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    Default Arcane caster tank?

    I have a friend who would like to play an arcane caster type of tank. Is there anything that can kind of fill this roll? No ToB, MoI, or psionics.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Most regular casters can achieve this, but the most obvious ones are warmage (minihb) and duskblade(phb2).

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    Most regular casters can achieve this, but the most obvious ones are warmage (minihb) and duskblade(phb2).

    Don't you mean Complete Arcane for warmage?

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by HunterColt22 View Post
    Don't you mean Complete Arcane for warmage?
    check page 14 of mini HB. It's in both books.

    Quote Originally Posted by (Un)Inspired View Post
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    check page 14 of mini HB. It's in both books.
    Complete Arcane is the newer printing of the class, it's considered an update on the Miniatures Handbook version.


    But yeah, Warmage has nothing really making it a good tank; it lacks defensive spells, it can only wear mediocre armor and it's not very durable by default. Duskblade is a fine option as is Wizard or Sorcerer built in such a way; their defensive options are second to none when truly brought to bear. But for a more traditional "I actually get hit"-type of tank Duskblade is certainly the easiest option.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Here is a way for a warmage to use heavy armor.

    As for defensive spells, basic wizards/sorcerers are your best bet, but at lower levels they tend to lack the ability to take much punishment. At higher levels they are pretty much capable of taking anything they're prepared for.

    Also, I don't recall there being any differences between CArc and minihb though I could be wrong on that.
    Last edited by LTwerewolf; 2012-10-02 at 03:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    There is also two prc's that mesh well for a tanky wizard or sorcerer in complete arcane and mage, the Argent Savant (buffs mage armor, shield, wall of force, and energy resistance to force itself, something that is extremely hard to come by) and the Abjurant Champion, which FURTHER buffs mage armor/shield/etc (stacks I believe with argent savant), doubles all your mage armor/shield/abjuration durations freely, lets you x/day freely quicken abjuration spells, you can burn threw spell slots to get buffs to your ac, saves, skill checks, attacks, or the like, and lastly; it also gives d10 hit dice and good bab progression with FULL spellcasting progression over 5 levels.

    So you could go 5 Wizard/10 Argent Savant/5 Abjurant Champion and use spells like Improved Mage Armor, Shield, Mind Blank, and quickened counterspell-used dispel magics/anti magic-fields/etc to lock down enemy casters and be almost untouchable against physical attacks - while wearing nothing but clothes. Fun build at the very least.

    EDIT: Plus the best tanks can cast forcecage to keep enemies locked in with them >:3 Hows "THAT" for crowd control?!

    EDIT EDIT: EVEN BETTER! Argent savant is only 5 levels as well, not 10! You could go 5/5 and take both prc's and be tanky as all holy heck. You could squeeze in another 5 level prc before epic levels.
    Last edited by Jane_Smith; 2012-10-02 at 03:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Duskblade was my first thought as well and I think that's the flavor of character he was going for more than just a caster that casts lots of defensive spells. I should also note that we're starting at level 1 so it would have to be viable starting out.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    Most regular casters can achieve this, but the most obvious ones are warmage (minihb) and duskblade(phb2).
    No. There are two things a tank needs to do: be an attractive target and be a resilient target. Warmage is not good at the first. Duskblade is better, but still not great at the second.

    There are a few good ways to go about doing this. First is summons, probably through malconvoker. It doesn't matter much if your summons take damage, since they'll go away soon anyway and you can always get more. Another is as a gish, perhaps as a wizard/spellsword/abjurant champion. In this case, abjurations such as luminous armor (BoED) and shield, and illusions like (improved) mirror image are your friends. If ToB were allowed, a Crusader dip for Iron Guard's Glare and Thicket of Blades would be nice.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    What level are you starting at? A caster tank won't really come online as a true tank until mid to later levels. The classic wizard6/swiftblade9/abjurant champion5 makes a great tank, for instance, but it takes so long to get all the swiftblade's (EX) miss chances and abjurant champ's AC boosting abilities. Wizard5/incantatrix4 using metamagic effect for persist or clerics with DMM persist can also make good tanks with the right spell selection, but again those don't come online very early.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by invaderk2 View Post
    Duskblade was my first thought as well and I think that's the flavor of character he was going for more than just a caster that casts lots of defensive spells. I should also note that we're starting at level 1 so it would have to be viable starting out.
    Gish is the other option then; taking the first level in the martial class allows you to get by on the low levels quite well and then get your defensive casting mojo going. But Duskblade is solid, if a bit limited on the spellcasting front.

    Abrupt Jaunt Conjurer could work to cover the first levels but without Faerie Mysteries Initiate or high Con & some AC stacking he'd only be good against melee types. Still, "tanking" by making enemies hit the air is decidedly a Wizard's way about it.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hirax View Post
    What level are you starting at? A caster tank won't really come online as a true tank until mid to later levels. The classic wizard6/swiftblade9/abjurant champion5 makes a great tank, for instance, but it takes so long to get all the swiftblade's (EX) miss chances and abjurant champ's AC boosting abilities. Wizard5/incantatrix4 using metamagic effect for persist or clerics with DMM persist can also make good tanks with the right spell selection, but again those don't come online very early.
    1st level, the more I'm looking the more it looks like Duskblade is the best choice.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Abrupt Jaunt Conjurer could work to cover the first levels but without Faerie Mysteries Initiate or high Con & some AC stacking he'd only be good against melee types. Still, "tanking" by making enemies hit the air is decidedly a Wizard's way about it.
    Yeah. The analogy is a Paladin tank versus a Ninja tank in FFXI. Arcane tanks don't have a ton of HP and DR; they have illusions and abjurations up so that they don't get hit.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    No. There are two things a tank needs to do: be an attractive target and be a resilient target. Warmage is not good at the first. Duskblade is better, but still not great at the second.

    There are a few good ways to go about doing this. First is summons, probably through malconvoker. It doesn't matter much if your summons take damage, since they'll go away soon anyway and you can always get more. Another is as a gish, perhaps as a wizard/spellsword/abjurant champion. In this case, abjurations such as luminous armor (BoED) and shield, and illusions like (improved) mirror image are your friends. If ToB were allowed, a Crusader dip for Iron Guard's Glare and Thicket of Blades would be nice.
    But by tank he didn't mean "someone that casts from the back and happens to be good at taking damage." He was more referring to the more traditional "guy wearing the heavy armor."

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    But by tank he didn't mean "someone that casts from the back and happens to be good at taking damage." He was more referring to the more traditional "guy wearing the heavy armor."
    How do you figure?
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    How do you figure?
    Because d&d effectively doesn't have traditional tanking. When most new players come to d&d and think "tank" they don't think "wizard that can trick others into not attacking them" or "wizard that avoids damage." They more think "guy with the heavy armor that uses it to deflect incoming hits."

    Quote Originally Posted by (Un)Inspired View Post
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    Because d&d effectively doesn't have traditional tanking. When most new players come to d&d and think "tank" they don't think "wizard that can trick others into not attacking them" or "wizard that avoids damage." They more think "guy with the heavy armor that uses it to deflect incoming hits."
    How do you know what his friend meant tho? Do you know the person in question?

    And the "guy with heavy armor that uses it to deflect incoming hits", isn't that precisely traditional tanking? While the type that works in D&D is the "being someone accessible to attack capable of deflecting them off, and capable of making myself hard to bypass", not either MMO or "traditional" tanking.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    Because d&d effectively doesn't have traditional tanking. When most new players come to d&d and think "tank" they don't think "wizard that can trick others into not attacking them" or "wizard that avoids damage." They more think "guy with the heavy armor that uses it to deflect incoming hits."
    Why would you assume I'm a new player to D&D

    For what it's worth most people assume that a "tank" is someone who wears heavy armor and can take a lot of hits, much like... well a tank, funny how that works.

    I'd also say D&D absolutely has "traditional tanking" and always has, and a traditional tank can be very effective but this is all getting off topic...
    Last edited by Invader; 2012-10-02 at 05:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Fighter 1/ Wizard 6/Spellsword 5/Abjurant Champion 5/Dragonslayer 1/Paragnostic Apostle 2 with domain power and martial ACFs on the wizard makes a nice gish that can party buff like a madman and battlefield control to a decent degree
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by invaderk2 View Post
    Why would you assume I'm a new player to D&D
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I'd assume he was assuming your friend was new because of the nature of request in and of itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by invaderk2 View Post
    For what it's worth most people assume that a "tank" is someone who wears heavy armor and can take a lot of hits, much like... well a tank, funny how that works.
    My point was that it really doesn't matter whether the armor is made of magical energy or metal and whether it deflects hits or makes them miss There are many ways to be hard to hit after all. Making others hit you is more complex but making them dead is a fairly efficient means of course.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, I forgot to write the reason I actually replied: How does he feel about the latter? That is, using an armor made of magic, e.g. Greater Luminous Armor later? 'cause you could certainly start Ranger, Fighter or whatever and head into Wizard-levels then if he wants to be a Wizard-Gish as opposed to a Duskblade.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2012-10-02 at 07:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    I don't know specifically what you're after, but a build I've been toying with for a while is Crusader 1/Sorcerer 2/Crusader 1/Sorcerer 1/Runesmith 1/JPM 10/Something else 4. You lose more caster levels than is ideal, but I feel like it could be an entertaining gish. (note- it requires DM fiat to allow runesmith's level 1 ability to work with spontaneous casting)
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Paladin 2/Sorcerer 4/Spellsword 1/Abjurant Champion 5/Sacred Exorcist 8

    Feats:
    1.Improved Unarmed Strike
    H.Combat Casting
    3.Practiced Caster(Sorcerer)
    6.Ascetic Mage
    9.Arcane Preparation(So you can learn Greater Luminous Armor)
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    You got Cha to saves and AC, massive armor and shield bonuses via spells. On top of this, you can stack several sources of Temp-HP, to achieve better tankiness than most vanilla tanks.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Warblade/Wizard/Jade Phoenix Mage... aka WWJPMFTW
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    Because d&d effectively doesn't have traditional tanking. When most new players come to d&d and think "tank" they don't think "wizard that can trick others into not attacking them" or "wizard that avoids damage." They more think "guy with the heavy armor that uses it to deflect incoming hits."
    Yeah, stack mirror image with blink and even a squishy wizard can wade into melee.

    I ran a defensive abjurer once. I wasn't optimized for melee, just party buffs, but I was really hard to kill. Day-long mage armor, high constitution, and Toughness make for a really solid mage.
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Savage Bard.

    More specifically, go Dragonborn Desert Half-Orc, use the Half-Humans variant in RoD, with two flaws (Dragon Mag has some very fitting ones) get Dreadful Wrath, Nymph's Kiss, and Entangling Exhalation. Replace Inspire Courage with Inspire Awe from Dragon Magic. Replace Fascinate with Healing Hymn in Complete Champion (works with Cure Minor Wounds). Replace Bardic Knowledge with Bardic Knack in PH2. If Dragonborn, see about getting the Spellscale Bard 3 substitution level allowed.

    Go Bard 8/ Nightmare Spinner 1/ Dread Witch 1/ Sublime Chord 2/ Dread Witch 4/ Nightmare Spinner 4 (DW 1 and NS 1 asap, later take them in whichever order is preferred).

    Feats should include Melodic Casting, Doomspeak, Imperious Command, Fell Frighten Spell, Practical Metamagic: Fell Frighten, Ancestral Relic for a custom Runestaff, etc. Once the party gets several weeks of downtime between adventures visit the Otyugh Hole (CS) to gain Menacing Demeanor, if you don't want to play it out just pay 3,000 gp to say you did it. Skill Tricks based on Tumble and Balance are pretty good, and definitely get Never Outnumbered. Max UMD and with a +19 bonus you can put any spells you want on your Runestaff and make the DC 20 UMD check each day to attune it to cast those spells via Bard spell slots, so you can get any defensive spells you want.

    Between debuffs (Shaken + Entangled, usually Frightened or worse in just a few levels), the Bard's array of spells (Mirror Image), and eventually access to the Sorcerer list via Sublime Chord, he should make a very decent tank. Spamming Entangling Exhalation will definitely make foes view him as an immediate threat that must be dealt with, but with -4 to hit for the two debuffs they won't hit very often, especially if they can't even reach anyone.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Bard 8/ Paladin of Freedom 2/ Sublime Chord 2/ Abjurant Champion 5/ Sacred Exorcist 3 - Melee Bard
    Bard 8/ Arcane Archer 2/ Sublime Chord 2/ Abjurant Champion 5/ Ruathar 3 - Ranged Bard
    Bard 8/ Fighter 1/ Eldritch Knight 1/ Sublime Chord 2/ Abjurant Champion 5/ Eldritch Knight 3 - Simple Melee Bard
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Bard is pretty close to what you're thinking of, as is duskblade. You can get some really nice stuff as a wizard, but it's distinctly a 'later in the game' thing. Spellthief also kind of works for your concept. Thing is, it's not really easy to make anything you'd call tank-ish at level 1 that casts arcane spells. Sorcerer paladin gishes work for that, but again, that means multiclassing. Even D6 HD(or is duskblade D8?) don't hold up real long in a melee. Better pump that CON...
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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Or you can just go Mindbender from complete arcane and enthrall ogres/trolls/etc permanently to be the tanks FOR you, not to mention create massive threatened areas your enemys have to wade past in order to even get near you. 1-3 large creatures with spiked chains or polearms? Yes plz.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    Since you didn't specifically rule out Pathfinder, I figured I'd suggest an alternate option that doesn't rely on various hard-to-find books. All the rules needed to make and play this character are available online.
    The Magus is a spellcaster that focuses on combining melee combat and spells, and can get very tanky indeed if you use the right spells. The original concept is a quite spiky damage dealer, but if you use spell combat to cast blur, mirror image etc instead of touch spells for extra damage you can build a very viable tank.
    He starts off using light armor and eventually progresses to being able to cast in medium and heavy armor.
    A dexterity-based build focusing on Dervish Dancer and utilizing Celestial Armor can get a fairly ridiculous base AC, the various defensive arcane spells is icing on the cake.

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    Default Re: Arcane caster tank?

    My specialist Abjurer/Human Paragon/Master Specialist with high Con is a decent tank, although my group is pretty low-optimization. It's still fun to play a Wizard with almost as much AC and HP as the Fighters, tho.
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