So... are my players suboptimal?

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Well, my players are all lvl 7 by now... and we're running a campaign where they made humans only, and one Halfng Rogue.

 I found a problem with them , and it's that their AC values are quite easy to hit by enemies their level. I mean, LVL 7 enemies have a +11 to attacks on most cases, and the Lowest AC on my party is 20, ehich well, on a roll of 9 is a guaranteed hit against the player.

I know some characters such as wizards and such shouldn't have astonishing AC values, but let's say, the Warden of the Party has only 23 AC compared to our 24 AC Paladin, whereas the Runepreiest has 20 AC and the Cleric has 22.

Our common group is: Warden (23 AC), Wizard (20 AC), Cleric (22 AC), Rogue (26 AC) and Barbarian (22 AC).

The AC of the Rogue is because of his build, the "Most Annoying Rogue Ever". I've checked the player guides and handbooks, and I can't find shere are my players failing... They have Magic Equipments +2, they have shields (defenders), etc... 
No one should have below level+14 AC.
Melee Strikers should have level+16 AC.
Defenders should have level+18 AC.

So, yeah, your party is way below where they should be. You're going to need to post the entire character for each person before we can figure out where your players went wrong though. Well, except the Warden, I know where he went wrong from your other thread.
They aren't all way off.  The wizard is probably ok.  Slightly below expected AC, but wizards tend to have pretty good ways of keeping themselves out of trouble.  The rogue is fine, and the cleric is fine if he's mostly ranged.  The barbarian and warden are failing pretty badly though - particularly the warden.  What's the point of being the defender if the bad guys can just chew you up first and then move on to the rest of the group?
Level 7 is rough for Light Armor wearers, next level the math fixes itself slightly and they should go up by 2 AC (+1 from half level, +1 from a stat increase to have an even stat)

I'd say the Wizard is actually fine, UA isn't easy to fit into your first 4 feats, ECS is level 9, and not everyone goes Staff, though he ought to have Aversion in OH for a conditional +2.

Runepriest (+2 Scale and Light Shield should be 24) and Paladin (+2 Plate and Heavy Shield should be 26) are definitely too low, as is the Cleric who should have Battle Cleric's Lore (Scale Armor and +2 Shield bonus) for a 25.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
i have a level 3 halfling rogue with 22 ac.

23 ac on a level 7 warden is unforgiveable.
Not sure the person who gave a rogue 22 AC at level 3 is really in a place to speak when the OP asks if something is suboptimal.

Must have taken at least one defensive feat, which means one less offensive orientated feat. 
i could fit it because my dm gave us a free houseruled feat.

i'm also in a defender-less party.
Ok guys, their characters sheets are this way:

 The Barbarian is:
Level 7 Human Barbarian

20 STR, 14 CON, 14 DEX, 8 INT, 10 WIS, 10 CHA (I don't know if the added his +1 to two stats on lvl 4...)

21 AC, 22 FOR, 18 REF, 15 WILL

He's a rageblood.

Now the Cleric:
Level 7 Human Cleric

14 STR, 10 CON, 8 DEX, 13 INT, 19 WIS, CHA 15 (She did apply her two +1s)

22 AC, 16 FOR, 16 REF, 20 WILL

She has Healer's Mercy and is a "Laser Cleric", tough her at-will are Astlar Flare, Lance of Faith and Astral Seal
The barbarian needs to read the handbook. Stop messing with Con, lower Str to a starting 16 (18 after racials), and get some Wis. The current builds biggest problem is not even AC, but dominate bait instead.
I am assuming he started 18/13/13, dropped the +2 racial bonus in strength, and the +1/+1 at level 4 in Con and Dex.

The Cleric leaves me at a loss for words.     
:/ So the cleric deffinitely sucks...

What is exactly wrong with her build?
Well, I CAN  let them read the handbooks, but the same is bound to happen anyways... they have not the level of english I have (nope, none of us are from USA), and I'm the owner of the handbooks. We all made the character creating session, they SEEMED to understand; they even correct me at times about some rules usage, but yeah, I feel the barb and the cleric are well... suboptimal. The Barb is a splendid damage dealer tough and has saved the group many times before. Rogue is delving into frostcheese.

How can I help them make a better build? I am kinda ashamed since I actually helped them build their characters, and well, these two went particullary bad in survivavility. 
Well, I have never played a Cleric, and rarely seen one in action, so perhaps someone else can give you better advice. Failing that, for starters:


Drop Str altogether, do not get Str based attacks, or alternatively, build it up as a second primary.
 Choose all Wisdom based attacks, implement. Then go something like 8/15/13/10/17/10 at start.
Oh, and Brand of the Sun as at-will. Since granting saving throws should start to matter. 

I do not like boosting both ability scores that lead into one defense (Will in this case), but a point could be made for Charisma in favor of Dexterity. 

And by reading the handbooks, I meant the guides posted here.
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
 

Does the cleric have BCL?  If not, get BCL.  That solves most AC problems out of the gate.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Hermit, Matyr, and the others offered good advice...even if english isn't your first language (Google Chrome has an automatic-translation feature, or so I've heard), definitely look into the perspective class handbooks, that can't be stressed enough. Blue/Sky-Blue/Gold are your focus areas for feats/powers/etc, and should be look at above all else.
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It looks based on your response that it needs to be clarified that "look at the handbooks" on this board does not refer to the Player's Handbooks, but to the community-written class guides written on these forums or the wiki.

The first and most common mistake people make when they make a barbarian is to take the PHB's word for it that CON is a viable secondary stat. It is not. DEX is rageblood's secondary stat. Initiative and AC are far superior to a handful of THP.

The first and most common mistake people make when making clerics is to use healer's lore instead of Battle Cleric's Lore.
Have the cleric trade Healer's Lore for Battle Clerics Lore. 
The Battle Cleric's Lore option came from Dragon #400, and is in the online character builder if you have access to that.

If you don't, what it does for AC is allow the cleric to use scale armor and it grants a +2 shield bonus to AC. This should be an immediate +3 bonus to the AC of the cleric.

Also, make sure you are calculating the masterwork values for the armor correctly (you don't seem to be).
At 7th level, someone in +2 chain should have
10 + 3 (half level) + 6 (chain base) + 1 (MW) + 2 (Enh). That's atleast 22.
As mentioned, switching up to scale and getting a +2 shield bonus will put him/her to 25.

Similarly, the paladin should have
10 + 3 + 8 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 26

Again, the online char builder will do these calculations for you. I'm not sure how expenisive it would be based on your country/exchange rate, but it may be worth getting your group to combine funds and get it for 1 month... 
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
I'll be the devil's advocate here, and say those AC's are all fine, and that your PC's aren't necessarily doing anything wrong, other than ignoring a couple optimal choices, but that's not going to be detrimental if everyone is around the same optimization level. I might consider asking the halfling rogue to tone it down maybe (or maybe not, he is spending a lot of resources for that AC which is a significant opportunity cost), and it should all be fine. The following can all be moderately optimized characters in many aspects, even if their AC is not optimized.

Warden - AC 23: 10 base +3 level +3 hide +2 enhancement +3 stat +2 shield = 23
This is what I would expect from any baseline human warden.

Wizard - AC 20: 10 base +3 level +0 cloth +2 enhancement +5 stat = 20
I see nothing wrong here. So he isn't a staff wizard and didn't squeeze in unarmored agility. No big deal.

Cleric - AC 22: 10 base +3 level +6 chain +1 MW + 2 enhancement = 22
Yes BCL is better as everyone is saying, but at low levels, if you're a wisdom cleric, the extra 4-5 HP's is pretty useful. The usefulness tapers off in paragon, at which point, you could always allow the cleric to retrain to BCL if he wants.

Barbarian - AC 22(21?): 10 base +3 level +3 hide +2 enhancement +3 stat +1 class = 22
This seems to be baseline. AC 21 is all of 1 point behind. Not the end of the world.

Paladin - AC 24: 10 base +3 level +8 plate +1 MW +2 enhancement = 24
Seems like what I would expect from a two handed-weapon Paladin. Most paladins even secondary strikers are recommended a shield, but if the player dislikes the skill penalties and is happy with a bigger weapon, it's not a terrible choice. AC 26 in that group may actually be too much deterrent for monsters to attack him, and they might go after his crunchier allies, with the paladin punishment being somewhat dismal at these levels.

Runepriest - AC 20: 10 base +3 level +3 hide +2 enhancement +3 stat = 20
This is what a human serene blade might have.

In general, light armor wearers are in a weak spot at level 7, because heavy armor wearers have gotten their masterwork upgrade, but light armor wearers have not gotten their stat bump. But these AC's all seem playable to me, and in many games, are the AC's I'm not surprised to see.

If monsters are hitting PC's too much, I make adjustments on the monster side. I may lower damage a bit, may use lower level monsters, and may use fewer monster attacks that inflict conditions, or put them on a less frequent recharge.
The Op said the defenders have shields, so i'm assuming that means the Pally (which would make him 2 points low). I think they aren't calculating the MW bonuses, and in conjunction with a light shield, the pally would still have a 24...

But as you mentioned those numbers really aren't very far off.


As an aside,
The rogue, even with a 20 starting dex, his 'static' ac would probably only be around 23 (10 + 3 + 5 dex + 2 leather + 2enh + 1 shield/rhythm blade/cutting wheel/etc). 

So, i'm guessing the rogue is an artful dodger, and that 26 is actually his ac against OA's (they may be incorrectly adding his cha to ac all of the time). Assumming postracial 18's in dex/cha:
10 + 3 + 4 (dex) + 2 (leather) + 2 (enh) +1 (shield) +4 (cha against OA) = 26
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
The Op said the defenders have shields, so i'm assuming that means the Pally (which would make him 2 points low). I think they aren't calculating the MW bonuses, and in conjunction with a light shield, the pally would still have a 24...

But as you mentioned those numbers really aren't very far off.


As an aside,
The rogue, even with a 20 starting dex, his 'static' ac would probably only be around 23 (10 + 3 + 5 dex + 2 leather + 2enh + 1 shield/rhythm blade/cutting wheel/etc). 

So, i'm guessing the rogue is an artful dodger, and that 26 is actually his ac against OA's (they may be incorrectly adding his cha to ac all of the time). Assumming postracial 18's in dex/cha:
10 + 3 + 4 (dex) + 2 (leather) + 2 (enh) +1 (shield) +4 (cha against OA) = 26



If he is running The Most Annoying Rogue Ever then that could be the correct AC. 



If he is running The Most Annoying Rogue Ever then that could be the correct AC. 




Good call! Thanks for the link.
But there is still a discrepency: Building him at level 7 gets you a 25 ac (even with B&BD). 
So he still seems to be a point high. But yeah, i'll concede that it is probably possible if they deviated from the standard build...
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
This party shouldn't have any trouble.  The main factor is usually tactics, tbh.  People focus so much on builds, but most normal parties can handle most normal encounters... If you're wiping your party, it probably just means you're a better tactician than the average people in your group.  The danger with a tactically superior DM is they just outplay their party every encounter.  When I'm running, I don't focus fire with my monsters, etc., if I don't think the party is that tactically skilled.  I have them attack different targets, the fight is still challenging, but the party usually wins, etc.

Alternatively, you could just be running things that are way too hard, but I don't know what you're running at in terms of lvl+0,+1,+2, etc.

Ok guys, reading all of this I notice something: You talk about Masterwork Armors
The question is: LVL 7 is a good time to start using it? I read on the DMs guide Masterwork armors won't start showing until Paragon or something like that...

They're still wearing Magic Armors that give them +2 to the Armor Bonus, and Magic Weapons and Implements with +2 bonus. Their current gold (all the party joins their gold to have a common monney batch) is 17,853, based on their visit to a Magic Item Shop.

 So, where or what are the REAL bases for giving away Masterwork armors? I mean, everything up +2 is quite expensive since it's Masterwork.
Masterwork armor is a math hack.  ALL armor should be one of the masterwork armors, the best masterwork available at that enhancement.

It costs nothing extra.  It's baked in. 

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Masterwork armor is a math hack.  ALL armor should be one of the masterwork armors, the best masterwork available at that enhancement.

It costs nothing extra.  It's baked in. 



I don't get it... I mean, should I be giving feyweave armor instead of normal cloth armor then? ;/

Geez, it's kinda confusing...  
Masterwork armor is a math hack.  ALL armor should be one of the masterwork armors, the best masterwork available at that enhancement.

It costs nothing extra.  It's baked in. 

Except that as far as I can tell none of the masterwork armors are available below +3 enhancement (i.e., 11th level and paragon tier).

There's no masterwork light armor until 11. Heavy armor starts at 6, so at least the paladin should have layered plate or whatever it's called.
I don't get it... I mean, should I be giving feyweave armor instead of normal cloth armor then? ;/

Yes.  If you're giving +4 cloth armor, it should be feyweave.  (Or one of the other +4 options from AV, that sacrifices a point of AC for a NADs boost).

Alternately, you can throw away the concept of masterwork armor, but at that point you need to grab the essentials books and use the AC table they have, which includes the masterwork bonuses.

Re: when the bonuses kick in.

See the expertise scaling issues?  The system assumes things go up by 1/level, and tries to get that on average by adding in enhancement, stat boosts, and 1/2 level?  And you're vagually aware of how they fail to quite keep up by a few points?

Well, Masterwork Armor is how that's fixed for Armor.  And it was part of the PHB: they caught that one.  The others (attacks, NADs) got out before getting caught, so we have weird feat patches instead.

In addition, Heavy Armor has a 2nd issue: no stat scaling.  So in addition to the slight boosts masterwork armor gives light armor wearers (which is the expertise fix in another form), heavy armor needs scaling to replace the stat.  So Heavy armor REALLY REALLY needs to be masterwork.

PHB tables work, they're just a bit coarse.  Adding in the AV tables gets you a smoother progression with fewer glitches. 

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

I am always hard pressed to blame characters for being "subpar". If the DM sees this happening in game, he or she should simply adjust the creatures that the party is fighting. I do not see any one character that is optimized and stealing the show. The DM has the power to simply react and adjust encounters to fit the players. In the DM's eyes, perhaps the characters are their true level minus 1 or 2. Now the players are effective, everyone is having fun and there is less worry about trying to get everyone maxed and OP.

Another thought is that if they are building less than optimized characters, they may be picking poor powers and playing less "ideally". The DM compensation would also solve this as well.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

"Adjust the encounters to match the PCs ability" is a bit of a fallacy. If you get upset because your character died, it is not the fault of the game or (necessarilly) the DM, you really can't reach any reasonable level of proficiency in something without experiencing failure at least a few times. Besides, if the risk of failure is the same at both high and low optimization, it's very much cheating those of us who actually put real effort in.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
As DM, there isn't much you can do about disparity. Just today, I had the following happen. Striker goes, hits something with an encounter power, does 12 damage. Controller goes, hits three things with an encounter power, does 31 damage to each, creates a zone in burst 2 that does blah blah. It's anecdotal, but the point is, people need to figure out how to build characters. What's a DM to do, tell the poorly built striker, yo, from now on you deal +25 damage? Not really an elegant solution. Start nerfing the controller's perfectly legitimate character? That's even worse. Best remaining approach is helping the striker build a more effective character.
As DM, there isn't much you can do about disparity. Just today, I had the following happen. Striker goes, hits something with an encounter power, does 12 damage. Controller goes, hits three things with an encounter power, does 31 damage to each, creates a zone in burst 2 that does blah blah. It's anecdotal, but the point is, people need to figure out how to build characters. What's a DM to do, tell the poorly built striker, yo, from now on you deal +25 damage? Not really an elegant solution. Start nerfing the controller's perfectly legitimate character? That's even worse. Best remaining approach is helping the striker build a more effective character.



I think Zathris' point is whether the burden of doing so is on the DM or the player.  He thinks (and to a certain extent I think as well) that the burden should be on the player.  In my opinion players who are just entering the game with an experienced DM should be able to rely on their DM to help them build something strong.  If they have been playing for 6 months, well then the burden to improve is on them.  
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
I am always hard pressed to blame characters for being "subpar". If the DM sees this happening in game, he or she should simply adjust the creatures that the party is fighting. I do not see any one character that is optimized and stealing the show. The DM has the power to simply react and adjust encounters to fit the players. In the DM's eyes, perhaps the characters are their true level minus 1 or 2. Now the players are effective, everyone is having fun and there is less worry about trying to get everyone maxed and OP.

Another thought is that if they are building less than optimized characters, they may be picking poor powers and playing less "ideally". The DM compensation would also solve this as well.

While I agree with you, I've met a lot of DMs who lack either the skill, the extra time, or the motivation to tailor encounters to the party. A good number of people simply run modules as-is and can't or won't put in the effort to make changes while needed.

Secondly, most new players I've met really don't mind suggestions on how to function better. I had a bard in chainmail who would have had a better AC in hide, and when I pointed it out he was grateful. A couple other players are overwhelmed by feat choices and have sighed with relief when I gave them a couple options that would be good for them.

In the end, the game is about being heroic, and if you can make a PC better at its job without damaging the character concept (and admittedly this is where it breaks down for some players), then the party can feel more heroic and just overall badass.
As DM, there isn't much you can do about disparity. Just today, I had the following happen. Striker goes, hits something with an encounter power, does 12 damage. Controller goes, hits three things with an encounter power, does 31 damage to each, creates a zone in burst 2 that does blah blah. It's anecdotal, but the point is, people need to figure out how to build characters. What's a DM to do, tell the poorly built striker, yo, from now on you deal +25 damage? Not really an elegant solution. Start nerfing the controller's perfectly legitimate character? That's even worse. Best remaining approach is helping the striker build a more effective character.



That's true to an extent. But ideally, characters are balanced against each other in terms of effectiveness. That Striker clearly needs a big damage boost, but it may also mean the Controller needs to be asked to tone it down a notch.

Many players, if the DM asks nicely, will tone down their characters for the sake of the group. It is much better route than having half the table revolt because they never get to do anything and they're playing reasonably optimized characters... 
As DM, there isn't much you can do about disparity. Just today, I had the following happen. Striker goes, hits something with an encounter power, does 12 damage. Controller goes, hits three things with an encounter power, does 31 damage to each, creates a zone in burst 2 that does blah blah. It's anecdotal, but the point is, people need to figure out how to build characters. What's a DM to do, tell the poorly built striker, yo, from now on you deal +25 damage? Not really an elegant solution. Start nerfing the controller's perfectly legitimate character? That's even worse. Best remaining approach is helping the striker build a more effective character.



I think Zathris' point is whether the burden of doing so is on the DM or the player.  He thinks (and to a certain extent I think as well) that the burden should be on the player.  In my opinion players who are just entering the game with an experienced DM should be able to rely on their DM to help them build something strong.  If they have been playing for 6 months, well then the burden to improve is on them.  


Exactly. I should have prefaced my statement by saying that Tutorial Mode is a thing, but at some point you should actually play the game.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Another problem with the DM adjusting encounter difficulty for weaker parties is the slowed progression from the weaker encounters.

While the DM can and probably should adjust the strength of enounters to what the party can handle, that isn't a real solution in my opinion.
Another problem with the DM adjusting encounter difficulty for weaker parties is the slowed progression from the weaker encounters.

While the DM can and probably should adjust the strength of enounters to what the party can handle, that isn't a real solution in my opinion.



Or the DM could adjust the strength for the group and ignore EXP (which is what me and all my local DMs have been doing for a couple years now).
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
I have only been popping in from time to time to see what wonderful insight folks have and i guess it really boils down to how and where the game is played. If you are playing in a home group setting then i would assume that most of the DM's encounters are designed to meet the middle ground of his players where all levels of play get their chance to shine.
If these games are played from LFR-mods with mostly random tables with the DM running straight from those mods then...well... the under-opped players will either get their **** kicked, hopefully not drag the rest of the group down in flames with them, pick themselves up off the floor and ask for help from the more experienced players or just learn to build better PC's themselves.