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I created a character with a high AC, Shield Block and Toughness to be tough, then took Champion Dedication and Retributive Strike to discourage the enemy from hitting my team mates.
Still, I finish most of the encounters with full HP. Obviously, most of this is up to the DM, and it makes sense that intelligent creatures avoid trying to attack the one with the big shield.

The Taunt of the Guardian looks great, but it is not yet available through archetypes.

What other options are there? I would prefer a magic item but divine spells are also good and I am open to any solution.

The character is a level 9 Monk, with Champion and Sorcerer (Demonic) dedication.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "and it makes sense that intelligent creatures avoid trying to attack" Bluff being a healer? ... "the one with the big shield." Bluff being a paladin? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 23 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you able to use the Remastered Champion when that releases with Player Core 2? It'll have some more helpful options for this. (I see one already in Paizo's preview blog post). But since you already have the Champion dedication that'd be pretty low investment (theoretically). \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Jun 19 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ESCE, are you talking about Shields of the Spirit? \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Jun 19 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András yes. It's not really a better option than any of these other answers specifically, but it does bear mentioning; that combined with Retributive Strike makes not hitting you quite costly. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Commented Jun 20 at 17:36

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Subterfuge, sharing, and snagging

There are few, if any, options to manipulate "aggro" in 2e. Taunt from the playtest Guardian is probably the closest, as you pointed out. Instead, you need to trick your foes into thinking you're weaker, distribute HP more evenly, or just be impossible to ignore.

Subterfuge

As you point out, enemy targeting is mostly up to the GM. On my champion, I picked up a Raiment rune to disguise armor as robes. This doesn't have a direct mechanical benefit, but a more RP-focused GM will have enemies target what appears to be a squishy cloistered cleric more often than a champion.

If your GM doesn't consider Raise a Shield or Shield Block to be hostile actions, then invisible item could conceal the shield as well.

Sharing

The share life spell can distribute HP more evenly and provide further incentives for an ally to remain close by. Note that parties with easy access to heal might find it more beneficial to consolidate damage instead, but only as long as they can keep people from being knocked out.

Snagging

If you grapple an enemy, they are highly motivated to attack you. Your party may need to adjust their tactics to end turns out of reach, but monks have several options for efficient maneuvers (Flurry of Maneuvers, Mixed Maneuver).

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Illusory Disguise

This is a level 1 illusion spell that will be good for one hour once cast. It says

You can change the appearance of your clothing and worn items, such as making your armor look like a dress.

So, make that heavy armor look like you are wearing a dress, or some other clothing that would not offer protection. It will not hide your shield but still should make you look like you are a lot easier to hit.

You can get a masquerade scarf magic item to cast it once per day (or a greater one to cast it as often as you like), if you do not have access to it.


P.S. This is a common problem of ultra-high AC characters in my experience. Our DM has the same issue with the ultra-high AC paladin in our group, and nearly entirely goes after my squishy wizard or our lightly armored rogue. That is because after some time the DM will get tired of never hitting, and reason that the opponents, if they are not stupid, would rather attack less well-protected targets.

Making it so these opponents would not know who the well armored one is may help them play this differently, but in my experience the real issue here is the frustration of the DM. It also can help to talk with them off-table about it, to make them aware how they play the monsters -- you invested a lot of resources into this specific thing vs other players that got other, maybe more proactive powers, so you should get to enjoy it on occasion, too. If nothing helps, consider refocusing your character build to one that is less dependend of the DM's beahviour.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The character is a Monk, already not wearing heavy armor \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented May 23 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is a shield not a "worn item"? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 23 at 21:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KarlKnechtel I think it's held or carried \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 23 at 21:30
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Magic items

Warding Statuette is a Spellheart, if you put it on your weapon, you can add a +1 status bonus to the AC of a creature adjacent to the target you hit.
Do not add it to yourself, and the enemy is more likely to target you, or at least less likely to hit one of your allies.

Spells

Share Life (Shield Other was this spell's maiden name), as a divine caster you can cast it. While it does not make the enemy target you, it makes sure you will not finish encounters on full HP.
Just be careful with area spells, you can go down quickly.

Life Connection is also a divine spell, as a reaction you can take the damage of a protected ally. Again, this probably does not change the behavior of the enemy, but it protects your allies.

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I don't think there is a way to make your opponents choose you instead of that juicy little cloth-wearing imp behind you. And if there is, it would certainly have some saving throw mechanic attached to it, so no guarantees.

In my opinion, the tank paradigm simply doesn't work in 2e.

I tried to create a similar character, but what I found out is that the easiest way to protect my squishies is to deliver the most damage and kill the enemy as fast as you can because keeping aggro is really difficult without some gimmick like the ones suggested in other posts. By the way, those gimmicks would work even if you don't have a shield and act like a tank; some of them will work even better.

Losing the shield and finding a bastard sword to easily have a free hand to grab while still delivering a lot of damage is the best advice I can give you.

Make the enemy fear you more than they fear your little friends.

If they focus on your friends, you are free to deliver a lot of damage that they will not cope with. Then, when they turn on you, your friends will be free to do the same, and the enemy will go down faster than if you were trying to persuade them that hitting your shield is a good idea.

That being said, it is different if you are fighting a single enemy or a lot of little ones. In the latter case, there is nothing you can do to prevent them from attacking your party. However, you can adapt by using weapons or skills that give you bonuses against multiple enemies, but mostly what you need is mobility. You can't be everywhere, but you must have the ability to be where you are needed the most. For example, if one of your fellows has been grabbed or restrained, or, even worse, incapacitated, you must be able to distract enemy resources from them to give your healers time to bring them back, so get that Fleet feat and avoid movement penalties of any kind.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "The character is a level 9 Monk, with Champion and Sorcerer (Demonic) dedication." A bastard sword probably isn't on their shopping list; you might want to recommend high-damage Stance(s) that don't require both hands. And they have the most movement of (basically) any character in the game. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28 at 11:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ i was talking in a more general way, but you are right. my bad \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29 at 6:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's fair, a goal of this site is for it to be a place people come to for answers beyond the specifics of the original OP's character. I might include those suggestions in a section separate from your main answer directly to OP. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29 at 18:09

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