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5E 4th level Bladesinger with same AC as Tarrasque

The blade singer is an excellent class.
However it is not a full fledge fighter. You should consider it a full fledged mage with the ability to fight in melee if push comes to shove. One on one while the martial characters dispatches their own enemies, the bladesinger will be able to hold his own quite advantageously. The bladesinger will be better off casting blur and keep its spells for better occasions.

The goal of the bladesinger is the same as any other wizards. Its specialization allows the class to defend itself in melee instead of a more traditional approach such as divinations, aberrations, necromancy or any other school focus (and you can include war mage in here too). It does not make the mage an all mighty fighter. If you want such a class, take the Eldritch Knight, you'll be better served.

The fact that the bladesinger can fight in melee should be a surprise for the monsters/enemies as normally the bladesinger will be like any mages blasting with spells and cantrip from the relative safety of the back row of the characters' formation.

It should only be when a creature gets into melee with the bladesinger that the "bladesinging" effect should come into play. I know that bladesingers I have had so farbplayed this way and monsters were always in for a nasty surprise when the weak wizard was cutting down one of their own with a sword. It was often enough for me to roll a "moral check" as to not flee from this strange fight. (Yes, I do make morale checks based on circumstances and enemy types, old habits die hard).

It is only when the bladesinger thinks of itself as a great fighter that it gets into deep sh*t. Otherwise the class is surprisingly well balanced.
 

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Al'Kelhar

Adventurer
My warforged tempest cleric w. one level of sorcerer (and hence the shield spell) has been rocking AC 25 since about 2nd level. When he is hit, it's usually a crit. And the bad guys usually target him with spells that require saves instead of attack rolls. Funny about that.

Don't sweat it. The PC will fall over just as often as everyone else without too much effort on the part on the DM.

Cheers, Al'kelhar
 

imagicnation

Archmage
You have presented some valid points, and I am already using the majority of them, but -in our case- they aren't quite as helpful as you'd think for a few reasons...
  1. I'm running a very complex published campaign and thus I'm actually trying to shorten the time I spent preparing. Having to tailor the encounters to the bladesinger's AC is exactly what I'm trying to avoid.
  2. Combat rarely occurs more than once or twice a day, so his resources are -most of the time- adequate to effectively rock that AC. It sits at 20 without the shield, but when someone attacks him and (almost 95% of the time) misses, next turn they will usually opt to attack someone else - wouldn't you? So with the use of a 1st level spell, he is practically avoiding confrontation for the whole combat quite often.
  3. I know he will not be as effective a "fighter" later on, but currently he is the hardest to hit, does the most consistent damage (using SCAG cantrips) and (being a wizard) has the most utility - should he chose to play that role instead, or even additionally(!) - since most days he will go to rest with spells to spare.
Bottom line he is currently overshadowing the rest, who feel underachieving. [Again, I know this won't be the case in a few levels, but for now he seems godlike.]

Nevertheless, thanks for your insights!

PS. Fortunatelly he is not using Blur (yet), just a mirror image every now and then ;p
 

ChaosOS

Hero
Supporter
What published campaign? What's the rest of the party? Of course a long rest class being able to go nova on the one fight a day is going to outshine a party of fighter, monk, and a warlock who are all short-rest oriented classes. Does the wizard never have to use a utility spell either?

Some other points though - spells have visible effects. When the Wizard casts shield, that's a visible protective barrier that then clearly goes down. By 4th level almost every enemy should have multiattack, which means they can throw one attack at the wizard to expend a shield then divert the rest to easier targets. This, in conjunction with multiple enemies or things that force a save, should be pretty effective. If the fights only feature a single enemy with one big attack per round... then either the campaign sucks or you're misreading it and I'm sorry.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I'm running a very complex published campaign
Combat rarely occurs more than once or twice a day
Those are really the problems IMO. Changing the adventure is often required IME by adding more encounters, changing rest rules, or other things. If you have a group of experienced or clever players, published adventures usually aren't geared for that--more for a "basic" style of play and PCs.

Anyway, different builds often do shine at different levels of play and lose the spotlight later on--that happens a lot IME.

Another thing is to force him to make saves or hit the party with area spells. These are things AC won't help on.

Finally, I would impress on your group this isn't a competition. If the bladesinger is rocking it, cheer him on! Go Bladie, go!!! :)
 

FrozenNorth

Adventurer
There are also quite a few low-int monsters that have a grapple attack that would make life difficult for the bladesinger.

Perhaps if we knew which module you were playing we would be able to provide more specific suggestions. For instance, monsters with grapple attacks + ambushes would be great for OotA, while attacks that target weaknesses would be more appropriate for CoS (Strahd would definitely toss out a Web against the bladesinger).

I second the suggestion that if you run a module, it is important to take measures against the 5 MWD. As someone who also uses modules, I use a couple of tricks to keep the characters moving:
  • I use a d12 to track the passage of time. The visual passage of time is a “soft” incentive not to take a long rest at 10 AM.
  • Random monster tables. The tables themselves take a little time to set up, but once they are set up, they are quick to implement. Once an hour (or whenever forward momentum ceases), I roll 1d20. On a 14+, a random encounter takes place.
  • Ambushes. Ambushes during the night, predators hiding and ambushing creatures in their lair. The world is supposed to be dangerous. Let the players feel this.
  • A living world, even in a module. If a party enters your dungeon, and leaves to take a long rest, they may return to find the dungeon empty and the treasure gone. When this is not possible, dungeon inhabitants will take countermeasures: makeshift traps, creatures on high alert, fewer encounters with more monsters.
 

DnD Warlord

Explorer
1st. Have fights with small (not sized) monsters with +6 or +7 to hit be the norm

2nd have BIG (again not size) threats walk around with +8 or +9 to hit

3rd if you can’t hit 1 target focus on targets with less AC
 

  1. Combat rarely occurs more than once or twice a day, so his resources are -most of the time- adequate to effectively rock that AC. It sits at 20 without the shield, but when someone attacks him and (almost 95% of the time) misses, next turn they will usually opt to attack someone else - wouldn't you? So with the use of a 1st level spell, he is practically avoiding confrontation for the whole combat quite often.

There is your problem.

Why is that happening in your campaign? Why are you allowing this to happen without implementing variant resting rules?

The game is balanced around 6 combats per long rest, and 2 short rests over that time (roughly 2 encounters per short rest, and roughly 2 short rests per long rest).

Implement the Gritty realism rest variant. That will fix your problems (and all the other problems you're going to face in your campaign with resource management).
 

@dnd4vr, @FrozenNorth and @Flamestrike are absolutely right. Your problem with the bladesinger is exactly countered by one of their solution, a combination of two or three of them or all of them put together.

My guess is that it would not only be the bladesinger that would give you troubles. Any class with a high AC and spells to boost that AC will make you cringe. Wait for a Pally to start nova(ing) with seemingly endless fights. And there are others classes that starts to shine around level 5-6 that if allowed only a fight or two per day... You saw your problem, now you have to take steps to correct it. Time to learn to prep ahead of time my friend.
 

Saelorn

Hero
So I have a 4th level bladesinger in my game who essentially has the same AC as Tarrasque...

10 + 3 (from 16 DEX) + 4 (from 18 INT) + 3 (from Mage Armor) +5 (from Shield) = 25

So he essentially can only be hit with crits... how would you deal with this??
Here's my three step plan for dealing with this situation:
  1. Don't allow the Bladesinger, which is notorious for being broken in low-encounter campaigns. Ask the player if they wouldn't mind re-building the character as an Eldritch Knight or something.
  2. Assuming it's too late for that, just go with it. Nothing breaks in the game if you just have one character with an un-hittable AC. It would take a very accommodating foe to attack someone they can't hit, when there are so many better targets available; and the one thing a Bladesinger can't do is heal anyone else.
  3. Raise the Tarrasque's AC by +4.
 

Con save spells and grapple. If he's a Bladesinger I assume he's dex based. Can't swing a sword or cast a fireball if he has to spend all his turns and spell slots getting out of someone grabbing him.
 

The biggest issue is not having enough encounters (even skill challenges) in a day. Which campaign are you running? They are usually generous with encounters, and having so few piques my interest.

What are the other classes in the party? This might be a Nova Class vs Short Rest Class issue, where just being any kind of nova capable character is disruptive.

I don't think this is a Bladesinger issue, since almost any class can temporarily hit that much AC (or higher) by level 4. A bog standard EK can hit 26 at level 3.
 
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Al'Kelhar

Adventurer
OP: I have this problem, can anyone help me?
Group Mind: Here are some solutions.
OP: I can't use those solutions because I won't change anything about the 3P campaign, my session prep or my DM'ing, to address this problem.
Group Mind: ....

Well, good luck, then.

Cheers, Al'Kelhar
 

Quickleaf

Legend
So I have a 4th level bladesinger in my game who essentially has the same AC as Tarrasque...

10 + 3 (from 16 DEX) + 4 (from 18 INT) + 3 (from Mage Armor) +5 (from Shield) = 25

So he essentially can only be hit with crits... how would you deal with this??

  • Target saving throws instead of AC.
  • Present more encounters and/or more threatening encounters to exhaust the PC's spell slots for shield.
  • Use higher CR monsters with higher attack bonuses. For instance, I pitted a party of four 5th-level PCs against a CR 12 titanoboa (Tome of Beasts) and they just managed to emerge victorious.
  • Have monsters Help one another (or otherwise gain advantage) and/or cast bless or other spells to buff themselves.
  • Have monsters debuff the PCs with spells like bane or special abilities. You can even use counterspell or dispel magic sparingly to breach mage armor / shield.
  • Present environments where magic doesn't work as normal, underwater environs where verbal components may not be possible, PCs being undercover as guards in heavy armor (limiting Dex bonus), etc.
  • Create encounter objectives beyond "kill each other" so there are things for monsters to accomplish besides reducing the PCs to 0 hit points, and vice versa.
 

I had a similar problem with an eldritch knight. The solution was vhanging the rest system to suit my playstyle. It all boils down to how often can you use those limited resources.

On the other hand I (as a DM) remember our bladesinger from 3.x (she transitioned ftom. 0 to. 5 either shortly before or after the following encounter) very fondly.
In a prewritten adventure the party (5 or 6 level 5 characters) had to deal with a cave inhabited by 25 trolls.
In the deciding fight vs 13 trolls or so she was standing tall, with shield, expertise, 20 dex and bracers of AC 17 and boots of speed. She boasted an AC of at least 30. She could only be hit by a critical hit.
So she stood in the front at a chokepoint created by battle control spells while the multishot archer boosted by flaming arrows and the bard killed one troll after each other.

She only received 2 critical hits... On the same turn so she also was hit by the rend attack dropping her from full hp to 3 hp.

I think those fights can be memorable. DnD used to be fight for life back then, not fight for fun. (For the characters of course... For the players it should always be fun.) having that in mind you can enjoy it as a DM if such an epic fight occurs. I do.
 

In a prewritten adventure the party (5 or 6 level 5 characters) had to deal with a cave inhabited by 25 trolls.
In the deciding fight vs 13 trolls or so she was standing tall, with shield, expertise, 20 dex and bracers of AC 17 and boots of speed. She boasted an AC of at least 30. She could only be hit by a critical hit.

That would have likely gone down differently in my 3E games.

The Trolls had a +14 Grapple bonus, and are at +9 to hit with Melee touch attacks vs the Bladesingers Touch AC (no bracers or shield) of 18 (2 attacks each) to initiate the Grapple.

Once grappled, the Elf loses his Dex bonus to AC, and all Dodge bonuses (such as those granted by Expertise), reducing his AC to 21 versus the other 24 Trolls.

They then surround and maul him to death at +9 to hit with his d4 hit dice.

Seeing as the Elf almost certainly dumped Strength, they're now in a world of hurt, and likely pinned in the following round (reducing their AC by a further 4).

Bullrush (+10 vs the Elfs bonus of likely +0) is also an option.

More than one way to skin a cat.
 
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Iry

Hero
Honestly, I think your best solution is just better monster tactics. Help, bless, prone, grapple and drag, poison, stunned, and non-ac saving throws are your best friend here.

Improving this skill will reduce your prep time overall.
 


clearstream

Be just and fear not...
So I have a 4th level bladesinger in my game who essentially has the same AC as Tarrasque...

10 + 3 (from 16 DEX) + 4 (from 18 INT) + 3 (from Mage Armor) +5 (from Shield) = 25

So he essentially can only be hit with crits... how would you deal with this??
Blur becomes very efficient with those stats.
 

Blur becomes very efficient with those stats.

Also wastes a round the Wizard could be blowing things to pieces/ shutting the monsters down, ensuring the Monsters get one full extra rounds worth of actions doing things like hurting the party and the party wasting other resources on hurting them back.

Like I just dont see it with the BS. This party is what... 4th level? Presuming 5 x PCs, and looking at the 'Adventuring day' recommendations in the DMG, a 'standard' adventuring day budget for 5 x 4th level PCs is 8,500xp.

(Cold themed Rime of the Frostmaiden adventuring day):

1: Young Remoraz (1,800) - Medium
2: 2 Winter Wolves (1,400) (2,100 adjusted) - Hard
Short rest
3: 4 Orcs, Eye of Gruumsh, Orc War chief (1,950) (3,900 adjusted) - Deadly
Short rest
4: 1 Young white dragon (2,300) - Hard

7,450 base (10,000 adjusted) XP out of a 8,500 xp adventuring day budget so roughly par.

How is the Bladesinger breaking anything in that roughly par adventuring day?

And note, this doesnt have to happen all on the same game day. By simply implementing Gritty realism resting, an adventuring 'day' can take a month or more of in game time (any period of time between the week long, long rests).
 

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