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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Galithar View Post
    I'll say again that changing the definition of a word to fit your predetermined parameters is called moving the goal posts. Your goal is to convince people that fireball is a tanking spell. Tanking is the act of absorbing damage into a high durability unit to protect low durability units. Fireball doesn't do this, do you modified the definition to be 'stopping the enemy from damaging anyone'.

    You say that it's the tanks job to keep the team alive. You are using the same logic that immature MMO players often use to belittle other players. By that I mean that they think it's the tanks job to keep everyone alive and tell the player of the tank they suck if the team fails. You're not extending your logic into an insult, but you're still vastly broadening the definition of a tank.

    Now to explain why fireball is a controlling spell but not a tanking spell you look at what it does. It deals medium damage to a wide area. That's the type of ability used for mob control. A controller has to manipulate the battlefield with their abilities. A powerful AoE ability can do this with damage by forcing a change of tactics on the enemy. A fireball can encourage an enemy force to disperse or, as is the number one use, can quickly dispatch large numbers of weak enemies. It's not the BEST control spell, but it does have a control aspect. It does not, in anyway, help you tank though. It doesn't absorb, or redirect damage.
    In the grand scheme of things tanking, control and healing all serve the exact same purpose through different means and at different levels of effectiveness depending on the situation, mitigating incoming damage so your side can win the conflict with minimal losses.
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    Just to clarify, I'm not saying that you should attempt to tank by only ever using Fireball. Fireball doesn't work for everything, just like AC doesn't help when you make a saving throw, and hit points don't help against debilitating status effects. A character who can only throw Fireballs is not a very good tank.

    But you can sure make your tank's job easier by throwing a Fireball at the right time
    . Tanking is a team effort, and control spells can be very effective at helping your party stay alive.

    What I find really interesting is that these last few posters who disagree about Fireball being a tanking spell seem to be fine with Fireball being a control spell,
    despite the fact that it only deals damage. It's not like Web, or Fog Cloud, or Wall of Stone, or Suggestion. Are damage spells control spells now? My answer is: it depends how they're being used. In other words, it's the goal, not the method, that is important.
    at the green part ... they have been since December 2007 ( - as it was a concept introduced to D&D 4E, the controller (the only controller in core) being the lead area damage dealer)

    At the blue part ... you do realise you're trying to argue then, it's support, not tank.

    I think this encapsulates it best:

    Laserlight: If "prevent attacks" is the criterion, then Deception+CHA is a far better tank ability
    You: But just as Fireball isn't always the right spell for an encounter, diplomacy isn't always the right tactic, either. It helps to diversify, so you can handle a broader variety of challenges.

    note how you actually didn't disagree Deception+CHA is a tank ability (or how you want to call it)

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    By getting people to argue, "Wait, that's not tanking... is it?" I'm getting them to actually think about the subject and the implications of what I'm saying.
    Honestly, no.

    You're trying to catorgise offense as defense under the guise of "well, offense is the best defense".

    That doesn't spark ideas on how offense can be used as defense (ESPECIALLY with straight damage spells like fireball). Instead it sparks discussions on your baltant attempt to desolve the dichotomy between offense & defense.

    Well, here you go: Next up:

    Hit points are the most powerful offensive ability ever, because you can only kill the enemy if you have them.

    Same logic.
    Last edited by qube; 2019-05-22 at 10:13 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    I can see some validity of the idea. If you want to stop a bunch of tiny creatures ganging up on someone, have a Fireball prepped. If you want battle-space of your enemies slightly more spread-out, have a Fireball prepped.

    But that's not a lot different to saying "don't use your action surge until that time, so you can "tank" little stuff". Or "make sure you only ever summon wolves or velociraptors (especially wolves, because their AoO nerfs movement with proning too) because of DPS and you can spread it around heaps". Or throw in a quickened "whatever multitarget or AoE" plus a cantrip when there's lots of targets to blast. Or just use little smites against little things, but make sure you move into range of lots of them, so you can spread the smites around and massacre heaps in a turn.

    That's not tanking. That's just doing the stuff you should do against certain sorts of enemies in certain situations.

    Or even, at the other facet or side of tanking, "make sure you take Mantle of Command as a Mystic v3, so we can "tank" AoEs on your turn, by them not hitting us as a group, because you moved us all around".

    I get what you're saying. It just expands the definition too broadly though. I mean, Spike Growth sort of isn't a "tanking spell", but I think it would come far closer to the definition than Fireball, due to its control and damage aspects. You get more slots worth too, so if you want, you can move it around (lvl2+lvl3-9 slots, rather than just lvl3-9 slots. It's still 4 more....). Or even the AoO/proning/HP minefield from Conjure Animals, regardless of their aggressive "on your turn" "sorta-instant-damage" uses. But Fireball sort of just does damage. Your DM can spread out smaller creatures because they know you have it prepped and a slot available. But is that any more choice dependent than being able to drop a Spike Growth on a heavily clustered set of ground troops? Except that they will have far worse choices to make with either Spike Growth or Conjure Animals cast than they would with Fireball, after the fact, and how the DM has to approach the entire encounter now that it is. They have to hit you to drop your concentration, or they take the damage and the other problems inherent in that spell being still extent.

    And that's just some basic control+damage spells, they're not really "tanking" either (though Conjure x can come close).

    Just saying, instant damage is instant damage. AoEs are AoEs. It mitigates damage by killing stuff (the best way of mitigating damage), but that's not "tanking" per-say, from a spell or not.

    Maybe broaden it to "how likely is a Fireball dropped onto a PC likely to injure them significantly, compared to how much damage they'd have incoming at them from a horde of low HP stuff, that a Fireball would wipe out easily?", then you might be closer to using it for "tanking" purposes. But the question is so variable as to be hard to answer anyway. It's more of an AoE-use question, not really a tanking question at all.
    Last edited by sambojin; 2019-05-22 at 12:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    I'd argue that there are only two broad roles in combat: killing, and not being killed.
    But why stop at two? Since killing is a method of not being killed, why not just one role?

    You can cut the game into as many roles as you like: 1, 2, 3, etc... and they all have some degree of merit. The question becomes one of which divisions are broadly and generally most useful...

    Secondly, if you seriously think there are only two roles: killing and not being killed... then why are you talking about tanking?

    Tanking would seem to not fit this paradigm. You could spin tanking as either role.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    I'd argue that there are only two broad roles in combat: killing, and not being killed.
    Yes, and the terms "tank" and "tanking" only refers to a specific way of doing the second. Not even ALL the ways of not being killed.

    Dealing damage is only tanking if it drops an enemy to 0 hit points
    Dealing damage is never tanking.

    It's all about perspective, and why you're doing what you're doing. What goal are you trying to accomplish.
    No, it's about what you're doing.

    I'm reminded of a (possibly fictitious) account of a person on trial after killing someone in self defense. When asked if he shot to kill, he responded, "No, I shot to live."
    Yes, that's called a rhetoric trick. It's not an objective definition, it just creates the pathos of someone just trying to survive.

    An actual objective answer would have been "yes, I estimated killing my aggressor was the only way I could survive" or "no, I shot hoping it would make the aggressor stop one way or another, but killing was not the intent".

    Basing your argument on a rhetorical trick, basically "offense is the best defense", does not do your debate any favor.

    If I said, "Fireball is a defensive spell," do you think there would be less disagreement? Because I wonder if that wouldn't be a harder sell.
    It'd be equaly inaccurate. It's like calling a shotgun you take on an hunting trip "anti-bear armor".

    By broadening the definition of tanking instead of creating a new term for it, I'm forcing people to think about something in a new way
    No. You are over-generalizing a term, resulting in you using it incorrectly.

    Also, while declaring that you're forcing people to think anything is just plain chuckles-worthy, declaring that your *intent* in to force people is pretty sad.


    By getting people to argue, "Wait, that's not tanking... is it?" I'm getting them to actually think about the subject and the implications of what I'm saying.
    You're getting people to disagree "that is not tanking."

    As Nidgit said, "Using Fireball to quickly eliminate mobs is obviously advisable." But it's not a survival strategy, in their mind. Shouldn't it be, though?
    "A survival strategy" is not equal to "tanking".

    Selling out your friends to the BBEG can be a survival strategy, but it's not tanking.


    Words have meaning. Declaring that A is B when there is no semantic, etymological, analogical, historical or metaphorical connection between A and B is simply being incorrect. Or at best ironic, but irony cannot be used for an objective, recognizable definition.

    You made a thread to tell us that Fireball is good to kill hordes of mooks. Fair. We already knew that.

    But killing hordes of mooks isn't tanking. Same way a cannon isn't a tank, regardless of the fact some tanks have cannons. Because killing people in an explosion isn't what makes a tank a tank.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2019-05-22 at 10:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Dealing damage is never tanking.
    Hard disagree. A tank needs to present a compelling reason for things to attack it. Sometimes that can be accomplished with positioning, class abilities or spells, but often it just requires being a big enough threat that the character can't simply be ignored. Not matter what kind of AC, HP and saves a particular tanky character has, they're ineffective if the enemy doesn't have to fight them until the rest of the party is dead. Having functional ranged attack options, mobility and being able to kill stuff if left alone are all key components of being an effective tank. This is part of why barbarians are such good tanks - leave them alone and they'll hack you into little tiny pieces.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Kind of why Moon Druids are too. It ain't the bear/anything-better that's causing the problems. It's the spell they cast before wildshaping. And the only way of stopping that spell is to punch that sack of HP as much as you can. And it's SOOOooooo easy to hit...... :)

    Different reasons, same outcome. Barbs and Moons cop a lot of attacks. Thus, tanking.

    It's a broad concept, but Fireball ain't it.


    (kinda why I love Firbolg Moon Druids and rate them so highly. That 1/sr bonus-action invis popping can give you the options you need for actual caster "tanking" when needed. Be easy to hit, be hard to hit, just when you need to. You'll have damn fine movement to keep those spells up anyway. But sometimes, it's nice to get "be harder to hit until your next turn" from a racial package, with some pretty hefty ribbons as well (detect magic and disguise self are not exactly calligraphy tools. A tinsy bit more useful in fact)).
    Last edited by sambojin; 2019-05-22 at 11:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    Hard disagree. A tank needs to present a compelling reason for things to attack it. Sometimes that can be accomplished with positioning, class abilities or spells, but often it just requires being a big enough threat that the character can't simply be ignored.
    In that context, you don't tank by dealing damage, you tank by giving the impression you're the bigger threat regardless of what damage you deals.

    If there is a lvl 2 Barbarian and a lvl 2 Wizard in melee range against an Ogre, the Wizard may be doing more or less damage than the Barbarian depending on where dice land and what abilities are used, but no one would argue that the Wizard should be the one trying to become the Ogre's target.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2019-05-22 at 11:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    My brother's Forge Cleric (1) / Abjurer X is a tank. Fireball is a threat generator, not a tanking ability. His ward is a tanking ability. So is his ability to cast Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Haste and Invisibility. In different ways, they force the enemy to focus on his very very hairy and equally durable loudmouth and/or make him harder to kill. Polymorph can be seen as a tank-enabling ability. Warding Bond is clear tanking.
    Oath of the Crown, Conquest and Redemption all have tank-properties.

    You calling Fireball a tank spell is defusing the term to near-uselessness.
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    In that context, you don't tank by dealing damage, you tank by giving the impression you're the bigger threat regardless of what damage you deals.

    If there is a lvl 2 Barbarian and a lvl 2 Wizard in melee range against an Ogre, the Wizard may be doing more or less damage than the Barbarian depending on where dice land and what abilities are used, but no one would argue that the Wizard should be the one trying to become the Ogre's target.
    Sure, the wizard shouldn't be trying to become the target, but they might very well anyway. Maybe they've got 18 Str and a quarterstaff and the barbarian, for whatever reason, is swinging their greatclub with 8 Str. The barbarian is a bad tank despite his 20 Con, because he can't present as a real threat to the ogre. Presentation helps, definitely, but even dumb monsters aren't stupid. They tend to know who's hurting them.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    Hard disagree.
    Well, that depends. There's two different definitions of what people call "tanking":

    1. Survivability (Which makes you get attacked less)
    2. Aggro [or "Contribution"] (Which makes you get attacked more)


    A Bear Totem Barbarian is a Survivability Tank, but it doesn't do anything to make enemies attack him. Enemies can ignore the Bear Barbarian, and they'll be all better for it, which is why Bear Totem Barbarians usually grab feats to provide more Aggro, either as a means of keeping enemies from ignoring them through force (Sentinel), or by just dealing more damage (Polearm master).

    An Ancestral Guardian Barbarian is an Aggro tank, but it doesn't do anything to help itself survive. If enemies are already going to be attacking the Barbarian, the Ancestral Guardian Barbarian does literally nothing. This is why Ancestral Guardian Barbarians focus on survivability, with feats like Tough.

    Tempest Clerics are Survivability tanks (by punishing enemies for attacking them), but War Clerics are Aggro tanks (by just straight up dealing tons of damage).

    Ancients Paladins are Survivability tanks (by having resistance to magic damage), but Crown Clerics are Aggro tanks (by limiting enemy mobility to be near the Paladin).

    Just because you don't deal much damage doesn't mean you can't provide Aggro (Ancestral Guardian), and just because you're not tanky doesn't mean that you can't effectively survive (Bladesinger).

    Unless your specialization is working (like a Bear Barbarian that is being attacked more often than anyone else in the party), it's generally best to balance out your Aggro and Survivability aspects. Which is why you see Eldritch Knights grab PAM and Ancestral Guardians grab Mobile.

    ***********************

    As for the original topic, Fireball is about as much of a "tanking" effect as any burst disabling effect. Sleep, Hypnotic Pattern, Cunning Action, Shield, Inflict Wounds; all of these have the same goal in mind: Stop badguys from hitting me.

    Fireball might be somewhat more effective, due to its high damage and AoE, but it doesn't do anything different. In fact, as far as spells go, it's probably one of the most boring level 3 spells in the game. It just happens to have good numbers.

    I guess, I'm confused as to how the concept of "Fireball is a tanking spell" is different than "X Combat Feature is a tanking feature". The overall goal of combat is to get the other side to stop hurting you, and I'm not aware of any combat features that don't contribute to that goal. Fireball just does it...faster?

    Which seems odd, to me. That's like saying the Tough and Resilient feats aren't tanking features, because they're more effective at later levels.
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-05-22 at 01:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    Sure, the wizard shouldn't be trying to become the target, but they might very well anyway. Maybe they've got 18 Str and a quarterstaff and the barbarian, for whatever reason, is swinging their greatclub with 8 Str. The barbarian is a bad tank despite his 20 Con, because he can't present as a real threat to the ogre. Presentation helps, definitely, but even dumb monsters aren't stupid. They tend to know who's hurting them.
    You're just showing why the damage dealing is not important.

    That STR 8 Club-using Barbarian may be a bad tank if they straightforwardly try to attack the Ogre, but that STR 18 Quaterstaff-using Wizard is a bad tank as well, because becoming the target of the Ogre is basically suicide for them.

    The Barbarian *could* become a decent tank if they managed to make the Ogre focus on them, for example by being so annoying the Ogre wants to end them or by becoming too tempting a target (hello Reckless Attack).

    Meanwhile the Wizard will always be a bad tank because getting hit at all is too dangerous for them. And this no matter how much damage they deal to the Ogre.

    A good Tank is objectively the worse target to attempt hurting compared to their teammates due to high defensive capacities, but still manages to attract said attempted hurt.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    You're just showing why the damage dealing is not important.

    That STR 8 Club-using Barbarian may be a bad tank if they straightforwardly try to attack the Ogre, but that STR 18 Quaterstaff-using Wizard is a bad tank as well, because becoming the target of the Ogre is basically suicide for them.

    The Barbarian *could* become a decent tank if they managed to make the Ogre focus on them, for example by being so annoying the Ogre wants to end them or by becoming too tempting a target (hello Reckless Attack).

    Meanwhile the Wizard will always be a bad tank because getting hit at all is too dangerous for them. And this no matter how much damage they deal to the Ogre.

    A good Tank is objectively the worse target to attempt hurting compared to their teammates due to high defensive capacities, but still manages to attract said attempted hurt.
    If we have a 6 Con rogue in the party, the wizard is a better tank than the barbarian, because he can actually provide an alternative threat that keeps the ogre from squishing the bigger threat. Dealing damage and being a concrete, objective threat is much better than trying to rely on the DM saying "ok, your barbarian is annoying enough that the ogre attacks, even though the barbarian isn't really contributing to the combat".

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Ok. Just to turn it on it's head.

    You think Fireball is a good "tanking" spell, because it can kill multiple enemies in one turn?

    I won't even say you can't upcast it, to the desired average of damage you think you'll need for any particular enemy type.


    Does this mean that you think any instant-damage AoE spell, sometimes with better damage types against certain enemies, or against easier saves for you to get through, are also "good tanking spells"?

    Because, and I think this is what everyone is trying to explain to you, they're just "good AoE instant-damage spells against those enemies, in that situation". That isn't tanking. That's just what those spells do. Cause instant damage with a good area of effect, against certain resistances or lack there-of, against certain saves that the enemy is hopefully poor at making.

    That's what AoE damage spells do. That's their thing. It isn't "tanking". I don't think you understand what that word means in a D&D or MMO context.
    Last edited by sambojin; 2019-05-22 at 12:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    Well, that depends. There's two different definitions of what people call "tanking":

    1. Survivability (Which makes you get attacked less)
    2. Aggro (Which makes you get attacked more)


    A Bear Totem Barbarian is a Survivability Tank, but it doesn't do anything to make enemies attack him. Enemies can ignore the Bear Barbarian, and they'll be all better for it, which is why Bear Totem Barbarians usually grab feats to provide more Aggro, either as a means of keeping enemies from ignoring them through force (Sentinel), or by just dealing more damage (Polearm master).

    An Ancestral Guardian Barbarian is an Aggro tank, but it doesn't do anything to help itself survive. If enemies are already going to be attacking the Barbarian, the Ancestral Guardian Barbarian does literally nothing. This is why Ancestral Guardian Barbarians focus on survivability, with feats like Tough.
    Just as a small note, youíre talking about subclasses here. The barbarian base features provide a very strong foundation for both Aggro and survivability as is.

    For survivability, you have a d12 hit die, solid AC, and get resistance to the most common forms of damage with rage. As far as aggro goes, you get reckless attack to both increase your damage output (more of a threat) and to make you a more attractive target by giving enemies advantage to hit you.

    Every barbarian subclass builds upon these excellent features to improve survivability or aggro, but baseline the Barbarian is plenty good at both.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    While i agree that fireball can be a good tanking spell i still think it might be a bit more situasional. As you mention you will only use fireball against low level hordes but, something like an hypnotic pattern disables even high CR monsters and can also be used on low CR hordes, making it a more versatile tanking spell.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    If we're talking about ways to encourage intelligent monsters to focus attention on those you want them to attack, Seeming might be the best "tanking" spell ever. Make all of the glass cannons look like plate armored tanks, and all of the tanks look like squishies. And it lasts for 8 hours with no concentration requirement.

    It only works against DMs who don't metagame though.
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    The OP could have been summed up as "The best defense is a good offense."
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    I've got issues with the idea of "tanking" in general. Not to be a semantic Sally, but I think you're describing "crowd control" here. And killing the crowd is certainly a way to control it.

    Blasting isn't bad. Thoughtlessly blasting when you could be doing something more effective--that's what's bad.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    The only time Fireball would be a good spell for tanking is if the caster used it to taunt many enemies, forcing them to attack the caster, and the caster could take the attacks while the rest of the team deals with the horde. Maybe they hate fire? /shrug

    Fireball does not accomplish tanking by killing lesser enemies efficiently. That simply being effective, and blasting is a more appropriate term.
    Last edited by Demonslayer666; 2019-05-22 at 03:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    If we have a 6 Con rogue in the party, the wizard is a better tank than the barbarian, because he can actually provide an alternative threat that keeps the ogre from squishing the bigger threat. Dealing damage and being a concrete, objective threat is much better than trying to rely on the DM saying "ok, your barbarian is annoying enough that the ogre attacks, even though the barbarian isn't really contributing to the combat".
    Again, you're only demonstrating further that damage doesn't matter.

    That 6 CON Rogue will almost certainly always deal more damage than the staff-hitting Wizard, in that situation.

    Remember that your earlier assessment of the Wizard tanking better than the Barbarian didn't rely on the Wizard being able to do some damage, but on them doing the most damage out of the two, because the Ogre would focus on the one that's the most dangerous, while the damage the Barbarian inflicts isn't enough to register as a worthwhile threat.


    So, by your own logic, the Ogre would target the one doing the most damage, regardless of the damage the other two are doing.

    So you, again, by your own logic, you have:

    - A Barbarian who could take the hits but don't deal enough damage to be considered a priority threat

    -A Wizard who couldn't take the hits and doesn't deal enough damage to be considered a priority threat.

    -A Rogue who couldn't take the hits and is considered a priority threat because they deal the most damage

    By the metric you presented, the Wizard is still the worst tank of the three.

    So either your earlier assessment is correct and the one who does the most damage is targeted, or doing the most damage isn't important, in which case the Barbarian can still tank and should because they are the one with the most HPs, the Rage-resistance, and likely the better AC.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2019-05-22 at 02:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by JakOfAllTirades View Post
    Isn't this just "Blasting" by another name?
    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    It's a different perspective on the same spell. Your perspective colors your view of the situation, and will influence how you use this spell. If you are "blasting", then you're probably focused on dealing as much damage as possible. But if your perspective is "tanking", then you're more interested in preventing as many enemy attacks as possible. This will change when you choose to use Fireball, as well as how you use it.

    Damage dealing is still an important part of combat, but staying alive is more important than killing your enemies. Rogues are useful because they have high single-target damage, but sometimes they're more useful one-shotting weaker bodyguards first (damage tanking) rather than focusing on the boss monster first (damage dealing). Yeah, some of the damage might be "wasted" due to overkill, but it reduced the amount of damage the party ends up taking, which is worth some wasted damage. By changing your perspective, you might end up using the same abilities in different ways, and as a result end up surviving and winning more encounters.
    I've pretty much always seen Fireball used in the way you're describing, and always seen this referred to as "blasting" so I think (?) we're on the same page. I'd just rather not muddle up the terminology we use here; it confuses the new arrivals.
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Again, you're only demonstrating further that damage doesn't matter.
    No, dude. This has always rested on the premise that the barbarian is not doing damage. For the purpose of this hypothetical, which is a dumb hypothetical that you generated anyway, he is not contributing anything to this encounter. There is no world in which doing zero of a good thing makes you better at that thing than someone doing a small amount of that good thing.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    In that context, you don't tank by dealing damage, you tank by giving the impression you're the bigger threat regardless of what damage you deals.

    If there is a lvl 2 Barbarian and a lvl 2 Wizard in melee range against an Ogre, the Wizard may be doing more or less damage than the Barbarian depending on where dice land and what abilities are used, but no one would argue that the Wizard should be the one trying to become the Ogre's target.
    Actually that's a very good scenario to explain why a tank needs to make the enemy want to attack them. It doesn't have to be through sheer damage, but that is one route to get the 'aggro' needed.

    If the Wizard deals 20 damage to the Ogre, and the Barbarian only deals 5, then the Ogre is likely to attack the Wizard assuming all other factors are equal. If the same Barbarian could somehow have dealt 38 damage suddenly he's the bigger threat and will draw the attacks.
    This can also be accomplished by things like an ancestral guardian. If the Wizard deals more damage, but the Ogre has disadvantage to attack him then he has more incentive to attack the Barbarian that he's more likely to hit, or he attacks the wizard at disadvantage.
    If he attacks the Barbarian, that character successfully became a tank for their Wizard. If the Ogre attacks the Wizard then the Barbarian tried to mitigate the damage by imposing Disadvantage on the attack. So while he didn't successfully tank he became a minor controller for that action.

    If you're not absorbing damage you're not tanking.

    Everyone's job in a party is to make sure they live long enough to kill the bad guys. So saying that you're supporting that goal doesn't mean you're a tank, it means you're a member of the party. A tank does this but absorbing damage. A controller does it by manipulating how an enemy can deal damage. A support modifies the ability of allies to deal or receive damage. A healer focuses on undoing the damage dealt by the enemy. A DPS(R) focuses on killing the enemy as quickly as possible. All of these roles are helping the party to outlive their adversaries, but only one does do by tanking.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    No, dude. This has always rested on the premise that the barbarian is not doing damage.
    Then your premise is inherently incorrect. A Barbarian with 8 STR and a Greatclub will still deal damage.


    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    For the purpose of this hypothetical, which is a dumb hypothetical that you generated anyway,
    Excu-***ing-me?

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    Sure, the wizard shouldn't be trying to become the target, but they might very well anyway. Maybe they've got 18 Str and a quarterstaff and the barbarian, for whatever reason, is swinging their greatclub with 8 Str. The barbarian is a bad tank despite his 20 Con, because he can't present as a real threat to the ogre. Presentation helps, definitely, but even dumb monsters aren't stupid. They tend to know who's hurting them.

    You are the one who generated the hypothetical of a bad-damage dealing Barbarian and a attacking-with-a-staff-STR Wizard.

    I only talked about a Barbarian and a Wizard being in melee range with an Ogre, which is far from dumb.


    You are also the one who added the Rogue to this "dumb hypothetical", btw.


    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    There is no world in which doing zero of a good thing makes you better at that thing than someone doing a small amount of that good thing.
    And as demonstrated earlier, a Barbarian with STR 8 and a Greatclub will still deal damage, even if it's a small amount.


    Once again, your own arguments defeat themselves.


    The 8-STR-Greatclub-Barbarian is bad at dealing damage, but will damage the Ogre. They are capable of taking the Ogre's attacks

    The Staff-18-STR-Wizard is better at dealing damage, and will damage the Ogre. They are not capable of taking the Ogre's attacks.

    The 6-CON-Rogue is the best at dealing damage, and will damage the Ogre. They are not capable of taking the Ogre's attacks.


    So, once more: either you stick with your earlier logic of "best damage = target = tank must do best damage", or you admit that one can tank despite doing less damage than their allies.

    In both case, the wizard is still the worst tank of the 3 as they're either not dealing enough damage to attract the aggro or not likely able to survive the attacks of the Ogre.

    Also, saying "doing zero of a good thing makes you better at that thing than someone doing a small amount of that good thing" doesn't make sense, because while dealing damage is a good thing, the specific good thing the Barbarian wants to do in that hypothetical is tanking. So yes, doing 0 of X does not mean you cannot do Y, even if someone else does 1 of X.


    But in any case, I reiterate that you don't need to do damage to tank. You can tank while under the effects of Sanctuary, in some cases. You need to make yourself a worthwhile target, which can be made through dealing damage, but also by a variety of other ways.

    What it takes to make one a worthwhile target depends of the opponent, of course. Ogres aren't known for leaving someone who spit in their face unpunished, for example. An intelligent enemy may avoid attacking someone who cast Sanctuary on themselves, while a beast would likely see no problem at keeping attacking as they don't realize the magical effect they're under.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2019-05-22 at 03:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickLyRaiNbow View Post
    Hard disagree. A tank needs to present a compelling reason for things to attack it. Sometimes that can be accomplished with positioning, class abilities or spells, but often it just requires being a big enough threat that the character can't simply be ignored. Not matter what kind of AC, HP and saves a particular tanky character has, they're ineffective if the enemy doesn't have to fight them until the rest of the party is dead. Having functional ranged attack options, mobility and being able to kill stuff if left alone are all key components of being an effective tank. This is part of why barbarians are such good tanks - leave them alone and they'll hack you into little tiny pieces.
    To tank you need to have better surviveability than your allies and some way to force the enemy to attack you instead of them.

    If you have good damage but don't have survivability, you arent a tank, you are just the best damage dealer.

    If you somehow have both the best damage and best surviveability, you could be called a tank, but are most likely just an OP character and the rest of the party needs to get on your level for tanking to even matter.
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    I think this is devolving into a semantic argument. It seems a number of people here view tanking as a specific method (specifically the meat shield). This is fine, it's a useful role to have filled in a party. I, however, find it more useful to think of tanking as a goal (keeping the party alive). And there are many ways that goal can be achieved, so while a meat shield is handy, it's not strictly necessary. Moreover, there's no reason you can't combine a meat shield with other methods of keeping the party alive.

    And I don't think most people here actually disagree with this, they just don't like the choice of words I'm using. Thus, I don't think it will be productive to keep arguing over the use of the word "tanking" to describe Fireball. And I can concede that the word "tank" may better refer to something that is heavily armored and impervious to most attacks (AKA the meat shield), as with real life tanks used in war. It is, after all, where the word originated from.

    Would the word "support" be better? Would you consider tanks and healers and controllers and "keeping the party alive" to all be support?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The OP could have been summed up as "The best defense is a good offense."
    I don't actually think this in general, but I do think there are situations where this is true. Generally speaking, not just in D&D but gaming in general, I prefer to first harden my defense and make myself as unkillable as possible, then sharpen my offense until I can wear down the enemy. Not dying is the first priority. There are times, however, when this isn't the optimal strategy, and you need to strike hard and fast in order to deny your enemy a slight advantage that could snowball into a huge advantage if left unchecked.

    Generally, when a large group of weak monsters present themselves, that's exactly the time when you need to hit them hard and eliminate as many as you can. If you wait a few rounds before throwing that Fireball, you're going to be much worse off than if you had thrown it on the first round. So, it just happens that this is one particular situation where going on the offensive pays more than staying on the defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by DRD1812 View Post
    Blasting isn't bad. Thoughtlessly blasting when you could be doing something more effective--that's what's bad.
    Exactly. Fireball is great at dealing lots of damage. But dealing lots of damage is what the martials are there for. As a caster, there are often much more effective things to be doing. So, all I'm saying is that you shouldn't be casting Fireball with the sole intent of dealing lots of damage (unless there really is nothing better for you to do, which can happen sometimes). You should be using it for the control aspect, and still assessing if there isn't a better spell you could be casting instead.

    I just feel like too many people see casters as artillery platforms. And this isn't totally unviable, it's just that there's a lot more to being a caster. Treantmonk's guide opens up with an anecdote about rolling up his signature God wizard without a single damage spell, causing the survivability of his party to go way up, and yet his character was considered "useless" because he didn't blast. Treating wizards like blasters is like treating clerics as healers. Yeah, they can do those things, but that's not all they can do, and it's often not the most effective thing for them to be doing. For that matter, even martials can be doing other things besides dealing damage, such as grappling and shoving, or locking down enemy mages, and so on. It doesn't benefit anyone to cram a PC into a narrow role like that.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    To tank you need to have better surviveability than your allies and some way to force the enemy to attack you instead of them.

    If you have good damage but don't have survivability, you arent a tank, you are just the best damage dealer.

    If you somehow have both the best damage and best surviveability, you could be called a tank, but are most likely just an OP character and the rest of the party needs to get on your level for tanking to even matter.
    So Moon Druid, basically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    Would the word "support" be better? Would you consider tanks and healers and controllers and "keeping the party alive" to all be support?
    In my opinion, there's just a lot of overlap in 5E between Supporting and Tanking. Bearbarian's are definitely great tanks, in terms of mitigation, but Wolf Totem is a more threatening unit. Their presence is enough to make everyone around them more dangerous, enemies that are aware of that are more likely to focus their efforts on disabling a Wolf Totem Barbarian than a Bearbarian. Focusing a Bearbarian is likely a waste of effort and their presence doesn't necessarily help their allies survive any longer. A Wolf Totem Barbarian can draw aggro passively, a Bearbarian must be actively engaging in threatening activity to make enemies believe they are worth killing first.

    If I had to classify tanking on a scale (an arbitrary one) then I would put a line between Support and Tank and plot every archetype that would be classified as either on that line. Defining the ends of the scale would be a tad difficult. Life Cleric is the likely candidate for Support, Conquest Paladin a likely end point for tank. Conquest Paladin is one of the very few character classes that can force enemies to attack who they want and prevent them from doing otherwise reliably.

    Defining tanking in 5E purely off mitigation through game mechanics is not accurate, at least to me. Since 5E lacks specific mechanics to draw aggro away from your allies being able to mitigate a lot of damage doesn't necessarily mean that you are "tanking".
    Last edited by ProsecutorGodot; 2019-05-22 at 04:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    I think this is devolving into a semantic argument. It seems a number of people here view tanking as a specific method (specifically the meat shield). This is fine, it's a useful role to have filled in a party. I, however, find it more useful to think of tanking as a goal (keeping the party alive). And there are many ways that goal can be achieved, so while a meat shield is handy, it's not strictly necessary. Moreover, there's no reason you can't combine a meat shield with other methods of keeping the party alive.
    Traditionally AOE damage is considered to be subset of damage dealers and/or a subset of crowd controllers.
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    Default Re: Fireball is a tanking spell - Change my mind

    It's been a 'semantic' argument since you posted claiming that 'keeping the party alive' which is literally the purpose of every role, was tanking and that fireball is a tanking spell.

    The fact is that you're trying to redefine a word (tanking) and telling people that don't want to use your new misleading definition they are wrong.

    Tanking does help your party stay alive, by absorbing damage that could have gone to your party.

    EVERY character should be trying to keep the party alive, but not all of them do so by tanking. A Cleric may use well timed heals, debuffs, buffs, CC, or pure damage to kill the enemy first. None of those are tanking (which a Cleric could do if they chose to, but may not be the BEST at it, though that's a whole different discussion.)

    If you ever have a character who's role does not include helping your party live longer then the things you're trying to kill then you're either a troll or comically bad at TTRPGs.

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