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I am playing a Cleric mainly but I took one level in Rogue as it helped me with the Expertise and Stealth. I want to know what has more potential to reduce damage for my PC. In the party I tend to have a balance of doing damage and doing some healing. My character is one PCs that tends to take quite a lot of the brunt of the fight and I want to reduce the overall damage I get.

Currently I am wearing Studded Leather and Shield, with a +4 Dex bonus = AC 18. I have been thinking of trading in my Studded Leather and using Plate Armour and a Shield instead to reduce damage. I have proficiency in Heavy Armour and Shields, so I could have an AC 20.

But, recently in a fight I was getting quite low on Hit Points and I chose to use Dodge as my main action a few times. This reduced the damage I got a lot; I got hit less times because of the disadvantage on the mobs' attack rolls.

In my situation, is Dodge more effective at reducing overall damage than having an increase of +2 to my AC from having Plate armour and a Shield?

Please provide an example of the damage reduction in your answer. Thanks for you help.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Mathematically, is a +2 bonus to AC better than attackers having disadvantage? \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Feb 7 at 11:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ An argument could be made that it is a duplicate, actually. The way to get the bonuses is different, but in the end the Q is the same. I didn't vote to not bring down the dupe-hammer just yet, but it should be considered. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Feb 7 at 11:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you let us know if that question answers yours? Mathematically it's the same, but there Are other factors that may matter if you don't think it does. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 7 at 12:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand the reasoning behind this question at all, since wearing armour and a shield has no bearing whatsoever on your ability to Dodge. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Feb 7 at 12:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ScottDunnington That sounds like the start to an answer. If you can back it up with the full analysis please post it as one, but keep it out of the comments. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Feb 7 at 23:01
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These aren't mutually exclusive strategies

The options you have laid out aren't simply exclusive of each other. Each one has different "costs" associated with it. Let's look at them in turn:

Switching to plate armour will give you +2 to AC, but disadvantage to Dexterity (Stealth) checks and if you have a Strength below 15 reduce your speed by 10 ft.

Dodging takes up your action for turn, which for the most part means that you aren't really contributing to fight, at least not as much as you normally would.

If you want to protect yourself as much as possible — ignoring the obvious Don't get into fights — you can wear plate armor and dodge. Then you have the high AC (of 20) and attacks against you have disadvantage. Your party may not be so happy with you though, when your loud clunking around gets you detected and you don't help them fend things off.

If you want to know how good the trade off are, you are directed to this question however, in that question the trade off for each of the options is the same (a magic item) which made the comparison viable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @Someone_Evil What would be the % of damage reduction do you know? AC 18 + dodge; or AC 20 and no dodge. If you know, would you include this in your answer please. \$\endgroup\$ – Orc's Plunder Feb 7 at 12:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Orc'sPlunder % damage reduction is not a simple concept to use for D&D 5e, again, look at the linked answers (may especially shadydave's) for chance to hit analysis, which are doable (and close enough) without a lot of assumptions. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Feb 7 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someon_Evil It's more complex than I thought. Thiings usually are. :) Thanks again - you are a star! \$\endgroup\$ – Orc's Plunder Feb 7 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the Cleric is out in front, soaking all the attacks that then miss, the Cleric is still helping out quite a bit. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Richardson Feb 7 at 21:34

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