (which gives you raw AC)
And avoiding being attacked (which is how spellcasters get by).

Some classes break these pillars (sorcerer with free Mage Armor, for instance), but the pillars still stand amongst a sea of exceptions built into the class.

What it seems like you're looking to do is add more of an exception rather than something that adds (or breaks) one of the three pillars. You need something specific to the homebrew classes to cater to what you're looking to do. It's already a homebrew class, it seems like it's missing that key component in the first place, so I'd recommend fixing the design on the thing by fudging some of the numbers to be a bit weaker to gain some sort of defensive trait.

If you want it to avoid using Dexterity as part of the AC calculations and be competitive in melee combat, I'd make it something that scaled somewhat with the power of the class to avoid overpowered multiclassing.

Maybe something like "your AC is equal to the number of levels in this class, and you always have the Shield spell prepared."

Thank you, I'm sorry I didn't see this comment sooner. Maybe a dependence on a different stat would be in order instead of a static number. I do still think that the static number would be balanced, considering that they're so low compared to "normal" armor classes. For example, in the balancing chart you gave: "Underpowered if never chosen, given the option; overpowered if always chosen, given the option; Balanced if chosen conditionally, given the option; I think this would fit perfectly into that. Think about it, armor options are ALWAYS available to a character, the only question is "Which kind?". If you have access to light armor, and light armor only, you're probably going to want to take studded leather if you have a Dexterity that exceeds a +1 modifier. Honestly, there's no way around that- even with a static 13 light armor option, a 12 + Unlimited Dex option is pretty shiny in comparison to 13, and no room for improvement for a character with reasonable Dexterity. However, in the condition that you do have low dexterity, and suffer the consequences otherwise for having low Dexterity, you should be able to take that 13. Why? Because it's a good option in your condition! It's not "meta", and it's certainly not unbalanced in any way, but it's a reasonable extension of the arm for those who want to dump Dexterity, but have no access to Heavy armor! Of course there's ways to improve it, such as casting Mage armor or barkskin, and those would help significantly! However, I think this option should be made available because it offers the conditional help that low-dex characters need.

EDIT: Also, I kinda hate the idea of AC being the same as level since it's a linear progression, as opposed to the very low curve that AC experiences with actual armor. For example, a level 1 character usually averages an AC of 15, whereas a level 20 character usually averages an AC of 19, As opposed to going 1-20 with this class. You wouldn't really see any effects of this ability until you're level 15, which by then you're already caught up to the level 1 character.

Man_Over_Game
2018-10-11, 03:07 PM
Don't forget about the part having Shield prepared. The alternative AC calculation is the cost of the class. Most Sorcerers, for instance, have closer to about 11-12 AC without some type of Mage Armor effect. In addition, Shield is a +5 to your AC.
I'd probably make the total effect as "Your AC is 10 + 1/2 of your levels in this class, rounded up." (so it'd default to 11).

Or you can add an additional clause to the Shield spell. Something like: "You have advanced control over your Shield spell, and gain benefits when you cast it. When you cast the Shield spell with a spell slot level 1 or higher, you get an additional AC bonus equal to 2 * the spell slot spent. The maximum this bonus can provide is equal to your class level, but the minimum it provides is +2 to the Shield spell"

That's right, upcasted Shield spells, baby. Hope you like that level 9 Power Word: Shield for +23 AC.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 03:24 PM
Don't forget about the part having Shield prepared. The alternative AC calculation is the cost of the class. Most Sorcerers, for instance, have closer to about 11-12 AC without some type of Mage Armor effect. In addition, Shield is a +5 to your AC.
I'd probably make the total effect as "Your AC is 10 + 1/2 of your levels in this class, rounded up." (so it'd default to 11).

Or you can add an additional clause to the Shield spell. Something like: "You have advanced control over your Shield spell, and gain benefits when you cast it. When you cast the Shield spell with a spell slot level 1 or higher, you get an additional AC bonus equal to 2 * the spell slot spent. The maximum this bonus can provide is equal to your class level, but the minimum it provides is +2 to the Shield spell"

That's right, upcasted Shield spells, baby. Hope you like that level 9 Power Word: Shield for +23 AC.

I mean, the Shield spell has been treated as the "meta" pick for spellcasters for ages. I don't think it needs a buff in its own right. It's a level one spell that gives the biggest bonus to AC a sub-level-16 character can acquire, and it's not even just for one attack. It's for the whole round. I don't think adding a spell slot contingency would do it any good. Plus, what you're describing is essentially a base class ability. I wouldn't consider adding this "tweaking" the class, because even a feat doesn't grant this much power. One of the classes I chose is offensive, while the other is defensive, and I plan to stand by them as they are. And while a class built around this idea would be cool, I don't like the idea of dedicating an entire spellcasting class to a single spell, you know? I really really think that the static armor option is fair for low-dex characters. It doesn't get rid of your problems as a low-dex character, and it's not just a "handout". (I mean technically, it is, but it's justified) I really believe people would be more inclined to play characters with low dexterity since they're not limited to classes with heavy armor with these options, and it wouldn't break the game in the slightest.

Man_Over_Game
2018-10-11, 04:04 PM
You do make some excellent points.

It is important, though, to remember that Warlocks go a similar route with Eldritch Blast, and Booming Blade is practically a requirement for any melee casters. There are a stupid number of paladin-sorcerers who exist just to twin-cast Booming Blade every turn.

Sorry, the Shield idea was just something I threw out there. I still like the idea of the static AC, though. I guess you could also do some kind of feature like "Force of Will: Your presence gives you a natural aura of force that deflects harm. Your AC is calculated by taking your Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma modifiers and summing the highest two out of three, + 8." Something that scales with multiple stats to be MOSTLY inefficient while still keeping your AC possibly competitive.

pygmybatrider
2018-10-11, 05:11 PM
Hey mate,

I feel your frustration - Dex definitely feels like the God stat in 5e - but at the same time this particular complaint seems very specific and also very solvable.

Youíve got a character with 3 great stats and one above average. You could easily drop your 16s to 14s, your 19 to a 16, and have a workable build with enough points to boost Dex high enough to get a decent AC. Youíve purposefully not done that, however - clearly emphasising offence over defence. Itís tough then to turn around and say ďI donít have enough ACĒ, when youíve intentionally built away from a high AC.

Additionally, all your issues can potentially be solved at level 7, either by a 1-level dip into Fighter or a Cleric domain with heavy armour, or by continuing with one of your two classes and taking the moderately armoured feat. This is therefore a moment-in-time problem rather than an unsolvable issue with dexterity in 5e.

For what itís worth Iíve seen the idea of using Strength instead of Dexterity for medium armour floated a couple of times. Never played with it myself but it doesnít seem OP to me. You could potentially ask your DM to do the same with light armour as another solution to your problem. Seems a little trickier to justify though, and if I was your DM, Iíd suggest you try one of the above routes available to you before Str for light armour.

PitaChip
2018-10-11, 11:12 PM
Hey mate,

I feel your frustration - Dex definitely feels like the God stat in 5e - but at the same time this particular complaint seems very specific and also very solvable.

Youíve got a character with 3 great stats and one above average. You could easily drop your 16s to 14s, your 19 to a 16, and have a workable build with enough points to boost Dex high enough to get a decent AC. Youíve purposefully not done that, however - clearly emphasising offence over defence. Itís tough then to turn around and say ďI donít have enough ACĒ, when youíve intentionally built away from a high AC.

Additionally, all your issues can potentially be solved at level 7, either by a 1-level dip into Fighter or a Cleric domain with heavy armour, or by continuing with one of your two classes and taking the moderately armoured feat. This is therefore a moment-in-time problem rather than an unsolvable issue with dexterity in 5e.

For what itís worth Iíve seen the idea of using Strength instead of Dexterity for medium armour floated a couple of times. Never played with it myself but it doesnít seem OP to me. You could potentially ask your DM to do the same with light armour as another solution to your problem. Seems a little trickier to justify though, and if I was your DM, Iíd suggest you try one of the above routes available to you before Str for light armour.

Hey, thank you for the feedback! The problem I'm having isn't that my Dexterity is too low, it's that the AC I have is garbage. Now, when I say that, I fully understand that many would say that it's saying the same thing. However, I still firmly believe that being "nimble" isn't the only way to avoid attacks that damage you. I think using strength instead of Dex is a good idea for medium armor, especially since medium armors are capped out at +2 Strength mod. I don't think it would make any sense to have a 12 +5 Strength light armor option, since obviously, the light armor options that add modifiers were intended for dexterity- at least thematically. But I want to be stumbly. I want to fail my dexterity saving throws because of that pesky -2. I feel my character will be amply more fun to play when he wins after having much difficulty getting there. And actually, I had planned my level 4 feat to be "resilient", adding +1 to my Wisdom and proficiency in Wisdom saves (which is going to be much, much better). But, like I had said before, what about the "booky, awkward wizard" archetype? I think this mechanic alone is stopping a very prominent archetype from emerging in this game. Low Dex wizards have almost no hope, especially if they have the d6 hit die and an AC of 10. Say the Wizard has a Dex of 7, like I do. Mage armor does nothing but add +1 to his armor, and 11 is just as useless as 10 is, really. Shield would give him a REASONABLE AC for one round, but he's having to blow through his spell slots just to be viable in that sense. Yes, spellcasters are supposed to stay out of danger for the most part- but is it really not fair to give that Wizard a 13 in AC, making 18 with shield so that he's not stuck in this terrible circumstance? I mean with medium armor, (I use medium armor because it has the most options) the only difference between hide armor (12 + max 2) and breastplate (14 + max 2) is the cost. Why not charge the Wizard out the wazoo for this? 350gp for a static AC of 13? I think it's worth it. Going from hide to breastplate has literally no downsides except you're 390 gold pieces out. It's just a straight +2 buff.

My big issue is that martial classes get easy access to dump stats. Martial classes utilize all the "important" stats already. So they get to dump Intelligence; they get to dump Charisma.. And what do they lose for it? ESSENTIALLY NOTHING! There's literally no big function of the game that makes them "cover up" their dump stat like you all are suggesting I do. There's no "Well the barbarian should dip into warlock so they don't have this horrible charisma defficiency." No- they literally just get away with it. Wizards? Spellcasters? on the other hand- They depend on those easy dump-stats as basic functionalities of their class. Their spellcasting uses Charisma/Intelligence. So they don't have the luxury to get rid of it, so what do they have to get rid of? Physical stats. You can't dump Constitution unless you're crazy, and you can't dump Dexterity unless you're crazy. So you have Strength. Literally your only option is Strength. Great job introducing character diversity, huh? Why isn't Dexterity like strength in this way, though? Why is Dexterity-based armor seen as a necessity instead of a strength to a class? There SHOULD be an option that allows low-armor classes to take these low Dex stats while not having to suffer this mile-long list of penalties. I don't see why a static AC in the light armor division is so terrible. 13 is not a high armor class. 13 is barely passable, and the fact that this wizard is having to GROVEL at the feet of these forums for scraps at the table of barbarians and fighters is gross.

Also, I had briefly mentioned this in my initial post, but I don't want my character bogged down with the image of heavy armor. Obviously I can't just take the stats of heavy armor and pretend that I'm not wearing it. Plus, if I have proficiency in heavy armor thanks to a Cleric domain, I would immediately jump from the 10 that I'm at to 18, provided that I have the money. However, I just cannot envision the character I created (who has been a slave his entire life) willingly putting himself in a restricting environment now that he's free.

I really really hope that I don't come across as just complaining that my character has problems, because that's not what it is at all. I really think this is a fundamental flaw in the way that light and medium armor is built in 5e. I'm only really bringing this up to see if I can get some insight as to what some others think. By no means am I trying to beg or argue with anyone. However, I'm pretty passionate about this topic right now lol. I hope you agree with my sentiment, I look forward to seeing your response!

pygmybatrider
2018-10-12, 01:47 AM
Hey, thank you for the feedback! The problem I'm having isn't that my Dexterity is too low, it's that the AC I have is garbage. Now, when I say that, I fully understand that many would say that it's saying the same thing. However, I still firmly believe that being "nimble" isn't the only way to avoid attacks that damage you. I think using strength instead of Dex is a good idea for medium armor, especially since medium armors are capped out at +2 Strength mod. I don't think it would make any sense to have a 12 +5 Strength light armor option, since obviously, the light armor options that add modifiers were intended for dexterity- at least thematically. But I want to be stumbly. I want to fail my dexterity saving throws because of that pesky -2. I feel my character will be amply more fun to play when he wins after having much difficulty getting there. And actually, I had planned my level 4 feat to be "resilient", adding +1 to my Wisdom and proficiency in Wisdom saves (which is going to be much, much better). But, like I had said before, what about the "booky, awkward wizard" archetype? I think this mechanic alone is stopping a very prominent archetype from emerging in this game. Low Dex wizards have almost no hope, especially if they have the d6 hit die and an AC of 10. Say the Wizard has a Dex of 7, like I do. Mage armor does nothing but add +1 to his armor, and 11 is just as useless as 10 is, really. Shield would give him a REASONABLE AC for one round, but he's having to blow through his spell slots just to be viable in that sense. Yes, spellcasters are supposed to stay out of danger for the most part- but is it really not fair to give that Wizard a 13 in AC, making 18 with shield so that he's not stuck in this terrible circumstance? I mean with medium armor, (I use medium armor because it has the most options) the only difference between hide armor (12 + max 2) and breastplate (14 + max 2) is the cost. Why not charge the Wizard out the wazoo for this? 350gp for a static AC of 13? I think it's worth it. Going from hide to breastplate has literally no downsides except you're 390 gold pieces out. It's just a straight +2 buff.

I don't really have an issue with homebrewing a new light armour that has a static AC of 13.

I do sort of have an issue with saying it's the only way for your character to achieve a higher AC.


My big issue is that martial classes get easy access to dump stats. Martial classes utilize all the "important" stats already. So they get to dump Intelligence; they get to dump Charisma.. And what do they lose for it? ESSENTIALLY NOTHING! There's literally no big function of the game that makes them "cover up" their dump stat like you all are suggesting I do. There's no "Well the barbarian should dip into warlock so they don't have this horrible charisma defficiency."

I think the problem here is that dump stats are only dump stats if you don't have a use for them.

A character wearing light armour has a use for Dex as it is the only way they can raise their AC by RAW.

A barbarian has no use for Int, Cha, or Wisdom except for skills/saves, so they can safely dump them. It's not a fair comparison. If a barbarian dumped Dex, they would be in the same position as you are now - having to make up for it in some way, either by pumping Con to still end up at a piddly max of 15, or by dealing with medium armour at a base 15 - Dex. If a barbarian dumped Str or Con, they would be in a whole world of hurt.

You've chosen to dump a stat that your character has a use for. That confers penalties.


No- they literally just get away with it. Wizards? Spellcasters? on the other hand- They depend on those easy dump-stats as basic functionalities of their class. Their spellcasting uses Charisma/Intelligence. So they don't have the luxury to get rid of it, so what do they have to get rid of? Physical stats. You can't dump Constitution unless you're crazy, and you can't dump Dexterity unless you're crazy. So you have Strength. Literally your only option is Strength. Great job introducing character diversity, huh?

Casters can safely dump whichever 2 mental stats aren't their casting stat. Warlocks don't need int or wis. Clerics don't need int or cha. Wizards don't need cha or wis.

Your character is an exception here in that it is a multiclass character using 2 different casting stats. This makes any build significantly more MAD than it otherwise would be and is usually discouraged wherever possible, for exactly the problem you are now experiencing - it makes it very difficult to build a working character.


Why isn't Dexterity like strength in this way, though? Why is Dexterity-based armor seen as a necessity instead of a strength to a class? There SHOULD be an option that allows low-armor classes to take these low Dex stats while not having to suffer this mile-long list of penalties. I don't see why a static AC in the light armor division is so terrible. 13 is not a high armor class. 13 is barely passable, and the fact that this wizard is having to GROVEL at the feet of these forums for scraps at the table of barbarians and fighters is gross.

Why should there be - thematically speaking? Mechanically, I totally understand your desire to play a low Dex, no heavy armour character without getting smashed in the face over and over.

Dexterity makes sense as a modifier for light armour. You are wearing maybe a quarter inch of leather. Your reflexes and agility are going to determine your chance of getting hit, not how big your muscles are or how far you can throw a bag of flour.

You're essentially asking for a change in the way ability scores work in 5e. I'm struggling a bit to make an accurate comparison for you, but consider the following two scenarios:

Why should an Eldritch Knight have to have a high Intelligence if he wants to be a competent spellcaster? Wizards get to have all of their attacks key off their one main stat. An Eldritch Knight should be able to choose Strength or Dexterity as their spellcasting modifier. Do you agree with this?

Why should a Cleric have to pump Strength to make heavy weapon attacks? Literally every other class has to use Strength if they want to make an attack with heavy weapons. But my Cleric isn't strong. I want him to be unable to climb a tree, and I want him to lose arm wrestles with goblins. Why should I be punished for this? Can I not use Dexterity to attack with my heavy weapons instead?


Also, I had briefly mentioned this in my initial post, but I don't want my character bogged down with the image of heavy armor. Obviously I can't just take the stats of heavy armor and pretend that I'm not wearing it. Plus, if I have proficiency in heavy armor thanks to a Cleric domain, I would immediately jump from the 10 that I'm at to 18, provided that I have the money. However, I just cannot envision the character I created (who has been a slave his entire life) willingly putting himself in a restricting environment now that he's free.

You absolutely can take the stats of heavy armour and pretend you're not wearing it. Flavour it as reinforced leather or a magical forcefield or something. As a DM, I would be much more amiable to the thought of giving you an AC of 18 in not-plate (that you have proficiency in) than making up not only an entirely new item for your character but going directly against the design implementation of armour in 5e.


I really really hope that I don't come across as just complaining that my character has problems, because that's not what it is at all. I really think this is a fundamental flaw in the way that light and medium armor is built in 5e. I'm only really bringing this up to see if I can get some insight as to what some others think. By no means am I trying to beg or argue with anyone. However, I'm pretty passionate about this topic right now lol. I hope you agree with my sentiment, I look forward to seeing your response!

Hahaha I can see that it's an issue close to your heart. It's not an easy topic because Dex to AC is so ingrained across 5th edition. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and I think that if you want to make your character work without the risk of rubbing your DM the wrong way by asking for more help when you're already multiclassing 2 homebrew classes and working with above average stats, you should take a real look at them so you are at least aware of the other options.

Composer99
2018-10-12, 10:39 AM
I know you don't want to come across as just offering sour grapes, but it really does come across that way. Especially this grousing:

and the fact that this wizard is having to GROVEL at the feet of these forums for scraps at the table of barbarians and fighters is gross.

I mean, really? Even at 1st level, 3 times a day a wizard can put a whole mass of enemies to sleep, or blind them, or push them around (thunderwave), never mind what said wizard can do to individual foes or outside of combat. And a wizard out of spell slot dakka can still ping with cantrips or be effective outside of combat with them. Fighters and barbarians can hit enemies, grapple them, and shove them individually.

And the discrepancy just gets worse as you gain levels: literally reshaping the battlefield, teleporting, flight, summoning creatures. Meanwhile the fighters and barbarians are doing the same thing they were at 1st level, only more of it.

Yes, fighters and barbarians have other advantages wizards don't, especially in the realm of durability, but the bottom line is that it is nonsense to suggest wizards are "grovelling".

Your wizard looks to be able to do both the wizard things and the fighter/barbarian things, but there's a price to be paid for that versatility somewhere, and that is your low AC because you dumped Dexterity. And yet you are complaining that, because of character-building choices you made - choosing a "squishy" class, choosing to have a low Dexterity, and building to operate in melee without wearing heavy armour - your character's fragile AC is the game system's fault?

Put another way: the game system assumes that if you're wearing light armour, most of your defence is actually consisting of "don't get hit in the first place" by means of your natural evasiveness (aka Dexterity). The armour itself is there to protect you from glancing blows that could cause injury if you weren't wearing it. (I don't think it's unreasonable to imagine a "glancing blow" from, say, a claymore could potentially still be very serious.) With that assumption in mind, you are free to build your character any way you wish, but it simply follows naturally that dumping Dexterity makes you worse at avoiding being hit by weapon attacks whilst wearing light armour.

Now, having said all that, if you want to homebrew a light armour that gives a static AC of 13, and your DM agrees to have it in play, by all means, do so and have fun! Starting at level 6, you can certainly justify having it in your possession right off the bat. That's what the game is about, after all.

I would add that, along with a homebrew solution, I would recommend looking to a tactical solution to your character's relative fragility. Working with your allies, you should look for ways to enter combat such that you're unlikely to be attacked in the first place, because your imposing allies in heavy armour are keeping their attention. (It probably helps if you don't look like a stereotypical wizard, so as not to immediately draw fire because "kill the casters first!")

demonslayerelf
2018-10-12, 03:50 PM
I agree with all of the above people. However, instead of pointing out that everything is working as it should, I'm going to do two things; Point out problems in your 'solution' for Dex being the god stat of 5e(Because it is), and offer solutions for your character in particular.

First, the Dex problem. Even if you created Light and Medium armor with static AC's, nothing would change. Yeah that 13 AC is going to just do so much for you, </Sarcasm> but most of the armors, and unarmored defense(With or without a feature) add dexterity to their AC. Now, if you were saying all armor should be static, with 10(Unarmored w/o feature), 13(Light), 15(Medium), 18(Heavy), and whatever else; You're getting somewhere. But now you have to retool the entire game's attack bonuses to match, and dexterity is STILL the best stat for attacking first and attacking hard(Particularly at a distance), and Dex saves are much more common(And usually much nastier) than, for instance, Strength saves.

So, ignoring the thematic problems of being a "shifty fighter" versus a "knight in shining armor"(Because either way to interpret your solution, this distinction is ignored entirely now), the solution still fails to address the problem either way you take it, and it still wouldn't help you that much.


Now, I'm going to help you out with your problem specifically, with a little bit of reflavouring, a little bit of rules-ing, and a little bit of homebrewish stuff.

Reflavouring options;
You're wearing "medium armor," which is actually just magically hardened and stiffened clothes/robes/whatever.

You don't just have a bound weapon, you have a bound armor. It's not a big focus though, it just means that your leathers are actually as hard as steel. Unfortunately, the magic kind of hums a bit when things get quiet, so you still get that stealth disadvantage, and it's still not that easy to move around in.

Your skin/scales/hide is so thick, and so bulky, that it works just as well as heavy armor.(I dunno what race your character is, but adjust as you will to fit unless it literally can't.)

Rules-ing Options;
Take Swordmage as your first level, Scale Mail armor, done.

Take the Battleblade Swordmage subclass. Proficiency in heavy armor, wear some heavy armor, decorate it to look different, like Caduceus Clay's moss beetle armor.

Ask the DM to use a different race's stats, like a Dwarf, without actually changing race(They're all balanced, right? ;P)

Homebrew/Interesting Options:
You have a special magic pendant. No attunement, once/initiative, it summons a phantasmal blue barrier around you; Functions as heavy armor while in combat(Have fun with those thieves and ambushes :P)

You've been blessed by one of them angels, and have a completely permanent Shield of Faith spell. Since it was cast by an angel, it's actually a +5 AC. Go nuts! Downside; Anything that removes or detects magic.

You know that angel suggestion? Well, it just so happens that Asmodeus overheard me typing that. Whoops! But he liked the idea, so he took his own spin on it. Your skin has been blessed to be as hard as iron! Imagine that permanent Barkskin effect. Downside: Just wait until you get sniffed by a Pally.

Etc.