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The Kensai's Armor Class - A Monk AC progression idea - Pros and Cons

ThanatosZeroThanatosZero Member Posts: 11
Lately I was thinking about, how the Kensai would fare, if they had the same, effective AC progression of the Monk, instead of having the untyped -2 bonus to AC at Level 1.

It would make sense for a Kensai to develop the same skill of avoiding attacks, since they don't wear armor, gauntlets/wrists and helmets. Also unlike the monk they do not gain the many passive protections, like spell resistance.

Here a progession table with the XP caps for fighters in this order: BG1, SoD, BG2 and ToB
<<Level>> | 01 02 04 06 | 08 10 | 12 14 16 18 20 | 24 27 30 35 40
Effective AC | 09 08 07 06 | 05 04 | 03 02 01 00 -1 | -2 -3 -4 -5 -6


Usually if a vanilla Kensai/Mage opts to wear a Robe of the Archmagi, he gets the effective AC of 5 with the -2 bonus having a total AC of 3.

If the altered Kensai was to dualclass to a mage at Level 13 and regains the Kensai abilities at Mage Level 14, the effective AC of 3 would overwrite the AC given by the robes.

Likewise if a altered Level 21 Kensai dualclass to a Thief and gains the HLA Use Any Item, there won't be much of a change if the kensai/thief decides to carry a full plate mail.

However, what the effective AC allows is to wear armors and robes with better bonuses in other areas.

The only real con is, that a altered Kensai in the early game with the Shield Amulet will have a AC of 4, instead of 2 in the vanilla game.

So my question to you fellow gamers is this:
Would you consider playing a Kensai with a effective AC progression?

Post edited by ThanatosZero on
StummvonBordwehrSkatanGreener

Comments

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    StummvonBordwehrThanatosZero
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,852
    I don't mind the concept, but the suggested progression seems a bit much to me. The kensai receives huge offensive bonuses and should have a defensive penalty to balance that. What about say -1 to AC for each 4 levels? That would give top level kensais in BG1 the same AC bonus of -2 they would have with the current kit and get them to AC0 by level max. Against ToB enemies that would still leave them very vulnerable to damage, but I think that's how the kit is intended to work.

    KuronaSkatanThanatosZeroDJKajuru
  • ThanatosZeroThanatosZero Member Posts: 11
    edited February 2019
    On the contrary Grond0, the Kensai will defensively always a few steps behind the other fighters, due the heavy restrictions.

    Since they cannot wear helmets, they will be subject to critical hits and will miss out on the passive boni, which protect against Charm and other afflictions.
    Wearing no Gauntlets/Bracers mean that they cannot further enhance their ThAC0 or increase their Dexterity as an example.
    Last but not least they cannot use shields.

    Only at the end of Shadows of Amn the Kensai will catch up with the equivalent of a full plate +2 (minus the AC boni for piercing and slashing weapons).

    In the first Baldur's Gate normal fighters, berserkers and mage killers will have access to a full plate early on, when they go for the gold rewards (and sell magical weapons they do not need)

    Compared to the Monk, a Kensai will need more XP to reach the same levels they would need for the effective AC increase.

    Though there is another option for the effective AC progression.

    Again in this order: BG1, SoD, BG2 and ToB
    <<Level>> | 01 02 05 07 | 10 | 12 15 17 20 | 24 27 30 35 40
    Effective AC | 09 08 07 06 | 05 | 04 03 02 01 | 00 -1 -2 -3 -4


    Using this alternative progression (after each 2 and 3 levels in order), will leave a Kensai with less effective AC, than a Monk.

    Only at Level 20 at the end of SoA, the Kensai would have the effective AC of a normal full-plate (and magical variants up to +5 later).

    Regardless, in Throne of Bhaal all high leveled enemies will hit heavy armored fighters much more often, than in the early BG1.

    So in essence, the effective AC increase serves to ease the Kensai to avoid being hit by the low leveled mooks, instead of becoming the equivalent of a 3.5 edition dwarfen defender walling and breaking down all enemies in their fortified position.

    Post edited by ThanatosZero on
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,020
    Kensai are high risk/high reward. If you reduce the risk you have to reduce the reward, IMHO. Any change to increase the AC should follow a decrease to their damage output, which is substantial since no one can hit as hard as a Kensai as they level up single-class.

    They can reach 10 APR without GWW (with IH) which monks cannot.
    They can use these 10 APR with CritHit which monks cannot.

    Monks get other features and boons as well of course, but the more you even out between classes, the less you create incitement for having different classes.

    DJKajuruThanatosZeroGrond0
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,222
    On the contrary Grond0, the Kensai will defensively always steps a few steps behind the other fighters, due the heavy restrictions.

    Since they cannot wear helmets, they will be subject to critical hits and will miss out on the passive boni, which protect against Charm and other afflictions.
    Wearing no Gauntlets/Bracers mean that they cannot further enhance their ThAC0 or increase their Dexterity as an example.
    Last but not least they cannot use shields.

    But they can drink potions of defense and potions of invulnerability which last from 1 hour to 4 turns, as far as I remember.

    There is also Shield Amulet . In BG1 a kensai with DEX 18 , belt of piercing and boots of missile avoidance can have an effective AC of -1 against missiles , -5 or even more if you use the amulet of shield and ring of protection which makes them protected from BG1's Kobold Commandos and Elite Hobgoblins , BG1's greater damage dealers against unarmored opponents.

    In BG2 stuff gets even easier with Ghost armor, ring of protection+2 , ring of the earth, not to mention the shield amulet you can find at De'Arnise Hold. Yes, kensai will be always behind a fighter with Full Plate+1 and shield , but so is a Stalker Ranger , a Blade Bard , a Shapeshifter Druid , even a monk bt they have skills to compensate that, and so does a Kensai who in ToB should cause at least +6 damage with his weapon.

    In other words , if your kensai gets seriously hurt by low level mobs it's likely that your stalker, Blade , shapeshifter or monk would do as well, but in all those cases a player who understand that these classes have their own strengths and weaknesses can deal with it and turn it into a pleasurable game.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 14,094
    At first glance, this seems like a distinct buff for the Kensai class, but on further review, it actually looks more like a nerf when you factor in the methods that players use to improve the Kensai's AC, since this mod intends to change the Kensai's base AC rather than granting bonuses on top of base AC. The Shield Amulet and later Spirit Armor already give you 4 base AC and 1 base AC, or 2 AC and -1 AC when factoring in their vanilla AC penalties. This mod would force Kensais to reach levels 14 and 20 before they can achieve that AC. For most of the game, their AC would be 2 points higher than in the vanilla game.

    It's a very modest change, and I'm not sure if it makes a Kensai better or worse overall than a normal fighter. I've long viewed the Kensai as, at best, only slightly better than a normal fighter, and these days my opinion strongly favors the unkitted fighter over the Kensai due to the power of Arrows of Dispelling and the impact of full plate.

    SkatanThanatosZero
  • ThanatosZeroThanatosZero Member Posts: 11
    edited February 2019
    I agree good Yellow Mage. All fighters can reach 10 Attacks per Round without Great Whirl Wind using Improved Haste and thus can use Critical Strike/Smite for excellent damage.

    The issue with the Monk is, that he cannot be hasted, but that can be changed via house ruling.
    Good thing they can be hasted 3rd edtion onwards.

    Now back to the Kensai.
    Using Grond0's suggestion for the AC Progression gives us this:

    BG1, SoD, BG2 and ToB
    <<Level>> | 01 05 | 09 | 13 17 | 21 25 29 33 37
    Effective AC | 09 08 | 07 | 06 05 | 04 03 02 01 00


    Personally speaking, this feels rather underwhelming compared to the Monk.
    So for comparisson let us take a look with a AC progression after each 3 Levels.

    BG1, SoD, BG2 and ToB
    <<Level>> | 01 04 07 | 10 | 13 16 19 | 22 25 30 35 40
    Effective AC | 09 08 07 | 06 | 05 04 03 | 02 01 00 -1 -2


    Using these two progression tables it makes a vanilla Kensai/Mage look better, because of the flat untyped -2 AC bonus.

    Since you Skatan suggested to reduce the rewards, here my own take.

    BG1, SoD, BG2 and ToB
    <<Level>> | 01 04 07 | no change | 11 15 19 | 23 28 33 39
    ToHit&DMG |+1 +2 +3 | no change |+4 +5 +6 |+7 +8 +9 +10


    (And here again my 2nd take for the effective AC, so you don't need to scroll up)

    <<Level>> | 01 02 05 07 | 10 | 12 15 17 20 | 24 27 30 35 40
    Effective AC | 09 08 07 06 | 05 | 04 03 02 01 | 00 -1 -2 -3 -4

    Post edited by ThanatosZero on
    Skatan
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,020
    Off topic:
    I agree good Yellow Mage.

    In all my years of using this avatar in different forums, you are the FIRST one to recognize it! have a :cookie: my friend, you've earned it.

    One a sidenote, I love the red mages and only made it blue and yellow on a whim since it's the colors of my country's flag.

    ThanatosZeroGrond0StummvonBordwehr
  • ThanatosZeroThanatosZero Member Posts: 11
    edited February 2019
    Off topic:
    Skatan wrote: »
    I agree good Yellow Mage.

    In all my years of using this avatar in different forums, you are the FIRST one to recognize it! have a :cookie: my friend, you've earned it.

    One a sidenote, I love the red mages and only made it blue and yellow on a whim since it's the colors of my country's flag.

    I see and thank you! Also who doesn't know the original Final Fantasy games? Afterall, SquareSoft before the Enix merge, took a heavy inspiration from all the D&D settings.

    Also remember Thanatos/Dark Lich from Secret of Mana /Seiken Densetsu 2?
    That guy is totally NOT a altered take on the Suel Lich from the Greyhawk Setting. :tongue:

    Skatan
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    ThanatosZero
  • ThanatosZeroThanatosZero Member Posts: 11
    Exactly @subtledoctor, this was the idea by giving the Kensai effective AC instead of a untyped AC bonus, so the dual classed Kensai cannot cheese their bonus on another armor and robes.

    With my first take, the Kensai would no longer need the Shield Amulet at Level 10 in Siege of Dragon Spear, which frees up the inventory space by one item.

    Again here the 1st take, so you don't need to scroll up.

    BG1, SoD, BG2 and ToB
    <<Level>> | 01 02 04 06 | 08 10 | 12 14 16 18 20 | 24 27 30 35 40
    Effective AC | 09 08 07 06 | 05 04 | 03 02 01 00 -1 | -2 -3 -4 -5 -6


    To Note: Unlike the Monk, the Kensai here doesn't gain the additional AC against missle weapons in these house rulings.

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