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D&D: The Five Best Ways to Tank Some Damage

4 Minute Read
Mar 31 2024
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Taking a hit in D&D is about more than just wearing the best armor or having the best hit points. Here’s how to tank damage in D&D.

No matter how careful your planning, or how devastating your surprise attacks, in every game of D&D you eventually run into a combat where, despite your best efforts, the enemy gets to take a turn and hit you back. Which seems unfair. But that’s the game.

Still, you can prepare for this eventuality. D&D helped popularize the idea of a big meaty armored fighter protecting the “squishy” caster at the back of the party. But these days, anyone, even and especially the spellcasters, can take a hit like a champ. Here’s how.

Jack Up That Armor Class

To start with, the best way to tank a hit is by never getting hit in the first place. And that means cranking your AC up into the stratosphere. As we all know from fantasy stories, the best way to do that is by wearing heavy armor. But, surprisingly, the best armor wearers in D&D aren’t Fighters or Paladins, but rather Wizards and Sorcerers.

Sure, you have to do a little bit of work to actually pick up the heavy armor proficiency. Emphasis on little. You might need to pick up two levels of Cleric. Or a level of Fighter. Or a feat. The list goes on.

As a Spellcaster, if you can get to heavy armor, you can wear plate armor, which gives you an AC of 18. Couple that with a shield, for a base AC of 20. Then you can start layering on spells on top of that. Shield, the spell, is an easy one, which pushes you up to AC 25 with minimal effort.

Even if you’re not in heavy armor, you can still boost your AC with features like Bladesong or the like.

Layer on the Hit Points


Temporary hit points are among the best ways to proactively keep yourself in the fight. Because even with an ungodly AC, if an enemy rolls a 20, you’re still getting hit, no matter what.

So jack up that hit point total instead. Give yourself a buffer. There are spells like aid, which adds an extra 5 hp to your maximum hp, and spells or features that grant you temporary hp before a fight starts, like an Inspiring Words speech. Not everything stacks together, but having easy access to extra health will keep you in the game much longer.

Use That Dodge Action

Sometimes you know you’re just going to be caught out by the enemy. Maybe in the previous turn, you ended up surrounded. Or the enemy spellcaster used a teleport offensively to position you right in the middle of enemy lines.

Or maybe your DM just has that look in their eyes. You know, the look is usually accompanied by something like “and you did how much damage last turn?” that lets you know the enemies aka your DM have decided that you’re too much of a threat.


When that happens it’s time to ruin everyone’s day by refusing to play the game their way. The Dodge Action imposes Disadvantage on anyone attacking you. Sure, it takes your action (usually) but it’s often worth one action to negate two or more enemy’s turns spent attacking you.

Remember That You Have Those Potions

One of the all-time worst things you can do is end a D&D campaign with unused consumable items. They’re very rare in games, these days. But potions of healing are one of few items that not only have a price listed, but that show up in published adventures.

It’s hard not to give them away!

But they’re doing nobody any good, noted down in your inventory. Again, yes, it takes an action to regain not a ton of hit points. But it can help a Cleric top you off, or help reduce the overall damage that dragon did so that you and your party maintain the numbers advantage.

Resistance Isn’t Futile

Finally, if you want to tank some damage, look for ways to gain resistance. Spells like Stoneskin or features like Barbarian’s Rage are iconic examples of this. But there are plenty of other options out there.


Use your features to gain damage resistance, and you’ll be taking half as much damage. Of course, you have to match your resistance to the incoming damage. Which is where it pays to scout ahead and know what your enemy is capable of. Because at the end of the day, knowledge is power.

Happy adventuring!

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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