Author Topic: Tanking Analysis in D&D (or why we've been giving up on that party role)  (Read 12655 times)

Offline SorO_Lost

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7198
  • Banned
    • View Profile
I think back fondly to this thread
...And I think to my self, why didn't he use Dungeons & Dragons Online for tank examples? And then I realized it's PBMC, he loves irreverent discussion on trivial things and pointless plugs. Like what is a "monster" or his homebrew ECLs.

There are quite a few spells that force creatures to target specific creatures, example the Bard charming a monster and telling him to attack the fighter he already wants to attack is acceptable, but the Goad Feat can force a Will Save to force creatures you attack you from level 1. And a four level dip into Knight can do the same thing but lasts several rounds. Also you can just stand in the middle of a hallway, not many creatures can Tumble past without provoking AoOs.

Or you know, 2nd party Flaws. The amount of damage is a pretty trivial deal, you can Augment some iron figures and use Spell Storing/Schemas to pass around Substitution for 1/2 damage, then there is Snowsong and Starmantle which can also halve damage. Wraithful Healing for tanks to heal on the fly, several ways to damage immunity and Paladins can easily access one of them, and so on. But wait! Those things are auto-labeled high powered broken. So I guess tanking is inherently broken and that's the real reason we don't use it.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7627
  • classique style , invisible tail
    • View Profile
I called this the "He Hate Me" strategy, a few years back.
http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=10792.msg180739#msg180739
Most of them are viable tack-ons to normal builds.

I think the best that can be done with it, is
a) ... potential multi-buffing before round 1
b) ... No surprise for round 1
c) ... all attacks target He Hate Me
d) ... rest of party doesn't attack until buff suite up
e) ... might do steps c + d an extra time.
f) ... then normal

I think the no surprise, and the possible buff time
makes it worthwhile, against focus fire on 1 guy.


Hiding the ~Target guy, until trigger time, seems like
a viable direction, like Invisible until trigger time is good.


Along the lines of the Goad feat and Knight 4,
4e Defender-y stuff can be back-doored in (iirc)
via some of the 4e -> 3e conversion material.
Certainly a lot useful in that pile, though the people
who know it best, are probably uncooperative.
Your codpiece is a mimic.

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Immune to Critical Hits as a Fairness Elemental
    • View Profile
Soro I never played D&DO (and generally stay away from MMOs even before people hated 4e). You could post an analogous build, though, the way I did for DotA. The monster discussion is at the heart of the build (in a way that the race isn't) because without picking out what we mean by monster, a reader could say: "monsters aren't defined in game, doesn't work" or "doesn't protect you from orcs because they are humanoid which is clearly what the flaw means!" or whatever.

On topic, if your enemy fails a will save, they've already lost. Especially if they are susceptible to [Mind-Affecting] abilities. So its a moot point and you already mentioned the use limitations, but there are a ton more. Maybe you have some build I don't know about that lets a Knight 4 actually hold agro to things behind an easily destroyed mesh screen the Knight doesn't know about or have it work on typical dumb (less than 3-4 int) bruisers including mindless opponents like undead or vermin, or a ton of mooks, or ranged attackers 110 away/apart or effected enemies who get teleported away and come back for round two or ... you get the idea. Knight 4 is too limited to work and it requires more levels than a dip.

I called this the "He Hate Me" strategy, a few years back.
http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=10792.msg180739#msg180739
Aw crap Demelain, apparently had the clutch agro idea before me. But he didn't build a character that could survive large amounts of damage. Its a shame no one linked it earlier...  :( The "hate me" strategy is different to me. It's kind of like the "love me" strategy of diplomancy but repeatedly minimized instead of maximized.

I find will-save dependent effects to be not good enough since if you can reliably get an enemy to fail a willsave you can put him out of combat without even getting hurt. Tanks have to get hurt, so good agro abilities have to be better than the usual disables: no save.

From my perspective, if the PCs are actively on edge at the time, all combat should start with monsters more aware than the PCs and therefore with a surprise round. Sure, a PC can specifically build to counter this, but it helps transform a four man party into a three man party. That's why I assume PCs won't know when to buff unless they have a really good scout. Any buffs under several hours are going to get used up while the party goes deeper into the dungeon...

Reaction to linked thread:
(click to show/hide)

Detailed response to the "Hate Me" strategy since that was the far more useful reply:
(click to show/hide)

While you might have meant it to control the timing of fights, the Delicious weresheep build does that already by just uninvis'ing and, if necessary, changing form.

Offline linklord231

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3344
  • The dice are trying to kill me
    • View Profile
It's been 2 years, and I still don't understand the point of this thread.  Are we supposed to be discussing specific "supertank" builds, as defined in the OP?  Cuz that hasn't been happening. 

Notably, the issues brought up before still haven't been addressed.  Namely, assuming that a character uses some kind of trick to become effectively immune to damage (non-bypassable regeneration + immunity to nonlethal, Delay Death + Beastland Ferocity, etc) and has immunity to all the important things that aren't hit point damage, what then?  If we assume that by investing character resources in becoming a supertank a character gives his party members a competitive edge when it comes to DPR, wouldn't a well-disciplined enemy focus fire on those higher-priority targets first, thus defeating the purpose of being a tank? 

The OP's answer seems to be "if the DM does that, he's role-playing the bad guys wrong!"  to which I counter with "So?  Some groups play combat as a tactical miniatures wargame, and that's going to be an issue." 

I propose that in addition to being nigh-unkillable, a supertank must also possess some mechanical way to take hits intended for his allies.  A "peel" ability, as described earlier.  Either he compels (natural language term, not [compulsion] effects) enemies to attack him, or he disincentivizes attacking other targets via some kind of Challenge mechanic, or has Shield Other, and so on. 

All that being said, there's a reason "You can't be a tank in D&D" is practically a meme.  It's very difficult to effectively build a character that fits the same niche as a video game tank.  You're better off distilling "tanking" down to it's essence, which is basically "get the enemy to waste it's actions", and building a character good at that.
I'm not arguing, I'm explaining why I'm right.

Offline Captnq

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1602
  • Haters gonna hate. Dragons gonna drag.
    • View Profile
    • Ask the Captain
So, assuming that I made an erudite who got war weaver and maxed it out. Then, he used arcane fusion to cast celerity and celerity lesser 4 times, and then used linked to add in a few other minor buffs, like haste and what not, So basically by the second round of combat a group of 5 is each getting 4 extra move and 5 extra standard actions. (There's a psion power that lets you use personal range powers on others, and erudites treat spells as powers, so it's just a matter of time to stack everything in the eldritch tapestry to trigger later.)

If you are moving so fast that nobody gets to act for basically 5 full round actions, is that a tank? I mean, you are immune to damage in so much nobody can even act to attack you. You go basically 5 rounds before anyone else. (useful for melee characters, useless for spellcasters/psionists, because it's still "one round" and thus you can only cast/manifest so many spells.)

And second if you take 40 "dazed next round penalties" all at once, are you still dazed only one  round, or would I be well within my rights to daze said erudite for 4 minutes straight?
If you have questions about 3.5 D&D, you might want to look at the:
Encyclopedia Vinculum Draconis

Currently: Podcasting

Offline SorO_Lost

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7198
  • Banned
    • View Profile
It's been 2 years, and I still don't understand the point of this thread.
I believe he wants the video game mechanics of exploiting a basic AI's ability to viably attack targets which causes them to ignore most of the users playing. Except discussing 4th edition, video games, or any method he can insult in D&D are excluded. Instead, he wants a DotAd20 product built on contradictions.

For example.
Put another way, it becomes "imagine your enemies will never fight you. Maybe, you're a supertank, or maybe they are dominated/throwing the game. Now imagine all the things you can get away with." By that point, you've almost won everything before you start. Its obvious, and your enemies do know that. So they won't ignore you.
You need to be so powerful your enemies will ragequit the moment you step on the battlefield, that'll surely make them stick around and fight you. And if they don't, it's totally bad DMing.

Offline KellKheraptis

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Temporal Dissonance Technician
    • View Profile
Wouldn't a Tash-Psy-War King of Smack on CrackTM fulfill all of these parameters?  They think you're squishy, you can spam the things that draw attention, you're a damage sponge who regens it all with vampiric claws, and if they ignore you, you do enough damage to carve out continents.

Offline SorO_Lost

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7198
  • Banned
    • View Profile
I have no idea what you're talking about, but if it involves a Monk/Warlock/Warmind using Beast Strike, Eldritch Claws, and Claws of the Vampire then oh sure absolutely you're barking up the tree of pretty much ignoring damage. All through there are other ways to augment the attack besides attacking two squares, like Blood Wind & Bloodstorm Blade.

Offline KellKheraptis

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Temporal Dissonance Technician
    • View Profile
I have no idea what you're talking about, but if it involves a Monk/Warlock/Warmind using Beast Strike, Eldritch Claws, and Claws of the Vampire then oh sure absolutely you're barking up the tree of pretty much ignoring damage. All through there are other ways to augment the attack besides attacking two squares, like Blood Wind & Bloodstorm Blade.

That'd work too, but I was thinking Psychic Warrior and Tashlatora.  Same premise though.

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Immune to Critical Hits as a Fairness Elemental
    • View Profile
Hmm. Lifesteal is a good way to balance out incoming damage. A turn-based game does have some limitations that realtime strategy games don't, but either way the question is if you can lifesteal back all of the HP you lost as well as if you can tank a full rounds' worth of enemy damage. So, uh, how much can king of smack tank in the round and how much HP can it lifesteal?

assuming that a character uses some kind of trick to become effectively immune to damage (non-bypassable regeneration + immunity to nonlethal, Delay Death + Beastland Ferocity, etc) and has immunity to all the important things that aren't hit point damage
Not in OP. I'm not sure where you're pulling this from. The point is that it works butthe way to take large amounts of effective damage is to use % damage reducers
Quote
wouldn't a well-disciplined enemy focus fire on those higher-priority targets first, thus defeating the purpose of being a tank. ... Some groups play combat as a tactical miniatures wargame, and that's going to be an issue
Well atleast this part was relevant. That's the reason for the delicious weresheep agro mechanic. You reading the bump, right? For the record, I'm fine with the tactical wargame version of D&D, but the vast majority of players aren't: "all the enemies from now on have the cold subtype. You might want to stop preparing shivering touch." Queue all the "help! my DM is focusing me!" threads.
Quote
You're better off distilling "tanking" down to it's essence, which is basically "get the enemy to waste it's actions", and building a character good at that.
I disagree. That's the disabler's job, not the tanks. Sometimes you can't lock down the DPS. He attacks need to go somewhere. In this case, the disabler would melt, as would the DPS. Thus, tank has a role. Unless of course you can permanently lock down any kind and number of opponents, guaranteed -- but then you basically don't have any opposition (congratulations?).

There's a psion power that lets you use personal range powers on others
One not a 9th level power?

Soro's off his meds again. Everyone can ignore him...
(click to show/hide)

Offline SorO_Lost

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7198
  • Banned
    • View Profile
Stop trolling. You know very well that this isn't the case.
That's the thing PBMC, I don't. In fact, I'm pretty sure English is a second language to you so I generally avoid picking too much into your statements. Like claiming no one listens to me and then quoting your self as proof or when at least two people post in your thread saying they don't have any idea of what you mean or want your explanation is an ad hominem attack. Which honestly PBMC, I don't think you will be able understand what this sentence is trying to tell you either.

In any case, moving on. There is no such thing as an analogous build for tanking in DDO because anything capable of surviving and holding the top spot in damage works, like being the only lv30 in a lv22 quest. For a DotA example, towers will target enemy heroes attacking friendly heroes over the same enemy attacking the tower. Thus any cheap disposable unit in DotA can serve as a tank by drawing enemy fire away from priority assets.

The core element of tanking in a video game is the aggro mechanics where you, or at least someone smarter than you, exploits the simple video game mechanics used for rudimentary decision making. In order to port these things over to D&D the DM has to in turn treat his creatures as being retarded and easily exploited by such things as chest-high walls. And while it is highly insulting to the creature's lore, to the DM running the game since he can be replaced by a slip of paper, and pragmatically a dumb waste of time since if you wanted limited AIs running on automated scripts you should just play an actual video game instead or eg "wrong media". The DM has the full ability to make this happen without any houserules or examples of external games.

Which brings us to the second point. As my examples of Knight & Goad bring up it is actually possible to force a creature to attack another without any in-game roleplaying or assuming how the DM will run things. It's also possible to prevent them from attacking certain targets by using such things as Fly or Greater Invisibility. And people have even gone as far as bring up the ability to directly limit a creature's possible options, such as trip or anything else that fits into the "disabler" role. However, just like before these things are just not good enough for you and you rejected them, and then insulted them too.

Which brings us into the full loop. Disabling your opponent's options on what they can attack isn't tanking but disabling. But using the Delicious flaw to disable your opponent's options on what they can attack is. We're right back around to not knowing what you're talking about or wanting. All I know is, you think it's our fault that we don't know.

These meds you spoke of, you should consider taking them.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7627
  • classique style , invisible tail
    • View Profile
Re-reaction to PLZ ... yeah timing, specifically for buffing, seemed the best usage to me. 
Enthrall is probably useful early game, but agree [MA] isn't good mid+later.
Ronin only requires either DC 10 check.  Completely do-able by a bog standard town leader.  But sure it's bbeg only.

I'm surprised you didn't have a mark-of-sin reaction to Mark Of Sin (wink).
Is the wording of it, enough to bypass a Spellcraft check?
If not, it should be relegated to the Enthrall Ronin Intimidate pile,
because Trained in that is quite rare.  Diplo -10 is still useful.


Commoner turns into a WereSheep for a feat, is rather t.o.-ish I would say.
I like it.  Might even beat a few housecats.
Refluff on a 1 size up WereRat perhaps?
Your codpiece is a mimic.

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Immune to Critical Hits as a Fairness Elemental
    • View Profile
Timing, specifically for buffing, seemed the best usage to me.
I dislike the 10min/level buff usage. As a player I often play too stingy. It does pay off though in a stereotypical "hard mode DM" where the layers never know when there's going to be an attack on (or in) the town, etc.
Ronin only requires either DC 10 check
Its only as good as you are infamous.  :(
I'm surprised you didn't have a mark-of-sin reaction to Mark Of Sin (wink).
Is the wording of it, enough to bypass a Spellcraft check?
If not, it should be relegated to the Enthrall Ronin Intimidate pile,
because Trained in that is quite rare.  Diplo -10 is still useful.
I know about the Cain reference. What spellcraft check are you talking about?
Commoner turns into a WereSheep for a feat, is rather t.o.-ish I would say.
I like it.  Might even beat a few housecats.
Refluff on a 1 size up WereRat perhaps?
It's overkill, yes. It's basically a RAI response to a RAI ruling that humanoids aren't "monsters" because the RAW is fuzzy on that. It's metagame at that point to answer the question "Why isn't there a human entry in the monster manual?" For instance, Ur-Priest's Monster Handbook hints that he would say that even humans are "monsters," whilst I would say most DMs I've played with might disagree. The only solution was to find a way to make even humans find you delicious. And rats aren't!  :P

Bored now
(click to show/hide)

Offline linklord231

  • Epic Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3344
  • The dice are trying to kill me
    • View Profile
assuming that a character uses some kind of trick to become effectively immune to damage (non-bypassable regeneration + immunity to nonlethal, Delay Death + Beastland Ferocity, etc) and has immunity to all the important things that aren't hit point damage
Not in OP. I'm not sure where you're pulling this from. The point is that it works but the way to take large amounts of effective damage is to use % damage reducers
From here, mainly.
Quote
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.
A character who can survive the whole enemy team wailing on him for several rounds is "effectively immune" to HP damage.  I thought the whole strategy was to create a character who doesn't care how much damage he's taking, because he'll survive it?  Regardless, my point was that it doesn't matter what methods you use to become a Supertank, because I was calling the validity of the entire strategy in to question. 

Quote
wouldn't a well-disciplined enemy focus fire on those higher-priority targets first, thus defeating the purpose of being a tank. ... Some groups play combat as a tactical miniatures wargame, and that's going to be an issue
Well at least this part was relevant. That's the reason for the delicious weresheep agro mechanic. You reading the bump, right? For the record, I'm fine with the tactical wargame version of D&D, but the vast majority of players aren't: "all the enemies from now on have the cold subtype. You might want to stop preparing shivering touch." Queue all the "help! my DM is focusing me!" threads.
I skimmed the bump, and dismissed it when I realized that it revolved around a combination of your personal homebrew and a literal joke in a 2nd party product.  But, it was a good faith effort to address my concerns with the strategy, which I applaud. 

Quote
You're better off distilling "tanking" down to it's essence, which is basically "get the enemy to waste it's actions", and building a character good at that.
I disagree. That's the disabler's job, not the tanks. Sometimes you can't lock down the DPS. He attacks need to go somewhere. In this case, the disabler would melt, as would the DPS. Thus, tank has a role. Unless of course you can permanently lock down any kind and number of opponents, guaranteed -- but then you basically don't have any opposition (congratulations?).

Which brings us back around to the topic of the thread, I guess, where the next logical step is to talk about specific builds or tricks to become a Supertank and compare them to the status quo methods for "tanking" (which is to say, what you would call avoidance tanking or disabling). 
I'm not arguing, I'm explaining why I'm right.

Offline Endarire

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1628
  • Smile! Jesus loves you!
    • View Profile
    • Greg Campbell's Portfolio
Hood was a pretty good tank.  She kept the party safe by one-shotting or one-rounding anything seemingly hostile that came within reach.  No party deaths except when people did foolish things like go off on their own or purposely PvP.

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Immune to Critical Hits as a Fairness Elemental
    • View Profile
Yes the hood would be an example of a standard D&D tank: "be careful and you probably won't die". A MegaTank is instead "I can take all the hits so the enemies don't have any damage left to give to the team."

A character who can survive the whole enemy team wailing on him for several rounds is "effectively immune" to HP damage.  I thought the whole strategy was to create a character who doesn't care how much damage he's taking, because he'll survive it?
I'll grant this. For instance in DotA Dazzle's Shallow Grave spell gives a six seconds buff where an ally can't die to from any amount of damage. The problem with bringing that into D&D, is that there are ways to make spells effectively never-ending. That's why these things are broken and I didn't bother discussing old hat (See sig). In DotA, there is a mode that allows this: "-WTF" mode. WTF mode is basically a joke, kind of like RAW D&D. No one plays it competitively. Instead everyone plays the fixed balanced version (cough sounds familiar).

Quote
I guess, where the next logical step is to talk about specific builds or tricks to become a Supertank and compare them to the status quo methods for "tanking" (which is to say, what you would call avoidance tanking or disabling).
I'm up for reviewing them, but I don't feel like making any. Just like I don't bother making regular DotA tanks anymore now that I'm used to making MegaTanks in LoD DotA.