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TOPIC: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield

Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #1

Or offense verses defense. I have rare tokens for outfitting a barbarian or fighter which are my most likely choices for this year's True Dungeon, and I am debating what to use in the off-hand. I have a +1 Bastard Sword as my primary weapon, but do I use the Brawler's Mug for two points of damage, or a Tower Shield for +3 AC? So I am looking for the experience of the forum to weigh in on the choice specifically, but also how does one decide between doing damage or offensive abilities verses AC and defensive abilities. What is worth what on the other side of things. Be sure to show your work! Thanks!
Knowledge is power, power corrupts, and absolute knowledge corrupts absolutely

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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #2

My opinion is pretty much attack attack attack. My two major resons: time and probability.

There are still only 12 mins in a room, therefore you still have limited time to defeat whatever you are attacking. More damage equals less time taken to defeat the monster.

Probability of being hit has in theory decreased. There are now 10 targets for monsters to attack. Basically a 10% chance per attack per round (barring module instructions) previous years were a 12.5% chance to be targeted per attack.

The only thing that makes me hesitate on this statement is you are playing a Barbarian. You lose 20% or better of your total AC by not using the Tower Shield.

What other equipment are you using?
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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #3

Darkangel summed it up well. My thoughts would be:

1. Brawler's Mug during the dungeon when fighting regular or non-boss enemies.
2. Tower SHield against the boss lich or dragon, as a barbarian you will really need the extra AC
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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #4

I really don't have much in the way of AC boosting equipment, instead I have things to increase damage & strength. For AC for my barbarian I do have the Troll Hide Armor thanks to a generous mysterious person who traded it to me who then had to leave when he realized he was at the wrong slot table, but that is about it. Way back one of the first rares I got was the Amulet of Thorns so I just embraced the low AC. This year for the fighter I was thinking the Shark Tooth Armor and the Amulet would be a nice combination. Then continue to really go for as much damage as possible, hoping I can put together the tokens for the Eelskin Gloves but we'll see on that.

Anyway I realize that AC is a place that I am lacking but is it worth doing much collecting in that area? In my experience a lot of HP loss is from traps, puzzles, or magic where AC doesn't provide any defense. My barbarian has never been in danger of dying from combat, but has been blasted by magic. It makes me wonder if its much of an issue. So I wondered if anyone had more insight from more play or knowledge of behind the scenes mechanics then I have. Such as if every monster has just +2 or +3 to hit then a boost of 2 to 3 points of AC could mean 10 to 15% less hits, but if most things have +8 or higher then really until you reach that threshold a few points means nothing as it is overshadowed by the bonus. But then an extra two points of damage, is that really going to make combat faster? Depends on how high hp commonly is.
Knowledge is power, power corrupts, and absolute knowledge corrupts absolutely

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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #5

I like to give the fighter types in our group a pretty high level of AC. One thing I've noticed in combat is that it's not always random who the monster attacks. Quite often the DM has the monster attacking the person that just did them the most damage - which is often the Fighter Types (sometimes the Wizard with spells also). So making them super-good on damage but very low on AC can at times be like putting a target on their chest.

Last year's Nightmare runs had me re-thinking AC though. My Druid's AC was very high last year (including full Dragonscale Set, +2 Bracers of Protection, Ring of Protection) and in one of the rooms (the Chain Demon I think) the monster rolled a 5 and STILL hit me! In past Dungeons I've had monsters roll an 18 or 19 and still miss - that is when a high AC was valuable. If you pump the AC about as high as possible, and still get hit at least 75% of the time by the monster, AC is pretty useless. I hope that last year was an exception though and that things are back to normal a bit next year.

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Last edit: by Mike Steele.

Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #6

I have generally gone attack over AC, but I have never been through nightmare (tried for last two years...another story.)

Mike, I think that the Chain Demon is the exception to most monsters since I believe the demon only had to make a "touch attack" to get you entangled in the chains. (Not confirmed, just my belief.) If my belief is correct, Armor and Shield benefits do not matter - only dex and magic protection help. Any volunteers know for certain?

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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #7

AC AC AC AC

Now if we were talking about 3 attack or 1 AC then the answer is obvious, but the tower shield on a barbarian can be the difference betweent the barbarian living so that he can do all of that damage, and him dying in the second room.
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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #8

I am of the mind set that attack>AC - particularly for the barb. I would think that the paladin with the ability to gaurd would be better suited to have an obnoxious AC, whereas we are going to have more people per run - meaning that statistically, you would only have a one in ten chance of getting attacked, with the paladin at one in five. I like he barb, ranger, and monk to be kicking out as much damage as possible - plus, the barb has more hit points than everyone else, meaning that if he does get attacked, he has the best bet with absorbing the damage - heck, at fifth level, he is reducing melée damage done to him.
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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #9

Mike Steele wrote: =Last year's Nightmare runs had me re-thinking AC though. My Druid's AC was very high last year (including full Dragonscale Set, +2 Bracers of Protection, Ring of Protection) and in one of the rooms (the Chain Demon I think) the monster rolled a 5 and STILL hit me! In past Dungeons I've had monsters roll an 18 or 19 and still miss - that is when a high AC was valuable. If you pump the AC about as high as possible, and still get hit at least 75% of the time by the monster, AC is pretty useless. I hope that last year was an exception though and that things are back to normal a bit next year.


Did you look in the module for the Nightmare stats for the Chain Devil (Bold is mine for emphasis)

Nightmare: AC:26 (+weapon immunity) Attack: +25 Dmg: 10 HP: 66

So unless your AC was higher than a 30 a 5 could have hit you.

I think with Nightmare, the monster to-hit bonus is super high and so the focus should be on damage and hitting potential, as a good nightmare group will have consumable resources to spare. This would offset their higher HP and higher AC.

For regular runs I think the inverse is true, AC > damage as the monsters have fewer HP and lower to-hit mods, so conserving resources is the key, a normal groups often do not have the piles of consumables to spare.

But as for monsters attacking intelligently - there has been a shift in the dicotamy(sp?) over the years.
At first it was strictly DM driven, focusing attacks on lowest available AC unless scripted otherwise.

Then as actors took on the role of monster they have been given a voice on whom to attack. So a fighter or bard with a good taunt or bad song can be chosen, I remember being picked on by the Medusa just for singing poorly.

Lastly, we have seen a rise in scripted foes (the angel attacking the Rogue as he was the least good, and the troll mage firing lightning at the metal wearing fighter).

So what does that mean, even with the increase in party size decreasing the odds of being targetted, just know intelligent monsters will attack low AC if they are melee and tanks if they are using WILL defense spells.

Also, there have been, in the past, rooms with multiple monsters (up to 3 one year), I see that becoming more prevalent (assuming the number of volunteers to handle this is available).

I will bore you with a tale to highlight my point.

When Iuz was the foe, I did a run with a friend on normal and we rocked the module and did very well with the group we were with. So I convinced the group I coordinate to run the module at Nightmare.

We went in with good gear (on par to the stuff we had in the first run) and found the fights too much for us, we couldn't burn the monsters down fast enough, and only through the sacrafice of a pile of chain lightning scrolls did we defeat Iuz at the final moment.

This experience taught me two things, first Nightmare is tough, the monsters get tougher and hardier.

Second what you learn in regular does not have a 100% translation to nightmare.

So if your focus in building your character up to this point has been AC, you are set for regular.

Should you be considering Nightmare you need to make sure you have plenty of resources and a really good way to do damage consistantly to face that challenge.

So I am rambling, I know, but to the point I would say this: Regular go with AC, Nightmare go with Damage.
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Last edit: by greyseer.

Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #10

Well, I sincerely hope that the Chain Devil is not the wave of the future, because more and more Jeff seems to be "leveling" the rooms by making your tokens irrelevent. For the Chain Devil, all the thousands of dollars I spent increasing our group's AC and getting everyone Ultra-Rare weapons was completely wasted. Our weapons couldn't hit, and she hit us every time no matter how poorly she rolled. We might as well have gone in with clubs and leather armor, since our armor and weapons were useless.

OK - venting flashback from the 2010 Dungeons is over now :)

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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #11

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First the Chain Devil, then Smoak and the Black Pearl, and next ... ?
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Re: Brawler's Mug vs Tower Shield 10 years 2 months ago #12

I can see it now, the Sea Lich must be fought inside a bubble which removes enchantments from all items, you lose all magical items upon entering the room =P

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