[RPG] How does a DM deal with a PC with an abnormally high Armor Class


One of the Fighters in my party has an AC of 21 at level 5. He wears chainmail which gives an AC of 16, has the Defense Fighting Style which gives a +1 to AC when wearing armor, and a +2 shield (found in an ancient cave) which adds an additional +4 to his AC. As the DM, I am having an issue with any number of creature hitting him. I understand that I allowed this to happen, but I'm starting to regret it. How can I at least give this Fighter an actual fight without being unfair?

Best Answer

Hit your fighter in the NADs1

AC isn't the only way to cause damage to a fighter.

  • Utilize creatures that force saving throws. High AC won't save you from a fireball
  • Give them hard choices. AC won't save you when you have to choose between helping the rogue or the wizard…and you only have time to help one
  • Talk to your players. Let them know the high AC is making things difficult for you, and you'd like to ratchet it back some. See if they'd be willing to trade in the +2 shield for an alternative magic shield with a property instead of AC bonus

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that AC isn't the end-all-be-all in D&D. Yes, it's important, but there are avenues around it.

1NADs = Non-AC Defenses. In D&D 4e you didn't have saving throws, rather you had static defense values: AC, Fortitude (Str/Con), Reflex (Dex/Int), and Will (Wis/Cha). A common reply to fighters with super-high AC was "hit 'em in the NADs!", meaning that a high AC usually meant a low Reflex and/or Will defense—fighters of course having a high Str or Con meant a good Fortitude defense.