Looking for Generic Tanking Advice, especially equipment?


So first off, I accept that tanking isn't a solid thing in the Pathfinder game, but there are options that are certainly meant for that purpose.

So, assuming someone is wanting to tank anyway, what are some generally useful options? The best class gets argued a lot, but what about the best equipment and spells for tanking?

For instance, Compel Hostility is a spell available to most classes, which forces enemies that threaten you to attack you instead of your allies.

You might be looking for the Antagonize feat, or some spell like Compel Hostility. Pathfinder doesn't have very many methods to force an opponent to focus on you, particularly long term. Check out this forum chain.

Much of this depends on how your GM plays, and what the party makeup is. If I am the only melee character and the rest are ranged, I take a reach weapon and maybe play a Phalanx Soldier or Polearm Master archetype of fighter. Add in combat reflexes and hopefully I can hit some enemies before they would go to my allies behind me. Sometimes it works. Maybe even specialize in trip to boot.

Long and short, it's not WoW or some other MMO. So I usually tend to focus on hitting hard and heavy to down the enemy quickly. My above comments are based on the premise you are looking to force the opponent to attack you and only you, of course.

Do you mean MMO tanking or MOBA tanking.

MMO tanking amounts to abusing the crappy AI to take fire off allies.

MOBA tanking amounts to forcing an enemy to kill you through your ample defensive capabilities before going after the squishy in the back, with the alternative choice being dying tired as they try to chase the squishy down while you wail on them brutally.

MOBA tanking is fairly similar to what most martials do.

MMO tanking just doesn't work when the opposing side isn't moronic unless you can override the sentience of the opposition somehow. See: Antagonize, Compel Hostility.

Bodyguard + In Harm's Way can allow you take hits for others, but there is really no tanking in Pathfinder.

The best way to keep people focused on you is to block access to squishier members of the party using area denial (such as reach weapons and enlarged size) as well using terrain to control their movement as well. To be a good "tank" in Pathfinder you need to be a credible threat to the enemy that they don't ignore you. You can't turtle up and deal no damage (or almost no damage) and expect the enemy to care. Short of Antagonize and Compel Hostility you can't force an enemy to attack you. And even those options don't work so well.

You need to have a strong offense and a decent defense (to keep yourself from dying, otherwise you become a glass cannon). You don't actually want too strong a defense because if the enemy realizes it's impossible to harm you they might just take the hit anyways and move in to attack the squishy guy behind you. You might kill him, but he's going to damn well make sure that you pay the price for it. Or at least that your friend does.

Liberty's Edge

Benevolent Armor + Bodyguard and guarding/greater guarding shields help provide adjacent allies more AC, potentially making you a better target (the shield enchant actually lowers your AC).

Halflings can get blundering defense, 3 ranks in acrobatics + crane style +cautious fighter = +6 dodge to your ac fighting defensively and +3 luck bonus to all adjacent allies.

Golden Legionnaire is a great prestige class to boost tanking abilities.

Check this profile to see a build that grants up to +17 to AC to allies, but +14 pretty easily at level 7. I was granting +13 pretty easily by level 5. (I don't even have a guarding shield yet).

Edited to link to correct profile.

There is an active thread that has a lot of

Interesting Tank Builds

I contributed a few interesting builds to it if I do say so myself. In general, what I like to do when making a martial build is to look for really cool and powerful effects and combine them. Since I'm looking at effects and not particularly classes, it happens that my character builds multiclass A LOT, more than anyone else I know. My characters tend to be very powerful and multifaceted, but also very complicated. In combat, I am juggling multiple buffs and trying to optimize each round, when to use my Swift Action to activate which ability, and is it better to do that on the first round or the 2nd, stuff like that. I often lose track of my special tricks myself, there are so many. "Oh yeah, I forgot I even had Stunning Fist!" --me

Also, I am infamous and shameless about running roughshod over the RAI.

I tend to think of roleplaying as separate from my character build, and usually have to get to know my characters by playing with them before they tell me their backstories.

Meanwhile, I hope you find the link useful and my own ideas helpful.

Thanks guys. The problem with a lot of tank guides is that they focus on specific class abilities. I was hoping there were more magic items out there that gave something similar to Compel Hostility.

I think Pathfinder could use something like a Tanking Tactics Toolbox, similar to the Melee and Ranged Toolbox books.

Mythic Guardian gives you something called the sudden block. Following the path it also has something like Draw Fire. They are not bad.

The Exchange

Trip the poor sap, then disarm his weapon, throw pepper into his eyes (dirty trick), if he doesn't come after you like a ton of bricks after, somethings really wrong...


The the most attractive (to me) way I have found to compel hostility is the Antagonize Feat. The build I have this for has levels in Fighter with the Phalanx Soldier Archetype, and she would use a Reach, Brace Polearm like a Lucerne Hammer.

But I'll keep my eye open for a dweomer that we can use to finesse a charge.

I'm thinking the easiest to run tanking class is the Swashbuckler/Mouser Archetype. All because of this Deed -

Underfoot Assault (Ex): At 1st level, if a foe whose size is larger than the mouser's is adjacent to her and misses her with a melee attack, the mouser can as an immediate action spend 1 panache point to move 5 feet into an area of the attacker's space. This movement does not count against the mouser's movement the next round, and it doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. While the mouser is within a foe's space, she is considered to occupy her square within that foe's space.

While the mouser is within her foe's space, the foe takes a –4 penalty on all attack rolls and combat maneuver checks not made against the mouser, and all of the mouser's allies that are adjacent to both the foe and the mouser are considered to be flanking the foe. The mouser is considered to be flanking the foe whose space she is within if she is adjacent to an ally who is also adjacent to the foe. The mouser can move within her foe's space and leave the foe's space unhindered and without provoking attacks of opportunity, but if the foe attempts to move to a position where the mouser is no longer in its space, the movement provokes an attack of opportunity from the mouser. This deed replaces opportune parry and riposte.

Class does has two major drawbacks -
(1) Crummy saves
(2) Pretty much need to be a small race.

Matt, I like to get around the small race problem by developing Dirty Tricks to lock in Sneak Atttack damage.

Also, have you read the Songbird of Doom Thread? The OP was proposing a build just like yours.

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