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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    I want to design this defense-focused class called Fortress Knight, he exists to be the "Tank", the super-heavily armoured designated guy your enemies turn into chunky salsa while your casters stand back and do their thing. But I have no idea how to make this character class not suck eggs because magic classes are almost always better than melee classes. And giving him some real big stat-buffing numbers and a huge shield plus a big sword or lance or axe big enough to make a Monster Hunter character jealous wouldn't do enough to offset that. I guess I could give him some magic-negating ability so enemies can't one-shot him. Maybe a class feature that limits how much damage you can take in one go, and another class feature that makes healing effects from allies heal you over time for a few turns after they're used.

    Then it hit me. Royal Guard in DMC, everyone loves it. It gives you a reason to stop ripping and tearing and start parrying and releasing. I don't know how I'd write this, but this character class needs a way to absorb damage for a bit and then release it all over the enemy's face.

    I'm open to more suggestions. So far, this is all I've got.

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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    It needs a way to provoke aggro and force enemies to attack them. Tanks normally have the problem of opponents just being able to go around them, negating their high AC and/or HP

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    SamuraiGirl

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    I'd say the Warder from PoW is a good place to start looking as well as the Guardian and Shield spheres from Spheres of Might. The Crusader from ToB also has some good aspects.

    You could make the class also give some defensive buffs against magic to allies who are close to it, similar to the Marshall's aura in 4e. Maybe a bonus to save or Spell Resistance.

    Actually, one way to go about it is to let him give significant defensive buffs to the allies so that while he stands, the party is harder to break through. You could have the aura start by giving just some extra AC and then grow up to give allies DR, bonuses to saves and regen. That way the enemies would want to kill him because as long as he stands, the rest of the group is that much harder to drop.
    Last edited by ThatMoonGuy; 2019-10-09 at 09:59 PM.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Needs a way to redirect attacks, punish being ignored, punish attacking allies, quickly move self and allies around the field, place self between attacking monster and ally, wide reach for attacks of opportunity, multiple attacks of opportunity per turn, ability to rebuff an opponent's damage dealing capabilities, good saves, extra defence against mind effecting abilities, ability to use heavy armour while keeping mobility, D12 hd. That kind of thing.

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Sentinel (Spheres of Might) or Warder (Path of War), done

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Max out on reach and extra attacks of opportunity.
    Get Stand Still
    Get the Bulwark of Defense and Mage Slayer abilities.

    Basically, make it so people can't just run past you, that mages can't break away with a 5 ft. step or cast defensively, and that you guard the largest area possible.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    It needs a way to provoke aggro and force enemies to attack them.
    From another thread, I would love to play a tank who… had some variant / combination of… forces opponents near him to use a horrific fumble table, allows allies near him to get debilitating crits, makes AoO (utilizing said crits) whenever a nearby ally is attacked, and has super tanky defenses. Although the "my allies healing works super good on me" would be a nice perk.

    But, the first time someone attacks my ally, and I cause them to fumble as I parry their sword into their spleen by way of their ear, or cause them to bite their own head off, I don't think anyone else will want to ignore me.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    lets see:

    you need to be able to take damage.
    If a CR appropriate enemy bruiser decides to just play your game and stand there full attacking you then you should be able to last a few rounds.

    You need to be able to take esoteric effects.
    Taking damage is nice but you should be just as hard to put down with a save or suck / die. If a CR appropriate enemy starts throwing SoS spells it should take a few rounds to get something to stick.

    You need to be able to reach your enemies and force them to attack you.
    If you can't effectively stand in front and take hits meant for squishier allies all that defensive power is useless.

    Get those 3 things working at levels 5, 10 and 15.
    By working I mean take a selection of CR appropriate monsters. Put your class, a monster and a commoner onto a battlefield.
    Have the monster try and kill the commoner while your class tries to defend them. Keep adding features to your class until it can keep the commoner alive for at least a few rounds.
    I am rel.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Well, I'd probably take a lot of elements from Crusader. The ability to make an area difficult terrain for your enemies and threaten all of it. The ability to punish enemies not going after you. The ability to delay damage and reroll saves against spells.

    I'd throw in Diamond Mind for the save-boosting maneuvers and Iron Heart for Iron Heart Surge.

    Tack on a variant of the Goad feat for free to mechanically "force them" your way and you've got the beginnings of what you're looking for.
    Player >>> Build >>> Class. I'm running a game where two very effective characters are a Warlock (ranged touch attacks hit a lot. Who knew?) and a Daring Outlaw with a few maneuvers (full sneak attack and Island of Blades Stance generates a lot of damage quickly) and the Druid mostly uses the class as an excuse to live out lifelong dreams of being best friend to animals.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    I think the class should get Combat Reflexes or something similar for free, combined with abilities that synergize with creating AoOs.

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    Planetar

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dinosaur View Post
    Sentinel (Spheres of Might) or Warder (Path of War), done
    so much this (got my ten characters and more, hah...)

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Warder or aegis from PoW in pf. Iron tortise, eternal guardian, and golden lion maneuvers. Aegis is a bit more modular if you want to customize it more, but warder usually does it better.

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Others have mentioned the various options that already do this well in several ways, but noone has mentioned the valiant (but ultimately failed) attempt called the Knight.

    It has ways to provoke Aggro, it is durable, it has some minor offensive buffs and it's capstone is hilarious in that as long as you have Challenges you can't die short of disintegration.

    It was so close to working
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Dip Knight for Bulwark of Defense, never look back. Amazing synergy with Mage Slayer.
    Last edited by weckar; 2019-10-10 at 09:46 AM.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Dip Knight for Bulwark of Defense, never look back. Amazing synergy with Mage Slayer.
    Surprised it took this long to get people to mention Knight. Knight has some extremely nice defensive builds with Bulwark, Combat Expertise, and Stand Still. They're even the only class with an actual taunt.

    They don't stand up in power to like a gray elf transmutation wizard, but they're a solid class

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Dragonborn for a breath weapon, Entangling Exhalation to keep opponents debuffed and unable to move to the back row characters. Preferably combined with Warforged and Adamantine Body.

    Crusader 4/ Binder 1/ Hellreaver 5/ Crusader 10. Always bind Naberius so you can spam holy power abilities every round. You’ll be tanky, able to deal decent damage, able to heal yourself and your party without sacrificing attacks, and you’ll be debuffing the enemies and doing damage every round with entangling breath attacks. Opponents won’t be able to ignore you, but that’s because you’re a credible threat, not because you’re using some kind of MMO taunt mechanics.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Give them a gun.
    "Movement speed is the most important statistic in this game."

    "Give them no mercy for they give no mercy to us."

    "I see one of those I kill it!"

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    I know what i did for my Paladin was create a spell that worked like mass command person, but the only command was to attack me.

    I also made a spell where any time he was hit he would get a free Aoo on the enemy as long as he was in range, the effect would end if he moved, first Aoo was free but every one after the first required a Cumulative +5 concentration check starting at 15.

    i combined these with the paladin spell that adds extra damage to attacks when i take damage.

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    For any homebrewed solution, a reliable way of drawing aggro is really the key to a defense-focused class. A massive pile of AC and defenses doesn't matter if the enemies aren't targeting you. So you have to either make the class enough of a threat that the enemies would be silly to target the other characters, or force them to attack you whether they want to or not.

    If you're going to force the enemy to attack you, one way of achieving that is through Knight's Challenge, or a similar ability. The enemy literally has to attack you. Another way would be through something like Shield Ally, where you absorb some or all of the damage intended for another character. Another way of doing that would be to have an ability that could lend your defense to another character, letting them use your AC instead of their own. This would prevent the hit to begin with, instead of spreading out the damage for a hit that landed on an ally. As a lesser ability, maybe make Aid Another (for AC only) a swift action and not a standard action.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2019-10-10 at 12:15 PM.

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    AvatarVecna's Avatar

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Tanking in general has a problem. Any character who wants to tank needs to both be an absolute bastion of defense (meeting the basic qualifications), but in a way that the enemies can't just ignore them.

    One method of tanking is to simply be too dangerous to ignore, that if the enemy isn't forcing you on the defensive they are leaving you open to run through them like a hot knife through butter. In this way, Shock Trooper is an absolutely wonderful feat for a Tank: if you don't focus down the tank, if you try to not engage the tank in melee and go around to get at the mages, you're leaving yourself open to an attack with no attack penalty and full two-handed PA tradeoff (possibly with pounce, probably with other damage boosters). The problem is that mechanics that let you choose between "high defense" and "high offense" on-the-fly like that aren't really common, so most builds end up becoming dangerous by just being a dangerous guy with really good defenses...and then they don't need to tank because they can just murder their enemies.

    Another method of tanking is, to use the common terminology, "drawing aggro": it acknowledges that attacking a defense-hyperfocused target is probably the worst way for an enemy to spend their time, but instead of investing in ways to punish the enemy's lack of attention, they focus the rest of their build on taking away the enemy's ability to choose their own targets. This has a similar problem to the above "the best defense is an overwhelming offense", in that if you're investing in taking away the enemy's choices...you could stop investing in defense so much to invest more in taking away choices, and now you're just a wannabe-enchanter (or an actual enchanter, mindraping the enemy into attacking a tree instead of the fighter, or just making them sit on their hands while your friends beat them up). This is also the tanking method that is the easiest to block - the other methods, the enemy's choice of target is forced in the mind of the player/DM, but here it's forced in the mind of the character, and that has in-game defenses for resisting.

    Another method of tanking, which I think is the closest to true tanking, is to simultaneously be the most difficult person on the field to take down, and the least directly dangerous person, but make it integral to take you down first because you make life hard for the enemy somehow. This comes in two flavors, basically: you're a high-defense buffer (making your allies into gods as long as you're alive, so even if you have pathetic DPR the enemy basically has no choice but to kill you first), or a high-defense debuffer (you make it difficult for enemies near you to do much of anything useful, meaning they have to eliminate you first to have a chance at hurting the wizard). The former can be basically any build that focuses on buffing as long as some of that buffing goes towards buffing your own defenses, although typically this results in the build not looking like a typical "tank": a wizard/war weaver, a dragonfire inspiration bard, a marshal, all of these builds can be excellent buff-tanks. Far more iconic is the debuffer-tank, which is what's generally referred to in charop discussions as a "lockdown build". This is that guy who somehow gets like 50 ft reach with a spiked chain, NI AoOs/turn, a half-dozen ways of taking AoOs besides the normal methods, and a half-dozen things that slap extra effects besides damage on his AoOs. The result is a character where, if you're within 50 ft of him, you're moving through difficult terrain, provoking for all movement (including 5ft steps) and having to make saves vs stunning/dazing/losing half your speed for a round every time he hits you for piddly damage. This build is also typically some fighter/knight/ToB nonsense multiclass, but if you were trying to homebrew a tank, making a class that had things like that natively would be a good way to go about things.
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    It was so close to working
    Interesting, I haven't heard people be so optimistic about it. What do you think is the minimum necessary change for it to work?

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Interesting, I haven't heard people be so optimistic about it. What do you think is the minimum necessary change for it to work?
    Knight has useful features, and even has an aggro ability, but it just doesn't get enough of anything to be really great. There's been threads before making serious arguments that Knight + two of Marshal/Paladin/Fighter tristalted together would make a super-solid tank class.

    EDIT: But if you're looking more for "changes to base Knight that make it less garbage":

    1) Change out the Knight bonus feat progression/limits for the Fighter's version, maybe not including the ability to take fighter-specific feats: open combat feats at every even level (and 1st) would help out greatly. If you feel that's too open, the list should still be opened up to defense-oriented combat feats at least. Hyperfocusing their feats on mounted combat when they don't get a horse that can survive combat past lvl 6 is cruel.

    2) Give it a good Fort save. It has no excuse for not having one.

    3) Challenges/day should be level+Cha mod, not half-level+Cha mod.

    4) Give them a bit of reach.

    5) DR, SR, and maybe ER related to their AC/armor.
    Last edited by AvatarVecna; 2019-10-10 at 12:35 PM.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Take Knight, removed the Mounted Combat focus, add in the Crusader's maneuver and stance progression.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Check out my Knight Re-tool.

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Interesting, I haven't heard people be so optimistic about it. What do you think is the minimum necessary change for it to work?
    Remove the Language and Int requirement from Challenges, body language should be a fine cop out if we need one.

    Boost some of the numbers to make them more reasonable.

    And that's about it. The Knight was close to working out alright as maybe a T4 tank, but the restrictions on its ability killed it.
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sereg View Post
    Needs a way to [...] punish being ignored [...]
    This is the main thing. In video games, tanks work because players are given the ability to manipulate AI-controlled attackers' attacking priorities. In other words, you can hold aggro. Not so in D&D, which brings you to the second type of tanking: that in (team) pvp games. I can't speak for all pvp, but in MMOs I've played, you tank by being (a) a juicy target because you go down fast and provide easy points (bad), or (b) a juicy target because without killing you, it's a royal pain to get anyone else (to stay) down (good). Things like a crusader's Iron Guard's Glare are a good start, as are party-wide defense buffs.

    Another thought: in pvp, and perhaps also in D&D, it's not about the aggro table, but about the perceived effort required to kill the party in a specific order, where the paths with the tank first should be perceived as least-effort/optimal. Now, you don't actually want your tank to be squishy, but note: perceived effort--you just want them to look squishy. Maybe you could do something with that, allowing enemies to mess you up pretty good (so they think they're making progress), but secretly having the ability to turn the tables. Doesn't work against well-informed opponents, though.
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    +1 to Libris. The basic conflict is that you want the tank to be the logical person for enemies to attack, but not actually.

    The basic dynamic of trickery involved in this seems like it would be good fruit for an illusion/deception based tank, actually. That would be an interesting beguiler or rogue PrC.


    Assuming conventional tank gameplay, my favorite solution is to have the tank inflict an active, pressing need for the enemy to attack them, not just a demerit if they don't. This is more dramatic because it's no longer just about slightly adjusting the enemy's cost-benefit ratio for who to attack, which is sort of boring: instead it flips the table so that the targeted enemy is now on the defensive. I think the most fun form of this is if the tank actually inflicts a harmful condition on the enemy that takes effect right now and can only be removed by attacking the tank. Of course, you then have to counter the incentive this creates for the tank to hit-and-run -- a distance requirement past which the effect breaks would be a place to start -- though that tag and run gameplay could be exactly what you want and might make a fun idea for a skirmishing tank.


    I would avoid solutions that just make the barrier the tank presents be a big wall of HP. Or rather, that gameplay is only interesting if the attacker's gameplay revolves around timing damage bursts.

    Another cute tank concept is the "yank-tank" who pulls people to them, maybe physically dragging them around in some cases. In general, active gameplay is best and role reversal is the best way to take control of a situation.

    PS: In 3.5 the tank role tends to simply mean lockdown, so maybe that's a better word to use than tank?
    Last edited by Elves; 2019-10-10 at 02:14 PM.

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    If you look to video games that have tanking you can get ideas for how to go about this, too. World Of Warcraft has the classic "drawing aggro" tanking that can be used against NPC mobs - this is your Knight's challenge and your AoE fear abilities that screw around with enemy choices. Alternatively, you could look to something like Overwatch which has a few different kinds of tanks: Reinhardt, a slow tank who can deploy an enormous ally-protecting shield or lower it to ubercharge through enemies; Winston, who has a good balance of offense/defense/mobility, who can lock down and eliminate squishies in the back line unless he himself is locked down (referred to in the meta as a Dive Tank), while Roadhog just has good damage, good self-healing, and the ability to yank people out way out of position.
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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Here is my Marshal Knight which does a pretty good job at being a tank

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    Default Re: How do you Homebrew a defense-focused fighter class to not suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Interesting, I haven't heard people be so optimistic about it. What do you think is the minimum necessary change for it to work?
    together with what others have said ... Give them native access to an ability similar to Devoted Defender(S&F)/Maquar Crusader(FR:SS)'s Harm's way (or DoTU's Dutiful Guardian feat) and retune Test of Mettle into being The core mechanic, available from an even earlier level, letting the DC scale somewhat similar as to how initiator levels are calculated (or if that's to complicated, either ½CharLevel or full Class Level). This would in and of itself probably make it strong enough to, with multiclassing make just about every flavour of tank that you could imagine.

    For all that it just barely fails to manage to hold itself up, it's probably my favourite type of character to fiddle with

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