View Full Version : Your best protective build?

2021-08-09, 05:51 PM
So I was playing a rune knight brawler style character. However, as the game progressed it felt like I needed to begin trying to save my team as I was the only tank and even though I wouldn't go down, my party kept hitting the dirt. Just being the first one into the fight didn't let me keep anyone up. So just out of curiosity, what are some of your best protective builds that make your party feel like they can depend on you to keep them up and fighting?

2021-08-09, 07:59 PM
It all depends on what system you use and what tools you are given to 'tank' with.

My best was with 4E D&D, because defenders were given tools to use to defend with. In this case it was a gnoll battlemind (a psionic defender). Had ridiculously high defences due to a combination of powers, feats and items and could teleport all around the place to lock down enemies and disrupt their attacks on friendlies.

2021-08-09, 09:42 PM
The best protective builds I've seen are summoners that also have some support. They provide more targets for the enemies so your allies just don't get targeted as often.

2021-08-09, 10:34 PM
The best protective builds I've seen are summoners that also have some support. They provide more targets for the enemies so your allies just don't get targeted as often.

Best one I ever saw was an illusion caster in a supers game & with a DM that didn't screw over the concept. Only really had 2 powers, illusionary duplicates & illusionary terrain/scenery. But the duplicates could be thrown on the whole team so we were all doubles, or on one person who would look like ten people. The terrain was basically sensory denial & jamming in an area if he wanted. Turning half the room into a disco in a maze of mirrors was a great way to hide the squishies for a while.

King of Nowhere
2021-08-10, 11:31 AM
i like protecting, so I have some of them.
without using magic, I have a monk specialized in tripping, and in disabling spellcasters. Launching yourself into the middle of the fray and tripping anyone trying to get away from you to reach your allies is actually pretty effective to stop them from being targeted. if you are also stopping enemy casters from casting (mage slayer feat), it's a bonus.

Then I have an npc paladin/marshal/devoted defender/tactical soldier. By standing close to his allies, he can give them his combat expertise and defensive shield bonus, for a +7 dodge to AC, plus he can give an additional +2 to a single ally and a +4 to someone else for a single attack. He has multiple ways to negate melee attacks against allies, and can swap place with an ally in danger. His marshal auras buff saving throws, and he can use gift of grace to loan his cha bonus to saving throws to an ally (a bit of an houserule here because this guy is a paladin of tyranny and gift of grace is exhalted, but using team tactics and sacrificing for a team can easily be part of the tyranny package, if your team is trying to expand your dystopian nation). Finally, one of his abilities from tactical soldier allows him to give flanking bonus to allies when adjacent to them. He mostly uses those skills on his sister, who's a high level rogue and is much helped by someone enabling her to sneak attack at will while making her tanky

I'm not a fan of using magic, as I prefer to have more limitations, but I had plans for a wizard/war weaver/initiate of the sevenfold veil that would have a huge capacity to share buffs and protections with allies. I never had a chance to use it in a campaign so far, I may make it into an npc

2021-08-10, 12:58 PM
IRL a bodyguard just stands in front of his/her charge and getting around them is actually pretty hard to do. But in most games especially D&D getting around them and ignoring them is super easy.

Also, if you have made a character that is obviously hard to hit, and could actually use his/her face to bash down a brick wall due to the over abundance of HP, the bad guys will completely ignore you. If you have ever played Red Alert or most any RTS game, the big heavy beefy unit that leads the charge with 10 agile hit and run units right behind them is ignored. In Red Alert the Soviet Mega tank was super dense and hard to kill. But everyone would ignore it and kill everything else. That is the issue you describe. Enemies ignored the big beefy plated character to successfully attack and kill everything else.

In RPG games you must appear easier to hit and equally or less beefy than the rest of the party. When the bad guys perceive you as an equal opportunity compared to the rest of the party then they will attack you. And it is even better when you are the closest target. Most of the time it is a damage race. So everyone is trying to take out the hardest hitter/spell caster. It helps if you are an obvious contender for that spot.

There are few abilities that force another character to target you. Those are great for a defender character concept but are so rare/have weird requirements that they are overlooked or ignored. Those depend on the game being played though.

2021-08-10, 01:29 PM
If you really want to protect the other PCs, the meta thing to do would be to irk the DM just enough that he focuses his ire on your character, without doing enough to cause a true meltdown.

2021-08-11, 01:19 PM
In Pathfinder 1e, there's a feat that lets you spend your attack of opportunity to use aid another on an ally. It's not a particularly good feat, but because it says "use aid another", instead of "give your ally +2 ac", you can get pretty cheesy with other abilities that affect, or trigger on, aid another actions.

I made a guide on it a while back if anyone cares about the details link here (https://www.reddit.com/r/Pathfinder_RPG/comments/70cl9t/the_bodyguard_build_or_how_i_learned_to_tank_in/). At level 20, you could give your allies something like +15 ac with one of your attack of opportunities.

Second Wind
2021-08-12, 08:31 PM
Between the Steel Defender and defensive spells like Web and Sanctuary and Aid, my battlesmith Artificer feels pretty protective. At seventh level she'll get Flash of Genius to help them pass saves, and at ninth level she'll get Arcane Jolt as a ranged no-action heal to revive downed allies.

Mark Hall
2021-08-13, 11:36 AM
The Mod Ogre: Closed because I have no clue as to what game this is about. OP, you can repost either in the appropriate edition forum, OR in Older D&D with some indication of what game you're talking about.