Campaign Advice Wanted

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Recently my gaming group decided to hang up our long-time previous game (Star Wars Saga) and begin DnD 4th ed.  I was excited because I hadn't played DnD in a while, and I did miss it.  However the week everyone settled on their characters I had missed that night due to having a toothache (and had it removed the next morning).  Everyone made a striker of some sort or the other.  Warlock, Ranger, Assassin, Wizard... all of them.  Now when I got back I got told I was playing the tank.  Which is ok, I guess, but I've been playing meatshields in various games for the last 3-4 years and honestly I didn't really want to.  Now that you read that backstory: My problem.

I rolled a Warforged Paladin (Eberron setting) and I like it ok.  I added some weird quirks that are fun to use, and I like the character himself, but I'm just not in the mood to play another sword and board character.  I've been trying desperately to figure out how to replace him, but not let the strikers die because the wizard pricked his finger on a spinning wheel.  Without a healer it's bad enough, without a tank we're hosed.  I was thinking of making a Tempest Fighter.  After looking at what they can do, and my long-time wish to play with a spiked chain, I thought I could really have some fun with it.  However I admit ignorance in 4th ed as this is my first campaign with it.  I'm far better at 2nd ed and 3.5.

I wanted some help figuring out how to control the battlefield, and be the "meatshield" without having to be Constat Mcswordnboard all over again.  While I've loved the characters I've made, a change of pace after a few years of being the front-liner isn't going to kill me.  Though in this case it might very well kill them.  So I hope you can sling some advice my way.  I could sure use the help.
Play a Polearm Weaponmaster Fighter. You'll control the field AND provide the meatshield support the party needs all in one stroke. The CharOp boards can help you get started.

Happy Gaming

Trust me, if you're mostly strikers they'll need a leader WAY more than they'll need the tank.

More accurately, the tank is of limited use without some means of healing since what the tank does is encourage focus-fire on him so the damage is concentrated instead of spread across the party. They also tend to be what I call "melee controllers" in that they perform a role similar to the controller (limiting enemy options) only at melee range.

And since you already have a ranged controller (you mentioned a wizard, who is one of the strongest controllers out there) along with another fairly controllery striker (the warlock) I suspect you could do without the tank role and go with one of the tougher leader classes like the battlefront warlord (chain plus heavy shields with lots of options to grant the strikers additional attacks), the valorous bard (chain + light shields and its Con secondary will give you plenty of hit points/surges and the temp hit points its class feature grants will supplement your normal healing) or a cleric (strength or laser would work for the exceptional excellent healing powers).

100% agree with the poster above; a leader is more essential than a defender.  A sentinel druid could work quite well as another option in addition to those listed above.
Tempest fighter is a neat option, but it would almost be like having another striker in the group. If your group insists on having another defender you could also try your hand at a paladin. It is another class that could use a two handed weapon like a spiked chain, or glaive, and still have good AC. On top of everything else you can get some fairly neat abilities from the divine power source, and channel divinity. If you are playing in eberron the kalashtar race would make the perfect choice for Cha/Wis Paladin, while a warforged would be good for a strength based build.

I would also agree with the leader vs defender argument. If the defender is not receiving any form of healing, he is likely to fall quickly from the focus fire, which sort of defeats the point of having him there at at all.

Have you considered making him a hybrid? A combination like warden/warlord, or cleric/any defender , would still give you some stickiness as a defender while allowing you to heal yourself a bit. (You can trade the cleric's healer's lore class feature for the battle cleric option which would give you access to scale armor without using up the hybrid talent feat, on top of giving you access to some powers that are far from sword and board.)
With a bunch of Strikers take a Warlord (Strikers hit with weapons, warlords hit with Strikers)


I'm currently running a Warforged Paladin.  Multi-classed into Avenger just so when we get to the "boss" with the high AC I have the option of rolling twice to be sure my smites actually connect.  However after reading your suggestions before I went to the game I took a look at the Wizard's sheet.  He has 2 burst-2 spells that cause difficult terrain.  Everything else is simple nukes.  And after getting swarmed by minions on the first night I actually saw the ranger using his daily entangling roots more strategically (not to mention a stance to shoot anything that got close).

But thinking about it without a Paladin as the defender I'd never get a heal.  So your points are very valid there.  I talked to one of my friends and we're thinking of both changing to round out the party.  Him being the Warlock, though he's that melee warlock build.  So that may or may not work since the only other melee is an assassin.  But for fun try to imagine the assassin as the only melee.  He's a pixie.  Named Appleblossom.