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What is the highest Armor Class achievable for a Sorcerer with the Sorcerous Origin of Dragon Bloodline?

Player's Handbook Chapter 6 variant rules included. (Multiclassing, Feats, etc.)

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4 Answers 4

  1. Draconic Resilience : AC 13
  2. Dexterity 20 (+5) : AC 18
  3. Bracers of Defense (Horde of the Dragon Queen Supplement, +3) : AC 21
  4. Staff of Defense (Lost Mine of Phandelver, +1) : AC 22
  5. Ring of Protection (Lost Mine of Phandelver, +1) : AC 23
  6. Temporary: Shield spell (+5) : 28
  7. Buff from someone else: Shield of Faith spell (+2) : 30
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Good point on the magic items! –  wax eagle Aug 23 at 0:19
2  
Though your much better off starting with Plate and a shield, that gets you to 32 –  wax eagle Aug 23 at 1:12
    
Yea I think Plate is a staple for this. –  Xerosigma Aug 23 at 1:33
    
You could improve by multiclassing to something with a Fighting Style. –  YogoZuno Aug 23 at 4:33
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Equipment:

  • Amor: Plate: 18 Base Armor Class (via MC, best recommendation is Life/War cleric)
  • Shield: +2
  • Weapon: Any finesse weapon. (See Defensive Duelist Feat)

Feats:

  • Defensive Duelist: Adds proficiency to AC as reaction if wielding a finesse weapon you're proficient in.
  • War Caster: Allows casting while using weapons/shield. Important for utilizing the Defensive Duelist Feat while spell casting.

Abilities: (@wax eagle's comment)

  • Defensive Style: +1 AC when wearing armor. (Multiclass with Fighter, Ranger, or Paladin.)

Total with equipment, feats, abilities:

  • General Armor Class: 21
  • Melee Armor Class: 23/27 (Lv: 1 Proficiency / Lv: 20 Proficiency )

Spells:

  • Shield: +5 AC (Casting Time: 1 reaction | Duration: 1 round)
  • Shield of Faith: +2 AC (Casting Time: 1 bonus action | Duration: 10 minutes)

Total including spell casting:

  • General Armor Class: 28
  • Melee Armor Class: 25/29 (Lv: 1 Proficiency / Lv: 20 Proficiency )

If it's a melee attack you can make use of Defensive Duelist, otherwise you can cast Shield instead. Both are reaction actions so you can only utilize one.

Magic Items: See @Orvir's answer for magic items:

  • Bracers of Defense: +3 (Horde of the Dragon Queen Supplement)
  • Staff of Defense: +1 (Lost Mine of Phandelver)
  • Ring of Protection: +1 (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

Grand Total

  • General Armor Class: 33
  • Melee Armor Class: 30/34 (Lv: 1 Proficiency / Lv: 20 Proficiency )
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1  
Your answer and orvir's answer combined with the note of 3 multiclassed levels (cleric, fighter, paladin, for example) would be perfect. –  Aviose Aug 23 at 15:46
    
Thanks @Aviose, I'll make mention of those in my answer to seal the deal. –  Xerosigma Aug 23 at 15:51
    
While this answer is great (and marked correct) the question was how high could a Sorcerer get. It's worth looking at a non multiclass character since multiclassing is an optional rule –  Mark Essel Dec 12 at 11:36

21 without magic. Higher with it

That's pretty much the universal answer to this question (with the barbarian being the potential exception). There are several ways to go about about this.

Pretty much the go to here is to MC something that gets you heavy armor and shields. Life or War cleric is the go to. You get access to Plate right away (as soon as you can afford it) and you can have an AC of 20 no problem. Another option is a class that gives medium and shields (Pally, Fighter, Ranger) and take a feat. Lastly you can go something that gives you light armor and shields, and have a Dex of 20.

Adding a MC to Ranger, Paladin or Fighter will let you boost this an additional 1 thanks the Defense Fighting style. This gets you to 21.

This will get you to 20. To get to 21, you'll need a magic set of plate. +1 armor is currently the highest level magic item published and it is listed as rare. Obviously the DMG will likely have higher level armor which will obviously push this higher. If I recall correctly it is rumored to cap out at +3 which would make the max possible AC 23 (It's unknown at this time if magic shields will stack with magic armor, the only magic shield published is not a +x item).

Additional items may push it further. Orvir notes several that have been published: Bracers of Defense, Staff of Defense and the Ring of protection. That could push you as high as 26 and a temporary bonus such as the shield spell he mentions could push you to 31 for a round.

However, if you don't want to MC, you can take the feat tree to get it (lightly, moderately, heavily), but at that point your ability scores will be kind of lousy, you'd likely be better of MCing.

A shield counts as armor so it won't work with the Draconic Sorcy's class feature, the max you can get there is 18 (unless you have a magic ability increase beyond the 20 cap for Dex, something we don't know exists at this point).

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Pure Sorcerer

also considering DMG items with and without feats

Now that the Dungeon Master's Guide is out, it's worth revisiting this question.

Without any magic items:

  • Draconic Resilience : AC 13
  • Dexterity 20 (+5) : AC 18
  • Temporary: Shield spell (+5) : 23

Without any Magic items but with optional feats:

  • Feats (Lightly Armored, Medium Armored for shield proficiency)
  • Draconic Resilience : AC 13 + Dexterity 20 (+5) : AC 18 + Shield (+2) : AC 20 (not 100% clear that draconic resilience will work with a shield)
  • or Half Plate (+5): AC 15 + Dexterity (cap at +2) : AC 17 + Shield (+2) : AC 19
  • or Heavily Armored feat Plate (+8) : AC 18 + Shield (+2) : AC 20
  • Temporary: Shield spell (+5) : 24-25

With Magic items but without optional feats:

  • Robe of the Archmagi AC 15 base (p. 194 DMG)
  • Dexterity 20 (+5) : AC 20
  • Deck of Many Things Start +2 Dexterity : AC 21 (p. 164 DMG)
  • Blessing to Dexterity (+2) : AC 22 (p. 227 DMG)
  • Ring of Protection +1 : AC 23
  • Glass Staff +1 : AC 24
  • Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone +1 : AC 25 (p. 177 DMG)
  • Temporary: Shield spell (+5) : 30

With Magic items and optional feats:

  • Feats (Lightly Armored, Medium Armored for shield proficiency, Heavily Armored)
  • Plate +3 (+11) : AC 21 + Shield +3 : AC 26
  • Ring of Protection +1 : AC 27
  • Glass Staff +1 : AC 28
  • Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone +1 : AC 29 (p. 177 DMG)
  • Temporary: Shield spell (+5) : 34

Some notes:

It's much quicker (level wise) to achieve a +2 dexterity modifier to AC than a +5, or to skip dexterity entirely in favor of expended feats.

With a Shield and Glass staff, you'll have to move the staff to your shield hand to cast somatic component spells.

From one of the designers, Mearls Crawford:

Q: Any advice on handling Clerics/druids with shields and spell casting? They seem disadvantaged without a hand free for S/M comps.

A: Just stow that weapon in the shield hand for a moment and you're good - the rule isn't there to restrict, but to clarify. -M

(source)

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thanks for the editing David –  Mark Essel Dec 12 at 23:01

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