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I have built a very squishy level 1 leader (dragonborn cleric or warpriest) with 16 AC and 10 reflex and was wondering about the best ways to improve these defences without changing their stats. Currently my main worry is the low reflex save and I was wondering if there was any way to boost it a bit. I thought about the Lightening Reflexes feat, but giving them a defence of 12 really isn't going to be that much better unless I stack it with some other stuff. Should I take the feat, and does anyone have any ideas about how to boost this early on?

They are currently wearing studded leather armour (+3 light with no penalties, Tough: first crit vs AC of encounter becomes a regular hit) as they have a class-feature that lets them use wisdom as a bonus to AC when not wearing heavy armour. Has anyone got any good suggestions?

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I should also mention that he is wilding a two-handed weapon (fulblade, 1d12. High crit) do you think it would be worth going down to a d10 weapon to gain a shield? – Hadashi Jul 19 '14 at 13:25
Yes, it would be, and you don't want to spend a feat on a Fullblade at L1 anyways. – wax eagle Jul 19 '14 at 17:12
Quick question, what are your starting stats? – wax eagle Jul 19 '14 at 17:15
Strength: 18 Constitution: 14 Dexterity: 8 Intelligence: 11 Wisdom: 18 Charisma: 8 – Hadashi Jul 20 '14 at 9:43
Better choices? Comments are not for extra questions and it wouldn't be good as a Question in our format (opinion-based), but you have enough reputation to join the Role-playing Games Chat, where such discussion is legit. Several 4e players hang out there, including me. – Zachiel Jul 20 '14 at 11:08
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Let's start with the basics, 10 reflex at first level isn't great, but it's not atypical either. There are some things you can do about it though.

The two best ways to patch reflex are as follows:

  • Superior Reflexes - this gives you a scaling +2 bonus to reflex and CA on your first turn every encounter. However, don't burn your L1 feat on this

  • Wield a shield - Heavy shields provide +2 to reflex, Light +1. You get light shields with your class, use one.

Lightning reflexes can be used instead of Superior if you don't meet the stat pre-reqs (which you don't right now), but it's not as good.

That said, this leads to a bit of a discussion on how to allocate stats in 4e. If you don't provide at least a 12 (or better yet a 13) to a stat that feeds each defense, you're going to be running a bit behind and you won't have access to all of the superior feats.

That said, the simplest patch for Non-AC defenses is to take the Improved Defenses feat, there are no special benefits here, just a scaling +1 to each NAD.

Without re-allocating your stats, you can get an 11 Reflex just by grabbing a shield (and boost your AC a bit too while you do it), that's plenty for now.

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Shall you be a Cleric or a Warpriest, your role as a leader is to keep your party alive by healing and throwing around buffs.
4e's mechanics let you contribute to damage as well (unlike older editions where if you wanted to heal your party you needed to spend your whole turn doing so, thus the healbot concept was born) but dealing lots of damage, while nice to kill enemies faster, shouldn't be the priority for your class.

Hence the lack of need to use a weapon like the fullblade, that uses up your feats to increase your damage, especially when this means being hit a lot and risking to be unable to dish out damage because you get knocked out too soon.
Get a shield, it's good for you. Also, if your healing/buffing powers need to hit in melee, stick to a one-handed weapon with a +3 competence, unless there's some weapon-type-specific enchantment you need. (Since you were using a fullblade, I guess there won't be RP problems with using a sword, given your deity of choice.)

Shield apart, fish for feats (some feats are called tax feats in 4e players' lingo, since you absolutely need them to be effective, and defense boosting ones like Improved Defenses are among those in my book) and for necklaces: magic necklaces boost your non-AC defenses.

Tl;dr: read the bolded parts.

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