I was trying to pick out a new feat from my now 4th lvl Dwarven Fighter when I noticed Improved Shield Bash. I understand what the feat does, but I can't find what good bashing someone with your shield is. I suppose it could be used as a blunt weapon against skeletons. But other than that, I can't see the purpose. Also, how much damage does it do? And can it be done with a Tower Shield?
Thanks for any and all help.
You cannot bash someone with a Tower Shield.
The damage is noted in the Weapons Table; I believe it is 1d4 for a Heavy Shield. If you add spikes to the shield, it increases to 1d6.
The advantage is that you can fight with two weapons without having to lose your shield. Also, the Complete Warrior has some extra feats to improve your Shield bash.
I don't know the particulars of 3e, but shield bashing has been around from way back. It's a way to knock an opponant back a step or two (making him waste time and movement returning to fighting range. It can disrupt spells from mages and priests. It can knock people down and make them take more time standing up and retrieving weapons. Overall it can also effect opponant morale. The character bashing is showing a certain level of disdain, just knocking them to the ground rather than killing. That can get enemies thinking, "What does he know that we don't?" They might eventually break.
Also, with some of the older Barbarian and Berzerker concepts, the shield could have projections along the front (spikes, hooks, etc.) that can get smeared with blade venoms and such, causing some serious damage. I had an old-timey berzerker that used a sword in one hand and the shield in the other. With the old multiple attack rules for specialization, the berzerker got two attacks with primary weapons (sword), and one off-hand attack every round with specialized shield (coated with poisoned spikes) ensuring that at least one opponant every round had to make a save vs. poison (provided character hit, of course).
There's all sorts of uses for it. What about a cleric, sworn to not spill blood (no edged weapons, but maces and such are so blase')? They can do the shield thing, do damage and still follow their oath.
How about a character using two shields (ambidexterity, two-weapon fighting skill, specialized in shields, maybe even working towards Grand Mastery). Since shields provide a point of A/C bonus, using two might just stack a second point. One of them can be swung to the rear while one is still to the front, reduing A/C against flank and rear attacks.
Thanks for the responses. I knew I'd seen the damage from a shield somewhere, and with the description of the tower shield, I figured it couldn't be used in that way anyway.
I have a pretty decent Dex, but I am trying to get feats for Dwarven Defender. Which leads me to another question thats been bothering me. Does the limit of a Dex bonus also limit any Dodge bonus the character may have? My dwarf has a Dex of 15 (+2) with his Chainmail and Towershield, he still keeps this bonus to his AC. When he's fighting a giant and gets the +4 Dodge bonus, is it negated by the armor/shield he is carrying?
Which leads me to another question thats been bothering me. Does the limit of a Dex bonus also limit any Dodge bonus the character may have?
Simply answer to that one: no.
Your armour's Max Dex bonus is just that - a limit to the AC bonus for a high Dex that you can use while wearing the armour.