How high does your AC need to be?


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So, I have a friend that loves to optimize melee PFS characters and insists that his new "build" is sub par because it "only" has a 28 AC at 5th level. The reasoning behind this thinking being that every "generic" fighter at that level should have +1 full plate, +1 tower shield, shield focus, etc. for a 31 AC at that level. I am a bit perplexed at this line of thought since I am pretty sure nothing about the cr system seems to indicate that a melee character needs or is expected to have an AC anywhere near that at such a low level. I also think that having everything with a cr anywhere near your level only able to hit you on a natural 20 takes some of the fun out of the game. Isn't 20 plus character level supposed to be a good AC? Doesn't it often make more sense for melee characters to focus a bit more on dealing damage than having every single attack miss them? Am I crazy or out of line for thinking this way?

Liberty's Edge

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The game would be unplayable if optimization was the standard to which encounters and things were designed.

Ignore your friend. He's playing a different game from the rest of us.


The guidelines for monster creation give a pretty detailed description of expected monster statistics at each challenge rating. According to their tables, a CR 5 monster should have an attack bonus of 7 (for a low attack bonus) to 10 (for a high attack bonus). While things might vary a fair bit, an AC of 28 means many monster need a 20 to hit you, and those with high attack bonuses still need an 18 or better. 28 is probably fine.

The argument that "every generic fighter" should have a +1 tower shield and shield focus is patently ridiculous. Some fighters will have those, but not everyone uses a shield or invests into it that heavily. In my current campaign, for example, there is a sword and shield fighter who doesn't have shield focus at level 7 because he's been too busy picking up feats for two weapon fighting and shield bashing (he's also not using a tower shield). Last time I played a sword and shield character, I never picked up shield focus - I don't think it's a great feat, honestly, and most characters don't have enough feats for everything they want.

Liberty's Edge

This guide is an excellent metric for character viability based explicitly on the aforementioned Monster Creation Guidelines, and seems to match up with most people's experiences in play (it certainly matches my own for the most part).

According to it, an 18 AC is what you need at 5th, a 22 is a good AC, and a 27 is as high as you actually need, with above that likely being superfluous.

A 28 is a very high AC at that level. A 31 is absurd.

Dark Archive

WithoutHisFoot wrote:

The guidelines for monster creation give a pretty detailed description of expected monster statistics at each challenge rating. According to their tables, a CR 5 monster should have an attack bonus of 7 (for a low attack bonus) to 10 (for a high attack bonus). While things might vary a fair bit, an AC of 28 means many monster need a 20 to hit you, and those with high attack bonuses still need an 18 or better. 28 is probably fine.

The argument that "every generic fighter" should have a +1 tower shield and shield focus is patently ridiculous. Some fighters will have those, but not everyone uses a shield or invests into it that heavily. In my current campaign, for example, there is a sword and shield fighter who doesn't have shield focus at level 7 because he's been too busy picking up feats for two weapon fighting and shield bashing (he's also not using a tower shield). Last time I played a sword and shield character, I never picked up shield focus - I don't think it's a great feat, honestly, and most characters don't have enough feats for everything they want.

I thought the same thing. If there is such thing as a "generic" fighter, they are much more likely to use a two handed weapon and go for power attack, cleave, weapon focus, etc. over sword and tower shield plus shield focus, defender of the society, etc. Having a high AC is a good goal for a melee character, but claiming they suck unless they focus almost exclusively on AC seems like an unbalanced way of thinking.


I'm not even sure I would realistically get a 31 AC at 5th level. It's doable but requires an awful lot of investment. My 9th level oracle is the closest to a tank my party has, and his AC only reaches 29 with magic items and two spells.

Dark Archive

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I'm not even sure I would realistically get a 31 AC at 5th level. It's doable but requires an awful lot of investment. My 9th level oracle is the closest to a tank my party has, and his AC only reaches 29 with magic items and two spells.

I thought it was hard to, but I did the math and with about 10,000 gp to work with and getting the defender of the society trait and the dodge and shield focus feats, plus a ring of protection and amulet of natural armor, it is possible. You could still have enough to have a +1 melee weapon. I just don't see spending that many feats and gold to have an unhittable AC to be worth the investment. It's overkill at that point.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

TECHNICALLY, 27 is the max AC you'd need for a 5th level MONSTER.

If you go CR+3-4, for your tough stuff, bosses, and optimized monsters, 27 AC isn't nearly as effective as it could be.

So, yeah, 28 AC makes him pretty much unhittable to creatures of equal CR. Against challenging monsters...not so much. For instance, a hill giant is cr 7, which is a good challenge for a 5th level party, and has +14 to hit.

But seriously, if you look at a tower shield...just get 3 ranks in Acrobatics, take the -4 to hit and +3 AC for defensive fighting and use a normal shield...you'll be ahead of the game. Tower shields are lousy.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
Tower shields are lousy.

Hopefully Armor Master's Handbook has something good for tower shield aspirants?

I kinda want to ask: What are your player's damage and to-hit bonuses looking like? A tower shield puts you back 2 levels worth of BAB increases.


I use the following rule:

level +10 for back rank non-combatants
level +15 for switch hitters or close support characters
level +20 for the front row

It has the advantage of being easy, and scales well. Though, after 8th level, AC gradually becomes less important, and saving throws and touch AC become more important.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

AC seems to be less important, because it is harder to be one rounded or one-hit by a crit at higher levels. And, monster TH bonuses scale faster then AC does. A better metric for a front liner might well be level x 1.5, +20. A 50 AC is actually excellent protection against all but the most powerful creatures in the game.

So, AC is still important, it's just more attacks WILL get through. However, miss chances start coming into play, at least for spellcasters...until they start becoming irrelevant at higher levels due to the senses of opponents.

==Aelryinth


I consider level +15 to be front line material, and level +20 to be full on tank mode. Also don't forget that at high levels touch AC becomes more important, as do saves and elemental resistances.


31 AC at level 5? If this was level 11 or so where that type of AC is needed to have more than a 5% chance of avoiding full BAB attacks I could understand, but at level 5 the lower 20's are just fine for someone going into the thick of things.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
My Self wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Tower shields are lousy.
Hopefully Armor Master's Handbook has something good for tower shield aspirants?

Oh it does! :D


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The best AC is dead enemies.

But seriously, 31 by level 5 is a bit much.

Dark Archive

Aelryinth wrote:

TECHNICALLY, 27 is the max AC you'd need for a 5th level MONSTER.

If you go CR+3-4, for your tough stuff, bosses, and optimized monsters, 27 AC isn't nearly as effective as it could be.

So, yeah, 28 AC makes him pretty much unhittable to creatures of equal CR. Against challenging monsters...not so much. For instance, a hill giant is cr 7, which is a good challenge for a 5th level party, and has +14 to hit.

But seriously, if you look at a tower shield...just get 3 ranks in Acrobatics, take the -4 to hit and +3 AC for defensive fighting and use a normal shield...you'll be ahead of the game. Tower shields are lousy.

==Aelryinth

The only thing I can think of that makes sense is that he wants to play high tier in 5-9 scenarios.

Dark Archive

My Self wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Tower shields are lousy.

Hopefully Armor Master's Handbook has something good for tower shield aspirants?

I kinda want to ask: What are your player's damage and to-hit bonuses looking like? A tower shield puts you back 2 levels worth of BAB increases.

I made that point. He claimed that with the tower shield penalty and power attacking, he'd still hit most of the time on a 2. Even with 20 str starting out, I'm really not seeing that either.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

This guide is an excellent metric for character viability based explicitly on the aforementioned Monster Creation Guidelines, and seems to match up with most people's experiences in play (it certainly matches my own for the most part).

According to it, an 18 AC is what you need at 5th, a 22 is a good AC, and a 27 is as high as you actually need, with above that likely being superfluous.

A 28 is a very high AC at that level. A 31 is absurd.

Seconded. The Guide inspired me to publicise a little chart that I worked up a while ago (found at this location - AC 27 at Level 5 Pretty much protects you from all but a natural 20 according to the guidelines (assuming no debuffs/extra buffs on the monster side).

Sovereign Court

Yes - I've heard before and pretty much agree that the general rule is -

Solid AC = 15+level

High AC = 20+level (getting a higher AC than this certainly isn't a bad thing, but you generally shouldn't sacrifice offense to go higher)

The above don't start being true until 2 when you get decent mundane gear, and you'd need to be even higher than the above #s past level 14ish.

Sacrificing offense for a 31 AC at level 5 is kinda ridiculous.


And it could end up a waste if the GM just stops attacking you.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
And it could end up a waste if the GM just stops attacking you.

This is a good point. My players know that I run enemies true to their intelligence and wisdom scores. A rampaging mindless monster may try to beat on the tank for three rounds strait, but an enemy with any amount of cunning will try once and then move onto easier targets.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
And it could end up a waste if the GM just stops attacking you.
This is a good point. My players know that I run enemies true to their intelligence and wisdom scores. A rampaging mindless monster may try to beat on the tank for three rounds strait, but an enemy with any amount of cunning will try once and then move onto easier targets.

Is it a good point though? If the enemy is not attacking me because of my armor, than my armor is doing a fine job! ;P


If you're a frontliner and you're not protecting the back line, then I would say that you are doing a pretty bad job.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Feral wrote:

The game would be unplayable if optimization was the standard to which encounters and things were designed.

Ignore your friend. He's playing a different game from the rest of us.

Though you're correct that Tower Shield Guy is playing a different game from the rest of us, you've got his relationship to optimization backwards.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

He wants to be defended against the bosses and elites as well as the mooks.

Yeah, he's overpowered for the mooks. But he'll still be able to tank against the bosses. A CR 7 hill giant is a reasonable tough encounter for a 5th level party, and will probably hit him every round at a 25 AC. That's not really a tank...even if it will hit everyone in the party even more frequently.

But yeah...the best defense is a dead enemy. When you're fighting elites above your level, however, that can be a little hard to pull off before they attack you back.

==Aelryinth


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"HAH! MY AC IS IN THE 40s! NOONE CAN TOUCH ME!"
*touch attack against a touch AC 12*
*Will Save with a +2 bonus*
"Crap..."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
If you're a frontliner and you're not protecting the back line, then I would say that you are doing a pretty bad job.

After level 3, I've never seen a back liner who didn't take steps to protect themselves (via stealth, invisibility, mirror image, etc.).

A tank that isn't being attacked can still block charge lanes and the like in order to protect the back line. That's their real strength; being an extra body on the field.

Dark Archive

Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:

I use the following rule:

level +10 for back rank non-combatants
level +15 for switch hitters or close support characters
level +20 for the front row

It has the advantage of being easy, and scales well. Though, after 8th level, AC gradually becomes less important, and saving throws and touch AC become more important.

Pretty much this, the AC needed to be able to avoid most attacks is your current level +20, the absolute max you'll really need is level x 1.5 +20, resources invested beyond that are generally a waste that could be better spent elsewhere such as saves or on increasing damage, your friend is possibly actually nerfing his characters overall ability by focusing so much on AC.


Cory Stafford 29 wrote:
Doesn't it often make more sense for melee characters to focus a bit more on dealing damage than having every single attack miss them? Am I crazy or out of line for thinking this way?

Yes it does.

But there's a thing. Sometimes people optimise. And then sometimes they we get stuck. Because once you've written a character build that has X AC and +Y to hit with Z damage, that kind of resets the values you expect. So if your next build comes out >X but <Y you might think it's okay, but if it comes out <X <Y (but gained unquantifiable advantages) then it's now "bad" no matter how good it is in relation to the metagame. Essentially, you can end up competing with yourself, which means never winning. If your friend has realised that a thing is possible and therefore decided it is a requirement, then he's kind of stuck.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
And it could end up a waste if the GM just stops attacking you.

Possible, but in my experience it's far more likely in PFS that the GM will have melee monsters attack the closest target, regardless of its AC.

For what it's worth, our Eyes Of The Ten group all had AC in the low twenties. That wasn't actually a problem since we had other defenses, crowd control, and a good healer. Really, AC 30+ at lower levels than that is not anywhere near baseline.


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There's lots of combinations that can work. Going with a keen falchion and power attack can be as good. Your AC is less, but you do more damage and so take less hits.

but what's most important - are you having fun playing the character?


Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

"HAH! MY AC IS IN THE 40s! NOONE CAN TOUCH ME!"

*touch attack against a touch AC 12*
*Will Save with a +2 bonus*
"Crap..."

In PFS, there's nothing quite like watching the look on the GM's face when you tell him the 31 attack roll from a greater shadow missed.


My personal formula's a bit more complicated.

Take your level +1,
Look up the high attack of a CR of that number,
Add 11,
This is your target AC.
Thus, a monster of CR+1 hits you only 50% of the time on its best attack (theoretically).

Running the numbers, this needs only about 13 + twice your level from level 1 to 6 or 7, then from 8 onwards it's 20+level.
Well, technically, 8-10 is 20+level, 11-14 is 21+level, and 15 up is 22+level.

Silver Crusade

Here's the guideline I use.

Quote:

AC 'tiers':

10+Level: Stop minions from automatically hitting you.
15+Level: Reasonable AC - against most foes, you can be missed, but shouldn't expect to be.
20+Level: Most foes have trouble hitting you
25+Level: Most foes hit only on a 20
30+Level: Too High, all attacks automatically hit.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

My personal formula's a bit more complicated.

Take your level +1,
Look up the high attack of a CR of that number,
Add 11,
This is your target AC.
Thus, a monster of CR+1 hits you only 50% of the time on its best attack (theoretically).

A monster hitting you half the time is terrible, in my mind.

How many times does your martial hero need to get stabbed, slashed, or bludgeoned before he realizes he's doing something wrong?


Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

"HAH! MY AC IS IN THE 40s! NOONE CAN TOUCH ME!"

*touch attack against a touch AC 12*
*Will Save with a +2 bonus*
"Crap..."

Then you realize its a ZAM and he has 1 more number on both his save and touch AC.

Scarab Sages

Snowlilly wrote:
Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

"HAH! MY AC IS IN THE 40s! NOONE CAN TOUCH ME!"

*touch attack against a touch AC 12*
*Will Save with a +2 bonus*
"Crap..."
In PFS, there's nothing quite like watching the look on the GM's face when you tell him the 31 attack roll from a greater shadow missed.

I am curious on how you get your touch AC beyond that number.


And soon every monster is carrying alchemist's fire, adamantine weapons with sunder feats build, learning area spells, digging pit traps, ...

Or when "crazy high AC dude" is swarmed by all sides, 7 monsters are using Aid Another while only 1 is attacking. Every round.


Ravingdork wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

My personal formula's a bit more complicated.

Take your level +1,
Look up the high attack of a CR of that number,
Add 11,
This is your target AC.
Thus, a monster of CR+1 hits you only 50% of the time on its best attack (theoretically).

A monster hitting you half the time is terrible, in my mind.

How many times does your martial hero need to get stabbed, slashed, or bludgeoned before he realizes he's doing something wrong?

Half the time on their highest attack bonus, which is the same as the much vaunted displacement, and even better if they have any kind of penalty like making iteratives.

But let me ask in return, what do you think is an acceptable hit chance vs someone not able to have maximum mirror images up at all times? Especially if they're likely to be getting in to melee, intentionally or otherwise.


Cao Phen wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

"HAH! MY AC IS IN THE 40s! NOONE CAN TOUCH ME!"

*touch attack against a touch AC 12*
*Will Save with a +2 bonus*
"Crap..."
In PFS, there's nothing quite like watching the look on the GM's face when you tell him the 31 attack roll from a greater shadow missed.
I am curious on how you get your touch AC beyond that number.

+6 dex, +8 wisdom, +3 Deflection, +4 Ki, +1 dodge, +1 insight, +2 Monk.


Snowlilly wrote:
Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

"HAH! MY AC IS IN THE 40s! NOONE CAN TOUCH ME!"

*touch attack against a touch AC 12*
*Will Save with a +2 bonus*
"Crap..."
In PFS, there's nothing quite like watching the look on the GM's face when you tell him the 31 attack roll from a greater shadow missed.

My highest-level PFS character had a comparable experience recently. It was eyes of the ten, and iirc it was the fight against the biggest (size-wise) bruiser of book 1. This was on roll20, so I could see what the GM rolled and the final attack roll. The conversation went roughly like this:

GM: You take {number redacted} damage.
Me: No I don't.
GM: I rolled a 19 on the die. He hit you. (The number rolled was in the very high 40s)
Me: I saw the roll. It missed.
GM: What is your AC?
Me: {number redacted}
Table: {laughter and disbelief}
GM: ... I want a breakdown of your AC.
Me: {redacted, but it was in the low-mid 50s, with several temporary boosts and smiting)
Table: {Erupts in laughter}
GM: ...
Me: Oh and if I used the rune I got from defeating Krune, I could bump it up by another 2 for 3 rounds, but I'm saving that for now.
GM: ...
Table: {more laughter}
Someone else at the table: I just looked. Even the Tarrasque would need a natural 20 to hit you at your maximum AC.
Me: {checked} Yeah, but only for 3 rounds, and I don't think it's evil so I lose the smite evil bonus AC.
That guy: Awww....no fighting the Tarrasque yet then.

------Later at the start of part 3, when we hit level 13------------

Me: Hey guys, remember we talked about the Tarrasque not being evil? I just took Osyluth Guile. So if I'm fighting defensively, I can now reliably hold off the Tarrasque for a few rounds.

Btw, all of this character's saves also hovered just below or above +20

Scarab Sages

First off,!I have several melee characters at or around level 5, and none of them come close to an AC of 28. Closest is my level 7 slayer with an AC of 26. 'Requiring' an AC of 31 at level 5 isn't only unrealistic, it's downright unfun, I mean, if there is no chance of danger, then really, what's the point? Making your GM cry?

Secondly, AC isn't the be-all how to be a melee character. I have a friend with a level 17 barbarian with an AC of, like, 7. He gets around this by having 500 HP, DR 12/- and he doesn't go down until he hits -200 or something redonkulous. He does fine.

Here's the issue, you don't need AC in a fight, you need survivability. That may come from a good AC, that could come from buff spells (mirror image and displacement for my magus), class abilities (my Swashbuckler's parry/riposte), battlefield control (ways of preventing opponents from getting to you), shutting an opponent down (grappling most creatures with my monk), or just plain old mobility (ride-by-attack with a massive move speed for my mounted summoner), or any number of other ways to make sure that troll doesn't hit you for 50 damage every round.


VampByDay wrote:


Secondly, AC isn't the be-all how to be a melee character. I have a friend with a level 17 barbarian with an AC of, like, 7. He gets around this by having 500 HP, DR 12/- and he doesn't go down until he hits -200 or something redonkulous. He does fine.

Here's the issue, you don't need AC in a fight, you need survivability. That may come from a good AC, that could come from buff spells (mirror image and displacement for my magus), class abilities (my Swashbuckler's parry/riposte), battlefield control (ways of preventing opponents from getting to you), shutting an opponent down (grappling most creatures with my monk), or just plain old mobility (ride-by-attack with a massive move speed for my mounted summoner), or any number of other ways to make sure that troll doesn't hit you for 50 damage every round.

Despite having a character who can achieve ridiculous levels of AC (my other characters have more moderate ACs), I agree with this.

The other thing is that if you are going to make yourself near-impossible to hit, make sure you use that to help your party. Get a reach tripping weapon, get enlarged, and make sure you're messing it up with the enemy so that they either waste time trying to hit you or suffer for ignoring you. Or something.

As with anything else, I don't believe tricking out your AC is badwrongfun in and of itself. It's only a problem you sacrifice everything for it such that you contribute nothing else to the team. By the same token, it's just stupid to be dismissive of the guy who is never afraid to stand right in front of the BBEG, and can do it for ages without needing the rest of the party to keep him alive (so they can focus on hosing down the BBEG instead). Every round the BBEG swings at that guy and misses completely is wasted round for the BBEG. Each round your party's archer does not need to spend his action withdrawing from the BBEG is a round not lost by your archer (and thus a round of full-attacks that might otherwise not have happened). I've been in parties where no one was capable of being the front-liner. It didn't work out well.

If the guy is standing between you and the gorilla lich and not taking a scratch, don't whine about how solid his defences are, be thankful that he is taking the attacks so that you don't have to. If he is hiding in the back with his 40+ AC, then you have a right to whine and complain.


My zen archer was the only one who saved against a teleport trap which sent the rest of the party to a dungeon and the gear to another room. We buffed before entry so I ran through the entire dungeon alone because if you are the juggernaut nothing can stop you, only slow you down.

When the only damage you take the entire time is a single magic missile spell you know you've gotten enough defense and offence to go the distance.

Sovereign Court

FiddlersGreen wrote:


The other thing is that if you are going to make yourself near-impossible to hit, make sure you use that to help your party. Get a reach tripping weapon, get enlarged, and make sure you're messing it up with the enemy so that they either waste time trying to hit you or suffer for ignoring you. Or something.

This is why I have fun with my tanky bard. Sure - his damage is mediocre, but that's not his job. After his buffs are cast and he's using Inspire Courage he's done his job. Any damage he deals or swings which miss him are just gravy.

Besides, nearly every PFS GM gets an evil glint in their eyes the first time the bard charges straight into the face of the biggest monster around and takes at least a few swings at him. (Not ridiculously high - but I haven't spent any character resources on it, just wealth. He was base AC 30 at 7th and certainly not afraid to fight defensively or use mirror image - though I haven't played him since Fencing Grace was changed, so he'll drop down to base 29.)


I've always noticed that the best defense in later levels tends to come from miss chances. Not to say that high AC isn't effective either (just ask the level 12 character with the 41 AC I'm DMing for), it just tends to eat up a lot more resources.


Why bother with AC when you can just tank every hit instead?

Sovereign Court

VampByDay wrote:

Secondly, AC isn't the be-all how to be a melee character. I have a friend with a level 17 barbarian with an AC of, like, 7. He gets around this by having 500 HP, DR 12/- and he doesn't go down until he hits -200 or something redonkulous. He does fine.

Here's the issue, you don't need AC in a fight, you need survivability. That may come from a good AC, that could come from buff spells (mirror image and displacement for my magus), class abilities (my Swashbuckler's parry/riposte), battlefield control (ways of preventing opponents from getting to you), shutting an opponent down (grappling most creatures with my monk), or just plain old mobility (ride-by-attack with a massive move speed for my mounted summoner), or any number of other ways to make sure that troll doesn't hit you for 50 damage every round.

I will say - while I agree generally - those high DR & AC 7ish barbarian builds only work if your GM doesn't optimize your foes. They should have a decent enough AC that iteratives aren't guaranteed hits.

Either a monster with significant nat. attacks (dragon etc.) with PA or a full BAB two-handed combatant with PA would shred them in a couple rounds. Not to mention anything with pummeling style or clustered shot. (A monk isn't doing a flurry of misses against AC 7.)

(Not that such a character should run into such foes every fight - but every time they do they're in trouble.)


johnnythexxxiv wrote:
Why bother with AC when you can just tank every hit instead?

Because I don't want to play as a goblin.


johnnythexxxiv wrote:
Why bother with AC when you can just tank every hit instead?

Haha. I love the idea of a goblin being smacked all over the battlefield all day long. Imagine the entertainment his hill-giant masters could have with him! Goblin-tennis try-outs, anyone?

As for DR vs AC vs sheer hit points, at the end of the day, it's about how long you can keep the enemy off your more vulnerable party members, with a secondary objective of being able to do that without requiring your party members to constantly support you (not that they shouldn't, but the less they need to the more they can spend time and resources killing the enemy instead).

The problem with just having tons of HP is that you can potentially run out very quickly, or you will need someone to heal you (which detracts from the objective of freeing up your allies to mess up your enemies whilst you keep them at bay). DR...is good but should not be seen as an excuse to dump your AC unless you have a very specialised build. DR reduces the damage, but in my experience most of the time the damage output of enemies will far outpace your DR so that you will still need healing support (albeit a little later than if you didn't have DR).

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