Monastic Tanking


I’ve been enjoying opportunities to run many raids, some I’ve rarely or never run before, such as “The Mark of Death” and “The Master Artificer.” I think, now, that the only raid I have never participated (primarily because of my disdain of the quest series needed to gather sigil, shield and frame ingredients) is “Accursed Ascension.”

But “Mark of Death” isn’t my favorite raid, anyway, so I’m sure “Ascension” won’t be a loss. I’ll still try to flag for it when an opportunity arises.

Ninety nine percent of my raids are as a DPS character, be it with the fortification-bypassing steady-hitting archery of Pynthetica, the crowd-controlling mass-destruction from the bow of Paracleta, or the poisonous shortsword damage of Ryncletica.

But one matter is common in many raids. The need for a tank, a character that can keep a central boss target busy while the rest of the party can remove trash and complete other related objectives necessary to eventually slay said bosses. Surprisingly, I’ve watched many a non-Fighter or non-Paladin accomplish this role in the Thunderholme raids.

I’ve mentioned, long ago, my work to align Lynncletica to become a tank. Nearing level 20, I’m closer to beginning my work to help out in epic raids.

But I know the character’s behavior in gameplay is just as important as the build to ensure that enemies pay attention to you and not the rest of the party.

The general article on the Tank on the DDO Wiki was helpful.

According to the article, a tank has to have central characteristics to be successful:

  • Health
  • Healing amplification
  • Armor Class
  • Saves
  • Damage Reduction
  • Intimidation (active and passive)
  • Balance
  • Weapons and items that increase Threat
  • Enhancements and other boosts


Lynn’s HP gain per level as a Monk is only 75% of other melee tanks, requiring me to take the Toughness feat a few times and take Constitution enhancements from enhancements or Epic Destinies anywhere I can. My goal is to get Lynn to at least 1,000 HP this time around. That may seem low for a tank but as a Monk, Lynn has some special damage reduction abilities that others haven’t, such as miss-chance effects.

Unyielding Sentinel will likely be the default epic destiny, aiding not only in HP but threat and protection.

Damage Absorption

With recent changes, Lynn’s epic PRR should reach 100 or above. I was able to get Pynthetica’s PRR between 60 to 80 PRR with gear as an archer, so a Monk designed to tank should be able to improve that number. Like the miss-chance effects on Pyn, I have a lot of studying ahead of me to stack all available sources.

Healing amplification

At level 19, with a Shamanic Fetish in place, all Improved Recovery enhancements trained and with only one core enhancement left in the Shintao tree, Lynn’s Healing Ki can restore as much as 200 HP every 10 seconds. At around 490 HP, that’s helpful. This will improve with buffs and an epic Shamanic Fetish later in epic play. Healing amp gear also will play important roles, even items to add to my cross-class Heal skill.

Lynn might see 250-300 HP bursts from Healing Ki, with healing shield vampiric HP of 6-8 HP per strike probable. Self-healing is Lynn’s strongest quality.

Armor Class

Lynn’s AC is aided by Combat Expertise and the Monk’s Grandmaster of Mountains stance to boost total AC by 30%. All I must do I maximize the numbers through items to get that bonus. Around 150 to 200 AC is a suitable goal, but this will require a lot of item juggling and augment gems to boost Deflection and Natural Armor bonuses. Lynn’s DEX is lower so items to boost it and WIS for more AC will be critical.

Monks can’t use shields. But I can gain Shield bonuses from one item: A Flawless White Dragonscale Robe. I have a Flawless White helm, too, to get the HP artifact bonus. This set may be helpful over Shadowscale outfits until I can equip the Outfit of the Celestial Guardian, still the best armor I think you can find for any Monk by level 28.


Lynn’s saves are better than many tanks but weaker in one area, and that’s Reflex. Thankfully, perhaps a +5 or +6 tome in combination with enhancements to get DEX and its Reflex save higher. Fortitude and Will saves will be superior, thanks to high STR and WIS.

Damage Reduction

I mentioned improving Lynn’s miss-chance numbers to help avoid damage. Monks gain DR 20/Epic at level 20. The epic Guardian’s Cloak from Wheloon is a popular item I use on all my epic characters, with additional DR help.


So I’ve practiced my protection skills against charging mobs using weaker-than-normal hirelings, clerics, typically. The central ability is Ki Shout, an Intimidate-like ability that uses a Shintao Monk’s Concentration skill as the Intimidate number.

Ki Shout works quite well and I’m able to keep my clerics from getting slaughtered despite the light spells they spam to tick off enemies.

But there’s also the passive Threat generation needed. Grandmaster of Mountains adds 200% additional Threat. I’m currently wearing the Fabricator’s Bracers with its sister gauntlets for 20% more. Epic destinies can help here later as I grow.


Lynn has a high Balance to get her back on her feet if knocked down. Items can help here as required. Again, Unyielding Sentinel could help here with Standing Against the Tide core destinies and supporting effects. To mitigate damage if knocked down is the Shintao enhancement Instinctive Defense to ward off up to 25% damage if helpless. Blocking while down is important, too.


Handwraps are Lynncletica’s central weapon but she holds on to some Metalline aligned kamas to add slashing damage, as well as a Snowstar to lure enemies closer. I’m looking forward to using some of the recent new wraps such as Storm’s Harness.


Tanking only works when a party wants one around. Some parties will have players that just zerg ahead and gather aggro like there’s no tomorrow. By the time you’re able to aid in rescue, the player has either zapped most of what would have killed him or has died.

Or I’ll aggro a group and find out I’m over my head. Most of the time, Lynn holds to her Little Mountain title, enduring and outlasting many enemies. But champions and Legendary levels are game-changing. I’m totally pessimistic that even a fully-trained and equipped Lynncletica will survive a sword blow from Sor’jek atop the mountain summit in Legendary Tempest’s Spine, after I’ve watched so many others that have died to that attack.

But maybe others have missed something. Maybe I’ll find that something.


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eleathan
    Sep 21, 2016 @ 16:58:33

    I’ve actually got a monk tank (in training) myself. It started a few years ago as a straight up Heal-Amp off-tank, but with recent updates i’ve been working on making her a fully fleshed out tank. She’s currently on her 3rd life and at lvl 25ish she has over 1k hitpoints (almost 1.1k if i remember correctly). my main issue is getting Threat gear, as well as increasing my AC and PRR and Miss Chance, while not losing too much in the way of saves or damage.

    I’m having some trouble with my gear lay out as well, since she’s such an old character (for me at least) she has far from the most optimal gear set up and i don’t even know where to begin to fix it. 😦

    • teachersyn
      Sep 22, 2016 @ 08:50:47

      I know that feeling! With the recent updates I’ll have to re-assess everything. It’s a happy problem, although with coming updates to the Monk trees and the (regrettable) change to handwraps, it’s a moving goal.

      • Eleathan
        Sep 22, 2016 @ 09:56:14

        ironically my monk tank was actually inspired by an old paladin/monk that i had. and she was easier to gear than my tank ever has been, or probably ever will be. XD Any tips/tricks you can spare for an apprentice in the monastic arts about gear would be much appreciated. :/

  2. DDOCentral
    Sep 22, 2016 @ 01:18:24

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  3. Jammond
    Sep 23, 2016 @ 15:18:33

    Some gear help/thoughts. I’m not going to list anything that is going to involve an excessive amount of farming or making huge sacrifices to have.

    Concerning PRR:
    Earth stance :15
    Iron skin : 15 in mountain
    Meditation of war : 10 in mountain
    Sheltering item (maxed cannith crafting) :38
    Insightful physical (same as above) : 18
    Two weapon defense (only works with weapons so… maybe not) : 5
    Deific warding feat : 10 standing, plus addtl 20 if being hit a lot
    Improved combat expertise (twist):20
    Standing with stone (twist) : 15
    Heed no pain (unyielding sentinel core) : 10

    That’s 151 PRR without two weapon defense or stacks of deific warding, giving you a 60% damage reduction. You could farm out a Mythic bonus and an unbreakable adamancy set for the luck bonus. There’s also a quality bonus available, but all these involve a fair bit of farming to get on purpose, for comparatively minimal returns.

    This can be pushed higher still with scion of earth for the 20 PRR but that feat is probably going to be better spent elsewhere… HP and heal amp via scion of Celestia.

    Hit points are available in truly stunning amounts with proper gear and feat focus, but I freely admit to not being that disciplined. Since I don’t know your specific build or tome availability I will go slightly conservative on your CON bonus and assume 60 con for a +25 bonus.

    25 heroic durability (auto-grant feat)
    160 monk levels
    100 epic levels
    For 285 base (only 40 less than a pally and 80 less than a barb so… not too bad there!)

    750 con bonus (assuming 60 con, can help with con sourcing if you have trouble hitting that number)
    150 scion of Celestia
    20 way of the tortoise
    15 conditioning
    68 false life (legendary empowered dragonscale from search and rescue)
    28 vitality (maxed crafting)
    20 yugo pot
    10 argonesson favor
    50 sentinel core 1
    50 vigor of battle
    50 sentinel core 4
    50 vigor of battle enhanced core 4

    1261 from various sources plus base
    1546 PLUS

    3% meditation of war (mountain stance)
    20% strength of vitality (sentinel tier 5)


    Keep in mind you can do several things to push this higher. Legendary greensteel can stack another 49 (before the % multipliers for 60 total) and normal greensteel can add another 45 (55 adjusted). Legendary greensteel also has opposition set bonuses available which add % multipliers. Again, far too much work to build for.

    Heal amp you probably won’t need much help since Shintao cores alone net you 60, but I would like to point out that scion of Celestia adds another 20 and LGS weapons can provide a stunning 155 heal amp, if you’re OK with running heal amp handwraps. Even without those, however, hitting around 200 heal amp is very doable for you. And with 400+ positive spellpower (again, very doable), your self healing should go off the charts.

    Stacked together, you can probably survive a single hit from Sor’jek and have a shot at healing yourself up before he lands a second. I won’t bother with miss chance, since you are very much the master of that field, and I but a lowly apprentice.

    Even if you already knew everything listed (which I find likely), I hope this at least provides an easy reference resource, both for yourself, and anyone else wanting to monk tank.

    • Jammond
      Sep 23, 2016 @ 15:19:06

      Sorry for the wall of text.

    • mernom
      Sep 25, 2016 @ 12:27:03

      I think you missed a few things: insightful false life from lion’s mane (20), and improves Heroic durability. I’m also pretty sure that dwarfs have a +7% somewhere in their tree, plus the racial con and toughness. Also, did you count epic toughness?

    • teachersyn
      Sep 27, 2016 @ 07:25:41

      Good list. I’ve made my own and managed as high as 226 PRR in an ideal scenario. I’ve got 116-126 at level 24, so I’m pretty optimistic. As for healing amp, I have all the Human Improved Recovery and Shintao enhancements, and wear some PDK Gauntlets. I have a Shamanic Fetish and some Heal skill and right now, doing pretty well, with more available. One thing I know about miss-chance: Legendary Hard laughs at it because the CR levels are so, so high, but it’s better than nothing.

      • Jammond
        Sep 27, 2016 @ 07:42:27

        Anything much past 200 prr seems to be firmly relegated to “diminishing returns” territory. Going from 66.6% at 200 prr vs 71.4% at 250 just seems… pointless.

        I will freely admit that my list is far from exhaustive, but I’m also the sort that hates running the same quest over and over looking for that one drop… unless that singular drop provides a bonus completely out of proportion with anything else available (hence the empowered dragonscale, but no other specific items).

        Health pools of 1k+ should make the miss chance a bigger deal, since you can survive them getting those one or two lucky hits through faster than you can react. Pushing up to 2k (or more with some comparatively heavy grinding) will, I suspect, further emphasize your hefty miss chance abilities.

        I look forward to seeing just how far you can push your monk tank. The specifics of a monk tank playstyle escape me, so I didn’t feel comfortable commenting on the other aspects, but the PRR, HP, and heal amp are all things I do know from other tanks I’ve played. Seeing someone do something very much outside the norm is always awesome tho, and I can’t wait to hear more.

        • teachersyn
          Sep 29, 2016 @ 09:01:37

          Generally agree. Looks like I can maintain 100 PRR in any ED, but Unyielding Sentinel has naturally the best overall yield. I’m optimistic to get 1500 HP by level 30. Party members are awed by my healing amp (I can often refill my whole bar from a Heal). Dodge is the bigger problem but if I can maintain 20% and get a Lesser Displacement and Ghostly items equipped, these should help a lot. Stay tuned!

  4. mernom
    Sep 25, 2016 @ 12:37:25

    That moment when your lvl 15 monk has as much AC as your lvl 28 Ranger…

    A few suggestions: Epic Lion’s Mane has 20 insightful false life, 4 insightful con and 6 insightful natural armor. Ship Kickers have insightful dex 4, balance 20 and Riposte X (5 insightful AC and saves, plus deals damage when missed). If you add the bracers, you can get a the set bonus of 2 quality str, as well as the 4 insightful from the item itself, and the standing greater heroism.
    For shield AC, you can use a wand/clicky for 4 points. May be shorter (as well as dispellable) but you get magic/force missile protection. There’s also the cloak from the Archons pack.

    • teachersyn
      Sep 27, 2016 @ 07:30:08

      Good suggestions! I should have a pair of the Ship Kickers. I like improving that Shield AC (I have a lot of clickies) with Unyielding Sentinel’s options but it’s pretty situational, although epic missiles are nasty. I’ll check on that cloak in Archons, but drop rates there are terrible.

      • mernom
        Sep 27, 2016 @ 07:34:04

        Yeah, I noticed… I had to run the last quest 4 times to get the shuriken. Although I got the bracers right away… 8 reflex saves on a lvl 13 is delicues!

  5. Eleathan
    Sep 28, 2016 @ 13:48:44

    So, recently (yesterday infact), i found out my monk tank isn’t tooo far behind those with the best gear. Even with over half my gear slots being taken by lvl 18-20 gear, i was still able to survive, and even thrive, in a few EE quests/raids as long as there was at least 1 other person in the group. My PRR is still lacking, so i was still getting hit for big numbers, and fairly frequently since my miss-chance was also fairly low when i didn’t have both Blur and Shadow Veil active. but with Vampiric Stonedust wraps (yes lvl 12 wraps in EE!) and timely uses of Renew and the 3x Light finisher my up-and-comming monk tank was able to survive, and even hold aggro with a few smaller groups without too much trouble. (Also, being able to stun roughly 1/2 the mobs probably helped XD)

    • teachersyn
      Sep 29, 2016 @ 09:07:25

      Agreed; never underestimate good handwraps by their level. A Monk’s main weakness is Slash damage. To counter this a little, I’m fond of the level 27 Guardian’s Cloak that has some damage absorption from that. Right now, in a recent EE run against sword-wielding orcs and hobgoblins, Lynn was getting punched at 100-point hits from slash damage. More WIS than STR now is my focus, but I’m not optimistic I can get it much higher than 50. We’ll see. I combine Healing Ki and its vampiric shield curse with Rejuvenation Cocoon to pull HP every moment I get. But Champions are my dreaded foe and I need a better solution.

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