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5E Porting in the 4.5E Defender Aura power

Lucas Yew

I can't find a more elegant solution than this ability in 4E that best emulates the modern RPG concept of "Tank" character, so I would like suggestions on how to achieve this. Is it actually viable when ported word to word as a 1st level frontliner class' shared ability?

Or better yet, is it already ported somehow? As I don't own player option books other than the Core 3 books, I have no idea...

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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Can you share the wording? I had the D&D Insider subscription service instead of the physical books, so I don't have a reference to it anymore.

The two questions seems to be if it works mechanically with the ruleset changes, and if it fits the 5e design paradigm - the types of abilities that 5e gives out that fit into the cohesive whole. 4e had a strong defender concept that you expected to be mechanically present in every party in one form or another. 5e has stepped away from a lot of the Defender type options in the PHB, and has only reintroduced them at a much lower level in some of the additional books, primarily the Fighter (Cavalier) and Barbarian (Ancestor) from XGtE.

You mentioned you don't have the other books. To give an idea, the Cavalier can mark only with a hit (but can split attacks to mark more than one), imposes disadvantage on attacks on others as long as the foe stays within 5', and STR times per day can do an extra attack as a bonus action on your next turn (with advantage and bonus damage) when the mark is ignored.

The Barbarian (Ancestor) marks only with their first hit of the round, but doesn't have the limitation that the foe needs to stay within 5'. If the marked attacks someone else they have Disadvantage and the target of their attack has Resistance.

So the highest power level for 5e marking is with successful hits, and limited amount of retaliation attacks per day that don't go off until later. Where does the Defender Aura fit into that?


A very OK person
Here’s a variant rule from the 5E DMG:
This option makes it easier for melee combatants to
harry each other with opportunity attacks.
When a creature makes a melee attack, it can also
mark its target. Until the end of the attacker's next turn, any opportunity attack it makes against the marked target has advantage. The opportunity attack doesn't expend the attacker's reaction, but the attacker can't make the attack if anything, such as the incapacitated condition or the shocking grasp spell, is preventing it from taking reactions. The attacker is limited to one opportunity attack per turn.

You can add a penalty to the target’s attacks against any creature other than the attacker if you want. That’ll be pretty tanky.

I might substitute this whole scheme for the protector fighting style in the PH.


Jewel of the North
It comes with 2 parts: the Defender Aura and a class-specific power that punish enemies not respecting your aura:
Defender Aura
You work to occupy nearby foes using a combination of fighting skill and clever tactics to keep them distracted. At-Will - Aura Minor Action
Effect: You activate an aura 1 that lasts until you end it as a minor action or until you fall unconscious. While in the aura, any enemy takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls when it makes an attack that does not include among its targets either you or an ally of yours who has this aura active. Marked enemies are not subject to this aura.

Battle Guardian
Ignoring you in battle leaves a foe open to a devastating assault.
At-Will - Opportunity Action
Trigger: An enemy subject to your defender aura either shifts or makes an attack that targets an ally of yours but not you or an ally who has an active defender aura.
Effect: You make a melee basic attack against the triggering enemy. If the attack misses, the enemy still takes damage equal to your Strength modifier.

So, in 5e, that would be something like this:
Defender Aura
As a bonus action, you take a stance that distract and taunt nearby enemies. The aura ends when you fall unconscious or end it with a bonus action. Enemies of your choice within 5' of you have Disadvantage when making an attack that doesnt not include you. Once per round, when an enemy within your aura disengage, makes an attack roll or provoke a saving throw against a creature other than you, you can make a single attack against it as a free action, adding half-your level to the damage roll. On a missed attack roll, the enemy take half damage.
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While it does not call it that The Ancestral Guardian Barbarian subclass has a marking mechanic. While raging the last enemy you hit on your turn has disadvantage to attacks versus everyone who is not you. Even if they hit one of your allies despite that your ally has resistance to their attacks. They also have a reaction that reduces the damage an ally takes from an attack.

I am currently playing Mountain Dwarf Ancestral Guardian in a home game. Ragna, Son of Mountain feels extremely tanky given extremely high hit points, resistance to all physical damage, a fairly high AC, and the marking mechanic. The Brute Fighter in our game is extremely happy to have Ragna around.

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