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subject42
2009-10-28, 03:05 PM
I've seen a fair bit of scorn heaped on the Dwarven Defender prestige class on this forum, but I haven't seen any good explanation for it. Searching didn't turn up anything either.

What is wrong with the Dwarven Defender other than the normal problems you see with fighters? Is there a good way to recreate the concept with better mechanics (ToB, Stonewarden, etc)?

NEO|Phyte
2009-10-28, 03:07 PM
For the simple reason that unless you are fighting in a 5' hallway, all the enemy has to do is WALK AROUND YOU.

Myrmex
2009-10-28, 03:08 PM
Their main feature is "stand here and hope someone gets close".

The biggest problem with melee is having to get close to something and stand next to it, since so much damage comes from the full attack. Not being allowed to move makes you suck even harder.

Works great with NPCs though.

subject42
2009-10-28, 03:09 PM
For the simple reason that unless you are fighting in a 5' hallway, all the enemy has to do is WALK AROUND YOU.

Could you pull it off with a decent Charisma and the goad feat, then?

streakster
2009-10-28, 03:10 PM
Oh no! It's a dwarven defender! Walk briskly!

See, they can't really move that well when using their class features, is the trouble. Which means you can just walk around them to get at whatever they should be defending. Granted, they can stand near whatever they should be defending, but then you can just nuke that little cluster from afar.

A good fix is to look at the dwarf PRC in ToB. About the same idea, but much better done.

Myrmex
2009-10-28, 03:12 PM
Could you pull it off with a decent Charisma and the goad feat, then?

Or Knight.
The cha hit hurts, though.

Gnaeus
2009-10-28, 03:13 PM
1. There are lots of things goad doesn't work on.
2. Goad doesn't prevent monsters from shooting other party members, or casting spells, or doing anything but meleeing.
3. If you are going to pump your cha high enough to effectively use Goad, just be a bard or a sorcerer and cast something that ends the combat with a failed will save, rather than just trying to make it come attack you.

So no, Goad doesn't solve the problem.

bosssmiley
2009-10-28, 03:17 PM
Dwarven Defender is an immovable object in a game of irresistible forces. By the time you get to PrC levels standard spells like flight, spider climb, and dimension door have already rendered the DD's place in the D&D landscape obsolete. In a game of Pendragon the class might matter as a battlefield threat, but in D&D3...not so much.

Heck, the PHB2 Knight or the ToB Crusader are better 'rooted brick' classes than the DD.

Telonius
2009-10-28, 03:22 PM
Enlarge Person and a Reach weapon can mitigate the mobility issue, but it's always going to be rough going. You won't have the benefit of the melee classes' most effective options - shock trooper etc - since you won't be charging most of the time.

You're also forced to spend three fairly craptacular feats in order to get the PrC. (A kind DM might allow you to substitute Improved Toughness for Toughness).

hamlet
2009-10-28, 03:27 PM
Always struck me that the Dwarven Defender was, primarily, an NPC type class where you get 20 or 30 of them lined up to act as a shield wall against the onslaught of the goblin hoarde.

Or, as an adventurer type, the guy who identifies choke points and puts himself in them to defend others.

Poil
2009-10-28, 03:32 PM
Always struck me that the Dwarven Defender was, primarily, an NPC type class where you get 20 or 30 of them lined up to act as a shield wall against the onslaught of the goblin hoarde.

That and of course blocking off passages inside their mines/fortresses (dwarves would probably prefer lower ceilings than humans) while their crossbowmen mow down the threats backed up by rune priests or whatever caster class dwarves use in dnd.

jiriku
2009-10-28, 03:41 PM
I recently played a an encounter against four dwarven defenders, a chain tripper, and a grappler, attacking our party of three NPCs. Their group was +6 EL above our level and outnumbered us two-to-one.

It was touch and go towards the end, but we wiped them with no PC deaths. Even with the chain tripper to lock targets down inside the threat range of the defenders, the defensive stance almost entire neutralize their effectiveness. We simply avoided them. When they realized we were too mobile to lock down and too effective at range, they broke stance and assaulted, but losing their primary class feature and taking the winded penalty to boot made them far less effective than they should have been for their threat level. Defenders are only effective against opponents with inferior ranged capability, and even then the opponent can still outmaneuver them terribly.

Mark Hall
2009-10-28, 03:43 PM
That and of course blocking off passages inside their mines/fortresses (dwarves would probably prefer lower ceilings than humans) while their crossbowmen mow down the threats backed up by rune priests or whatever caster class dwarves use in dnd.

That's more or less how I see them, too. You want a guy to stand in the door, and provide half or more cover to everyone behind him? Dwarven Defender. Coincidentally enough, the class that involves providing speedbumps in narrow areas is from an underground race.

Anyone else remember 2e's "Breachgnome" kit?

Aldizog
2009-10-28, 03:44 PM
It's a good Core option for a dwarven fighter. It's what a PrC should be; just good enough that it's an actual question as to whether it's worth taking over staying in the base class, not a no-brainer.

DO NOT assume that the defensive stance is "the main class feature" or what the class is about. The stance is a rarely-useful but strong ability. The sum of the class's other minor benefits is more important. In a core game, especially one with modest point buy, +10 hp, +4 dodge bonus to AC, DR 6/-, Improved Uncanny Dodge, +4 Will saves, and +2 Fort saves (the non-stance bonuses at L10 over going straight Fighter) are probably worth the feat cost.

Out of core you have other PrC options, other fighter builds are more powerful, and the feat cost becomes higher. (OTOH, taking Endurance does become a bit more palatable in non-core, as it allows Steadfast Determination.)

Cieyrin
2009-10-28, 03:46 PM
That and of course blocking off passages inside their mines/fortresses (dwarves would probably prefer lower ceilings than humans) while their crossbowmen mow down the threats backed up by rune priests or whatever caster class dwarves use in dnd.

That's the key issue here, is for adventurers, there's no guarantee that you'll have a choke point for the Dwarven Defender plug up with his presence. Successfully making the DD work requires battlefield control that PCs aren't always able to establish, which makes it difficult for them to shine.

This same thing can't be said for NPCs, which the DD better suits, since you can put them in critical points to hold as needed, as it's unlikely for a force to be able to completely ignore terrain that the DD needs to work.

EDIT:
That's more or less how I see them, too. You want a guy to stand in the door, and provide half or more cover to everyone behind him? Dwarven Defender. Coincidentally enough, the class that involves providing speedbumps in narrow areas is from an underground race.

Anyone else remember 2e's "Breachgnome" kit?

Man, I miss the Breachgnome. The 3.0 PRC in Races of Faerun is okay but not the greatest, either. =/

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-28, 03:53 PM
One reason why Tome of Battle does it better is because if you move more than 5ft and end the Stone Dragon stances that require you to stand still, you can just use a Swift action to reactivate it without having to worry about daily uses or fatigue. Add that option to the DD, and it may become a decent PrC if its abilities weren't outclassed by the Barbarian.

Nero24200
2009-10-28, 03:55 PM
Dwarven Defender was the very first class I realised didn't work the way intended. I set up a boss Duregar Dwarven Defender to take on the party with some minions.

He rushed up to a PC, smacked him (scored a critical) and was just about to finish the PC off before spoting the rest of the party comming up behind, so he used Defenseive Stance. PC's turn, he 5-foot steps away to cast a spell. Defender's turn...nothing, since he's not in range.

The party just stopped and went "He's not moving closer..." Instantly, the party consiting of 2 melee specialists and a melee gish all pull out bows. The boss then had to pretty much not use his main class features just to be a threat.

Personally, I'd be willing to allow 5-foot steps (or even movment at a reduced rate) and something like the Knight's Bulwuk of Defense ability to make them a little better at holding a line.

hamlet
2009-10-28, 04:06 PM
That's the key issue here, is for adventurers, there's no guarantee that you'll have a choke point for the Dwarven Defender plug up with his presence. Successfully making the DD work requires battlefield control that PCs aren't always able to establish, which makes it difficult for them to shine.



Maybe this is why I'm not a D20 player, but my response to this has to be "so?"

The PC's will not always be able to work in an ideal environment, but that doesn't negate the Dwarven Defender, it merely makes him shine on the condition that he can put himself in a place where his abilities prove very useful. A choke point in a corridor or something with an angle that greatly lessens or even negates the missile weapons of opponents.

When he can't do that, he'll do like the others and simply perform as best he can. It's not like the Dwarven Defender can't function at all unless he's in the defensive stance, after all. Or is this where I'm not understanding along the lines of "a wizard isn't really being a wizard unless he's casting spells all day long"?

Godskook
2009-10-28, 04:07 PM
I recently played a an encounter against four dwarven defenders, a chain tripper, and a grappler, attacking our party of three NPCs. Their group was +6 EL above our level and outnumbered us two-to-one.

That's a horribly unbalanced encounter. You've got 4 brickwall fighters and 2 gimmick fighters(admittedly, different types), but nothing in the way of any of the other 7(of 8) iconic D&D party roles. Imagine if 2 of those guys(pick any two, but probably the DDs for variety's sake) were glass cannons, healbots or batmans. That fight would've been completely different.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-28, 04:12 PM
Dwarven Defender +Drunken Master+Knight = Fun!

Shadwen
2009-10-28, 04:14 PM
the problem is the movement thing as stated above..other than that its not good unless there are 5 of you...then you might be ok..wait you dont have a healer, a wizard, a rogue...ummm....fail

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-28, 04:15 PM
Maybe this is why I'm not a D20 player, but my response to this has to be "so?"

The PC's will not always be able to work in an ideal environment, but that doesn't negate the Dwarven Defender, it merely makes him shine on the condition that he can put himself in a place where his abilities prove very useful. A choke point in a corridor or something with an angle that greatly lessens or even negates the missile weapons of opponents.

When he can't do that, he'll do like the others and simply perform as best he can. It's not like the Dwarven Defender can't function at all unless he's in the defensive stance, after all. Or is this where I'm not understanding along the lines of "a wizard isn't really being a wizard unless he's casting spells all day long"?

Cool, the class feature works in hall ways. Except encounters in hallways are rarer than encounters in rooms or fields.


The problem with it is that the other classes (all of them) are able to use their class features in situations that are not restricted by terrain. Even the Horizon Walker, a PrC presented in the same book, need not be in that type of terrain to benefit from half of his class features (the half he does need the terrain for are minor bonuses that make little difference).

This class' main feature, an ability they are supposed to be able to use in 9 out of 10 encounters, is completely worthless if there's terrain outside of his melee reach. Furthermore, there's so many counters to it that its utterly ridiculous to assume it is usable (the Core MM has enough teleportation, flight, and invisible creatures that it makes the DD's ability nigh useless, and stepping outside of core brings in other teleportation effects and such).


When a 2000gp magic item bypasses your entire class feature (an anklet in the MiC that provides a good-ranged teleportation effect as a Swift action), you know something is wrong with your class. How many other class features can be duplicated that cheaply? Slow Fall, for starters (and I'm sure there are others).

Gnaeus
2009-10-28, 04:16 PM
Maybe this is why I'm not a D20 player, but my response to this has to be "so?"

The PC's will not always be able to work in an ideal environment, but that doesn't negate the Dwarven Defender, it merely makes him shine on the condition that he can put himself in a place where his abilities prove very useful. A choke point in a corridor or something with an angle that greatly lessens or even negates the missile weapons of opponents.

When he can't do that, he'll do like the others and simply perform as best he can. It's not like the Dwarven Defender can't function at all unless he's in the defensive stance, after all. Or is this where I'm not understanding along the lines of "a wizard isn't really being a wizard unless he's casting spells all day long"?

Tier 1: Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.

Examples: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Archivist, Artificer, Erudite


Tier 4: Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining. Rarely has any abilities that can outright handle an encounter unless that encounter plays directly to the class's main strength. DMs may sometimes need to work to make sure Tier 4s can contribue to an encounter, as their abilities may sometimes leave them useless. Won't outshine anyone except Tier 6s except in specific circumstances that play to their strengths. Cannot compete effectively with Tier 1s that are played well.

Examples: Rogue, Barbarian, Warlock, Warmage, Scout, Ranger, Hexblade, Adept, Spellthief, Marshal, Fighter (Dungeoncrasher Variant)

Guess which category DD would fit into?

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-28, 04:18 PM
When he can't do that, he'll do like the others and simply perform as best he can. It's not like the Dwarven Defender can't function at all unless he's in the defensive stance, after all.

Prerequisites: Dodge, Endurance, Toughness.

Benifits: Mainly the Defensive Stance.

Three bad feats for a bad ability and little else. What do you think?



The problem with it is that the other classes (all of them) are able to use their class features in situations that are not restricted by terrain. Even the Horizon Walker, a PrC presented in the same book, need not be in that type of terrain to benefit from half of his class features (the half he does need the terrain for are minor bonuses that make little difference).
Can we combine Dwarven Defender and Horizonwalker to give it mobility without moving?

Nero24200
2009-10-28, 04:20 PM
The PC's will not always be able to work in an ideal environment, but that doesn't negate the Dwarven Defender, it merely makes him shine on the condition that he can put himself in a place where his abilities prove very useful.


While I do agree that classes can be made viable even with limited options, in the case of the dwarven defender theres little point. Generally, the only real situation where they shine is holding a 5ft corridor against an enemy desperatly needing to go to the other side (and I say desperatly because if they're in no rush they can just pull out ranged weapons).

In the case of a dwarven defender, theres really only one type of situation where they "shine", and it's a no-brainer situation. It takes from the game when every 5 minutes theres conveintly only a 5ft space and this is where the enemies engage them. For other classes (even most classes considered underpowering), theres generally more than one type of situation they're useful in.

Monks, for instance, are also widely regarded as being a weak class. But I've seen high level monks with AC's 5+ points higher than the rest of the party (which makes them not half-bad for doing the DD's job), but they also have alot of skill points as well, so can fill the Skill Monkey role easily if needed. Their touch AC and saves are higher, and have minor spell resistance, so they can withstand magic far better. Despite being regarded as a weak class, theres still alot of uses for a monk. DD doesn't have any real use outwith holding a 5ft area, which is just plain too specific.

Myrmex
2009-10-28, 04:20 PM
That's a horribly unbalanced encounter. You've got 4 brickwall fighters and 2 gimmick fighters(admittedly, different types), but nothing in the way of any of the other 7(of 8) iconic D&D party roles. Imagine if 2 of those guys(pick any two, but probably the DDs for variety's sake) were glass cannons, healbots or batmans. That fight would've been completely different.

Ehh, it's like facing off against a bunch of ogres. Of course a bunch of ogres are going to be more dangerous with a Rakshasa or Mindflayer hiding behind them.

The supremacy of casters isn't at debate here.

subject42
2009-10-28, 04:24 PM
So the best way to do it mechanically is use Stone Dragon techniques from ToB?

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-28, 04:26 PM
So the best way to do it mechanically is use Stone Dragon techniques from ToB?

Tome of Battle does a lot of concepts better than normal classes. Kinda like Kobolds, only less broken.

hamlet
2009-10-28, 04:27 PM
*shrug*

Guess this is why I don't play 3.x or 4.0. The mentality that seems to be behind some of these posts is utterly alien to me.

Nero24200
2009-10-28, 04:35 PM
*shrug*

Guess this is why I don't play 3.x or 4.0. The mentality that seems to be behind some of these posts is utterly alien to me.

I don't see what's so alien about wanting a character which is useful. D'n'D is a pretty combat heavy game. Three-quaters of the rules revolve around combat situations, as does the spells and character skills. So having a character that's useful in combat is one of the key functions of the game. As someone whos played characters with little ability before, I can say that it just becomes boring when you sit on the sidelines while the rest of the party contribute.

It would be like playing a Pokemon game where you don't battle or hunt for other pokemon, or a Mario Kart game where your kart can only go half the speed of other karts and can't use items, or a Halo game where you cannot use guns or gernades.

Even if you find a way to make the game fun, it still won't be as fun as if you played it the way it was intended to be played, and in D'n'D the party is intended to play as a team. It becomes alot less fun if you aren't able to contribute and the team does just as well without you.

Godskook
2009-10-28, 04:36 PM
The supremacy of casters isn't at debate here.

I wasn't speaking of 'the supremacy of casters', I was speaking of 'party imbalance', something that's just as true in D&D as it is in Guild Wars(except in GW, casters aren't 'supreme' in any distinguishable way). If you build a high CR party with poor balance, it'll suck against a lower ECL party with good balance. That's just how it works.

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-28, 04:50 PM
*shrug*

Guess this is why I don't play 3.x or 4.0. The mentality that seems to be behind some of these posts is utterly alien to me.

d20 and the 4E systems are very biased towards combat. Some classes work just fine outside of their element (Wizard), and some don't work even inside their element (Truenamer). The DD works inside its environment, but outside of it the class effectively has no active class features at all, only minor passive abilities. The reason for PrCs in the d20 system is to add options to a character, and when a PrC offers no active options it is defaulted to the trash bin (because options are more important than defenses a majority of the time).


The main issue is that Turtle Combat doesn't work in 3.5. So what if you are nearly impossible to kill, but can't do a thing to enemies not attacking you specifically? That squishy Rogue is easier to kill and actually poses a threat. The DD's main class feature requires them to turtle, and since their job is protecting the other party members (tanking), they can't do that job while the ability is active. It makes it a wasted feature.

Darrin
2009-10-28, 05:02 PM
Would a Talisman of the Disk fix the Defensive Stance problem? (And maybe give the DD a +1 height advantage?)

Aldizog
2009-10-28, 05:02 PM
The Defensive Stance is the Dwarven Defender's "main class feature" the way that Greater Turning is the Radiant Servant of Pelor's "main class feature."

The RSoP's real main class feature is that it improves cleric casting.
The Dwarven Defender's real main class feature is that it improves fighting ability all the time, not just in the stance. HP, AC, DR, Improved Uncanny Dodge, and saves are all *better* than a straight fighter, and BAB is just as good. At the cost of some feats and eligibility for a couple of high-level fighter-only feats. The stance is, like Greater Turning, a neat ability that is rarely useful.

The Defender compares pretty well to the straight fighter -- better in many ways, worse in others. Taking the PrC isn't a "no-brainer" but an actual decision for a fighter. This is an indication of good design. A PrC that is clearly *much* better than staying in fighter is a poorly-designed one. (And, yes, this means I think there are *many* poorly-designed caster PrCs.)

Mongoose87
2009-10-28, 05:05 PM
So the best way to do it mechanically is use Stone Dragon techniques from ToB?

The Deepstone Sentinel is essentially a de-suckified Dwarven Defender.

Does anybody see Leadership for an artillery specialist to launch the defender while in his stance as a hilariously awesome option?

Korivan
2009-10-28, 05:10 PM
For the simple reason that unless you are fighting in a 5' hallway, all the enemy has to do is WALK AROUND YOU.

Seconded...wait, about 30 other people seconded this already...

Ya, when your main class feature is to stand in one place and only gain some of the benefits of a rage(not all even) isn't all that hot. Especially since walking around someone isn't even the only way to bypass a DD. Theres flying, burrowing, teleporting, or just swarming in mass and taking them down. Remember, "All obsticles can be overcome with enough force. Though not all obsticles SHOULD be overcome by force alone, I'm just saying we should keep our options open people."

Theres better melee PrC's out there that will occomplish much much more. And in the rare occasion you'll need to guard a 5' hallway, you'll be competent at that too.

mcl01
2009-10-28, 05:16 PM
Has the possibility of a ranged dwarven defender crossed anyone's mind? Throw anything/Brutal/power thrower or bow user? Nothing specificies that a dwarven defender must wade into melee.

Increased size (enlarge person) + spiked chain/other reached weapon could work too. A CHA-based paladin/dwarven defender tripper (or sudden stunner) could work well with Goad (desert dwarf to remove the CHA penalty). It might become near workable with teammates providing BC.

Gnaeus
2009-10-28, 05:17 PM
The Defensive Stance is the Dwarven Defender's "main class feature" the way that Greater Turning is the Radiant Servant of Pelor's "main class feature."

The RSoP's real main class feature is that it improves cleric casting.
The Dwarven Defender's real main class feature is that it improves fighting ability all the time, not just in the stance. HP, AC, DR, Improved Uncanny Dodge, and saves are all *better* than a straight fighter, and BAB is just as good. At the cost of some feats and eligibility for a couple of high-level fighter-only feats. The stance is, like Greater Turning, a neat ability that is rarely useful.

The Defender compares pretty well to the straight fighter -- better in many ways, worse in others. Taking the PrC isn't a "no-brainer" but an actual decision for a fighter. This is an indication of good design. A PrC that is clearly *much* better than staying in fighter is a poorly-designed one. (And, yes, this means I think there are *many* poorly-designed caster PrCs.)

DD gives up 8 fighter feats for DR 6, better will save, 10 hp and improved uncanny dodge.

Taking a class that is MAYBE better than a fighter in some situations isn't a good deal even in core. It is probably worse than taking 10 levels of barbarian and spending one of the qualifying feats on Iron Will. Outside core, where there are options that are clearly better than fighter, it smells even worse.

Aldizog
2009-10-28, 05:26 PM
DD gives up 8 fighter feats for DR 6, better will save, 10 hp and improved uncanny dodge.

Taking a class that is MAYBE better than a fighter in some situations isn't a good deal even in core. It is probably worse than taking 10 levels of barbarian and spending one of the qualifying feats on Iron Will. Outside core, where there are options that are clearly better than fighter, it smells even worse.

I'd say that a continual +4 dodge bonus to AC, DR 6/-, +4 Will and +2 Fort, +10 hp, Improved Uncanny Dodge are worth 8 feats in Core for a fighter. (In Core, +3 hp are worth a feat.) What is a fighter going to do with 18 feats that he can't do with 10?

Outside of Core I agree with you. But the class was designed in Core, as an option for the fighter class. Stay straight fighter or take the PrC. It pretty much hit what I thought the balance point should have been for taking PrCs over staying in the base class.

Gnaeus
2009-10-28, 05:26 PM
Has the possibility of a ranged dwarven defender crossed anyone's mind? Throw anything/Brutal/power thrower or bow user? Nothing specificies that a dwarven defender must wade into melee.

Nothing specifies it, but ranged builds need their feats, you give up 8 to enter and progress through dwarf defender, and DD adds nothing to a ranged character except a few points of will save.


Increased size (enlarge person) + spiked chain/other reached weapon could work too. A CHA-based paladin/dwarven defender tripper (or sudden stunner) could work well with Goad (desert dwarf to remove the CHA penalty). It might become near workable with teammates providing BC.

Goad, Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes, EWP Spiked Chain, Power Attack. + 3 feats to enter DD. No bonus feats because you are dwarf. Assume Fighter 2 before you start paladin, and you could get the BASICS of a tripper at about level 18. That is in core, outside core you will want thicket of blades and some other feats as well.

Then, if you can pull it off, you have 3 required stats to keep high. Dex (for AoOs), Str (For tripping) Cha (For Paladin + goad).

AslanCross
2009-10-28, 05:35 PM
So the best way to do it mechanically is use Stone Dragon techniques from ToB?

ToB has the Deepstone Sentinel, which expands on the Stone Dragon techniques to achieve a similar end to the DD: Turn yourself into an immovable fortress.

mcl01
2009-10-28, 05:39 PM
Paladin 4/Fighter 4/DD 10

If you take the Paladin's Holy Warrior variant, you get a free fighter/divine feat at Paladin 4, unless you REALLY want the WIS mod 1st level spells/day. Reduces MAD, which is nice.

Combat Expertise
Combat Reflexes
EWP - Spiked Chain
Improved Trip
Goad
Power Attack
Dodge, Endurance, Toughness

I say those are the essentials. 9 feats?
3 feats at level 1 (assuming 2 flaws)
3 feats from fighter 4
1 feat from paladin 4 (holy warrior variant)
feat @ level 3,6

Feat-hungry, but it's doable to have a decent tripper at level 8 before heading into DD. Now you have all your 9+ feats for whatever else you'd like. Divine feats perhaps.

I think the hard part is getting the stats to make it work nicely. You need everything basically besides wisdom. With point buy it's hard. I would honestly only do this with very lucky rolled stats. It gets better as you get higher leveled though with belts of magnificence/stat boosters. Or using your 2 free levels, a nice template would work well.

Gnaeus
2009-10-28, 05:43 PM
I'd say that DR 6/-, +4 Will and +2 Fort, +10 hp, Improved Uncanny Dodge are worth about 8 feats in Core for a fighter. What is a fighter going to do with 18 feats that he can't do with 10?

Take 10 levels of Barbarian and bring hurt to his enemies? Take 10 (or 2) levels of paladin or blackguard for improved saves, spellcasting and a pet? Learn to do another combat style (archery) in case his enemies are more than 10 feet away? Any of these beat dwarven defender, and that is without even mentioning wizard or cleric levels.

Throw in even Complete warrior or PHB 2, and the fighter has more good options than he has feats.

sofawall
2009-10-28, 05:46 PM
Dwarven Defender +Drunken Master+Knight = Fun!

Yes indeed. I support this build.

Gnaeus
2009-10-28, 05:53 PM
Paladin 4/Fighter 4/DD 10

If you take the Paladin's Holy Warrior variant, you get a free fighter/divine feat at Paladin 4, unless you REALLY want the WIS mod 1st level spells/day. Reduces MAD, which is nice.

Combat Expertise
Combat Reflexes
EWP - Spiked Chain
Improved Trip
Goad
Power Attack
Dodge, Endurance, Toughness

I say those are the essentials. 9 feats?
3 feats at level 1 (assuming 2 flaws)
3 feats from fighter 4
1 feat from paladin 4 (holy warrior variant)
feat @ level 3,6

Feat-hungry, but it's doable to have a decent tripper at level 8 before heading into DD. Now you have all your 9+ feats for whatever else you'd like. Divine feats perhaps.

I think the hard part is getting the stats to make it work nicely. You need everything basically besides wisdom. With point buy it's hard. I would honestly only do this with very lucky rolled stats. It gets better as you get higher leveled though with belts of magnificence/stat boosters. Or using your 2 free levels, a nice template would work well.

O.K. I concede it is doable. In a campaign using ACFs and flaws.

But now that you are firmly outside core, there are other options that are much much better. ToB for Thicket of Blades. Stand still or Large and In Charge. Psy warrior or another class to give you size increases. Any prestige class that gives you strength boosts for tripping. What does DD give you for that tripping build that can't be better done by other classes or feat selections.

Aldizog
2009-10-28, 06:03 PM
Take 10 levels of Barbarian and bring hurt to his enemies? Take 10 (or 2) levels of paladin or blackguard for improved saves, spellcasting and a pet? Learn to do another combat style (archery) in case his enemies are more than 10 feet away? Any of these beat dwarven defender, and that is without even mentioning wizard or cleric levels.
So you're saying that the best option for a fighter is to stop being a fighter. Most dwarven fighters I've seen or played in actual games don't have the Int or Cha to get anything out of paladin, blackguard, or wizard, or the Wis for more than a couple levels of cleric.

Ftr10/Brb10 is a good option, as rage is more often useful than defensive stance, but the DD still has a higher Will save even if the Brb takes Iron Will, and the DD's continual +4 dodge bonus to AC and greatly superior DR can count for a lot. I'd say the Brb would be better against a single really tough foe (who's going to hit despite the AC bonus and overwhelm the DR) but the DD would fare better against numbers. If you assume that enemies PA for the difference in ACs, and factor in the DR, the barb takes 8 more damage per hit, or 10 if he's raging. Against a foe with a 2-handed weapon (like a giant), it's 12 more or 16 more per hit to the barb. Ftr10/DD10 vs. Ftr10/Brb10 is probably a wash, I'd say, and the choice would be determined by the character's alignment. And 10 feats are still enough to (in core) master the melee line and be reasonably good at archery.



Throw in even Complete warrior or PHB 2, and the fighter has more good options than he has feats.
Yes, I absolutely agree with you.

ericgrau
2009-10-28, 06:37 PM
For the simple reason that unless you are fighting in a 5' hallway, all the enemy has to do is WALK AROUND YOU.

Tripping reach weapon, or even w/o reach most dungeon rooms/hallways are 15' wide or less. You are never actually stuck since starting/ending the stance is a free action. Even if you never use defensive stance there are 10 other nice things about the class. Heck dip 1 level for the AC and will save. This really is a non-issue. It's like saying the wizard sucks because his main level 1 class feature is scribe scroll.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-28, 06:39 PM
Even if you never use defensive stance there are 10 other nice things about the class. This really is a non-issue. It's like saying the wizard sucks because his main level 1 class feature is scribe scroll.
What would those be?

SurlySeraph
2009-10-28, 06:40 PM
As mcl01's build implies, the best way to make a Dwarven Defender useful is to let him threaten more than the spaces directly around him. Spiked Chains, Enlarge Person, and anything else that gives reach is useful for this. Unfortunately, non-human plus the prereq feats means that DDs are quite feat-starved, and lockdown builds really need a lot of feats to function well. It's doable, but making it as strong as a non-Dwarven Defender lockdown build is very difficult.

ericgrau
2009-10-28, 06:41 PM
What would those be?
d12 HD and big will save boost are the main ones, plus AC, DR and some other minor things. Like I said at the very least you can dip it for a quick +2 to will saves (plus the normal stuff).

Myrmex
2009-10-28, 06:42 PM
d12 HD and big will save boost are the main ones, plus AC, DR and some other minor things.

Will save boost is nice, but AC and DR at level 8 to 17 just isn't that spectacular.

Gnaeus
2009-10-28, 06:43 PM
So you're saying that the best option for a fighter is to stop being a fighter.

This, unfortunately, is almost always true. A small handful of non core builds are exceptions.


Most dwarven fighters I've seen or played in actual games don't have the Int or Cha to get anything out of paladin, blackguard, or wizard, or the Wis for more than a couple levels of cleric.

O.K. if you have really bad stats, DD looks a little better. Even a 12-14 in a single mental stat, however, will make that dip come out better. The travel domain ability, for example, is better than anything DD gets. Heck, 1 level of bard/sorcerer and 9 of Dragon Disciple helps a fighter more than DD.


Ftr10/Brb10 is a good option, as rage is more often useful than defensive stance, but the DD still has a higher Will save even if the Brb takes Iron Will, and the DD's continual +4 dodge bonus to AC and greatly superior DR can count for a lot. I'd say the Brb would be better against a single really tough foe (who's going to hit despite the AC bonus and overwhelm the DR) but the DD would fare better against numbers. That's probably a wash, I'd say. And 10 feats are still enough to (in core) master the melee line and be reasonably good at archery.


Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Blind Fight, Leadership is 7. Weapon Focus/Spec line is weak, but still better than focusing on AC in a game where monsters attack bonuses go up way faster than AC will. A tripper uses even more feats, and is really the only way I would play a fighter to that level in core. Mounted combat would be another option that beats DD.

Attack beats defense in 3.5. That is true all the way up, but becomes increasingly so as level increases. In a 10th level party in core, your casters are throwing around level 5 spells. The 7 extra damage per swing from rage (2x1.5 from strength+ 2x2 for power attack) alone beats anything DD can do. A tank needs to draw hate to be effective, and you don't get there as a DD.

ericgrau
2009-10-28, 06:46 PM
Will save boost is nice, but AC and DR at level 8 to 17 just isn't that spectacular.

And HD, plus 5 other things (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/dwarvenDefender.htm), hence the word "minor". If you can optimize AC properly it keeps up 1 per level at high levels while still leaving plenty of gold for everything else. Another +4 means you can't be hit except on a nat 20. Will save means you're also hard to charm, plus the high HP. Now you go to town on your enemies without allowing them any easy way to stop you. Start tripping with reach like I said, or think up another tactic.

Myrmex
2009-10-28, 07:06 PM
And HD, plus 5 other things (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/dwarvenDefender.htm), hence the word "minor". If you can optimize AC properly it keeps up 1 per level at high levels while still leaving plenty of gold for everything else. Another +4 means you can't be hit except on a nat 20. Will save means you're also hard to charm, plus the high HP. Now you go to town on your enemies without allowing them any easy way to stop you. Start tripping with reach like I said, or think up another tactic.

I'd rather have 10 levels of Horizon Walker, though.

Eldariel
2009-10-29, 03:51 AM
Dwarven Defender is ****. It emphasizes turtling, a strategy that's only viable against melee opponents in cramped corridors. Let's do a little bit of analysis here.

We can generally divide creatures into two categories based on the way they attack you:
- Supernatural attacks
- Physical attacks

Of these, Dwarven Defender does practically nothing vs. most supernatural attacks, though the improved Will-saves do help (easier to accomplish through some multiclassing).

Further splitting physical attacks:
- Melee attacks
- Ranged attacks

Of these, Dwarven Defender has a very hard time responding to ranged attacks.

Further splitting physical melee attacks:
- High reach attacks
- Close-range attacks

Of these, high reach attacks can often still force Dwarven Defender to fight without the defensive stance.


That's only assuming a solo Dwarven Defender. D&D is generally played as a party game, and as such the meatshield's task is protecting the less durable characters. As such, we must also consider how able the Dwarven Defender is to force the opponent to face him instead of the other party members. This means:

- The Defender + party must be fighting something that does not have a movement type that allows passing by the Dwarven Defender. Most obnoxious is obviously teleportation since there's not a damn thing you can do about it. The second worst is burrowing, as in practically any scenario where the Dwarven Defender could go to Defensive Stance, burrowing means he'll be completely bypassed. Then comes flight, which luckily isn't really at all relevant since in scenarios where flight would bypass the Defender, he'd be useless anyways.

- The fight must be in an environment where there's simply no room to maneuver past the DD. This means mostly dungeon corridors and building hallways, though occasionally you may find some natural obstacle that enables complete blockade of opposition that lacks teleportation or burrowing.


This is just to showcase how useless the whole "really hard to kill guy with little offense"-role is, overall. It's very rare that a character of that role is able to actually force the opposition to engage him instead of an offensively powerful character.

This is why a good meatshield should almost invariably focus on having sufficient offense to preferably drop and if not, at least get the attention of the opponents; teleportation and burrowing to ignore someone is far less exciting if he charges you for ~200 points of damage the next turn.

Best martial control effects are those that help this plan and also inconvenience the opponent such as Tripping and AoOs. This means that the fighters can deal their damage while also protecting the weaker party members, and regardless of the terrain (though SLA teleportation still gets past 'em; c'est la vie, but at least they can punish the teleporter if he's within their charge radius).


Of course, not only is Dwarven Defender holed into a ****ty party role, the class also forces you to pick three ****ty feats to enter (nice Endurance, nice Toughness; Dodge is remotely useful, but very, very limited).

If it didn't have any entry requirements, I could actually see going Dwarven Defender; the Dodge-bonuses, Improved + Uncanny Dodge and good Will-saves are pretty nice, and the DR is a nice bonus (though see Barbarian for all of those except the Will-saves, to which they gain morale bonuses while Raging).

Defensive Stance is pretty useless, but c'est la vie. And the extra HD? It's nice on level 1, but on level 8 when you can enter, you won't really notice. Yes, it costs you 3 feats from Core to match up to it, but you could do more with those feats. Of course, Barbarian gets d12 HD anyways.

Killer Angel
2009-10-29, 04:20 AM
Tier 4: Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining.

Examples: Rogue, Barbarian, Warlock, Warmage, Scout, Ranger, Hexblade, Adept, Spellthief, Marshal, Fighter (Dungeoncrasher Variant)


I'm STRONGLY against the rogue classified in tier 4, i would put him in T3.
But probably it's just me. :smallfrown:

Vizzerdrix
2009-10-29, 04:48 AM
Anyone see the 8th level ability? Why not just bump it up to 1st or 2nd level? granted, it isn't much better, but its a start.



How about a concentration check to maintain your bonuses and get to move 1/2 speed or something?

Eldariel
2009-10-29, 05:12 AM
Anyone see the 8th level ability? Why not just bump it up to 1st or 2nd level? granted, it isn't much better, but its a start.

It should be an automatic part of Defensive Stance. Honestly, who the hell decided "you may not move". What are you supposed to do vs. guys hitting you outside your reach? Throw weapons and provoke AoOs? I've played with a guy who went Defender, and he pretty much eventually went with option C) Complain About ****ty Class Design 'Cause That's All You Can Do.

He practically never used Defensive Stance except vs. a Dragon that had somehow ended up in a room just large enough for it in a dungeon with no way of getting out. DM had used an automatic dungeon generator leading to that small piece of idiocy. Otherwise, he was just looking forward to level 16 where he could 5' step so he wouldn't just get reached to oblivion.


But yeah, if Defensive Stance allowed 5' step, the class came with support for ranged attacks of some kind (so you can do something to opponents outside your reach), such as bonuses to Crossbows or thrown weapons (at the very least, Close-Combat Shot while in Defensive Stance) and such.


I'm STRONGLY against the rogue classified in tier 4, i would put him in T3.
But probably it's just me. :smallfrown:

The classification is mostly 'cause Factotum is Tier 3 and while it's close, Rogue is somewhat worse than the Factotum; Factotum's abilities are simply slightly stronger thanks to the Int SAD.

Chrono22
2009-10-29, 05:15 AM
I'd suggest taking a look at the Knight base class introduced in the Players' Handbook 2.
It has a very "earthy" flavor and a high focus on defense. It makes a better dwarven defender than the actual class.

Myshlaevsky
2009-10-29, 05:32 AM
I always wanted to make a Knight/Dwarven Defender//Sorcerer gestalt. He'd choose 'barrier' and teleport spells.

Unfortunately it probably still wouldn't work, but I always like the concept.

Killer Angel
2009-10-29, 05:45 AM
The classification is mostly 'cause Factotum is Tier 3 and while it's close, Rogue is somewhat worse than the Factotum; Factotum's abilities are simply slightly stronger thanks to the Int SAD.

Yep, I'm aware of that, but imo there's less difference in power/flexibility between Factotum and rogue, than between rogue and other tier 3 (barbarian, dungeoncrusher fighter).
For example, imho a good rogue is on par with a bard: with the right feats/objects the rogue is very good in combat and sneaks almost all, without even the need of flanking. The bard has more magic, but UMD leaves the rogue not so back. And they both have a great utility outside combat in lot of situations.
Really, UMD alone should leave behind most of the others Tier 4.
So, maybe a low tier 3...

hamlet
2009-10-29, 07:56 AM
I don't see what's so alien about wanting a character which is useful. D'n'D is a pretty combat heavy game. Three-quaters of the rules revolve around combat situations, as does the spells and character skills. So having a character that's useful in combat is one of the key functions of the game. As someone whos played characters with little ability before, I can say that it just becomes boring when you sit on the sidelines while the rest of the party contribute.


Even if you find a way to make the game fun, it still won't be as fun as if you played it the way it was intended to be played, and in D'n'D the party is intended to play as a team. It becomes alot less fun if you aren't able to contribute and the team does just as well without you.

But why does "being useful" equate to "all class abilities universally or nearly always applicable and helpful"? When a wizard runs out of spells for a day, he doesn't cease to be able to contribute in a meaningful way. When a Dwarven Defender has no choke point to utilize, he doesn't cease to be able to take an axe to the head of any and all goblins in the area.

And, as for the comment about fights not often taking places in halways, or in doors, or in places where the Dwarven Defender can plant himself, well why aren't they? One of the greatest tactical advantages players can take is to choose where they fight. Lure the bad guys into a narrow area with a diversion, then introduce them to the anvil that is the DD and let the rest of the party be the hammer. If you chose to fight on the terms the DM presents to you, then you deserve the fact that your special ability suddenly seems less useful in a 40 foot square room.

I've always been a fan of the Dwarven Defender. I think it's a great prestige class.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-29, 08:10 AM
But why does "being useful" equate to "all class abilities universally or nearly always applicable and helpful"? When a wizard runs out of spells for a day, he doesn't cease to be able to contribute in a meaningful way. When a Dwarven Defender has no choke point to utilize, he doesn't cease to be able to take an axe to the head of any and all goblins in the area.

The three poor feats needed to enter impinge on combat ability.

Sinfire Titan
2009-10-29, 09:08 AM
Yep, I'm aware of that, but imo there's less difference in power/flexibility between Factotum and rogue, than between rogue and other tier 3 (barbarian, dungeoncrusher fighter).
For example, imho a good rogue is on par with a bard: with the right feats/objects the rogue is very good in combat and sneaks almost all, without even the need of flanking. The bard has more magic, but UMD leaves the rogue not so back. And they both have a great utility outside combat in lot of situations.
Really, UMD alone should leave behind most of the others Tier 4.
So, maybe a low tier 3...

That's a specific type of optimization. The Rogue class itself is Tier 4, but certain builds can reach Tier 3 or even Tier 2.

The Factotum's flexibility is what makes it a higher Tier. It's capable of covering any role in the party at a moment's notice (even without FoI) for 3 rounds. That's within the average combat duration (3-5 rounds). Only one circumstance can shut down all of the Factotum's class features (running out of IP), otherwise they have to be shut down by multiple effects. The Rogue is shut down by AMFs (for UMD monkies), WBL (same reason), class features (Uncanny Dodge for Sneak Attackers), the rules (Flanking while making a ranged attack for sneak attack benefits), and multiple types (Undead, Construct, Elemental, Plant, Ooze).

While you can optimize a Rogue to be better than the Factotum, the Tiers listing doesn't take this into account. The list treats those as specific builds, and ranking those is much more difficult (note that single ACFs are the exception; classes like the Ranger and Erudite get bumped up an entire Tier for a single ACF because the ability is just that powerful).

Killer Angel
2009-10-29, 09:15 AM
That's a specific type of optimization. The Rogue class itself is Tier 4, but certain builds can reach Tier 3 or even Tier 2.

Ah, I see...
Effectively, makes sense. In the same way, a blaster sorcerer with no metamagic feats (and I've seen 'em), can drop to a tier 3... but this isn't related to the effective strenght of the class.

hamlet
2009-10-29, 09:23 AM
The three poor feats needed to enter impinge on combat ability.

Eh, guess it's just a thing about 3.x then. One of those intentional "non-optimal choices" that the authors stuck in there.

Again, from my perspective (admittedly coming in from an AD&D point of view), while I understand the technical merits of the argument, none of this is even an issue. So the DD has a little less combat ability than other builds when out of his element. So he has to position himself in a certain way in order to really get the most use out of his abilities. So he is immobile during that time and that is a drawback. So what? To me, that's a HUGE part of the game anyway. Everything has drawbacks. Nobody shines all the time, or even most of the time. Success and survival depend far more on how you use what you have rather than having things.

It's just a different paradigm.

Mongoose87
2009-10-29, 09:32 AM
This is beyond drawbacks. If your main class feature is something that makes you less useful the majority of the time, it is a hindrance. There's no reason to choose it over Barbarian. Anyone will choose something you can use will mobile over something that requires you to be absolutely still. When do you really want to be immobile as a melee'r? Only when you're a Dwarven Defender.

Eldariel
2009-10-29, 09:57 AM
Eh, guess it's just a thing about 3.x then. One of those intentional "non-optimal choices" that the authors stuck in there.

Again, from my perspective (admittedly coming in from an AD&D point of view), while I understand the technical merits of the argument, none of this is even an issue. So the DD has a little less combat ability than other builds when out of his element. So he has to position himself in a certain way in order to really get the most use out of his abilities. So he is immobile during that time and that is a drawback. So what? To me, that's a HUGE part of the game anyway. Everything has drawbacks. Nobody shines all the time, or even most of the time. Success and survival depend far more on how you use what you have rather than having things.

It's just a different paradigm.

As mongoose put it, the principal issue is that it's the primary ability of the class and it's unusable majority of the time. Secondary abilities being only momentarily useful is fine. Characters' power varying depending on the challenge is obviously also fine. But character's primary ability being useless most of the time? That's not fine. Especially for a combat-focused class to be useless/unable to use their primary class feature in most combats? That's. Not. Fine.

Teron
2009-10-29, 10:06 AM
While some classes can sacrifice power for a more interesting build that still contributes adequately to a party, the core fighter is unfortunately so bad that he can't afford further drawbacks. And defensive stance isn't some underestimated ability that you can get to shine if you use it right; outside of fighting a small subset of possible opponents in very specific terrain, it's just bad. Any opponents with more than 2 Int will just ignore you until they've killed the rest of the party, and then, if nothing else, throw pebbles at you until you end the stance feeling really stupid.

Gnaeus
2009-10-29, 10:08 AM
I'm STRONGLY against the rogue classified in tier 4, i would put him in T3.
But probably it's just me. :smallfrown:

I don't think you are wrong, Killer. If Factotum and Beguiler weren't sitting in Tier 3, I think Rogue would be tier 3. As it is, there is very little difference between sitting at the top of tier 4 and the bottom of tier 3. There is a lot that can be disputed about the specifics of the tier system (Personally, I think Beguiler should be Tier 2), but the applicability here in pointing out the difference between tier 1s and tier 4s is appropriate.

Gnaeus
2009-10-29, 10:24 AM
But why does "being useful" equate to "all class abilities universally or nearly always applicable and helpful"? When a wizard runs out of spells for a day, he doesn't cease to be able to contribute in a meaningful way. When a Dwarven Defender has no choke point to utilize, he doesn't cease to be able to take an axe to the head of any and all goblins in the area.

By level 6, when you could become a DD, the wizard virtually never runs out of spells in a 3-5 combat adventuring day. If he should, he is easily more effective with wands and scrolls than the dwarf defender will ever be on the best day in his life. When you compare a DD to something like a wizard, you just sound silly.


And, as for the comment about fights not often taking places in halways, or in doors, or in places where the Dwarven Defender can plant himself, well why aren't they? One of the greatest tactical advantages players can take is to choose where they fight. Lure the bad guys into a narrow area with a diversion, then introduce them to the anvil that is the DD and let the rest of the party be the hammer. If you chose to fight on the terms the DM presents to you, then you deserve the fact that your special ability suddenly seems less useful in a 40 foot square room.

I've always been a fan of the Dwarven Defender. I think it's a great prestige class.

Look, if you think it is a FUN prestige class, thats great. Play it and have fun. Lots of people enjoy playing Monks, who are similarly mechanically gimped by the system. In a party with a Monk, a Paladin, a Warmage, a Healer and your Dwarven Defender, you will be just fine.

If you think that it is a mechanically effective prestige class, equal to the other options available to meleers even in core, or worth looking at from a mechanical standpoint outside core with the dozens of better options, you are wrong.

Aldizog
2009-10-29, 10:54 AM
As mongoose put it, the principal issue is that it's the primary ability of the class and it's unusable majority of the time.
As I said, I see Defensive Stance as the class's primary ability to the same degree that Greater Turning is the RSoP's primary ability. Meaning, it's not. Defining, perhaps, but rarely useful in the game.

In practice, the DD is a fighter that trades 5-8 feats for +4 dodge AC bonus, DR 6/-, Will +4, Fort +2, Improved Uncanny Dodge, +10 hp and a better skill list. Pretty solid in core, when you don't have a lot else to do with those feats (you still get 10 usable feats over 20 levels as Ftr10/DD10). When he gets to use the stance, he's MUCH better than a straight fighter, but even without, he's about the same. Better on some things, worse on others.

Is barbarian a better option? REALLY depends on adventure design and encounter design. That AC difference can be irrelevant or it can be devastating.

Out of core, the opportunity cost of the entry feats is too high, and they should probably be modified.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-29, 11:08 AM
Really, Dwarven Defender isn't good by even early 3.5 standards. It's a minimally updated 3.0 core PRC. It's basic function just isn't player friendly (arguably by design).

What's really important here is not 3.0, but "3.0 core." If you look at the way PrC's are presented in the 3.0 DMG, it's not primarily as PC options, but rather as a way to spice up your NPCs. And this was designed very early on, when they were still holding to this design.

Now, in terms of the general role being weaker in terms of optimization: while the system puts defense at a mechanical disadvantage, the idea of "holding the line" is a resonating one that players sometimes want to play with. If it's what that want to do, you can make it work.

Eldariel
2009-10-29, 11:16 AM
As I said, I see Defensive Stance as the class's primary ability to the same degree that Greater Turning is the RSoP's primary ability. Meaning, it's not. Defining, perhaps, but rarely useful in the game.

Eh, RSoP's primary class feature is clearly the caster level gain and secondaries all the various bonuses he gains to different tasks. Same is really true for all caster classes. Your comparison doesn't really hold water here. It's like Dervish and his Dervish Dance. That said, yeah, it's not useful in the game, and that's why the class sucks.


In practice, the DD is a fighter that trades 5-8 feats for +4 dodge AC bonus, DR 6/-, Will +4, Fort +2, Improved Uncanny Dodge, +10 hp and a better skill list. Pretty solid in core, when you don't have a lot else to do with those feats (you still get 10 usable feats over 20 levels as Ftr10/DD10). When he gets to use the stance, he's MUCH better than a straight fighter, but even without, he's about the same. Better on some things, worse on others.

He gets most of those abilities really late. Like, later than most games go; he gets DR on level 16 and DR 6/- on 18. He gets +1 Dodge bonus right away, but +3 only on level 15 the earliest and +4 on level 18.

On level 18, he's comparable to a straight Core Fighter, but given that straight Core Fighter sucks, that's no comparison. And you can argue that it's good PrC design, but when the baseline sucks, the PrCs will suck too; that's just unavoidable. So if you say it's the same as Core Fighter, it sucks. In Core, if you go melee, you either go Horizon Tripper or straight Barbarian (or maybe Barbarian/Sorc/Dragon Disciple 4 with the 2-level Fighter dip as an option).


Is barbarian a better option? REALLY depends on adventure design and encounter design. That AC difference can be irrelevant or it can be devastating.

Out of core, the opportunity cost of the entry feats is too high, and they should probably be modified.

The Barbarian doesn't have to Rage and if we're talking Barbarian/Dragon Disciple, Defender will have grand total of one extra point of AC. That said, given the benefits of Raging there's little reason not to.

The only way Defender could be the superior option is if you have a party of 4 Defenders where all of the characters have equivalent defenses...and that has so many obvious problems that it cannot really be considered an option.

Mark Hall
2009-10-29, 11:22 AM
Read a DD's Damage Reduction ability. Really read it.


Damage Reduction (Ex)

At 6th level, a dwarven defender gains damage reduction. Subtract 3 points from the damage the dwarven defender takes each time he is dealt damage. At 10th level, this damage reduction rises to 6/-. Damage reduction can reduce damage to 0 but not below 0.

Compare, for example, to a barbarian's DR:


Damage Reduction (Ex)

At 7th level, a barbarian gains Damage Reduction. Subtract 1 from the damage the barbarian takes each time he is dealt damage from a weapon or a natural attack. At 10th level, and every three barbarian levels thereafter (13th, 16th, and 19th level), this damage reduction rises by 1 point. Damage reduction can reduce damage to 0 but not below 0.

Or to the DR special ability:


Damage Reduction

A creature with this special quality ignores damage from most weapons and natural attacks.

I've bolded the relevant part. DD DR is pretty damn awesome. Most DR is x/energy or spells. DD DR is x/absolutely nothing.

Not a bad ability.

Apropos of "good builds for a Dwarven Defender" is there a full BAB class that gets Evasion in the first five levels, especially if they have decent reflex saves and can use it in armor? Because a Hexbalde 2/Whatever 5/DD 10 would be a difficult individual to hurt, and while he'd be only slightly mobile in stance (which I'd probably not limit per day), he'd ignore 6 points of all damage you tossed at him, and take no damage at all if he succeeded on a save if you normally take half.

Gnaeus
2009-10-29, 11:30 AM
Thats energy resistance. Most DR is silver, or magic, or adamantine. DR doesn't stop even a first level magic missile. Only physical attacks. Some DMs say it doesn't stop falling damage.

A standard storm giant does 4d6+21 with each attack. Thats a CR 13 encounter, the kind of thing you will be facing more than one of when you get your DR 6.

Mark Hall
2009-10-29, 11:32 AM
Thats energy resistance. Most DR is silver, or magic, or adamantine. DR doesn't stop even a first level magic missile. Only physical attacks. Some DMs say it doesn't stop falling damage.

A DD's DR does. "Each time he is dealt damage", especially when contrasted with the others specifying weapons or natural attacks.

Gnaeus
2009-10-29, 11:42 AM
No. It doesn't.

DR=A special defense that allows a creature to ignore a set amount of damage from most weapons, unarmed attacks, or natural weapons, but not from energy attacks, spells, spell like abilities, and supernatural abilities. (PHB 307).

Mark Hall
2009-10-29, 11:44 AM
No. It doesn't.

DR=A special defense that allows a creature to ignore a set amount of damage from most weapons, unarmed attacks, or natural weapons, but not from energy attacks, spells, spell like abilities, and supernatural abilities. (PHB 307).

And then read the language in Dwarven Defender. Specific trumps general.

Gnaeus
2009-10-29, 11:47 AM
Why are you wasting time with this. DD (p 188) says each time you are hit with a blow or attack. It says NOTHING about spell effects.

Mark Hall
2009-10-29, 12:57 PM
And spells are not attacks? Heck, you can take weapon focus with weapon-like spells, which are defined as spells that require an attack roll.

Gnaeus
2009-10-29, 01:48 PM
Specific would trump general, if it was clearly a difference. In this case, the DD text doesn't say anything about how it works differently than every other DR in the game, which is clearly defined. The fact that it is labled as DR, which IS clearly defined, and not simply as "Any time the DD takes damage." is a point against you.

If we leave it as a rules interpretation question, it is still completely irrelevant to anything meaningful, because you get it no earlier than ECL 15. At ECL 15, reducing the damage you take from magic or energy by 6 points doesn't help you, because 15d6-6 is pretty much the same as 15d6, and any effective caster is doing more than 15d6, if they aren't just hitting you with no save just suck effects.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-10-29, 02:10 PM
15d6-6 is about 13d6+1, actually.

@hamlet: Dwarven Defender has two parts, namely the class and the fluff.

The fluff is that of a stalwart, tough, impassable defender. That can be done with any class. A straight fighter could stand like a tough guy in a hallway while guarding it against any intrusions. So could a refluffed barbarian, or a warblade. The class is irrelevant to the fluff part. Partially because all dwarves can be defenders, and partially because D&D doesn't have any good mechanics for guarding a corridor wider than 5 feet.

The actual class has one defining feature, namely the Defensive Stance. The +4 AC and DR are nice, but they're not flashy. They're just mechanically effective. If I wanted that, I'd play a martial adept or a proper lockdown build. The unique and classy feature of Dwarven Defender is the Defensive Stance. And the defensive stance is horrible. Your opponent just backs up five feet and uses ranged attacks. If you want to keep your bonus, you have to metagame. In-character, your defender wouldn't just stay in the same basic reach while your enemy backs up and cuts his fingernails; but metagame if you want to keep the benefits you can't move. Even after your opponent starts throwing rocks at you for the lulz. Decide to move 10 feet up so you can actually defend something and you lose 4 Strength, 4 Constitution, and 4 AC.

Mark Hall
2009-10-29, 03:06 PM
If we leave it as a rules interpretation question, it is still completely irrelevant to anything meaningful, because you get it no earlier than ECL 15. At ECL 15, reducing the damage you take from magic or energy by 6 points doesn't help you, because 15d6-6 is pretty much the same as 15d6, and any effective caster is doing more than 15d6, if they aren't just hitting you with no save just suck effects.

First of all, you get DR of 3 at ECL 16 (7 for the BAB requirements, 6 for DR 3) and 6 at ECL 16. We'll go with ECL 16.

It is always worth it to be taking less damage on any given hit, unless, even with that reduction, you're still dead. Sure, the attack does 16d6-6, or an average of around 50. Your average HP at that level (assuming Straight fighter before DD, no Con bonus) is 111. With damage reduction, you're still standing after 2 hits. Without DR, you're unconscious (since the average is then 56, and two hits will make that 112). That six DR kept you alive one more round, and while it might not be decisive, it's that extra step.

Now, DR is not necessarily the best use of your feats at any given time... if you have a choice between a feat that lets you do +30 damage or one that gives you 2 DR, the choice is pretty clear. The DD still has some crappy feat selections to open with. But 6 DR, especially a type which helps against spells and energy damage, is not a bad benefit.

On Defensive Stance: It's a power that has a lot of problems; instead of what's there, I'd probably have it drop movement to half, and remove the penalty at the end of the stance, and make it assumable as a standard action for as long as the person wishes. It's got its uses... once the opponents are engaged, and limited in their movement, it can be invaluable... but as written, it's not worth using except in rare circumstances.

Starbuck_II
2009-10-29, 03:31 PM
On Defensive Stance: It's a power that has a lot of problems; instead of what's there, I'd probably have it drop movement to half, and remove the penalty at the end of the stance, and make it assumable as a standard action for as long as the person wishes. It's got its uses... once the opponents are engaged, and limited in their movement, it can be invaluable... but as written, it's not worth using except in rare circumstances.

But then we wouldn't have all the Dwarven defender jokes.

In seriousness: that is a decent fix.

Mark Hall
2009-10-29, 04:12 PM
But then we wouldn't have all the Dwarven defender jokes.

Gods forfend we lose the dwarven defender jokes. Where would we be without out:

How does a wizard know the difference between a dwarven defender and a speed bump?
The speed bump jars him a little if he goes over it too fast.

:smallbiggrin:

Gnaeus
2009-10-29, 07:10 PM
First of all, you get DR of 3 at ECL 16 (7 for the BAB requirements, 6 for DR 3) and 6 at ECL 16. We'll go with ECL 16.

It is always worth it to be taking less damage on any given hit, unless, even with that reduction, you're still dead. Sure, the attack does 16d6-6, or an average of around 50. Your average HP at that level (assuming Straight fighter before DD, no Con bonus) is 111. With damage reduction, you're still standing after 2 hits. Without DR, you're unconscious (since the average is then 56, and two hits will make that 112). That six DR kept you alive one more round, and while it might not be decisive, it's that extra step.


I didn't realize it was a 7 level entry class. That means DR 6 at level 17. A worthy addition comparable to the Shapechange, Miracle and Wish other characters are getting at that level. Lets just pretend that the fighter used one of his eight extra feats for Improved Toughness, for 17 extra HP, which is roughly equivalent. Better, since 17 extra hp will clearly and unambiguously work against energy damage and other magical effects.

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 12:39 AM
I didn't realize it was a 7 level entry class. That means DR 6 at level 17. A worthy addition comparable to the Shapechange, Miracle and Wish other characters are getting at that level. Lets just pretend that the fighter used one of his eight extra feats for Improved Toughness, for 17 extra HP, which is roughly equivalent. Better, since 17 extra hp will clearly and unambiguously work against energy damage and other magical effects.

Ah, yes. "It's not equal to the most powerful abilities in the game, so it is obviously useless." When your argument falls back on "It's not as strong as the most powerful abilities in the game", you've either run out of good arguments, or are waiting to deploy them for some unknown reason.

Let's examine the rest of your argument, however.

First of all, the pure fighter will not have 8 additional feats over someone who went Fighter 7/DD 10. He'll have 5; yes, still a significant number of feats, but off by almost 40% from 8. What feats does a fighter 17 qualify for that a dwarven defender will be unable to take? Greater Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon specialization.

DR 6 v. 17 HP from Improved Toughness. DR 6 will reduce the damage from every hit that comes along. Assuming they have the previously established average HP of 111 (128 for the one with Improved Toughness), and the attacks against them do an average of 18 damage each, how do they stack up?

Attack 1 99 110
Attack 2 87 92
Attack 3 75 74

Three attacks in, and the person who took Improved Toughness is below the person who ignores 6 points of damage per strike. This holds true at 17th and 18th level; when they first get the ability at 13th, it's 5 attacks, and 6 attacks for 16th. It also skews a little bit if the person with Improved Toughness did not take Toughness (dropping their HP advantage from 17 to 14 at 17th level, and from 13 to 10 at 13th level... in that case, it 4 attacks, and 5 at 16th).

Now, if I were designing a Dwarven Defender Character? Assuming we're going with the elite array and a PH dwarf, and limited to core:

15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8

Str 15
Dex 13
Con 12 +2 Dwarf
Int 10
Wis 14
Cha 8 -2 Dwarf

Why the wisdom? Because I'm going Ranger. It gives me the Reflex saves that Dwarven Defender is missing, a good number of skill points, and an option on another prestige class between levels 5 and 8. The higher HP of DD will balance out the lower HP of ranger.

Ranger 1: Feat: Dodge
Ranger 2: Combat Style: Two Weapon
Ranger 3: Endurance, Feat: Improved Shield Bash. This means he can use a shield as his second weapon... while not the ideal weapon, going ranger limits his AC a little bit (since he won't be wearing the heavy armors, though he can squeeze out mithril medium when he picks up Dwarven Defender, and still not lose any abilities; note that dodge HELPS here, since his AC is a touch better than it would otherwise be. Not fabulous, but nice.)
Ranger 4: +1 Strength (assume he goes with strength at every level), Animal Companion. Few ways to go here... I could go with a flanking-type creature (like a wolf) to both help with lock-down (can't run away if my wolf has tripped you), or a tank (like a bear, badger, or boar). I'd probably go wolf or other tripper-type.... the critter is going to be fragile, so it's not as important. ACF may be ideal, but that's outside the scope of this.
Ranger 5: Don't get much here; sure, I get a second favored enemy, but it's not a huge bonus from the POV of a dwarven defender... story-wise, he may have a critter he likes to hit a lot, though.

Levels 6 & 7: Two options, here. I can continue in Ranger, or I can go Horizon Walker. Rangers almost fall into it... they only have to decide starting at level 4 if they don't have an int bonus, so they can have Knowledge: Geography. This build will probably want to got Horizon Walker 1, at the very least, so he can get the Underground terrain type. HW 2 gives him the mountain terrain type. Gives him some nice abilities, and bonuses against what a dwarven defender is likely to meet. Desert would be nice, but it doesn't actually negate the penalties of the Defensive Stance, since "winded" isn't a condition.
If he continues straight ranger, he gains improved combat style and woodland stride. Neither are great for this build, and their main advantage, from a DD perspective, is to give him additional spell slots.
In either case, 6th level is where he takes Toughness. There are other feats he wanted first. Toughness is a burden.

Levels 8-17: Straight Dwarven Defender.
At level 8: He decides between keeping his Adamantine Chain Shirt +X or switching to Mithril Breastplate +X. Given we're talking about a 1 point difference in AC, he'll probably stick with the Chain Shirt until level 13, when his class feature overtakes his armor. He'll switch his shield over to a Heavy one, though, made out of mithril, so it goes down a level. He could abandon his lighter armors entirely, too... while he loses out on a little (Improved Shield Bash becomes less useful, and Combat Style is completely gone), he doesn't lose a heck of a lot, and those extra 4 points of AC might be worth it. However, he's got options... he could have his High AC armor and his multiple hits armor, depending on what he's going to be doing (for example, he might want the lighter armor when scouting, and the heavier armor when he's got time to prepare for a big fight).
For feats, he's got two paths. One is Power attack and Cleave; since he's not mobile, that extra attack when someone drops is nice. It's strengthens him in his main role (turtling), but it's probably not the best idea, since he's pretty strong in that role.
Another option would be to pick up some ranged feats... Quick Draw and Point Blank Shot would be good, as they would let him attack at a range fairly effectively, even if in Stance. Using throwing weapons (Quick Draw) takes advantage of his bonus to damage from Strength. That's likely the way to go for him... it gives him options when people skip back out of melee.
For the third feat, one can go with Improved Critical or Precise Shot for the one who picked up some ranged options. The Cleaver may want something like Improved Sunder, or the person who slogged through the extra two levels of ranger might want to improve his pet or be able to make potions... the third feat is somewhat open.

Levels 18, 19, and 20. Return to where you came from. If you went straight ranger, levels 8, 9, and 10 see you getting 2nd level spell slots and Evasion (if you're staying light armored). If you went Horizon Walker for levels 6 and 7, continue with that one... level 5 Horizon Walker means you can pick up a planar terrain, while levels 3&4 will let you pick up a couple of useful ones... maybe hills and desert, or something.

What do we have at the end? We have a stout little bugger, with a Fort save of +16 or +18 (if you went HW), a Reflex of +11 or +9, and a Will of +12 or +11. Average HP is 158.5 HP, about the same of a fighter of the same level and Con who went with Toughness. He's adept both in and out of heavy armor, and may have some ranged options if people run away from him. Probably his best tactic is to advance, engage, then fall back to 5' back from a corner, either in a 5' or 10' wide corridor... keeps him out of immediate range, but allows most of his abilities to come into play. Since he's a ranger, he's got some very minor spellcasting and, a bit more important, wand usage... Longstrider will be a very useful low-level ranger spell for him, if he doesn't have boots which give him that +10 to speed. Resist energy is another good one for him... let's hear it for wands, eh? Of course, as a Ranger, he can also pick up wands of Wind Wall, giving him additional protection against arrows. Snare is also pretty useful, since it may keep someone from retreating for at least a round.

He's not going to win against a fully empowered full caster alone, of course, unless everything falls exactly his way. But he'll stand tough against pretty much anything you throw at him, is playable at all levels, and can use Defensive stance as a nice bonus when the time is right. Even if you ignore RAW on the DD's 6 point DR, it makes for a capable melee character, with some option on scouting at lower levels. He's got a number of instances in which he's getting bonus damage (at least 2 favored enemies, and if he doesn't have 4 different terrains and one planar terrain, he's got a 3rd). His ability to use wands (most of which can be made cheaper by other classes, and so are not dependent upon rangers-who-make-wands) gives him some versatility.

sofawall
2009-10-30, 01:14 AM
First of all, the pure fighter will not have 8 additional feats over someone who went Fighter 7/DD 10. He'll have 5; yes, still a significant number of feats, but off by almost 40% from 8.

Are you including the prereqs?

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 01:17 AM
Are you including the prereqs?

If we're talking who has more feats, no. They may not be the best choices, but I would argue that the benefits of DD are equal to the feat investment.

herrhauptmann
2009-10-30, 01:19 AM
Out of curiosity, for everyone who likes to play melee characters. A round or two after combat starts, how much movement do your characters usually have to do in a single round? Especially if the fight is against other melee creatures.

Now, that's for all of your games, look now at the original line of games(Sunless Citadel on up) written by Wotc. If wizard seemed more balanced and less overpowered in those adventures, the Dwarven Defender probably seemed more balanced and less underpowered as well.

To the comment about picking your terrain.
1) DD is better if you know you're going to be doing a dungeon crawl or the underdark. The same way people will take Radiant Servant if they know it'll be undead heavy.
2) Don't open up combat by enacting your defensive stance, as soon as you kill the guy next to you, you'll have to move. Save it for the end of the fight, or if you've got the BBEG focused on you.
2a) When help is asked for, I often see people state "Have wizard/cleric cast a spell for you" Why not have the wizard or cleric cast a spell which improves exhaustion levels? There's 1 or 2 that are very low level since all they affect is exhaustion. On that note, get a custom magic item, one that casts the remove exhaustion 1 or 2/day (fewer times than you've got stances). It'll be cheap, and he won't have to waste a spell slot.
3) Defensive stance would be nicer if it worked like the interlocking armor (a must for the DD). 5ft step a turn at start is okay(you get your 5ft step for cleave), as it progresses you get to move higher portions of your speed.
4) I usually see DM's accepting Improved Toughness in place of toughness (since arcane toughness counts for regular toughness)
5) If you use the wording of the DD's damage reduction, instead of the normal rules for DR, then it sounds much more awesome. But like any form of DR, it's pretty useless against something that hits for massive amounts of damage, a spell of 15d6, or 6d6 sneak attack times 4 (I'm lowballing it, a level 17 DD would probably take more in a balanced encounter) is pretty painful, whether you've got DR or not. So I don't see the point of complaining how crappy it is. It is however, potentially enough to keep your character above -10, long enough for the healer to save you.
6) Finally, I remember the 3.0 DMG stated it was meant as an option for DM's to flesh out NPCs, not being specifically intended for player use the way Sword and Fist, or Tome and Blood were.

Jiriku: In your post on page 1 of this thread, you described a fight against a bunch of DD's and 2 lockdown fighters. How did the DD's start the fight? Was it: See the heroes, get into stance? What terrain was the fight in? Players might not have the option of choosing terrain for every fight, but the DM definitely does.


Okay, I tried to keep from a full on rant, how'd I do?

Myrmex
2009-10-30, 01:36 AM
DR usually strikes me as pretty useless, but as long as the DM isn't having everything that does damage to you have 15+ HD, 30 strength, and liberal use of power attack, it's actually really nice. Even DR 3 is noticeable at level 15. It's surprising how fast it adds up in battles with a lot of minion-type creatures.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-30, 02:00 AM
Ok, here we go.

Monk 2 (Passive Way, Decisive Strike)/Fighter 4/Knight 3/Drunken Master 4/Dwarven Defender7

Feats: Knockdown, Stand Still, Combat Reflexes

Use 100 ft ladders to knock people down. Also, trying to move closer to you provokes AoOs. Also, movement is counted as through difficult terrain.

sofawall
2009-10-30, 02:25 AM
I always assume people know things like the above build. Maybe I should actually say things more often.

Oh well. I still suspect something else instead of DD would work better, but that is a workable build.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-30, 02:27 AM
6) Finally, I remember the 3.0 DMG stated it was meant as an option for DM's to flesh out NPCs, not being specifically intended for player use the way Sword and Fist, or Tome and Blood were.

That's the way all the initial 3.0 PRCs were designed. It wasn't "this isn't for PC's", but more of a "you might possibly make one of these available if your campaign would benefit" thing. Dwarven Defender seems to have been designed to be on the table primarily for dungeon crawls and the like. It's a presumption that was gradually abandoned on the way from 3.0 to 3.5.

Gnaeus
2009-10-30, 08:05 AM
First of all, the pure fighter will not have 8 additional feats over someone who went Fighter 7/DD 10. He'll have 5; yes, still a significant number of feats, but off by almost 40% from 8.

I'll stand by my 8. The Prereqs are just lost feats.


DR 6 v. 17 HP from Improved Toughness. DR 6 will reduce the damage from every hit that comes along. Assuming they have the previously established average HP of 111 (128 for the one with Improved Toughness), and the attacks against them do an average of 18 damage each, how do they stack up?....

Thats great and all, if your level 17 character is actually facing things that do 18 damage per hit. I have seen barbarians that average that much damage at level 1. Actual CR 16-18 melee monsters are likely to do almost twice that. CR 17 characters are certain to do much more. Hey, if your ECL 17 guy decides to wipe out a lair of cr 1/2 kobolds, he is entirely immune to their damage! Don't forget that benefit!


Now, if I were designing a Dwarven Defender Character? Assuming we're going with the elite array and a PH dwarf, and limited to core:
He's not going to win against a fully empowered full caster alone, of course, unless everything falls exactly his way. But he'll stand tough against pretty much anything you throw at him, is playable at all levels, and can use Defensive stance as a nice bonus when the time is right.

You know, I can build a tough little 17th level core monk also. Problem is, neither one is effective enough to actually make CR 17 enemies care. Yes, you have some nice wand use from your ranger levels. But a 1 level dip from a fighter or barbarian base does that, assuming that I don't want to bite the -1 bab hit and take a level of cleric instead, for better wand/staff usage and travel and luck domain. And of course, the farther from core we get, the worse DD looks.



Even if you ignore RAW on the DD's 6 point DR,

That ISN'T RAW. It doesn't clearly say what you are saying it says. At BEST it is RAI, and not even a very good argument for that interpretation. The best argument going for it that I could see buying as a DM is "Hey, since the DD is so lame, why not go with this loose rules interpretation that makes it 5% less lame."


If we're talking who has more feats, no. They may not be the best choices, but I would argue that the benefits of DD are equal to the feat investment.

O.K. I'll agree that you would argue that.

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 08:53 AM
I always assume people know things like the above build. Maybe I should actually say things more often.

Oh well. I still suspect something else instead of DD would work better, but that is a workable build.

Mine or Pharaoh's Fist's 100' ladder build (which is hilarious to picture).

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 08:57 AM
Thats great and all, if your level 17 character is actually facing things that do 18 damage per hit. I have seen barbarians that average that much damage at level 1. Actual CR 16-18 melee monsters are likely to do almost twice that. CR 17 characters are certain to do much more. Hey, if your ECL 17 guy decides to wipe out a lair of cr 1/2 kobolds, he is entirely immune to their damage! Don't forget that benefit!

Which fails to address the actual argument I made... that 17 HP is irrelevant after 3 hits.



You know, I can build a tough little 17th level core monk also. Problem is, neither one is effective enough to actually make CR 17 enemies care.

And a core fighter who makes CR 17 enemies care on his own? Heck, a core paladin? Melee is the poor cousin in d20.


That ISN'T RAW. It doesn't clearly say what you are saying it says. At BEST it is RAI, and not even a very good argument for that interpretation. The best argument going for it that I could see buying as a DM is "Hey, since the DD is so lame, why not go with this loose rules interpretation that makes it 5% less lame."

"Subtract 3 points from the damage the dwarven defender takes each time he is dealt damage."

Plain language.

Gnaeus
2009-10-30, 09:16 AM
Which fails to address the actual argument I made... that 17 HP is irrelevant after 3 hits.

1. You aren't likely to be taking much more than 3 hits from the things you are actually facing in melee. This assumes that you are lucky enough to get into a melee, since most of the creatures of your CR are flying casters.
2. If you are being hammered into the ground, chances are good that you will be Healed, in which case you are probably getting your 17 hp back along with all the others.
3. The 17 hp works against energy damage, falls, traps, spells and spell likes.




And a core fighter who makes CR 17 enemies care on his own? Heck, a core paladin? Melee is the poor cousin in d20.

Sure it is, but a charging paladin or raging barbarian is going to do vastly more damage than your build. TWF is the poor cousin of melee in D20, unless you can back it with a significant source of extra damage, like a lot of sneak attack dice. Your TWF ranger might as well be a flurrying monk.



""Subtract 3 points from the damage the dwarven defender takes each time he is dealt damage."

Plain language.

"From a blow or attack" There is nothing specifying that it is any different from every other instance of DR everywhere in 3.5. RAW it clearly doesn't work against falls or traps, and in context with the rest of the game there is nothing to suggest that it works against spells or spell likes. For example, in the definition of DR in the DMG, last sentence from bottom, second paragraph, "If a dash follows the slash (...) then the damage reduction is effective against any attack that does not ignore damage reduction" (boldface mine). Next page "Spells, spell like abilities, and energy attacks ignore damage reduction". Plain language. Nowhere does it say or imply that the DD DR is different from the DR described at the end of the same book, or everywhere else in the game.

And if the fighter really really wants DR, He can buy Adamantine Plate or scrolls of Stoneskin for his wizard at a lower opportunity cost than taking 10 levels of DD.

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 09:29 AM
1. You aren't likely to be taking much more than 3 hits from the things you are actually facing in melee. This assumes that you are lucky enough to get into a melee, since most of the creatures of your CR are flying casters.

Now I know you've ceased to be serious.



Sure it is, but a charging paladin or raging barbarian is going to do vastly more damage than your build. TWF is the poor cousin of melee in D20, unless you can back it with a significant source of extra damage, like a lot of sneak attack dice. Your TWF ranger might as well be a flurrying monk.

Damage is not the end all and be all of every build. The charging paladin (I assume you mean mounted) is limited by terrain, just as the dwarven defender is. The raging barbarian is vulnerable. The build of the DD is to be a wall in a narrow place... to keep others from being injured over the long-term. Not a hugely useful thing, but within Tier 4, along with a Barbarian, Warlock, and ahead of the Fighter and Paladin.



Nowhere does it say or imply that the DD DR is different from the DR described at the end of the same book, or everywhere else in the game.

Except, you know, where it specifically states that it protects against every time the DD takes damage, in a clear, declarative sentence. "From blow or attack" (and I've already pointed out the nebulousness of the term "attack" in D&D) is more or less meaningless in this context, as it can apply to just about anything that causes damage. If it were as you interpret it, there would be no need for that clause; just refer it to DR in general, rather than providing specific rules for DD DR.

Wagadodo
2009-10-30, 09:46 AM
Okay, Right now I am playing a Dwarven Defender in a High level game. I designed him to be the stop gap so my high damaging buddies could do some killing. I get in front of the monster and lock it down. So right now my build is something like this since I don't have the character in front of me. I am Knight 7/ Dwarven Defender 10. I am sitting at close to 44 ac before going into stance. I have over 240+ hit points. My job is to go after the big bad melee monster that so that it is only abe to take a five foot step every round because I have the Knight ability to make every square I threaten as Difficult terrian.

I took Shield Specialization, and the Shield Ward that adds your Shield bonus to your touch AC.

So if there is any type of Melee character I am usually able to lock them down. I have slim chance to get my challenge off to have every one have to at least target me.

And every one that says that damage reduction sucks? Really? When is the last time any one has played a Melee character that could stand to have six points of healing every time you get hit. Damage Reduction has saved my characters life more than once. True I have a damage reduction total of 9 myself with feats.

Anyways it is play style, there have been times that I have not been as useful as the other characters but I have saved their lives more than I have been left useless. So save a crossbow for ranged combat, and just have fun with it. It is a successful character with my group.

Gnaeus
2009-10-30, 10:39 AM
Now I know you've ceased to be serious

Lets look at the CR 17 creatures in core shall we?

Marilith: Teleporting demon summoner. Just going to teleport past you to go fight your wizards.

3 Dragons. flying spellcasters.
Abolith Mage. Underwater spellcaster with ability to fly.
Formian Queen. 17th level sorcerer.

Frost giant Jarl. This is your best bet. An actual melee caster. Does 6d6+ 18 damage per hit with his sneak attack. More if he can buff before combat.

Hmm. 1 in 7. And the 1 does 39-42 average damage per hit. Unless you are good, then he hits harder.

Maybe you level up. CR 18s.
6 Flying, spellcasting dragons.
Nightcrawler. It burrows, so it can bypass your hall guarding. 35 average damage with its bite, but the DR isn't important because then it swallows you whole with a +45 grapple check and wrecks you with negative levels. Or it summons hordes of undead that ignore your DR because they do level or strength drain.

So no good at level 18. 19 Perhaps?

8 Flying, spellcasting dragons.

Lets try 20.

5 Flying Spellcasting Dragons
Balor and Pit Fiend. Flying, Teleporting SLA users. Their description shows them melee attacking less than one round in 3, and you can be sure if they do melee attack they aren't going to pick your DD for their target.
Tarrasque. Ooh! A winner. With his Int 3 this guy isn't smart enough to ignore you and attack your casters! Of course, with DR 15 epic and 40 regen per round, you can't remotely hurt him, and he will swallow you on round 1 with a +85 grapple, but you will slow him down a bit while other characters hurt him or escape. Your DR 6 will help in this fight. But if you are fighting the Tarrasque, wouldn't you rather have a Stoneskin?

So lets give you the benefit of the doubt, and say you beat the Frost Giant and the Tarrasque. Well, 2 out of 30 isn't bad.

Or maybe we should try character class comparisons?

All pure casters and bard own you by level 17.
Rogue and Barbarian have actually useful things to do (Useful skills+ damage and Damage)

You are left with Fighter, Monk, Paladin and Ranger. I don't think you clearly beat any of them if they have decent builds (like Paladin/Sorc Dragon disciple, or Chain Tripper fighter) but I will concede that it is arguable as to whether you might be better than the weakest classes in core.


Damage is not the end all and be all of every build. The charging paladin (I assume you mean mounted) is limited by terrain, just as the dwarven defender is. The raging barbarian is vulnerable. The build of the DD is to be a wall in a narrow place... to keep others from being injured over the long-term. Not a hugely useful thing, but within Tier 4, along with a Barbarian, Warlock, and ahead of the Fighter and Paladin.

It might be ahead of straight fighter or paladin in core. (although in core you shouldn't see any fighter 20 builds. Fighter gets more by dipping out). It isn't close to equal to either one outside of core, where the paladin has better spells that it can use as swift actions, and the fighter has 18 useful feats to take. It is never equal to a barbarian. And beating core Fighter and Paladin doesn't say much.


Except, you know, where it specifically states that it protects against every time the DD takes damage, in a clear, declarative sentence. "From blow or attack" (and I've already pointed out the nebulousness of the term "attack" in D&D) is more or less meaningless in this context, as it can apply to just about anything that causes damage. If it were as you interpret it, there would be no need for that clause; just refer it to DR in general, rather than providing specific rules for DD DR.

It doesn't say that it applies to those attack types specifically. It DOES specifically say elsewhere that those attack types ignore DR. Specific only overwrites general when there is a conflict, which in this case, there isn't. When you say that that is RAW, you are just plain wrong. As I said, it is at best a RAI question, for which the only arbiter is the DM. The fact that we could argue what it means for hours in fact supports the position that it is RAI, since we clearly read it very differently.

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 10:54 AM
Lets look at the CR 17 creatures in core shall we?


Level 17 Fighter.
Level 17 Barbarian.
Level 17 Paladin.
Level 17 Ranger.
Level 17 Rogue.
Level 17 Bard.
Various monsters with class levels.


But if you are fighting the Tarrasque, wouldn't you rather have a Stoneskin?

Given that Tarrasque attacks overcome epic damage reduction? No.



It might be ahead of straight fighter or paladin in core. (although in core you shouldn't see any fighter 20 builds. Fighter gets more by dipping out). It isn't close to equal to either one outside of core, where the paladin has better spells that it can use as swift actions, and the fighter has 18 useful feats to take. It is never equal to a barbarian.

And once you go outside of core, you're also dealing with stuff developed under a fairly different design philosophy. As for not being equal to a Barbarian...


And beating core Fighter and Paladin doesn't say much.

About as much as saying "Tier 4 class is weaker than Tier 1 class."




It doesn't say that it applies to those attack types specifically.

It specifically says it all instances when you take damage. Not when you take damage from certain sources. When you take damage.

Do those attack types cause damage?
Then it applies to them.

SirSigfried
2009-10-30, 11:05 AM
How about getting a set of Glamered Armor? Thinking that that runty Dwarf is in nothing more than a loincloth would be, at least in the eyes of the mundane, an easy target.

Lycanthromancer
2009-10-30, 11:24 AM
Casters had the dwarven defender beat on DR 10 levels ago. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/stoneskin.htm)

Gnaeus
2009-10-30, 11:29 AM
Level 17 Fighter.
Level 17 Barbarian.
Level 17 Paladin.
Level 17 Ranger.
Level 17 Rogue.
Level 17 Bard.
Various monsters with class levels.

It doesn't remotely equal the barbarian or the rogue or the bard, all of which have abilities that make them useful to a party. It is on par perhaps with the others. Yeah, I suppose a DM could make monsters with bad class level decisions that it could beat, but usually, when I see monsters with class levels, it IMPROVES the monsters. You should be happy that I gave you wins on the giant and the tarrasque.


It specifically says it all instances when you take damage. Not when you take damage from certain sources. When you take damage.

Do those attack types cause damage?
Then it applies to them.

Do those attack types have specific language that say they ignore DR?
Is it DR?
Then it doesn't apply to them.

Argue it to your DM. I know that you are wrong, but really don't care, because it is junk either way.

Saying that something is clear 20 times doesn't actually make it clear.

Edit: I think really, the ambiguity comes from "attack"
Attack could mean:
A blow from a physical object made with conscious intent. (this is how my DM rules it. Traps and Falling bypass DR)
A blow from a physical object. (This is how I would rule it. These first two have the advantage of matching with the definition of DR everywhere else it is found).
Something requiring an attack roll. (PHB says "The outcome of an attack is determined by an attack roll. P 304) This would let it apply to Scorching Ray and Melfs, but not most spells. This, frankly, is the broadest interpretation I would consider as appropriate.
Anything that does damage with conscious intent. Here, the tarrasque's bite would apply DR, or Dragons breath, but not background heat or the tarrasque's digestion or traps or falling or passive effects like fire shield.
Anything that does any kind of HP damage. Your interpretation.

Aldizog
2009-10-30, 01:17 PM
Lets look at the CR 17 creatures in core shall we?

In the actual games that you've played at level 17, what have you most often seen as CR 17 encounters? A single CR 17 monster? In my experience, DMs recognize that the action economy advantage the PCs had would make that fight too easy.

Way, way more often I saw something like this as a CR 17-ish challenge for a party of 4 PCs:
CR 13-14 leader
Pair of CR 12 casters supporting him and buffing the enemies
Maybe six to eight CR 10 elite bodyguards and advanced monsters
Or some other combination such that the party was outnumbered by weaker foes that were in the aggregate capable of posing a threat.

Dungeons were popular so the wizard couldn't always be 400' away. Rooms would be large enough so the enemies could spread out somewhat and not all get caught in one spell effect.

You can use lower-CR foes because monster attack bonus scales faster than PC Armor Class; they'll still hit. You want more numerous enemies because it gives the enemies the action economy advantage and at least some battlefield control. Most often as both a player and a DM, the enemies outnumbered the PCs. Nearly always, in fact. This means that, on average, they'd be at least 4 CR below (4 CR 13s are a CR 17 threat) for a "challenging" fight.

Myrmex
2009-10-30, 01:23 PM
Dwarven Defenders ignore some damage from ALL sources, RAW. Specific trumps general.

jiriku
2009-10-30, 01:28 PM
Jiriku: In your post on page 1 of this thread, you described a fight against a bunch of DD's and 2 lockdown fighters. How did the DD's start the fight? Was it: See the heroes, get into stance? What terrain was the fight in? Players might not have the option of choosing terrain for every fight, but the DM definitely does.


Our DM is new to table-top games and doesn't really grasp tactics yet. Open room, DD's with active stance in an open defensive formation to screen the spiked chain tripper. He anticipated that we would run in between the DD's to attack the chain-tripper, or that the tripper would lock down targets for the DD's to attack. Instead, we alternated between hitting them from the side where they couldn't 5-foot step fast enough to support one another and pulling back to attack them with archery and eldritch blasts. My character was the melee tank out of the three of us, and I was mobile enough via abrupt jaunt that they couldn't pin me down until half of them were dead and their formation was shattered.

It was still tough because at six levels above us, they hit like a truck and tank like hell, but both the lock and I make all our attacks as touch attacks, so their AC was trival except for the archer. Plus I feared one and forced him to break his stance prematurely.

Gnaeus
2009-10-30, 01:30 PM
In the actual games that you've played at level 17, what have you most often seen as CR 17 encounters? A single CR 17 monster? In my experience, DMs recognize that the action economy advantage the PCs had would make that fight too easy.

Most encounters I see are above CR, for that very reason. I see lots of CR equivalent bosses with minions (like the Jarl + some allies, where the allies are just blockers) or bosses of CR+1 or 2, or pairs of CR equivalent stuff.

If you have a boss with a bunch of minions, tho, it modifies the utility of DR, but not of the Dwarven Defender. In those cases, a damage dealing meleer, like a barbarian, or a caster with AOES like a bard, or a rogue who can sneak past mooks and attack the boss, are all still more useful than a 5x5 wall.

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 01:30 PM
Dwarven Defenders ignore some damage from ALL sources, RAW. Specific trumps general.

As I have said. However, Gnaeus and I have now gone several rounds, with neither of us really contributing anything new, so I intend to drop it.

ericgrau
2009-10-30, 01:34 PM
5) If you use the wording of the DD's damage reduction, instead of the normal rules for DR, then it sounds much more awesome. But like any form of DR, it's pretty useless against something that hits for massive amounts of damage, a spell of 15d6, or 6d6 sneak attack times 4 (I'm lowballing it, a level 17 DD would probably take more in a balanced encounter) is pretty painful, whether you've got DR or not. So I don't see the point of complaining how crappy it is. It is however, potentially enough to keep your character above -10, long enough for the healer to save you.

Small note. If your HP does drop that low, then you activate defensive stance. Then if the enemies don't come to you then, well, that's the point. If they do, also good. You have more HP and other stuff now. If you get healed you're free to deactivate the stance without losing an action or anything except 2 strength.

Gnaeus
2009-10-30, 01:38 PM
Dwarven Defenders ignore some damage from ALL sources, RAW. Specific trumps general.

And yet, when I post the same question on the Min/Max board at brilliantgameologists, I get the opposite answer. So some people say it works, and some people say it doesn't. You know what that is called? Rules as Interpreted. Keep your fingers crossed and hope your dm likes your interpretation.

Myrmex
2009-10-30, 01:42 PM
And yet, when I post the same question on the Min/Max board at brilliantgameologists, I get the opposite answer. So some people say it works, and some people say it doesn't. You know what that is called? Rules as Interpreted. Keep your fingers crossed and hope your dm likes your interpretation.

Nice appeal to popularity.
Just read the freakin' entry.
It's as plain as, well, a plainly written entry.

ericgrau
2009-10-30, 01:45 PM
That and the healing with drowning trick.

Gnaeus
2009-10-30, 01:47 PM
I'm not appealing to popularity. Maybe if we took a poll, your side would win. It doesn't matter in the slightest. All that it shows is that different people interpret how to read text differently. If your interpretation outnumbered mine by 2 or 3 to 1, that doesn't mean that it is RAW, only that more people read it in a certain way. It all comes down to how your DM reads it, no?

Myrmex
2009-10-30, 01:49 PM
It all comes down to how your DM reads it, no?

Of course, it always does.