Monday, July 26, 2010

4E DND: "Archetype Overview: Defenders"

Before I get started with reviewing classes, I'd like to make a overview so that people can expect what a certain archetype is meant to do. Here, we'll talk about Defenders in general. I decided to start off with Defenders because it's the archetype I'm most used to surprisingly, since I always play some sort of support in 3E and MMOs. Also, when I review classes, I try not to talk about Multiclassing or Hybrids. Those are best left for your imagination to dwell upon.

As a Defender, your main role is to protect your party. To be more specific, you are supposed to give your enemies a higher incentive to hit you and your high AC/HP instead of your party member's lower defensive stats. This can prove to be quite difficult, since your party members are usually doing the more painful/annoying stuff and are quite squishy compared to you.

So there are a few points to look out for when creating a Defender of your choice:
1) Stickiness. This is mainly talking about your unique defender's mark. This is the measure of how much incentive there is for your marked opponent to stay at where you want him to be and/or hit you instead of your friends.

2) Durability. Every Defender has more or less the same defenses, but some can pull out a bit more from their pocket change. Remember that every 1AC/Defence can make you 5% harder to hit. Same goes for HP and surges, and any other class features that increases your lifespan.

3) Damage. If you can deal damage, enemies won't look at you as just a great wall between them and their targets. Suddenly, your Opportunity Attacks hurts, giving you a source of stickiness without marking, which is really a great asset to have.

4) Battlefield Control. Defenders are like mini-controllers. Some of them can slow, some of them can teleport, some of them can slide and push. This is a measure of how well they can transverse the battlefield, as well as their ability to make movement painful for their opponents.

Here are a few disclaimers about some topics within upcoming guides I'm making;
1) Class Features. Every defender has something unique that sets them apart from the rest of the cast. It can be really good, it can be situational, it can be ignorable-unless-it-happened. This is usually covered under one of the sections above.

2) Class Skills. Well, I wouldn't talk much about this, seeing that it's mostly for skill challenges. All skills in 4E are useful, although if you are planning to get Skill Powers (Player's Handbook 3), it's good to consider the good ones like Perception, Endurance or even Insight. Otherwise, I won't be covering Class Skills.

3) Powers and Feats. Even though they are quite important to your decision, there's quite a huge list of them that are constantly updating as new supplements arrive, so I'm not going to review them one by one as it can take forever and it will not be updated. At the very most, I will definitely point out a few here and there in the sections mentioned above.

That being said, I think Defenders are the most fun archetype to play next to the Leader. They are also the most important archetype to have in a party, aside from the Leader, because they are the ones preventing damage from hitting the wrong people.

Keep in mind, that being a defender means you have to be highly aware of your party members and enemies around you. You are expected to protect your friends and they are relying on you to keep mobs away from them. To put it in technical terms, your friends are concerned about your Move Action, and where you end your turn will affect the whole flow of the battle.

You are also expected to take hits and eat them bravely. If you are afraid of getting hits or DM rolling dices against you, the Defender is probably not for you. If you grit your teeth at the sign of a critical hit against you, maybe you should play a less stressful class, like Warlock (not to spite that class...I think ^^).

A Defender can make or break a team. Good defenders usually choose the best position to force enemies to attack him instead of his friends. Bad defenders are...well...if you have played MMOs like WoW, you know what it's like when the tank dies. It's usually the cause of death for the entire team.

If you choose to pick up the Defender, I hope you'll have an enjoyable time playing it. The satisfaction I get to play one is a pretty nice feeling to have =)

last editied: 19/08/10

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