Author Topic: Need tank build help  (Read 5642 times)

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Cavnar

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Need tank build help
« on: September 11, 2010, 04:10:26 AM »
I originally asked this question on the Simple Questions post, but could already see I was asking to get flamed, so I figured I'd move it here instead of cluttering that thread, plus I can give a better description.

I'm looking for one of two things.  First, I want someone to build me a character, because I apparently suck at it.  Second, and probably more important for the overall community, I'd like to know if there is a list where other people that suck as bad as I do can get characters playable (with notes) from low level.  My original post on the simple questions thread was:

Quote
Is there a list somewhere of CO builds that are playable from 1st level?  I currently need a front-line fighter of some sort for a campaign starting at 5th level.  And anytime I look at builds, they go to 20th and list strategies at 20th, but not strategies and playability notes for any lower levels.

One response was that I need to search better and listed examples like Incarnate (Law) 20, Totemist 20, etc.  The other was a pointer to the low-level build compilation.  My problem with the first response is that I have searched, and after searching even for those specific examples, learned nothing.  My character will start at 5th level.  So a 20th level build with a 20th level combat strategy listed doesn't help.  The handbooks, like the incarnate handbook, would probably help if I had a couple of months with nothing else to do but compile stat spreadsheets.  But I don't learn well from books, so the handbooks just make my head hurt.  And the low-level compilation is just that: low-level characters.  Although my character will start at 5th level, I don't want to kill him off and start a different character when he gets to 6th.  And without someone holding my hand, I'm going to make the same poor choices from 6th and on that I have in the past and end up with a sucky high-level character.

So what I want is a list of 20th level builds, but that tells the strategy at each step of the way.  I know that at least some thought has been put into this, because I see retraining and such at higher levels in a lot of the builds.  This implies to me that someone took something at a low level to improve playability and then scrapped it at a higher level in exchange for something that became more useful.  Again, with enough time and such, I could probably take the list of skills, feats, stats, spells, equipment, etc at a given level and plan out some sort of strategy based on that.  But I'm not that great at strategy either.

Anyway, for more detail on the first option, in the hopes that someone happens to have an LE Incarnate tank or something laying around that can be explained to me, here is what my specific current situation is:
I need to build a tank/zone controller type character at 5th level.  The rest of the party currently consist of an unoptimized rogue and unoptimized druid (as far as I know).  Our DM will do fine, but he has had problems in the past with running an NPC while DM'ing (NPC ended up leading the party and conveniently finding the best magic items), so I'm trying to get a powerful enough character that he won't feel he needs to run one to keep us from dying.  I don't need to kill the bad guys outright, as I'm not trying to show up the other characters, I just need to keep the bad guys away from them.  In another campaign I tried a spiked chain fighter lockdown build.  He immediately ran into encounters where every creature had cover (the first one happening in a barracks full of hammocks) and lost all of his AoO.  I'd rather not have a character that could be made useless so easily.

Oh, and the DM has basically every 3.5 book.  He's said any race, any class, any 3.5 wizards book (no third party) goes.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 04:30:06 AM by Cavnar »

Endarire

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 04:31:00 AM »
Consider a Hood.  They come in many varieties, and you should be one-shotting foes at ECL5.
Hood - My first answer to all your build questions; past, present, and future.

Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

Dragonamedrake

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 04:35:44 AM »

Here you go Low LvL build Handbook

Cavnar

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 06:00:46 AM »

Here you go Low LvL build Handbook


That's the low-level compilation I was talking about.  For instance, it lists Lovecraftian Psychic Warrior as a 5th level build.  But there is no mention of the 6th, 7th, 8th, etc. level version of that build.  I'm worried I'd end up screwing it up, so that it is playable at 5th, but gets less and less playable the further I go.  (Actually, it is listed at 2nd, 4th, and 9th level, so it almost looks like a bad example.  But they are listed as different "versions".  Given that the 4th level version has 2 more classes than the 5th level version, I don't think they are actual progressions of the same build.)

GawainBS

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 06:48:00 AM »
The different handbook are exactly what you're looking for though. They list the growth of builds, and the highlights and strenghts at different levels. They explain the tactics at lvl 20, but those generally don't differ that much from what you've been using since lvl 1, unless you're a caster. The only difference is that you're doing it better now.
It would also help if you provided your own version, no matter how "bad" you think it is. It gives people an idea of what you want. (Ofcourse, Hood will ALWAYS be suggested for some reason, even if you wanted to be a peasant.  :rollseyes)
  • Crusader 5 with Thicket of Blade (both Tome of Battle) stance and a Spiked Chain, Combat Reflexes and Stand Still is very good as a tank, and not complex. If LA buy-off is permitted, a Goliath is a pretty solid choice. Spiked Chain increases reach, Thicket of Blades gives an AoO for *every kind* of movement in your reach, Combat Reflexes gives more AoO, Stand Still makes your target Reflex save vs damage dealt with an AoO or be forced to stop moving.

    A bit more complex is a Psychic Warrior, with a dip in Crusader for Thicket of Blades. Psychic Warrior opens up Expansion, which increases your reach. Later on, Expansion makes you Huge. (Stand Still, Combat Reflexes and Spiked Chain remain the same.)

    Same can be done with Crusader/Wizard or Sorcerer and Jade Phoenix Mage (Tome of Battle): Greater Enlarge Person for becoming Large.

If you have the stat points/feats to spare, adding in Improved Trip is probably a good idea. Generally, though, Stand Still is better.
Mageslayer feat helps too, if casters are being played dumb.

One thing to remember in D&D is that tanking certainly doesn't involve a shield, because a one-handed weapon and a shield just makes you something to ignore. You have to make sure you're too big a threat to ignore.

Oh, and if you dislike Spiked Chains (I do), ask your DM if you can use a poleweapon like a Guisarme, and spend a feat to allow you to attack inside the 5ft deadzone. The endcost is the same (a feat for improved reach), your benefit isn't greater, and you get variation in weapons.

dark_samuari

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2010, 06:51:30 AM »
Oh, and if you dislike Spiked Chains (I do), ask your DM if you can use a poleweapon like a Guisarme, and spend a feat to allow you to attack inside the 5ft deadzone. The endcost is the same (a feat for improved reach), your benefit isn't greater, and you get variation in weapons.

Just get some armor spikes.

GawainBS

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 06:55:31 AM »
Oh, and if you dislike Spiked Chains (I do), ask your DM if you can use a poleweapon like a Guisarme, and spend a feat to allow you to attack inside the 5ft deadzone. The endcost is the same (a feat for improved reach), your benefit isn't greater, and you get variation in weapons.

Just get some armor spikes.

Not as valid as touted: Armour Spikes are enchanted seperately and would be an additional moneysink and they are light weapons, so no PA, hence much lower damage. With a little bit DM sanity and leeway, my suggestion is better.

Cavnar

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2010, 07:25:08 AM »
The Crusader 5 sounds like what I played before.  The problem I had with him is it seemed like the whole build was built around AoO and using those to lock down the opponents.  But cover cancels AoO, so if we ended up in something like the barracks full of hammocks, he was crippled.

I would actually like a lock-down build, but I don't know if it is possible to do and still avoid being easily crippled.  The advantage, if it could work, is that it would allow the other characters to have the fun of actually killing the bad guys, while I do my part in keeping them away.

It may just be that my brain is fried.  My personal life at the moment doesn't allow me much time to concentrate on the rules in the handbooks.  They seem to have too many options for me to consider.  Taking the incarnate handbook as an example, I can't even figure out which race he's talking about that would be good for a tank, and that's just the very first section.  It seems that right off the bat he is saying that Azurin is the best choice "you can't go wrong".  Then he says Skarn is a solid choice for melee oriented.  Is that a better choice than azurin, because azurin is an overall good, whereas skarn is a specific good, or is it a worse choice in that it is just "solid"?  Then we get down to Gnome and it's "Yes! Hands down the best."  Ok, not many big burly gnome fighters that I know of, but I'm sure he has his reasons.  Maybe he explains how soulmelds make up for the pointy hats later?

GawainBS

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2010, 07:31:36 AM »
There's a feat from Eberron Campaign setting that lets you ignore cover. Problem solved. Precise Strike, or something.

I have to agree about the Incarnate handbook: it isn't one of the most clearly written, and I found it lacking in exact the same spots you mentioned. Just try to post asking Sinfire Titan directly for help. He's the go-to for Incarnum.

Cavnar

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2010, 07:36:40 AM »
Consider a Hood.  They come in many varieties, and you should be one-shotting foes at ECL5.

Granted, I didn't read the whole handbook (and having the whole thing in spoilers isn't helping) but I saw this in the "Role" section.
Quote
.

My problem with this is that I really need to be the Big Stupid Fighter.  If I am dancing around the enemy to stay out of their reach, I may be leaving my compatriots open, and possibly even putting the enemy between them and me (which might not be bad for the rogue and some flanking, but I don't know if the druid would be happy about it).

GawainBS

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2010, 07:39:33 AM »
Don't worry about the Druid: he can probably handle every encounter himself.

McPoyo

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2010, 10:06:40 AM »
The druid gets a class feature that mimics you. He doesn't need protecting, especially since he can just turn into a bear at level 5.
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A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most messed up game show.

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They don't/haven't, was the point. 3.5 is as dead as people not liking nice tits.

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[/spoiler]

Cavnar

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2010, 04:53:16 PM »
The druid gets a class feature that mimics you. He doesn't need protecting, especially since he can just turn into a bear at level 5.

Remember, this is an unoptimized druid.  We have played them before, and they're not bad, but they were never front-line fighters.  If I remember correctly, they stayed more casting oriented than melee oriented.  Although I could be worrying unduly, as I haven't seen this particular player play one.

I'll try to find that feat.  If I can, I'll probably go with the lockdown again.

Sobolev

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2010, 05:04:21 PM »

Oh, and if you dislike Spiked Chains (I do), ask your DM if you can use a poleweapon like a Guisarme, and spend a feat to allow you to attack inside the 5ft deadzone. The endcost is the same (a feat for improved reach), your benefit isn't greater, and you get variation in weapons.

There's a feat from Dragon Magazine that does this, though I think you take -2 on rolls inside the deadzone.  Shorten Grip?  Something like that.  I have no idea what issue (this is why I don't allow Dragon Magazine in my games >_>
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Quote from: Negative Zero on November 04, 2009, 02:16:14 AM
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Rooster

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2010, 06:35:22 PM »
Things to look at:
Crusader
Warforged Juggernaut (if you're Warforged)
Stalwart Defender (from Pathfinder)

And then from there the general idea is that enemies who are on their butt can't get to your squishies, because this isn't WoW and the threat table is possibly who paid the least for pizza this session.

So things worth looking at: The Fighter 20 "Gatling Chain Gun" Tripper build floating around, which was more of a proof of concept that a Fighter 20 is viable at end game and is a bit out of date, but gives overall an example of what you're looking at.

Early on, just focus on tripping people. If you can't trip them, hit them as hard as you can because you're still using a two handed weapon and hit for $TEXAS with a good STR score. Later on, you want to pick up feats that punish your enemies for breathing near you. Things like Mage Slayer (they can't cast defensively near you, so they have to move (which will probably provoke) or provoke and cast anyway), Occult Opportunist (makes swift action spells provoke, as well as things like Turn/Rebuke Undead), Stand Still (make them unable to move), the Thicket of Blades stance (even 5' steps now provoke), Robilar's Gambit (-4 AC but attacks on you provoke) and Defensive Sweep (not attacking you provokes, but is a L15+ feat) and suddenly... I hope you see the picture this is painting. Your threatened area becomes an excuse to execute trip attacks or straight damage against anything you can hit.

If you want some more... offensive options, I recommend looking at Fighter, using the Dungeoncrasher variant, (also of interest: Zhentarim and Exoticist fighter, these are all compatible since they change different levels), a bit of Barbarian for Lion Totem (for pouncing charges).

Also of interest, go find the Fear Handbook. For any dashing fellow who likes being up in some monster's face, throwing down some fear status makes them that much easier to control and defeat.

(I'm being lazy, many of these things are findable on Google. If you can't find where something is, I can point you there.)

Endarire

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2010, 08:15:00 PM »
Human Druid5 with maxed WIS and high CON will do you fine.  You're probably low on AC, but you have lotsa HP and buffs and utility spells and summoning and blasting and control.  And an animal companion.
Hood - My first answer to all your build questions; past, present, and future.

Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

raith0

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2010, 09:32:38 PM »
Actually this type of complaint is something ive gotten from the two new players i have been teaching DnD to.  and i think its something that the community has gotten away from.  mostly due to the fact that we have been playing for so long i think we tend to think that people are still coming to the game new.


if you are looking for a tank build heres a gish style tank that i always enjoy playing.(note to the cha-ops its not a great gish build but tanks well.
Dwarf
Fighter 6/Suel Arcanamach 5 / Runesmith 2/  Abjurant Champion 5 / Suel Arcanamach 2

your first 6 levels will be as a fighter,  and you can go one of a couple of ways with this
my personal favorite is to take Exotic Armor Prof - Battleplate and a Dwarven Waraxe or maul as my weapon. 
you need to focus on cha a bit for casting and it can be a bit hard with low point buy systems.  but you only need a 15 with an item to cast all 5th level spells of the arcanamach.

Focus on spells that buff your con score and AC in variouse ways and pump your con as high as you can.  your to hit should be okay from a decent strength and High BAB.

rune smith garuntees you are abel to cast in battle plate armor. 

at lower levels you want to hit things hard and use your heavy armor as your protection.  if you can pick up things like rings of protection or enhancement onto your battle plate all the better. 


hope this helps

qwvb

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2010, 11:29:09 PM »
Stomguard Crusader by DaveTheMagicWeasel is sweet at level 5 and sweeter at higher level! Have a look! (It's the second build on that post.)

Cavnar

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2010, 05:17:01 AM »
Work sucks.

Anyway, the more I look at this stuff, the more I yearn for 2nd edition, when it wasn't such a numbers game.  I'm beginning to think that the reason my previous characters were running into problems was because I wasn't playing it as a numbers game.  So I started looking at the original straight fighter lock build.  I then tried to figure out how to get into Thicket of Blades and such sooner.  I like the idea of getting all of the fighter feats, but I don't like the idea of waiting until 10th level for thicket.  So at 4th and 5th, I was going to take crusader levels.  That will give me a 3.5 initiator level.  I'm going through the feats required for the lockdown, and the primary ones seem to be Extended Weapon Specialization for the chain, Combat Reflexes, Stand Still, Thicket of Blades and then the other feats to add things like swift spells, spell-like abilities, etc.  I can take EWP and stand-still, and combat reflexes right off the bat if I'm human.  Weapon Focus at 2nd, and Weapon Specialization and Precise Swing at 6 (Fighter 4).  Is there a reason not to go this path other than taking the fighter specialization feats later?  Also, what do you think about taking a level of bard at 3?  I would be trading +1 bab for +1 will, +1 reflex, and it would push the fighter feats down a level.

dna1

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Re: Need tank build help
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2010, 05:34:13 AM »
here is a link to a good fighter 6 build.(not mine)

http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=2926.msg92182#msg92182

theres actually afew really good low level builds there
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