View Full Version : Tank Wizards? O_O

12-30-2009, 12:23 AM
Heya guys! I'm in the need of some advice. I ran into some serious problems on my last session. Most of the players in our group are new to D&D and none of them have played 4th edition before (not even the DM.) Our group consisted of 2 rangers, a rogue, a warlock, a cleric, and me (the wizard.). That's right, no defenders.

Our first encounter of 3 kobolds would have wiped our rangers and the warlock clean off the battle grid if it wasn't for our cleric. Then we discovered that the DM was using experience points as their HP, which gave us all a good chuckle. At least we got the equivelant of 21 kobold kills as compensation. :D

Even though it was a pretty wonky battle, it made me think about our team's AC. We sort of have a problem. Our rangers' AC isn't exactly up to snuff. Let's face it; they're not Defenders. They're Strikers. The cleric is just barely keeping them alive, so she doesn't have the option of putting herself in front to take advantage of her armor. And the rogue wasn't even there when we nearly got wasted by kobolds. Then there's me... Squishy me... with the team low of 14 AC.

I figure that I should be able to even out the damage distribution by some clever handling of my feats, and if I swap my orb specialization for the staff (The DM is letting us switch up our stats right now 'cause it's right at the beginning.). Right now (Level 1) I have 15 AC (int mod +4, +1 from staff of defense impliment path). At level 2, I'm going to have 18 AC (1/2 level & leather armor feat). With the combo of both the Shield utility spell and the Staff of Defense ability, I get one +3 and one +4 AC bonus for encounter spells. This adds up to 21 and 22 AC for two of the hits. Woot!

...but then I want to take the Unseen Mage paragon path. My AC boost will go out the window because I'm disapearing every other turn.
Hahah! Not to mention that now FIVE of us will be fighting for the leather armor spoils! O_O See my dilemma?

-So here are my questions in a concise bit of... um... glory.
-Are there any more ways to up my defense that I missed?
-Any general advice for building a wizard?
-Should I even be worrying about my defense, or should I just leave it to the new players to figure out? I mean, I've never heard of a tank wizard... That would be just plain strange!
-Finally, should I just reroll as a paladin? XD

12-30-2009, 06:52 PM
Your group is going to have hell of a time without a defender. That is just the way it is.

Your Wizard is doing the right thing. Leather armor proficiency, staff of defense and raising his intelligence. Magical armor will help as well. That is about the best you can do. You are not suppose to be going toe to toe with creatures on a regular basis.

If you switch out to Pally you lose your controller. Controllers are very important against minions and battlefield control.

Your problem is you have 4 strikers. Your tactics have to be hit and run if that is the make up of your group as all 4 have low AC and hit points. It wouldn't be too bad except your cleric is probably the slowest of them all. She either does not participate in the hit or is left behind.

The rangers are squishy--which is why a ranged ranger is usually better than the others. They both should have good DX and be around AC 17--likewise for the Rogue. Without the defender, you have no way of drawing attacks and allowing the rogue to setup for flanking.

The cleric is now serving as the defender /leader. If she continues that route, she should get plate armor proficiency with heavy shield.

Your best bet is for one player to take on a defender role. There is in Martial Power a fighter build called Tempest Fighter which uses 2 weapons (however they can only wear at best chain armor). I only mention it because it would if one of the rangers is a 2 weapon ranger to simulate the abilities. Otherwise, you will need to go to PHB 2 to find other defender classes outside of Paladin and Fighter.

12-30-2009, 08:43 PM
Party balance in 4E is delicate. I played in a group that had 2 Defenders and no dedicated Strikers. We could take the hits and control the field but every combat was a real slog as it took forever to take the bigger enemies down. We just didn't have enough damage output and reliable "hit ratio".

You'd do best to tweak some of the PCs to help fill out the missing roles a bit by having players swap classes and adjust their character concepts to fit. Other than that, I'm not terribly 4E-savvy so I'm not sure of other ways to address the difficulties.

12-31-2009, 05:30 PM
Woot! One of the Rangers is swapping to Swordmage (Defender class), aaaand the DM is going to join as a bard PC.
I think I'll stay with my defense-oriented build regardless. I have a feeling that there will be lots of arrows and spears tossed in my direction... and I can't rely on my allies to be around when my familiar mouse is caught stealing wallets for me! >:D

01-04-2010, 12:58 AM
Yeah, in my experience Defenders are absolutely critical. Most parties I've been in are very striker-heavy, and defender light. I think they should have made more defender classes instead of extra striker classes to encourage more balance, but oh well.

Amon Alden
01-05-2010, 11:48 PM
I think any party should be alright with just one defender. You just have to have at least one melee striker to cooperate with him. It's also important for your defender to mark your flanking target to protect your striker.