How good is DR for a PC?


Advice


I have recently been using Defending Bone to help protect my cleric. If gives DR 5/bludgeoning, up to 50 hp @ 5/level. Sounds good. However, it has failed to have any effect against a number of monsters*. So I am wondering if it is worth the spell slot I have dedicated to it.

I know of a similar spell, Ablative Barrier, that gives +2 AC and converts up to 50 hp to non-lethal and gives DR 5/- against non-lethal. Are there other spells or magic items that give DR?

As to class abilities, the DR that barbarians get is quite small and requires multiclassing to get.

I would love opinions on all the various options for DR that are out there.

/cevah

*Currently doing Shattered Star AP, which seems to have a lot of critters with bludgeoning attacks. Currently level 8.


I've seen ablative barrier be valuable. More as a means of doubling healing than strictly as DR. Stoneskin is more valuable as DR, exactly.


dr from spells generally sucks as there is a cap to how much it can absorb and they are generally in low numbers or are easily bypassed due to typing of the dr, dr gained from creature type or class abilities is generally going to be better as most of those are either aligned dr or dr/- which cant be bypassed expect by smite evil/good/chaos/law which bypasses every kind of dr


It often depends on what gets past the DR, and what it blocks.

DR/ bludgeoning tends to be a bit lower- every creatures with jaws and claws hit past that. Similarly, DR/slashing also fails to many natural attacks, as well as swords. DR/piercing is somewhat better (it blocks claws, but not teeth), but you are weak to arrows then.

Alignment based DR is good against most creatures up until you face bosses (you often face outsiders as bosses). Even then, DR/evil is worse than DR good (because a lot of enemies are evil), and DR/law is one of the best (you pretty much only have to worry about devils). There could also be alignment enhanced weapons, but those are expensive- not for every enemy.

DR/adamantine is often really good, since it needs special equipment to get past. Even if your GM decides to arm enemies to the teeth to kill you... well... adamantine weapons are work +3000 g. So you get good money from that. Other metal based DR (silver, cold iron) is not as good- it works against beasts, but it is cheap enough to give enemies at level 1.

DR that prevents nonlethal... is not very good at all. It tends to be a side benefit at most. Most enemies just try to murder you outright.

DR/- is obviously the holy grail of DR. But it is often fairly rare outside of barbarians.


DR is supreme at low levels if you can get any, as it blocks a large percentage of an attack. In the long run Dr 10/- is great but when something hits you for 150 it doesn't really soften the blow much.

With the inability to stack DR in most cases by the time you get a decent numerical value it's trivial.

Unless you're fighting lots of low CR stuff that can't hit hard but there are lots of them DR isn't that great.


Defending Bone is much more valuable vs humanoids than monsters. You're much more likely to get hit with a sword than a monster without claws and bite.

avr hit it on the nail with Ablative Barrier as a way to double healing: it's totally useless as DR.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I run an invulnerable rager and to be honest, the DR isn't worth much. It mitigates some problems, but AC is honestly a much better defense. Around 4th or 5th level he ate 45 points of damage AFTER his DR. In 10th+ play I have put a barbarian so far negative that two breath of life spells failed to bring him back. Monsters just do far more damage per hit than the small DR you can get, and even worse the DR doesn't protect against the rider effects that some of those attacks inflict as you move up in level. Far better to never have to make the save than to mitigate some of the damage dealt.


Resinous skin would have saved my druid's first life if I'd been smart enough to cast it first instead of barksin before getting full-attack backstabbed by our rakshasa "ally". DR 5/piercing, and weapons stick in the resin and have to be removed. You'd have to get it in item form, though.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

The best DR you'll ever get is Mirror image....which is also the best AC.

That being said, as far as Barbarians, at level 13 in our Reign of Winter campaign, my Invulnerable Rager is literally bulletproof.

Ablative barrier can be a lifesaver.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

The more you can invest in DR, the better it becomes, but investment is difficult since DR rarely stacks.

An Invulnerable Rager with Stalwart + Improved Stalwart can get DR 20/- which makes them VERY difficult to take out. With Dragon Totem Resilience you can increase this number even further.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

Kaouse wrote:

The more you can invest in DR, the better it becomes, but investment is difficult since DR rarely stacks.

An Invulnerable Rager with Stalwart + Improved Stalwart can get DR 20/- which makes them VERY difficult to take out. With Dragon Totem Resilience you can increase this number even further.

Add Flesh Wound, and the Guarded life tree of Rage poowers and you get the unkillable rager.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Thomas 66 wrote:

The best DR you'll ever get is Mirror image....which is also the best AC.

That being said, as far as Barbarians, at level 13 in our Reign of Winter campaign, my Invulnerable Rager is literally bulletproof.

Ablative barrier can be a lifesaver.

Can confirm.


Kaouse wrote:

The more you can invest in DR, the better it becomes, but investment is difficult since DR rarely stacks.

An Invulnerable Rager with Stalwart + Improved Stalwart can get DR 20/- which makes them VERY difficult to take out. With Dragon Totem Resilience you can increase this number even further.

dragon totem doesn't give any DR

FAQ


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Deadly Juggernaut can be useful as well, but is campaign situational in usefulness i'd say.


DR 10/evil from Planar Wildshape has been really useful for my druid. Against monsters whose damage is based on multiple smaller attack it has made him almost invulnerable. Against monsters with one big attack high AC is more useful but 30 hp damage rather than 40 hp damage per round means at least one extra round of survivability to me.
In our Iron Gods campaing he got hit by multiple rockets, 4d6 bludgeoning and 4d6 fire each. Resist fire neutralised all the fire damage and DR meant he only took like 10hp of damage.


Logically speaking, a defensive measure is useful when and only when it changes the outcome of being attacked for the better. DR is rather easy to evaluate, since as it says on the tin, all is does is reduce damage.

Now in an individual case any amount of extra defence can make a huge difference if it's what keeps you on 1 HP instead of 0 (or 0 instead of -1) after a set of attacks, granting you an extra action that may end up crucial. But generally, people want things that will make a useful difference on average/over the long-term, so I'll work with that.

Using your cleric as an example, you haven't posted up their stats but they're level 8, so I'm going to guess they're in the ballpark of 55-65 HP. Let's say 64. I also haven't played Shattered Star and don't know the monsters you're running into at this point, but to have an example number let's say the average individual attack you take does 15 damage.

If you have 64 HP, and each attack does 15 damage on average, then you take 5 average attacks (4 and a bit rounded up) to drop below 0. For DR to be consistently useful, it needs to change that number.

If you had DR 1, 15 damage per hit would drop to 14. 14 x 5 is 70, and still enough to drop you, so it wouldn't consistently change how many attacks you can withstand.

If you had DR 3, dropping it to 12 damage per hit, then 5 attacks will do 60 damage on average, leaving you with a slim but standing 4 HP. So with these numbers, at least, DR 3 would be worth staying standing for an extra successful attack received (on average and such disclaimers).

That's my theory for evaluating DR as a quantity. If the DR isn't large enough to increase the number of successful hits required on average to drop you by at least 1, it's not significantly useful. In terms of what bypasses it, that's even more situational, so if you're unsure on which things you'll face, I generally wouldn't invest any costly or permanent resources into DR that isn't pure /-. Defending Bone is a great example of a good situational spell, since you can just stop preparing it if it becomes redundant. If you were an oracle, it might not be as appealing.

Grand Lodge

Most common damage type for natural attacks is B. Resinous skin, if you have access to it, is a better source of Dr it also debuff enemies with weapons and has no limit on damage.

If in combat healing occurs in you group or you are tight on healing resources ablative barrier may be better.

Both have there place.

Having access to layered defense is always the best option. Casters can often make Dr, miss chance and ac work in their favor. I always work toward a redundancy to protect myself.


Generally, DR is most valuable against enemies that are the least relevant. Large numbers of relatively weak enemies making lots of attacks, which tend to also have relatively low defenses, making them more easily disabled by one good control spell.


Viletta Vadim wrote:
Generally, DR is most valuable against enemies that are the least relevant. Large numbers of relatively weak enemies making lots of attacks, which tend to also have relatively low defenses, making them more easily disabled by one good control spell.

Well take a dragon, they have 6 attacks, if you had DR 5 that's 30 damage prevented which is like one attack.

Shadow Lodge

O.O

<.<

>.>


Grandlounge wrote:

Most common damage type for natural attacks is B. Resinous skin, if you have access to it, is a better source of Dr it also debuff enemies with weapons and has no limit on damage.

If in combat healing occurs in you group or you are tight on healing resources ablative barrier may be better.

Both have there place.

Having access to layered defense is always the best option. Casters can often make Dr, miss chance and ac work in their favor. I always work toward a redundancy to protect myself.

One problem with Resinous skin is the fact that it has no effect vs. natural attacks: This spell has no effect on unarmed strikes or natural weapons. For attacks that it blocks, DR 5/piercing is nice. Unfortunately, it is not on the cleric list.

Stoneskin at DR 10/adamantine, is even better, but is not on the cleric list.

Another non-cleric spell, Mirror Image is nice, with ways of avoiding attacks. While I cannot get that, I can get Magic Vestment. This will get me +2 AC [vs. my current AC of 18]. Yeah, my AC sucks. But I am a reach cleric based on AoOs, so I am somewhat protected since someone else is usually closer to the enemy.

So, is it better to use a 3rd level spell (Magic Vestment) or a 2nd level spell (Defending Bone)? I have few enough spells due to keeping one open at each level for emergencies. I am also interested in magic items that can aid in mitigating damage or avoiding damage.

I also am a Evangelist Cleric, so I loose medium armor, and one domain. I do get the bard like inspiration, so that helps everybody. With the reach build, and 15 point buy, I am playing a MAD character. I know I won't be the DPR king, but I am satisfied to contribute. However, if I could not get hurt as much, I would not need to prep so many cure spells (not avail spon by archetype), nor use so many weaker channels.

Suggestions welcome.

/cevah

Grand Lodge

Sorry skimmed and did not see cleric. I'm going to just throw ideas at the wall feel free to ignore all of it.

Shield of darkness, sanctuary, grace are spells I use to keep out of harm's way with my evangelist.

There are more option at higher levels. Angelic Aspect, Righteous Might, Eaglesoul (small buffs to everything).

AC stuff

  • Sanctified Shield for when your not attacking channel is weak anyway.

  • Bone fist if it works for your group is ok.

  • Magic vestment again on a shield.

    Spell storing armor with frigid touch or stricken heart. You will need someone in your group to cast it for you.

    Temp HP
    Aid, contagious zeal, divine power, Battle Trance (half orc)


  • Grandlounge wrote:

    Sorry skimmed and did not see cleric. I'm going to just throw ideas at the wall feel free to ignore all of it.

    Shield of darkness, sanctuary, grace are spells I use to keep out of harm's way with my evangelist.

    There are more option at higher levels. Angelic Aspect, Righteous Might, Eaglesoul (small buffs to everything).

    AC stuff

  • Sanctified Shield for when your not attacking channel is weak anyway.

  • Bone fist if it works for your group is ok.

  • Magic vestment again on a shield.

    Spell storing armor with frigid touch or stricken heart. You will need someone in your group to cast it for you.

    Temp HP
    Aid, contagious zeal, divine power, Battle Trance (half orc)

  • Added links.

    As a reach cleric, I cannot realistically use a shield. [Reach weapons are all two-handed.]
    Some of these spells are nice, but the morale bonus does not stack with my inspiration, and thus makes the spells of little benefit.
    I do have a shield, but cannot use it much because I am always set up with my reach weapon.

    Is there a feat that lets me use a shield without reducing my attack? Then I could probably use a buckler and get it enhanced.

    /cevah


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Shield Brace: allows a shield and a polearm/spear.

    Prerequisite(s): Shield Focus; base attack bonus +3 or fighter level 1st; proficiency with light shields, heavy shields, or tower shields.

    Make sure your shield has NO ACP as that affects your to hit rolls with this feat.


    Cevah wrote:
    So, is it better to use a 3rd level spell (Magic Vestment) or a 2nd level spell (Defending Bone)? I have few enough spells due to keeping one open at each level for emergencies.

    Actually, hour/level buffs like magic vestment and defending bone can work really well with the strategy of leaving spell slots open for emergencies. If you invest in a lesser metamagic rod of extend, each of those spells will last 16 hours, long enough that you can cast them the night before and leave the slot open when you prepare spells in the morning. That way, if no emergency comes up, you can just spend fifteen minutes to prepare and cast the spells again the next evening, continuing the following day just as before. And if you do need to prepare a spell in one of those empty slots throughout the day, all you need to do is prepare one fewer spell the next morning and you'll be right back on track.

    Grand Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Cevah wrote:
    Grandlounge wrote:

    Sorry skimmed and did not see cleric. I'm going to just throw ideas at the wall feel free to ignore all of it.

    Shield of darkness, sanctuary, grace are spells I use to keep out of harm's way with my evangelist.

    There are more option at higher levels. Angelic Aspect, Righteous Might, Eaglesoul (small buffs to everything).

    AC stuff

  • Sanctified Shield for when your not attacking channel is weak anyway.

  • Bone fist if it works for your group is ok.

  • Magic vestment again on a shield.

    Spell storing armor with frigid touch or stricken heart. You will need someone in your group to cast it for you.

    Temp HP
    Aid, contagious zeal, divine power, Battle Trance (half orc)

  • Added links.

    As a reach cleric, I cannot realistically use a shield. [Reach weapons are all two-handed.]
    Some of these spells are nice, but the morale bonus does not stack with my inspiration, and thus makes the spells of little benefit.
    I do have a shield, but cannot use it much because I am always set up with my...

    Using a throwing buckler while casting, dropping it when you go into melee, eat the -1 to hit and switch back and forth as combat dictates, or shield brace with darkwood or mithrial are all options. Inspire is not morale it is competence only the save is morale.

    The spells don't stack with bless. You still get the Temp HP from aid and contagious zeal is a larger bonus so it is fine replacement. So, stacking is only really relevant if you have the heroism domain.


    graystone wrote:

    Shield Brace: allows a shield and a polearm/spear.

    Prerequisite(s): Shield Focus; base attack bonus +3 or fighter level 1st; proficiency with light shields, heavy shields, or tower shields.

    Make sure your shield has NO ACP as that affects your to hit rolls with this feat.

    Shield Focus: a feat I don't have, so this route needs two feats, not one.

    Edit: I note that Unhindering Shield looks strictly better.

    Quote:

    Prerequisite(s): Shield Focus, base attack bonus +6 or fighter level 4th, proficiency with bucklers.

    Benefit(s): You still gain a buckler’s bonus to AC even if you use your shield hand for some other purpose. When you wield a buckler, your shield hand is considered free for the purposes of casting spells, wielding weapons, and using any other abilities that require you to have a free hand or interact with your shield, such as the swashbuckler’s precise strike deed or the Weapon Finesse feat.

    Special: A monk with this feat is not considered to be using a shield for the purposes of his AC bonus, fast movement, or flurry of blows.

    /cevah


    Unhindering shield is the feat you're after. Not possible before 9th level as a cleric though.


    Cevah wrote:
    graystone wrote:

    Shield Brace: allows a shield and a polearm/spear.

    Prerequisite(s): Shield Focus; base attack bonus +3 or fighter level 1st; proficiency with light shields, heavy shields, or tower shields.

    Make sure your shield has NO ACP as that affects your to hit rolls with this feat.

    Shield Focus: a feat I don't have, so this route needs two feats, not one.

    /cevah

    You wanted a feat that let you use a shield and keep your reach attack: that's what I gave. 2 feats isn't particularly bad for adding a minimum of +3 to your AC [darkwood heavy shield].


    Actually, it is three feats. As an evangelist, I don't get shield proficiency.

    /cevah


    I think that DR is likely to be better in a published adventure (say PFS especially) where the monsters come out of the book and do what they do, almost ensuring the appearance of some monsters which don’t do big one hit damage. In a homebrew game DMs might (intentionally or not) begin adjusting to a PC’s DR by using heavy hitters, energy damage, etc more often.

    Certainly I've seen Ablative Barrier with the “double healing” option work pretty well for an Alchemist in Council of Thieves. On the other hand, DR5/- from armor mastery didn't help my 20th level Viking much, especially since his AC was often 50+ to help avoid getting hit multiple times to begin with (DR being best against lots of smaller damage hits)


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Cevah wrote:
    Edit: I note that Unhindering Shield looks strictly better.

    It takes longer to get and gives you a lower AC. How is it superior in any way for a reach + shield build? You need the proficiency in shields AND the same feat, Shield Focus. The only way it seems 'better' is that it makes it easier to cast in combat but the build doesn't seem to be focused on that.

    Cevah wrote:

    Actually, it is three feats. As an evangelist, I don't get shield proficiency.

    /cevah

    You said you had a shield so I figured you had it, like from a dip. I wasn't aware you were carrying a shield without the proficiency: 3 feats JUST for being able to use a shield is a bit much IMO.


    graystone wrote:
    Cevah wrote:
    Edit: I note that Unhindering Shield looks strictly better.
    It takes longer to get and gives you a lower AC. How is it superior in any way for a reach + shield build? You need the proficiency in shields AND the same feat, Shield Focus. The only way it seems 'better' is that it makes it easier to cast in combat but the build doesn't seem to be focused on that.

    While it takes longer to get, I already meet the BAB prereq. I just need three feats for either way. Therefore, access is the same.

    For AC, a buckler does the same as a light shield. Only one less than a heavy shield. Both can be enchanted, leaving a single point of difference in return for having an enchanted shield (with several AC backed in) vs. not having a shield. I also get to maintain the shield where I would not under the Shield Brace feat.

    graystone wrote:
    Cevah wrote:
    Actually, it is three feats. As an evangelist, I don't get shield proficiency.
    You said you had a shield so I figured you had it, like from a dip. I wasn't aware you were carrying a shield without the proficiency: 3 feats JUST for being able to use a shield is a bit much IMO.

    I can use it because it has 0 ACP. But when equipped, I cannot use my longspear.

    /cevah


    Cevah wrote:
    I also get to maintain the shield where I would not under the Shield Brace feat.

    I don't understand your meaning here. What in Shield Brace prevents 'maintaining' a shield?

    Cevah wrote:
    I can use it because it has 0 ACP.

    I guess as much after you said you weren't proficient: almost no one uses a shield non proficient WITH an ACP penalty as it affects to hit's and dex/str skills.


    graystone wrote:
    I guess as much after you said you weren't proficient: almost no one uses a shield non proficient WITH an ACP penalty as it affects to hit's and dex/str skills.

    I'm actually playing such a character right now. It works great for divine casters with Noble Scion of War - or who are willing to tank their initiative.


    In at least one version (PFS's) shield brace makes your spear or polearm treated as one-handed for Str & power attack bonuses. Of course, the same house rules ban unhindering shield.

    If you're missing the proficiency I'd call either too many feats to work, though. Some other feats which can help defend you might include toppling spell (add to hedging weapons, spiritual hammer or spiritual ally) to knock enemies prone and so stop them moving up to attack you; or dodge + osyluth guile if you have a noticeable Cha bonus; or improved unarmed strike + snake style if you've invested in sense motive.


    @graystone: perhaps you are right, but it looks like I can do more under Unhindering Shield than I can do with Shield Brace.

    @Avr: As the number of channels is Cha dependent, I do don't have a decent Cha. [Only a +1 mod] So at first glance Osyluth Guile looks good. But I don't have Dodge, and I dumped Int for the MAD character, so I only get 1 rank per level. I don't have any ranks in Bluff. So that's out.

    While my party has a number of casters, I am the only one with crafting feats. That eats into feats available for making the character better at fighting. I do have CWI and CMA&A, and am looking at Craft Construct (but probably at 11th unless I can retrain). Currently thinking either getting Scent (I am a half-orc), or Additional Talents (Armor Expert & Fate's Favored). One character has See Invisible as a class feature (impliment?), so Scent may not be so needed.

    /cevah

    EDIT: Checked my Cha mod. Oops. Not as much as I'd like.

    Grand Lodge

    There are items for see invisibility, and scent. Smog pellets are a standard load out item for me. You will also get invisibility purge so getting scrolls is a good idea.

    Additional trait would be great. Leads well into quicken divine favor especially if you take fate's favored and magical linage.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Cevah wrote:

    I have recently been using Defending Bone to help protect my cleric. If gives DR 5/bludgeoning, up to 50 hp @ 5/level. Sounds good. However, it has failed to have any effect against a number of monsters*. So I am wondering if it is worth the spell slot I have dedicated to it.

    I know of a similar spell, Ablative Barrier, that gives +2 AC and converts up to 50 hp to non-lethal and gives DR 5/- against non-lethal. Are there other spells or magic items that give DR?

    As to class abilities, the DR that barbarians get is quite small and requires multiclassing to get.

    I would love opinions on all the various options for DR that are out there.

    /cevah

    *Currently doing Shattered Star AP, which seems to have a lot of critters with bludgeoning attacks. Currently level 8.

    You are a caster- don't fall for just using spells from the known sources. Make up your own. Like variants of Defending Bone that give DR overcome by another type damage/ source.

    You say you have the feats Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Obviously these feats are taken usually to share and help the party. Make a point of shoring up your weaknesses in combat before crafting for others for a bit. Make up your own original items. Armor that gives DR. Wondrous Items to give other AC types, mirror image or other spell effects for rounds/ minutes/ hours a day. These are powerful feats. Use them to their fullest. And be creative.

    You will need to work with your DM and hopefully the other players will understand that you need to concentrate on yourself and not using your craft feats for them. And if your DM and other players won't cooperate, then change those craft feats for ones that help you during combat.


    Creating new spells will probably not be looked on favorably in this campaign. One of the house rules is you must use craft or profession to create the items, and the DC is also home-brewed. Additionally, anything off-list (i.e. not in a book) will likely not be allowed. [I have not yet had a chance to test making a combined item yet. It might work or might not.] Hitting these DCs with craft is hard since I dumped Int, yet Perform is harder to boost. One reason I am keen to get an Azlant Pendant, for the +10 insight to a skill check. More rules: +5 DC for a skipped component is not allowed; and take-10 is not allowed. That means I cannot make a least bag of holding for 1,000 gp until someone gets the Secret Chest spell, and I don't think any of our casters will be getting it due to their own casting path. Still, I am investing in crafting boosters, so I can reasonably craft. Lastly, at early levels, the city we were in had major problems with magic and spell access.

    All told, it is difficult to do even normal stuff. But I am handling it for now.

    This is why I am looking for existing items that I might make, or spells or feats I can use.

    /cevah


    DR becomes valuable as it reaches 1/2 character level, amounts less than this are useful but not completely valuable. If you have that level of DR available feats like stalwart become even more valuable.

    So, basically Fighters with some armor mastery/adamantine armor, invulnerable rager barbarians, things like that get good use out of DR. stuff like DR 5 is a lot less useful.

    Grand Lodge

    My thought on how much dr is useful is that's it has to out preform toughness. It's a low bar but most games are played at a level where you can take toughness in keeping within the power curve. Save you 1 hp/level and you don't have to heal it so that gives it the edge. Thain is different combat to combat but it's a good low bar.

    Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / How good is DR for a PC? All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.