Friday, October 7, 2011

Building a Better Beast: The Tank

I told you there was more artificer goodness coming. Since my friend is planning on making an artificer soon, I figured I'd kick off a new, but limited, series called Building a Better Beast. The point of the series is to discuss various ways to increase the effectiveness of your this case the Iron different roles. Today we take a look at how to make an Iron Defender into a tank.

Before we even start to talk about how to modify your iron defender we have to talk about a few things your artificer will have to do. First of all you're going to have to take the Augment Summoning feat. This feat will give your Iron Defender a +4 bonus to his ability scores which will result in a +2 to attack rolls, +2 to AC, +2 to saves, +2 hit points per level...etc. You can see why this is a good first step yeah?

Secondly, you're going to want to make sure you can heal and buff your Iron Defender even more. This means that you should take the following spells when they become available, either as part of leveling up, or by picking up the scroll and inscribing them:

1st Level: A few of these spells will be replaced by others at later levels, but they're important for now.

Shield of Faith--More AC for your Iron Defender means he can do what he's good at longer.
Repair Light Wounds--Healing your Iron Defender when it gets hurt is important, so be sure to pick this spell up.
Ablative Armor--This will give your Iron Defender another pool of hit points to detract from before it takes actual damage. It only blocks physical damage though.
Enchant Armor--Although the other three spells are more important this spell will give an additional bonus to your pet's AC.

2nd Level: This will be the level where most of your Pet's buffs come from.

Toughen Construct--Barkskin for constructs, anything that makes your Iron Defender harder to hit is important.
Repair Moderate Wounds--Like repair light only better.
Reinforce Construct--Ahem, this is essentially false life for constructs, and it isn't limited to self so load up your defender and any warforged you might party with.
Protection from Energy--Like Ablative Armor Protection from Energy will negate damage, in this case an elemental damage of your choice. Usually this means loading up on acid, electricity, and fire.

3rd Level: Not much will really help your pet at this point, but we can replace two of the 1st level spells with their betters.

Shield of Faith, Mass--Might as well buff everyone while you're buffing your pet. Pick this up to gain a little more utility.
Stoneskin--Like Ablative Armor, but stronger. However, you may want to keep Ablative Armor and use this one only on rare occasions due to an expensive spell component.
Repair Serious Wounds--Yeah, yeah, another upgrade. You might as well, you get a free slot for having it.

4th Level: This level upgrades an earlier spell and gives your Iron Defender yet another armor boost.

Protection From Elements--Like Protection from Energy except this spell gives protection from all elemental damage.
Armor of Speed--A +15% bonus to attack speed coupled with a +1 to Attack Bonus and a +1 Dodge bonus to AC means takes your Iron Defender to another level.
Repair Critical Wounds--You knew this was coming right?

5th Level: Not much is needed this level, but the spell you do get is a game changer.

Radiant Forcefield--A 25% reduction in damage taken, on top of everything else you do for him means your Iron Defender might not EVER need those repair spells.

6th Level: Never need to worry about your Iron Defender's health again.

Reconstruct--This is heal, but for constructs. Drop this on your puppy when his health drops below half and he'll be back at maximum fighting shape again in no time.

Now, on to enhancements.

Your pet will get 2 Ability Points per level, and unlike you, they get those at the start of their level, so the bonuses you give them can benefit you from the get go.

1st Level:
Get Adamantine Plating. It will give your pet a +8 to Armor Class and damage reduction 2/adamantine.

2nd Level:
Reinforced Armor will give your pet 10 extra hit points, and who couldn't benefit from that?

3rd Level:
Menacing Growl will give your pet the Intimidate skill, and a +4 bonus on it. With this he'll be able to draw even more aggo off of you. To top it all off he will even do it sometimes without you having to ask.

4th Level:
Spend those points upgrading your plating to +10 and DR4/adamatine, the other point should be spent further reinforcing your armor for an additional +10 to hit points, making it +20 total.

5th Level:
Increase your menacing growl by an additional +4 (making it +8) and drop a point in Fearsome Tactics to make your pet 10% better at grabbing aggro.

6th Level:
Your pet will need more strength to deal more damage so go ahead and buy the strength +1 enhancement.

7th Level:
A further boost to your plating for +12 AC and DR6/adamatine, and a further boost to his armor for +30 hit points.

8th Level:
Get his intimidate up to +12 and purchase Fearsome Tactics II to make him even better at grabbing aggro (now 20%).

9th Level:
A +1 to Dex will get help to increase his AC and reflex save so go ahead and purchase it.

10th Level:
Max out your plating at +14 and DR8/adamatine. Max out your armor at +40hp.

11th Level:
Max out Menacing Growl at +16 and increase Fearsome Tactics to 30%

12th Level:
Max out Fearsome Tactics at 40% and snag Danger Avoidance for a +2 to Reflex Saves.

13th Level:
Just save those points for now.

14th Level:
And spend them with these for a +2 bonus to Strength.

15th Level:
Wait for it...

16th Level:
+2 to Dexterity.

17th Level:
Increase Danger Avoidance by 2 steps to a +6 bonus to Reflex saves.

18th Level:
Another increase to Danger Avoidance brings it up to a +8 bonus. Save the other point.

19th Level:
Select one of the combat feats, hopefully Takedown, and level it up to two.

20th Level:
Max out that combat feat and enjoy your pet's destructive capabilities.


  1. haha I picked the 1-4 enhancements without even looking at your suggestions. Imma pro yo

  2. Did you choose similar enhancements to what I posted here? Are you going for a tank beast or a different build?

  3. I went for tank, so it keeps the monster's attention while i blast its face off :P I <3 Velkys

  4. this sounds like a solid plan, but I'm just not willing to pay for the artificer aha perhaps, I'll create a new account and favor grind for it =p

  5. @Everyone: There is something nice you are sacrificing for the increased defenses--access to the artificer capstone enhancments. These enhancements offer much more than the run of the mill options, but you'd have to sacrifice some of your pet's ability to defend you to qualify for them. To that end I decided to go this route.

    @Casey: Don't worry, apparently artificers are unlock-able through a favor reward...eventually anyway. So someday, if you work hard you can be an artificer as well.

    @Bryzen: I think everyone with an artificer loves that class.