[RPG] How to survive as a support character with low AC

combatdnd-5etactics

I'm currently playing curse of strahd as a college of whispers bard, our party just hit level 5.

During our last encounter, I was getting swarmed by multiple ghouls and getting paralyzed every turn, leading to the party almost dying (as I'm our main support)

What could I have done to avoid getting targeted or help my party tank for me?

Enemies consisted of several ghouls, and a couple of stronger guys. I was hoping to cast fear on all the ghouls to hold them off but never got a chance to.
AC is at a measly 14

Would appreciate solutions not involving "get better armor"

Specifically would like answers to involve actions or spells I can take in combat

My spells are

Cantrips – vicious mockery, minor illusion, message
1st – dissonant whispers, disguise self, hideous laughter, healing word, faerie fire
2nd – suggestion, phantasmal force
3rd – fear

outfitted with only a few daggers and light armor

For context,

Most of my party moved to engage the few bigger threats, leaving me and the wizard to get collapsed on by the ghouls. Wizard manged to avoid being hit with mage armor and mirror image, and cleared enough of the ghouls for me to get an action in and the fight was ok from there on.

More context,

I want to know about what I could do currently in combat despite having low ac. Currently I can think of hiding or minor illusioning obstacles around myself to have the ghouls target the other players, but would appreciate any more suggestions or comments on how well those two would work

EVEN MORE CONTEXT

Party consists of

Vengeance paladin/warlock – tends to bane, necrotic shroud, and smack people, also eldritch blast

Monk – gives baddie multiple fists

Arcane archer fighter/rogue – uses bow with grasping arrow a lot, scimitar if needed

Wizard – usually mirror image + shadow blade, sometimes arcane missiles

Barbarian – just joined our group, rages and hits with divine fury

Best Answer

Better Teamwork

Bluntly put, the rest of the party are not doing their job if foes are attacking wizards and bards. The whole point of fighters and paladins and barbarians is to keep the baddies away from the artillery and support.

Remind them gently that if you are paralyzed by a ghoul then you can't cast that nice ranged healing spell or give them bardic inspiration (so the paladin can get off those wonderful smites). If the wizard is surrounded then she is going to be favouring short-range things (like burning hands) with chances of friendly fire (which isn't friendly).

Remind them that if you have to run back to avoid foes then you will be out of healing word range of the front-line fighters.

If they don't take the hint then just stop buffing them. Explain that if they are letting ghouls run past them then you are going to be spending your bardic inspiration dice on psychic blades, not inspiration, and you are going to be saving the healing spells for yourself.

Better Intelligence

You are the best character for scouting, with disguise self and good deception.

Ambush

Minor illusion is the perfect ambush spell. Make an illusory barrel or crate or outhouse and hide inside it.

Optional Rules

If your game is using the shove aside, tumble and overrun rules from the DMG then you can get good use out of your Expertise in Acrobatics.

Terrain

Fog cloud and darkness and similar spells can help keep your foes off you, or at least make it harder for them to hit you. Caltrops, ball bearings, and flasks of oil can also control where foes move. Illusions of bonfires can do the same - get creative with minor illusion.

Gear

You should be pushing for any magical light armour the party finds. The monk and barbarian won't be wearing it and the paladin and fighter will be in medium or heavy armour.

Being Passive-Aggressive

Wouldn't it be a shame if your fear spell happens to include a party member in its area of effect...

Wouldn't it be a shame if someone learnt the nasty little secrets that the party members have told you, in confidence, during those long hours on watch...

Other

Remember that Jack of All Trades allies to Initiative rolls. This will help you go before your foes.

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