How to become very, very, very tanky?


Advice

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Liberty's Edge

Hi guys, and Happy New Year (I'm a bit late, but whatevs)!
I haven't played Pathfinder (Society) since before Christmas, but I'm excited to get back into the New Year with a new character, and I was hoping for some advice.
I'm trying to play a very, very, very tanky character (thus, the title of this thread), and help out some more squishy friends and teammates. The goal for the character is to be very defense oriented, with plenty of armor and health. I also want the character to draw lots of focus from the enemy, to help draw focus off of my comrades. Lastly, I want to be able to buff allies just a little, so that they can survive long enough for me to get to them and tank. This isn't essential, but it would be good.
I have a couple of ideas: A sword and board fighter, a paladin with some tanky archetype (there are a couple of them), or an inquisitor (though I've heard that they aren't the best sword/board users). War Priest also works, but I"m not so sure how much I really like it, considering it doesn't even have full BAB, and while damage isn't my focus, it's not like I'm completely dumping it.
So what do people think? Are there things I should try out, or things people have tried in the past that might work for me. Please keep in mind that I will probably be playing a Half-Orc (or human if I absolutely have to), and that I"m playing PFS. Thanks guys, I appreciate it in advance.


Vanilla paladin or barbarian both work.


Druid/Stalwart Defender

Liberty's Edge

Avoron wrote:
Druid/Stalwart Defender

How does druid work for tanking?


Paladin has the best "aggro", between Knight's Calling, Compel Hostility, and high charisma for effectively using Antagonize.

They also are good at damage redirection with Shield Other and Paladin's Sacrifice.

Then they have d10 HD, excellent saves, heavy armor proficiency, Lay on Hands, Hero's Defiance, etc. so they can really take a hit.

Can't get much more tanky than that.

Shadow Lodge

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A lorewarden is the best tank I've been able to make. Paladins can self heal, barbarians have hp and dr, but fighters are the only class with the tools to lock down at will teleportation.

You just need to shore up your will save and get a couple staple magic items to be good enough to survive against high level casters


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Brom the Obxiously Awesome wrote:
Avoron wrote:
Druid/Stalwart Defender
How does druid work for tanking?

Wild dragonhide heavy shield +1 (3 AC), wild dragonhide full plate +1 (10 AC), wild shape (huge air elemental for +3 dex AC and +4 natural arm or, total +7) and ring of protection (let's assume +2) and ioun stones or other stuff. Not to forget Barkskin as a spell that gives you +5 enhancement to natural arm or at level 12 for a mere level 2 spell slot.

Higher levels (outside of pfs) add Seamantle for +8 cover bonus.

That is 37 armor bonus (45 with seamantle) without considering stat dex boni, feats or too many absurd items like various ioun stones.

Very high level above 17 you have access to form of the dragon III via Shapechange for a + 10 natural armor bonus.

Not saying druid is the best, the wild shield and full plate are expensive, but the boni from wild shape and barkskin can make up for that. But it is doable exactly because of your access to spells and wildshape. Done it myself in RotRL and in the end was pretty much unhittable.

Liberty's Edge

RumpinRufus wrote:

Paladin has the best "aggro", between Knight's Calling, Compel Hostility, and high charisma for effectively using Antagonize.

They also are good at damage redirection with Shield Other and Paladin's Sacrifice.

Then they have d10 HD, excellent saves, heavy armor proficiency, Lay on Hands, Hero's Defiance, etc. so they can really take a hit.

Can't get much more tanky than that.

That is an excellent point, and Paladin was one of the classes I was most excited to play, besides inquisitor. I think I'll go in this direction. Thank you!!!


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My thoughts for druid:
As a tank, you don't want to just be unhittable. Rather, as the OP put it, you want to "help out some more squishy friends and teammates."

In my opinion, the best way to be a tank druid is to take advantage of reach. It doesn't fully come online until high levels, but as a Fighter 1/Druid 8/Stalwart Defender 4 you can have a 30 foot reach (Huge earth elemental with a lucerne hammer) and whenever you hit enemies with an attack of opportunity they have to stop moving.

Here's a sample build:

Human Druid (Menhir Savant) 8, Fighter (Unbreakable) 1, Stalwart Defender 4

Feats:
1 (Fighter 1): Combat Reflexes, Endurance, Diehard, Toughness
2 (Druid 1):
3 (Druid 2): Dodge
4 (Druid 3):
5 (Druid 4): Combat Expertise
6 (Druid 5):
7 (Druid 6): Mobility
8 (Druid 7):
9 (Druid 8): Spring Attack
10 (Stalwart Defender 1):
11 (Stalwart Defender 2): Whirlwind Attack
12 (Stalwart Defender 3):
13 (Stalwart Defender 4): Shaping Focus

Domain:
whatever, Desert and Cave are nice, Growth is great at early levels

Defensive Powers:
11 (Stalwart Defender 2): Bulwark
13 (Stalwart Defender 4): Halting Blow

Suggested weapons and armor:
huge lucerne hammer
Wild stoneplate
Wild tower shield
huge alchemical silver cestus
huge cold iron cestus


Whilwind Attack was just for fun on my part, it's not actually a necessary part of the build. If you prefer, you can spend your turn buffing with druid spells, and you'll still be able to inflict damage and exercise battlefield control just through your attacks of opportunity.

Your AC will be in the stratosphere (low 40s, at least; probably more like 50 with a buff or two), you'll have DR5/-, and you'll have a nice amount of HP, but that's not the point.

The point is that the battlefield belongs to you.

Liberty's Edge

Avoron wrote:

My thoughts for druid:

As a tank, you don't want to just be unhittable. Rather, as the OP put it, you want to "help out some more squishy friends and teammates."

In my opinion, the best way to be a tank druid is to take advantage of reach. It doesn't fully come online until high levels, but as a Fighter 1/Druid 8/Stalwart Defender 4 you can have a 30 foot reach (Huge earth elemental with a lucerne hammer) and whenever you hit enemies with an attack of opportunity they have to stop moving.

** spoiler omitted **
Whilwind Attack was just for fun on my part, it's not actually a necessary part of the build. If you prefer, you can spend your turn buffing with druid spells, and you'll still be able to inflict damage and exercise battlefield control just through your attacks of opportunity.

Your AC will be in the stratosphere (low 40s, at least; probably more like 50 with a buff or two), you'll have DR5/-, and you'll have a nice amount of HP, but that's not the point.

The point is that the battlefield belongs to you.

This is amazing, but not really the flavor that I would like. I would definitely consider making it in the future though, because it looks absolutely ridiculous.


Brom the Obnoxiously Awesome wrote:


This is amazing, but not really the flavor that I would like. I would definitely consider making it in the future though, because it looks absolutely ridiculous.

There is another line of feats that stems out of Combat Reflexes;

Bodyguard:
When an adjacent ally is attacked, you may use an attack of opportunity to attempt the aid another action to improve your ally’s AC. You may not use the aid another action to improve your ally’s attack roll with this attack.

Which leads to

In Harm's Way:
While using the aid another action to improve an adjacent ally’s AC, you can intercept a successful attack against that ally as an immediate action, taking full damage from that attack and any associated effects (bleed, poison, etc.). A creature cannot benefit from this feat more than once per attack

I know there are a few items and feat that can improve Aid Another, though I don't know them off the top of my head. Is this more what you're looking for?


Avoron wrote:

My thoughts for druid:

As a tank, you don't want to just be unhittable. Rather, as the OP put it, you want to "help out some more squishy friends and teammates."

In my opinion, the best way to be a tank druid is to take advantage of reach. It doesn't fully come online until high levels, but as a Fighter 1/Druid 8/Stalwart Defender 4 you can have a 30 foot reach (Huge earth elemental with a lucerne hammer) and whenever you hit enemies with an attack of opportunity they have to stop moving.

** spoiler omitted **
Whilwind Attack was just for fun on my part, it's not actually a necessary part of the build. If you prefer, you can spend your turn buffing with druid spells, and you'll still be able to inflict damage and exercise battlefield control just through your attacks of opportunity.

Your AC will be in the stratosphere (low 40s, at least; probably more like 50 with a buff or two), you'll have DR5/-, and you'll have a nice amount of HP, but that's not the point.

The point is that the battlefield belongs to you.

It also comes with immunity to bleed, critical hits, and precision damage (sneak attacks). Always nice for keeping yourself running.

I prefer large sized elementals myself (it is easier to fit into places without dropping your wildshape; easier to go all day as a freakin' force of nature). But I whole heartedly agree that they make excellent reach users, although I can work with their base reach fairly well (I mean, you are already doing better than a mere human reach user).

The base weapon proficiencies are not that bad. They have scimitars (18-20/x2) and spears actually work rather well once you start dealing with size (a large spear hits like a greatsword).

Lunge is the reach user's best friend. It lets you attack enemies, and then leave them in a position where it is all the harder to reach you without drawing a AoO. IT also means that a large elemental can full attack anything in a 50' wide circle, and a huge elemental can attack anything in 65' wide circle. And that is before figuring in reach weapons (70' and 85' doughnuts). The doughnuts are the problem with using reach weapons on large creature- it is fine for medium ones, since they can 5' step to get anything that gets touchy, but eating just one AoO means you have to spend a move action just to aim at the guy (or drop your sweet polearm). Regular weapons with your body's natural reach more than serves you well.

As a final note-To further encourage the use of earth elemental forms (they have some of the best melee stats of the elementals; similar to rage, but with good AC), you might want to grab the Cave domain (terrain one, not earth subdomain one). This gives you tremor sense, which is sadly missing from elemental body. Once you have that ability, you can earthglide without too many problems.


I don't think there's much of a purpose to using Large elementals for reach, because they don't have more than a reach weapon wielder with enlarge person.

Earth elementals have earth glide, which solves some of the normal space issues of huge creatures.

The doughnut problem can be solved easily by wearing spiked gauntlets; you can let go of your polearm with one hand to punch people easily.

You can even pull off some stunts to let it work with whirlwind attack.


Keep in mind that being tanky does not mean being unhittable. Intelligent enemies will just ignore people that they can't effectively damage.

What being tanky really means is to make it hard for the enemies to ignore you, or to be able to redirect attacks to yourself.

Shield of Arrow Catching is good for that.
Bodyguard and In Harms Way are good, but you can only effectively do it once a round.

Ally Shield is actually the best way I've seen to do it. Its listed as a Betrayal feat, but nothing in the description says you have to be evil. In fact, because it is a Teamwork feat it requires consent by its nature. Basically, anytime an ally near you is attacked, they can just duck behind you as a free action.

That means allies have to invest in the feat too, but the benefit they get is pretty huge.


Doomed Hero wrote:

Keep in mind that being tanky does not mean being unhittable. Intelligent enemies will just ignore people that they can't effectively damage.

What being tanky really means is to make it hard for the enemies to ignore you, or to be able to redirect attacks to yourself.

Shield of Arrow Catching is good for that.
Bodyguard and In Harms Way are good, but you can only effectively do it once a round.

Ally Shield is actually the best way I've seen to do it. Its listed as a Betrayal feat, but nothing in the description says you have to be evil. In fact, because it is a Teamwork feat it requires consent by its nature. Basically, anytime an ally near you is attacked, they can just duck behind you as a free action.

That means allies have to invest in the feat too, but the benefit they get is pretty huge.

Well, I view being the 'tank' as a secondary role, although an important one. Much like skill monkeys.

If no one has skills, then things get troublesome. But we well know how much this board hates rogues. That is because they have troubles filling any role OTHER than skill monkey.

Similarly, if no one can make the save against that condition causing AoE spell, or work without being cut down by just 2 hits from the mooks, then you have problems. But you need to do more than 'get hit'.

That standard barbarian and paladin can do a ton of damage. Fighters can specialize in maneuvers (to varying degrees of success). Avoron's druid has mastery over reach. A metal encased cleric can spam spells like summoning. And being able to take some hits helps all those roles.

And those roles makes them priority targets, even if they are hard to hit. Being a tank just acts as an insurance policy while they do it.

Not to say that aggro isn't good too (I put it in a similar place as the maneuvers).

Anyway, back on topic- I also love brawler archetype fighters, who are designed with the same role as TheSideKick's lore warden built right in (they get the stand still feat, which stops AoO drawing movement, and they get no escape, which is an early access version of the fighter feat that makes almost any movement away from the brawler draw an AoO. Combined with a bonus to the stand still maneuver (lore wardens fill a similar role by adding to any maneuver), and they can keep even big beefy things in their zone. Squishy arches and mages will love you. Brawler fights also have a debuff ability that works on anything gets next to them (scaling bonus up to -4 to attack and -7 to concentration).

Silver Crusade

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I will agree that some of these reach builds are definitely effective as a tank . Personally though I still like the image of a knight in the frontlines leading the charge hence my preference for paladin tanks (Im a fan of Tyrion fordring from Warcraft if that helps).

I also wanted to be an AC beast starting out, but after reading around here I realized there's another way to look at tanking as a paladin in pfs. This isnt the usual MMO where you can use threat and agro to keep mobs locked on you. Opponents in pfs might have different tactics and the smart ones can see that if their atk rolls of 15++ cant hit your AC they will instead ignore you and go for someone else.

With that said I decided to round up my paladin so she can be more effective rather than just a walking tank. You can get by with lesser AC than other builds would have because of a few reasons that I realized from playing:

A) you heal as a swift action with lay on hands (more if you have fey foundling feat)
B) immunities to disease/fear/charm effects
C) high saves with divine grace (especially fort and will)
D) having a lower AC than an AC stacking tank can help make you a bigger target
E) you have access to some great spells to help you tank (hero's defiance -auto lay on hands when going unconcious makes it hard to kill you, compel hostility, shield other, paladins sacrifice)
F) Smite evil- more often than not, that BBEG at the end of a scenario will be Evil. This is just gravy to have in times like this.

With that said here is what my build ended up doing

emerald spires:

We were in a sideroom besides the BBEGs lair buffing up getting reasy to charge in from a secret entrance. When the fight started, she immediately dominated our slayer, called down a swarm to slow down our warpriest and arcanist and later on a large snake that was hiding in the previous room broke stealth and started constricting our oracle. I stayed behind to deal with the swarm and snake while our warpriest charged forward to deal with the Cleric and was doing ok keeping her in check until a Large Naga showed up from the pool in the middle and helped the cleric. Finally the warpriest was about to go down from a 40dmg attack coming from the beast. I used Paladin's sacrifice to take the hit, which left our warpriest the next turn to defeat the cleric.

quest for perfection part 1:

The BBEG was a giant yeti so Smite evil wasn't any use. It was looking bad for our party because the GM's dice were hot and rolling high for damage (even a crit) while our attack rolls were bad. He had managed to take me out with the crit, but hero's defiance(have used my last one at this point) brought me back up. It was so bad that he took me and our Barbarian out on the next turn. The cleric channeled to make us concious but we were on the floor. At this point I knew our only real source of damage was the barbarian, so I decided to stand up and take the AOO which knocked me down again. This left the barbarian a turn to get up, grab his weapon and attack. The dice gods were in our favor because he rolled a nat 20, and confirmed with his great axe doing over 50 pts of damage which was enough for our hunter and his pet to finish off the yeti.

golden inn:

We had buffed up and about to rush in the Rakshasha BBEG after finding out her abilities from her minions we defeated. I enlarged myself and had everyone move out of sight before opening the door. That was good because she had apparently readied her special attack to hit the party once the door opens. The GM called it that since I was large, I had blocked line of sight of most of the party which made me the sole target of her energy bolts. Got hit by Stunned, staggered, nauseated, lightning and fire damage while the paralyze bolt missed because of my blur potion. The ability allowed a save on the next turn, which for me was a +14/10/14 at that point and passed easily. It could have ended up badly if I didnt convince the party to let giant me in first instead of the Armored Rager to give him a charge lane.

And then there were fights with undead mummys with fear auras, sandmen with sleep auras, or that glaberazu after that ghostly minotaur in a maze, a lot of it was me holding back the beasts while my party recovered and took them down afterwards. So if you are interested I'd be more than happy to share my build if you think you'll like that. Shes only 24AC so not exactly an AC beast that you wanted.


raise concealment bonus for miss chance as a fetchling, then use metamagic to apply darkness to arcane mark...

You'll need like two feats for that, pop the rest into actual tankyness traditionally

Shadow Lodge

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Monks get some of the best options that actually allow them to tank. Archon style feats, from blood of angels. Give AC to your friends and redirect enemy attacks to target you instead. Flowing monk archetype lets you trip or reposition enemies when they try to hit you or you friends.

Silver Crusade

+1 for flowing monk if you like that build.

We took on defenders of nesting swallow with one standing beside our barbarian. He'd trip anyone that attacks the barbarian, letting him attack them with ease, while i stood on the rooftops taking potshots at stragglers. Even better when the last waves of enemies appeared. He was definitely the one who kept us from dying.


GMs i play with often get frustrated by players with high AC in my games. So don't worry about ur ac when u can get dr 23/- . Still do great damage. Be extremely hard to affect with spells. And have pounce.

Human lvl 1 unbreakable fighter lvl 19 invulnerable rager 20 pt

Str 15+1@4,12,16
Dex 14
Con 17 +1@8
Cha 10
Int 10
Wis 11

Feats
1 racial heritage halfling
1 endurance
1 diehard
3 cautious fighter
RP superstitious
5 power attack
RP reckless abandon
7 improved unarmed strike
RP guarded life
9 dodge
RP beast totem lesser
11 improved stalwart
RP beast totem
13 crane style
RP beast totem greater
15 raging vitality
RP increased dr
17 heroic defiance
RP increased dr
19 heroic recovery
RP increased dr

Favored class 1/3 bonus to superstitious total bonus +6


Oops slight correction dr 22/- not 23


Duncan888 wrote:

GMs i play with often get frustrated by players with high AC in my games. So don't worry about ur ac when u can get dr 23/- . Still do great damage. Be extremely hard to affect with spells. And have pounce.

Human lvl 1 unbreakable fighter lvl 19 invulnerable rager 20 pt

Str 15+1@4,12,16
Dex 14
Con 17 +1@8
Cha 10
Int 10
Wis 11

Feats
1 racial heritage halfling
1 endurance
1 diehard
3 cautious fighter
RP superstitious
5 power attack
RP reckless abandon
7 improved unarmed strike
RP guarded life
9 dodge
RP beast totem lesser
11 improved stalwart
RP beast totem
13 crane style
RP beast totem greater
15 raging vitality
RP increased dr
17 heroic defiance
RP increased dr
19 heroic recovery
RP increased dr

Favored class 1/3 bonus to superstitious total bonus +6

Missing a feat at 1st level- 2 from unbreakable fighter, one at level 1, one human bonus feat. It might make room for Lunge, Combat Patrol, or some other method to extend reach.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the build Duncan, looks pretty cool. Any reason to keep Charisma at 10 and not dump it?


Brom the Obnoxiously Awesome wrote:

Hi guys, and Happy New Year (I'm a bit late, but whatevs)!

I haven't played Pathfinder (Society) since before Christmas, but I'm excited to get back into the New Year with a new character, and I was hoping for some advice.
I'm trying to play a very, very, very tanky character (thus, the title of this thread), and help out some more squishy friends and teammates. The goal for the character is to be very defense oriented, with plenty of armor and health. I also want the character to draw lots of focus from the enemy, to help draw focus off of my comrades. Lastly, I want to be able to buff allies just a little, so that they can survive long enough for me to get to them and tank. This isn't essential, but it would be good.
I have a couple of ideas: A sword and board fighter, a paladin with some tanky archetype (there are a couple of them), or an inquisitor (though I've heard that they aren't the best sword/board users). War Priest also works, but I"m not so sure how much I really like it, considering it doesn't even have full BAB, and while damage isn't my focus, it's not like I'm completely dumping it.
So what do people think? Are there things I should try out, or things people have tried in the past that might work for me. Please keep in mind that I will probably be playing a Half-Orc (or human if I absolutely have to), and that I"m playing PFS. Thanks guys, I appreciate it in advance.

My tankiest PFS build is a halfling Ranger (Freebooter)/MOMS Monk with Snake Fang/Rogue. He would wear a Mithral Agile Breastplate and carry a large shield. He would use Dirty Tricks to make opponents Blind. At level 2, He'd be a level1 Ranger/Level1 Monk with Combat Expertise and a Dex of 16, so he'd have an AC of 23. Saving throws are awesome: Fort+6/Reflex+7/Will+5. At level 3, he'd have Snake Fang, so that everyone who misses his AC of 23 provokes his Attack of Opportunity.

Liberty's Edge

Lots of ideas going around, but i wanna focus in on one that I saw and piqued my interest. Clerics can tank effectively? How does that work and how well, because that sounds pretty awesome.


TheSideKick wrote:

A lorewarden is the best tank I've been able to make. Paladins can self heal, barbarians have hp and dr, but fighters are the only class with the tools to lock down at will teleportation.

You just need to shore up your will save and get a couple staple magic items to be good enough to survive against high level casters

Can i see the lore warden build?

Silver Crusade

High dex
High charisma
magic items that increase armor
Follow Arshea
Get obedience

Dark Archive

Avoron wrote:

I don't think there's much of a purpose to using Large elementals for reach, because they don't have more than a reach weapon wielder with enlarge person.

Earth elementals have earth glide, which solves some of the normal space issues of huge creatures.

The doughnut problem can be solved easily by wearing spiked gauntlets; you can let go of your polearm with one hand to punch people easily.

You can even pull off some stunts to let it work with whirlwind attack.

You get to keep the Earth Elemental's Slam attack, don't you? Why couldn't you just use that?


I had a druid x/ maneuver master monk1 tank.
Planar wild shape gave dr and resistance
Augument summons and the trex pet gave meat and dpr.
Rapid grappler on a grab monster shape gave a single round of attack+grab+pin maneuver.
Later on vital strike was dr penetrator and attack move option.
Big str and con, medium mi. Needed wis and focus on buff/control of area/summons

Grand Lodge

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Quote:
The goal for the character is to be very defense oriented, with plenty of armor and health. I also want the character to draw lots of focus from the enemy, to help draw focus off of my comrades

This does not work on intelligent enemies. They will see they can't hit you and you do very little damage and write you off and focus on something they can kill. To draw aggro you need to be a threat. But most people covered that aspect.

Quote:
Lots of ideas going around, but i wanna focus in on one that I saw and piqued my interest. Clerics can tank effectively? How does that work and how well, because that sounds pretty awesome.

Clerics can but it involves buff themselves. Which means time before your wading into combat your spending your turns burning spells to match the output of classes that do it as a focus. If your looking for a PFS frontline cleric I highly suggest Warpriest class from the APG. You come online at level 2 and continue to skyrocket till your cap at level 11. Luckily your only going to 12.

Half-orc Sacred Tattoo racial. Get the trait Fate's favor for +2 to all 3 saves. Also turns your level 1 Divine favor spell into a workhorse out the gate. Later grab Mithral Full Plate and a jingasa of the fortunate solider for a +2 luck to AC and 1/day critical negation for 5,000gp. Your AC will be good and you can self heal like paladins. Your saves will be good. You have D8 hit dice so best level 1 feat is toughness. But you can be a better Cleric tank as a warpriest during the first 11 levels of your life. The fact you can swift cast your buffs instantly deems you a better "tank". (gosh I hate using the word Tank in Pathfinder)


Seranov: The slam attack is great for attacks of opportunity, but using it in a full-attack action means taking the penalties for combining manufactured and natural weapons. It appears that these penalties apply even with Whirlwind Attack, when you're not actually getting any extra attacks from them.


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If you're thinking of Pathfinder Society, remember to focus your build on being effecting from level 1-12 (well, technically level 2). Any builds that don't start "working" until level 8 or higher is not very useful. Also remember that some items might not be available, and any rules that are under contention will be susceptible to table variation.

Also, when you are thinking of "tank", what are the most important aspects of that? Unhittable? Protecting other people?

My only "tank" is a halfling cavalier with Cautious Fighter/Blundering Defense, Bodyguard, and the Helpful trait. When fighting defensively (with Crane Style and 3 ranks in Acrobatics), she has +6 AC, and all adjacent allies get a +3 luck bonus to AC.

With benevolent armor, she can use Bodyguard Aid Another for +7 AC; her mount also ,


666bender wrote:
TheSideKick wrote:

A lorewarden is the best tank I've been able to make. Paladins can self heal, barbarians have hp and dr, but fighters are the only class with the tools to lock down at will teleportation.

You just need to shore up your will save and get a couple staple magic items to be good enough to survive against high level casters

Can i see the lore warden build?

Can't speak for TheSideKick, but here's one for you that I use in PFS:

Spoiler:

Human Fighter (Lore Warden) 4/Monk (Ki Mystic, Sacred Mountain, Master of Many Styles) 3/Magus (Kensai) 4

1 (Monk 1): Combat Expertise, Weapon Finesse, Improved Unarmed, Kirin Style, Stunning Fist
2 (Fighter 1): Improved Trip
3 (Fighter 2): Ki Throw, Archon Style, Dodge*
4 (Monk 2): Toughness, Kirin Strike
5 (Fighter 3): Archon Diversion
6 (Monk 3): -
7 (Fighter 4): Greater Trip, Combat Style Master
8 (Magus 1): -
9 (Magus 2): Vital Strike
10 (Magus 3):
11 (Magus 4): Archon Justice

*Depends on a GM that allows retraining, either via PFS rules or just whenever you get a bonus feat that you already have, as is occurring here with Combat Expertise. No big deal though.

AC maxes out around 36, or 40 with shield up, which ain't bad for no armor. That jumps to 42/46 when in total defense (which is actually a valid tactic when using Archon Diversion). Controls battlefield with Ki Throw and gives allies a ton of extra attacks with Greater Trip and Archon Diversion. When she decides to do damage, uses Vital Kirin Strikes (maxes out at about 2d10+15 w/fist or 2d8+10 w/longbow) as a standard action which still allows for Kirin Diversion as a move the same round. Pretty great saves too, and good mobility allows her to position herself well for control and tanking.


666bender wrote:
TheSideKick wrote:

A lorewarden is the best tank I've been able to make. Paladins can self heal, barbarians have hp and dr, but fighters are the only class with the tools to lock down at will teleportation.

You just need to shore up your will save and get a couple staple magic items to be good enough to survive against high level casters

Can i see the lore warden build?

It is most likely a combination of the stand still feat (use your AoO to do a maneuver that stops AoO drawing movement in adjacent squares) and the pin down feat (makes pretty much any movement trying to get away from you draw AoO). Together, these two feats allow you to trap opponents and stop them from escaping the area next to you (fantastic for when you are breathing down a wizard's neck).

Lore Wardens are good with this because they get a boost to all maneuvers (very necessary since stand still doesn't have any of the boosts from improved or greater feats seen with other maneuvers; it helps make it easier to pull off on things that are beefier than wizards).

Brawler archetype fighters have an ability that does the same thing as pin down, except it comes online 2 levels earlier. They also get a boost to stand still (and things like bull rush and drag) that scales similarly to the Lore Warden.

Liberty's Edge

Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:


Quote:
Lots of ideas going around, but i wanna focus in on one that I saw and piqued my interest. Clerics can tank effectively? How does that work and how well, because that sounds pretty awesome.

Clerics can but it involves buff themselves. Which means time before your wading into combat your spending your turns burning spells to match the output of classes that do it as a focus. If your looking for a PFS frontline cleric I highly suggest Warpriest class from the APG. You come online at level 2 and continue to skyrocket till your cap at level 11. Luckily your only going to 12.

Half-orc Sacred Tattoo racial. Get the trait Fate's favor for +2 to all 3 saves. Also turns your level 1 Divine favor spell into a workhorse out the gate. Later grab Mithral Full Plate and a jingasa of the fortunate solider for a +2 luck to AC and 1/day critical negation for 5,000gp. Your AC will be good and you can self heal like paladins. Your saves will be good. You have D8 hit dice so best level 1 feat is toughness. But you can be a better Cleric tank as a warpriest during the first 11 levels of your life. The fact you can swift cast your buffs instantly deems you a better "tank". (gosh I hate using the word Tank in Pathfinder)

This is a really solid build, and I wanna look into it further. I haven't seen too much promise in the blessings, but it's worth looking back at.Thanks for bringing it up, I almost completely forgot about it.


A Cleric or Inquisitor could also pick up a full strength animal companion by 5th level with the Animal domain and Boon Companion. That animal could have Bodyguard and In Harm's Way. Then if something really devastating hits you or an ally you can sink it into the companion (which you can heal or in the worst case replace). With two of you it should be easier to cut off narrow areas and control the enemy's advance. Of course a Druid or Hunter could do a lot of the same stuff. The Cleric has a lot of party friendly abilities though.

Grand Lodge

Strength and good are solid blessings. Together they are boss hog. Since you want to be tank grab a 1 handed weapon and a shield. Its season 6 year of the adamantine weapon. Not bad though you will scale its damage up alongside your spells.

Honestly Warpriest was a good addition class for PFS play. Games that dont past 12. The class gets going at level 2 and just continues to get better.


I've always personally found that tanks that can sponge hits tend to keep aggro better than those that can't be hit, so with that in mind I'll post a link to "Badoomdoom" the Immortal Goblin, a barbarian I came up with a couple months ago that can sponge hits like none other and can shrug off nearly anything that requires a saving throw. There's a second society play version of him I wrote up as well, if you want a little more offensive power you can give him Fencing Grace at 3rd level and drop Combat Expertise but either way he's fairly easy to hit but nearly impossible to damage so he can keep enemies focused on him for a looooonnnnngggg time.

Dark Archive

My first pfs character was a drunken master of many styles monk of the sacred mountain. He had a stupid con score, all the drinking feats and traits, and used a long spear and made GM's hate him.

He generally stays put (increasing his ac and making him immovable from things like bullrush and such) and allies simply rally around him when they need to not die. He uses archon style and the bodyguard feat chains combined with the old (and useful) crane wing. The result was constant ac bonuses to allies ranging from +4 to +6 and if an ally would be hit he redirects the attack to himself and gives the ally a free all for him doing it, then if the redirected attack hits his ac he just negates it with crane wing. Enemies were forced to focus on him. But he had loads of HP and monk ac and saves. Against more optimized villains or those who used magic against him he had all the drinking feats and unlimited ki. So he just never could really die, although his reflex save could hit the ground.

Currently I am running a barbarian tank. He has 31 HP at level 2 and gains 13 HP a level. He uses the diehard and endurance feats and soon will remove his armor entirely. He uses Dr and high health to tank. When he is hurt badly enough, he has feats and rage powers to optimize how much he is healed for making even a wand of cure light wounds a viable mid game tool for in combat healing. Moreover, he can fight deep into the negative hit points (eventually somewhere around -32) and receives bonuses for doing so. He offers some interesting and fun battlefield control options where needed but is mostly there to just eat all the damage. To put it into perspective, I think a cure serious or cure moderate wounds ends up being able to heal him for 49 damage on an average roll. He doesn't die. :)

Silver Crusade

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Brom the Obnoxiously Awesome wrote:
Lots of ideas going around, but i wanna focus in on one that I saw and piqued my interest. Clerics can tank effectively? How does that work and how well, because that sounds pretty awesome.

Magda is an 11th level PFS Cleric (Evangelist archetype) who fills the combat role of frontline 'tank'. Fruian's post above is quite accurate. Magda uses Swift Action buffs, same as would a Warpriest. Her schtick is good luck. A front line 'tank' must be fully functional in combat round 1, so there's usually no time to self-buff once combat begins.

Since Pathfinder has no 'aggro' rules it can be very difficult for a 'tank' to draw foes' attention. Wielding a big two handed reach weapon does the job very nicely. Fighting sword and board, while personally more defensive, is less effective at preventing foes from murdering your squishy allies. Reach allows your 'tank' to passively project power at a distance, even when it's not your turn.

Magda's standard opening combat rounds, if already positioned correctly:

Magda's First Turn:
Swift action: activate Divine Favor for +4 +4
Move action: start Inspire Courage to buff the entire party +3 +3
Standard Action: cast some big spell to support the party (e.g. Blessing of Fervor) or arrange the battlefield (e.g. Wall of Stone). A spell is usually better than a single standard-action attack, unless it looks like an easy fight and you wish to conserve resources.
5' step to threaten tactical control points and protect allied squishies

Enemy turn: Foes move in and attack, taking Magda's AoOs. If the foes choose not to take her AoOs then she has accomplished her primary task of defending the squishies.

A Threatened Squishy Ally will tactically Withdraw. Any foes wishing to pursue must again face Magda's AoOs on their next turn.

Magda's Second Turn:
Swift Action: another combat buff, probably Grayflame Weapon
Full attack with Haste
5' step to protect squishies

Pros of an Evangelist Reach Cleric as Tank:

* You give the best buffs in the game
* When fully buffed your combat numbers are at least equal to a raging barbarian
* Despite being a full martial combatant you are also a full 9-level spellcaster
* You can heal yourself
* You can function as a first rate summoner, even without feats. And you can make room for the feats ...

Cons of an Evangelist Reach Cleric as Tank:

* Your AC will probably suck.
* D8 HP
* Your spell DCs will suck. Don't use spells where DC matters. Fortunately, this still leaves you all support spells and the Summon Monster line, so you will never have trouble filling your spell slots.
* When caught completely unprepared (without buffs) your combat numbers are mediocre at best. Buffs should be cast before combat begins.
* You can't convert cure spells and your channels are weak. Fortunately, you can prepare Cure Spells, and you can leave Open Spell Slots.

Steps Magda took to counter those CONS:

Magda took the same approach as some Barbarians: have lots of HP and DR, inflict massive damage, and drop them before they drop you.

* HP come from high CON, a CON belt, every FCB to HP, and the Toughness feat. Magda had 103 HP at 10th level. You cast Bull's Strength, so you don't need a STR belt.

* She wears enchanted Invulnerable Armor for 15,000 gp, which gives DR 5/Magic . It's pretty rare, even in high level PFS scenarios, that a foe can penetrate this DR/Magic. With DR5, 103 HP, and combat tactics it's pretty tough for foes to drop Magda with HP damage.

* Reach tactics usually deny foes the full attack. Reducing the number of incoming attacks provides a big defensive benefit. This works best if you keep the fight mobile and avoid getting locked in a static position.

* She will sometimes trip foes at reach, despite lacking trip feats. Only do this vs. foes who lack reach. Fully buffed she has about CMB +25 at 10th level, which is usually good enough. If worried this won't be enough, Swift Action True Strike for another +20 is always an option ...

* Has enough Swift Action and Immediate Action spells to counter attack quickly in an ambush situation. E.g. Boots of Speed and Swift Action Truestrike.

* Always prepares a few powerful healing spells.

* Usually prepares the spell Grace, in case a fighting retreat is called for.

* Layer multiple defenses, rather than relying on a single strong defense. E.g. lots of HP & good saves & DR & smart tactics & buff spells & miss chance adds up to strong defense, even if your AC sucks.

* Traits and feats that counter your weaknesses. E.g. Toughness increases HP, Armor Expert trait lets an Evangelist Cleric wear Mithril Breastplate with no penalties.

Magda's particular approach to tanking is non-optimal, but still plenty effective enough for PFS. She gives so many buffs to her team that we usually destroy the enemy in the first couple rounds. About 50% of damage seems to come from AoOs. Any similarly tanky Cleric or Warpriest will do just fine. Consider doing these things if you wish to make an even more optimal cleric tank:

* More reach is better. Magda must usually swig a Potion of Enlarge Person if she wants to become Large, which is not optimal.
* The Plant (Growth) domain is unparalleled. The huge threatened zone is a key to martial greatness in Pathfinder.
* Possibly multiclass, but probably not. You will be more effective levels 1-5, and less effective levels 6-11. If you do not multiclass you remain a full 9 level caster ...


If you want to be a really tanky character that also makes your party more tanky, here is my Tower Shieldadin proto-guide post.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I have seen an Oracle/Paladin/Holy Vindicator tank like a champ thanks to Cha to AC and saves.

Silver Crusade

Magda, what do you use to get divine favor as a swift action?


Gonna mention Skald/Bloodrager with Amplified Rage and Skald's Vigor (get a familiar to amplify your rage if you don1t have someone to tand next to you). This is 8HP fast healing/turn at baseline. Add a furious courageous weapon and you are looking at 10+. Alternatively, you could use a courageous bowstring and never run out of performance turns. If you go more bloodrager than Skald you could go with abyssal and get more STR bonus for even more Fast healing. And you get DR to boot.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Duncan888 wrote:

GMs i play with often get frustrated by players with high AC in my games. So don't worry about ur ac when u can get dr 23/- . Still do great damage. Be extremely hard to affect with spells. And have pounce.

Human lvl 1 unbreakable fighter lvl 19 invulnerable rager 20 pt

Str 15+1@4,12,16
Dex 14
Con 17 +1@8
Cha 10
Int 10
Wis 11

Feats
1 racial heritage halfling
1 endurance
1 diehard
3 cautious fighter
RP superstitious
5 power attack
RP reckless abandon
7 improved unarmed strike
RP guarded life
9 dodge
RP beast totem lesser
11 improved stalwart
RP beast totem
13 crane style
RP beast totem greater
15 raging vitality
RP increased dr
17 heroic defiance
RP increased dr
19 heroic recovery
RP increased dr

Favored class 1/3 bonus to superstitious total bonus +6

You didn't take Stalwart prior to taking Improved Stalwart.

Silver Crusade

Sonea Evareska wrote:
Magda, what do you use to get divine favor as a swift action?

1. The trait Magical Lineage (Divine Favor)

2. The Quicken Spell Metamagic feat at 7th or 9th level.

This gives Quickened Divine Favor as a 4th level spell, and Quickened Truestrike as a 5th level Luck Domain spell that can replace Break Enchantment in the 5th level Domain slot.

A Warpriest is superior in this regard. A Warpriest will have one or more Swift Action abilities early on. So can a Cleric, with the right domain choices. A Warpriest fights slightly better than a Cleric, but is not a 9th level caster.

Grand Lodge

Quote:
A Warpriest is superior in this regard. A Warpriest will have one or more Swift Action abilities early on. So can a Cleric, with the right domain choices. A Warpriest fights slightly better than a Cleric, but is not a 9th level caster.

With there being typically 5 fights per PFS session and hardly ever getting past level 12...The Warpriest doing swift action buffing @ level 2 makes the class a very strong choice to do the battle priest style of play. You get the same spell list but end up with 4th level spells. Not that bad of a trade off when you can swift cast those higher level buffs. A PFS cleric could never reach a Swift action Divine Power without building strictly to do so. it just something the class can do. And it is beautiful. But if your playing beyond level 12 you will not excel like a full caster does.


As a note: Enough HP is a darn good method of surviving.

For example, today I got thrown half a mile into the air in the final fight with the big bad.

I supermaned back into the ground hands first, and lived just by tanking the 20d6 on the Chin as a level 8 Bloodrager and rolling my arcobatics roll.

Now instant death will still nail you, but with enough HP you can give very few damns.


If survivability is the main desire, a crusader archetype cleric is pound for pound the most versatile and IMO the best at being tanky. Allow me to lay it out....

1) summons. Any full caster getting summons, much less having the option of sacred summons so as to get more actions in a round, is already a good choice. I mean really what's better than a wall of flesh that fights back for tanking?

2) getting five free feats that boost weapon or more importantly defense is nothin to sneeze at.

3) a domain power covers many weaknesses, saves money, or otherwise offers benefits that are almost unique to the class. An inquisitor can have a domain but not the spells and the warpriests abilities are usually slightly watered down when compared to the same domain.

4) self healing. Channeling positive energy out of battle is always a positive for a tank and there even zpossibilities of in battle heal. Note this doesn't mean it's the best thing to do but rather I'm pointin out its an option that many others did t have at all.

5) self buffs. Cleric can buff very well through spells .

6) useful at all levels. A tower shield and heavy armor equipped cleric at low levels can be practically unhittable in the absence of crits.

I usually recommend you take a single level of fighter with this because I. This rare instance it equates to 3.5 useful feats to you... Martial prof, tower shield prof, heavy armor prof, and power attack as extra feat.

Finally, I recommend a deity with madness domain and getting a conductive weapon. Slap across the face with a debuff to saves and attacks combined with top tier defenses and you are on your way to not only being hard to kill but you also help out your party in case the beast attacks them instead.


Fire up the bass cannon.

*cough*

A fun build for fighters could be a reroll focused build. It takes about level 3-5 to get it to really cause headaches for your DM when he tries to take you down through saves.

A level of swashbuckler really gives you a lot for its buck, considering your available tooltip.

Swashbuckler 1(Take at level 2) / Fighter 4 Human

Traits:
Second Chance (Free reroll 1/day on failed save)
Indomitable Faith (+1 to will saves)

20 point buy

16 Str
16 Dex
12 Con
10 Int/Wisdom
14 Cha

H1 Strong Comeback
G1 Iron Will
F1 Power Attack
G3 Improved Iron Will
F3 Weapon Focus/Combat Reflexes
G5 Battle Cry
F5 Weapon Focus/Combat Reflexes

With Battle Cry you essentially have 3 rerolls to any failed save per day and one reroll for your will save. Any time you reroll, you also gain a +2 to that roll.

Use a heavy one handed weapon so you can effectively two-hand the weapon when needed, preferably a piercing weapon though not required. Focus on stacking up on Extra Panache to increase the amount of parries per day you can do and/or combat expertise + various combat maneuver feats to really hinder an enemy's actions. Trip or disarm could be absolutely brutal against some enemies when used with the riposte of the parry deed.

Have a shield with you at all times and eventually work towards getting QuickDraw so that you can easily take it out or put it away to alternate between two-handing your weapon or going more defensive as the situation calls for.

An example of how you can shut down enemies:

Lets say we have an enemy who has a weapon and pounce. He pounces you, you parry his attack and then disarm him right after - this immediately ending his full-attack round or forcing him to attack you with empty hands - usually without improved unarmed attack, triggering AoO's into his face.

Because you now have a great deal of more class skills, you have so many more options open to you build-wise. For instance, bluff is now a class skill for you and you may easily make use of feinting tactics to really lower your enemy's AC if required.

Later on, you could take two paladin levels as well to shore up even more holes, getting yourself +3 to fort and will saves as well as your charisma bonus to all saves.

Combined with magic items, you can seriously turn yourself into a very tough and durable threat for both casters and martial enemies. You may not be a damage machine quite like the barbarian or a skill monkey like the rogue, but by high levels, you could get a 10 in a lot of different skills, giving you a solid foundation and making you flexible towards a variety of situations, likewise your feats allow you to use your general feats on many different things including: more panache (more parries per day or extra d6 to physical skills) or more rerolls taken from various human-specific feats (the Luck feat train. This can be used for ally support in the form of immediate-action bonuses to their saves before or after the roll, or the same for your own person.)

You could sum this build up as a character that is very well equipped to deal with a lot of different situations, but he doesn't have an option that allows him to simply dominate a situation like(Using another martial class for fair comparison) the Barbarian does in terms of damage in combat or the Ranger/Rogue in terms of skill-based checks. He's definitely very reliable and sturdy, though.

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