Armor class (AC) is primarily used to oppose attack bonus (AB) which is the primary form of attack of most characters, player or otherwise, encountered in Neverwinter Nights. Because of the way AC is used, having an AC that is insufficient, even if only by five or ten points, is significantly better in combat than having a poor AC. For example, against an attack bonus of +60/+55/+50/+45, a defender with a 60 AC is much less likely to be hit by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th attacks compared to one with a 30 AC. Thus, one's armor class is relevant even if it is not significantly higher than the attacker's attack bonus; especially when taking into account feats such as Improved Power Attack which greatly increases damage dealt to low AC targets. As a result, in challenging environments, simply abandoning the character's AC in favor of resisting damage is usually not a viable strategy.
Raising AC[edit | edit source]
Investigate the environment[edit | edit source]
First, determine the likely attack bonus of your opponent. This step is crucial; the difference between being 15 above the opponent's attack bonus and being 20 above is often the difference between life and death for an AC build. As an example, we can use the 60 attack bonus used above, which is a value well within reach on virtually any PvP server. Once the attack bonus is known, add 20 to it, or 25 if the value is only estimated. That is the AC your character must reach to be safe. Now we must go about reaching that armor class.
Increase AC[edit | edit source]
To maximize a character's AC, first look at the armor class page, and review the types of bonuses and how to acquire them. Most bonuses to AC do not stack, and thus are typically granted by one's items. However, dodge bonuses stack to a maximum of +20, and certain bonuses stack indefinitely. These two types of bonuses are the ones which are most important (on most servers) for an AC build. There is no need to cover each bonus and its applications here, as they each have their own pages, but as an example, consider a dexterity-based bard/pale master. This character would get bonuses from the pale master's bone skin and tumble at all times. Furthermore, the character could use a bard song or cast spells like mage armor, haste, and epic mage armor to increase their AC even more. There are a multitude of combinations to suit any character build; typically, a high-AC character will have one or two classes devoted to maintaining a high armor class, with the remaining class or two taking care of the main purpose of the character.
Tweak[edit | edit source]
Finally, fine-tune your character's armor class. Maybe you ended up with a 90 AC (good job!) but you are only going to fight an opponent with a 50 attack bonus. Or perhaps you couldn't get your AC high enough because you want to take weapon master, and that took away too many levels and feats. Just keep trying different combinations until you end up with a result you like.
Ignoring AC[edit | edit source]
This is the more common route for builds that are not based around strength. The goal here is to simply accept that your character will be hit more or less every time, and to focus on avoiding damage or other negative effects. Immunity to critical hits is crucial for this strategy, either through pale master or an item. Damage reduction, damage resistance, and damage immunity can also be used. The standard — but hardly optimized — build of this type is a pale master/dwarven defender, using epic energy resistance and epic damage reduction combined with dwarven defender damage reduction and the critical hit immunity from the pale master to render the character virtually invincible.