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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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up vote 12 down vote accepted


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


  • 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 )


  • 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:

  • Staff of Defense: +1 (Lost Mine of Phandelver)
  • Ring of Protection: +1 (Lost Mine of Phandelver)

Grand Total

  • General Armor Class: 30
  • Melee Armor Class: 27/31 (Lv: 1 Proficiency / Lv: 20 Proficiency )
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Thanks @Aviose, I'll make mention of those in my answer to seal the deal. – Xerosigma Aug 23 '14 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 '14 at 11:36
Note that if you carry a Staff of Defense then you cannot have your shield and a weapon too. So that +1 may not work. That being said, you could also find a plate armor +3 and the ring could also be +3... But maybe that sorcerer needs to share his magic with his companions? – Alexis Wilke Feb 7 '15 at 21:52
@Alexis, yea it's best to avoid the staff of you're looking to get the most out of this. – Xerosigma Feb 7 '15 at 21:58
As per the DMG, the Bracers of Defence only work if you are not wearing armour and not using a shield. The ring and the staff have no restriction. – Greenstone Walker Feb 10 '15 at 10:34
  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 '14 at 0:19
Though your much better off starting with Plate and a shield, that gets you to 32 – wax eagle Aug 23 '14 at 1:12
Yea I think Plate is a staple for this. – Xerosigma Aug 23 '14 at 1:33
You could improve by multiclassing to something with a Fighting Style. – YogoZuno Aug 23 '14 at 4:33
Plate is not that great if you have +5 Dex... Leather would be the same for you and you gain some flexibility in various ways. – Alexis Wilke Feb 7 '15 at 21:54

Pure Sorcerer (non multi-classed)

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) (attunement)
  • Dexterity 20 (+5) : AC 20
  • Deck of Many Things or Manual of Quickness of Action +2 Dexterity each, max of +4 Dex : AC 22 (p. 164 DMG, p. 181 DMG)
  • Blessing to Dexterity (+2) : AC 23 (p. 227 DMG)
  • Ring of Protection +1 : AC 24 (attunement)
  • Glass Staff +1, Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone +1, or Cloak of Protection +1 : AC 25 ( final attunement)
  • Amulet of Shield Guardian + Guardian with 5ft +2 : AC 27 (p. 271 DMG)
  • Temporary: Shield spell (+5) : 32

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 (attunement)
  • Glass Staff +1 : AC 28 (attunement)
  • Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone +1 or Cloak of Protection +1 : AC 29 (p. 177 DMG) (final attunement)
  • Amulet of Shield Guardian + Guardian with 5ft +2 : AC 31 (p. 271 DMG)
  • Temporary: Shield spell (+5) : 36

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) Shield Guardian: there are rules for an amulet 1000gp and time, but there aren't cost and time given for construction. I'd opt for a required recipe for discovery, and a time 45 Days, and cost of 57500 GP (based on splitting the difference between a Clay and Flesh golem in Manuals)

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Note that many of the magical items, especially the most powerful ones, require attunement and you are limited 3 attuned objects. Also I thought I saw something about certain type of magic not being cumulative, you can only use the highest +x, but cannot find it at this time. It may just be in spells and not magical items. – Alexis Wilke Feb 7 '15 at 22:14
you're spot on, this answer did NOT restrict items to 3 attuned slots. Will have to review and restrict with proper attunement rules. ok done – Mark Essel Feb 9 '15 at 13:06
Does the glass staff count as an arcane spellcasting focus? If so, you can use the staff hand for somatic. "A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spell’s material components—or to hold a spellcasting focus—but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components." – Adeptus Apr 27 at 5:20

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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Yeah, you can over 20 in your ability only after level 20 using boons... if you need that good AC at level 1... – Alexis Wilke Feb 7 '15 at 21:58
Was re-reading this, and wanted to clarify: why would shields obstruct Draconic Sorcerer feature? Contrast with Monk's Unarmored Defense: "while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier." Draconic feature makes no mention of shields. – Khashir Dec 5 '15 at 2:08
@AlexisWilke-That is not entirely true; if you find a "Manual of Quickness of Action," or similiar, you could increase the maximum for the associated stat by 2. – Drunk Cynic Dec 12 '15 at 21:10

1Sorcerer/2 Paladin/4 Warlock/6 Paladin/7 Sorcerer

Human Varient 8 Str/16 Dex/14 Con/8 Int/10 Wis/16 Cha

Arcane Focus/Holy Shield : AC: 13 + Dex : 16 + 2 shield = 18 AC @ Level 1

Feat: Polearm Mastery

1: Sorcerer Origin: Draconic (Gold/Fire) / Draconic Resilience

3: Smites/Dueling Combat Style

4: The Fiend

5: Agonizing Blast/Devil's Sight

6: Tome: Shillelagh, Thorn Whip, Guidance

7: Sentinel

8: Oath of Vengence

9: +2 Cha

10: Extra Attack

11: Aura of Protection

12: Relentless Avenger (Half movement on OA that does not provoke OA)

13: Cha +2

14: Font of Magic

15: Metamagic (Quickened Spell) (Twinned Spell)

16: Elemental Adept(Fire)

18: Elemental Affinity

20: +2 Dex

Spell slots @ 20: Four 1st/Three 2nd/Three 3rd/Three 4th/Two 5th/One 6th + Two 2nd level/per short rest

Spells of note: Paladin Smite Spells, Darkness, Hex, Armor of Agathys (lots of temp HP no concentration), Misty Step, Shield

Items obtainable in AL play:

  • Ring of Protection: +1 AC = 19 AC
  • Ioun Stone of Protection: +1 AC = 20 AC
  • Black Dragon Mask: +Cha to AC = 23 AC @ Level 8-/24 @ Lvl 9/25 @ Lvl 13
  • +2 AC "Shield of Faith" = 25/26/27
  • +5 AC Spell "Shield" = 30/31/32

If you want to max for AC specifically, get rid of two feats and grab +2 dex twice.

Max of 34 AC.

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in 5e you can't get more than 30 AC!!!!!

besides all you need is to get your dex to 30 and leather armor +3, shield +3

dex 30: 10

leather+3 = 12+3=15

shield+3 = 2+3 = 5


no magic needed, just an epic boon to remove 20 stat cap. then wish until your dex is 30.

this works for everyone as long as you can get someone to cast wish for your dex in the end.

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Since epic boons are at the DM's discretion (doubly so the ASI alternative to epic boons) and don't appear in the PHB, you might be able to make this answer more clear and more persuasive by spending more time explaining the use of epic boons in this scheme and how to achieve this outcome in practical terms. – SevenSidedDie Dec 12 '15 at 18:39
Is thirty (30) a hard cap I missed somewhere? Please elaborate, thanks. – Xerosigma Dec 13 '15 at 18:56
first of all sorry if my previous post looks offensive, also I just noticed the topic itself is pretty old. player handbook p 173 abilities and modifiers. It's the bounded accuracy of 5e. The DMG includes suggestions for character advancement past the level 20 mark. This is the Epic Boons section on pages 231. The gist of it is that for every 30000 XP a character earns past level 20, they receive an epic boon. The list of Epic Boons is on page 232; they are essentially like feats, but considerably more powerful. --quote from another topic-- – guest Dec 14 '15 at 14:06

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