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5E Show me how to build a defender....

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
For reactions it has both Protection fighting style, and Cutting words.

While it's not your turn, look for an attack to be the target of Protection fighting style, or Cutting words.
The one for range and the other for adjacent OK seeing how that works

The use of ones reaction on opportunity attacks is less the Warlords schtick than the fighters so its less of a problem for them that Protection fighting style uses it.
 
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GlassJaw

Explorer
Could you elaborate a Halfling who just wants to keep his friends safe sounds familiar
Well as others as illustrating, it's difficult to build the traditional MMO tank/defender role in 5E. There isn't a simple "grab aggro" mechanic. But another way to be a "defender" is make a character that can soak a ton of damage, incredibly difficult to kill, and can offer some control to the battlefield. The halfling sword & board barbarian is one of those characters:

AC: It's not too hard for a Stout halfling to get to 16 Dex and Con. With a shield, that gives you AC 18 early on.

Hp: d12 Hit Dice, and with Bear Totem you take half damage against everything except psychic damage.

Saves: This is where it gets nutty. Danger Sense gives you advantage against any effects you can see. Halflings have advantage against fear and poison. Plus halflings reroll 1's. Plus, if you make a Dex save, you take no damage because of Shield Master. And if you do fail, you take a quarter damage because of Bear Totem.

For icing on the cake, Shield Master also lets you knock enemies prone every turn and you can make through enemy spaces as a halfling.

So basically you have a ton of hit points, take half (or no) damage almost much all the time, have advantage on a ton of saves, and can move around the battlefield with ease. One of the most fun characters I've ever played. I played him with reckless abandon. I would run through the battlefield and engage the most dangerous opponent or enemy spellcaster. I would "defend" my party by being the most obnoxious combatant on the battlefield. Also makes for a fantastic scout, chest and door opener,

You do trade some damage output but it's still decent once you get your Str to 16 and Extra Attack. Oh, just watch out for spells like Suggestion.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Well as others as illustrating, it's difficult to build the traditional MMO tank/defender role in 5E. There isn't a simple "grab aggro" mechanic. But another way to be a "defender" is make a character that can soak a ton of damage, incredibly difficult to kill, and can offer some control to the battlefield.
Here is a lesson in playing a defender if you are too hard to hit and ultimate on saving throws ie defenses it is a very good way NOT to be an effective defender in 4e because the DM will have next to no reason for monsters to attack you because the DM is almost always the difference between you being attacked and not. Although occasionally a defender will have a nice trick that suckers the monsters directly in its often more about movement whereas it's temptation of the monsters by way of the dm is where the "who do you attack" choice works on. (that battlefield control is used to make you also the convenient target by keeping enemies closer being super mobile is still
some but less value)

In general some of my best 4e fighter moves for tempting the dm/monsters into attack actually involves giving bad guys advantage on their attacks against him in order to make a somewhat stronger attack. The fighter gets aggro as you put it by making himself a better target and his allies worse targets....
 
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dnd4vr

Explorer
Danger Sense gives you advantage against any effects you can see.
A quick clarification: Danger Sense only gives you advantage on Dexterity saving throws for traps and spell that you can see. It wouldn't help, for instance, against poison damage that requires a Constitution save.

Just in case what you wrote might be misleading for others.
 
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Flamestrike

Registered User
Well as others as illustrating, it's difficult to build the traditional MMO tank/defender role in 5E. There isn't a simple "grab aggro" mechanic.

  • The Goading attack maneuver (BM) imposes disadvantage on creatures attacks against anyone other than you.
  • The Compelled Duel spell (Pal 1) does the same.
  • Cavalier Fighters get 'marks' that do the same (and trigger a free attack if the ignore).
  • The Sentinel feat gives you an AoO if they swing at someone other than you.
  • Swashbuckler Panache also imposes disadvantage on creatures attacks against anyone other than you and stops them from making AoO against anyone else.
  • Ancestor Barbarian imposes disadvantage on attacks against anyone other than you.
  • The Crown Paladin gets 'Champion Challenge' divine channel that locks creatures down inside 30' of you.

There are probably more abilities; but these are the ones off the top of my head. But that covers Fighters, Barbarians, a Rogue subclass and Paladins, plus 2 abilities are gained by Feats (sentinel and martial adept).

In addition the above, there are 'soft' methods to draw attacks. A Barbarian recklessly attacking makes for an attractive target for example. Wolf Barbarians grant allies advantage (making them priority targets). That sort of thing.

Its not like 5E lacks 'draw agro' abilities. There are subclasses and feats and options to gain that ability if you want, and indeed (in the case of the Cavalier and Ancestor Barbarian) specialize at it.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Well as others as illustrating, it's difficult to build the traditional MMO tank/defender role in 5E. There isn't a simple "grab aggro" mechanic
That point first started getting made 15+ years ago, in 3e forums. The thing that's funny is MMOs came up with "aggro," because they were trying to implement the traditional D&D Fighter role, but didn't have unwritten DMing rules that most monsters just attacked the fighter, most of the time, especially if he made any pretense towards getting in the way.

I guess we could just figure 5e has a DM, and trust him not to have monsters walk by you just because they can. Or, maybe that was some age of innocence, and we can't go home again?
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
A few things not mentioned yet:

Swashbuckler gets a "taunt" type ability at level 9 (Panache). It is possible to build a high survivability rogue to take advantage of this. Sentinel is particularly good - who wants to risk an extra sneak attack?!

Path of the Ancients barbarian has abilities intended to draw attacks away from other party members. So does Totem, but not until level 14 (although many consider "reckless attack" a taunt type ability, at least against intelligent foes).

It's worth noting that the 4e Defender's Taunt is one of the primary reasons people felt that 4e owed too much to MMOs rather than earlier editions of D&D. Ironically, the reason MMOs like WoW added Taunt was because avatars had no physicality, and could not simply interpose themselves between enemies and allies, which was the expected tactic in earlier editions of D&D.

PS. Also worth mentioning the Mark of Sentinel dragonmark from the Eberron setting.
 
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GlassJaw

Explorer
Here is a lesson in playing a defender if you are too hard to hit and ultimate on saving throws ie defenses it is a very good way NOT to be an effective defender in 4e because the DM will have next to no reason for monsters to attack you because the DM is almost always the difference between you being attacked and not
I play D&D under the assumption that the opposition will be monsters and enemies, not the DM. If the DM changes the way the monsters are supposed to behave because of my character, I will have a conversation with the DM face-to-face.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
That point first started getting made 15+ years ago, in 3e forums. The thing that's funny is MMOs came up with "aggro," because they were trying to implement the traditional D&D Fighter role, but didn't have unwritten DMing rules that most monsters just attacked the fighter, most of the time, especially if he made any pretense towards getting in the way.

I guess we could just figure 5e has a DM, and trust him not to have monsters walk by you just because they can. Or, maybe that was some age of innocence, and we can't go home again?
Not sure if you are ranting against something or something in my post...? Because I 100% agree with you. I'm not advocating 5E needs a "grab aggro" mechanic.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I play D&D under the assumption that the opposition will be monsters and enemies, not the DM.
Your being very hard to hit is not some invisible property If they do not behave differently very quickly then the DM is roleplaying them very badly...

The guy who looks like he might be leaving openings but can take a lot of shots will be the target of choice the entire battle. Even though the DM knows you can soak the crap out of it.
That will take much longer for the monsters to notice

And your idea will make you a bad Defender who is just hard to kill.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
Your being very hard to hit is not some invisible property If they do not behave differently very quickly then the DM is roleplaying them very badly...
It depends on the nature of the enemy. Skeletons, golems and other unintelligent foes will keep flailing away however ineffectual their attacks are.

And if the guy who is very hard to hit is physically between the enemy and more vulnerable targets then even intelligent foes might have no choice but to try and go through them. This is the behaviour that MMOs couldn't emulate.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It depends on the nature of the enemy. Skeletons, golems and other unintelligent foes will keep flailing away however ineffectual their attacks are.
The exception proves the rule... they might also ignore your attacks and run past so they can get at the more brains behind you not because you are too tough but because more meat is back there.

And if the guy who is very hard to hit is physically between the enemy .
Yeh but if you can barely react to one enemy see 5e... watch the others run by to get at the squishy threat with glea. The doorway/choke 5' point solution can under a narrow circumstances enable actual defense.. 10 foot if you do not mind additional goblins after the first swarming your allly.

If that is what you "absolutely need" your ability to protect allies might be very poor. Even with a you cannot run through enemy space freely problem you have made it a "narrow" circumstance for you to be able to defend :)
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I'm fond of the Ancestral Guardian Barbarian from XGtE. You need to be raging and it's only the first hit per turn, but there's no limitations that the marked must stay close to you like the Cavalier - no matter where they move they have disadvantage against everyone else, and the target has resistance against their attacks if it does hit.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Doorways and chokepoints are pretty ubiquitous in dungeons.
We had tons of outdoor adventures back in the day I still do including many open arenas and battlefields whose only walls were trees ...heck I think dungeons were actually pretty nonsensical to many DMs.

5 foot door ways for the win I suppose or dead squishies because someone objects to enemies falling for false openings, tricks and taunting and intimidation effects.

Honestly I do not want stories we engage in to be limited in that way.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
  • The Goading attack maneuver (BM) imposes disadvantage on creatures attacks against anyone other than you.
  • The Compelled Duel spell (Pal 1) does the same.
  • Cavalier Fighters get 'marks' that do the same (and trigger a free attack if the ignore).
  • The Sentinel feat gives you an AoO if they swing at someone other than you.
  • Swashbuckler Panache also imposes disadvantage on creatures attacks against anyone other than you and stops them from making AoO against anyone else.
  • Ancestor Barbarian imposes disadvantage on attacks against anyone other than you.
  • The Crown Paladin gets 'Champion Challenge' divine channel that locks creatures down inside 30' of you.

There are probably more abilities; but these are the ones off the top of my head. But that covers Fighters, Barbarians, a Rogue subclass and Paladins, plus 2 abilities are gained by Feats (sentinel and martial adept).

In addition the above, there are 'soft' methods to draw attacks. A Barbarian recklessly attacking makes for an attractive target for example. Wolf Barbarians grant allies advantage (making them priority targets). That sort of thing.

Its not like 5E lacks 'draw agro' abilities. There are subclasses and feats and options to gain that ability if you want, and indeed (in the case of the Cavalier and Ancestor Barbarian) specialize at it.
Yes it certain seems to have some how many of what you mention above are in the Players Handbook vs Xanathars (which I had not investigated)

I think ones that require a reaction are pretty darn limited though.

And goading attack seems to have no impact on casters.
 
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TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I think well done homebrew is on the table
Mage Hand Press has a really nice Warden class that's probably the closest I've seen to fitting the 4e defender paradigm; unfortunately it's still limited to Patreon subscribers.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I'm fond of the Ancestral Guardian Barbarian from XGtE. You need to be raging and it's only the first hit per turn, but there's no limitations that he marked must stay close to you like the Cavalier - no matter where they move they have disadvantage against everyone else, and the target has resistance against their attacks if it does hit.
I kind of like that too it rather has the intimidation angle going on... You are distracting them because they think you might be coming back for more.
 
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