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I'm playing in a 13th Age campaign as a tank.

  • She's a Fighter built to deal moderate damage, but have lots of hit points and good PD/AC.
  • I have the ability that gives enemies −4 to disengage, and I have the ability to pop free and intercept when someone charges my allies.

The whole idea of the character is to protect the squishy wizard (primarily) and rogue/bard (if needed) while they do their thing. The actual tanking seems to be working ok, but the protecting seems somewhat lacking in options.

Versus melee opponents this build works pretty well: I'm happy with intercepting and popping free to intercept. Versus ranged opponents though it's a whole different story.

I can engage one target/group, but they then pop free with +5 vs my -4 which still gives them a >50% chance. I can't see any way to make that harder for them and I can only engage one opponent or group of opponents at a time.

When they attack there seems to be no equivalent of intercept for blocking ranged attacks.

In Pathfinder we could use terrain, or at least provide cover to give them penalties on the rolls. 13th Age doesn't really seem to have those mechanics though.

So how can my tank help the rest stay alive when it's not purely melee opponents?

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First things first — You're not going to have nearly as much lock-down capability as tanks in Pathfinder or 4E. 13th Age just isn't built to be as granular in combat. With that said…

  1. If you are playing without a map, you can probably still use terrain. It's extremely unlikely that you're always playing in a flat unobstructed field. Ask your DM if there are items your allies can use for cover, or for you to pin enemies against.

  2. The melee guys are your problem — the ranged guys are your allies' problem. If you can avoid or soak up the damage from the melee enemies, have your allies target and obliterate the ranged baddies first. Your wizard can probably rip through them quickly, and your rogue will most likely be able to get up in their grill and screw around with them.

  3. Take lead and work together to minimize threats. It's a lot like the tip above, but if you can deliberately direct attention to remove threats and keep your allies safe, you should be able to handle this a lot better.

  4. Your allies are going to need to think defensively just as you do. They may need to invest in some defensive spells, restorative or endurance focused feats, or defensive equipment. It will go a long way to making your job easier, as well as that of any healer in your group.

  5. Talk to your GM about maybe developing some custom feats, talents, maneuvers, or abilities. Tinker with it so it's not OP, but if you want to be the fighter guy that catches arrows before they are embedded in your friend's face, then try to build your character to do that.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like there isn't much mechanically I can do then? I was hoping there might be some feats or similar that I'd missed but it seems not :( \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Jan 29 '16 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I might add 'take the fight to their ranged opponents' as a suggestion. Remember that the bad guy's Blockers are going to want to protect their damage dealers just like you do. Getting in close where you can make opportunity attacks against ranged attacks will encourage them not to ignore you. \$\endgroup\$ – Weaveworker89 Feb 7 '16 at 14:03
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Perhaps try to talk the GM into a feat that allows you to intercept ranged attacks.

Enemies that get +5 to disengage are special (that's their schtick) so you shouldn't be perfect locking them down. Again if you want to be the best at it, maybe spend a feat with GM approval.

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As an avid 13th Age GM and player I allow my players to intercept ranged attacks, this allows those who build tank type characters to feel that they can really protect their party mates. The balancing factor then is that recoveries are limited and most healing spells use up the pool of recoveries of the person being healed and not of the healer.

So when your intercepting a ranged attack you still need to be able to physically be able to intercept meaning you can't do it from behind the target, when intercepting ranged attack you are not engaged with the shooter. You are only their to take the attack in the targets place.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Was this intended to be a comment or expansion on the other answer? It seems rather abrupt and ill-fitting as a standalone answer to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jan 28 '16 at 20:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ So ask the DM for a house rule? That might work but ideally I'd like to find a solution within the actual rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Jan 29 '16 at 16:12
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Play a Paladin with a shield: Bastion (armor and intercepting damage), Challenge (making attacking someone else than you a bad idea), Lay on Hands (quick action healing).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That doesn't help my fighter do her job... \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Jan 29 '16 at 16:11

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