Author Topic: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)  (Read 12583 times)

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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I think the benchmarking misses the point
The only point of the benchmarking was to help elucidate the differences between a standard (fail) tank and a (successful) super-tank.
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If the idea was to look into homebrew, ... But, that doesn't seem to be the project.
Correct. I am hoping to mirror other outside-of-the-box thinking when building D&D tanks using only canon material.
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He totally avoids the DotA (I think?  Tell me if I'm wrong) approach that the OP takes in favor of what D&D gives you, which is usually some form of battlefield control.
Correct.
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I've found the Vampire Torc to be a great in combat healing item on the right, burst damage character.
So, limited use wraithful healing. Oddly D&D is very high-powered on the lifesteal % (50 is very high, 10% is standard/entry level in DotA)

DoTA tanks are very killable, you just have to know when and how to strike. And most people who enjoy those games know precisely that. That's not to say you won't frequently encounter newbies who don't know what they are doing when they attack a tank...
Yes, however supertanks are still tankier almost any standard tank even when all their abilities are on cooldown. LoD takes standard Dota and cranks it up to an 11
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laugh as they barely scratch your armor, when someone does manage to hit you however, you reduce the damage to a minimal amount and just heal it up over the next few rounds as you continue to laugh
counterproductive for a supertank. If enemies don't hurt you, they'll rethink their attacks. If they do hurt you (but you know you can take it), they won't.
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while it's possible to make a "tank" in D&D in the sense that they can survive massive armies unscathed, it's not really feasible to make one who can redirect the enemies attention to themselves and away from their squishier allies.
Ah, but we are interested in super tanks. And super-tanks take damage.
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if you put an unopened clam in front of someone who's hungry and a bowl of fruit next to it, they will go for the fruit first without even a moment's thought. The same mentality applies to combat, if you have a walking fortress and a squishy mage, you're first thought is usually going to be on the mage.
Exactly. That's why we don't make the food hard to get. We make one bowl have more food than you can quickly eat. (I'm all for DMs focusing the mage)
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So the dilemma becomes, how do you make the walking fortress look like an easy squishy target?
No. You mean "how do we become an easy target" and the answer is easy: get in enemies faces. Really, this all works like DotA -- which is why I'm sticking to the analogy.
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step 2: get your AC as high as you can
step 3: resistances, immunities
Definitely a no to number 2. #3 is a yes only for binary things (mind-affects), but resistances should be low enough that you do take some damage. This way enemies think they are making progress.

If a "supertank" is supposed to have significantly scary offense
No. They have decent DPS or DPR, but they aren't the carry.

Offline Ice9

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No. They have decent DPS or DPR, but they aren't the carry.
What makes them sticky then?  If the tank is doing the same or less damage as the other party members, while being 10x harder to kill, it seems like enemies who find that out would just save them for last.

Offline linklord231

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I think the point is that they don't SEEM like they're hard to kill? The enemy knows they've attacked him a lot, but aren't sure how close to dead he actually is. You're basically betting on them falling for the Sunk Costs Fallacy.

Also, I find it ironic that all the "alternative" tanking methods the community has come up with over the years (summons, BFC, action denial, avoidance tanking, etc) are suddenly the "traditional" tanks, and PBMC's strategy of "just be hard to kill" and is "thinking outside the box"
I'm not arguing, I'm explaining why I'm right.

Offline faeryn

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I think the point is that they don't SEEM like they're hard to kill? The enemy knows they've attacked him a lot, but aren't sure how close to dead he actually is. You're basically betting on them falling for the Sunk Costs Fallacy.

Also, I find it ironic that all the "alternative" tanking methods the community has come up with over the years (summons, BFC, action denial, avoidance tanking, etc) are suddenly the "traditional" tanks, and PBMC's strategy of "just be hard to kill" and is "thinking outside the box"

It's not really that it's "thinking outside the box" but rather that the mechanics of the game make the other methods far simpler... I mean sure, you could make a tank who wears absolutely no armor, has their AC as low as they possibly can get it so that every attack lands a hit on them, and uses an absurd amount of resistances and fast healing to mitigate the damage they take down to a minor scratch... but that's actually a heck of a lot harder to really accomplish than it sounds... first you've got to figure out how to get damage resistance high enough to reduce large hits down to only a few points of damage... As I already mentioned getting yourself a mountain of HP in D&D is not really a very feasible task so your left with damage reduction... but even that is limited to only a few points... typically without houserules or homebrew you're only going to get at most DR10, but usually only DR5... at low levels that's an amazing amount of DR, but as you get up in levels it starts to become just a small reduction...

DR5 on a hit of 35 still leaves you taking 30 damage, take that type of hit 3-4 times per mob from 3 or 4 mobs per round... now you're looking at trying to soak up 270~480 damage per round, and you probably only have ~2000 health if you optimized for health... you'll be dead in about 5 rounds of combat unless you've got someone healing you... but the instant someone starts healing you they are a greater threat than you are and will likely be dead or dying by the end of the next round... healing yourself will likely result in enemies wising up and moving on to other targets as well... so that in mind you'll certainly want your AC high enough that you are still hard enough to hit that you won't just take every attack dished out in the round... as far as fasthealing and other forms of per-round healing go, you're not likely to get much more than +15 per round so that's really not going to help you out much when you're taking nearly 500 damage per round...

As with everything though, the more options you've got available for optimizing your health, the more options the DM has for optimizing damage of mobs... so if you're walking around with 10k health, expect the DM to have mobs dishing out 250+ damage per hit... making your DR and fasthealing even less beneficial...

Offline ketaro

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On the DR thing

Be a Human. Roll with traits/flaws. (UA crap :v )
Acquire 20 Con. (Might require PF Human)
Bonus Feat -> Toughness.
x2 Flaw Feats -> Roll With It x2
1st Level Feat -> Roll With It
1st Level -> DR 6/-

Be a god among commoners.

12 Levels Later -> DR 14/- That stacks with any other single source of DR#/-.

In a totally vanilla-esque game (lacking homebrew, houserules and cheese shananigans of powergamey-ness), this could totally get by despite that every single feat slot is the same feat over and over forever after  :lmao

Spice it up with a Martial Adept class so it doesn't matter you have shit feats, you got martial maneuvers and thus can still accomplish things on the battlefield. White Raven would likely suit this support tank wonderfully.  :rolleyes

Or stack it with Crusader's delay damage stuff and pretend to never get hurt (in melee)!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 04:38:10 AM by ketaro »

Offline Jackinthegreen

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Templates would be fine too.  Arctic is the main +0 LA one since Dragonborn tosses the feat.  The Dragonlance Proto-creature would work too.  Various +1 LA templates would obviously be fit to get 20 Con from the start.

Or there's the Exiled Dwarf from Dragon 320 that gets a bonus feat and +2 con, -2 cha.

Offline ErikF

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I may be missing something, but is there a reason why only HP seems to be looked at in this tank analysis? IMO, HP are secondary to AC and ability-related scores because you can easily get healed but not so easily get restored from drain/damage.

For example, how do one of these supertanks survive things like Enervation/Bestow Curse/Touch of Idiocy/etc. if they are basically just bags of HP with no AC who are supposed to soak damage? If you have a terrible AC, level and ability drain can knock you out of a fight extremely quickly. I mean, even save or sucks like Freezing Glance can make regular tanks ineffective if they have poor Will saves! (Mundane poisons will get you too if you fail your Fort save, and you will roll a 1 eventually.)

Offline faeryn

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I may be missing something, but is there a reason why only HP seems to be looked at in this tank analysis? IMO, HP are secondary to AC and ability-related scores because you can easily get healed but not so easily get restored from drain/damage.

For example, how do one of these supertanks survive things like Enervation/Bestow Curse/Touch of Idiocy/etc. if they are basically just bags of HP with no AC who are supposed to soak damage? If you have a terrible AC, level and ability drain can knock you out of a fight extremely quickly. I mean, even save or sucks like Freezing Glance can make regular tanks ineffective if they have poor Will saves! (Mundane poisons will get you too if you fail your Fort save, and you will roll a 1 eventually.)

Those sort of problems are exactly what we seem to be moving towards with the most recent posts... As I pointed out in my previous post, a tank who's just a sack of HP with little to no AC will take so much damage per round from multiple sources that they won't last very long even with the level of DR & Fasthealing available to them...

So if having so much AC that your impossible to hit means you simply won't get attacked, but having so little AC that you can't not be hit means you'll die fast, then you must find a middle ground for your AC so you can at least attempt to reduce the number of attacks that hit you per round to a manageable number.

And you bring up an excellent additional point, spells & ability damage will likely knock an HP tank out of the game really fast... this is kinda where the whole Immunities thing I pointed out earlier comes into play though... you need to get certain immunities to be an effective tank, and it's more than just immunity to mind-affecting stuff... immunity to negative energy-effects is one you should get to negate certain save-or-suck spells... immunity to transmutations is another one you should probably look into... freedom of movement so you can't be locked down... immunity to poisons & diseases (surprisingly very easy to get)


As for your initial question... why only HP? Well... thats what the OP is looking for... he's trying to steer away from the traditional tanks, and HP tanking is what fits into his ideal of a "supertank"...

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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I think the point is that they don't SEEM like they're hard to kill? The enemy knows they've attacked him a lot, but aren't sure how close to dead he actually is. You're basically betting on them falling for the Sunk Costs Fallacy.
Yup. I mean, everything else they're ever slashed at with a sword (and watched blood splatter) has died.
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Also, I find it ironic that all the "alternative" tanking methods the community has come up with over the years (summons, BFC, action denial, avoidance tanking, etc) are suddenly the "traditional" tanks, and PBMC's strategy of "just be hard to kill" and is "thinking outside the box"
:lol  :lmao  :clap I'm down with the latter three on the squishies, but yeah avoidance tanking is for the carry, not a super-tank.

sticky
Huh?
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enemies who find that out
They won't know until its too late. Super-Tanks always travel with the party.

that's actually a heck of a lot harder to really accomplish than it sounds...
Correct. Everything else you said is a solid understanding of traditional tanking statistics in D&D. DR, fast healing, and base HP are all very hard to get to "normal" tanking levels for most other games that build tanks.

HP are secondary to AC and ability-related scores because you can easily get healed but not so easily drain/damage
Abilitiy drain and damage is considered an "alternate" death system like Death-Affects or petrification. I see no cheesiness with immunity to those methods whilst still having the normal vulnerability of death by HP damage.
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how do one of these supertanks survive things like Enervation/Bestow Curse/Touch of Idiocy/etc. Even save or sucks like Freezing Glance can make regular tanks ineffective if they have poor Will saves! (Mundane poisons will get you too
Again, immunities. Didn't I mention the ToB maneuvers?

will take so much damage per round from multiple sources that they won't last very long even with the level of DR & Fasthealing available to them...
Yes. You were thinking about a standard tank, not a super tank. Though the translation I presented isn't perfect, you are welcome to build a normal monster encounter (god-wizard ganks count as DM metagaming) for a ECL 10 or 11 party that will deal more than 1500 within a minute (300+ per round for five rounds)
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trying to steer away from the traditional tanks, and HP tanking is what fits into his ideal of a "supertank"...
And fractional damage mitigation, where the damage is actually dealt

Offline TuggyNE

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2015, 01:32:07 PM »
I think the point is that they don't SEEM like they're hard to kill? The enemy knows they've attacked him a lot, but aren't sure how close to dead he actually is. You're basically betting on them falling for the Sunk Costs Fallacy.
Yup. I mean, everything else they're ever slashed at with a sword (and watched blood splatter) has died.
While the char-building strategy you're promoting is a key part of this idea, I honestly think the far more crucial and far harder part is not changing one's own mindset about tanks, but changing one's DM's about the nature of semi-rational enemy behavior. But there's not a lot about that here. Any thoughts on that?
Sweet martial OotS-style avatar by Ceika over on GitP.

Offline Solo

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2015, 01:42:21 PM »
Buy him a beer and explain your theories.
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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2015, 04:50:04 PM »
Any thoughts on that?
Unless the DM is purposely chosing to metagame and invalidate your character build, the monsters you fight are "regularly" built and so they won't know about supertanks. I'm sure there might be some monsters out there, that specifically don't fight things that are being highly aggressive towards them, but that's not the norm, and I can't think of any off-hand that will still threaten your party-mates

To prove the point, I grabbed a random page or a random monster book (MMIII) and found CR7 elder redcaps. They specifically power attack and wade into melee as an ambush (you are on watch, right?). If the tank is there, they shouldn't avoid him.
I built for level 10, so let's grab a CR10. I didn't recognize Ssvaklor (so no bias there) and found it as a yaunti/dragon thing that uses a fort-save poison breathe in between melee with "a bunch of enemies." The tank is out front, right?
So ignoring immunities, the con-based save will be made. The SLAs aren't a threat and, thanks to being a supertank, neither is the damage. Your allies win.

Just in case we are up against higher than our CR opponents, I'll grab a MMII (low-balled CR stereotype) random critter: I originally found shadowspiders (which are, again, not a threat and won't refocus away from the tank) but it was CR12, so I looked at the CR13's.
Dragonflesh golems sounded cool (didn't know they made those). It's magic immune with good saves, DR, flight, and a debuff aura. Not bad, but not a problem.

I could keep going, but the point is standard enemies will attack the tank, if played by the DM correctly. As far as telling the DM how to play, it all depends on if the DM gets to be a cheating bastard or not. I feel that since player's aren't allowed to fudge, DMs shouldn't either. Unless you are playing a specifically metagame-heavy campaign (Oots style), players aren't allowed to metagame either. I was just reading a campaign journal on this very boards where a player was suspected of reading the adventure ahead of time and alerting the party to things his character shouldn't know. This is widely frowned upon, just like a DM building or playing monsters with metagame knowledge of the players. Allowing monsters to know about a supertank falls under this category.

Yes, you could metagame/Contact other plane TO/have a massive intell-gathering posse against you, but if you have enemies who know you're every strength and weakness in order to exploit your build, you've pretty much lost the arms race no matter what. If you're already at that point, it doesn't matter if you are playing the tank or the DPS or the godwizard or whatever, you've lost any semblence of a normal, successful party.

Offline LudicSavant

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2015, 12:52:40 PM »
I play League of Legends rather than DotA for my MOBA fix.  There, tanks clearly work, but they also do a number of things that aren't done well by many D&D tanks, as well as some factors that don't really come into play in D&D.

A few of the things make tanks important there:

1)  The presence of turrets and other AI foes (such as Baron or Dragon) which do a great deal of damage, and their targets can be easily decided by your own actions.  Someone needs to take the turret damage if you want to dive people under a turret, so simply having the durability to do that gives your team some offensive utility.  In D&D, there is no equivalent to turret shots.  Enemies need an actual reason to want to target a guy with the highest tanky stats.  That's okay, because tanks are pretty relevant to fights that don't go on around turrets and the like, too!

2)  Peel.  Sure, the enemy might try to dive your ADC (your squishy ranged guy who hits like a truck but will die in a stiff breeze... the person you want to tank for, essentially), but many tanks in League have ways to make you stop attacking that target... often as simple as being able to slow your movement speed while the ADC just moves backwards a bit, because ability ranges aren't crazy high like in D&D and kiting and positioning remains very important.  Simply interposing yourself between the squishy and the enemy is enough to block most skillshots.

By contrast, in D&D melee characters tend to struggle to actually interfere with projectiles or keep enemies from being able to use their ranged attacks or combos.  A Fireball is going to be able to target anyone on the field.  If the opponent can cast it at all, they can probably cast it across the full range of the battlemap as long as there aren't walls in the way.

3)  If the enemy focuses you, your team is at an advantage.  This doesn't necessarily mean you can take the entire enemy team's damage output, as the OP suggests, because this isn't the case for many tanks in League of Legends (at least, if neither team has a huge XP/Gold lead).  It means that if they use all of their attacks on you, your team comes out with a massive advantage and will win the encounter.

So, why does it produce an advantage for enemies to attack you?  Well, it may mean a number of things.   It may mean that your allies go unharassed and are able to pull off a nasty combo uninterrupted.  In may mean that enemies have bunched into a disadvantageous position to deal with you.  It may mean that they actually take damage or interrupts simply for hitting you.  But almost all the time, one simple factor applies:  Enemy damage output is not constant.  If enemies blow their abilities, they have to wait for them to cool down before they can use them again. So, maybe that enemy mage might have been able to take your squishy from 100-0 with one half-second combo, but his ability to do that won't be up for another 6 seconds... giving ample time for your squishy mage to sidle into position without fear and blow him up.

4)  In League, it's worth it for you to die to kill off several enemies in a teamfight.  In D&D, losing even one party member is often considered a major failure.  This is partially remedied by resurrection spells, but those leave an unsatisfying taste for many.  This could be remedied for D&D by having more "degrees of failure," but that could take up another entire topic on its own so I won't really get into that.

5)  Threat when ignored.  This is necessary for 3 to be relevant.  This isn't necessarily damage... after all, some tanky champions have so little damage that, if they show up on their own, you can almost completely ignore their existence.  Alistar, for instance, is a very effective tank (considered high tier character currently) that tends to fit this mold with his most popular builds.  However, with a teammate around, these characters without damage of their own tend to create fantastic opportunities for their ALLIES to deal damage, while receiving little in return.

That said, many DO project a great deal of offensive threat and can kill your entire team if left unharassed.  This tends to be balanced by the fact that heavy-hitting tanks can be easily cced and kited... at the cost of, of course, having to focus on them instead of some squishier target, or letting them zone you out.

6)  Now, you can't really take the entire enemy team's damage on the chin.  While it can be possible to do this if you're fed or if the enemy team composition is terrible and you got to build full armor against an all AD tea or something, these are cases where the game is basically already won for your side (barring crucial tactical errors for your team).  Even the most durable aren't going to be able to take the full force of the enemy team's offense for more than a brief period of time. 

However, it's important to note that it's not actually easy for the enemy team to focus all of their efforts on only one person during a teamfight, due to positioning, kiting, ranges, cc, interrupts, being in a position to land skillshots, etc.  Often you will be able to survive diving into the entire enemy team... as long as others of your team are there to support you.  This is simply because focusing you to death becomes an undesirable or impossible strategy due to everything that's going on in a teamfight.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 04:19:08 PM by LudicSavant »

Offline faeryn

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2015, 01:08:12 AM »
The main reasons I find this type of tanking to be so impractical in DnD is that DR & Fasthealing are severly limited in what they can actually do for you on a round-by-round basis... damage can get up to prretty heafty numbers even at level 10 it can be high enough that DR & Fasthealing are pretty laughable as defenses... But thats not the biggesst thing still... the biggest is the sheer lack of ways of getting your HP high enough that those "large hits" are laughable to you.

I guess you can use a myriad of temporary HP tricks to boost your HP through the roof before going into combat... I do actually know of atleast 1 such trick that can result in some pretty heafty HP values without cheese and astronamacle with cheese... One is a certain incarnum ability (I can't recall the name off the top of my head atm, and am not currently able to dig up my charactersheet that has it) that grants you a stacking bonus to attack, saves, and temporary HP for every living creature defeated within (i think it was) 20ft, that lasts for 11minutes (each increase, duration does not reset per application, so it might be tricky to keep track of how much falls off when if you have long encounters)... but in an area with a large number of low health enemies it builds up your HP very fast to deal with that one big bad you know you'll encounter, and allows you a bit of a health buffer while tanking the mobs.

The same ability can be cheesed with tricks like bringing several bags of critters to sacrifice before entering combat just to get a giant boost in HP...

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2015, 03:07:03 PM »
1) The presence of turretstowers

2) ranges aren't crazy high like in D&D and kiting and positioning remains very important

3) Enemy damage output is not constant ... cool downs

4) it's worth it for you to die to kill off several enemies in a teamfight.  In D&D, losing even one party member is often considered a major failure.  This is partially remedied by resurrection spells ...  This could be remedied for D&D by having more "degrees of failure,"

5) with a teammate around, these characters without damage of their own tend to create fantastic opportunities for their ALLIES to deal damage, while receiving little in return.

6) focusing you to death becomes an undesirable or impossible strategy due to everything that's going on in a teamfight.
These are all good points. 1) this would be like alliance-obeying single target traps. Infinite ammo can be assumed. It would be interesting to port this into D&D to help team-play.

2) Absolutely true. You can shoot for thousands of feet, without much effort in D&D. I was always baffled by the fact that weapons have a whopping 10 range increments. I'd be interested to see a game where there were none.

3) right on the mark. A lot of cooldown abilities (expressed in rounds) in D&D are AoE. I wonder if an automatic cooldown system (for each d6, wait one round, etc) would be worth the over-head for a DM trying to keep track of that for various monsters and abilities.

4) I'm a big fan of revivify. Stretching D&D too much on this would be interesting but hard to balance. For instance if enemies do this too much, if feels like traction is impossible. If allies do this too much if feels like you're just throwing dead bodies at the enemy. Either way, I defined a good tank in D&D as one that takes damage but doesn't die.

5) the designers might have thought this was already the case in D&D, even though it isn't. It almost feels like this is the case in low level, core-only games. Casters were assumed to have to be in the back away from forced concentration checks and ranged attackers were assumed to be glass canons. Too bad WotC failed on that, but I don't think its unreasonable to reinforce those things with house-rules, whatever they may be.

6) Not really reproducable in a turn-based game, but I am a big fan of limited times for taking your turn. Thus you might forget to make the more optimal choice within your 18 seconds or whatever. The effect you speak of totally happens all the time in MOBAs, though.

Also, see Penny Arcade about LoL.  :cool

The main reasons I find this type of tanking to be so impractical in DnD is that DR & Fasthealing are severly limited
Which is why we don't use them. You'll notice I don't mention them much in my OP.

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One is a certain incarnum ability (I can't recall the name off the top of my head atm, and am not currently able to dig up my charactersheet that has it)
You are refering to my Maximum Hit Point world record build. Yes, it is in my sig. I'm not interested it that right now.

Offline LudicSavant

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2015, 04:32:46 PM »
Peeling, rather than "aggro," is the main thing people should be talking about, I think, especially since getting enemies to attack you isn't the only way to peel.  Melee fighters in D&D tend to be rather awful at peeling anything that isn't ALSO melee, and even then they're generally not great at it (heck, D&D squishies are often superior at peeling).  Certainly not on a par with the tanking designs you see in well designed PvP games.

Offline Jackinthegreen

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2015, 04:04:39 PM »
For some reference on what peeling is, at least as far as LoL/moba terms go:  http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=2054346

Basically it's crowd control, which we've already been talking about.

Offline Unbeliever

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2015, 08:06:47 PM »
Peeling, rather than "aggro," is the main thing people should be talking about, I think, especially since getting enemies to attack you isn't the only way to peel.  Melee fighters in D&D tend to be rather awful at peeling anything that isn't ALSO melee, and even then they're generally not great at it (heck, D&D squishies are often superior at peeling).  Certainly not on a par with the tanking designs you see in well designed PvP games.
To be fair, if you can battlefield control (aka "peel" from what I'm gathering) the majority of melee fighters, then in most D&D games you're going to be a very successful tank.  Most D&D monsters and opponents are melee-ish.  Even those with spell-like abilities tend to be more potent with melee, and there are other good shutdown spellcasting abilities available if you've got reach, etc.  The classic charopp melee battlefield control builds do a great job at locking down a huge chunk of D&D opponents. 

This has come up a few times in this thread, and I think it gives a false impression of what constitutes a tactically successful build.  My point does, however, presume that your DM isn't habitually going out of his or her way to utterly shut down your character.  But, I think this is a reasonable assumption for nearly anything. 

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2015, 10:24:37 PM »
[lockdown] rather than "aggro," is the main thing people should be talking about, I think, especially since getting enemies to attack you isn't the only way to [save allies]
I'm not interested in the squishy caster abilities that get enemies off your carry (slow, daze, etc) if they already happen to be attacking him. I'm interested in actually living after being so obviously deep into enemy territory and heinously offensive that your supertank already has the whole focus of your opponents.

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I think back fondly to this thread and decided to post how I solve spiteful DMs who think enemies will let you pillage their territory when you look too tanky (as if that's ever been a normal thing in D&D). The secret was to be a commoner. No, I'm not joking.

What is a monster?
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Race
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Be a Commoner with the most crippling single ability in the game: the Delicious flaw ("All monsters attack you if able, regardless of their attitude towards the party."). No it's not being dead. Ghosts rock. Also take the Weresheep flaw ("you suffer the effects of the Delicious flaw") [DragMag330p87]. You should already see why this is clutch, but here's the full discussion:

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How to separate RP from combat
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Further Templates:
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I still agree with my class guideline in the opening post, but I can give more detail if people don't "get it".