Bad AC

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I've been playing a Straladin for some time and I have known all along that his AC is kinda low (the Barbarian and Executioner both have better AC.) The problem is, I just don't know what I am doing wrong.

We are at level 26 and my AC is 42. I've got +5 Black Iron Legion Plate (undead heavy campaign) and Plate Armor Specialization. I'm weilding an Execution Axe so a shield is out of the question. Is there anything I am missing to boost my AC? 
Well, a +6 armor would not be outrageous.

Are you sure you want that execution axe? The level you're at, the dice of a weapon are hardly more than a fraction of the damage output, and you could have higher AC + a more accurate weapon. 

What other items and feats do you have? Anything you must keep, or cannot have under any circumstances?
 
Well, a +6 armor would not be outrageous.

Are you sure you want that execution axe? The level you're at, the dice of a weapon are hardly more than a fraction of the damage output, and you could have higher AC + a more accurate weapon. 

What other items and feats do you have? Anything you must keep, or cannot have under any circumstances?
 



Through various house rules (the horror! the horror!) I get to use a large one with 3.5 sizing rules (no yelling about this, I'm not going to complain about houserules that benefit me.) Rolling 3d6 brutal 2 is just too good to pass on. Plus I've been using it since early heroic and it's very much a part of his character.

I'd have +6 armor, but we've not had a chance to upgrade since we started. That will change after the next fight.

I'm a Minotaur Paladin. Here are my feats:
Mighty Challenge
EWP (Execution Axe)
Superior Initiative
Weapon Focus (Axe) --This could be retrained, but I'd hate to lose the damage.
Two handed weapon expertise
Devoted Paladin (I guess I'm kinda a Baladin. I get a lot of use out of this one)
World Serpent's Grasp (Son of Mercy PP make this essential)
Bloodied Ferocity (I've used this a lot.)
Improved Defenses
Superior Will (without this, the DM would have me stunned or dazed constantly)
Armor Specialization (Plate)
Persistent Challenge (DM likes to try shennanigans to keep me from engaging)
Weakening Challenge
Axe Mastery
Divine Mastery
(Level 26 feat has yet to be chosen; we just leveled)

 There are feats I would swap out, but I don't know of anything to put there to boost AC.

My items are geared towards melee damage and whatnot. I do have the Helm of Able Defense and Phantom Chaussures.
I've never quite understood Devoted Paladin on Straladins, but I guess that's neither here nor there.

I'm missing some love for Sehanine in all of this, particularly in an undead heavy campaign.

If you really want to go for damage, which you sorta seem to, pick an element (i'd say cold), and go all out. If damage is not all that important, the single digit difference (6, 7?) in weapon dice damage doesn't matter, and you might as have a longsword and shield.
This might seem like a stupid question, but are you using masterwork plate?  That's up to 6 extra ac right there if you're not.
There may be other issues with the build in general, but I'm not sure that I'm convinced this is such a terrible AC.

You're at level +16 AC.  Level +18 AC is what's considered desirable.  If you swapped out for a 1h weapon (I know you don't want to, but if you did), or if you have 15 WIS and your DM allowed you to take Divine Healer and take Battle Cleric's Lore (check first, since this rubs some DMs the wrong way), you'd be at Level +19.  By level 30, you'd be expected to be at 48 AC.  +2 shield bonus makes it 44, +2 for 1/2 levels makes it 46, +3 for going up to a +6 armor (including the masterwork bonus, a +6 armor gives you a total +20 bonus to AC vs. a +5's +17).  Total of 49 AC, which is considered to be above expectations.
I don't see anything all that wrong with your AC. The basic problem is likely that your allies have Elven Chain Shirt +2 and you don't. Plus Barbarians who are smart have easy access to really high ACs.

You might consider Circlet of Arkhosia Epic tier - that'll give the ability to save against daze, stun, and dominate - giving you the ability to turn Superior Will into something else.
Your AC problem is simply due to the fact that you have chosen to build out your Paladin as a striker. Since your melee allies have better AC than you, you might as well just stop marking and retrain all your defender stuff out. Have fun with your big axe though.
Thanks for the replies.

I worship Bahamut, so Sehanine is not an option. I do have a radiant weapon, which gives me some nice synergy with our Morninglord laser cleric...

I can't be the only paladin that's come here that wields a two handed weapon and acts a little like a striker. My divine challenge is a pretty good lockdown for one enemy at a time, especially with Son of Mercy.

It appears that the only thing I'm missing is that will really boost my AC is a shield, correct? I'll think about switching out, but I can't do that right now.

Unrelated, but what should I take as my 26th level feat? I was thinking epic reflexes to boost my pitiful ref defense (36).
Seems like Battlewise and battle awareness would be great for you.
If you want to go for damage, which I assumed, worshipping Sehanine will give you access to the Silvery Glow feat.

Aside of that, maybe you really want to give your feats a look over, and your items, and get some cold damage going. 

 
Thanks for the replies. I worship Bahamut, so Sehanine is not an option. I do have a radiant weapon, which gives me some nice synergy with our Morninglord laser cleric... I can't be the only paladin that's come here that wields a two handed weapon and acts a little like a striker. My divine challenge is a pretty good lockdown for one enemy at a time, especially with Son of Mercy. It appears that the only thing I'm missing is that will really boost my AC is a shield, correct? I'll think about switching out, but I can't do that right now. Unrelated, but what should I take as my 26th level feat? I was thinking epic reflexes to boost my pitiful ref defense (36).



I find the ac problem a bit odd, since in my experience, by epic tier the large majority of the incoming attacks targets a non-armor defense. My warlord, who does almost as much frontlining as our paladin, recieved perhaps two attacks vs ac in two whole levels of play. Granted, that is by playing the normal LFR adventures. Thus, my advice would normally be to not focus much on AC and instead boost your NADS.

That aside, there are a few, mostly item-related options to increase AC:

-first and foremost, drop the excutioner's axe, axe mastery and plate specialisation and replace it with a fullblade, heavy blade mastery and one other feat such as epic reflexes. The added point of to hit outweighs the 3 damage per hit lost. Also, it allows you to drop constitution for dexterity on the character. Retrain your stats to have 17 dex and use a +5 or +6 agile plate mail (16 will do, but 17 opens up the increased critical hit range for fullblades - easily doable even for a str/wis character with a stat boosting ED). As long as you are not bloodied, your AC is now 3 points higher, putting you right back up to above avarage for a defender. As a nice bonus, your reflex defense and initiative are now 3 points higher due to the increased dex score.

-use a winged shield (light shield only). This is a rare item, but works without holding it, meaning you can use it along with your two-handed fullblade. It is a rare item, but I think you should be able to convince your DM to hand you one if your other party memebers are all wearing very cheesy elven chain shirts. It's literally the only, yet still inferior, way for heavy armor using classes to get any similar bonus, while elven chain shirts are uncommon and thus easily gained, for some twisted reason.

-Use phantom chaussures for boots. They grant you constant concealment and are thus worth a rough +2 to all defenses against melee and ranged attacks. If mobility is an issue, get a (flying) mount or a stack of potions of flight to compensate for not having boots granting flight.

-alternatively, if available, a shadow band grants a better concealment bonus in the ring slot, since it doesnt require you to move and is completely permanent.

-wear a helm of able defense for a helm. It grants an untyped bonus to defenses until something hits you after the end of your first round, and will patch up your AC at least until you get to act.

Kind regards,
Dieuwtjin
Cloak of Displacement grants a +2 AC and +2 Reflex until an attack hits either of those defenses.
If you choose to use a big weapon, you are not going to have +2 shield bonus to AC and reflex.  I can understand why this is fun as a paladin, Blood of the Mighty is hilarious with a brutal weapon.  You've made a choice to defend with your healing surges instead of your AC.  You can choose otherwise, but if you are having fun then go with it.

Lunattic's post has several great suggests for your current build.
If you still want a "really big axe" maybe you could switch it to a Halberd. That would give you reach and Hafted Defense for an AC boost. That would be the minimal change. Not my choice, but still gives you your axe.
I don't really think there is anything wrong with your AC either, but since you use a Radiant Weapon, your arm slot should be open for Shielding Wrist razors, 840 gp, there you go, +1 AC.

 
You should upgrade from your swamp cooler.  Heat pump ftw.
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