I am working on creating a "Tank" character, of course the goal is to prevent the party to be hit, rather than getting hit, but obviously getting hit is likely and the character should survive hits as much as possible.
There are various ways to mitigate the damages/effects of spells (and even gaining immunity), however when it comes to physical damages (to HP) it seems more restricted:
- Armor Class: if you do not get hit, you do not take damage
- Damage Reduction: directly reduces the damage taken
- Fortification: and in particular Heavy Fortification, or anything that prevents being a victim of a critical hit (Plant/Undead type, ...)
However neither is a panacea:
- Armor Class is swingy, if the GM is lucky, you might well take 2 or 3 hits in a row
- Damage Reduction is hard to come by (especially DR/-) and therefore lags considerably behind damage output
- Fortification is well and all, but even non-critical hits still take their toll
I only found one instance of another mechanism: in Ravenloft, the Ancient Dead template has a special quality (Damage Resistance?) which reduces the damage of physical blows by 50% before DR.
Are there other mechanisms than AC/DR to mitigate the damage of physical blows?
Note: of course playing an Ancient Dead is one option, however a Lawful Evil mummy does not necessarily fit in every campaign... therefore solutions as broadly accessible as possible would be preferred (types/subtypes/races/feats/magic items/spells are all acceptable).
Note: healing, such as Fast Healing, would potentially work, but is usually very limited in magnitude as well; furthermore healing does not scale as fast as damages, thus the goal is to reduce the damage taken.
Note: as mentioned, the goal of a Tank is to prevent the party from getting hit, meaning using an array of methods preventing the enemy from acting (Trip, Stun, denying actions, ...); however, despite all precautions, being a front-line fighter involves getting hit as fleeing might unleash the enemies on more squishy targets. Thus, I am looking for options that allow a character to stand though.
Note: for the particular character I have in mind, I am probably going to lean heavily on Tome of Battle, and multi-classing is not an issue. As mentioned I would prefer solutions as broad as possible (for further reuse), however using specific maneuvers from the Nine Petal Blossom is also viable.