Increasing shieldless Warden's AC

25 posts / 0 new
Last post
For strong roleplaying purposes (and, it must be said, optimization of the frostcheese variety, eventually), the Warden in my group wields a two-handed weapon, a +1 frost fullblade. Said Warden, while rocking 58 hps and rejuvenating capacity at level 4, nevertheless has the lowest AC in the party. She is otherwise wicked in her defender role, with fantastic stickiness, but I do wonder if the low AC (currently 18 at level 4) will quickly become more of a problem.

Thus, my question: what are some ways to boost the AC of this character who forgoes a shield and its bonus so that she doesn't hit the deck with increasing frequency? Currently, +1 Lifefont Hide Armor is the only contributor to her AC (Int 11, Dex 10), beyond level adjustment.

Many thanks! 
MC Cleric for Healer's Lore and switch to Battle Cleric's Lore, which gives you scale prof and a +2 shield bonus to AC.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
+1 hide - 4

Secondary stat at 18(19 with bump) -4

Half level - 2.

Should be 20, minimum. And RP aside, wardens are meant to have a shield. Unless you are doing a pile arm build, stick with hammer and shield, or it'll start to hurt.
Um, Wardens Con or Wis to AC in light armor, so not sure why Dex or Int matter...

But 10 (base)+4 (stat, again Con or Wis)+3 (Hide)+1 (Magic) is 18, 1/2 level would be +2, so that is 20 right there. No reason it should be 18. If they aren't split 18/18 between Str and whatever their secondary is then... well, they are Doing It Wrong (with a handful of exceptions I won't go into).

Kind of sounds like they are trying to play a striker though.
MC Cleric for Healer's Lore and switch to Battle Cleric's Lore, which gives you scale prof and a +2 shield bonus to AC.



Would you be kind enough to remind me where the Battle Cleric info is again? I can't seem to find it in the Compendium.
Battle Cleric's lore. It is a cleric class feature that you can substitute for Healer's lore. If i remember correctly, the only way to get it is hybriding though. You can MC to get healer's lore, but since you aren't a real-deal cleric, I'm fairly certain you don't get to swap healers for battle-cleric. 

Additionally, if you're not in an RPGA game or an LFR game, consider getting an elven chain shirt for her. +1 AC. 
Um, Wardens Con or Wis to AC in light armor, so not sure why Dex or Int matter...

But 10 (base)+4 (stat, again Con or Wis)+3 (Hide)+1 (Magic) is 18, 1/2 level would be +2, so that is 20 right there. No reason it should be 18. If they aren't split 18/18 between Str and whatever their secondary is then... well, they are Doing It Wrong (with a handful of exceptions I won't go into).

Kind of sounds like they are trying to play a striker though.



Right, forgot about the Con/Wis bonus, not Int/Dex, but my numbers are right:

10 (base) +2 (15 Con) +3 (Hide) +1 (Magic) +2 (half level) = 18. 
Battle Cleric's lore. It is a cleric class feature that you can substitute for Healer's lore. 

Additionally, if you're not in an RPGA game or an LFR game, consider getting an elven chain shirt for her.  

Yes, that's what I can't seem to find in the Compendium, but I've certainly seen in somewhere!
Well then she built her Warden poorly. Not exactly shocking information, given that she picked a Fullblade, forgoing all Warden specific support.

Bad stat allocation is not fixable, except by rebuilding the character.
Battle Cleric's lore. It is a cleric class feature that you can substitute for Healer's lore. 

Additionally, if you're not in an RPGA game or an LFR game, consider getting an elven chain shirt for her.  

Yes, that's what I can't seem to find in the Compendium, but I've certainly seen in somewhere!



Just updated my post. If you look in the online compendium it's not listed, but if you use CB, just click cleric, and swap healer's lore for battle cleric's lore, and it will tell you the sourcing and the benefit there. It basically just gives scale and a +2 shield bonus to AC. 
Battle Cleric's lore. It is a cleric class feature that you can substitute for Healer's lore. 

Additionally, if you're not in an RPGA game or an LFR game, consider getting an elven chain shirt for her.  

Yes, that's what I can't seem to find in the Compendium, but I've certainly seen in somewhere!


It's in a dragon article, and it's in the builder, but it's not in Compendium.  Anywhere.

Also, it does sound like this warden is being built as a pseudo-striker, and while that can work for some defenders (like fighters) it doesn't work nearly as well on a warden.  The warden's two best options are 1h/shield and polearm shenanigans.  To use a 2h non-polearm is significantly suboptimal.  Thems the breaks.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Thanks for all the (quick!) help! Yes, the character's secondary is along the lines of Striker. The group is Infernal Hexblade (Striker), Hunter Ranger (Controller), Witch (Controller), Bard (Leader), and the Warden. Obviously, this is not a hugely-optimized group, but it excels at tactical control of the battlefield and has lots of nice synergy between members (just one example being the Ranger's imposition of the slowed condition via clever shot and the Hexblade attacking the target with CA via Vicious Advantage). 

The one glaring weakness is the Defender's AC, though she seeks to mitigate this through piling on the (temporary and otherwise) HPs. But I do foresee the low AC becoming a much greater concern over the next few levels, hence my inquiry.

Thanks for the input, and I continue to welcome additional suggestions. 
My suggestion would be that whatever race your warden chose, to redo the starting ability score array to a 16/16/13/11/10/8.  One 16 goes to Str, the other 16 goes to the secondary determined by build (appears to be Con, in this case).  The 13 should probably go to whatever the "other" secondary is (which is probably Wis).
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
If you're not allowed to rebuild the character or don't want to because of roleplaying reasons you can still pick Dailies that give you encounter long AC bonuses. Form of the Winter's Herald is surely the most prominent, but there is probably a power on every level you can pick a Daily. There is also a L6 stance that adds +1 to defenses. Add the Mark of Warding feat if your GM allows. This will add 1 to any defense bonus you get from a power (like Winter's Herald) as well as your mark penalty. Boots of the Fencing Master (L7, +1 AC/Ref after shifting) should also help.
Based on the feedback here we've agreed to refluff the bastard sword as a fullblade, wielding it one handed and adding a large shield. Swapping weapon proficiency (bastard sword) for weapon proficiency (fullblade) completes the boost with minimal character changes. But rest assured that the rest of the (very welcome!) advice in this thread will not go to waste as the character advances!
Well, keep in mind that even redoing the ability scores isn't that big of an adjustment.  Sure, it results in lots of re-scribbling numbers, but it's unlikely to fundamentally change how the character works.

The "rules" on character retraining are incredibly easy to override. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
True enough, Mand, but the character's starting score distribution was 16/14/14/11/10/10, with the top 3 indeed being Str, Con, and Wis, and the human bonus going to Str. That's close enough to your recommendation, no?
It's close, yes, but not as good as 16/16/13/11/10/8.  It gets you an extra point of AC from the 16 Con, and you trade very little for it. 

I mean, if you don't change stats, then yeah just going to a 1h/shield is going to be an improvement and one that you'll probably would be fine with if you stopped there.  Changing the stats isn't required, but it does make for a mechanically more effective character.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
If you are allowed to change your character up a litttle, is hybridding off the table?

I know that you are not that interested in Warden/Battle Lore Cleric because you want to be a striker.

Although it is sub-op, have you thought about Warden/Straladin and picking up plate? Straladins have some pretty decent strikerish support feats and powers.

 
I've only been reading the Optimization forum for the past month or so, and, though I'm a quick learner, I haven't encountered the abbreviation Straladin yet. Something having to do with Strength or Striker? What does it specifically reference? And I'd love to have the feat and power support pointed out. Thanks!
Strength-primary Paladin.  Dumps Cha, picks only Str powers.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

Strikery Defender Build (no magic items)

level 4
Dwarf, Paladin/Warden

Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 20, CON 18, DEX 10, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 13

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 17, CON 15, DEX 10, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 13


AC: 20 Fort: 17 Ref: 12 Will: 15
HP: 54 Surges: 13 Surge Value: 13

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Dwarf Racial Power: Dwarven Resilience
Paladin Feature: Divine Challenge
Warden Feature: Warden's Fury
Warden Feature: Warden's Grasp
Paladin Attack 1: Challenging Strike (Use only when bloodied. Synergizes with Warden Fury and Warden Grasp.)
Warden Attack 1: Weight of Earth (This is your bread and butter attack. It will slow the target and do a minimum of 15 damage on a hit.)
Warden Attack 1: Tremor Slam (If used on a marked enemy, does minimum of 20 damage.)
Paladin Attack 1: Blood of the Mighty (23-55 damage and it is not expended if you miss.)
Paladin Utility 2: Bless Weapon (extra +1 to hit and 1d6 extra radiant damage for one entire encounter each day.)
Paladin Attack 3: Winter's Edge (Similar to Weight of Earth but is a burst 1 instead of just 1 target.)

FEATS
Hybrid Talent (take plate armor)
Level 2: Crippling Crush (Deal Con dam to hammer attacks that slow or immobilize.) 
Level 4: Dwarven Weapon Training (You get Mordenkrad and a +2 to its damage.)

Pick up World Serpent's Grasp at level 6...Mighty Challenge if you are having a difficult time as a defender and want to use your hybrid-nerfed Paladin mark more often.

ITEMS
Holy Symbol x1
Plate Armor x1
Mordenkrad x1
====== End ======

Max damage you can do against a single monster in one action = 61. (Blood of the Mighty 55 + Blessed Weapon 6).

Max damage you can do in one action if surrounded = 232. (Winter's Edge + Blessed Weapon, then X 8 enemies) 272 if radiant vulnerability such as undead. 

For base warden. I actually have made one with pretty strong defences. Namely because of the whole earth warden part. (my terms may be off but should be close enough that a simple click could fix) 

First off. Get  ringmail armor prficiency. And then grab a polearm with hafted defense(+1 AC and reflex)
 
your main attacks like with strength of stone would give you temporary health points. On top of well... wardens regenerate health via form of the stone sentinal. (you gain health as if you used a healing surge. Which theres a feat that you gain additional temporary health points, and regen your constitution modifier for the end of encounter.)

Welspring strike. Well. slap an additional 5 regen while bloodied that oyu could use on an ally if you want. Thats always nice for a strong rebound.
My guys level 11 and sitting at 25 AC 25 Fort 19 Ref 17 Will. And if you drop to zero health for some reason. You have bears endurance for a good boost to keep ya alive. And well...

Enter the crucible is. I honestly don't know why you wouldn't take that. spend a healing surge right off the bat, and resist 10 all for encounter. (meaning you must take a large hit. Like be hit for what should be 25 and then you negate 10 of it so 15. regen 5. 10 if you used the other. so you only really took 5 or 10 points of damage from what should have hurt a lot more. On paper that is.

also have endure pain for when you see that look on the dms face. (I have a constitution mod of 6 at level 11) So say I was a good warden and entered the crucible. negating 10 already. Dm's pet boss crits big time. Like you couldn't be bloodied at that time without negations. Endure pain and there ya go.

Wardens don't have high defences if not built for it. But they turn it around with such ease that even if you wanted to worry about a shield. I think the polearm does more damage and costs you 1 AC in the end from a ehavy shield. Although who says you cannot use a halfling as a shield? My warden is on steroids. Not even at his normal load. He can pick up much, much more. Use an empty ale barrel as a shield. Your just 'holding it' for superior cover. Loop hole found.

At least coming from a dragonborn side. 

Just my handful of coins that I threw. And really. Enjoy ticking off your dm as you use the terrain to advantage and kill boss with thunder ram assault. launch the thing back 7 squares and into a spike or cliff.  then if a dragon, rooth the thing down and go surfing down the mountain. Just be trained in athletics and it may work. 
 
I'd consider changing the character race as well.  The extra feat and +1 NADs will help as a human, but you're also giving up a lot.  It may not seem like much but you'll really miss the extra ability score bump and some really nice racial powers that better compliment the Warden playstyle.

I completely agree with previous posts to try for a 16 in both primary and secondary stats.  With any Warden (but especially STR/CON) accept you're going to get hit almost all the time.  Instead of buffing AC as high as you can go, build to reduce or absorb your incoming damage and enhance save rolls

If you go with a shield, change to Dwarf, pick up a hammer and optimize your second wind.  If you stay with a 2-handed weapon, go Goliath, greatspear (for the accuracy), 2 handed defense feat for a bit of a defence bump and work on improving your Stone's Endurance.  Surround yourself with bad guys, mark everything, go into a form and proactively use those improved powers every chance you get.  Personally I tend to favout the polearm build here because your enemies have a much harder time getting away from you.  When you can pick up battlestandard of the hungry blade it gets much worse.
For base warden. I actually have made one with pretty strong defences. Namely because of the whole earth warden part. (my terms may be off but should be close enough that a simple click could fix) 

First off. Get  ringmail armor prficiency. And then grab a polearm with hafted defense(+1 AC and reflex)

Ok, first off Ringmail is only give you 5 DR (assuming +3 armor) for the first hit you take.  It would be 8, but ringmail is light armor.  At the cost of a feat?  A little stiff IMO.  In fact, Toughness is more then twice as effective at level 11. 10 HP, and it increases your Surge value to boot.
Welspring strike. Well. slap an additional 5 regen while bloodied that oyu could use on an ally if you want. Thats always nice for a strong rebound.

A good suggestion, though I personally like getting 2 level 1 dailies, having a guardian form in 2 encounters instead of just 1 is great.  Namely Fearsome Ram and Mountain's Thunder.
Enter the crucible is. I honestly don't know why you wouldn't take that. spend a healing surge right off the bat, and resist 10 all for encounter.

 Its lose a surge, not spend a surge.  Its a cost not a benefit.
also have endure pain for when you see that look on the dms face. (I have a constitution mod of 6 at level 11) So say I was a good warden and entered the crucible. negating 10 already. Dm's pet boss crits big time. Like you couldn't be bloodied at that time without negations. Endure pain and there ya go.

 The resistance from Endure Pain does not stack with other forms of resist such as from Enter the Crucible, or Stones Endurance (goliath) etc.  You only take the highest value for Resistance to any particular instance of damage.

I also like my wardens with a dash of Second Wind optimization.  Cloak of the Walking Wounded, Wildblood, etc.
I think the polearm does more damage and costs you 1 AC in the end from a ehavy shield

And reflex, though I agree, and if you go Str/Wis Warden with Racial bumps to both, MC fighter you can end up with Heavy Blade Opportunity (Glaive) and Polearm Gamble at level 11.(19, 12, 13, 10, 16, 8 starting post-racial Goliath, put 1 level up bump into dex at 8.)  Better NADs too.
Although who says you cannot use a halfling as a shield? My warden is on steroids. Not even at his normal load. He can pick up much, much more. Use an empty ale barrel as a shield. Your just 'holding it' for superior cover. Loop hole found.

 Sure if your DM ignores the rules, why not claim superior cover from something smaller then you are.  While claiming the benefit of Hafted Defense because you are still wielding that Polearm right? With no hands? Since it'll take 2 to hold the barrel, and some sort of action to ready the barrel for cover.
Ours is a world where people don't know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it. -Don Marquis