5e Capping AC and to hit

S'mon

Legend
After a few years running 5e at high level I think AC needs to be capped at 30, equivalent to -10 which was an official cap in some pre-3e editions. Looking at to-hit, a cap is less vital but I have decided to cap at +20 so that AC 30 is always a good defence. It is a lot easier to get AC into the 30s than to-hit over +20 though. My son's bbn-20 currently has AC 27 and attacks at +18. If he had levels in wizard he could make that 32 with Shield, 34 with Haste etc.

I was wondering if anyone else has done this? Am I the only one with a bunch of level 20 PCs? :)
 

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the Jester

Legend
How do you get AC 27 and +18 to hit?

For the attack bonus, +6 prof +6 str +3 magic weapon... I'm not sure where the other +3 is coming from.

For the AC... +5 from Dex, +5 Con, maybe +5 from a +3 shield...? Where's the other +2 from?

Not saying it isn't possible, I'm just curious.

But to answer the question in the OP, no, I haven't limited any of the numbers like you suggest, but I haven't seen them jacked up like you are having. The 20th level character in my game (only one so far) has an AC around 18 or 20, and the 19th level paladin is AC 17 and around +11 to hit. Even if I were to see numbers like you do, at extreme high levels, I'm okay with that. Let epic pcs be epic, that's what I say.
 

Teulisch

First Post
barbarian 20? +4 str/con capstone. lets see... 24 con (+7) 20 dex (+5), +3 shield (+5) is AC 27. you could go higher with a ring of protection, and/or a cloak. or an ioun stone of protection. an AC 30 is possible, but thats 3 attunement items.

to hit... str 24 is +7, proficiency is +6, and the weapon is probably +3, but thats only +16. a belt of storm giant strength would give a +9 however, and that would do it.

by comparison a defense-style fighter in +3 full plate with +3 shield is also AC 27.
 

Oofta

Legend
So something like Plate +3 (+21), Shield +3 (+5), Ring of Protection +3, Defensive Style +1? Throw in some magic item I'm probably missing and a Shield Spell for +5, or a cloak of displacement and yeah, it's a little nuts.

I'm sure there are other ways to get there. Attunement limits things a little bit, but perhaps not enough.

My solution? Limit what magic items are for sale or house rule that anything that adds more than a +1 bonus to AC requires attunement. The alternative of course is to just up the attack bonus for the bad guys or give them advantage. Use attacks that target things other than AC.

Ultimately the question is: are the people at the table having fun or are they bored? If the former, it can be a little frustrating, if it's the latter I can see why you want to change things.
 

Might be obvious to most, but worth mentioning that a nat 20 will always hit regardless of AC or to hit. High level monsters with multi-attack and perhaps advantage are going to crit at some point. If not, try some different dice. :)

Piggybacking on [MENTION=6801845]Oofta[/MENTION]'s point: High AC characters can be challenged by spells or other monster attack abilities that require saves. No character is going to have proficiency in every save, so choose certain monsters for some encounters accordingly.

Also, I agree with this sentiment:

Even if I were to see numbers like you do, at extreme high levels, I'm okay with that. Let epic pcs be epic, that's what I say.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
After a few years running 5e at high level I think AC needs to be capped at 30

Why? Are you starting from the premise that a max-level character should be virtually unhittable, or are you seeing level 20 characters getting chewed up more than you think they should?

If the former, how do you square that with bounded accuracy?

If the latter, what are these level 20 characters fighting that are roughing them up so much?

ETA: Or am I reading this backwards, and you think AC levels for max-level PCs are too high?
 

imo, problem solved by not giving out +3 magic items. Unless of course you give your NPC the same types of items. Then they become really common...
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So something like Plate +3 (+21), Shield +3 (+5), Ring of Protection +3, Defensive Style +1? Throw in some magic item I'm probably missing and a Shield Spell for +5, or a cloak of displacement and yeah, it's a little nuts.

... there are no rings of protection +3 in 5e, right? I think that it's +1 and that is it.
 


Oofta

Legend
... there are no rings of protection +3 in 5e, right? I think that it's +1 and that is it.

D'oh! You're right. Hmm, then I do have a problem getting to a 30 AC without multiple attunement items or spells.

If spells are an issue than I'd recommend 5-10 fights between long rests, even if that means implementing the alternative rest rules.
 

I

Immortal Sun

Guest
I'm not sure what the problem is. Level 20 is the end of the progression chart. You're complaining that characters who've reached max level are kicking butt a little too much? I don't get it.

Want a neat trick? Throw class levels on an ancient dragon. Ideal choices are Barbarian (lots of fun FYI), Cleric, Wizard/Sorcerer or Paladin (evil paladin for extra fun times), Monk is also a good choice (the Open Hand one at least). Bard dragons are just silly.

You've not seen a battle until the dragon with a magic sword slays a hero.
 

I think there is no harm of capping AC to 30 and attack bonus to 20. All it prevents is softening the effect of generous magic item distribution maybe combined with powergaming. In that case a cap makes sense.
The barbarian could cast shield if he took magic initiate... but not while raging so it should also be a rare occurence.
The eldritch knight in +3 plate and +3 shield might be the one breaking AC30 on a regular base, but it requires 2 +3 items.
 
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GreyLord

Legend
High Level play allows multiple epic boons and other things that can greatly affect to hit and AC. Combine that with multiple spells, potions, magic items and other things that can be tossed in and eventually you can hit far higher than what most people imagine.
 

Oofta

Legend
Possibly.

We've gotten a couple of groups up to 20 now, but it does take a committed group. But while we had some AC's that could bounce up to the mid-to-upper 20s, I don't recall 30.

Then again, we're pretty stingy with armor higher than a +1.
 

S'mon

Legend
How do you get AC 27 and +18 to hit?

For the attack bonus, +6 prof +6 str +3 magic weapon... I'm not sure where the other +3 is coming from.

For the AC... +5 from Dex, +5 Con, maybe +5 from a +3 shield...? Where's the other +2 from?

Not saying it isn't possible, I'm just curious.

But to answer the question in the OP, no, I haven't limited any of the numbers like you suggest, but I haven't seen them jacked up like you are having. The 20th level character in my game (only one so far) has an AC around 18 or 20, and the 19th level paladin is AC 17 and around +11 to hit. Even if I were to see numbers like you do, at extreme high levels, I'm okay with that. Let epic pcs be epic, that's what I say.

EPIC PC :)
Str 30 +10 prof +6 +2 weapon = +18
10 + CON 28 +9 Dex 19 +4 +3 shield +5 = 28

Sorry I was 1 out :)
 

S'mon

Legend
barbarian 20? +4 str/con capstone. lets see... 24 con (+7) 20 dex (+5), +3 shield (+5) is AC 27. you could go higher with a ring of protection, and/or a cloak. or an ioun stone of protection. an AC 30 is possible, but thats 3 attunement items.

to hit... str 24 is +7, proficiency is +6, and the weapon is probably +3, but thats only +16. a belt of storm giant strength would give a +9 however, and that would do it.

by comparison a defense-style fighter in +3 full plate with +3 shield is also AC 27.

Yeah even without epic boons +19 to hit is doable. And AC in the 30s very doable which is more of a concern.
 

Oofta

Legend
EPIC PC :)
Str 30 +10 prof +6 +2 weapon = +18
10 + CON 28 +9 Dex 19 +4 +3 shield +5 = 28

Sorry I was 1 out :)

Well, sky high stats will give you sky high numbers. I'm not even going to guess how someone got a 30 strength (even belts cap out at 29) or a con 28.

Which is fine. But my recommendation would be that if you play a gonzo game, expect gonzo results and adjust monsters accordingly. You also may have been making some wrong assumptions given the basis of 5E.

Not that anything you've done is wrong, it's just that it seems to me like you've kind of broken the game without adjusting the other side of the equation.
 

S'mon

Legend
D'oh! You're right. Hmm, then I do have a problem getting to a 30 AC without multiple attunement items or spells.

If spells are an issue than I'd recommend 5-10 fights between long rests, even if that means implementing the alternative rest rules.

I do use 1 week long rests which helps with number of encounters. But level 20 characters have a ton of spell slots. It is very easy to make a level 20 pc with AC in the 30s even before epic boons, while monster to hit caps out around +19. I don't mind pcs min maxing for AC but I think a tarrasque should still have a chance to hit them. :)
 

S'mon

Legend
High Level play allows multiple epic boons and other things that can greatly affect to hit and AC. Combine that with multiple spells, potions, magic items and other things that can be tossed in and eventually you can hit far higher than what most people imagine.

Yup this is a high magic epic level 5e game set on Golarion, where ancient blue dragons are playthings of the Runelords.
 

S'mon

Legend
Well, sky high stats will give you sky high numbers. I'm not even going to guess how someone got a 30 strength (even belts cap out at 29) or a con 28.

Which is fine. But my recommendation would be that if you play a gonzo game, expect gonzo results and adjust monsters accordingly. You also may have been making some wrong assumptions given the basis of 5E.

Not that anything you've done is wrong, it's just that it seems to me like you've kind of broken the game without adjusting the other side of the equation.

Just been using the standard DMG epic progression rules, tuned it down a little. Instead of 30 in all stats per DMG I cap at 30-28-26-24-22-20.
 

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