After my last successful thread
, it occurred to me when thinking about how much I enjoy tanking
with multiclassing), and that the build goals are very similar to various D&D abilities. As a result I'm going to explain through matching DotA terms when tanking fails
and when it succeeds
First let's imagine a regular DotA match
. You are up against normal, well-rounded enemies. You have a normal, well-rounded team that picks:
A debuff/support like Warlock (cleric heals, fog-like slows, damage-sharing, and some distraction summons with flame shield) who wants the following items before late game: mana boots (bestow power), a mek (heal aura, mass heal with an aoe DR), janggo (haste aura), and pipe (high self SR, healing aura, and team SR)
A lockdown/nuke (stunner) caster like Lion (line-based daze, 1 round PAO, disintegrate) who wants to get dagon (another disintegrate), hex stick (another 1 round PAO), euls (time hop), and boots
A carry (DPS) like nevermore (get lots of WBL and attack things until they are dead. Has a negative DR aura) who treads (iterative), MoM (wraithful strike weapon), lothar (invisiblity), buriza (+damage, keen weapon with unusually high multiplier and threat range)
An annoyance factor (skillmonkey) like SA who forces enemies to use resources to detect, wards (claivoyance/scry), adds to paranoia, occasionally lockdowns enemies, and is just a huge information gatherer. This character decides not to carry, but could if necessary. Items include BoT, wards, dust, manta
So its up to you to pick the tank
. Even the skillmonkey, if spotted, could go down in a round, the casters surely would, and the carry needs you to buy some time before they can down enough enemies that they can win a 1v1.
You decide to pick DK and max stats (more HP, AC), dragon's blood, get one in your stun (single target melee, 1 round), maybe later you'll farm lanes with dragon's breath (a little bonus to WBL).
By level 10 if you've farmed well, you'll have 2.5k HP (150HP in D&D terms), 6hp/sec regen, +60% armor (AC of 35), 20stats (belt of magnificence +2 version), an urn (lay on hands), treads (another +2 to con and a speed weapon that stacks with haste), heart (+30% hp with out of combat fast heal), and blademail (5 enemies each take 30 damge if they kill you in the round that you use the item and they damage you equally.
So you are nice and beefy for your level. Your job is to take one for the team. Enemies deal 100 damage a second, 200 if its a DPS. In a round you take 600-1200 damage (35-70hp in D&D terms). You can wade into 1 normal enemy and live for several rounds while your carry cleans up. Or your can 2v2 and die if it takes 3 rounds. Or you can take on 3 or more but die in about 6 seconds.
You should feel like canon fodder because you are. What's the problem
with the above?
The only way to live from all of the above scenarios is to decide to not tank (ie not be targetable). This is equivalent to going invisible, or moving away (think slark's ult in DotA). Common D&D logic is that you have no way to force your enemies to fight you. Either you can't survive their attacks or you do because they refocus. But that's nonsense because "successful" tanks aren't then allowing your enemies to attack (because you can't survive the attacks). Of course they will refocus when you are not there. Even on the tankiest "standard" kind of DotA character, you can't walk into several opponents on an even-level encounter and not expect to die. Oddly, the boards is okay with this mirror in D&D.
But I'm not.
The problem with tanking isn't that enemies won't fight you, its that you'll die when you do (you're a bad tank). So what's a good tank? One that survives an entire team wailing on them. Sure you'll not be able to fight back, so you better have some allies doing the DPS, but you won't die; you'll keep tanking for a long time. You'll do your job.
Let's look at a standard LoD tank build
morph (all Str+Dex -> con), dispersion and backtrack (50% psuedo evade, aka auto-heal, a fifth of it hurts nearby enemies), reincarnate (once a minute upon death become invulnerable for a round then come back at full HP), craggy exterior (25% chance for enemies to lose their action attacking), borrowed time (any damage lower than your current hp heals you, a third of it damages nearby enemies)
Now at level 10, you'll have about 3k+ HP (175HP in D&D terms), 6hp/sec regen, +50% armor (AC of 25), 100damage with:
tranquil boots (no dps), heart (+30% hp with out of combat fast heal), butterfly (evasion), halberd (hp, evasion totalling 50%), and blademail (all enemies take damage = x1.5 what they dealt to you if activated during borrowed time with a later Agh, and you don't die. 3 round cd means you can stagger it before and after bt and reinc). For reference on huskar Rosh only deals 200 damage total to this build in a full minute of tanking.
This means we could soak up the following damage
175hp*(2.25+infinite+2.25+infinite on last hit+2.25)=1575 damage (in D&D terms) assuming we only took 175 damage during borrowed time. This is like having more than 8 of the above tanks all in one character.
It's even better if you can back away for just 4 rounds (another 8 gives you borrowed time again), but although that goes against the spirit of continuous tanking, its highly reasonable to assume you simply lived through one battle and all your abilities are back up for the next one.
So the question becomes, how do we build a D&D character that can tank over 1500 effective damage
in less than a minute?
Let's start by copying the DotA abilites
as closely as we can:
Butterfly+Halberd's (now stacking) 50% evasion is easy total concealment with greater concealing amorphia.
50% psuedoheal is Empyreal Ecstasy. You will want to make sure you DM understands the difference between damage dealt and damage taken, as it needs to interact a specific way with the below (to match warcraft 3's triggered mechanics). The 20% damage reflection which could be done with a purposely nerfed Affinity Field that didn't include the healing part This seems in line with a custom Bend Reality.
Craggy Skin's 25% is hard. It would be like a 1/4 chance to already have a readied action to make opponent lose an action. It's like a percentile, very specific synchronicity that doesn't discharge itself. This might be doable with some purposely limited TO.
morph sounds like psychofeedback.
(DotA) Reincarnate sounds like a contingent true res. It would have to be reset out of battle. Definitely optimizable with craft contingent spell, revivify, and some other spells.
Borrowed Time is similar to a nerfed Timeless body (see the above for LoD's Aghnim scepter part).
A Heart of the Torrasque is lots of HP + fast heal
Various other items for AC, DR, speed, SR, and HP are doable.
Blademail. Here's a sticking point. It's like an auto share pain for anything that attacks you, but only if they hit you, not if you take damage on your own. And its twice as strong (used to be 100%, now 75% to 52% to 0% depending on items). As you can see, blademails are quite strong, too strong in my opinion for regular DotA. We don't have to have it at the full 100% strength, since we are assuming enemies like we'd find in regular DotA (no 1 shotters or permastompers or mc wraiths, or haunt chains, etc). I'd allow a limited wish/bend reality to alter a Share Pain so that attackers are considered willing, but only for the round that the spell is cast. Retributive amulet doesn't work on spells or ranged attacks, but could be 'fixed' of that with the above. Empathic feedback is in the same boat but it unfortunately [mind-affecting]
It looked like a ardent 1 (magic mantle) / Erudite X / warblade or crusader 1 might be able to pull off most of this. You don't have to pull out all the stops to get tons of HP (draconic polymorph, might of the city, kiss of the vampire, etc) but it helps. Thoughts?Bonus
By cranking our con so high, and some ToB maneuvers, we won't have to worry about non-rapid-fire saves.