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What is the highest Armor Class achievable for a Sorcerer with the Sorcerous Origin of Draconic Bloodline?

Player's Handbook Chapter 6 variant rules included. (Multiclassing, Feats, etc.)

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Equipment:

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

Feats:

  • 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.

Class-features: (@wax eagle's comment)

  • Multiclass: Defense Fighting Style: +1 AC when wearing armor. (requires 1 level in Fighter, or 2 levels of Ranger or Paladin.)

Total with equipment, feats, class-features:

  • General Armor Class: 21
  • Melee Armor Class: 23/27 (Lv: 1 Proficiency / Lv: 20 Proficiency )

Spells:

  • Shield: +5 AC (Casting Time: 1 reaction | Duration: 1 round)
  • Shield of Faith: +2 AC (requires multiclass of 2 levels in Paladin or 1 level in Cleric; Casting Time: 1 bonus action | Duration: 10 minutes, Concentration)

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 reactions so you can only utilize one per round.

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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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Mar 1 '18 at 2:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I edited some details for clarity. I also added how a sorcerer would be able to cast Shield of Faith. If I assumed wrongly that it would require a multiclass in paladin/cleric, or if you had another way in mind, just roll it back and add your explanation please. \$\endgroup\$ – Vadruk Dec 13 '18 at 6:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Vadruk: Easiest way is to be a Divine Soul sorcerer, which lets them pick from either the cleric or sorcerer spell lists when learning spells. But obviously the question asks about Draconic Bloodline sorcerers, so that's out :P \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 13 '18 at 7:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast My line of thought exactly upon reading the answer ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Vadruk Dec 13 '18 at 7:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Variant didn't exist during the time this question was answered. Let's add it! \$\endgroup\$ – Nestor Ledon Dec 13 '18 at 15:34
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  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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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Mar 1 '18 at 2:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since quorant asks about the ‘highest possible’: what about situational AC? You can get an additional +2 AC for half, and +5 for 3/4 cover. \$\endgroup\$ – Vadruk Dec 13 '18 at 7:07
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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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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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1
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39 Without Tomes or the ever risky Deck of Many Things

Half-Elf WLK 1/SOR 19

Racial +2 CHA, +1 DEX, +1 CON

STR 8 DEX 13(20) CON 13(14) INT 12 WIS 12 CHA 14(20)

5th : +2 DEX
9th : +2 DEX
13th : +2 DEX
17th : +2 CHA
20th : +2 CHA

WLK patron The Hexblade (Gives prof shields/medium armor)
Go Draconic recomended but robe makes it unnecessary

All Legendary except the shield which is very rare
Robe of the Archmagi (15 AC + DEX)
Shield +3 (+5 AC)
Black Dragon Mask (+5 AC from CHA)
Staff of Power (+2 AC)

AC : 32

Shield Spell +5 Haste +2

Total AC 39

Can still hit 32 with Cloak, Ioun Stone and Ring of Protection and a +2 Shield

Or go Half-plate +2 with Medium Armor Master for 34 (you'll have a free feat for this build, no need for dex higher than 16)

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Not using anything but the PHB and the DMG, maximising levels in sorcerer. There was no limit on level so going to assume lvl 20 without any boons. Also assuming no access to Manuals or Tomes of [whatever] or Wishes as then you are into a whole different ball game.

Sorcerer(draconic) level 18/cleric(war) 1/fighter 1

AC 21(plate +3) +5(shield +3) +1(fighting style: defence) +1(Cloak of Protection) +1(Ring of Protection) +5(Shield spell) +2(Shield of Faith spell) +2(Haste spell cast by activating a Glyph of Warding with the spell embedded in it to "maintain" concentration to allow concentration on Shield of Faith) +3 Defender sword on full defence = 41

Adding in the defensive duelist feat (PHB p.165) then this adds +6 when the AC is vs a melee attack for AC41, AC46 vs one melee attack per round

Adding in a friendly 20th level Bard of the College of Valour who grants a die of Combat Inspiration (PHB p.55) and the sorcerer rolls a maximum +12 for AC53, AC58 vs melee.

If you allow XGTE and have 6 levels in Cleric (so only 12 levels in sorcerer) you can be of the Forge Domain and gain Blessing of the Forge (XGTE p.19) +1 for AC54, 60 vs melee.

If you allow XGTE and add 3 levels of Monk(Way of the Kensai) (so only 9 levels in sorcerer) then the character gains Path of the Kensai (XGTE p.34) which states:

If you make an unarmed strike as part of the Attack action on your turn and are holding a kensei weapon, you can use it to defend yourself if it is a melee weapon. You gain a +2 bonus to AC until the start of your next turn, while the weapon is in your hand and you aren't incapacitated

There is no armour or shield requirement on this ability, so if the character is holding a kensai weapon and makes an unarmed attack then they gain +2 for AC56, AC62 vs a melee weapon


If you do allow infinite numbers of Manuals or Tomes of [whatever] then assuming an ability cap of 30/+9, then you will a Sorcerer 19/Barbarian 1 for an AC of:

AC: 10(no armour) +9(dexterity 30) +9(constitution 30) +5(+3 Shield) +1(Cloak of Protection) +1(Ring of Protection) +5(Shield spell) +2(Shield of Faith spell) +2(Haste spell cast by activating a Glyph of Warding with the spell embedded in it to "maintain" concentration to allow concentration on Shield of Faith) +3 Defender sword on full defence = AC45

Adding in the defensive duelist feat (PHB p.165) then this adds +6 when the AC is vs a melee attack for AC45, AC51 vs one melee attack per round

Adding in that friendly 20th level Bard of the College of Valour who grants a die of Combat Inspiration (PHB p.55) and the sorcerer rolls a maximum +12 for AC57, AC63 vs melee.

If you allow XGTE and add 3 levels of Monk(Way of the Kensai) (so only 16 levels in sorcerer, and you need to keep the barbarian level for the use of the +3 shield) then the character gains Path of the Kensai (XGTE p.34). If the character is holding a kensai weapon and makes an unarmed attack then they gain +2 for AC59, AC65 vs a melee weapon

That is much higher than I thought I would be able to get!

Also very silly.

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-4
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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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    \$\begingroup\$ you cant dual class into paladin without a 13 STR \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Jan 9 '18 at 1:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yea there are a few holes in this one. Use a character building tool to refine your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Nestor Ledon Dec 13 '18 at 15:37
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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

10+15+5=30

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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  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 12 '15 at 18:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is thirty (30) a hard cap I missed somewhere? Please elaborate, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Nestor Ledon Dec 13 '15 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ 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-- \$\endgroup\$ – guest Dec 14 '15 at 14:06

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