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jordanz
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  20:25:54  Show Profile  Visit jordanz's Homepage Send jordanz a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Outside of Monks,how do they realistically survive at high levels? What do they compensate with to compete with their armored brethren ?

Kilvan
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  20:41:38  Show Profile Send Kilvan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, a fighter could use bracers of AC instead of armors, but being proficient with any kind of armors offers more optimal choices. Multiclassed mage-fighters could easily make without armors, at least at higher levels. Many "builds" are dexterity-focused, like archers or swashbucklers, making heavy armors sub-optimal.

I'd say 3.5 offers many tools to avoid armors, but not so much in 2nd Ed.

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Kentinal
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  21:23:05  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not counting magic spells or items, just being able to take more damage then foe can sometimes work. This of course depends on foe and healing time until facing a new foe.

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althen artren
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  21:54:34  Show Profile Send althen artren a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you have a high Int fighter, there is a feat that allows
you with no armor or shield to have bonuses to your AC by
using your Int mod.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  22:00:04  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you're not wearing armor, your best bet is to not get hit... So a high dexterity, and/or class features that boost AC (either by blocking or by dodging) would work. And magic, of course.

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Markustay
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  22:29:35  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use both sets of alternative armor rules in Unearthed Arcana. Not perfect, but what is? They are better able to simulate 'agile' fighters.

The 1e/2e/3e D&D combat systems - without the optional rules - are a little too abstract for my taste. Some day I hope to play in a 4e game so I can compare it as well.

Armor as damage-reduction works for me, but I was never very happy at the unarmored AC rules - I am considering turning the Monk, Duelist, and Swashbuckler adds into Feats. Maybe even a separate feat for each stat ('playing to one's strengths').

On the other hand, I've considered an Agility stat to simply replace base AC, and use AR (Armor rating) for damage reduction.

So many variants, so little time....

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Edited by - Markustay on 02 Jan 2012 22:54:01
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jordanz
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  23:22:32  Show Profile  Visit jordanz's Homepage Send jordanz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What about Huge Barbarians of the North. We cant expect them to be nimble, actually their fighting style usually dictates direct confrontation. I understand that animals skins versus armor give more freedom of movement but that wont stop a good swing from an orc cheiftans greatsword.

I dont think these armorless fighters are just hoping they luck up on some magical bracers - especially since many have a mistrust/disdain of magic.
Am I to believe Barbarians like Monks are just so tough that they can just shrug injuries off? Hmmm that reminds be that under the old rules, berserkers could still fight at negative hp levels but I'm not sure if that evens things out enough. Beserkers could turn into great beasts at high level but Barbarians to my knowledge can't. Ofcourse I don't know the knew rules.
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Brimstone
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Posted - 02 Jan 2012 :  23:43:40  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mongoose put out some 3e rules for Conan. It gave you a dodge bonus based on level, due to not having many armours.

Besides Conan ran around in a loin cloth and bracers...

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The Sage
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  00:34:35  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

Mongoose put out some 3e rules for Conan. It gave you a dodge bonus based on level, due to not having many armours.

Besides Conan ran around in a loin cloth and bracers...

I actually think Mongoose presented an expanded system for the dodge bonus as a free download on their website.

Not sure whether those alternate rules are still available, though. They've taken down a lot of stuff that was associated with the 3e OGL.

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Ayrik
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  00:58:28  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Shields, helms, and boots/greaves are surprisingly effective defenses for an otherwise unarmoured fighter. Basic gear for any Spartan, fire fighter, or riot cop. You can't expect to dodge or deflect every blow, outwit every attack, survive every hit, get lucky every time ... but a shield is a way to hide behind a moving metal wall, to absorb tons of damage without dying. Historically, those "military" forces who lacked armored suits almost always carried shields.

[/Ayrik]
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jordanz
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  02:46:47  Show Profile  Visit jordanz's Homepage Send jordanz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Shields, helms, and boots/greaves are surprisingly effective defenses for an otherwise unarmoured fighter. Basic gear for any Spartan, fire fighter, or riot cop. You can't expect to dodge or deflect every blow, outwit every attack, survive every hit, get lucky every time ... but a shield is a way to hide behind a moving metal wall, to absorb tons of damage without dying. Historically, those "military" forces who lacked armored suits almost always carried shields.



Yep but in the new rules can Barbarians carry a shield? Are they still even a separate fighter sub class?
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Imp
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  03:13:12  Show Profile Send Imp a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by althen artren

If you have a high Int fighter, there is a feat that allows
you with no armor or shield to have bonuses to your AC by
using your Int mod.


The name of the feat would be helpful. Only ones that I know are Carmendine Monk and Kung Fu Genius, but they work only for the Monk.

Edited by - Imp on 03 Jan 2012 03:13:32
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Thauramarth
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  05:59:27  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jordanz

Outside of Monks,how do they realistically survive at high levels? What do they compensate with to compete with their armored brethren ?



How do they realistically survive? Well, they don't, really. The D&D system was never realistic. My experience does not include 4E, so I cannot comment on the combat system for that edition, but realism is not a primary concern of the D&D combat system, as designed. There have been plenty of attempts (TSR/WotC-official, 3rd party, and fan-made) to make the system more "realistic", but ultimately, there's no way around the fact that, all things being equal, an arrow can kill a healthy, prime-of-life orc (with 1d8 hit points, in 2E), while that same arrow will be no more than a scratch to an 80-year old decripit archmage, with 11d4+7 hit points to his name.

As Wooly said, the best way to avoid dying is not to get hit, but from OD&D to 2E, the chances to be hit were determined mostly by armour (or its equivalents, like Bracers of Defense). The main exception to this was the 1E barbarian, which massively increased the Dex bonuses, and the Barbarians' hit points (an 8th-level barbarian with 18 Con could get 8d12+64 hit points, or 72-160; an 8th-level fighter with 18 Con could get 8d10+32, or 40-112).

Other more "realistic" gaming systems that I know (mostly BRP and GURPS; I've never played Rolemaster, which was supposed to be extremely detailed) have armour for damage reduction, and rely mostly on parrying / blocking or dodging to avoid being hit - important, since under those systems, one good hit can kill a long-time character.

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Ayrik
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  08:17:10  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suppose fantasy barbarians, forbidden to wear shields*, would survive through raw hit points and hardiness. They might wield a second weapon for defensive emphasis although I doubt it - warriors who scorn shields as unmanly just wouldn't think that way, they'd use that second weapon to batter the enemy. D&D offers all manner of feats and powers so we can pretend the PC berserker is able to get really angry and magically harden his skin into a flexible sheet of stone. D&D also treats shields as next to useless low-defense encumbering items, which I personally feel is unrealistic, but it's the way it is.

* Dumb. RL Eurasian barbarians, Germanic berserkers, Norse and Celtic raiders, pretty much everyone who went to war without armor used a shield. Even if the best they could manage was basically a leather and wicker frame.

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Eldacar
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  08:36:53  Show Profile  Visit Eldacar's Homepage  Click to see Eldacar's MSN Messenger address Send Eldacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As far as 3rd edition is concerned, it's not your AC that should worry you, since touch AC is never going to be perfect. It's nice to have, but you can do without it. What you want to do is capitalise on the miss chance mechanics. Displacement, blur, and all those effects. For example, the Shadow Blend ability of the Shadow Dragon is a 50% miss chance in anything less than full daylight. That's a 50/50 chance of not being hit, period.

Couple that with some hefty DR to nullify the damage you do end up taking, and you should be set.

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Diffan
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  16:27:49  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Eldacar makes a very good point, as from my experiences most monsters in the 16+ CR range are going to be hitting the fighter with most attacks that roll above a 5 or 6 anyways. DR plays a very important part in your defenses as many monsters get multiple hits per-turn. Miss chance and the like are also great ways in reducing your chances of being hit compared to attempting to gain an impressive AC. The main problem is that Fighters (meaning the class) don't really have access to any of these options except a few Wondrous Items and Rings that can be made. Furthermore, at those levels Anti-magic fields are more likely to occur and thus, negating pretty much everything that was just mentioned.

4E does this a bit better overall (not in the Fighter class sense, however) as many un-armored classes get benefits to AC for NOT wearing armor unlike just the Monk and Swordsage in 3E.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

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Brimstone
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  22:48:00  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In high level 3E most monsters have True Sight, or other means of seeing so the 50/50 miss chance doesn't work anymore.

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Wolfhound75
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  22:49:53  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thauramarth
...but ultimately, there's no way around the fact that, all things being equal, an arrow can kill a healthy, prime-of-life orc (with 1d8 hit points, in 2E), while that same arrow will be no more than a scratch to an 80-year old decripit archmage, with 11d4+7 hit points to his name.


I think we should compare apples to apples here. From your example, it's clear that the Archmage has been an adventurer while the orc has not. I'd suggest that when you compare the average village-dwelling orc to the average village-dwelling elf, human, gnome, etc. that the same lowly arrow would slay all equally.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
If you're not wearing armor, your best bet is to not get hit... So a high dexterity, and/or class features that boost AC (either by blocking or by dodging) would work. And magic, of course.


Heh...you sound like Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid. "Best way to avoid getting hit, Daniel-san, is no be there!"



Ultimately, this whole issue revolves around game mechanics and how they're implemented. They're not perfect and ultimately never will be able to simulate the reality of combat - no matter how one 'Tactically Studies the Rules'. There is a defined limit inherant to the system.

IMO, and having little-to-none for experience with 0E and 4E, the rules have, overall, done a good job of simulating the effects of armor in combat. The reason I feel this is that Armor should make it more difficult to score a 'lethal damage' hit. I think that many DMs misinterpret the terms 'Hit' and 'Miss' to literal standards - your swing connected or whiff, nothing but air. I prefer to think of it as something along the lines of 'you swing and your opponent catches the blow on his shield' unless of course the attack is a natural one - then it's a whiff with chances of misfortune.

Armor protects the wearer and absorbs blows that otherwise would cause lethal damage to the individual. That doesn't mean it's impervious to damage, it means the attacker has to more carefully aim his blows in order to find the chinks and score damage. So to bring this back to the OP's question, and with the obvious game changing aspects of magical assistance aside, they don't compensate.

Reference many movies such as "The Three Musketeers". Characters die easily in taverns from a knife in the back or a rapier through the guts in a street brawl when not wearing armor but, even veteran fighters, when given the chance, will don the greater protection that armor offers. Again, referencing the movie "The Musketeer", before charging off to storm the castle, the Musketeers almost to a one don breast plates.

Does that mean that every character that engages in a fight without armor is going to die? No. Specially trained, Dexterous, Intelligent, or otherwise experienced heroic adventurer types can draw on their experience to guess where the next attack will come from. Some specially trained characters, reference the Monk, have an almost preternatural sense of where the next attack will come from, allowing that individual, over time, to become a very difficult target to hit. Particularly adroit (dexterous) characters may be able to see the blow originating and react accordingly (DEX bonus to AC, Dodge Bonus) - but they have to be aware of the attack to react to it, which is where the surprise/flat footed mechanic enters play. Intelligent characters may be able to use their knowledge of combat (something akin to the 3.xE feat of Combat Expertise) to anticipate and intercept/parry blows as they come in.

But, when all is said and done and special training aside, an unarmored fighter should be more vulnerable than an armored one. If the assassin gets the drop on you and attempts to put a blade in your spine, you're probably going to die. If you're wearing armor, he has to aim his blow a lot more carefully or the armor may defeat his intended attack.

What I think is the biggest disconnect in the combat system is the sheer number of hit points a PC has. Granted, over time, individuals can condition their bodies to accept punishment that Joe Village-dweller would not be able to withstand. But, no matter what level, getting your throat cut open should be relatively fatal which is where I feel the Massive Damage / Save vs. System Shock is designed to come into play. The attack was so effective it might slay you instantly, like being run through in a tavern brawl.

My two coppers on the subject of armor anyway. Though I admit I've toyed with the idea that armor not only makes it harder to score a hit but degrades the blow somewhat (read that as Damage Reduction) or attenuates it (read that as causes non-lethal/subdual damage instead) depending on how close the 'to-hit' roll was to scoring lethal damage.

Good Hunting!

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Thauramarth
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Posted - 03 Jan 2012 :  23:36:13  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wolfhound75

quote:
Originally posted by Thauramarth
...but ultimately, there's no way around the fact that, all things being equal, an arrow can kill a healthy, prime-of-life orc (with 1d8 hit points, in 2E), while that same arrow will be no more than a scratch to an 80-year old decripit archmage, with 11d4+7 hit points to his name.


I think we should compare apples to apples here. From your example, it's clear that the Archmage has been an adventurer while the orc has not. I'd suggest that when you compare the average village-dwelling orc to the average village-dwelling elf, human, gnome, etc. that the same lowly arrow would slay all equally.
(...)

What I think is the biggest disconnect in the combat system is the sheer number of hit points a PC has. Granted, over time, individuals can condition their bodies to accept punishment that Joe Village-dweller would not be able to withstand. But, no matter what level, getting your throat cut open should be relatively fatal (...).


Whichs is basically what I said, no ? A 100-year old human, with all human frailties, caught with his robes down, should not be able to withstand an arrow better than a bulked-up orc. That is, if "realism" is what one looks for in a system. As long as I have played D&D, everyone has tried to rationalise the hit points disconnect in order for the system to be "realistic". I've grown to accept the fact that there's no realistic rhyme or reason to it, and just hack away .

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Eldacar
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Posted - 04 Jan 2012 :  01:56:44  Show Profile  Visit Eldacar's Homepage  Click to see Eldacar's MSN Messenger address Send Eldacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

In high level 3E most monsters have True Sight, or other means of seeing so the 50/50 miss chance doesn't work anymore.


High-level 3rd edition is commonly known as rocket tag, played by the spellcasters. Basically, the first person to win initiative and throw out their encounter-ending spell of choice wins. The game begins to break down. While melee combatants can keep up somewhat (one particular build I know of called the "ubercharger" can deal upwards of 500-600 HP damage in a single turn), particularly if they make use of Warblade, Swordsage and similar classes, it's only forestalling the inevitable, since the majority of melee builds are concentrated around one or two "tricks" that they rely on, and anything that can nullify those tricks will shut them down.

One way around antimagic field, though, is to take the Martial Study: Iron Heart Surge feat. When you use it, you immediately end a single effect that is affecting you. Any effect. You can indeed break antimagic fields with it. It's also described as the equivalent of shouting "By Crom!" mid-battle.

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Wolfhound75
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Posted - 04 Jan 2012 :  03:42:13  Show Profile Send Wolfhound75 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
@Thauramarth
Apologies for poorly wording my response to sound like a disagreement. As I noted in another post, I was bored at work and needed something to keep my mind occupied so I worked on a bit of a discourse. I agree with the fact that there may not be rhyme or reason to it so just hack away and have fun and, I rationalize it with the saying I used, '...over time, individuals can condtion their bodies to accept punishments that Joe Villager would not be able to...' Afterall, it's a game and games are played for fun.

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BEAST
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Posted - 04 Jan 2012 :  14:58:38  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't play the game, so I don't know the rules or the jargon.

But what about simply hitting faster and harder than your opponent? If you get the drop on a guy, then even with his armor, he should be stunned for a moment, during which you wail away on him with abandon. Theoretically, he might never recover until you finish him or tire yourself out (especially with some sort of great weapon).

Smash his plate helmet hard enough and you give him a concussion, regardless of whether it prevents a surface wound to his flesh. Smash it even harder, and you separate his C-spine deep down inside all of that armor.

So I guess this would be akin to that old saying that "the best defense is a good offense".

What game features simulate being faster on the draw and overwhelming power?

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_Jarlaxle_
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Posted - 04 Jan 2012 :  15:03:44  Show Profile Send _Jarlaxle_ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Being faster means more attacks per round and more power means a higher attack bonus to increase your chance to hit and more damage output per hit.
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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 05 Jan 2012 :  00:53:37  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Ironically, I just created a character who fits this mold, a level 10 samurai who does not use traditional armor.

  • Base AC= 23 (+4 DEX, +1 Amulet of Natural Armor, +3 Rings of Protection, +2 Dervish Armor Class Bonus)
  • +2 Defending Weapon= +2 Attack Bonus converted into AC on command
  • Combat Expertise (PHB) + Improved Combat Expertise (CW)= Up to +10 BAB converted into AC upon use


-The Allied Defense feat from Shining South allows me to bestow my Combat Expertise AC bonus on an ally standing next to my character as well, which is nifty.

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Edited by - Lord Karsus on 05 Jan 2012 00:54:13
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Diffan
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Posted - 05 Jan 2012 :  04:17:45  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Ironically, I just created a character who fits this mold, a level 10 samurai who does not use traditional armor.

  • Base AC= 23 (+4 DEX, +1 Amulet of Natural Armor, +3 Rings of Protection, +2 Dervish Armor Class Bonus)
  • +2 Defending Weapon= +2 Attack Bonus converted into AC on command
  • Combat Expertise (PHB) + Improved Combat Expertise (CW)= Up to +10 BAB converted into AC upon use


-The Allied Defense feat from Shining South allows me to bestow my Combat Expertise AC bonus on an ally standing next to my character as well, which is nifty.



To show some comparisons, I went looking through the SRD and found a few CR 9-11's that would hit that AC with rolls of 5 or less. Whether this is a failing of un-armored characters or with CR is another matter, but I'd rather hope the enemies I'm going against are hitting between 45-50% accuracy and not 75-80% accuracy, espically when the typical role of Fighters are "meat-shields".

To refer back to the OP's question, I'd think that a good majority of non-monk/swordsage melee combatants don't survive long at higher levels without armor. Just one example is my "lightly" armored Fighter 12/Tempest 5 character with a staggering AC of 32. And in one eno****er, fought two monsters that would've rolled a 2 or better (on a d20) to hit him. Luckly other aspects such as DR 5/bludgeoning saved his life and the monster being blinded after some spell-support.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

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Lady Shadowflame
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Posted - 05 Jan 2012 :  13:36:22  Show Profile Send Lady Shadowflame a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, pish, who needs armour?

The mightiest warriors just strip down, flex their muscles, and a barricade forms out of women and men swooning at the sight!

Save a lizard... Ride a drow.
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