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The best offense is a good defense.


Advice


So here is my goal and challenge to everyone. I am looking into building the ultimate defensive character. Not looking to hit hard but would at least like the capability of hitting, more of a war of attrition. So the goal is to min/max all defenses. So high AC/Touch/Flat Footed, and All Saves. Rolled out 17/16/16/14/12/11 for scores. Looking for final product, so level 20 geared out to the max. Using only the pathfinder standard rules and books lets see what we can do.


Crane Style monk?

Osirion

RumpinRufus wrote:
Crane Style monk?

+1

Pump your sense motive and you can become practically untouchable.


Holy Vindicator. Just read that class with an eye towards AC buffs. Add paladin, profit.


Lazzerus undertaker.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Choon wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
Crane Style monk?

+1

Pump your sense motive and you can become practically untouchable.

Wow so simple i completely missed it lol. I don't know why I didn't think of this and kind of feel stupid now for not even looking at monk. Thank you lol.


Do you want physical defense, saves, debuff immunities, or all of the above?

Paladin saves are off the charts, they can sword-and-board for decent AC, and they can self-heal as a swift action, effectively increasing your HP by a ton. And they can Smite Evil, so they still have some offensive punch against evil creatures.

Crane Style Monks, as mentioned, get to ignore 1 attack per round, can get a crazy AC will sacrificing damage, and get natural spell-resistance and debuff immunities.

1 Monk, 19 Synth. Summoner with Crane Style feats could be have absurd pure-physical defense, decent spell defense, and could be evolved to have spell resistance and/or "Undead Appearance," which grants them some very nice debuff immunities at level 12+.

Any of those 3 would suit your purposes.


A Monk has all 3 saves as good saves. Add in Crane Style and a High WIS and it becomes excellent.

IIRC Monk(Master of Many Styles) is really good at being defensive and still able to do OK damage.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Dwarf Monk. Go 18 WIS, 16 DEX, 14 CON, pick up Dodge and Ironhide as level 1 feats, and you've got 19 AC (18 Touch, 15 Flat-footed), and +4/+5/+6 for your saves at level 1. Add another +2 on saves vs. spells and SLAs from the hardy racial trait. Pick up Weapon Finesse and an Amulet of Agile Fists as soon as possible for your attacking. Use the Qinggong archetype to get Barkskin as a ki power at level 4 for even more AC.

I wouldn't go Crane Style, because you can only use that once per round. If you invest everything in that, you'll die the first time someone full-attacks you.


RainyDayNinja wrote:

Dwarf Monk. Go 18 WIS, 16 DEX, 14 CON, pick up Dodge and Ironhide as level 1 feats, and you've got 19 AC (18 Touch, 15 Flat-footed), and +4/+5/+6 for your saves at level 1. Add another +2 on saves vs. spells and SLAs from the hardy racial trait. Pick up Weapon Finesse and an Amulet of Agile Fists as soon as possible for your attacking. Use the Qinggong archetype to get Barkskin as a ki power at level 4 for even more AC.

I wouldn't go Crane Style, because you can only use that once per round. If you invest everything in that, you'll die the first time someone full-attacks you.

Remember, even on a full attack most of the attacks will miss, unless you're fighting a dragon or something.

Andoran

One problem with 'win the war of attrition' is that with a pure defensive build, your attacks will suffer. If you and your opponent both need a 20 to hit, the winner will be whichever one has more hit points (monsters will likely do more damage on a hit, but the probably-a-monk will likely get more attacks; those sorta cancel each other). That's going to be the monster more often than not.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The best Defense is killing the other guy before he can hurt you.


@RainyDayNinja: Crane Style feat chain can be added to that build for even more defense.

There is a build on here that can get AC 32 at level 3-5 using Crane Style. Their Attacks are sub-par But by level 10 they should be able to boost them up.

Osirion

Azaelas Fayth wrote:

@RainyDayNinja: Crane Style feat chain can be added to that build for even more defense.

There is a build on here that can get AC 32 at level 3-5 using Crane Style. Their Attacks are sub-par But by level 10 they should be able to boost them up.

I will have a 32 AC on my Kensai at level 5. While I don't plan on giving him Crane style, I could. My attacks are not sub-par.

As for a build: the below is not entirely optimized for defense. You could drop 1 more level of synth for MoMS & change out a few feats for crane wing (+7 AC/Touch & negate 1 attack). Change out burrow & tremor sense for energy immunities.

Ulthor the Cursed
Male Half Elf Synthesist/Paladin/Oracle 17/2/1
Lawful Good Medium Humanoid
Height: 5'3" / 6'3"; Weight: 125 / 220 Age: 125
Init: +6; Senses: Perception +37
Deity Nethys
Favored Classes Summoner, Paladin

DEFENSE
AC 68 Touch 27, Flat Footed 55 (+29 natural, +4 shield, +12 Cha, +1 dodge, +8 AC, +5 deflection, +1 insight, -2 size )

HP 389 / 253 (106+3+280) / (71+182)
base(10 + 18*5 + 6)+favored(3)+con(280)
temp(13*5.5)+con(182)
Fort +45 (8 +14 con + 12 cha +5 enh +4 circ)
Ref +38 (5 +12 cha +12 cha +5 enh +4 circ)
Will +43 (15 +7 wis +12 cha +5 enh +4 circ)

Quadraped: +4 CMD vs trip

OFFENSE
Spd 40 ft.
------------------------------------
Baseline
------------------------------------
. . Claw (x4) +38 (2d6+25/20/x2/10')
. . Bite +38 (2d6+25/20/x2/10')
. . Sting +38 (1d8+25/20/x2/10')
. . Bardiche +38/+33/+28 (3d8+35/19-20/x2/20')
------------------------------------
Power Attack + Arcane Strike
------------------------------------
. . Claw (x4) +34 (2d6+38/20/x2/10')
. . Bite +34 (2d6+28/20/x2/10')
. . Sting +34 (1d8+38/20/x2/10')
. . Bardiche +34/29/24 (3d8+52/19-20/x2/20')

FUSED STATISTICS

Str 50, Dex 17, Con38, Int 16, Wis 25, Cha 34
BAB +15; CMB +35; CMD 53

UNFUSED STATISTICS

Str 20, Dex 10, Con 24, Int 16, Wis 25, Cha 34
BAB +14; CMB 19; CMD 29

ABILITIES
. fused eidolon
. improved evasion
. greater shielded meld
. maker's jump
. darkvision
. devotion
. Smite Evil
. Divine Grace
. Lay on Hands
. sidestep secret
. curse: deaf
. . all spells silent
. . +3 perception
. . no initiative penalty

EVOLUTIONS

. legs x2
. bite
. improved natural armor x4
. arms
. claws
. pounce
. improved damage
. tail
. sting
. tremorsense
. huge
. burrow

FEATS

. Arcane Strike(1)
. Skill Focus: Perception(HE)
. Dodge (3)
. Power Attack(5)
. Blind Fight(7)
. Improved Natural Attack(9)
. Multiattack (9)
. Mobility(11)
. Spring Attack(13)
. Improved Blind Fight(15)
. Combat Reflexes (17)
. Greater Blind Fight(19)

TRAITS

. Magical Knack
. Reactionary
[/spoiler]

SKILLS

. Acrobatics(20) +25
. Spellcraft(20) +26
. Perception(20) +37
. Sense Motive(2) +11
. Stealth(10)+13
. Fly(10)+16
. UMD(20)+35

LANGUAGES

Common, Elven, Dwarf, Orc


Naedre wrote:

Do you want physical defense, saves, debuff immunities, or all of the above?

Paladin saves are off the charts, they can sword-and-board for decent AC, and they can self-heal as a swift action, effectively increasing your HP by a ton. And they can Smite Evil, so they still have some offensive punch against evil creatures.

This!

Paladins are easily your best group tanking with the buffs and Auras they bring to the table. With a one level dip in Holy Vindicator a Paladin's AC will sky rocket along side having the best saves and lots of immunities.


What should a Crane Style monk be attacking with at higher levels, once all their Trip-fu is useless against big or flying enemies? I have such a monk, or the beginnings of that build, in CoT, and I am thinking a Holy or Bane weapon would do the trick, while deflecting attacks and whatnot with a free hand.


Choon wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
Crane Style monk?

+1

Pump your sense motive and you can become practically untouchable.

In order to prevent Feints? Neat.


@Arthantos: how did you get CHA to AC? Or am I missing something obvious.

@Axolotl: my Crane Monk player uses Tonfas I believe. They never went the Trip path.

Sczarni

Azaelas Fayth wrote:

A Monk has all 3 saves as good saves. Add in Crane Style and a High WIS and it becomes excellent.

IIRC Monk(Master of Many Styles) is really good at being defensive and still able to do OK damage.

I haven't checked to see if the following styles mesh all that well, but once the MoMS can fuse styles couldn't he also take Snake Style and use immediate actions to use Sense Motive as AC - even vs touch attacks?

I know it's quite easy to have +11 or +12 Sense Motive at level 1, so it can probably get absurd at higher levels. If averaged the d20 at 10 that's 21 or 22 AC @ 1st level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

The best 'Tank' I ever played was an Elven Paladin (Oath of Vengeance/Divine Defender) with Fey Foundling and lots of Extra Lay on Hands... at 20th level he had high saves, many immunities, high AC, defensive spells, the ability to remove conditions, DR 10/Evil and most importantly the ability to swift heal 98 hit points of damage 32/day as a swift action. That's an additional 3,136 hit points a day to play around with.

Another effective defensive player I've had was an Invulnerable Rager/Urban Barbarian. With Superstition (jacked up by the Human favored class option), a trick using the Stalwart feat line and the Beast Totem, he had excellent AC, impenetrable saves vs. Spells and DR 24/- at 20th level... plus some minor self-healing ability. He also hit like a truck.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
@Arthantos: how did you get CHA to AC? Or am I missing something obvious.

I believe its from the one level in Oracle, there is a revelation that gives you CHA to AC.

Axolotl wrote:
In order to prevent Feints? Neat.

I believe he is using snake style and his immediate action to get a crazy touch AC vs one attack per round.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

@Arthantos: how did you get CHA to AC? Or am I missing something obvious.

1 level dip into a Lore Oracle for the Sidestep Revelation. See it here


OK that makes sense... man I need to check out the Oracle a bit more...

This is what I get for preferring Martial characters over casters...


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

OK that makes sense... man I need to check out the Oracle a bit more...

This is what I get for preferring Martial characters over casters...

Assuming your not a Synthesist, Im not sure its such a great pick up. Since your losing a BAB and acquiring a curse. Also, how high are you going to have your CHA? Granted at level 20 you can have tombs or headbands but in regular game as a tank your not going to have that much extra money to pump up a stat thats not primary (STR/CON). So if you going the paladin route I would just dip in Holy Vindicator.


Artanthos wrote:
I will have a 32 AC on my Kensai at level 5. While I don't plan on giving him Crane style, I could. My attacks are not sub-par.

I would like to see this build, as I also have a Kensai. I could use the tips for making him more survivable.


If you don't want to be a Monk, a level 11+ Fighter(Aldori Swordlord)/Aldori Sword lord PrC will get a copy of Crane style that they use with swords.


If you use fighter(tower shield specialist archetype)10/stalwart defender 10 then the defenses can be very high. Classic builds...THERE'S A REASON THEY ARE CLASSIC. You can use heavy armor, so adamantine full plate. Also use a tower shield. Also high Dex and DR thanks to armor mastery and defender. Also he is duergar he getting more con, bonuses to saves vs magic, immunities, iron hide feat for natural armor then take improved natural armor feat 4 times. Also dodge feat, shield focus, greater shield focus, shield specialization, combat expertise, diehard, endurance, toughness, stalwart, greater stalwart. Also Defender of society trait, blood of tar targath trait. All class ability points into a maxed out Con. With magic items and defensive stance ability scores ends with Str:20/Dex:22/Con:40/Int:13/Wis:22/Cha:3
...This was my lvl 20 defensive character with 20 point buy
This will yield...
AC=10(base)+14(Armor)+11(shield)+6(Dex)+5(natural)+1(dodge)+5(combat expertise)+1(trait)+6(class)+1(luck).(also fighting defensively with 6 ranks acrobatics +3AC/total defense +6AC)
---Possible AC=60/Touch=41/FF=53--- (or 63AC fighting defensive/66AC total defensive)(or total cover)(also shield specialization +2AC v critical).
DR=3(adamantine)+5(armor expertise)+10(improved stalwart)+3(class).
---Possible DR=21.---
HP=10(base HD)+85(average of 19 HD)+300(Con)+20(toughness)
---Possible HP=415---
Class heal 5d8+15Con (37 avg) 1/day
Diehard (extra 40 HP basically)
Fort=+32(35 v magic)/Ref=+17(20/23 v magic/burst)/Will=+21(24 v magic)
CMD=31(34 v trip, overun, pull, push, grapple to move) (38 v bull rush)

Magic items: belt of physical prowess(+6 all physical stats)
Headband of Wis (+6 to Wis)
Tome of Con(+5 inherent bonus to Con)
Tome of Wis(+4 inherent bonus to Wis)
Tome of Dex(+3 inherent bonus to Dex)
(+5 shield and armor enhancement)
cloak of resistance +5
armor ioun stone in wayfinder (+1 luck to AC)

Attack wasn't too bad either!


This is the best tank that I've ever bothered to make. He didn't skimp on attack and damage either.

(I actually had higher AC, but toned it down and invested a few resources elsewhere when I realized that I was well past the point where pretty much nothing published could hit him without a natural 20.)


Pretas wrote:
So here is my goal and challenge to everyone. I am looking into building the ultimate defensive character. Not looking to hit hard but would at least like the capability of hitting, more of a war of attrition. So the goal is to min/max all defenses. So high AC/Touch/Flat Footed, and All Saves. Rolled out 17/16/16/14/12/11 for scores. Looking for final product, so level 20 geared out to the max. Using only the pathfinder standard rules and books lets see what we can do.

Here are two outstanding options, though your Attribute scores are a bit higher:

The Tank Barbarian

AC ain't the end-all be-all... how about high saves, ridiculous DR and tremendous versatility?

The Tiefling Paladin

Immunities, obscenely high saves, high AC, Mercies for ocndition removal and a few thousand extra hit points a day to work with...


Ravingdork wrote:

This is the best tank that I've ever bothered to make. He didn't skimp on attack and damage either.

(I actually had higher AC, but toned it down and invested a few resources elsewhere when I realized that I was well past the point where pretty much nothing published could hit him without a natural 20.)

Combat Gear: potions of cure serious wounds (10), potions of enlarge person (10), potions of fly (10)

Other Gear: +5 animated heavy mithral shield, +5 defending distance returning shortspear (Geol), +5 determination heavy fortification mithral full plate, +5 keen speed adamantine greatsword (Guruthos), amulet of natural armor +5, belt of physical perfection +6, boots of striding and springing, cloak of resistance +5, gloves of dueling, ring of protection +5, ring of regeneration

For some reason that character seems a little more about the equipment than the character's actual abilities... When someone asks for a build, I generally try to avoid offering one that relies almost completely on magic items they may or may not ever be able to obtain.

And he still has a dangerously low Will save for such a high level.


That can be said of ANY high level character, Damocles. It has absolutely nothing to do with my character and absolutely everything to do with the game system's design.

Stripped naked he has an AC of 24. That's nothing to sneeze at.


I did a paladin with sacred shield alternative. Full Charisma.
Lots of save. Lots of AC. Lots of healing touch.
You can still get the Crane Style Fighting...
Half orc for the 'one more round moment' you get.

But the real plus is: GM can't ignore you when opponents is evil. Cause halving damage done reaally change a game... :)


Really. People, a straight up Cleric can fix himself out of just about anything except possibly outright death.

If worried about it, take the Restoration and Azata subdomains.


Piccolo wrote:

Really. People, a straight up Cleric can fix himself out of just about anything except possibly outright death.

If worried about it, take the Restoration and Azata subdomains.

With standard actions, which means he's not doing anything else... a Paladin can self heal and remove conditions with a swift action, enabling full round attacks, and that Tiefling I posted above is doing it at a clip of 100 hp per round at 20th level.

In addition to high AC, High saves and Paladin immunities.


Ravingdork wrote:

That can be said of ANY high level character, Damocles. It has absolutely nothing to do with my character and absolutely everything to do with the game system's design.

Stripped naked he has an AC of 24. That's nothing to sneeze at.

I think what you're saying is true to a degree, RD, but I also think that for many who plan builds, magic items on demand - in some cases almost a million gold's worth - have become integral parts of the character creation process... so much so that the mindset seems to be that glaring weaknesses can simply be shored up if I have this item or that which in turn makes the character build vulnerable or even impractical if they happen to game in a world where 100,000 gp magic items aren't bought, sold and traded like baseball cards. The fact is that if one can free themselves from that mindset and seek alternative options within the rules as they are, some truly remarkable things can be done.

To use the Fighter tank build you mention above - yes, stripped naked he has an AC of 24 which is very, very solid but it should be as you've invested 10 feats into that stat alone... however, his saves 'stripped naked' near as I can tell are Fortitude +14, Reflex +10, Will +8 and that is a very real vulnerability. He also has DR 5 which is nice, but isn't achieved until level 19 and it doesn't even apply stripped naked as it requires armor or shield. A tank has to be viable in that role levels 1-20, not merely when he maxes out because so little of gaming actually takes place at level 18+. A tank also needs to have multi-layered defenses to be able to handle a wider variety of threats than just people who want to hit him with things.

By contrast (and again, just using the examples above), the Barbarian I've built has the following stats 'stripped naked' at 20th level:

AC 12 which would elevate to 17 if I chose not to use Reckless Abandon and 20 if I chose to use Focused Rage to enhance Dexterity rather than Strength.
DR 22/- which is a much more effective means of damage mitigation than simple AC. When he gets near death, that DR actually sky-rockets into the 30's and 40's, which when combined with Guarded Life and Diehard makes him pretty much unkillable.
Fort +16, Ref +8, Will +8 saving throws, but with an additional +12 across the board against spells and spell-like abilities as well as an additional +5 save vs. Enchantments, resulting in a tank that's almost immune to magic. I can also raise those saves if I'm using Focused Rage to boost Dex or Constitution, and I have access to the Auspicious Mark Rage power which grants bonuses to individual d20 rolls.

On top of those, he has access to the Come and Get Me rage power which not only invites attack which is a good thing for a tank but allows him to kill foes much faster which is just about the best defensive tactic I know.

He also has a wider variety of skills, is a legitimate ranged threat, can Pounce, and can grow claws as natural weapons so that even stripped naked he's never without the ability to deal lethal damage - all without a single magic item.


LOL - I just realized that this was a ressurected thread from back in October...

Anyway, the Barbarian build I linked to earlier using the OPs' rolled stats and standard item buys would be as follows:
.
.
.
Human 2nd level Unbreakable Fighter / 18th level Urban Barbarian & Invulnerable Rager

Attributes:
STR - 30 (36 when Raging)
DEX - 22
CON - 22
INT - 14
WIS - 12
CHA - 11

(Traits and Feats listed in build)

Equipment:(879,000)
+5 Keen Flaming Falchion of Speed, +5 Keen Flaming Composite Bow of Speed, +5 Mithril Breastplate Armor with Heavy Fortification, Ring of Protection +5, Ring of Regeneration, Amulet of Natural Armor +5, Cloak of Resistance +5, Winged Boots, Belt of Physical Perfection +6

Combat stats:
HP 258 (2d10+18d12+120), AC 36, DR 22/- (DR 44/- vs. non-lethal damage)
Fort +25, Ref +17, Will +13 (additional +12 saves vs. Spells & Spell-like Abilities, additional +5 saves vs. Enchantments)
Rage: 46 rounds/day, 75% immunity to sneak attacks and critical hits, immune to bleed damage, Regenerate 1 hit/round

Melee Attack: +32/+32/+27/+22/+17
Melee Damage: 2d4+1d6+43, Crit 15+ (x2)
Ranged Attack: +33/+33/+28/+23/+18
Ranged Damage: 1d8+1d6+22, Crit 19+ (x3)

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