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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Thinking of playing a human variant fighter with defensive duelist as my initial feet. I would also take the defense fighting style.
    Would like to know possible pitfalls of starting this way. He would be rapier and shield type. My thoughts are it is better minimize
    getting hit. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    I like DD on martials. Only real pitfalls are:

    - your reaction is always used (or saved for possible use)
    - you're usually best doing everything to up your AC to make the most out of the feat
    - only for a single attack, so sometimes need to make a choice on which attack you're going to use it on

    Not sure these are really "pitfalls" and it sounds like you're already okay with going with Defensive as your fighting style to get the added AC, so really just make sure you're okay keeping that reaction (so opt out of opportunity attacks and allow the Orc to go ahead and hit you if a Giant is on deck that same turn) for DD and you should be fine.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    I like Defensive Duelist. It only works against melee attacks, though it does work against melee spell attacks.

    I use it with a warlock of mine that pretends to be a swashbuckler.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    thanks for the thoughts...

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    DD also couples very well with Drunken Master. Ensure that this attack misses you, then redirect it to someone else.

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelic View Post
    DD also couples very well with Drunken Master. Ensure that this attack misses you, then redirect it to someone else.
    That's two reactions.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    That's two reactions.

    Ugh. So it is.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelic View Post
    Ugh. So it is.
    It is not worth it, should have been a half feat that gave +1 dex.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    I have used it and liked it. But I grabbed it at level 12.

    Good for S&B who don't mind using a rapier and dual wielders.

    Up to +6 AC

    I would not personally grab it at 1st level and the same goes for resilient "something", your proficiency bonus isn't high enough yet.

    I might grab shield master at first level.
    Last edited by djreynolds; 2017-12-07 at 07:13 PM.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by bloodgroove View Post
    Thinking of playing a human variant fighter with defensive duelist as my initial foot.
    FTFY
    Only when you get a second one can you collectively call them "feet".


    But seriously, there are a few caveat:
    - rogue 5 is strictly better, if you MC that way,
    - BM's riposte also uses reaction,
    - OA also uses reaction, you can't threaten skirmishers.
    I'd rather be wrong than roundabout. Use your judgement.
    A point too clear stands on its own, I won't add to it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    But seriously, there are a few caveat:
    - rogue 5 is strictly better, if you MC that way,
    Just curious, why would half damage on one attack be better than no damage?

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    Just curious, why would half damage on one attack be better than no damage?
    They're slightly redundant, but since you can pick which one to use after the dice are rolled, it doesn't hurt to have both.

    Probably the biggest weakness is that it only applies to one attack per round-- if you get multiple dudes coming after you, or even one dude with multiattack, you're going to have to gamble on when best to use it.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    If you want to take defensive duelist wait until your proficiency bonus can make make a bigger difference.

    At level 1 it only adds a +2 to ac.

    Wait until like 8.

    There are many better feats

    Edit to expand:

    If you use defensive duelist that costs your reaction so if you use it the first time the enmy hits you, you just gave them a free pass to walk away from you and hit someone else that dies not have as good of an ac as you should.

    If you want to be sword and board defense guy take sentinel.

    You should have a 14 dex if not a 16 if you are going finesse weapons. Wearing studded leather you should have 18 ac. That is very good at level 1. Defensive duelist is not needed.

    You are kind of going in 2 different directions here. Dex based weapon but trying for high ac. Dex is made for light armor which will always have slightly lower ac than medium or heavy. You can still pull off good ac thanks to shield and defensive style, but you are going in different directions for it.

    You have a much better ranged option than str based fighters and have many more options than a lot of builds but if you want to be captain AC and be a turtle, which works wonders, light armor is not the way to go.
    Last edited by Dudewithknives; 2017-12-07 at 10:52 PM.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    Just curious, why would half damage on one attack be better than no damage?
    DD is not "no damage".
    - At best, it's 6/20 of "no damage". Level 5 drops it to 3/20.
    - Even if the DM rolls in front of you, the difference might not be enough to make a miss every round.
    - And you can't avoid a crit.

    The final nail in the coffin is that DD uses up a feat while UD comes for free with rogue 5.
    Last edited by bid; 2017-12-07 at 10:38 PM.
    I'd rather be wrong than roundabout. Use your judgement.
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    I was considering DD on my Swords Bard, but I also have the option of the Shield spell.

    Both use a reaction.

    DD would give +3 AC at level 5, +6AC at level 17+. Shield is always +5.

    DD only works against a single attack. Shield works for the rest of the round.

    Shield burns a spell slot. DD uses a feat.


    I'm leaning towards Shield being the better option.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by nirurin View Post
    I was considering DD on my Swords Bard, but I also have the option of the Shield spell.

    Both use a reaction.

    DD would give +3 AC at level 5, +6AC at level 17+. Shield is always +5.

    DD only works against a single attack. Shield works for the rest of the round.

    Shield burns a spell slot. DD uses a feat.


    I'm leaning towards Shield being the better option.
    Defensive duelist also only works on melee attacks so is pointless vs an archer or ranged spell user.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dudewithknives View Post
    You are kind of going in 2 different directions here. Dex based weapon but trying for high ac. Dex is made for light armor which will always have slightly lower ac than medium or heavy. You can still pull off good ac thanks to shield and defensive style, but you are going in different directions for it.
    Light Armor - 13 + Dex = 18
    Medium Armor - 15 + Max 2 Dex = 17
    Heavy Armor - 18 = 18

    So, Light Armor has exactly equal AC as Heavy Armor

    Medium Armor has less, but it's also the easiest one to achieve it's 'max' Armor Value

    Only a few classes have Heavy Armor, and even if you have it. 15 STR is more than 14 DEX. Not to mention Dex has more usability than Str. Most nukes use Dex as a Defense, Initiative, and more skills use Dex.

    But wait! Medium Armor Feat... no

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Light Armor - 13 + Dex = 18
    Medium Armor - 15 + Max 2 Dex = 17
    Heavy Armor - 18 = 18

    So, Light Armor has exactly equal AC as Heavy Armor

    Medium Armor has less, but it's also the easiest one to achieve it's 'max' Armor Value

    Only a few classes have Heavy Armor, and even if you have it. 15 STR is more than 14 DEX. Not to mention Dex has more usability than Str. Most nukes use Dex as a Defense, Initiative, and more skills use Dex.

    But wait! Medium Armor Feat... no
    Light armor does not have 3 ac, it has 2.
    Also that is only 17 ac after he maxes out dex which is level 6 at least.

    It is with max stats light 17
    With only 14 dex medium is 17 ac, if for some reason he wants to take medium armor master it is 18 ac with 16 dex
    Heavy has 18 base but needs 15 str or be a dwarf.
    Last edited by Dudewithknives; 2017-12-07 at 11:33 PM.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dudewithknives View Post
    Light armor does not have 3 ac, it has 2.
    Whoops

    Altho, you're arguably not meant to be able to afford 18 AC Heavy until roughly level 5~6 regardless

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    DD is not "no damage".
    - At best, it's 6/20 of "no damage". Level 5 drops it to 3/20.
    - Even if the DM rolls in front of you, the difference might not be enough to make a miss every round.
    - And you can't avoid a crit.

    The final nail in the coffin is that DD uses up a feat while UD comes for free with rogue 5.
    With a high AC (which with taking Defensive is very possible), it's very effective at turning hits into misses.

    It doesn't avoid a crit, but I think you misstated the cost, as 5 levels of Rogue is far from "free."

    As the OP stated they're a fighter, a feat would be a heck of a lot easier to accept than 5 levels of Rogue would be. If you plan on getting extra attack before getting 5 Rogue that's at least character level 10 before you're using this ability.

    And comparing a feat to a 5th level class ability shouldn't be even (no feat gives you spell slots and a few 3rd level spells known, or Extra Attack).

    If you're already planning on going 5 Rogue it would be less useful due to both competing for Reaction, but having played with this feat, it is very effective.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Whoops

    Altho, you're arguably not meant to be able to afford 18 AC Heavy until roughly level 5~6 regardless
    It is still before you will get that 20 dex.

    I have never seen a game go past level 3 or MAYBE 4 before someone who was made for plate had it.

    Dex is a better stat than str for sure. Dex is the king stat in 5e.

    It also highly depends on what archetype he is going.

    I assume not arcane archer if his plan is shield and sword.

    Battlemaster can fight however they want.

    Samurai is not impressive to me, but still better than champion and either of them can go dex or str but neither needs DD before other feats.


    Eldritch knight is great and honestly I see it going more dex based, but with shield as an option even less reason for DD. You could also take mage armor if you really wanted to, which is all dex.


    In the end, as a variant human my level 1 feat would not be Defensive duelist no matter what my build was.

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dudewithknives View Post
    I have never seen a game go past level 3 or MAYBE 4 before someone who was made for plate had it.
    You're playing with treasure rewards that dont match the DMG tables then. After your first, maybe even 2nd, Tier 2 hoard is when character can afford Full Plate by 'default'. So about level 6-ish.

    Which is about 2 levels before you'd expect some really focusing on Dex to have Dex 20.

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    I can think of only 1 way to judge it that is relative, and that is the Shield Spell. Why? Because they both boost your AC as a reaction.

    Pros:
    -Does not need a spell slot; A non caster, and even a non-commited caster (1/3 casters and even half casters) will be able to use it more freely than shield.
    -Scales with level, and eventually becomes a better bonus than shield at +6

    Cons:
    -Lasts for a single attack, wile shield lasts untill the start of your next turn.
    -Shield remains a net +5 AC bonus for a simple 1st level spell slot, great for any caster; Wile DD improves, +2/+3 AC for a single attack is far less impressive.
    -By the time the bonus becomes greater than shield, Wizards can literally cast Shield at-will, and other casters have enough spell slots to virtually do the same.

    My verdict: It's good on non-casters and not bad on 1/3 casters. Everyone else should probably get Magic Initiate instead of it, and even 1/3 casters could arguably get a lot more out of Shield than out of it.

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    With a high AC (which with taking Defensive is very possible), it's very effective at turning hits into misses.

    It doesn't avoid a crit, but I think you misstated the cost, as 5 levels of Rogue is far from "free."
    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    - rogue 5 is strictly better, if you MC that way,
    Yeah, but no.
    You asked "why would half damage on one attack be better than no damage?"

    So you are level 5-8 with a +3 proficiency. Assuming you can see the attack roll, DD will be useful 3/20 of the time. If you are attacked 4 times per round, it will be useful half the time. {17/20^4 ~ 0.52} Something like every 2 rounds you are missed 5 times, get hit 2 times, and DD saves you once. If the DM lets you see the result.

    If your AC is high enough that the enemy needs to roll 17+, then yes, as soon as the DM tells you it's a hit and not a crit you can use it just as well as if you saw the DM roll. But with realistic AC19, half the hits aren't changed by DD. This means every 4 rounds, 10 miss, 4 hits, 1 DD hit, 1 DD save.

    As you said, UD comes up late and requires MC. But clearly DD is a trap for rogues, and "half-damage" is much better than "no damage".


    Returning to the current case: a shield and rapier guy.
    - shield master is a better feat,
    - sentinel is a better feat and use of reaction,
    - battlemaster's riposte is a better use of reaction,
    - dipping swashbuckler fits the dashing fighter RP concept better,
    It's hard to find a case where DD can shine.
    Last edited by bid; 2017-12-08 at 12:58 AM.
    I'd rather be wrong than roundabout. Use your judgement.
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    Yeah, but no.
    You asked "why would half damage on one attack be better than no damage?"

    So you are level 5-8 with a +3 proficiency. Assuming you can see the attack roll, DD will be useful 3/20 of the time. If you are attacked 4 times per round, it will be useful half the time. {17/20^4 ~ 0.52} Something like every 2 rounds you are missed 5 times, get hit 2 times, and DD saves you once. If the DM lets you see the result.

    If your AC is high enough that the enemy needs to roll 17+, then yes, as soon as the DM tells you it's a hit and not a crit you can use it just as well as if you saw the DM roll. But with realistic AC19, half the hits aren't changed by DD. This means every 4 rounds, 10 miss, 4 hits, 1 DD hit, 1 DD save.

    As you said, UD comes up late and requires MC. But clearly DD is a trap for rogues, and "half-damage" is much better than "no damage".


    Returning to the current case: a shield and rapier guy.
    - shield master is a better feat,
    - sentinel is a better feat and use of reaction,
    - battlemaster's riposte is a better use of reaction,
    - dipping swashbuckler fits the dashing fighter RP concept better,
    It's hard to find a case where DD can shine.
    UD is a great ability, but it's not always better: any instance where DD makes a hit miss means that attack went from half damage to no damage. So how, in those situations, is UD "always better?" Factor in the cost of one feat vs 5 levels, and there's a very good argument to take DD.

    And, yes, it's less effective on Rogues d/t UD. It's also less effective on Wizards with the Shield spell, or GWM Fighters who don't use finesse weapons. It's like saying Magic Initiate (Cleric) isn't as effective if you're a Cleric.

    5e deals a lot with Action economy; I wouldn't suggest playing with builds that overburden either Bonus Actions or Reactions, unless you had a particular reason to do it.

    And again, comparing a 5th level class feature to a feat isn't a good comparison for feats.

    I found DD to come in handy quite a bit when I played it on a melee build. I took defensive as my fighting style, used a shield and was very difficult to hit, particularly when combined with Protection from Good and Evil. If 1 out 3 attacks a round would hit me, DD was usually enough to make that 1 hit miss. And you can do that all day long.

    Again, in my experience I found it to be not only very effective, but very fun as well as it's always fun to turn hits into misses (when you're the target).

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    UD is a great ability, but it's not always better: any instance where DD makes a hit miss means that attack went from half damage to no damage. So how, in those situations, is UD "always better?"
    The same way "any instance where DDimproved critical makes a hit miss a crit".
    If you move the goalpost to "in those situations" where you always roll 19, of course you will make it true.


    I clearly delineated why "no damage" was a statistical lie... with facts. There's no point in discussing statistically insignificant cases.
    I'd rather be wrong than roundabout. Use your judgement.
    A point too clear stands on its own, I won't add to it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by bid View Post
    The same way "any instance where DDimproved critical makes a hit miss a crit".
    If you move the goalpost to "in those situations" where you always roll 19, of course you will make it true.


    I clearly delineated why "no damage" was a statistical lie... with facts. There's no point in discussing statistically insignificant cases.
    I don't think goalposts were moved: you stated one is always better than the other. Either, you meant 5 levels of Rogue is always better than taking DD (which is not a true statement for a number of reasons, the simplest of which is most builds can't afford it), or you meant using UD is always better than using DD (also not a true statement as it's better to take 0 damage than it is to take half damage).

    It's also not a lie: if you turn a hit into a miss, you take "no damage." Its also not statistically insignificant: even at 1st level, a 10% reduction in hits is significant, as is the 30% reduction your getting at high level play.

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rsp29a View Post
    or you meant using UD is always better than using DD (also not a true statement as it's better to take 0 damage than it is to take half damage).
    If you can't understand how taking 10%-30% less damage is always less than taking 50% less damage, then there's something wrong with your math skills.

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    If you can't understand how taking 10%-30% less damage is always less than taking 50% less damage, then there's something wrong with your math skills.
    Your math is actually a bit messed up here.

    Based on what I saw above, you're calculating DD's average damage prevention by translating the bonus to AC into a percentage decrease in damage.

    The error your making here is that you're averaging in all of the attacks that are misses before DD is used, but are not doing the same for UD. This results in a comparison that is not apples-to-apples. A more apt comparison results in 20-60% compared to 50%.

    If it helps illustrate things, imagine a scenario where someone gets hit 50% of the time. Applying UD is easy, the damage you receive is reduced by 50%, and it doesn't really depend on the miss chance. On the other hand, look at DD at +6 AC. That reduces the hit chance to only 20%, meaning the damage ends up only being 40% of what it would have been, on average.

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    Default Re: defensive duelist feat - pros & cons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganymede View Post
    Your math is actually a bit messed up here.
    Curse you! (In the kindest possible way, of course.) Hoisted on my own petard.

    You are absolutely correct. It's 50%*HitChance*Damage vs (Prof*5)%*Damage. (Unless I just made another error.)

    So DD is better when (Prof/10) > Hit Chance. Assume 60% hit rate (forum standard), then they break even at +6 proficiency bonus. Although 60% is high for monsters, 40-50 is generally more accurate. So they probably start to break even at a 4-5 prof bonus.

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