What are the general concepts, concerns, and opportunities for a tanky support/leader character? I mean “leader” in the 4e sense, of a character who leads from the front and whose primary role is to support their allies through buffs and healing, and by “tanky,” I mean a character who supports those allies by keeping them alive to do their things. Whether that’s by healing, buffing, drawing aggro, or—most likely—some combination of all three. I want to leverage your expertise to help me find the right balance of those factors in 5e.
My primary concerns are
- Keeping allies alive and effective
- Improving their abilities
- Being tough enough to take the attention I draw from the enemy
- Being capable enough, individually, that I cannot be ignored (I want to avoid being tough-to-kill, easy-to-ignore, which is a common trap for defensive builds), so I need “respectable” damage
We’re playing in Eberron, and I am thinking warforged would be effective thanks to its integrated armor, and it’s my preference for RP as well. I like the look of sorcadin for its toughness and the utility function of spells, but I am open to suggestions that there may be better options. Bard and warlock (especially hexblade) both look quite competitive there, to me, but I leave that kind of determination up you, the experts.
This isn’t about a “build” per se, but what effective options are available and what pitfalls they have—this is about an overview of the available content that’s suitable than it is about building a single character. Any and all sources can be considered, but should be labeled and, where possible, alternatives considered for readers who lack a given source. Content specific to non-Eberron settings, in particular, should be warned about. Level should be considered insofar as options that have are good at some levels but problematic at others (high-level approaches that suffer at levels before everything comes together, low-level approaches that don’t grow well into high levels) should be noted as such.