I just started a new campaign and am playing with some new players.
I let them pick what roles they wanted first so they could have the most fun out of the game. The problem is that I got stuck with the "tank" role.

As as someone who only plays Wizards, Sorcerers and Rangers I have no idea how to keep a druid and a wizard safe, and to keep the damage on me without me getting killed every encounter.

I would just like some tips about how to draw enemies to me and how to survive having done so.

Class : Paladin
Race : White dragon born
Strength - 15 (+2)
Dexterity - 13
Constitution - 14
Intelligence - 10
Wisdom - 13
Charisma - 14 (+1)

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    \$\begingroup\$ What's up, Doc? Welcome to the stack, please definitely consider taking the tour! Unfortunately, your question is very open-ended and we try to work with questions that have a very clear Best Answer. This type of question may be better served on a forum. If you get enough rep (and I'll give you an upvote), you can also join the Role-playing Games Chat to talk more about it and maybe narrow this down to something that is stackable. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 25, 2018 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Relates and revealing on how detailed you need to be (i.e. even more than this): How to tank up as a Paladin \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2018 at 13:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Just in case you haven't noticed, you do now have enough rep to join Role-playing Games Chat. We'd be happy to help out. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 25, 2018 at 13:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As a reminder, the general guidance for the sorts of questions is that really specific or really general questions work well here. This is one of the latter, and should not be a problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 25, 2018 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay thanks because I was a little confused on what they wanted me to change and if I still need to change something please just tell me straight up (don't worry I wont get mad or anything). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2018 at 16:37

4 Answers 4


Firstly, regardless of how you play, you can't keep the rest of your party totally safe. There are, however, a few things you can do to help out. There are two parts to your question:

How do I get the enemies to attack me rather than the druid and the wizard?

The most obvious solution to this is to place yourself between the enemy and the rest of your party. The enemies will have to get past you to reach them. Try and position yourself such that an enemy would have to enter then leave your weapon reach, thus giving you an attack of opportunity, before they can reach the rest of your party. Beyond this, there isn't a huge amount you can do, but the Compelled Duel spell may be useful for stopping a single powerful enemy from reaching them.

Using the protection fighting style allows you to use a reaction to make attacks against one ally less likely to hit.

When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

How do I survive the attacks from the entire enemy force?

Get your AC as high as possible. For a tank, it is definitely worth taking a shield rather than a 2-handed weapon for the +2 AC. The defensive fighting style will give you an extra +1, for a starting AC of 19. A Shield of Faith spell would get it up to 21. If you do manage to get in a situation where the enemy is unable to reach the rest of your party without going through you, remember that you don't actually need to attack. You can take the dodge action every turn, and it will be extremely hard for the enemy to do serious damage, while the rest of your party pump out DPS from relative safety.

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense

Remember that it will not always be possible to block the enemy from reaching your party. There will be times when your best option is to bust out the Paladin's high DPS (because Divine Smite does fantastic spike damage), and kill the enemy as quickly as possible.

If the enemy are all dead, they can't hurt your squish little casters, can they?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE. Thanks for your first answer. Please take the tour and visit the help center to get a feel for how SE Q&A sites work best. I did an edit for format, and to add a header to your last section. Please review to make sure the edits retain your intended meaning. Thanks for joining in, and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2018 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget the Protector Fighting Style. If you really want both fighting styles then maybe a dip into Fighter to get Defense instead. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2018 at 19:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I tossed in protection fighting style details, but if you think that detracts from your point, feel free to roll it back. :) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2018 at 13:38

There isn't really an MMORG-style "aggro" or "tank" mechanism in D&D 5E, or indeed in most of D&D. 4E was an outlier, with a lot of focus on tactical combat and positioning. But there are some related abilities.

The first thing I'd do is ask your DM if they will let you use the optional Mark action from the DMG:

This option makes it easier for melee combatants to harry each other with opportunity attacks.

When a creature makes a melee attack, it can also mark its target. Until the end of the attacker’s next turn, any opportunity attack it makes against the marked target has advantage. The opportunity attack doesn’t expend the attacker’s reaction, but the attacker can’t make the attack if anything, such as the incapacitated condition or the shocking grasp spell, is preventing it from taking reactions. The attacker is limited to one opportunity attack per turn.

This will help you keep big melee opponents focused on you.

Second, there's a spell: Compelled Dual. Your target has to make a Wisdom save or else "the creature is drawn to you, compelled by your divine demand". It gets disadvantage if it tries to attack someone else, and has a hard time moving more than 30 feet away from you.

Third, when you get to 7th level, the Oath of Redemption feature Aura of the Guardian is probably for you — you can use your reaction to redirect half of the damage dealt to anyone within ten feet of you to yourself. Or Divine Allegiance from Oath of the Crown — within 5 feet, but all damage.

But, all that said, the real strength of D&D is that it's not limited to a set of fixed actions written in code. I've played Adventurer's League with a guy who has a barbarian clearly with some of these same thoughts in mind, and while the barbarian build helps him absorb damage, he does the "aggro" part by role-playing at at the table: on his turn — or, sometimes when the DM is clearly deciding on targets — he'll taunt the enemies ("pick on someone your own size", "you're too weak to handle me!", etc.) and explicitly state that he's stepping up into harm's way. Usually, unless the DM is running an intelligent adversary with other plans, the DM is completely happy to take the character up on it. Sometimes, they ask for a Charisma or Charisma (Intimidation) check, but most often not even that.

Overall, while there are some build options that support this, the main thing to do is to play your character like a protector.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What is awkward about effects like Compelled Duel is that they still allow the enemy to attack the other guy instead of you. I would say that these spells make it so the enemy wants to attack you, even though it's not RAW. Talk with your DM and see what they think. If they agree that the majority of the time they will have the enemy try to attack you while using Compelled Duel then it becomes stronger (in my opinion). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2018 at 20:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ This goes into the general "rules vs. fluff" and "spells do what they say they do" arguments around 5E. There are specific consequences, but "the creature is drawn to you, compelled by your divine demand" is also a direct quote from the spell text and is a lot stronger than just the specific mechanical effects listed. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 25, 2018 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your first 2 links require a login. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 25, 2018 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NotThatGuy Yes; it's D&D Beyond. See this meta post for policy. In short, it's not that different from referring to books you might have to buy, and otherwise much more convenient. I have, however, tried to describe the relevant options in a useful way so the links are just there for further detail. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 25, 2018 at 20:45

Base survivability is relatively easy. As a paladin, you want the heaviest armor you can manage, you want to consider a shield, and make sure your constitution isn't terrible. The tricky part, in 5th edition, is drawing and keeping the attention of the enemies.

The first answer is that you can't do that entirely. This isn't a MMORPG. There's no hate meter. There's no way to guarantee that all of the attacks fall on you and none hit anyone else. Instead, you look for ways to make it more difficult or costly for your enemies to attack your allies, and to punish the ones that do.

Beyond that, there are a bunch of different options.

  • First and simplest is serving as a physical barrier. Put yourself in front of the squishies. If you're in a 5-foot-wide corridor, then the enemy can't get past you at all. If you're in the middle of a 15-foot-wide corridor, then they can't get past you without taking opportunity attacks or spending an attack action on disengaging to get around you. If you get up close and personal with them, they can't get past you without taking an opportunity attack or disengaging. Learn to use this tactically.
  • Tripping ("Shove a creature" action) and Grappling are also ways you can hamper your opponent's mobility. They're generally pretty weak to start with, but can be quite useful with the right build support.
  • Feats are your friends here. "Grappler", "Mage Slayer", "Martial Adept" (picking specific maneuvers), "Sentinel", "Blade Mastery", "Fell Handed" (if you can consistently get advantage for the occasional free prones), "Polearm Master", "Shield Master", and "Tavern Brawler" will all help you increase your stickiness in one way or another, generally by giving you reaction attacks to punish people with, boosting opportunity attacks in some way, or improving your ability to knock enemies prone and/or grapple them. Obviously, you can't take all of these feats (especially if you want to be able to use your ASIs to improve your stats), and even if you could, you can't generally use more than one or two of the weapon-based feats at a time, but you should take a look through them and start to get an idea of what your options look like. "Sentinel", in particular, is the "wants to be the party tank" feat.
  • Class features can also help. The "Protection" and "Tunnel Fighter" fighting styles assist in somewhat different ways, and many of the oaths help our in one way or another, "Oath of Redemption" in particular. Take a look through the options your DM gives you.

There are also a number of useful things to be had in Multiclassing, particularly Monk, Fighter, and Barbarian, but I'm going to assume that multiclassing is out-of-scope for this exercise.

If you're looking through the lists of feats, oaths, and so on, and find yourself bewildered by the options, I'd suggest you post another question with more specific information indicating what you've figured out to that point and which remaining options you're choosing between. More specific questions can get more specific answers.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was looking at the manual and I was thinking of starting to multi class as a barbarian after level 9 paladin \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2018 at 20:32

I think you should specify your question a bit. Anyways:

"I have no idea how to keep a druid and a wizard safe and keep the damage on me without me getting killed every encounter"

DnD isn't like a MOBA where you can take up all the damage by standing in the front and having picked a tank class. Monsters act on their own and classes are tanky each in their own way. For example, the druid can have a pretty good hit point pool with wild shape. The casters will probably be hit too unless they stand far back. I believe it is more important for them to stay alive than it is for you to protect them.

In combat, try to stay in front. Take the tunnel fighter or defense fighting style. Use the armor that provides the highest AC as long as you can afford it. Think about attacks of opportunity and the enemies ranges. The druid can probably make healing potions to keep the party alive. There's also defensive spells.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If the question isn't answerable because it needs to be "specif[ied]... a bit", then don't answer it. This answer will likely be made incomplete or obsolete should the OP narrow the scope of his question. Also, Tunnel Fighter is a playtest fighting style the OP may not have access to and crafting healing potions is a downtime rule (which you may want to clarify) that is not limited by class but tool proficiency so implying that druids are important to the process is misleading. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2018 at 13:33

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