Druid Touch AC Tank (3.5e Optimized Character Build)
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Live forever or die trying! Huge Touch AC, Uncanny Dodge, Evasion, and good Saves... with ALL the healing and defensive spells of a Druid! This variant from Unearthed Arcana effectively combines Monks, Rangers, and Druids, which allows you to add your Wisdom to AC. You'll become virtually invincible with the full arsenal of the Druid spell list behind you.
Player's Handbook (PHB)
Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG)
Player's Guide to Faerûn (PGF)
Sword and Fist (SaF) - This is 3.0 material that is only referenced for a pre-made magic item, which can actually be made via the rules on page 285 of the DMG.
Unearthed Arcana (UA)
Game Rule Components
User's choice, really. This build has full access to the Druid spell list. Defensive buffs like Barkskin, Stoneskin, Wind Wall, and Protection from Energy would be very helpful and work well with the build. Additionally, most good Druids feature summoning and pets that help to control the field of battle. To that end, spells like Entangle, Sleet Storm, and Baleful Polymorph provide excellent crowd control to help limit the movement of enemies and further control the field. Offensively, you can't go wrong with Flame Strike, Call Lightning, etc.
Suggestions: Bracers of Armor +8, Ring of Protection +5, Vest of Resistance +5, Periapt of Wisdom +6, Belt of Mighty Prowess +6 STR and CON (SaF), and Gloves of Dexterity +6. This build is meant to rely on Metamagic Rods for Quickening or Maximizing spells.
Special: I highly recommend making items by doubling effects on a single item, such as the Belt of Mighty Prowess or gaining both +5 Protection AC and +5 Dodge AC on your ring, using the rules found on page 285 of the DMG.
Using the point-buy method with 32 points, as shown on page 169 of the DMG (Before Racial Adjustments): STR 12, DEX 16, CON 12, INT 12, WIS 16, 8 CHA
Elf (Snow): FB page 34. (Alternately, any Elf, or even a Human, would do.)
Starting Racial Traits: Elf Racial Traits found on page 16 of the PHB with one exception: +2 DEX, - 2 CHA.
|1st||Druid 1||+0||+2||+0||+2||Education, Track||Animal Companion, Nature Sense, Wild Empathy, Monk AC Bonus, Fast Movement (as monk), favored enemy, swift tracker||UA Variant on page 58.|
|2nd||Druid 2||+1||+1||+0||+1||Woodland stride|
|3rd||Druid 3||+2||+2||+1||+2||Skill Focus (Knowledge Religion)||Trackless step||+10 ft|
|4th||Druid 4||+3||+3||+1||+3||Resist Nature's Lure||+1 Wis|
|5th||Druid 5||+3||+3||+1||+3||AC Bonus +1|
|6th||Divine Oracle 1||+3||+3||+1||+5||Combat Casting||Oracle Domain, Scry Bonus||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|7th||Divine Oracle 2||+4||+3||+1||+6||Prescient Sense, Trap Sense +1||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|8th||Divine Oracle 3||+4||+4||+2||+6||Divination Enhancement||+1 level of existing spellcasting class, +1 Wis|
|9th||Divine Oracle 4||+5||+4||+2||+7||Spontaneous Healer||Uncanny Dodge (Dex bonus to AC)||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|10th||Druid 6||+6||+5||+4||+8||+20 ft|
|12th||Druid 8||+8||+6||+4||+9||Energy Substitution||+1 Wis|
|13th||Druid 9||+8||+6||+5||+9||Venom immunity||+30 ft|
|14th||Druid 10||+9||+7||+5||+10||AC Bonus +2|
|15th||Druid 11||+10||+7||+5||+10||Ocular Spell|
|16th||Druid 12||+11||+8||+6||+11||+40 ft, +1 Wis|
|17th||Druid 13||+11||+8||+6||+11||A Thousand Faces|
|19th||Druid 15||+13||+9||+7||+12||Timeless Body||+50 ft, AC Bonus +3|
|20th||Druid 16||+14||+10||+7||+13||+1 Wis|
At level 20: Druid 16/Divine Oracle 4
For Divine Oracle, the Class requires 8 ranks of Knowledge Religion that can be obtained by Spending 8 Skill Points over the first 5 levels of Druid, thanks to the Education Feat.
- Education is from a campaign-setting sourcebook. If you aren't playing a Forgotten Realms campaign and your DM will not allow the feat because he/she has ruled there is absolutely no similar tradition ANYWHERE in the current campaign setting that would allow this Feat, then you should take 1 level of Cleric to start, which also opens up Divine Metamagic, and spend 4 points right off the bat, then spend 2 points per level of Druid (8 total), and take Divine Oracle at ECL 5. (Apply the caster level to Druid, obviously.)
1. As I said above, live forever or die trying. You have full caster level, which means you have access to all the healing you need and with the buff spells, AC, and saves you possess, it's virtually impossible to kill you. You can use a combination of spells (Cast on the defensive, of course) and melee attacks to deal damage. Beyond that, you can summon ridiculous numbers of creatures to aid you in holding the line and providing flanking opportunities - which the Wizards and Rogues in your party will thank you for. You may be the hardest tank to kill and you have the full force of the Druid spell list at your disposal. How does this work? See below
2. AC - With the suggested gear and racial bonuses, this build gets 27 Wis, 24 Dex, 18 Str, and 18 Con. Using the Monk AC Bonus with those stats and suggested AC gear, the AC for this build would be 10+8+5+8+7+3 = 41. (One could easily increase that by multiples of 5 by adding on stacking forms of AC to the Ring of Protection, say Dodge or Deflection, as described on page 285 of the DMG.) All 41 AC is Touch AC, which is so high that it is virtually impossible to hit with Touch Attacks - except for natural 20s. Adding a other types of AC on the ring, or rings, can easily get this AC total near 50, again, all Touch AC. This also does not account for spells like Barksin that can further increase the character's AC.
3. Saves are the other component that make this great, defensively. Due to the classes used, the Base Saves are +10, +7, and +13. Add +6 from Dex to Reflex, +4 Con to Fortitude, +8 Wis to Will, and +5 to all from the Vest of Resistance and your Saves would be 20, 19, and 26 respectively. Similarly to the Ring of Protection, you can increase all saves by multiples of 5 by adding on stacking forms of Save Bonuses to the Vest of Resistance, such as Inherent or Holy, as described on page 285 of the DMG.
4. The Divine Oracle provides Prescient Sense (essentially Evasion), which is a nice touch that prevents this build from taking much, if any, damage from AOE damage spells or similar effects that save for half damage on a Reflex save.
5. The Divine Oracle provides Uncanny Dodge, which is significant for the build. It is vitally important that this build gets Uncanny Dodge to ensure that it cannot be caught Flat-Footed because, if it were, most of the character's AC would not apply to a surprise attack. It's likely that a flanking Rogue will be 4 levels higher than your Divine Oracle level, but your full AC would still be brought to bear against the Rogue's ability to hit you if you have Uncanny Dodge. (However, Improved Uncanny Dodge is almost irrelevant due to that fact and it is not incorporated into the build for that reason.)
6. Divine Oracle is a 1-for-1 caster level increase, so you lose no caster levels to take the class and are Caster Level 20 at ECL 20.
There is a fabled holy trinity of fantasy gaming. Three distinct roles, if you will - Tanks, Healers, and Damage Dealers. This build essentially embodies the first two (some would argue all 3) roles. Any spells that virtually any Druid can cast are at your disposal and you have HUGE AC. And, not just huge AC, it's ALL touch AC.
There are really 3 forms of defense that, when all are present, can combat all types of attacks. That is to say, all attacks fall into one or more of these 3 categories: 1. melee or ranged attack, 2. melee or ranged touch attack, 3. spell with a save. Virtually every spell requires a Touch Attack or provides a Save to the effected creature and normal melee/ranged attacks require an attack roll. With this build, you have great touch and standard AC, while getting good Saves. What's more, you can't be denied the AC from being flat-footed because of Uncanny Dodge. Add to that, you get Evasion, and you are virtually untouchable. In the rare instances where you are injured, you have all the healing ability of a pure Druid. You are the single most difficult PC to kill that a DM will ever face. And, you can be the party healer at the same time!
Beyond that, Druids are known for their offensive spells, summoned creatures, and buffs. You can control the entire fight and - with your spells, melee attacks, and Pets/summoned creatures - you can out-damage a large percent of the builds you'll encounter. The build has no true weakness and its strength is survival.
Until this build gains Uncanny Dodge, it is susceptible to surprise attacks, just as any Monk would be. Due to the nature of the build, the AC is able to expand without bound because you can increase your Dex and Wis as high as possible and each increase in modifier will increase the AC of the build without any limits, such as you would find on a piece of armor. Once Uncanny Dodge is gained, the character has only one limitation: no Spell Resistance.
DMs, this build will likely be abused. On the one hand, there will be no Wild Shape tricks because it's been traded away for the the Monk and Ranger abilities. On the other hand, the closest thing to a weakness that this build actually has is Reflex saves. If you want to attack it there, that's your best bet. Actually, most of the summoned creatures will be susceptible to Reflex-Save-focused attacks, so even if it doesn't kill the Druid, it will kill most summoned creatures. Otherwise, between the Pets, Summoned Creatures, and the Druid itself, the Druid will control the battlefield and deal damage from multiple sources just about every round. (Especially in a pre-epic campaign.)
Alternatively, any caster/gish with true strike will hit a a touch ac of 41 with a ~50% chance. Higher chance if the caster has higher strength than 10. Failing that, force missile mages hit everything.