Last week I asked readers for advice on building a tank, and boy did I get some. 22 comments full of advice, often quite lengthy. At the risk of unfairly minimizing some of the thought that went into all of that advice, I’m going to summarize it here in bullet points:
- Tower shield
- Combat Expertise
- Strength, Constitution, and Charisma. Toughness and Shield Mastery.
- Keep armor class at (level * 5) and Fortification over 100%
- Intimidate and Incite
- Invulnerability and Blur
- Dodge, Blur (again) and Fortification (again)
- Auction house and crafting for gear acquisition
- Charisma (again), Blur (again), Dodge (again)
- Energy Resistances. Upgrading Armor regularly
- Paladin levels, including Sacred Defender
- Dodge (again), Healing amp, generating threat
- Proficiency feats to match equipment. Go Dwarf (ewwww)
Clearly, Dodge and Blur are important! As are many other factors. Very many factors.
And so, one Ottos Box-based Stone of Experience later, my budding tank-to-be (tank seed? Tanklette?) Mawry Haversack has blossomed to level 18 where it is time to be a tank in earnest. Anyone can dabble in tankery at level 5 but now we are approaching Shavarath and it is time to get serious.
Let’s review her basics:
STR 18/26 DEX 12/22 CON 16/30 INT 10/12 CHA 16/26
She has eight Fighter levels and ten Paladin levels. She chose her feats and enhancements from the recommendations made by you all whenever it was possible to do so.
Extra Action Boost
Strike With No Thought
Kensei Focus Light Blades
Weapon Specialization: Piercing Weapons
Most of the stuff in that crowd-sourced bullet point list were items. Gear. Tanking is clearly gear-intensive. The Stone of XP took her to Rank 91, so she will only be tanking in this life for about 500K XP. But still, that is a half-million XP, plus she has a fighter life yet to come. This effort is not a waste.
Time to get some gear.
Fortunately I have a crafter, and I have a hagglebot (actually they are the same character) so I have plat for auction items and skills to make custom-built ones. Also, I’ve been playing awhile and will be able to insert the odd named item. And Turbine kicked in too, using a Stone of XP provides an unusual assortment of higher-level “starter” equipment, some of which might make the final gear list.
All I am trying to do is check off as many of the bullet-points that you all provided as possible. How did we do?
- Greensteel Goggles (hit points)
- Crafted +5 Mountain Plate (deathblock, natural armor)
- Ethereal bracers (+1 insght bonus to AC and saves, two augment slots)
- Ring of the Ancients (protection, fortification, one augment slot)
- Gyroscopic Boots of Striding (striding, balance)
- Tinkers Gloves (dexterity, exceptional seeker)
- Belt of Brute Strength (strength, hit points/GFL)
- starter Cape of the Roc (feather fall, one augment slot)
- Voice of the Master with +1 eldritch resistance ritual
- Crafted necklace (constitution)
- Crafted hat (dodge)
- +5 Crafted Mountain shield (seeker, one blue augment slot)
And in the augment slots:
I still have an open Ring slot and an empty Green augment slot which I intend to fill with Intimidation and/or Blur but haven’t found the right item yet.
This is not an optimal list. it is a decent list, especially considering I threw it together on the fly, maybe even a usable list, but it is not an optimal list. Tanking is gear-intensive. I will say that again for emphasis: tanking is gear-intensive! The difference between the best kit loadout and one that is good enough is very significant. Very.
However, acquiring the best kit loadout is also very time-consuming, and Mawry is going to TR in five ranks.
And the final numbers, including her Mineral II Greensteel Rapier of Heightened Awareness 4:
HP: 513 AC: 79 Dodge: 3% PRR: 74 Block DR: 23 Defense: 64%
Fort: 40 Reflex: 28 Will: 28
BAB: 18 DblStrike: 9% Fortify: 109%
Not bad, but good enough? Only one way to tell.
And so Mawry the Crowd-Sourced Commando Tank found herself in the Vale, alone. She has four Lay on Hands, one Bottomless Flask of Rum, one Unyielding Sovereignty and many Cure potions. Not enough to keep her up in a fight but enough to top off between fights.
Except, strangely, she never needed to. She cleared the entire Vale – all of it, including several named encounters, all without ever dropping below half her total hit points. Most fights she took no noticeable damage at all. None.
If you are reading this after 9am EST you should see a video of the crowd-sourced tank in action
The Vale is not a great test, some of the critters there are only CR15, but it is the best test I can think of at the moment. And Mawry destroyed it. Crushed.
Thank you crowd-sourcing comment providers! Excellent advice indeed.