A good tank should, in time, be able to assemble each of the basic tanking sets. Your biggest priority is the Armor Class equipment set. It is the most commonly used. Spellsave and/or Magic Resistance and Hitpoint/Parry sets are used in specialized situations.
The Armor Class (AC) equipment set should be designed to get the tank's AC
rating as high as possible. The higher the armor class, the harder he is to
hit. Don't worry about hitroll or damroll, in a group setting it will be the
hitters' and blasters' job to inflict damage on the enemy.
In certain situations when an opponent relies on spells and spell-like
abilities, a different kind of equipment set can be used: the spellsave suit.
A tank can use spellsave and/or magic resistance to protect himself from
enemy spells but must remember that it also prevents healing magic. In other
scenarios, such as when fighting a fire-breathing dragon, it may be more
important to have a lot of a specific kind of saving throw, such as firesave.
A good tank may end up acquiring several different spellsave eq sets in
order to handle any number of encounters.
Hitpoint/parry eq sets focus on just what the name suggests: hitpoints and
parry. Though a rare eq set, it is designed to be used against mobs that hit
so hard that it doesn't matter how much ac you have. Parry prevents the
enemy from hitting you by deflecting the attack, and your precious hitpoints
are your insulation against certain death. Some tanks like to have a high
dexterity, too, for dodge. For a different strategy, players use a set of eq
to get maximum hitpoints without any dodge or parry so they can absorb
massive amounts of damage. This is referred to as 'bleeding', and it is used
to gain more xp from tanking and rescuing. The efficacy of such methods are
debatable, however, as the time spent healing and regenning a bleeders' hp
might better be spent hunting and killing more mobs.
A tank should stock up on disposible magic items to cure damage, such as
healing potions. Using these in lieu of conventional healing spells is
called being a 'potion tank'. Generally, one would only use this strategy
against enemies in nomagic rooms where spells do not work, as potion tanking
is otherwise cost prohibitive. However, a few potions at the right moment
could turn the tide in any battle.
Part 3 - Using Your Tank
Part 1 - Creating Your Tank