Alternative ideas on a tanking build


Advice

Silver Crusade

Hello folks,

I've already built a character that I think looks pretty solid but it never hurts to seek second opinions and I'd love to hear yours. Hopefully someone will have an idea so awesome I'll ditch what I already have.

Rather than prejudice you with what I've already got however I'd like to lay out the restrictions and see what you come up with without me providing you with what I already have, aside from the basic outline. I'm happy to provide my own attempt later if anyone wants.

The character is for PFS so it would start at level 1 with a 20 point buy on stats, but do feel free to give higher level ideas for it to grow into.

The character is a Tiefling.
Fighter with the Armor Master archetype.
He's a Silver Crusade member.

Thanks in advance!


If you have some CHA, dip 2 levels of Pally for muy saving throw bonus. Save booster feats, Toughness, favoured class points into HP all sound pretty straight-forward. Consider dual-wielding shields - I hear that's a pretty viable thing in PF.


Propsken wrote:
If you have some CHA, dip 2 levels of Pally for muy saving throw bonus. Save booster feats, Toughness, favoured class points into HP all sound pretty straight-forward. Consider dual-wielding shields - I hear that's a pretty viable thing in PF.

Tieflings receive a -2 penalty to Charisma. Unless you are taking the Fiendish Heritage feat and are selecting a Variant Heritage.

Which is precisely my suggestion if it's allowed in PFS. I can't be bothered to check :)

The Oni-Spawn variant heritage is amazing for Fighters at lower levels (like PFS). You get +2 to Str and Wis and -2 Cha. You also gain Alter Self 1/day so you can boost your strength even further for one combat.

Since you seem to be focusing on defense with the Armor Master archetype, consider swapping your Fiendish Resistance for Scaled Skin. This will net you a +1 natural armor bonus.

I also highly recommend the Maw or Claw alternative racial trait to gain a primary Bite attack. This will give you two attacks at level one.

Finally, Prehensile Tail is a great alternative racial trait for anyone that will likely have his hands full all the time (like sword and shield fighters).

Favored Class bonus to HP and you're set.

Either way...just my 2 cp


7heprofessor wrote:
Tieflings receive a -2 penalty to Charisma. Unless you are taking the Fiendish Heritage feat and are selecting a Variant Heritage.

You don't need fiendish heritage to use a variant in PFS.

Invulnerable barbarian is going to be more tanky imo. AC, DR, and saves through the roof. Beast totem can give you extra AC and a way to get into an enemies face every turn, and superstitious can keep you from dying to a will or reflex save as often as a fighter might(among other nasties). Your also likely to end up being more than a chunk of meat that plants himself in the ground and have more out of combat options.

You can take the combat expertise + stalwart route if you want with any build.


I had a fighter who used a tower shield and pick in one of my games. Worked very well as the AC was very high, and the threat of a 4x critical keep him from being ignored.

Iron will and protection from evil are your friends!


MrSin wrote:
7heprofessor wrote:
Tieflings receive a -2 penalty to Charisma. Unless you are taking the Fiendish Heritage feat and are selecting a Variant Heritage.

You don't need fiendish heritage to use a variant in PFS.

That is amazing. Will you link that ruling please?


It's less of a ruling than an update. The Blood of Fiends book came with this addition in order to put the Tiefling on the same level as the Aasimar (who could already take variants without a feat).


Fergie wrote:
I had a fighter who used a tower shield and pick in one of my games. Worked very well as the AC was very high, and the threat of a 4x critical keep him from being ignored.

How does a x4 critical keep you from being ignored? It doesn't draw any attention unless the GM makes it. It doesn't actually have a mechanic that says "Come and get me!". When I see a x4 I think "Oh don't worry, that guy only crits on 20 and he'd kill us anyway. That magus over there has 15-20 and is going to wreck us! The magus isn't even in full plate! Get em!"


Depends on what you're looking for in a "tank."

Are you referring to the MMO style of "tank?"

Are you referring to the heavy armor, impossible to hit style of "tank?"

More rarely, but I've seen it, the cannon style of "tank?"

For option 1) The Honor Guard Cavalier, with the Order of the Shield is one of the better tanks. Has the ability to move to intercept enemies, block hits aimed at allies, and can even stop an enemy dead in their tracks so that they're locked down and forced to attack him.

Option 2) Fighters with certain archetypes are perfect for this. Personally, I'm quite fond of the tower shield specialist

Option 3) Invulnerable Rager or Armored Hulk.


The only thing that really comes close to an MMO-style tank is an Invuln Barb with a reach weapon and the Antagonize feat. Once you pick up Come and Get Me it's actually pretty strong... though it was stronger when the enemy had to try to make a melee attack rather than any they wanted.

I don't think Pathfinder has anything else like an aggro mechanic.


MrSin wrote:
How does a x4 critical keep you from being ignored?

Intelligent foes know that if the fighter has average luck, it hurts, if he gets lucky, they are at serious risk of a one-shot death. Not as scary as a raging barbarian with a greataxe, but probably twice the AC.


It doesn't do anything to force them to target the fighter. The Bard or Wizard are still much higher priority targets, and because you're not using a reach weapon it isn't even hard to get around you.

Dark Archive

Halflings make amazing tanks.

Cautious fighter+blundering defense
Archon style>archon diversion

And if you are a monk of the many styles you might also want

Crane style>crane reposte

If needed ican post the build


If you're looking for a tank that whould get agro from most ennemy, GOD wizard will do the job perfect. Frail tank but whit a full party the monster still need to actually get to you before they die. As melee specialised tank the tower shield specialist, cc shield basher or barbarian are pretty solid. Healaddin are also pretty sturdy choice.


Forgot about druids and summonner, i aint a fan of those 2 class and i am pretty certain a min-maxer will give a good build.

Shadow Lodge

Try this.

Silver Crusade

Thanks for all the input, guys.

I work in MMOs so yeah that tends to be the immediate thought process for me when I want to describe a tough, heavily armored bodyguard for the party.

I was initially resistant to dipping but I think that Armor Master and Armored Hulk barbarian look very attractive.

I appreciate the monk/wizard/summoner etc ideas and I'd certainly be interested in seeing them because I very much enjoy weird class builds, but I won't be using them on this occasion.

Grand Lodge

You need to loose that MMO mindset then. Pathfinder has 0 aggro mechanics. Just because you wear heavy armor does not mean the enemy will target you.

This Guide Can offer some Insight into more effective play style. I've played MMOs for over 15 years. They are fun games but the strategy used in MMOs are not the Optimum way to do things in Pathfinder. Sometimes it will get you killed.

Give it a good read over. It improved my groups game once we convinced our typical heavy armored player to read it and think beyond stacking AC items.


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Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
You need to loose that MMO mindset then. Pathfinder has 0 aggro mechanics. Just because you wear heavy armor does not mean the enemy will target you.

Imo, the most painful part of the MMO mindset going to pathfinder isn't the agro mechanics so much as forgetting saves and coming to understand that there's more to AC than plate. Bad saves can take out of the fight temporarily, insta-gib you, or worse and fighter actually has awful saves(invest in a cloak of resistance, it helps!). Armor doesn't grow inherently, you need to invest in an amulet of natural armor and your enhancement to AC and few classes have an inherent bonus. You also are only negating damage with those 2 things rather than mitigating, so you need to look at health and DR to survive that damage that you do take(and damage is one of the least of your worries). After all that, you need to remember healing HP in combat is usually a bit off because damage scales faster than your healing will and your not going to have a dedicated healer expectation like in most MMOs. Lastly you don't have much to lockdown without investment and foes don't have any reason to actually attack you instead of the other guy unless you can give them a reason(like locking them close with AoOs and being a threat yourself).


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Yeah....the concept of tanking doesn't really exist in Pathfinder.

Making yourself impossible to hit just means you get ignored and are the last to die. Mostly because the sacrifices you make to be so defensive means your offense is negligible.

For instance, with the armor master archetype you lose weapon training. Which is effectively the only real offense boost the fighter gets. Losing it means a big drop in your chance to hit and the amount of damage you deal. You're making yourself a non-threat.

And, worse yet, while the armor master archetype reduces hp damage through DR and free Fortification to negate critical hits and sneak attacks it does nothing to counter the real problem...saves. Your fighter will be crippled by Will and Reflex saves. All the DR in the world doesn't help you against a fireball. And the fortification wont do you any good in against Disintegrate spell.

So, if you want to be a "tank" you need to first be a credible threat to the enemy. Inflict big damage at the very least, or better yet being able to inflict status conditions on the enemy. Secondly you need good defense, and not just AC. Your saves are just as important, if not more important than your AC.

Ultimately, it sounds like your making a character who wont be able to do anything other than stand there and watch as his party is slaughtered as he is saved for last.


Dwarf inquisitor. Steel soul and heavy armor. Very nice tank. Self healing and tons of tools for whatever job you need.

Grand Lodge

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Agree completely with MrSin and Claxton on this thread.

I highly recommend going Paladin. Grab a long sword and shield or a 2 handed weapon like a greatsword. Feat up for damage. Make yourself a threat and have a respectable AC, Best saves in game, and Swift action lay on hands.

Hit like a mac Truck and force them to target you or be smited into the dirt. Typically evil things hate paladins and so do the DMs controlling the evil things so you naturally get a +1 DM aggro at the table.


Dwarf Two Handed Weapon Fighter, and have two 'paths' of development:

1. Take steel soul and glory of old at 1st level then solely develop your natural armour protection with your non-fighter feats (+1 @3rd, +2 @ 5th, +3 @ 7th and so on. Your A.C. in heavy armour will eventually become very formidable and your saves will be generally decent/good.
2. Use a 2-handed weapon and develop your hurt with this using your fighter feats.

Voila, a fighter build with good offence and defence (except for touch ac).


strayshift wrote:

Dwarf Two Handed Weapon Fighter, and have two 'paths' of development:

1. Take steel soul and glory of old at 1st level then solely develop your natural armour protection with your non-fighter feats (+1 @3rd, +2 @ 5th, +3 @ 7th and so on. Your A.C. in heavy armour will eventually become very formidable and your saves will be generally decent/good.
2. Use a 2-handed weapon and develop your hurt with this using your fighter feats.

Voila, a fighter build with good offence and defence (except for touch ac).

This is a fairly solid build if you want to stay fighter. The bonus to saves you can get by being a dwarf can really take you into the mid-late game without having to worry too much (provided you pick-up a cloak of resistance like everyone else). Without bonus to strength your damage might be a little behind, but not too terribly much. By wielding a two-handed weapon with power attack though you'll mitigate that issue. And you'll have a con bonus for extra survivability.

High HP, good saves, good AC, good offense. You don't really excel at any one specific thing, but you decent enough all around to make enemies target you and survive the onslaught.

I'm not sure I'd sink feats into NA (and I don't even recall that being a feat) but you can decide that as you build your character whether you would prefer AC to offense or saves. Personally I'd make sure my saves were strong over AC. As long as you can survive a battle you should be able to heal up with wands of CLW between battles (assuming there is at least one person capable of casting CLW in the party). Mitigating spells which can take you out for an entire combat is much more important than worrying about whether 50% of attacks hit you or 30%. Remember, as long as you have 1 hp left its the same as being at full hp (in regards to what you can do).


FYI

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/ironhide

And the improvement comes from

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/monster-feats/improved-natural-armor

which can be taken multiple times.

Oh and credit where it is due I saw the ideas on Mr Ravingdork's Character Emporium.


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The best tank build iv seen so far was a Sacred Shield paladin with Shield Ally feat, he will grant his shield bonus to any adjacent ally once per round, and when he uses his holy shield ability, everyone around him will get his shield bonus on their AC. Boost the shield AC further with Shield Focus (+1 shield bonus when wearing a shield).

He can boost the enhancement bonus of his own shield, and can reduce the damage taken by his allies from his "smite" target (by 50%).

The extra 4+ AC to allies help a lot on mitigating damage.

Add the usual paladin stuff (saves, d10 dice, spells) and swift action lay on hands, and you have the classic tank from games.

Dark Archive

As a few people have mentioned you need to be a viable threat to become a target of choice, and then have the defenses (AC and saves, mostly, but can include self healing, DR and/or a large hitpoint pool) to survive the attention.

IMO monk tanks lose out because they are typically not much of an offensive threat.

Paladins make very resilient and enduring tanks with their good AC, excellent saves and self healing. Best way to ensure that a paladin is an offensive threat is to take Power Attack and Weapon Focus and use a two handed weapon.

Cavaliers seem to be OK at tanking if built properly, but I can't say that I've seen any Cavaliers that made me say "Wow, that's a great tank".

Fighters are one of the few classes that can still be a viable threat to their enemies while using a weapon and shield approach, mostly due to their ability to take feats at every level, as well as Weapon Focus/Specialization and Weapon Training. Will a sword and board fighter do as much damage as a two handed Fighter? No, but their AC defense will be a little bit better, which may help keep them from dying (dead or unconscious characters tend to do very little damage ;).

If you decide to go Fighter, expect to spend a lot of your "regular", odd-level feats on things to improve your non-AC defenses, especially your Will save (Iron Will, Improved Iron will, Steel Soul if you are a Dwarf). Dwarves, also as mentioned above, make great fighters because of their excellent saves against spells and spell-like abilities.

I my opinion standard fighter (no archetype) makes one of the best tanks. Some of the archetypes are pretty cool, but losing out on either weapon training or armor training is a big loss. Once exception to this is Dwarf Fighters, as the armor training doesn't typically do much for them, compared to a non-Dwarf fighter. Standard fighters have a pretty good balance of offense and defense, which os critical to be an "tank" in Pathfinder.

Dark Archive

I also wanted to mention that (contrary to some of the advice that you have already received) most feats that give you a +1 AC are not very cost effective - things like a +1 natural armor bonus don't give you a lot of return for your feat/cost.

A +2 to a save - especially a critical save like Will - is a much better investment than a +1 AC feat, as are feats that give you bonuses to attack (Weapon Focus), or a scaling hitpoint bonus (Toughness). If you want to increase your AC, spending a feat on Dodge gets you more bang for you feat/buck than a +1 Natural Armor, as the dodge bonus will apply to your Touch AC and your CMD.


And Natural Armour will add to your flat-footed?

I think the general principle we agree on that of a fighter built around a 2H Weapon and Heavy Armour with their combat feats being used offensively and their general feats attending to defence is the key here. The choices are to some degree personal.


@Argus i agree with you on balancing the damage and defense, otherwise enemies wont see you as threatening. But thats a concept from videogames.
Sometimes the person dealing the most damage isnt the most dangerous target.

The sacred shield is perfect because of the 50% damage reduction, even if the paladin isnt being attacked, they will reduce all damage taken by his allies.
Thats better than a lot of +X AC/saves bonuses around.

I mentioned Shield Focus because you wont get only +1 AC, you will give +1 AC to all allies around the paladin.

There is a potential of huge shield bonuses with that ability, like a single shield giving +10 AC to everybody around the paladin.
Take a +1 tower shield (5 AC), with shield focus, and divine bond and bastion of good abilities activated and check how much damage you will mitigate from your group.

Quote:


Shield Focus
Increase the AC bonus granted by any shield you are using by 1.
Quote:


Holy Shield (Su)
At 4th level, a sacred shield can channel her faith into her shield, protecting any nearby allies. All allies adjacent to the paladin gain a shield bonus equal to the sacred shield’s own shield bonus, including any increase from the shield’s enhancement bonus. This bonus does not stack with any existing shield bonuses.
Quote:

Divine Bond (Su)

At 5th level, instead of forming a divine bond with her weapon or a mount, a sacred shield forms a bond with her shield. As a standard action, a sacred shield can enhance her shield by calling on the aid of a celestial spirit. This bond lasts for 1 minute per paladin level. When called, the spirit causes the shield to shed light like a torch. At 5th level, the spirit grants the shield a +1 enhancement bonus. For every three levels beyond 5th, the shield gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +6 at 20th level.

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