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The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 09:33 PM
first, I'd like to appologize for the number of threads I've been posting lately; things just seem to keep changing:smallfrown:.

now, I was told to remake my character. I am our party's only tank in a lowly-optimized campaign. I am allowed any book and anything from Dragon, but no homebrew.

My job will be to stand in the front and take as much damage as I can. I need some ideas about how to accomplish this. Ideally, I'd like to keep tripping shenanigans to a minimum, because of the low power-level of the campaign.

with that said: here's what i've got so far.

ECL 6. crusader 4/warblade2

stats: 18, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14 (I rolled really well) +1 adjustment.

human w/ two flaws

I was going to grab adaptive style, imp. buckler defense and a wrathful healing spiked chain as soon as I can. When I get higher, I was planning on going into robilar's gambit to heal even when it's not my turn.

any suggestions would be helpful. as would any more-efficient tactics.

Flickerdart
2010-05-03, 09:35 PM
Knight is good at keeping aggro. So is a Spiked Chain tripper, but he doesn't soak damage so much as immobilize enemies, which is just as good.

edit: No trip shenanigans? Then Knight is your best option.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 09:38 PM
Knight is good at keeping aggro.

I was under the impression that Knight was a poor class...

The Glyphstone
2010-05-03, 09:40 PM
It's a very poor class at anything except tanking.

The thing to understand is that 'tanking' doesn't really work in a D&D context, because there's no 'aggro' mechanic outside stuff like the Knight's Challenge. You can be standing in front of the monster with as much HP and AC as you want, and unless you have some way to make sure it's attacking you - either by immobilizing/tripping it, or simply doing so much damage that it can't ignore you, there's nothing to stop it from simply walking around you and chowing down on the rest of the party.

Knight can help towards this, because it actually has a Challenge ability that forces enemies to attack it.

Shiva asori
2010-05-03, 09:46 PM
The goad feat may help a little I guess.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 09:48 PM
hmm, in that case, is chain-tripping the only viable way to keep damage (let's assume not-ranged/casting) from hitting our casters and glass cannons?

Magesmiley
2010-05-03, 09:51 PM
So uh, how about this, assuming that you aren't too attached to being human and are playing a 3.x game...

Dwarf, put the 18 into CON,(= 20 CON) 2 flaws
At 1st level take Toughess (pre-req) and Roll With It (from Savage Species) twice
At 3rd Level get Roll With It again
At 6th Level Roll With It Again

DR 8/- at 6th level. You might want to take some fighter levels for some other feats.

Optimystik
2010-05-03, 09:52 PM
Be a Psychic Warrior. Get tons of HP with Vigor and Share Pain, instantly swap places with your party members who are in danger, use Stand Still (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/psionicFeats.htm#standStill) to keep foes down, grow to massive proportions (this solves the "they walk around you" problem), and get a ton of bonus feats besides.

If you have CPsi, it gets even better - become a Mantled Psychic Warrior (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20070214a) and grab the Guardian, Time or Freedom mantles (both mechanically and RP appropriate) to enhance your tanking even further. In addition, you can Tap Mantle to pick up Natural World - now you have Metamorphosis at level 10 instead of level 13. Turn into any number of monsters that can control the battlefield, like a hydra, then Expand.

Achernar
2010-05-03, 09:53 PM
Try using the Knight's bulwark of defense with that spiked chain: making a 10' radius of difficult terrain is always a nice use for the weapon. If you can use Wrathful Healing with that ability, all the more power to you!:smallbiggrin:

I am assuming your party is on the fragile side, so slowing down opponents could make all the difference in lieu of having another tank to provide AoO's with you.

EDIT: wrong class feature name, fixed

Doc Roc
2010-05-03, 09:59 PM
Has anyone mentioned Standstill yet? Standstill is _the_ lockdown feat.

Mike_G
2010-05-03, 10:01 PM
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Tanking works fine. Assuming you are in the right group.

You said it's a low optimization campaign, so this should be fine.

It is true that no rule in D&D prevents the bad guys from just walking around you on their initiative to the squishy casters, but that's bad DMing. If you stand in front and state that you are protecting the casters, the DM should be flexible about that, not have every monster just walk around you five feet out of reach.

By RAW, sure, you can't easily make the bad guys fight you while your buddy casts spells. And by the powergamer philosophy, tanking won't matter, since the casters will just end the encounter before you get to do anything by coup de grace the blind/held/sleeping/paralyzed enemy.

By if your group plays D&D as God Gygax intended, and thinks RAW is just something to keep nerds busy on the internet so they don't hack into Homeland Security, then a Fighter 6 can tank just fine.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 10:01 PM
Be a Psychic Warrior. Get tons of HP with Vigor and Share Pain, instantly swap places with your party members who are in danger, use Stand Still (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/psionicFeats.htm#standStill) to keep foes down, grow to massive proportions (this solves the "they walk around you" problem), and get a ton of bonus feats besides.

If you have CPsi, it gets even better - become a Mantled Psychic Warrior (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20070214a) and grab the Guardian, Time or Freedom mantles (both mechanically and RP appropriate) to enhance your tanking even further. In addition, you can Tap Mantle to pick up Natural World - now you have Metamorphosis at level 10 instead of level 13. Turn into any number of monsters that can control the battlefield, like a hydra, then Expand.

so... psychic warrior w/ spiked chain. fair enough. I could use a break from ToB. I wouldn't take it as far as the mantled psychic warrior (it would smash my campaign) but I do like the idea overall. any other ideas as to make this better? PrCs or other feats?

gbprime
2010-05-03, 10:08 PM
Soaking damage is easy, but tanking requires keeping the enemy's attention. And spiked chain is kind of overdone. Maybe try the good old fashioned bruiser of a fighter?

Fighter 1 Improved Buckler Defense (CW), Power Attack, Cleave
Fighter 2 Weapon Focus (Heavy Mace)
Fighter 3 Close Quarters Fighting (CW)
Fighter 4 Weapon Specialization (Heavy Mace)
Fighter 5
Fighter 6 Improved Bull Rush, Three Mountains (CW)
Fighter 7
Fighter 8 Melee Weapon Mastery - Bludgeoning (PHB2)
Fighter 9 Cometary Collision (PHB2)
Fighter 10 Combat Reflexes

Grab a mace (or nearly any blunt weapon at level 8) and wield it 2 handed. By level 6, he can potentially nauseate an opponent or two each round. And level 9... well, let's just say Hold the Line is also overdone and boring. But a counter charge to absolutely flatten someone... awesome. :smallamused:

Sometimes, straight fighter with no PrC's is not to be ignored.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-03, 10:18 PM
so... psychic warrior w/ spiked chain. fair enough. I could use a break from ToB. I wouldn't take it as far as the mantled psychic warrior (it would smash my campaign) but I do like the idea overall. any other ideas as to make this better? PrCs or other feats?Psywar 20 is an excellent build by itself, though levels in the (illithid) slayer PrC couldn't hurt.

I always suggest expansion, and metamorphosis is uberawesome for so many reasons (if you don't want to break the campaign, then use it for utility purposes, and make yourself a psychoactive skin). Linked Power (from CPsi) is the epitome of buffing necessities for any manifester, especially if you use it with swift-action buffs, and a psicrystal (along with metamorphosis) can be used as a mobile wall to keep enemies away from your friends (and can be used as a mount, a scout, and a means of keeping both yourself and your friends extra-mobile). Strength of my enemy is an excellent way of boosting your Strength score (and debuffing your foes'), and a suppression weapon is a great way of dispelling enemies' items at will.

There's tons of stuff a psywar can do; just avoid (mostly) non-duration powers, though there ARE exceptions to this (such as hustle and psionic lion's charge). Using your power points judiciously will keep you going on marathon runs.

Just make sure you get as much reach as you can get away with; take a glaive instead of blowing a feat on EWP, with a locked gauntlet on one hand and a spiked gauntlet on the other, and cover the battlefield with your 'love'. Make sure to trip and disarm a lot; take Combat Reflexes if you want to make lots of AoOs (just make sure you have a really high Dex), and you can start laying the smack down on anything within 20' or more.

Aberrant Reach (from Lords of Madness) increases your (unbuffed) reach by 5', and there are other ways to increase this total, as well.

Actual builds are forthcoming, if you like.

The Glyphstone
2010-05-03, 10:41 PM
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Tanking works fine. Assuming you are in the right group.

You said it's a low optimization campaign, so this should be fine.

It is true that no rule in D&D prevents the bad guys from just walking around you on their initiative to the squishy casters, but that's bad DMing. If you stand in front and state that you are protecting the casters, the DM should be flexible about that, not have every monster just walk around you five feet out of reach.

By RAW, sure, you can't easily make the bad guys fight you while your buddy casts spells. And by the powergamer philosophy, tanking won't matter, since the casters will just end the encounter before you get to do anything by coup de grace the blind/held/sleeping/paralyzed enemy.

By if your group plays D&D as God Gygax intended, and thinks RAW is just something to keep nerds busy on the internet so they don't hack into Homeland Security, then a Fighter 6 can tank just fine.

Yes, if your DM caters to your class's ineptitude and plays all monsters as if they are mindless golems, sure a Fighter 6 can 'tank' fine. Even an animal with Int 1 or 2 won't continually spend its turns trying to bite through the thick metal armor around the person who's giving it love taps with a longsword instead of going after the squishy and tasty-looking guy in robes who's setting it on fire painfully. An actual intelligent monster such as a giant, troll, or (Pelor forbid) a Dragon will recognize that the Fighter 6 is a nonentity even faster...they don't even need to 'walk around exactly 5 feet away'...they walk right by, thumbing their nose at your single 1d8+Str attack of opportunity. And we haven't even gotten into monsters with ranged attacks, or things that fly (such as the dragon).


An effective tank is even more necessary in a low-optimization party, because the casters aren't capable of one-rounding encounters, and simply having lots of HP does not make you an effective tank.

Doc Roc
2010-05-03, 10:44 PM
By if your group plays D&D as God Gygax intended, and thinks RAW is just something to keep nerds busy on the internet so they don't hack into Homeland Security, then a Fighter 6 can tank just fine.

What?

No no no no no oww oww what?
Speaking as a C++ Hacker that.... That's not how the world works.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 10:46 PM
stuff..


thanks for the tips; I've never seen metamorphosis as worthwhile for anything other than polymorphing into something overpowered.



There's tons of stuff a psywar can do; just avoid (mostly) non-duration powers, though there ARE exceptions to this (such as hustle and psionic lion's charge). Using your power points judiciously will keep you going on marathon runs.


this is generally what I did with my first and only psywar. buff and swing. also, what are your feelings on hostile empathic transfer?



Just make sure you get as much reach as you can get away with; take a glaive instead of blowing a feat on EWP, with a locked gauntlet on one hand and a spiked gauntlet on the other, and cover the battlefield with your 'love'. Make sure to trip and disarm a lot; take Combat Reflexes if you want to make lots of AoOs (just make sure you have a really high Dex), and you can start laying the smack down on anything within 20' or more.


I think I'll go with the spiked chain (my DM gave me EWP for a really good backstory) and AoOs are indeed fun. I suppose that as long as I don't pull anything like flaming homer it shouldn't ruin the game.



Aberrant Reach (from Lords of Madness) increases your (unbuffed) reach by 5', and there are other ways to increase this total, as well.


this, specifically, would get books thrown at me. maybe if there were more... human ways of getting more range it'd be fine, but this would get my character kicked out.



Actual builds are forthcoming, if you like.

this would be really helpful.

Optimystik
2010-05-03, 10:49 PM
this, specifically, would get books thrown at me. maybe if there were more... human ways of getting more range it'd be fine, but this would get my character kicked out.

Expansion, of course. Not only do you get more reach, but you're also harder to bypass to get to the "squishies." And your DM can't complain either - you become easier to hit.

The Glyphstone
2010-05-03, 10:49 PM
There's Willing Deformity and Deformity (Tall), 2 feats together than give +5ft. reach, the same as Abberant Heritage and Inhuman Reach. The difference is that you have to be evil instead of mutated.

Optimystik
2010-05-03, 10:55 PM
There's also the Extend Reach power. I don't like it personally (it shifts the squares you threaten rather than adding to them, and the use is somewhat situational,) but if your DM is leery about power then that should satisfy him/her.

It's a swift action too, so you can manifest + full attack.

Riffington
2010-05-03, 10:56 PM
Yes, if your DM caters to your class's ineptitude and plays all monsters as if they are mindless golems, sure a Fighter 6 can 'tank' fine. Even an animal with Int 1 or 2 won't continually spend its turns trying to bite through the thick metal armor around the person who's giving it love taps with a longsword instead of going after the squishy and tasty-looking guy in robes who's setting it on fire painfully.

Fireball? I thought all your casters were throwing sparkles and mists and tangles all over the place, thus allowing the swordsman to do the tedious bit of actually killing monsters? And that if the swordsman were somehow gone, the wizard would have to teleport away (leaving the monsters unharmed) or go toe to toe with them using a scythe he doesn't even know how to hold properly?

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 10:59 PM
Fireball? I thought all your casters were throwing sparkles and mists and tangles all over the place, thus allowing the swordsman to do the tedious bit of actually killing monsters? And that if the swordsman were somehow gone, the wizard would have to teleport away (leaving the monsters unharmed) or go toe to toe with them using a scythe he doesn't even know how to hold properly?

the latter is more applicable, in the case of my party. remember, this is a very low optimization party.

EDIT:

and it looks like expansion will be my main reach-increasing method. thanks for the suggestions though.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-03, 11:05 PM
thanks for the tips; I've never seen metamorphosis as worthwhile for anything other than polymorphing into something overpowered.For some examples of the kinds of things you can do with metamorphosis (but not all of it is doable with polymorph), look here (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=2926.msg92285#msg92285). Yes, it's an extremely well-optimized build, and it would likely trample all over your game, but it does give a lot of utility uses for metamorphosis to give you some ideas.


this is generally what I did with my first and only psywar. buff and swing. also, what are your feelings on hostile empathic transfer?I prefer using either claws of the vampire or vampiric weapon, since they don't allow saving throws AND are multi-round duration.

Hostile empathic transfer is generally better-suited to psions and ardents (and possibly wilders, if you have extra powers to spare - ie, not bloody likely).


I think I'll go with the spiked chain (my DM gave me EWP for a really good backstory) and AoOs are indeed fun. I suppose that as long as I don't pull anything like flaming homer it shouldn't ruin the game.If you're getting a free EWP then go for it, although don't expect to be getting new chains any time soon.

...In fact, if you plan on going spiked chain, check out the soulbound weapon variant psychic warrior. (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20070214a) You'll have a nice spiked chain to pull out any time you need it, and it scales very nicely with your level, and is in no way overpowered. It gets kind of expensive, though, so manifest it at its lowest settings (or just high enough to get you what you really need) except for on boss fights.


this, specifically, would get books thrown at me. maybe if there were more... human ways of getting more range it'd be fine, but this would get my character kicked out.As was mentioned, expansion + reach weapon would work. Having a dagger-whip on standby for uber-reach would be nice as well, but that would require another EWP feat to use effectively.


this would be really helpful.So, you just want a fairly effective psywar build without a whole lot of overpowered options (such as metamorphosis)? Give me a bit, and I'll toss you one or two or three.

Greenish
2010-05-03, 11:08 PM
It is true that no rule in D&D prevents the bad guys from just walking around you on their initiative to the squishy casters, but that's bad DMing. If you stand in front and state that you are protecting the casters, the DM should be flexible about that, not have every monster just walk around you five feet out of reach.If you state that your harsh stare sends the Darkly Evil Brotherhood of Evil Darkness fleeing to the hills, you DM should be flexible about that.



Also, while there may be overlap, the nerds who argue RAW and the ones that would hack to Homeland Security aren't the same.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 11:11 PM
So, you just want a fairly effective psywar build without a whole lot of overpowered options (such as metamorphosis)? Give me a bit, and I'll toss you one or two or three.

if metamorphosis can be used to not break stuff, it'll work nicely. I like the idea of becoming just about anything and I especially like the variability of it.

term1nally s1ck
2010-05-03, 11:14 PM
If the wizard has to actually fight anything, he generally turns them into a bunny first.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 11:18 PM
If the wizard has to actually fight anything, he generally turns them into a bunny first.

we. are. level. six.

the casters not getting hit is still an issue at this point.

gbprime
2010-05-03, 11:22 PM
we. are. level. six.

the casters not getting hit is still an issue at this point.

Unless one of them is a simple druid variant. No wild shape, but wisdom bonus to AC. Add barkskin and maybe Plant Devotion feat and (s)he doesn't have much to worry about.

Optimystik
2010-05-03, 11:24 PM
Unless one of them is a simple druid variant. No wild shape, but wisdom bonus to AC. Add barkskin and maybe Plant Devotion feat and (s)he doesn't have much to worry about.

Druids already come with a tank, they don't need another :smalltongue:

gbprime
2010-05-03, 11:25 PM
Druids already come with a tank, they don't need another :smalltongue:
Yeahbut I thought we established that monsters like going AROUND the tank. :smalltongue:

Flickerdart
2010-05-03, 11:26 PM
Yeahbut I thought we established that monsters like going AROUND the tank. :smalltongue:
Not if the tank Improved Grabs them and then eats them they're not.

Tavar
2010-05-03, 11:36 PM
Plus, smart druids ride their tanks into battle. Or become tanks themselves. Actually, both Clerics and druids don't have to worry about being targets of opportunity, as both are more frontline oriented than arcanists.

gbprime
2010-05-03, 11:39 PM
I'm still a fan of making the spellcasters non-squishy to start with. Byproduct of cruel DM's I guess.

1 Cloistered Cleric 1 - Air Devotion, Plant Devotion
2 Simple Druid 1
3 Simple Druid 2 - Iron Will
4 Simple Druid 3
5 Simple Druid 4
6 Mystic Wanderer 1 - Spontaneous Healer

At level 6 you have wisdom to AC, cha to AC, and two devotion feats that add sacred and natural armor bonuses. If you can get your hands on some Mage Armor, you're breaking 30 AC with room to spare. And with a modest amount of equipment, breaking 50 AC is easy by late teen levels.

But... threadjack. My bad. :smallcool:

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 11:43 PM
I'm still a fan of making the spellcasters non-squishy to start with. Byproduct of cruel DM's I guess.

1 Cloistered Cleric 1 - Air Devotion, Plant Devotion
2 Simple Druid 1
3 Simple Druid 2 - Iron Will
4 Simple Druid 3
5 Simple Druid 4
6 Mystic Wanderer 1 - Spontaneous Healer

At level 6 you have wisdom to AC, cha to AC, and two devotion feats that add sacred and natural armor bonuses. If you can get your hands on some Mage Armor, you're breaking 30 AC with room to spare.

But... threadjack. My bad. :smallcool:

our casters don't believe in builds. I think that speaks for itself.

gbprime
2010-05-03, 11:46 PM
our casters don't believe in builds. I think that speaks for itself.

Pity. I guess tanking is not only worthwhile in your DM's campaign, it's vital.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 11:50 PM
Pity. I guess tanking is not only worthwhile in your DM's campaign, it's vital.

my point exactly.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-03, 11:51 PM
You're wanting a pure tank, and playing with psicrystals really won't be too horribly efficient until you hit metamorphosis (and I don't have a whole lot more time before it's time to hit the hay), so I only have one build for you at the moment.

This focuses on using its soulbound weapon to do really nasty things to its foes. Having an extra masterwork chain for mundane battles will help you when you don't need to spend a lot of power points.Human PsyWar 6
Str 17+1
Dex 18
Con 16
Int 15
Wis 18
Cha 14

Feats:
1 Combat Expertise (F), Improved Trip (F), Linked Power, Combat Reflexes, Hidden Talent (psionic grease, +2pp), Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Spiked Chain)B, Weapon Focus (Spiked Chain)B
2 Soulbound Weapon Variant ACF
3 Psicrystal Containment Something else
5 Psionic Meditation
6 Extend Power or Widen Power

Powers:
1 Call weaponry, psionic grease
2 Expansion
3 Vigor
4 Strength of my enemy
5 Hustle
6 Animal affinity

This one relies on Combat Reflexes and Trip attacks, and has some nice tricks up its sleeves. You can use psionic grease to disable foes while you finish others off. Link it with expansion so you get lots of reach, then move up to the non-greased foes and position them just within your reach, and prepare to AoO-trip them to death, giving more AoOs when they try to stand back up. Continue with a psionic grease each round if other enemies are threatening to be a problem. You can buff yourself using vigor, strength of my enemy, and animal affinity, depending on the needs of the moment. If you're in a boss battle, grab your soulbound weapon (with an appropriate set of enhancements, depending on the battle at hand; flaming, frost, suppression, and collision are perennial favorites). Use hustle to get extra movement options and to get your psionic focus back when you need to, and use Linked Power for more buffs, and either Extend Power for longer buffs (for long runs) or Widen Power (for hitting larger areas with psionic grease).

Continue to get more situational buffs for yourself (such as vampiric weapon, share pain, and greater concealing amorpha), and a few feats to help you deal more damage and have more options depending on whatever situation you find yourself in (like the Mage Slayer feats). But really, the core of the build is Improved Trip + Combat Reflexes + expansion + reach.

Save your power points for when you really need them, but the only power you should be needing for almost every battle is expansion. If you're in tight quarters, make sure you have some weapons you can rely on there, and a ranged weapon for really long distance battles.

The Rabbler
2010-05-03, 11:59 PM
You're wanting a pure tank, and playing with psicrystals really won't be too horribly efficient until you hit metamorphosis (and I don't have a whole lot more time before it's time to hit the hay), so I only have one build for you at the moment.

This focuses on using its soulbound weapon to do really nasty things to its foes. Having an extra masterwork chain for mundane battles will help you when you don't need to spend a lot of power points.Human PsyWar 6
Str 17+1
Dex 18
Con 16
Int 15
Wis 18
Cha 14

Feats:
1 Combat Expertise (F), Improved Trip (F), Linked Power, Combat Reflexes, Hidden Talent (psionic grease, +2pp), Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Spiked Chain)B, Weapon Focus (Spiked Chain)B
2 Soulbound Weapon Variant ACF
3 Psicrystal Containment
5 Psionic Meditation
6 Extend Power or Widen Power

Powers:
1 Call weaponry, psionic grease
2 Expansion
3 Vigor
4 Strength of my enemy
5 Hustle
6 Animal affinity

This one relies on Combat Reflexes and Trip attacks, and has some nice tricks up its sleeves. You can use psionic grease to disable foes while you finish others off. Link it with expansion so you get lots of reach, then move up to the non-greased foes and position them just within your reach, and prepare to AoO-trip them to death, giving more AoOs when they try to stand back up. Continue with a psionic grease each round if other enemies are threatening to be a problem. You can buff yourself using vigor, strength of my enemy, and animal affinity, depending on the needs of the moment. If you're in a boss battle, grab your soulbound weapon (with an appropriate set of enhancements, depending on the battle at hand; flaming, frost, suppression, and collision are perennial favorites). Use hustle to get extra movement options and to get your psionic focus back when you need to, and use Linked Power for more buffs, and either Extend Power for longer buffs (for long runs) or Widen Power (for hitting larger areas with psionic grease).

Continue to get more situational buffs for yourself (such as vampiric weapon, share pain, and greater concealing amorpha), and a few feats to help you deal more damage and have more options depending on whatever situation you find yourself in (like the Mage Slayer feats). But really, the core of the build is Improved Trip + Combat Reflexes + expansion + reach.

Save your power points for when you really need them, but the only power you should be needing for almost every battle is expansion. If you're in tight quarters, make sure you have some weapons you can rely on there, and a ranged weapon for really long distance battles.

... I am in awe. thank you so much for this.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 12:06 AM
Ack. Just noticed you have an extra feat, since I deleted Psicrystal Affinity (so you can't have Psicrystal Containment). Oops. Replace with something else of your choosing; maybe an Expanded Knowledge at level 5, Stand Still, or Knock-Down?


... I am in awe. thank you so much for this.I have more, if you want them.

The one that primes you for using metamorphosis starts out using Psicrystal Affinity, dimension swap and some Mounted Combat goodies for a LOT of mobility (you can swap out your psicrystal for a party member, if you like, and your mount increases your space, and thereby your coverage of the battlefield). Once you have metamorphosis available, you can use your pet rock as your mount, granting it Flyby Attack as one of its feats, and you can then use some crafting feats to get a psychoactive skin of proteus. If all else fails, turn your psicrystal into a cage (make it round, so they're in a hamster ball) around your party, and they can cast out of it while it flies around, like an orbital cannon.

term1nally s1ck
2010-05-04, 12:10 AM
If all else fails, turn your psicrystal into a cage (make it round, so they're in a hamster ball) around your party, and they can cast out of it while it flies around, like an orbital cannon.

This. Is. Awesome.

Optimystik
2010-05-04, 12:13 AM
This. Is. Awesome.

Welcome to psionics. Enjoy your stay!

gbprime
2010-05-04, 12:15 AM
Suddenly I'm envisioning a Tarrasque with a tennis racket. :belkar:

The Rabbler
2010-05-04, 12:20 AM
Suddenly I'm envisioning a Tarrasque with a tennis racket. :belkar:

"disintegrete, disintegrate, disintegrate the cleverly designed encounter" -:elan:

Arbitrarious
2010-05-04, 12:44 AM
If you have a druid or anyone with modest UMD...

Step #1 entangle
Step #2 Wind Wall (optional)
Step #3 Produce flame or normal range if no Wind Wall
Step #4 Console DM crying in corner after 3rd fight.

It's not perfect. Things that fly or teleport can ignore it, but those should be few and far between at your level. Most mobs, especially heavy hitters have meh Reflex so few should save. Even those that do are slowed to half speed so you should be able to drop them before they can escape the massive area of entangle if you set them at the edge of it. The trick is to put them just deep enough in that they cant justify walking out the back end then around. Usually 1/4 the way in works well.

I just realized this doesn't really help on the tanking end, but honestly Lycan has covered that pretty well.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2010-05-04, 01:15 AM
Go Dragonborn of Bhamaut (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20060105b&page=1) and get Entangling Exhalation from Races of the Dragon. I'd probably go with a Wild Elf or Wood Elf, since a Human will lose his bonus feat and skill points. Use your breath attack as often as possible to keep your foes entangled (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#entangled). That will make it easier for your teammates to get good positions on them, and difficult for the opponents to go running past you.

Take Earth Devotion and if any opponents try to charge you can create difficult terrain in their path, completely countering their charge and wasting their entire round of actions. This works best if you can turn undead, since it's usable at a one-for-one cost. Consider going Crusader/Cleric/RKV, or maybe use Bone Talismans (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/mb/20040721a) with UMD. You can put one dose of Unguent of Timelessness on eight Bone Talisman spell foci, and they will last 3650 minutes per caster level (60.833 hours) per casting, so you could just hire a few NPC Druids to cast it for you and it will last over a week at the minimum caster level. That's not many uses, but the Unguent is cheap and the spell foci are free, plus the unguent never wears off so they can be reused indefinitely, so it's just a matter of getting it cast more often.

Keld Denar
2010-05-04, 01:44 AM
Do note that its often missed that when you Expand up, your dex drops. This affects your Combat Reflexes. If you have a 14 Dex and Augement your Expansion to gain a Huge size, your Dex drops to 10, meaning you are back down to 1 AoO per round.

Obviously fixed by having a decent Dex and buying/crafting +Dex items or investing heavily in the Prowass power (possibly Linked to other goodies), but something a lot of people tend to overlook in the excitement of "ZOMG EXPAND TO HUGE SIZE FOR ELEVENDY HUNDRED THREATENED SQUARES!!!"

Being able to AoO 20 creatures doesn't do you as much good when you only have 2 AoOs available. :smallcool:

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 01:51 AM
Do note that its often missed that when you Expand up, your dex drops. This affects your Combat Reflexes. If you have a 14 Dex and Augement your Expansion to gain a Huge size, your Dex drops to 10, meaning you are back down to 1 AoO per round.

Obviously fixed by having a decent Dex and buying/crafting +Dex items or investing heavily in the Prowass power (possibly Linked to other goodies), but something a lot of people tend to overlook in the excitement of "ZOMG EXPAND TO HUGE SIZE FOR ELEVENDY HUNDRED THREATENED SQUARES!!!"

Being able to AoO 20 creatures doesn't do you as much good when you only have 2 AoOs available. :smallcool:I did put an 18 in his Dex score for a reason; plus, I gave him animal affinity.

Grabbing Power Attack and Shock Trooper later on will definitely help with damage, of course, even if you can't put quite as much into it as a fighter can (but you'll get your damage from other sources). Basically, anything a fighter does you can do better.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-05-04, 02:30 AM
Wait. He wanted a tank, and proposed a crusader build, and people are suggesting other things? I'd say play a Warforged Crusader 6 using a Glaive and grab Extra Granted Maneuver, Adamantine Body, Stone Power, Combat Reflexes, and Stand Still. Compared to an unoptimized party you will be neigh-unstoppable and effectively protect/buff your allies. If you're going human you'll miss the DR and immunities, but you'll be okay; swap out Adamantine Body and Stand Still for Combat Expertise and Improved Trip, and nab Power Attack (or some other feat to taste) for your human feat.

Greenish
2010-05-04, 02:57 AM
Wait. He wanted a tank, and proposed a crusader build, and people are suggesting other things?Well, he said he could use a break from ToB (and specifically asked Lycan for those sweet Psywarr builds).

Killer Angel
2010-05-04, 03:52 AM
our casters don't believe in builds. I think that speaks for itself.

This made me think...
Tanking is worthwhile, 'cause you drive away the monsters' attention from your rear lines. But for tanking, you must meet at least one of the following starting conditions.
1) you must FORCE the monsters to attack you. This can be done with the suggestions posted in this thread.
OR
2) you need a group and a DM that play without excessive tacticism, or in a "classic" and simple way (healbot cleric, blaster wizard, etc.).
In this case, you need only to be tough, 'cause most of the monsters will tend to attack the meleer anyway...

Greenish
2010-05-04, 04:26 AM
This made me think...
Tanking is worthwhile, 'cause you drive away the monsters' attention from your rear lines. But for tanking, you must meet at least one of the following starting conditions.
1) you must FORCE the monsters to attack you. This can be done with the suggestions posted in this thread.
OR
2) you need a group and a DM that play without excessive tacticism, or in a "classic" and simple way (healbot cleric, blaster wizard, etc.).
In this case, you need only to be tough, 'cause most of the monsters will tend to attack the meleer anyway...Yes, if you don't have to force the monsters to attack you, you don't have to force the monsters to attack you. I think we have established that quite firmly by now. :smallamused:

Killer Angel
2010-05-04, 04:41 AM
Yes, if you don't have to force the monsters to attack you, you don't have to force the monsters to attack you. I think we have established that quite firmly by now. :smallamused:

I was simply saying that, if his group isn't optimized (the caster that don't like builds?) and the DM set the fights for such a group, probably there's no need to have a Challenging Crusader to "force" the enemies to attack the frontliner, 'cause the enemies (in standard circumstances) won't even try to bypass him, even if he's a dwarven defender.

The question is: what's the playstyle of the DM?
Which IMO is important. For example, my DM simply hate tripping, and my Horizon tripper losed very quickly his main strenght, when suddenly all the enemies started winning all the contests...

Greenish
2010-05-04, 04:59 AM
I was simply saying that, if his group isn't optimized (the caster that don't like builds?) and the DM set the fights for such a group, probably there's no need to have a Challenging Crusader to "force" the enemies to attack the frontliner, 'cause the enemies (in standard circumstances) won't even try to bypass him, even if he's a dwarven defender.Unoptimized doesn't necessarily equal bad player, and I don't consider making your monsters mindless automata a good way of making encounters easier.

The question is: what's the playstyle of the DM?
Which IMO is important. For example, my DM simply hate tripping, and my Horizon tripper losed very quickly his main strenght, when suddenly all the enemies started winning all the contests...Well, he said he has to protect the casters, so assumedly the casters are in danger.

Oh, and arbitrarily gimping a character focused on one thing by fudging rolls against him is a pretty %#&)" thing to do.

Runestar
2010-05-04, 05:11 AM
Depending on how comfortable with summoning rules, a wizard can actually make for a viable tank.

Why? At 6th lv, a focused specialist conjurer can cast summon monster 4-5 times/day, bringing in a huge fiendish monstrous centipede each time. With the str bonus from augment summoning and its huge size, it can grapple foes even more reliably than a fighter. This locks it down, since it cannot move, much less attack your PCs.

Being huge, it is also a fairly effective blocker. It will be much harder to circumvent a 3x3 monster than a 1x1 square fighter.

And you don't have to pray the the DM somehow has a momentary bout of insanity and decides to attack your tank over some other more dangerous player. You are proactively locking down the offending monster. Honestly, that centipede does things even the most "tanky" of fighters can only drool over. :smallamused:

Only drawback is that you will need to familiarise yourself with the fairly complicated grapple rules. :smallsigh:

Either conjurer6, conjurer3/master specialist3 or conjurer5/malconvoker1 is fine.

Killer Angel
2010-05-04, 05:17 AM
I don't consider making your monsters mindless automata a good way of making encounters easier.


Me neither, but it happens



Well, he said he has to protect the casters, so assumedly the casters are in danger.


Indeed, this renders my question moot...


Oh, and arbitrarily gimping a character focused on one thing by fudging rolls against him is a pretty %#&)" thing to do.

:smallsigh:
I was almost happy when my pc finally died...

Optimystik
2010-05-04, 05:45 AM
Wait. He wanted a tank, and proposed a crusader build, and people are suggesting other things?

Crusaders are good - great, even - but don't have half the tricks of a well-built Psywar. They are better at a straight-up tanking job, but psionics reward creativity immensely.


The question is: what's the playstyle of the DM?
Which IMO is important. For example, my DM simply hate tripping, and my Horizon tripper losed very quickly his main strenght, when suddenly all the enemies started winning all the contests...

We tend not to consider cheating to be a "playstyle." If the DM gets fed up and simply starts Rule 0'ing everything then that's best handled OOG.

Tokiko Mima
2010-05-04, 06:08 AM
If you need a tanking quick-fix on almost any character, grabbing even a single level of Dragonfire Adept along with the previously mentioned Entangling Exhalation (RoD) feat makes your character dramatically less easy to bypass, and your foes far easier to maneuver away from if they try. :smallcool:

Killer Angel
2010-05-04, 08:30 AM
We tend not to consider cheating to be a "playstyle." If the DM gets fed up and simply starts Rule 0'ing everything then that's best handled OOG.

Meh, it was a bad example from my part. :smallredface:
But the style (and the inventive) matters a lot: one of my DMs usually tend to beat always the meleers... even when playing a "smart" gelugon, or a 16 lev. summoner, with tons of critters in melee with fighters, leaving the casters free to act.
Another one, loves to separate the group, focusing his killing efforts on one half of the group.

Optimystik
2010-05-04, 08:36 AM
Another one, loves to separate the group, focusing his killing efforts on one half of the group.

There are ways around strategies like this. The simplest is having two tanks; however, if the group suspects that the DM might still split the casters off by themselves, they need to adjust their builds to be less squishy and more defense-oriented.

An amusing trick you can pull here will be to use a War Weaver - no matter which split that caster ends up in, he can keep everybody buffed and supported through his tapestry.

Person_Man
2010-05-04, 09:43 AM
My Guide to Melee Combos (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=127026) covers most of the non-class specific melee combos out there and how to use them, and is a library of other links (how to improve damage, improve reach, Knight Handbook, etc).

Let me know if you have any questions.

Gnaeus
2010-05-04, 10:02 AM
This made me think...
Tanking is worthwhile, 'cause you drive away the monsters' attention from your rear lines. But for tanking, you must meet at least one of the following starting conditions.
1) you must FORCE the monsters to attack you. This can be done with the suggestions posted in this thread.
OR
2) you need a group and a DM that play without excessive tacticism, or in a "classic" and simple way (healbot cleric, blaster wizard, etc.).
In this case, you need only to be tough, 'cause most of the monsters will tend to attack the meleer anyway...

OR
3) You make the enemies WANT to attack you, in preference to the other party members. A charger build doesn't concern himself with tricks like Goad. He runs up and does 500 damage to the nearest enemy, to make other intelligent enemies spend actions disabling him. Likewise, a CoDzilla doesn't need a trick to make enemies attack him. They can ignore him at their own peril. Offense usually beats Defense in 3.5, for tanking as in everything else.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 10:09 AM
OR
3) You make the enemies WANT to attack you, in preference to the other party members. A charger build doesn't concern himself with tricks like Goad. He runs up and does 500 damage to the nearest enemy, to make other intelligent enemies spend actions disabling him. Likewise, a CoDzilla doesn't need a trick to make enemies attack him. They can ignore him at their own peril. Offense usually beats Defense in 3.5, for tanking as in everything else.OR
4) You disable enemies so they can't touch your charges even if they want to (or you either, for that matter). That's why Improved Trip, Stand Still, Knock-Down, (all with Combat Reflexes), grappling, and grease work for being a tanky-type; they give you the advantage because you're able to disable foes while keeping the upper hand (though grappling does suffer considerably next to all the others, since the others can disable them without disabling you, too).

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 10:39 AM
Next build (best if it's a mostly outdoors campaign, especially in a war scenario, with mass battles; not so great underground until later):

This one's a mounted build; the psicrystal is useful for utility in the beginning, and you can research metamorphosis and take Craft Universal Item later to get The Ultimate Combat MountTM later on.Human Lion Totem/Whirling Frenzy Barbarian 1/PsyWar 5
Str 17+1
Dex 18
Con 16
Int 15
Wis 18
Cha 14

Feats:
1 Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, EWP (Spiked Chain)B, Whirling Frenzy, Lion Totem
2 Linked Power
3 Psicrystal Affinity, Spirited Charge
6 Psionic Meditation, Combat Reflexes

Powers:
1 Expansion
2 Vigor
3 Burst/grip of iron/hammer
4 *Dimension swap
5 Hustle

*Researched from the nomad list

With this one, you get a (preferably) Huge mount to increase your battlefield controllage (since you share its 15' x 15' space). Toss up a burst/grip of iron/hammer or hustle Linked with expansion the first round to increase your reach and your chances of successfully making trip attacks (hustle is more expensive, pp-wise, but it'll let you regain your psionic focus or make a move action to position yourself better for the upcoming pouncing charge; the other is mostly for cheap swift action economy). Stay near the casters, making Improved Trip AoOs against anything that gets close. On your turn, you make a whirling frenzied, pouncing, Ride-By, Spirited Charge out, making Improved Trip attacks to keep the foes prone. Send out your psicrystal to a strategically advantageous location so you can use dimension swap either yourself or one of your party members with it, if the occasion arises. Use hustle to get yourself extra move actions to further improve your place on the battlefield.

As before, use Linked Power to buff, though you'll want to use swift action powers to do so, since you'll want to be getting double-damage on your charges.

Also, research share pain, and later, metamorphosis, to make full use of your psicrystal, and nab strength of my enemy, and vampiric weapon, as well. Use your feats to get some Expanded Knowledge powers and Metamorphic Transfer, if you like.

This isn't quite as overwhelming as the first (unless you abuse metamorphosis to its fullest extent), but it's still a pretty decent build. WAY mobile, for sure.

Greenish
2010-05-04, 10:52 AM
Next build (best if it's a mostly outdoors campaign, especially in a war scenario, with mass battles; not so great underground until later):

This one's a mounted build; the psicrystal is useful for utility in the beginning, and you can research metamorphosis and take Craft Universal Item later to get The Ultimate Combat MountTM later on.Human Lion Totem/Whirling Frenzy Barbarian 1/PsyWar 5
Str 17+1
Dex 18
Con 16
Int 15
Wis 18
Cha 14

Feats:
1 Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, EWP (Spiked Chain)B, Whirling Frenzy, Lion Totem
2 Linked Power
3 Psicrystal Affinity, Spirited Charge
5 Psionic Meditation
6 Combat Reflexes

Powers:
1 Expansion
2 Vigor
3 Burst/grip of iron/hammer
4 *Dimension swap
5 Hustle

*Researched from the nomad list

With this one, you get a (preferably) Huge mount to increase your battlefield controllage (since you share its 15' x 15' space). Toss up a burst/grip of iron/hammer or hustle Linked with expansion the first round to increase your reach and your chances of successfully making trip attacks (hustle is more expensive, pp-wise, but it'll let you regain your psionic focus or make a move action to position yourself better for the upcoming pouncing charge; the other is mostly for cheap swift action economy). Stay near the casters, making Improved Trip AoOs against anything that gets close. On your turn, you make a whirling frenzied, pouncing, Ride-By, Spirited Charge out, making Improved Trip attacks to keep the foes prone. Send out your psicrystal to a strategically advantageous location so you can use dimension swap either yourself or one of your party members with it, if the occasion arises. Use hustle to get yourself extra move actions to further improve your place on the battlefield.

As before, use Linked Power to buff, though you'll want to use swift action powers to do so, since you'll want to be getting double-damage on your charges.

Also, research share pain, and later, metamorphosis, to make full use of your psicrystal, and nab strength of my enemy, and vampiric weapon, as well. Use your feats to get some Expanded Knowledge powers and Metamorphic Transfer, if you like.

This isn't quite as overwhelming as the first (unless you abuse metamorphosis to its fullest extent), but it's still a pretty decent build. WAY mobile, for sure.Wait, what level you take the barbarian? Your feats seem a bit off.

Mike_G
2010-05-04, 10:59 AM
Yes, if your DM caters to your class's ineptitude and plays all monsters as if they are mindless golems, sure a Fighter 6 can 'tank' fine. Even an animal with Int 1 or 2 won't continually spend its turns trying to bite through the thick metal armor around the person who's giving it love taps with a longsword instead of going after the squishy and tasty-looking guy in robes who's setting it on fire painfully. An actual intelligent monster such as a giant, troll, or (Pelor forbid) a Dragon will recognize that the Fighter 6 is a nonentity even faster...they don't even need to 'walk around exactly 5 feet away'...they walk right by, thumbing their nose at your single 1d8+Str attack of opportunity. And we haven't even gotten into monsters with ranged attacks, or things that fly (such as the dragon).



It has nothing to do with monsters being played as mindless. It has to do with monsters not playing as though they have metagame knowledge.

The guy in armor is swing three pounds of sharp, probably magical steel at you. "Thumbing your nose" at the attack he makes as you pass him is not acting intelligently, it's knowing "I have more than enough HP to soak 1d8 + Str, but the weedy guy in robes will target my Will save, which is low."

That's kinda metagame. The ogre doesn't know that a hit can't drop him. He does know that being cut hurts, and three to four feet of sharpened steel should be able to kill him or cut his hamstrings, and he should treat it with appropriate respect.

Look at football. Sure, the defenders would all love to tackle the nice, squishy quarterback, but it's hard to get past all the bruisers in the offensive line, none of whom have spiked chains.

walking around the tank is just taking advantage of the sequential initiative system.

Now, acrobatic foes who try to use Tumble, etc, to get past the tanks makes sense. A skirmisher type should try to bypass the defensive line, but a grunt, not so much.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 11:07 AM
Wait, what level you take the barbarian? Your feats seem a bit off.Err...level 1.

1. Barbarian 1, Flaw/Flaw/1st/Human/Whirling Frenzy ACF/Lion Totem ACF
2. PsyWar 1, Bonus
3. PsyWar 2, Bonus/3rd
4. PsyWar 3, --
5. PsyWar 4, --
6. PsyWar 5, Bonus/6th

The powers are listed according to which psychic warrior level they're taken at (though this order really doesn't matter much beyond being 1st and 2nd level powers).

Greenish
2010-05-04, 11:15 AM
1. Barbarian 1, Flaw/Flaw/1st/Human/Whirling Frenzy ACF/Lion Totem ACF

1 Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, EWP (Spiked Chain):smallconfused:

Isn't that five feats used when you only have four?

[Edit]:
1. Barbarian 1, Flaw/Flaw/1st/Human/Whirling Frenzy ACF/Lion Totem ACF
2. PsyWar 1, Bonus
3. PsyWar 2, Bonus/3rd
4. PsyWar 3, --
5. PsyWar 4, --
6. PsyWar 5, Bonus/6th
1 Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, EWP (Spiked Chain)B, Whirling Frenzy, Lion Totem
2 Linked Power
3 Psicrystal Affinity, Spirited Charge
5 Psionic Meditation
6 Combat ReflexesThat doesn't match.

Amphetryon
2010-05-04, 11:16 AM
Look at football. Sure, the defenders would all love to tackle the nice, squishy quarterback, but it's hard to get past all the bruisers in the offensive line, none of whom have spiked chains.

walking around the tank is just taking advantage of the sequential initiative system.

Now, acrobatic foes who try to use Tumble, etc, to get past the tanks makes sense. A skirmisher type should try to bypass the defensive line, but a grunt, not so much.Defensive players who are agile enough to get around the grunts often tackle the nice, squishy QB, or the RB if he hasn't gotten past the grunts yet. With no good way to simulate the simultaneous action of defensive line surge + offensive line blocking, D&D doesn't emulate a football scrimmage very well for this particular example. Either the 'defensive lineman' monster moves before the 'offensive lineman' tank can react, or the tank hits the monster, who then has to weigh the pain it felt from a tin can hitting it with a pointed stick vs the problem of the guy with no metal on him setting the monster on fire.

Even 'dumb' monsters should be able to tell which attack hurt more, and react accordingly.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 11:23 AM
:smallconfused:

Isn't that five feats used when you only have four?

[Edit]:That doesn't match.He gets EWP as a DM-granted bonus feat.

Also, your Order of Operations is off; there're no feats at level 5.

Greenish
2010-05-04, 11:29 AM
He gets EWP as a DM-granted bonus feat.

Also, your Order of Operations is off; there're no feats at level 5.Oh yeah, I'd forgotten he gets the EWP for free. Though the "order of operations" is copy/pasted from your own post.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 11:30 AM
Oh yeah, I'd forgotten he gets the EWP for free. Though the "order of operations" is copy/pasted from your own post.My last edit was 30 minutes before that quote, if you'll note.

Greenish
2010-05-04, 11:33 AM
My last edit was 30 minutes before that quote, if you'll note.Coinciding with my first query of your feats. I didn't notice you changed it since. :smallredface:

Derjuin
2010-05-04, 11:42 AM
If there are other melee in the group, like a rogue (I haven't seen any mentioned yet), you could take the Backstab feat. This makes it so whenever you're flanking a monster and the monster attacks someone other than you, you get an AoO against them. Which, if I'm reading reading rules right, could be a trip attempt, or if you simply have a powerful melee attack, reason enough for the monster to turn back around and attack you.

All Backstab requires is Combat Reflexes; you could combine that with Improved Combat Reflexes to make 2 AoO every time it comes up.

Mike_G
2010-05-04, 12:02 PM
Defensive players who are agile enough to get around the grunts often tackle the nice, squishy QB, or the RB if he hasn't gotten past the grunts yet. With no good way to simulate the simultaneous action of defensive line surge + offensive line blocking, D&D doesn't emulate a football scrimmage very well for this particular example.


No, there isn't a good mechanical, RAW way to do this, but the DM should grasp that.

If Fighty McBashalot says "I will stand in the front line and defend the casters," yes, the DM can just have the enemy bypass him on their initiative. If this were a wargame and the DM were trying to win, that would be good tactics.

As an RPG simulation, it should be obvious that if the monster tries to walk around the Fighter, he would shift to one side or the other and actively block. No there is no "rule," but it's how we play, since it makes sense.

An agile defender outmaneuvering the offensive line is the Rogue tumbling past to get at the squishies. That makes sense. Taking your 30' move action to go around and hit the guy in the back row does not.



Either the 'defensive lineman' monster moves before the 'offensive lineman' tank can react, or the tank hits the monster, who then has to weigh the pain it felt from a tin can hitting it with a pointed stick vs the problem of the guy with no metal on him setting the monster on fire.

Even 'dumb' monsters should be able to tell which attack hurt more, and react accordingly.

You are confusing the monster's perception with the metagame knowledge of the DM.

A sword hit that does minor damage represents a near miss, or shallow scrape or partially dodged/blocked attack. Because I barely parried an opponent's first lunge doesn't mean that I should find him no real threat.

In real life, if the guy in the back row had a more dangerous weapon, like a gun, and the swordsman in the front row only nicked me on his first attack, that still doesn't mean I'd walk past him and give him the chance for a nice free hack or thrust at my back while I rushed his buddy.

In the Corps they didn't teach us to bypass the guy in the first trench just because he didn't kill you with his first shot. You shoot or bayonet the guy as you pass.

Gnaeus
2010-05-04, 12:08 PM
You are confusing the monster's perception with the metagame knowledge of the DM.

It isn't metagame knowledge to know that the wizard is more dangerous than the fighter.

If the Corps taught you to take out the guy with a sharpened stick before the guy with a grenade launcher, we need to seriously reevaluate our military training. You don't sit there and duke it out with the cannon fodder while the other guy shoots you in the head.

Amphetryon
2010-05-04, 12:32 PM
No, there isn't a good mechanical, RAW way to do this, but the DM should grasp that. You're asking the DM to do something with the game that it's specifically not good at emulating. This generally leads to a frustrating increase in house rules as a ripple effect takes place, IME.


If Fighty McBashalot says "I will stand in the front line and defend the casters," yes, the DM can just have the enemy bypass him on their initiative. If this were a wargame and the DM were trying to win, that would be good tactics.

As an RPG simulation, it should be obvious that if the monster tries to walk around the Fighter, he would shift to one side or the other and actively block. No there is no "rule," but it's how we play, since it makes sense.That gives the tank more mobility than the game is designed around. Smart players will exploit this new ability to the best of *their* ability, on the theory that their characters, beyond about level 3, are at a bare minimum, the equivalent of Special Ops level, the best of the best. Choosing to do otherwise is to ignore their own character's involvement in a dangerous world.

Alternately, it leads to the extra house rules/gentlemen's agreements I alluded to before to prevent a sudden spike in new crazy tactics. That may be fine for your game; please don't insist it's the 'right' way for others to play.



An agile defender outmaneuvering the offensive line is the Rogue tumbling past to get at the squishies. That makes sense. Taking your 30' move action to go around and hit the guy in the back row does not. Sounds a lot like the defensive lineman is 'stunting,' to me. The difference, as already mentioned, is that in D&D the offensive lineman has to wait for his initiative to react to the 'stunt,' giving the defensive lineman no reason not to hit the QB if he can.[/QUOTE]






In the Corps they didn't teach us to bypass the guy in the first trench just because he didn't kill you with his first shot. You shoot or bayonet the guy as you pass.Threat assessment is a vital skill for a combat veteran. Any D&D character beyond 1st level is a de facto veteran of 13 or more potentially deadly situations. What you're arguing reads, from here, as if the monster should stop and take care of what it perceives - based on its understanding of the battle - as a minor threat while a greater threat stands within range, ready to take out both the monster and its comrades. Not just 'hit at it on the way by,' which can be narrated as a swipe and a miss at the nuisance with the sword if you insist, but take the time to engage and eliminate the lesser threat, before moving on to the obvious bigger threat.

That's a different take on 'sound combat tactics' than I have ever heard or read.

Malificus
2010-05-04, 12:46 PM
Any D&D character beyond 1st level is a de facto veteran of 13 or more potentially deadly situations.

Or less. He could have been in harder fights. Like four 1 on 1 fights with equals. Heck, him and a buddy keep ganging up on 4 lone level 2 opponents.

Reverent-One
2010-05-04, 01:48 PM
It isn't metagame knowledge to know that the wizard is more dangerous than the fighter.

See, what you and those who automatically say that tanking sucks are making the assumption that the wizard is more dangerous than the fighter, which in low optimization games (you know, like the ones where people play straight fighters without trip/grapple/whatever tricks) may not be the case.

Say you're in a game that, like the OP's, is at level six, at which point the stereotypical low-optimization evoker wizard's trick is most likely burning things with the likes of scorching ray and fireball or lightning bolt, which would do an average of 12 and 18 damage, respectively. A sword and board fighter with 18 str, a longsword, the basic weapon focus/spec feats, and has a +1 longsword (perhaps with one of the flaming/frost/similar enchanement) does 4 (average base sword damage) + 4 (Str) + 2 (Weapon Spec) + 1 (+1 enchantment) + 3 (average flame/frost/ect damge) = 13 damage. And at level 6 the fighter can attack twice in a round. How is the wizard the obvious greater threat again that it's worth risking the 13 damage AoO? Note that I even only accounted for 2 of the theoretical fighter's feats, so it could go higher. The wizard has to optimize more just to keep up.

Now before someone jumps down my throat saying that the wizard could make far better spell choices, could metamagic, and even basic evoker wizards do better later on, you're right. And if the Wizard optimizes while the tank doesn't, he does become the obvious threat. BUT if the Wizard player optimizes, the wanna-be tanker should be optimizing as well, whether that's by being another class and picking up abilities that mechanically force foes to attack you, using trip/grappel/whatever tricks, or becoming an unbercharger that causes foes to worry about you.

In short, I think tanking works, EVEN if the tanker is a straight level 6 fighter, with the critcal assumption that the optmization level between the party is relatively even. Otherwise it falls apart (but then, I think a lot of issues pop up if the party is notably unbalanced).

Gnaeus
2010-05-04, 02:09 PM
See, what you and those who automatically say that tanking sucks are making the assumption that the wizard is more dangerous than the fighter, which in low optimization games (you know, like the ones where people play straight fighters without trip/grapple/whatever tricks) may not be the case.

It MAY not be the case. Although it is likely to be.

In a low optimization game however, the wizard is also likely to be the enemy that can be one or two-shotted. Killing the soft targets quickly so that you can focus on the tougher ones later also helps.


Say you're in a game that, like the OP's, is at level six,

That is part of the trap that is tanking. At level 1, you are likely to fight mindless, animal, or stupid foes that run up and engage the tank. Your tank does as much or more damage than the typical wizard, he looks good. Every level, the tank grows linearly, and the caster grows exponentially. At 6, in an optimized party, the wiz had outstripped the tank. By 10, even a poorly optimized wizard is likely a bigger threat. As you go up in levels, the things that will stop to fight the meatshield get fewer and fewer, and the things that will fly/teleport/aoe/otherwise ignore him get more and more common. By the highest levels, something like 1 in 20 printed monsters isn't intelligent enough to kill the casters first, and equipped with tactical methods to do so.

So is the game going to end at level 6?


BUT if the Wizard player optimizes, the wanna-be tanker should be optimizing as well, whether that's by being another class and picking up abilities that mechanically force foes to attack you

Those are usually a dead end.


using trip/grappel/whatever tricks

Those are often effective. But they don't make the tank a bigger threat than the caster. They just allow him to effectively keep his enemies from running around him to attack what they want to attack. Unless, of course, they have other equally effective tactics to bypass or ignore him, which many monsters have.


or becoming an unbercharger that causes foes to worry about you.

Yes, I did suggest that the best way to tank was to make yourself a big enough threat that the enemies will fight you.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 02:17 PM
Lucky for both the ToB classes and the psychic warrior (not to mention egoist psions) and even factotums, they all are potentially a big enough threat that they need to be dealt with, even with a tier-one caster in the party (unless said caster is taking full advantage of his tier-onedness, which pretty well destroys any encounter before it even begins), and they have the tools to match just about anything that's thrown at them within a few notches away from their ECL (whatever that happens to be at the moment).

It's the lower tiers that have problems tanking, but they're also the ones which were originally designed for the job.

Really, tier three is the sweet spot for tanks, since they're both supremely effective AND versatile.

Ravens_cry
2010-05-04, 02:19 PM
Yes, I did suggest that the best way to tank was to make yourself a big enough threat that the enemies will fight you.
At least at low levels, most monsters have little training, warriors at best. Most of the creatures they will have faced will have been things that bite or smash. They aren't going to be tactical geniuses. Their instinctive responses, and people tend to go by instinct when they are scared, such as when someone is sticking a sword in their face, is to try and smash back. And a tank can take that kind of beating, hence the term meat-shield. Now, some creatures, such as hobgoblins, do have a militaristic society with a good grasp of tactics. But an ogre or troll is going to use it strength, as has served it so often before, likely not realizing until it's on the ground bleeding out, that the guy with the robes twirling his fingers was an actual threat, it being unlikely they met one before.
You can make things too smart.

Greenish
2010-05-04, 02:23 PM
Really, tier three is the sweet spot for tanks, since they're both supremely effective AND versatile.Tier 3 is the sweet spot. :smallcool:

Flickerdart
2010-05-04, 02:26 PM
But what if there are two Ogres? One of them is smashing Fightey in the face. It is a perfectly reasonable assumption on the other's part to assume that his friend can handle Fightey's pitiful flails and he can go and smack down Wizzy, who has just set both of them on fire. Fightey can do nothing to stop them. If, however, Fightey was a real threat instead of just a guy who hits for a little bit, the Ogre would see that his friend is being slaughtered and will stay back and help.

Ravens_cry
2010-05-04, 02:31 PM
But what if there are two Ogres? One of them is smashing Fightey in the face. It is a perfectly reasonable assumption on the other's part to assume that his friend can handle Fightey's pitiful flails and he can go and smack down Wizzy, who has just set both of them on fire. Fightey can do nothing to stop them. If, however, Fightey was a real threat instead of just a guy who hits for a little bit, the Ogre would see that his friend is being slaughtered and will stay back and help.
If Ogre 1 is holding his guts in with his hands after a round or two, then Ogre 2 might go to help or avenge his friend, or even run away.

Greenish
2010-05-04, 02:33 PM
If Ogre 1 is holding his guts in with his hands after a round or two, then Ogre 2 might go to help or avenge his friend, or even run away.Wasn't that exactly his point?

Gnaeus
2010-05-04, 02:34 PM
At least at low levels, most monsters have little training, warriors at best. Most of the creatures they will have faced will have been things that bite or smash. They aren't going to be tactical geniuses. Their instinctive responses, and people tend to go by instinct when they are scared, such as when someone is sticking a sword in their face, is to try and smash back. And a tank can take that kind of beating, hence the term meat-shield. Now, some creatures, such as hobgoblins, do have a militaristic society with a good grasp of tactics. But an ogre or troll is going to use it strength, as has served it so often before, likely not realizing until it's on the ground bleeding out, that the guy with the robes twirling his fingers was an actual threat, it being unlikely they met one before.
You can make things too smart.



That is part of the trap that is tanking. ......As you go up in levels, the things that will stop to fight the meatshield get fewer and fewer, and the things that will fly/teleport/aoe/otherwise ignore him get more and more common. By the highest levels, something like 1 in 20 printed monsters isn't intelligent enough to kill the casters first, and equipped with tactical methods to do so.

So is the game going to end at level 6?

Even if you ARE fighting dumb thuddies like Ogres or Trolls, there is always the possibility of an enemy leader smart enough to order them to kill the casters.

Ravens_cry
2010-05-04, 02:36 PM
So is the game going to end at level 6?
If it's E6, it will.

Flickerdart
2010-05-04, 02:36 PM
If Ogre 1 is holding his guts in with his hands after a round or two, then Ogre 2 might go to help or avenge his friend, or even run away.
Uh, yes. That's what I said, in the first part of the sentence you bolded a part of. That's not contested. If the Fighter is a viable threat, he can tank. If.

Ravens_cry
2010-05-04, 02:39 PM
Uh, yes. That's what I said, in the first part of the sentence you bolded a part of. That's not contested. If the Fighter is a viable threat, he can tank. If.
Well, this forum tends to be rather anti-fighter, so viable threat generally means doing more then HP damage in most local forumites eyes.
I am. . .ambivalent on the matter.

Flickerdart
2010-05-04, 02:41 PM
Well, this forum tends to be rather anti-fighter, so viable threat generally means doing more then HP damage in most local forumites eyes.
I am. . .ambivalent on the matter.
In this very thread it has already been pointed out that a Fighter who can effectively kill is a viable way to draw damage towards himself. Your assessment is poorly informed.

Ravens_cry
2010-05-04, 02:46 PM
In this very thread it has already been pointed out that a Fighter who can effectively kill is a viable way to draw damage towards himself. Your assessment is poorly informed.
My sample size is larger then a single thread.:smalltongue:

Akal Saris
2010-05-04, 02:55 PM
Why not a build that trips/entangles, does ubercharger damage, has crazy AOO's, and taunts the opponent? That way you've covered all your bases... :smallconfused:

Dragonborn Water Orc Barbarian 2/Ftr 4/Crusader 2

32 PB:
Str: 20
Dex: 14
Con: 16
Int: 6
Wis: 9
Cha: 13
Bump Cha at 4th, and Str at 8th (included)

Feats:
1: Power Attack
1F: Entangling Breath [Flaw]
1F: Quicken Breath [Flaw]
2B: Improved Trip [Wolf Totem Barbarian]
3: Knockdown
3B: Improved Bull Rush [Ftr 1]
4B: Goad [Ftr 2]
6: Leap Attack
6B: Shock Trooper [Ftr 4]

There - at ECL 8, he has a free action breath weapon from dragonborn that entangles and does a little damage. He can pounce and charge with shock trooper, leap attack, and power attack, for usual crazy damage. He has improved trip and knockdown, so every hit over 10dmg will knock an opponent flat. He has goad, DC 15, for melee foes with a weak will save. And crusader 2 gets the default tanking stance of move-and-I-hit-you, as well as some quasi-DR and some 2nd and 3rd level maneuvers. From here, just continue crusader or head into war mind I guess, getting combat reflexes and whatnot.

The Glyphstone
2010-05-04, 03:02 PM
You're confusing "anti-fighter" bias with "pro-effectiveness" bias*. As mentioned here, and in other threads, lockdown/chain trippers are typically on a fighter base, and remarkably effective and lauded. So are uberchargers, or other fighters built around actually being dangerous. A full-plate wearer with sword and board is not dangerous in any way - he is hard to hurt and has low damage output. Without a compelling method of drawing attention, his sword slashes aren't going to be enough to keep a monster nearby.

*As evidence, see that we are also anti-Monk, anti-Samurai, anti-Truenamer, anti-Reaping Mauler, and occasionally anti-Shadowcaster.

Togo
2010-05-04, 03:05 PM
In this very thread it has already been pointed out that a Fighter who can effectively kill is a viable way to draw damage towards himself. Your assessment is poorly informed.

I've played a few tanks.

The first was a grapple specialist who was mainly just very tough. When we got surprised and charged by several charger builds, people were happy to have a tough guy standing in the way. Because of the way the DM ran the game, there was no way to entirely avoid being surprised, so being tough was really the only way to block that kind of thing.

The interesting thing about playing a meat sheild was the dynamic with multiple monsters and the CR system. Generally speaking, trying to stop all the monsters getting past is a mistake. Blocking the first two or three is plenty. If there are more monsters than that, the chances are high that they something the rest of the party can handle.

If the monsters try and get past, then as long as I force them to take the long way around, it works fine. They can't full attack, the spellcasters can generally move and cast, and so long as they move back past me, the monsters have to move every round, past the meat sheild, just to keep on attacking.

Summoned monsters make sub-optimal meat sheilds, because they are so big. Any area that's big enough for a large summoned monster is generally large enough to get around the summoned monster, and I find many DMs ignore summoned monsters as targets unless they're playing creatures that are of bestial intelligence. The one exception is the ever versatile Mount, which is perfect for blocking tight corridors.

The second was a trip and bullrush specialist. He used a reach weapon, and tripped anyone who tried to get past, or get too close to him. That usually only delayed the monsters for a round or two, but in most cases that was plenty.

I also played in the same party as a 'the best defense is a good offense' fighter. If the monsters ignored him, he killed them in a single round. it worked fine.

I also played with a wizard who insisted on tanking. Despite a good choice of spells that made him very difficult to hit, he simply couldn't cover enough territory to make himself a worthwhile target. He was still effective as a spellcaster, but after a monster got lucky and ate him whole, he stayed in the back in future.

Wizards can tank in an emergency, but they're really not all that good at it.

Gnaeus
2010-05-04, 03:13 PM
I love to see chain trip builds and uberchargers in my parties. They can be fight winners. The only drawback is that both builds are situational. An ubercharger who is prevented from charging is fairly mediocre. Lots of monsters are immune to tripping.

If the DM doesn't attack their weaknesses, they are fabulous. In a higher threat game you have to move to tier 1-3 tanks (Crusaders, Warblades, PsiWars, CoDzillas or other T1-2 gishes).

Togo
2010-05-04, 03:15 PM
You're confusing "anti-fighter" bias with "pro-effectiveness" bias*.

I honestly don't believe so.

Tanking is worthwhile under two conditions.

Either when the party has characters who don't want to get into melee and aren't particularly skilled at avoiding it themselves,..

...or when the party has a lot of light infantry/melee rogues or other characters that are best in close combat, but not at standing alone against a melee monster. Either way, it's worthwhile having a tank.

Tinydwarfman
2010-05-04, 03:18 PM
I also played with a wizard who insisted on tanking. Despite a good choice of spells that made him very difficult to hit, he simply couldn't cover enough territory to make himself a worthwhile target. He was still effective as a spellcaster, but after a monster got lucky and ate him whole, he stayed in the back in future.

Wizards can tank in an emergency, but they're really not all that good at it.

On the contrary, I find wizards* to be some of the best tanks. If you build them for melee. Mirror image + Alter Self + Greater/Luminous Armor + misc. buffs means that monsters will actually have a harder time hitting you than the fighter, and since you are a wizard, they actually want to hit you. Of course batman is still more effective, but again, tier 1 shows that it really can do everything well.s

*: Generally gishes since they are on the front lines. Why would a controller wizard be on the front lines?

Gnaeus
2010-05-04, 03:20 PM
I honestly don't believe so.

Tanking is worthwhile under two conditions.

Either when the party has characters who don't want to get into melee and aren't particularly skilled at avoiding it themselves,..

...or when the party has a lot of light infantry/melee rogues or other characters that are best in close combat, but not at standing alone against a melee monster. Either way, it's worthwhile having a tank.

"Tank" is a useful, although not generally necessary, party role.

Tank does not always equal fighter or knight. A CoDzilla can tank VERY well. No one argues that it isn't worthwhile having a CoDzilla. It may not be worthwhile having a fighter tank, depending on the type of game. Tank doesn't always equal PC either. A Dread Necro or Cleric can often rely on undead tanks.

Edwin
2010-05-04, 03:29 PM
On the contrary, I find wizards* to be some of the best tanks. If you build them for melee. Mirror image + Alter Self + Greater/Luminous Armor + misc. buffs means that monsters will actually have a harder time hitting you than the fighter, and since you are a wizard, they actually want to hit you. Of course batman is still more effective, but again, tier 1 shows that it really can do everything well.s

*: Generally gishes since they are on the front lines. Why would a controller wizard be on the front lines?

Though if we assume that the monsters are smart enough to target the unassuming wizard rather than the mean-looking fighter, then why not assume they are smart enough to simply dispel those precious buffs?

Plenty of monsters have dispel as an SLA, or in a pinch, could acquire an efficient means of doing so. I mean, they are, apparently, rather tactically aware - so if your enemies bring a wand to a sword fight, why not break the wand?

Ravens_cry
2010-05-04, 03:32 PM
*As evidence, see that we are also anti-Monk, anti-Samurai, anti-Truenamer, anti-Reaping Mauler, and occasionally anti-Shadowcaster.
I haven't seen those in action. I have seen fighters, of both the best defence is offence and the best defence is defence, and both were effective at their chosen roles, killing the crap out of things and stopping others from getting to the squishies.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-04, 03:43 PM
Astral constructs actually make awesome tanks, assuming you know how to build them in reaction to the threats you're posed with, especially if you're somewhat optimized for them.

My shaper/constructor 11 has been soloing several CR11 encounters by himself by unleashing an Ectoplasmic Weapon of Mass Destruction on his foes, then getting out of Dodge. The only one he's been stymied with has been an advanced remorhaz with a bunch of templates (and there's no way that thing was CR 11).

PhoenixRivers
2010-05-04, 03:47 PM
Summoned monsters make sub-optimal meat sheilds, because they are so big. Any area that's big enough for a large summoned monster is generally large enough to get around the summoned monster, and I find many DMs ignore summoned monsters as targets unless they're playing creatures that are of bestial intelligence. The one exception is the ever versatile Mount, which is perfect for blocking tight corridors.

While I agree with several of your points, this is a sticking point.

Summon Monster 7: Bone Devil. As a smaller summon, you wouldn't think it's great at slowing things down, until you factor in that it can drop Ice Walls like they're going out of style.

For several of the larger summons, getting them into threat range makes something that you'll want to focus on.

gbprime
2010-05-04, 03:54 PM
Though if we assume that the monsters are smart enough to target the unassuming wizard rather than the mean-looking fighter, then why not assume they are smart enough to simply dispel those precious buffs?

Plenty of monsters have dispel as an SLA, or in a pinch, could acquire an efficient means of doing so. I mean, they are, apparently, rather tactically aware - so if your enemies bring a wand to a sword fight, why not break the wand?

Because most of the time you're dealing with monsters that don't dispel things. An orc warband is smart enough to have a general plan at least as complicated as your average defensive line in football. Engage the front, and get a few guys through to the squishier archers and casters in the back. The only thing that slows this down is IDENTIFYING a squishy character.

Depends on the monsters and level too. a low level orc ambush is just gonna charge. but at mid levels, it'll be a staged ambush and they won't be all bunched up if they have any choice. There will be a second wave still hidden and outside the entangle radius for a couple rounds after the first charges in. And I can see an Orc ranger waiting until someone unarmored casts something before he charges in and begins two-weapon fighting all over the poor caster.

Runestar
2010-05-04, 04:26 PM
Summoned monsters make sub-optimal meat sheilds, because they are so big. Any area that's big enough for a large summoned monster is generally large enough to get around the summoned monster, and I find many DMs ignore summoned monsters as targets unless they're playing creatures that are of bestial intelligence. The one exception is the ever versatile Mount, which is perfect for blocking tight corridors.

That's odd, my experience tells me the opposite. It is exactly because your summons are so big that the enemies are forced to stop and deal with them rather than simply attempt to skirt round them.

Plus, they go away at the end of combat anyways, so being killed is no big deal, and any damage they take is potential damage not dealt to your party (eg: a form of indirect healing).

Next, because of their size, they tend to be in a better position to control the battlefield via combat maneuvers such as trip, grapple, swallow whole and bull-rush, which allows them some measure of actually ensuring the foe is tied-up, rather than simply praying the DM deigns to target it over something else.

That's the key difference. If I were a fighter trying to pass off as a tank, as mentioned earlier, I need to work with the DM to ensure he remains useful. But for the summons, I don't have to. I can safely tell the DM to do his worse, and play his monsters as tactically as he wishes, and the summons will still make for good tanks. Perhaps not in form, but every bit in essence, as they will nevertheless be effective in diverting enemy attention and force them to waste precious actions attacking them over another PC. :smallsmile:

TheMeMan
2010-05-04, 04:35 PM
I haven't seen those in action. I have seen fighters, of both the best defence is offence and the best defence is defence, and both were effective at their chosen roles, killing the crap out of things and stopping others from getting to the squishies.

I believe that is largely due to people thinking fighters just hit stuff with a big stick, and that's the end of their tactical prowess. A well-built fighter can do quite a bit beyond just standing there and hoping something goes for him. He has a great deal of combat options open to him, if he is playing intelligently. Not saying it's definitely the most powerful build, but a decent fighter is usually a good team member in many parties. All considering he plays his role beyond run&smash.

Runestar
2010-05-04, 04:39 PM
A well-built fighter can do quite a bit beyond just standing there and hoping something goes for him. He has a great deal of combat options open to him, if he is playing intelligently.

Such as? Even combat maneuvers tend to favour his foes, since the fighter would lag behind in terms of bab, size and str.

The Glyphstone
2010-05-04, 04:46 PM
Martial battlefield control, for one thing. Even against monsters he can't trip, the simple combo of Stand Still and a reach weapon is incredibly effective at keeping baddies in one place, especially when backed up by a trip-monkey framework. Most monsters with the size/strength to resist being tripped will also have a lower-than-average Reflex save, making them open season for a Stand Still lockdown.

gbprime
2010-05-04, 08:04 PM
Such as? Even combat maneuvers tend to favour his foes, since the fighter would lag behind in terms of bab, size and str.

Some maneuvers and feat chains are better than others. My next fighter build will use the Three Mountains feat at level 6. Two hits on a target in a round and he can nauseate it. (DC 10 + STR mod + 1/2 char level)

Edwin
2010-05-05, 01:59 AM
Because most of the time you're dealing with monsters that don't dispel things. An orc warband is smart enough to have a general plan at least as complicated as your average defensive line in football. Engage the front, and get a few guys through to the squishier archers and casters in the back. The only thing that slows this down is IDENTIFYING a squishy character.

Depends on the monsters and level too. a low level orc ambush is just gonna charge. but at mid levels, it'll be a staged ambush and they won't be all bunched up if they have any choice. There will be a second wave still hidden and outside the entangle radius for a couple rounds after the first charges in. And I can see an Orc ranger waiting until someone unarmored casts something before he charges in and begins two-weapon fighting all over the poor caster.

Then, as I said, seeing as the orcs are intelligent enough to know that the greatest threat they'll face is a skinny guy in a dress, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that they would prepare some way of dealing with him?

Something that doesn't involve them running headfirst past a guy swinging a sword in their general direction? Self-preservation is a quite natural reaction, and unless the orcs are either incredibly braver or stupid, in which they probably wouldn't know to go for the caster anyway, they're unlikely to take the hit for the good of the team.

Getting hit by a sword hurts, you know.

Killer Angel
2010-05-05, 02:17 AM
You are confusing the monster's perception with the metagame knowledge of the DM.
A sword hit that does minor damage represents a near miss, or shallow scrape or partially dodged/blocked attack. Because I barely parried an opponent's first lunge doesn't mean that I should find him no real threat.



It isn't metagame knowledge to know that the wizard is more dangerous than the fighter.



Is not only a matter of metaknowledge of the pcs' abilities. Every monster has some intelligence AND experience, AND some knowledge of his own weakness.
Take a troll: he knows that no one can kill him and that he heals even the worst wounds. He fears only fire, cause fire wounds don't heal quickly.
If a were the DM, the troll will try to kill first anyone holding or usin' fire, because he knows in the deep that fire is the enemy. This behaviour fits an Int 6.
Put a Dwarven Defender in front of the troll and an archer with a flaming bow behind the DD, and the troll will try to reach the archer. Give a torch to the DD, and the troll will attack the DD.
If behind the DD, there's a wizard that trows fireball, i will not go for him, 'cause i cannot identify the wizard as the one who's hurting me; but if the wiz. shoots scorchin ray, sure as hell I'll try to kill him.

Metagame is try to kill the wizard regardless his actions because I (as a DM) know that he's dangerous and I know that the Dwarven Defender will exit from defensive stance if he wants to follow me.

Dumb monsters don't use smart tactic, but follow their primal instinct, sometime at their disadvantage: a hill giant will try to kill the dwarf, even if the dwarves have racial bonuses against giants.

(taken and adapted from an old post o' mine, 'cause it fits well)

Math_Mage
2010-05-05, 04:19 AM
No, there isn't a good mechanical, RAW way to do this, but the DM should grasp that.

If Fighty McBashalot says "I will stand in the front line and defend the casters," yes, the DM can just have the enemy bypass him on their initiative. If this were a wargame and the DM were trying to win, that would be good tactics.

As an RPG simulation, it should be obvious that if the monster tries to walk around the Fighter, he would shift to one side or the other and actively block. No there is no "rule," but it's how we play, since it makes sense.

I guess I should point out that there is indeed a rule for this. It's called 'readied actions'. That's before we get into all the feats and builds that allow for more effective tanking.

Gnaeus
2010-05-05, 06:37 AM
Dumb monsters don't use smart tactic, but follow their primal instinct, sometime at their disadvantage: a hill giant will try to kill the dwarf, even if the dwarves have racial bonuses against giants.

I have already raised 2 points against this same argument. Which no one has addressed, but they keep repeating the argument anyway as if that makes it more true.

1. As you go up in level more and more monsters will be smart enough to act intelligently. Fewer and fewer act like dumb animals. Tanking gets worse and worse.

2. Even at a level where a troll is a significant part of your CR, they DO work with other monsters. An enemy leader can easily order the troll to attack the threat. Those hill giants might prefer dwarf targets, but their leader could be quite intelligent.

Killer Angel
2010-05-05, 07:02 AM
I have already raised 2 points against this same argument. Which no one has addressed, but they keep repeating the argument anyway as if that makes it more true.


Sorry if I missed them, it wasn't my intention.


1. As you go up in level more and more monsters will be smart enough to act intelligently. Fewer and fewer act like dumb animals. Tanking gets worse and worse.


Those monsters will have a mid-high Int score, or Wis score. Those with low values, can sometime support the lack of smartness with experience.
The fact that, as you go up in level, enemies' combat style will tend to be less predictable, don't render my statement less true: dumb monsters are dumb, and there's a limit to a justifiable smart strategy.
Anyway, I agree that tanking became more difficult at higher levels, exactly for the reason that is less easy to "fool" or force the enemies to attack the tanker.

EDIT:

As you go up in levels, the things that will stop to fight the meatshield get fewer and fewer, and the things that will fly/teleport/aoe/otherwise ignore him get more and more common. By the highest levels, something like 1 in 20 printed monsters isn't intelligent enough to kill the casters first, and equipped with tactical methods to do so.


I totally agree on this.



2. Even at a level where a troll is a significant part of your CR, they DO work with other monsters. An enemy leader can easily order the troll to attack the threat. Those hill giants might prefer dwarf targets, but their leader could be quite intelligent.

Of course. IF there is a sufficiently smart leader, he can give instructions.
What's your point? a dumb monster can act smartly, if someone tells him what to do?
This only support the fact that you effectively need a in-game justification, to avoid metagaming.

Mike_G
2010-05-05, 07:25 AM
I have already raised 2 points against this same argument. Which no one has addressed, but they keep repeating the argument anyway as if that makes it more true.

1. As you go up in level more and more monsters will be smart enough to act intelligently. Fewer and fewer act like dumb animals. Tanking gets worse and worse.

2. Even at a level where a troll is a significant part of your CR, they DO work with other monsters. An enemy leader can easily order the troll to attack the threat. Those hill giants might prefer dwarf targets, but their leader could be quite intelligent.

What I think we need to look at is, what do we want from the game?

We view the DM more as narrator than referee. Sure, you can exploit the rules to showcase the futility of tanking. You can make the fighter cry great salty tears with your tactical-fu and display every truth you've lean from the forums, and show how you know the Batman spell list by heart and you know the two viable Fighter builds even though Clerics are better and you can exploit the weaknesses of those builds.

But what do you get from that?

Who has fun if you don't tweak the campaign towrds the PC's? If the Ranger never faces his favored enemies? If the Druid always has to adventure in cities? If the Rogue never sees anything that isn't immune to Sneak Attack?

If the point is to enjoy a heroic fantasy game, why not play the enemy grunts in such a way that the Fighter can hold them off for the casters? It makes enough sense that they treat the big guy with the big sword as a threat. Most Orcs haven't read the Char-Op boards. Maybe they've gained level fighting other humanoid warrior types, not small parties of exceptional individuals. And plenty of real life experienced combat commanders have gotten screwed when they face a new kind of enemy.

There is nothing wrong with tailoring the encounters to the party. Throw in the occasional enemy who circumvents their tactics just to keep a threat level and sense of danger, but don't just marginalize the guy who picked a certain class.

Greenish
2010-05-05, 07:27 AM
Most Orcs haven't read the Char-Op boards.You'll need to cite your sources on that one.

Mike_G
2010-05-05, 07:32 AM
You'll need to cite your sources on that one.

Trolls, yes.

Orcs, not so much.

The Cat Goddess
2010-05-05, 07:33 AM
You'll need to cite your sources on that one.

Orc Favored Class: Barbarian. Barbarian = Illiterate. :smallbiggrin:

Togo
2010-05-05, 07:35 AM
Such as? Even combat maneuvers tend to favour his foes, since the fighter would lag behind in terms of bab, size and str.

The higher level you get, the less the Tank's lead is overall, but the more specialised his opponents become. Disarming wizards is always funny, as is tripping creatures that are large or smaller, and grappling anything that you can't hurt for whatever reason. Sure you don't try and bull rush a gargantuan vermin, but then that's where your ability to stand toe-to-toe with almost any creature and come out on top really shines through.

Kaiyanwang
2010-05-05, 07:58 AM
I always assumed that real "tanking" (i.e., stay under the big boss raising your aggro :smallsigh: and keeping it from going to beat your teamates) was a MMORPG thing.

I was used to a fighter that simply "slays away" things from the rogue or wizard, with the occasional additional mace or paw strike of the non-zilled cleric and druid. That was "tanking" in D&D and you dan do it quite effectively.

Of course, the game added more things to the tank side. 3.0 added combat reflexes, then came stand still. Then Goad. Then Ticket of blade.


As a side note, for a fighter tank, I could think to something on the line of combat reflexes, double hit from MH, martial study and martial stance for Ticket of Blades, stand still, superior combat reflexes, robilar, combat expertise, superior combat expertise, allied defense, goad, zentharim + imperious command combo.

MAD, of course, and you should absolutely have one or more way to fly, and should rely on allies for DPS (a combo coming in my mind, an adaptable flanker rogue + kusari gama protected standing near you).

Gnaeus
2010-05-05, 08:04 AM
Most Orcs haven't read the Char-Op boards. Maybe they've gained level fighting other humanoid warrior types, not small parties of exceptional individuals. And plenty of real life experienced combat commanders have gotten screwed when they face a new kind of enemy.

Maybe the Orcs haven't. (Although if they have a shaman with spellcraft they certainly have individuals with the knowledge and intelligence to act intelligently.) The DROW, on the other hand, are smarter than humans, with centuries of experience in dealing with parties of exceptional individuals (mostly, other Drow). Most dragons, intelligent outsiders, evil priests, mind flayers..... These are all creatures (and only a small proportion of the creatures) that are likely to have experience with classed individuals AND are likely to be smarter than your DM. If the DM doesn't play these creatures to the best of his tactical ability, you aren't really fighting dragons.


There is nothing wrong with tailoring the encounters to the party. Throw in the occasional enemy who circumvents their tactics just to keep a threat level and sense of danger, but don't just marginalize the guy who picked a certain class.

The DM isn't marginalizing the fighter. The SYSTEM is marginalizing the fighter. The DM can choose to pick monsters that are all stupid, or he can choose to play them below their abilities (while risking suspension of disbelief). He can also choose not to have the party fight in an undead temple because it makes the rogue look bad, or never to fight fire giants because the sorcerer chose all fire spells.

Or the DM can suggest "Hey man, sword and board fighter isn't going to live long in my game. Let me point out Warblade if that is the concept you want to play". Or he can let the party play what it likes, throw challenging encounters at them, and if the fighter feels marginalized by his class choice he can let him make a new character at a more appropriate power level. My DM says that in the campaigns that he used to play in everyone played full BAB characters at level 1, then started committing suicide by monster around level 5 in order to reroll casters (I am NOT advocating this. But some people apparently play that way). Or the DM can pick a system that caters to the playstyle of his players ("Hmm. Everyone wants to run up and hack at the enemy until it dies. Maybe Werewolf, or even E6")

In any event, how the DM chooses to deal with the weakness of a certain build/class/concept is up to the DM and the party. Saying that a low-damage tank is OK because the DM can choose to have all the monsters stop and fight you is like saying that Monk is balanced because the DM can choose to include bracers of armor, monks belt, a flight item and other balancing gear in his treasure. Of course he can. It doesn't mean that he will, or even that he should. It also doesn't mean that it isn't weak just because the DM is pulling his punches.

Togo
2010-05-05, 01:14 PM
In any event, how the DM chooses to deal with the weakness of a certain build/class/concept is up to the DM and the party. Saying that a low-damage tank is OK because the DM can choose to have all the monsters stop and fight you is like saying that Monk is balanced because the DM can choose to include bracers of armor, monks belt, a flight item and other balancing gear in his treasure. Of course he can. It doesn't mean that he will, or even that he should. It also doesn't mean that it isn't weak just because the DM is pulling his punches.

I used to play a low damage tank on the convention circuit (Living Greyhawk). He was highly effective but a little unreliable until he hit 6th level and then went from 6th to 15th as an extremely effective character. I still play him from time to time.

It's perfectly possible to do a good tank, but you need to coordinate your tactics with the rest of the party. It's a party role more than a build. If you don't coordinate your tactics, then yes, you're relying on the DM being kind to make it work. If you do, then whether your opponents are being played as smart or dumb doesn't make much difference.

Greenish
2010-05-05, 01:17 PM
It's perfectly possible to do a good tank, but you need to coordinate your tactics with the rest of the party. It's a party role more than a build. If you don't coordinate your tactics, then yes, you're relying on the DM being kind to make it work. If you do, then whether your opponents are being played as smart or dumb doesn't make much difference.Well, how did you keep the enemies from your allies?

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-05, 01:42 PM
Well, how did you keep the enemies from your allies?Tell the party wizard where to cast grease?

Togo
2010-05-06, 04:07 PM
Well, how did you keep the enemies from your allies?

Depends on the situation, your build and what your party is like (and the levelm and the opposition, and the DM, etc.). For the basic 'keep the monsters away from the squishes', ...

In a narrow corridor, you keep to the front and don't let anyone get past you. Carry a tower sheild if you can use one to give the party cover if you need to.

In a larger space, you go at the front, and use a reach weapon. If you get an action then ready an action to strike an enemy who tries to move near you.

So take a fairly typical example, a large tank with a reach weapon. You're covering a threatened area 50' feet across, which is ample in most circumstances, and more than enough if the party don't lag too far behind you. If someone attacks you, you get an attack of opportunity and trip them, and then get a free attack with imp trip. If someone moves through your threatened area you trigger your readied action and trip them, using your attack of opportunity to hit them if they stand up. You then go before them next round, and either reposition to do the same trick or just move in and full attack.

If they're not trippable, the chances are they're huge so just ready an action to move into their way. If they're charging that's as far as they can go, if they're moving then they're still not likely to able to manuoevre around you to reach the squishes.

Of course a proper tank does more than get in the way. Part of the role is to provide a safe attack enviroment for strikers/light infantry, and spellcasters with short range spells. That involves getting right up to the monster so that the rest of the party can act over your shoulder. In this situation it's rarely practical to stop the monsters reaching the rest of the party entirely, but if you can make them spend a move action and suffer attacks of opportunity to do it, while staying in full attack range yourself, it will rarely be a good option for them.

Another good tactic is ring-around-the-rosie. The party spreads out so that the single huge monster can only move and get a single attack on one of them. They then flee to behind the tank. Properly executed, you can get attacks of opportunity on the monster every round, plus a full attack, while limiting it to a single attack a round. Either that or it's forced to attack the tank. The cost is that whichever PC gets targeted has to swallow their pride and spend a round getting safely away, using smoke, tumble, available cover, or whatever.

At higher levels you have to be more subtle, but the same principle applies. Anything that can get past your tank really can't stand a full attack from it, so you need a tighter formation, and the number of creatures that you have to chase down increases. Again, the principle is to put the enemy in a situation where they either spend their actions running away, or suffer a devastating full attack every round. Against a single enemy you can afford to trade the tank's actions for the enemy, provided the rest of the party aren't just decorational.

Battlefield control is probably better at keeping the party and monsters separate, provided you have the right effect, can act before the monsters close, and don't mind keeping the party away from the monsters. They're really different roles.

Greenish
2010-05-06, 04:23 PM
Depends on the situation, your build and what your party is like (and the levelm and the opposition, and the DM, etc.). For the basic 'keep the monsters away from the squishes', ...

<stuff>Yeah, it seems I confused you to someone advocating standing there with a sword'n'board, for reasons I can't fathom. You're right of course.

Though I might not go so far as to call "tanking" and "battlefield control" completely different roles, I think of the former as a subset of the latter. Trippers and Stand-stillers especially blur the line.

Lycanthromancer
2010-05-06, 05:10 PM
What happens if the creature has trample? Or uses overrun? Or bull rush? Or Tumble? Or teleport? Or can fly? Or has reach? Or uses ranged weapons? Or has the ability to pounce and Ride-By Attack? Or even just has a high Jump modifier? Etc.

Fighters really can't do much here, unless they're really, really big.

okpokalypse
2010-05-06, 05:30 PM
thanks for the tips; I've never seen metamorphosis as worthwhile for anything other than polymorphing into something overpowered.

this is generally what I did with my first and only psywar. buff and swing. also, what are your feelings on hostile empathic transfer?

It's great with Opportunity Power (Meta Psionic) so that you can make AOOs by using Touch Powers.

Another good Metamorphosis target is the War Troll @ L12. 31 Str, 29 Con and you inherit the ability to Daze with every attack.

Another nice Feat is Linked Power. That way, Round 1 you can link Metamorphosis w/ Expansion, so 1st round Metamorphosis goes off, making you a War Troll (Large) and then ext round expansion kicks in and jump you to Gargantuan (@ higher levels, of course).

Using the aforementioned Hydra Metamorph, you could go Colossal and those heads are doing, what, 6d6+20 Damage or so?

okpokalypse
2010-05-06, 05:55 PM
Although, I've found the Ardent to be a better option than the Psy Warr as of late. I can just do a whole lot more with the same AC and BAB. Sure, 1 less HP per level on Average - but I'm really not getting hit a whole lot, and having like 5x the PSP is a huge boon. Plus, getting things like Anticipatory Strike, Temporal Acceleration, Mend Wounds and Spirit of War are just wonderful...

I always have Inertial Armor (+13 Armor AC) on...

Round 1:
- Temporal Acceleration (19 PSP - 3 "Free" Buff Rounds) [Swift]


FR1: Linked Power -> Metamorphosis (7) & Precognition, Defensive (13)
FR2: Linked Power -> Spirit of War (15) & Animal Affinity, Str (3)
FR3: Linked Power -> Expansion (7) & Animal Affinity, Con, Dex (8)
(I also take a Move Action each "round" - so I've moved 120')

- Either Full Attack on most sensible target OR drop a Tornado Blast & put myself in position to AOO anyone with casting ability (I do have 20' reach now after all, and a 20'x20' base)

Seems like a lot of PSP to start-up (74), but I've got about 450 PSP, so that 74 ain't a ton - but it would practically deplete a normal Psy Warr.

At full buff I'm running well over 50 AC, over 400 HP and my Fort & Will saves are pretty untouchable.

JaronK
2010-05-06, 06:52 PM
Just to show how tanking can be made to actually work, consider the following build:

Dragonborn Orc (or Water Orc if allowed) Lion Totem Wolf Totem Whirling Frenzy Barbarian 2/Fighter 2/Crusader 16. Get flaws if you can. Go with Improved Shield Bash, Shield Charge, Shield Slam, Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Shock Trooper, Leap Attack, Headlong Rush, Extra Granted Manuever, and whatever other feats you like (note that you get Improved Trip free). Curling Wave Strike might be nice too. You might as well have wings as your Dragonborn type.

Wield a +1 Valorous Spiked Large Shield of Bashing with whatever other enchantments fit and some half decent armor, plus the usual gear.

You have two basic strategies. If you can, charge the enemies. Due to Shield Charge and Shield Slam, you automatically get to trip and daze anyone you hit, and due to Improved Trip you get to hit them a second time if they get tripped (triggering a second chance to daze). Obviously, this keeps them the heck down and off your people. If you can't charge, stay pretty near the squishy party members. You can use Shield Block to add 4+Shield AC modifier to the AC of any party member, as well as Iron Guard's Glare for another effective 4 AC. This rapidly adds up to actually noticeable improvements. Later on you get Shield Counter to just shut down attacks. You can also trip people plenty. Consider getting an item that gives you a first level Tiger Claw manuever, and taking Sudden Leap... then you can jump back and charge the target you're next to. And of course you can heal with your strikes.

Anyway, that gives you a shield based tank that is actually good at protecting allies and hurting enemies.

JaronK

okpokalypse
2010-05-07, 12:41 PM
One more comment as I've been thinking about it.

The best tank is a CHA Junkie Favored Soul / Sacred Exorcist that gets Divine MetaMagic - Persist. Once you're the appropriate level, you dip Sacred Exorcist (who keeps giving you a casting progression) and get turns. If you play it right, you can easily hit 40 Cha, and with a few items, can have in excess of 30 Turns per day. These all get blown to Persist. Here was my fun combo...

Persisted Righteous Wrath of the Faithful
Persisted Holy Aura
Persisted Visage of the Deity
Persisted Miracle -> Bite of the WereBear

Between my items and buffs, these Persists were all CL 32+, so pretty much un-dispellable.

Add In:
Mass Conviction (7 Hour Duration)

My Spells/Day were 9/9/9/8/8/8/8/7/6. So these weren't denting me.

The Party Benefit was +3 Attack, +3 Damage, +Extra Attack @ Max BAB, +4 AC (Deflect), +4 Saves (Resist), +6 Saves (Morale), Immune to Possesion & Mind-Affectations.

My Bonuses, in addition to that were (Combined), +20 Str, +12 Con, +4 Dex, +2 Int, +4 Wis, +4 Cha +8 Nat Armor, +Power Attack, +Blind-Fight, DR 10, Resistances & Immunities, 60' Fly, SR 25.

Then when combat rolls around, blow another Miracle for "Giant Size" and stack another +32 Str, +12 Con, +12 Nat Armor by going to Colossal Size for 1 Minute.

There's nothing quite like a Claw (6d6+30) / Claw (6d6+30) / Claw (6d6+30) / Bite (8d8+15) sequence when Colossal Sized w/ Bite of the Werebear. The 500 HP and 62 AC didn't hurt either.

Gnaeus
2010-05-07, 03:12 PM
Thats good. A well built cleric or druid can easily function at a similar level. An archivist with a nice DM could probably beat it. I haven't seen anyone dispute that a full divine caster 20 makes a superlative tank on any day in which they choose to take that role.

Togo
2010-05-07, 06:30 PM
What happens if the creature has trample? Or uses overrun? Or bull rush? Or Tumble? Or teleport? Or can fly? Or has reach? Or uses ranged weapons? Or has the ability to pounce and Ride-By Attack? Or even just has a high Jump modifier? Etc.


Trample doesn't necessarily help, since they don't circumvent the tactics provided. However, trample by definition gives you an Aoo, which you can use to shut down the trampler using grapple, trip, bull rush, or whatever. If nothing else you can get three attacks on the creature as it goes past, and tramples creatures rarely do that much damage, particularly since squishes generally often have decent reflex saves.

Overrun and bull rush give you no advantage in getting past the tank, and gives the target an AOO. If you bull rush or overrun the tank, you can't attack anyone else. Most tanks are more resistant to this than other classes would be.

Tumble works reasonably well, provided you can make a DC25 tumble check, and have a movement of 50' or more. Otherwise all you're doing is moving and not attacking, allowing melee members a free crack at you, and allowing the party to rinse and repeat the same tactic next round. It also doesn't stop the readied action.

Teleport will get you past almost anything, by definition. However, except in a very few cases, you can't then attack. Most creatures who can teleport are very vulnerable to sustained melee attack in any case.

Fly doesn't really help. There are very few (I know of none) creatures both fast enough to avoid the AOO area and still able to reach the PCs while able to attack. Unless they have perfect manuovereability they can't both avoid the AOO area and get the right angle to attack the rest of the party. Flying creatures can still be attacked if they go through the AOO, tripped if they have wings, and grappled if they don't.

Reach doesn't help at all. Nor does jump.

Ranged weapons are a different ball game. You're not looking at a stopping them getting past you at all, you you want to use the tank to pin down the ranged attacker and force them to move at a disadvantage.

Pounce and rideby don't help. If you play it right, they don't get to attack. Also they only work on a charge, so a bull rush can derail from the intended target.

Have you really never played with a decent tank?

term1nally s1ck
2010-05-07, 07:14 PM
There are a few types of tank that work.

Battlefield controller, who will lock down a huge area and make it hard to do anything in that area.

Taunters. Knight's Challenge, the Taunt feat, you can make enemies have to chase you.

Grapple masters. The enemy can't kill your friends if you're busy hugging it.

You do need the ability to do some crazy stuff to be a grapple master...not least because you can't do that against large numbers of enemies, or against that which is heuge.

However...Dvati do that job remarkably well. They can lock down 2 enemies at once, and if using a belt of battle, even do it on the first round. They'll take damage....but you specced the character to win grapple checks vs things that want to escape, and to take damage from big things that can win the grapple checks.

In fact, Dvati can generally tank really really well. They get twice the threat range, which says it all, and can, if you buff the save DC, make people run back and forth between them as you taunt them with each one alternately.

Gnaeus
2010-05-07, 07:20 PM
Trample doesn't necessarily help, since they don't circumvent the tactics provided. However, trample by definition gives you an Aoo, which you can use to shut down the trampler using grapple, trip, bull rush, or whatever. If nothing else you can get three attacks on the creature as it goes past, and tramples creatures rarely do that much damage, particularly since squishes generally often have decent reflex saves....
Have you really never played with a decent tank?

I don't really consider an AOO trip build to be a low damage tank. I will admit that they can be very effective. They are battlefield controllers, not walls.

I find some of the suggested tactics (grappling, bull rushing) questionable at best. They are very situational, and feat/gear intensive. Certainly effective characters can be made that employ grapple or bull rush, but I don't see them functioning as well rounded tanks. Grapplers, for example, can only stop the guy that they grapple, no one else.

I am especially curious as to how this worked in LG. It appears to require a solid level of tactics, and the Living campaign games I have seen have contained players of wildly different tactical ability, or willingness to employ tactics at all. Added to the fact that you wouldn't have regular teammates with the right buffs, or open access to equipment, I am not sure how it worked at all. On the other hand, I never played LG at anywhere near that level, so maybe it was written to be forgiving of such problems.

Glimbur
2010-05-07, 07:40 PM
Trample doesn't necessarily help, since they don't circumvent the tactics provided. However, trample by definition gives you an Aoo, which you can use to shut down the trampler using grapple, trip, bull rush, or whatever. If nothing else you can get three attacks on the creature as it goes past, and tramples creatures rarely do that much damage, particularly since squishes generally often have decent reflex saves.

How are you getting three attacks for one trample? You only get one AoO per opportunity, so even if you get one for it moving out of a square you threaten and another for it trampling you that is only two.

Togo
2010-05-08, 05:54 AM
I don't really consider an AOO trip build to be a low damage tank. I will admit that they can be very effective. They are battlefield controllers, not walls.

As I said before, tanking is a role, not a build. A meat shield, which is I think is what you would call a wall, is someone who just stands in front and gets hit. It's not the role I was describing, and I don't think it works as well.


I find some of the suggested tactics (grappling, bull rushing) questionable at best. They are very situational, and feat/gear intensive. Certainly effective characters can be made that employ grapple or bull rush, but I don't see them functioning as well rounded tanks. Grapplers, for example, can only stop the guy that they grapple, no one else.

I think you're getting confused between role and build. Even a basic barbarian can still grapple or bull rush if necessary. The entire point of having a variety of chocies is that they are very situational, and because they're situational, you don't need to do the same thing against every opponent.

Also, you can get improved bull rush, and.. maybe an armband of might. Would anything else help you?


I am especially curious as to how this worked in LG. It appears to require a solid level of tactics, and the Living campaign games I have seen have contained players of wildly different tactical ability, or willingness to employ tactics at all. Added to the fact that you wouldn't have regular teammates with the right buffs, or open access to equipment, I am not sure how it worked at all. On the other hand, I never played LG at anywhere near that level, so maybe it was written to be forgiving of such problems.

I find that's a problem in any AD&D game. When LG players are good, they can be very good, but when they're bad they're pretty awful. Fortunately I have more than one home group who are tactically excellent.

I also find that the player's tactical ability is less important than the party's ability to work together. A single player who really knows what he's doing and doesn't coordinate with the rest of the party is far less useful than an ok player that works with you.

For example, I played with one guy who played a battlefield control wizard, and used to try and structure the whole party around his spell choice. Which meant that things worked fine when he choose correctly, and fell apart when it didn't. Most of the time he got it right, but we would have done better overall than we would have if they whole party had been playing to their strengths. This was confirmed when he dropped out of the second half of the final game, and the performance of the party noticeably improved, even though we were a man down.

Similarly, my defensive tank once ended up spending a game being rearguard and UMDing wands, simply because we had three offensive melee specialists in the group, and playing a defensive strategy would have put them at a disadvantage.

The good thing about playing with lots of different people is you're less prone to try and play the same tactics all the time. Obviously, that means that you'll be trying a lot of things that don't work all that well...:smallsigh:

Gnaeus
2010-05-08, 06:17 AM
As I said before, tanking is a role, not a build. A meat shield, which is I think is what you would call a wall, is someone who just stands in front and gets hit. It's not the role I was describing, and I don't think it works as well.

Battlefield Controller is also a role, not a build. It is (usually, IMO) a role that is more useful than tank, whether it is done by a caster or a muggle.


I think you're getting confused between role and build. Even a basic barbarian can still grapple or bull rush if necessary. The entire point of having a variety of chocies is that they are very situational, and because they're situational, you don't need to do the same thing against every opponent.

He can attempt the action. Most of the time, attempting the action means that HE takes an AOO, and the grapple fails automatically. That doesn't help much.


Also, you can get improved bull rush, and.. maybe an armband of might. Would anything else help you?

Dungeoncrasher and something to increase your size spring immediately to mind. I'll wager someone with experience playing a bull rusher could suggest others.


This was confirmed when he dropped out of the second half of the final game, and the performance of the party noticeably improved, even though we were a man down.

Yep. I've been to some games where someone had to leave, and the entire party heaved a sigh of relief the moment he left the table.

Togo
2010-05-08, 05:51 PM
Yep. I've been to some games where someone had to leave, and the entire party heaved a sigh of relief the moment he left the table.

He was probably the player with the most optimised character, and had an excellent grasp of the rules. He was very effective. But the party was more effective without him.

This can happen to battlefield control, which, particularly if you're using magic to create area effects, can impede the party as much as the monsters. It also happens with charging builds, people who rely on short duration buffs, and so on.