Defenses in Echelon, Take 2

Three things learned today:

  • People are reading these articles, with a critical eye.
  • I can blow it sometimes.
  • … I evidently can’t count to three, because I forgot the last one.

Comments Received

I’ve seen comments about yesterday’s post that include the following:

  • Damage Reduction is way too high, especially at low level.
  • Critical hits beating Damage Reduction means that frequent-critical weapons (which are mostly finesse weapons) are better against armor than the high-damage weapons that should better-penetrate armor (which are mostly power weapons).
  • How does natural armor interact with armor for Damage Reduction purposes? The obvious route (treat the same as armor) will result in some massive defences.
  • The armor bonus from armor becomes irrelevant at high level.
  • The energy resistance is too high, or sustained for too long, quickly reaching the point where moderate armor will protect the wielder from environmental effects indefinitely.
  • Armor Class going up with level is good. [see, not a total fail –kjd]
  • Dexterity still has a high impact on armor class. Tanks should favour high Strength, not high Dexterity.
  • Damage Reduction and Energy Resistance tend to become somewhat irrelevant at higher levels, but is all that is useful about wearing armor.
  • Touch armor class being equal to full armor bonus means touch attacks gain no real benefit over normal attacks.

I can’t really argue against these points. I’ll tackle these from easiest to hardest.

Armor Bonus Becomes Irrelevant

This was a flat mistake on my part. I had originally planned to include the Level Bonus in all active defense, then changed my mind for some reason. I don’t remember why, but I remember that I’d decided to do so. Let’s reverse that so the level bonus applies to full armor class and touch armor class. This should both keep armor relevant (+8 armor bonus is applied from first to twentieth level and base attack bonus counters itself for a net +8 to armor class over attack bonus).

Touch Attacks Become Useless

I found touch attacks were viciously effective in D&D 3.x because they didn’t avoid some of the armor bonuses of the targets wearing medium or heavy armor, but avoided or negated almost all of the armor bonuses, especially at low level because of the Dexterity limits on armor class. Tank-type characters would depend on their armor for defense and have low Dexterity because higher Dexterity was useless, but then would have their defense stripped from them.

Similar things can happen to lightly-armored characters with high Dexterity if they can be caught flatfooted or otherwise have their Dexterity bonus denied, but this usually takes either specific actions to do so or catching them off-guard – and the characters with high Dexterity scores tend to be the first to act.

One side easily gets the rough equivalent of a +4 weapon quality on their attacks (the brilliant energy weapon quality ignores non-living matter, so armor and shield bonuses are negated, though natural armor bonuses still apply), the other gets the equivalent of catching someone by surprise.

Someone’s getting treated unfairly here. I may have gone too far in correcting this, though.

We’ve added Level Bonus back on the full armor class, let’s say the touch armor class is the same as the full armor class less armor-type bonuses (armor and natural armor for sure, not sure about shields because I don’t yet know how they work).

Tanks Want High Dexterity

This is true, and it means that someone who wants high armor class will want

  • Good armor
  • Good Dexterity
  • Good martial training

That part I’m okay with.

The failure here is two-fold. One part is that a low-Dexterity build may be at a distinct disadvantage compared to a high-Dexterity build. While this might not be a problem overall in that someone with a higher ability score should have an advantage, it really comes apart with the second part. High-Dexterity characters get to favour weapons that are better at penetrating armor (finesse weapons have more frequent critical hits, which are described as getting past the Damage Reduction provided by armor).

This is somewhat screwy and counter to my intent.

One suggestion I saw was that the maximum Dexterity bonus applicable be either that of the armor (possibly with talents that increase the maximum Dexterity applicable) or of the character’s Strength bonus, whichever is higher. This idea doesn’t really offend me, but it sparked another idea.

I don’t like characters having to pay a tax in order to do their jobs, and buying up Strength in order to get the Dexterity benefits other characters do doesn’t set well with me. What if, just as light weapons mean you use Dexterity modifier on attack rolls, heavy armor means you use Strength modifier on armor class?

I think I’d want to keep the Dexterity modifier for touch attacks rather than Strength, and I’m not sure what to do about medium armor (perhaps higher of Dexterity and Strength modifier?)

Damage Reduction and Energy Resistance

I see a mix of ‘too high’ and ‘irrelevant’ here, at different points in a character’s career. For the moment, I’m going to pretend I didn’t include Damage Reduction or Energy Resistance at all. I like them though and think them likely appropriate so I’ll come back to them later.

New Armor Class Calculations

To review, the following elements can go into armor class.

  • Armor Bonus (applicable unless armor is negated)
  • Level Bonus (applicable unless denied Dexterity bonus to armor class)
  • Martial Training Bonus (applicable unless helpless)
  • Strength modifier (applicable when allowed Dexterity bonus, when in medium or heavy armor)
  • Dexterity modifier (applicable when allowed Dexterity bonus and not in heavy armor)

When in medium armor the character may use the higher of Strength modifier and Dexterity modifier.

This leads to the following armor class calculations.

  • Full Armor Class Bonus: armor bonus + level bonus + martial training bonus + (strength or dexterity modifier)
  • Touch Armor Class Bonus: level bonus + martial training bonus + dexterity modifier
  • Flatfoot Armor Class Bonus: armor bonus + martial training bonus
  • Helpless Armor Class Bonus: armor bonus

To compare, a character has an attack bonus equal to his level bonus + martial training bonus + (strength or dexterity modifier). The full armor class bonus is likely to be higher than this, but not insurmountably so, especially if other talents or magic items make it easier to penetrate armor (ignore armor bonuses) or ignore armor entirely (touch attacks).

Let’s see what some builds look like, then.

Tank

High Strength, let’s give him a little bit of Dexterity (Str 18, Dex 13 to start), full plate armor (armor bonus +8), and full martial training.

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

18

13

+4

+1

+0

+0

+8

+12

+1

+8

+8

1

18

13

+4

+1

+0

+1

+8

+13

+2

+9

+8

2

18

13

+4

+1

+1

+1

+8

+14

+3

+9

+8

3

18

13

+4

+1

+1

+2

+8

+15

+4

+10

+8

4

19

14

+4

+2

+2

+2

+8

+16

+6

+10

+8

5

19

14

+4

+2

+2

+3

+8

+17

+7

+11

+8

6

19

14

+4

+2

+3

+3

+8

+18

+8

+11

+8

7

19

14

+4

+2

+3

+4

+8

+19

+9

+12

+8

8

20

15

+5

+2

+4

+4

+8

+21

+10

+12

+8

9

20

15

+5

+2

+4

+5

+8

+22

+11

+13

+8

10

20

15

+5

+2

+5

+5

+8

+23

+12

+13

+8

11

20

15

+5

+2

+5

+6

+8

+24

+13

+14

+8

12

21

16

+5

+3

+6

+6

+8

+25

+15

+14

+8

13

21

16

+5

+3

+6

+7

+8

+26

+16

+15

+8

14

21

16

+5

+3

+7

+7

+8

+27

+17

+15

+8

15

21

16

+5

+3

+7

+8

+8

+28

+18

+16

+8

16

22

17

+6

+3

+8

+8

+8

+30

+19

+16

+8

17

22

17

+6

+3

+8

+9

+8

+31

+20

+17

+8

18

22

17

+6

+3

+9

+9

+8

+32

+21

+17

+8

19

22

17

+6

+3

+9

+10

+8

+33

+22

+18

+8

20

23

18

+6

+4

+10

+10

+8

+34

+24

+18

+8

Twinked Tank

To compare, the same tank who has eaten his Wheaties and kept his Strength up at earliest opportunity by taking Great Strength.

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

18

13

+4

+1

+0

+0

+8

+12

+1

+8

+8

1

20

13

+5

+1

+0

+1

+8

+14

+2

+9

+8

2

20

13

+5

+1

+1

+1

+8

+15

+3

+9

+8

3

20

13

+5

+1

+1

+2

+8

+16

+4

+10

+8

4

21

14

+5

+2

+2

+2

+8

+17

+6

+10

+8

5

23

14

+6

+2

+2

+3

+8

+19

+7

+11

+8

6

23

14

+6

+2

+3

+3

+8

+20

+8

+11

+8

7

23

14

+6

+2

+3

+4

+8

+21

+9

+12

+8

8

24

15

+7

+2

+4

+4

+8

+23

+10

+12

+8

9

26

15

+8

+2

+4

+5

+8

+25

+11

+13

+8

10

26

15

+8

+2

+5

+5

+8

+26

+12

+13

+8

11

26

15

+8

+2

+5

+6

+8

+27

+13

+14

+8

12

27

16

+8

+3

+6

+6

+8

+28

+15

+14

+8

13

29

16

+9

+3

+6

+7

+8

+30

+16

+15

+8

14

29

16

+9

+3

+7

+7

+8

+31

+17

+15

+8

15

29

16

+9

+3

+7

+8

+8

+32

+18

+16

+8

16

30

17

+10

+3

+8

+8

+8

+34

+19

+16

+8

17

32

17

+11

+3

+8

+9

+8

+36

+20

+17

+8

18

32

17

+11

+3

+9

+9

+8

+37

+21

+17

+8

19

32

17

+11

+3

+9

+10

+8

+38

+22

+18

+8

20

33

18

+11

+4

+10

+10

+8

+39

+24

+18

+8

Skirmisher

High Dexterity (Str 13, Dex 18 to start), light armor, full martial bonus.

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

13

18

+1

+4

+0

+0

+4

+8

+4

+4

+4

1

13

18

+1

+4

+0

+1

+4

+9

+5

+5

+4

2

13

18

+1

+4

+1

+1

+4

+10

+6

+5

+4

3

13

18

+1

+4

+1

+2

+4

+11

+7

+6

+4

4

14

19

+2

+4

+2

+2

+4

+12

+8

+6

+4

5

14

19

+2

+4

+2

+3

+4

+13

+9

+7

+4

6

14

19

+2

+4

+3

+3

+4

+14

+10

+7

+4

7

14

19

+2

+4

+3

+4

+4

+15

+11

+8

+4

8

15

20

+2

+5

+4

+4

+4

+17

+13

+8

+4

9

15

20

+2

+5

+4

+5

+4

+18

+14

+9

+4

10

15

20

+2

+5

+5

+5

+4

+19

+15

+9

+4

11

15

20

+2

+5

+5

+6

+4

+20

+16

+10

+4

12

16

21

+3

+5

+6

+6

+4

+21

+17

+10

+4

13

16

21

+3

+5

+6

+7

+4

+22

+18

+11

+4

14

16

21

+3

+5

+7

+7

+4

+23

+19

+11

+4

15

16

21

+3

+5

+7

+8

+4

+24

+20

+12

+4

16

17

22

+3

+6

+8

+8

+4

+26

+22

+12

+4

17

17

22

+3

+6

+8

+9

+4

+27

+23

+13

+4

18

17

22

+3

+6

+9

+9

+4

+28

+24

+13

+4

19

17

22

+3

+6

+9

+10

+4

+29

+25

+14

+4

20

18

23

+4

+6

+10

+10

+4

+30

+26

+14

+4

Twinked Skirmisher

As above, but maximizing Dexterity as soon as possible.

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

13

18

+1

+4

+0

+0

+4

+8

+4

+4

+4

1

13

20

+1

+5

+0

+1

+4

+10

+6

+5

+4

2

13

20

+1

+5

+1

+1

+4

+11

+7

+5

+4

3

13

20

+1

+5

+1

+2

+4

+12

+8

+6

+4

4

14

21

+2

+5

+2

+2

+4

+13

+9

+6

+4

5

14

23

+2

+6

+2

+3

+4

+15

+11

+7

+4

6

14

23

+2

+6

+3

+3

+4

+16

+12

+7

+4

7

14

23

+2

+6

+3

+4

+4

+17

+13

+8

+4

8

15

24

+2

+7

+4

+4

+4

+19

+15

+8

+4

9

15

26

+2

+8

+4

+5

+4

+21

+17

+9

+4

10

15

26

+2

+8

+5

+5

+4

+22

+18

+9

+4

11

15

26

+2

+8

+5

+6

+4

+23

+19

+10

+4

12

16

27

+3

+8

+6

+6

+4

+24

+20

+10

+4

13

16

29

+3

+9

+6

+7

+4

+26

+22

+11

+4

14

16

29

+3

+9

+7

+7

+4

+27

+23

+11

+4

15

16

29

+3

+9

+7

+8

+4

+28

+24

+12

+4

16

17

30

+3

+10

+8

+8

+4

+30

+26

+12

+4

17

17

32

+3

+11

+8

+9

+4

+32

+28

+13

+4

18

17

32

+3

+11

+9

+9

+4

+33

+29

+13

+4

19

17

32

+3

+11

+9

+10

+4

+34

+30

+14

+4

20

18

33

+4

+11

+10

+10

+4

+35

+31

+14

+4

Totally Twinked

Starts with Strength 18 and Dexterity 18 and keeps them both maximized along with his Martial Training (not strictly a legal character because you don’t get three slots when you start a new tier, but it’s late and I can’t be arsed right now).

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

18

18

+4

+4

+0

+0

+8

+12

+4

+8

+8

1

20

20

+5

+5

+0

+1

+8

+14

+6

+9

+8

2

20

20

+5

+5

+1

+1

+8

+15

+7

+9

+8

3

20

20

+5

+5

+1

+2

+8

+16

+8

+10

+8

4

21

21

+5

+5

+2

+2

+8

+17

+9

+10

+8

5

23

23

+6

+6

+2

+3

+8

+19

+11

+11

+8

6

23

23

+6

+6

+3

+3

+8

+20

+12

+11

+8

7

23

23

+6

+6

+3

+4

+8

+21

+13

+12

+8

8

24

24

+7

+7

+4

+4

+8

+23

+15

+12

+8

9

26

26

+8

+8

+4

+5

+8

+25

+17

+13

+8

10

26

26

+8

+8

+5

+5

+8

+26

+18

+13

+8

11

26

26

+8

+8

+5

+6

+8

+27

+19

+14

+8

12

27

27

+8

+8

+6

+6

+8

+28

+20

+14

+8

13

29

29

+9

+9

+6

+7

+8

+30

+22

+15

+8

14

29

29

+9

+9

+7

+7

+8

+31

+23

+15

+8

15

29

29

+9

+9

+7

+8

+8

+32

+24

+16

+8

16

30

30

+10

+10

+8

+8

+8

+34

+26

+16

+8

17

32

32

+11

+11

+8

+9

+8

+36

+28

+17

+8

18

32

32

+11

+11

+9

+9

+8

+37

+29

+17

+8

19

32

32

+11

+11

+9

+10

+8

+38

+30

+18

+8

20

33

33

+11

+11

+10

+10

+8

+39

+31

+18

+8

This character has somewhat better Touch AC bonus than the twinked tank (+31 vs. +25, from the higher Dexterity bonus), and better Full AC bonus, Flatfoot AC bonus, and Helpless AC bonus than the twinked skirmisher (all from the heavier armor). He pays for the privilege, three of his top tier slots at all times.

Basic Rogue

This character starts with high Dexterity and moderate Strength (Str 13, Dex 18) and wears light armor.

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

13

18

+0

+4

+0

+0

+4

+8

+4

+4

+4

1

13

18

+0

+4

+0

+0

+4

+8

+4

+4

+4

2

13

18

+0

+4

+1

+0

+4

+9

+5

+4

+4

3

13

18

+0

+4

+1

+1

+4

+10

+6

+5

+4

4

14

19

+1

+4

+2

+1

+4

+11

+7

+5

+4

5

14

19

+1

+4

+2

+1

+4

+11

+7

+5

+4

6

14

19

+1

+4

+3

+1

+4

+12

+8

+5

+4

7

14

19

+1

+4

+3

+2

+4

+13

+9

+6

+4

8

15

20

+1

+5

+4

+2

+4

+15

+11

+6

+4

9

15

20

+1

+5

+4

+2

+4

+15

+11

+6

+4

10

15

20

+1

+5

+5

+2

+4

+16

+12

+6

+4

11

15

20

+1

+5

+5

+3

+4

+17

+13

+7

+4

12

16

21

+2

+5

+6

+3

+4

+18

+14

+7

+4

13

16

21

+2

+5

+6

+3

+4

+18

+14

+7

+4

14

16

21

+2

+5

+7

+3

+4

+19

+15

+7

+4

15

16

21

+2

+5

+7

+4

+4

+20

+16

+8

+4

16

17

22

+2

+6

+8

+4

+4

+22

+18

+8

+4

17

17

22

+2

+6

+8

+4

+4

+22

+18

+8

+4

18

17

22

+2

+6

+9

+4

+4

+23

+19

+8

+4

19

17

22

+2

+6

+9

+5

+4

+24

+20

+9

+4

20

18

23

+3

+6

+10

+5

+4

+25

+21

+9

+4

Twinked Rogue

This character starts with high Dexterity and moderate Strength (Str 13, Dex 18) and wears light armor. Talents have gone toward sneak attack and Dexterity.

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

13

18

+1

+4

+0

+0

+4

+8

+4

+4

+4

1

13

20

+1

+5

+0

+0

+4

+9

+5

+4

+4

2

13

20

+1

+5

+1

+0

+4

+10

+6

+4

+4

3

13

20

+1

+5

+1

+1

+4

+11

+7

+5

+4

4

14

21

+2

+5

+2

+1

+4

+12

+8

+5

+4

5

14

23

+2

+6

+2

+1

+4

+13

+9

+5

+4

6

14

23

+2

+6

+3

+1

+4

+14

+10

+5

+4

7

14

23

+2

+6

+3

+2

+4

+15

+11

+6

+4

8

15

24

+2

+7

+4

+2

+4

+17

+13

+6

+4

9

15

26

+2

+8

+4

+2

+4

+18

+14

+6

+4

10

15

26

+2

+8

+5

+2

+4

+19

+15

+6

+4

11

15

26

+2

+8

+5

+3

+4

+20

+16

+7

+4

12

16

27

+3

+8

+6

+3

+4

+21

+17

+7

+4

13

16

29

+3

+9

+6

+3

+4

+22

+18

+7

+4

14

16

29

+3

+9

+7

+3

+4

+23

+19

+7

+4

15

16

29

+3

+9

+7

+4

+4

+24

+20

+8

+4

16

17

30

+3

+10

+8

+4

+4

+26

+22

+8

+4

17

17

32

+3

+11

+8

+4

+4

+27

+23

+8

+4

18

17

32

+3

+11

+9

+4

+4

+28

+24

+8

+4

19

17

32

+3

+11

+9

+5

+4

+29

+25

+9

+4

20

18

33

+4

+11

+10

+5

+4

+30

+26

+9

+4

A little worse off than the skirmisher (does not handle surprises well). Losing only +5 to Flatfooted AC (and +5 attack bonus, from the reduced Martial Training Bonus) isn’t too bad considering he paid one less top-tier slot.

Unarmed Wizard

Just for fun, let’s see what a totally nonmartial character looks like. This character starts with Strength 11 and Dex 15, no martial training or armor whatsoever.

Level

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

0

11

10

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

1

11

10

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

+0

2

11

10

+0

+0

+1

+0

+0

+1

+1

+0

+0

3

11

10

+0

+0

+1

+0

+0

+1

+1

+0

+0

4

12

11

+1

+0

+2

+0

+0

+2

+2

+0

+0

5

12

11

+1

+0

+2

+0

+0

+2

+2

+0

+0

6

12

11

+1

+0

+3

+0

+0

+3

+3

+0

+0

7

12

11

+1

+0

+3

+0

+0

+3

+3

+0

+0

8

13

12

+1

+1

+4

+0

+0

+5

+5

+0

+0

9

13

12

+1

+1

+4

+0

+0

+5

+5

+0

+0

10

13

12

+1

+1

+5

+0

+0

+6

+6

+0

+0

11

13

12

+1

+1

+5

+0

+0

+6

+6

+0

+0

12

14

13

+2

+1

+6

+0

+0

+7

+7

+0

+0

13

14

13

+2

+1

+6

+0

+0

+7

+7

+0

+0

14

14

13

+2

+1

+7

+0

+0

+8

+8

+0

+0

15

14

13

+2

+1

+7

+0

+0

+8

+8

+0

+0

16

15

14

+2

+2

+8

+0

+0

+10

+10

+0

+0

17

15

14

+2

+2

+8

+0

+0

+10

+10

+0

+0

18

15

14

+2

+2

+9

+0

+0

+11

+11

+0

+0

19

15

14

+2

+2

+9

+0

+0

+11

+11

+0

+0

20

16

15

+3

+2

+10

+0

+0

+12

+12

+0

+0

This is pretty much bottom of the barrel as far as armor class is concerned. However, he paid literally nothing for it (average Dexterity, no armor, no talents spent) and has Full Armor Class equal to a full martial character with high strength and wearing full plate, and Touch Armor Class equal to that of a 10th-level skirmisher. His lack of martial training is really going to hurt if he gets surprised, getting caught flatfooted means he has no armor class bonus whatsoever.

Evaluation

The armor classes tend to run a little higher than yesterday, but I think they make more sense now. The tank build (heavy armor and high Strength) is usually better at not getting hit in combat, but the Dexterity build isn’t crippled comparatively and is better at avoiding touch attacks. Armor is almost always desirable (except when it doesn’t apply, as with touch attacks) but the tanks aren’t totally left to twist in the wind.

Damage Reduction and Energy Resistance

I admit that I like the idea of Damage Reduction and energy resistance being inherent to armor. It looks like Damage Reduction isn’t truly needed. Between the higher armor classes and higher hit points from martial training martial characters should have a lot of staying power when it comes to straight up combat, though the combat-oriented talents may cut back into that.

Without Damage Resistance the concerns about critical hits avoiding the Damage Resistance and how natural armor interacts with Damage Resistance both obviously go away.

I’m not convinced that dropping energy resistance is a bad idea, though. Even if armor inhibits the ability to dodge energy effects, most energy effects could reasonably be mitigated by the design of the heavier armors. Dexterity-based characters have a higher ability score bonus to Reflex saves (and their builds often include good Reflex saves and possibly evasion), while tanked-out characters who actually wear protective gear that could reasonably afford them some shielding against energy effects are more likely to take more damage.

I’m not happy about that. I’d like to see a character in full plate able to shrug off a certain amount of energy damage. I do agree that having it work against sustained effects probably isn’t appropriate, but don’t have a solution right now that satisfies me. The suggestion of reducing the energy resistance by five points per round of sustained effect isn’t a bad one, but I need to think about it some more.

Conclusion

This iterative has traded away the Damage Reduction and energy resistance for higher Full Armor Class Bonus (by adding Level Bonus), which also increases the separation between Full Armor Class Bonus and Touch Armor Class Bonus. Being caught Flatfooted generally sucks (though now less for martial characters than before) and being Helpless is really, really what you don’t want to be.

At the top end best Armor Class (+39 bonus for a full martial character with maxed out Strength – three talent slots spent) is completely off the RNG compared to the worst Armor Class (+12 for a completely nonmartial character not wearing armor and starting with an average Dexterity), but that legendary wuss still has better active defense (Full Armor Class Bonus and Touch Armor Class Bonus) than the totally twinked tank at first level.

On the other hand, the differences between the builds at the top level aren’t that bad.

Build

Str

Dex

Str Mod

Dex Mod

Level Bonus

MTB

Armor Bonus

Full AC

Touch AC

Flatfoot AC

Helpless AC

Talent Slots

Tank

23

18

+6

+4

+10

+10

+8

+34

+24

+18

+8

2

Twinked Tank

33

18

+11

+4

+10

+10

+8

+39

+24

+18

+8

3

Skirmisher

18

23

+4

+6

+10

+10

+4

+30

+26

+14

+4

2

Twinked Skirmisher

18

33

+4

+11

+10

+10

+4

+35

+31

+14

+4

3

Totally Twinked

33

33

+11

+11

+10

+10

+8

+39

+31

+18

+8

4

Basic Rogue

18

23

+3

+6

+10

+5

+4

+25

+21

+9

+4

2

Twinked Rogue

18

33

+4

+11

+10

+5

+4

+30

+26

+9

+4

3

Unarmed Wizard

16

15

+3

+2

+10

+0

+0

+12

+12

+0

+0

0

The difference between martial and semi-martial characters tends to be five to ten points of armor class. Armor is one of the key determinants of the difference in armor class (the four points of armor class difference between the tank and the skirmisher is entirely down to full plate vs. chain shirt, while the skirmisher has better touch armor class bonus than the tank). Dexterity is still a very nice to have (for the touch armor class), even for tanks, but it is no longer necessary in order to have a decent touch armor class.

Going without armor or training means you’re going to get your ass kicked if you don’t have other options. Thankfully, you’ve got a full set of unspent talent slots that you can put toward that.

I think this is rather better than I had yesterday. I’d still like to work energy resistance into it, but no longer feel the need for Damage Reduction in order to balance things.

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

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2 Comments

  1. hadsil

    You shouldn’t be too concerned about an Echelon wizard having a poor AC. That’s what spells are for. Mirror Image, Displacement, etc., provide equivalent defenses. Illusions, Walls, Fly – plenty of ways for wizards to stay out of harm’s way.

    Still, a wizard is not going to say no to bracers of armor.

  2. Which is right where I think they should be, to be honest. The fighter cranks up his defenses through sweat and hard work (they mostly spend at least two and usually three talents up there, *and* have at least some armor in order to get the high ACs). The wizard there has just ‘stayed alive’ and is still pretty damn good at not getting hit… compared to normal people.

    In this article, he’s really not being compared to ‘normal people’, of course, and will want to find other ways to stay alive, but that’s what being a wizard is about. He flat should not be as good at the physical stuff — with this build.

    Gish, OTOH, can probably not suck so bad. For instance, the tank up there has only spent two talents and could afford to spend four on learning to use magic in armor… if that’s what he wants to do.

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