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Shields: Making them more attractive


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


I'm running a game that will be limited to low levels (cap is at 8th) and the question has come up of the viability of the three main fighter styles:

Two-Weapon Fighter
Two Hander
Sword & Board

Now, the Sword & Board generally falls of for sure at higher levels, but how does it compare to the others at the early levels?
We were thinking about making some houserules to make the use of a shield more attractive.

Spend a Swift Action to designate a target and gain an additional +2 AC versus that target.
Granting your shield's bonus to Reflex and Touch AC.
Grant Shield bonus to adjacent ally.

Any thoughts?


Evershifter wrote:


Granting your shield's bonus to Reflex and Touch AC.

this is a rule i would like.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Definitely "plain" non-TWFing sword and board could use some augmentation. Two-weapon fighting using a shield as the second weapon isn't bad, though.

I would lean towards the route of not simply improving the shield's AC bonus further. Instead, give some cool non-AC things. There are already a few out there - the ray shield feat for example that lets you deflect rays (albeit only available at the end of a long and kind of crappy feat chain). But more feats with similar ideas would be good.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

I should think that if you put a nice picture on your shield that would make it more attractive.


Nicos wrote:
Evershifter wrote:


Granting your shield's bonus to Reflex and Touch AC.
this is a rule i would like.

4th edition does something like this. I suggest however that this bonus does not apply to incorporeal attacks. If ghosts can pass through armor, they should be able to pass through shields.

Osirion

Sheilds are apparently attractive enough that some people are now using two of them instead of a weapon.


Quote:
Granting your shield's bonus to Reflex and Touch AC.

If wearing full plate does not add to your touch AC, why should a shield be able to?


Honestly, sword and board is fine as it is. As has been pointed out, shield bashers are pretty viable, and at early levels the shield bonus to AC is big.

Plus Sword & Boarders can still remain competitive. They've got "Bucklers" so they can two-Hand and remain competitive in damage for a small penalty to atk and one less shield bonus. Then when they need to main hand, they pull out a one hander(or stop two-handing the one they've got) and bam: Shield Bonus.

Lantern Lodge

Personal Sword and Board is fine. With the right feat combo u can add +2 ore shield ac, make shield bash attacks with out suffering two-weapon penalties, defelct a single ranged attack and a single spell attack 1ce a round, perform bull rushes, and on top of it all u dont lose ur shield ac. A sword and board fighter is just fine. Also if done right at lv 1 a human fighter can have 23 ac starting out. 1st level fighter with dodge, shield focus, combat expertise, wearing a chain shirt with a heave shield and has an adjusted 18 dex with racial.


Coriat wrote:
Definitely "plain" non-TWFing sword and board could use some augmentation. Two-weapon fighting using a shield as the second weapon isn't bad, though.

How far behind a two-hander is a non TWF sword and board user, especially at low to early mid levels?

If you use the same feat build for a two hander and a sword and board-er, but one uses a falchion and the other uses a falcata. Start at 20 str, so you're at 22 at level 8, call it 26 with a +4 str belt:

1 hand, falcata +17/12 (8BAB, 8 str, 1 weapon focus +2 weapon, -2 PA) 1d8 + 16 19-20x3 (6 str, 4 power attack, 2 weapon focus, +2 weapon)
- 20.5 normal
- 61.5 critical 10% of the time
- Against a CR8 (AC21) opponent, DPR = 35.67

Math:

Shamelessly copied from the DPR Olympics thread:

The damage formula is h(d+s)+tchd.

h = Chance to hit, expressed as a percentage
d = Damage per hit. Average damage is assumed.
s = Precision damage per hit (or other damage that isn't multiplied on a crit). Average damage is again assumed.
t = Chance to roll a critical threat, expressed as a percentage.
c = Critical hit bonus damage. x2 = 1, x3 = 2, x4 = 3.

21-17 = Needs a 4 or higher to hit, or 85% hit chance
21-12 = 9, 60% hit chance on 2nd attack

0.85*20.5+0.1*0.85*20.5*2 = 20.91
0.6*20.5+0.1*0.6*20.5*2 = 14.76
= 35.67 DPR

2 hand Falchion +17/12 (8BAB, 8 str, 1 weapon focus +2 weapon -2 PA) 2d4 + 22 18-20x2 (9 str, 6 power attack, 2 weapon focus, +2 weapon)
- 27 normal
- 54 critical, 15% of the time.
- Against a CR8 (AC21) opponent, DPR = 45.0225

Math:

21-17 = Needs a 4 or higher to hit, or 85% hit chance
21-12 = 9, 60% hit chance on 2nd attack

0.85*27+0.15*0.85*27*1 = 26.3925
0.6*27+0.1*0.6*27*1 = 18.63
= 45.0225 DPR

I know I'm missing a lot of potential damage increases, but is there anything that gives 1.5 damage for 2 handing other than strength and power attack? The two hander is 5.5 damage/normal hit ahead of the one hander for one full BAB attack, about 9.5 damage/round ahead in a full attack action. As the non-strength based damage bonuses increase, the relative gap will decrease. Most importantly, the sword and shield fighter can always drop his shield and two-hand his weapon, then the only difference will be in their weapons and archetypes, the builds can be identical.

I've been toying around with a fighter that goes sword and board most of the time, but drops the shield when he's up against a really big bad guy who's going to hit him regardless. I think you have an advantage against larger numbers of weaker opponents who will hit you less but still go down in a hit or two, (think ghouls or rats or something that hurts you beyond HP damage on a successful hit,) allowing the party to save resources in earlier fights for tougher fights.


The 2-handed fighter there should have an extra feat since a falchion is not an exotic weapon. Oh, and the falcata user will deal more damage per round if using the falcata in two hands than the falchion user. Yes, falcata are better in two hands than two-handed weapons are ;)


Jeraa wrote:
Quote:
Granting your shield's bonus to Reflex and Touch AC.
If wearing full plate does not add to your touch AC, why should a shield be able to?

Armour is used as an exoskeleton; it makes your skin harder to penetrate. A shield is a parrying tool; the wearer voluntarily seeks to deflect incoming blows by interposing his shield.

In D&D and Pathfinder, both simply contribute to AC but in essence, the two are quite different protective gear.

I'm also of the ones who think that shield should enhance touch AC (and should not contribute to flat-footed AC). It would definitely make sense against acid arrow, scorching ray and similar spells that could an supposedly be "blocked". Similarly, it could benefit against a dragon's breath and cone, line or spread spells a la fireball.


I had thought about implementing the following alternative rules:

Blocking:
As a move action, you can you can use a shield to block an attack. When using a shield in this way, you must choose an adjacent square. You gain concealment (or total concealment, if employing a tower shield) against any attack that passes through this square and no concealment for attacks that do not pass through this square. The shield does not, however, provide concealment against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. While blocking, you cannot bash with a shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.

If an attack misses you due to this concealment, it connects with your shield; your opponent rolls damage against your shield as if he had successfully sundered it.

Note I: These rules would replace the standard tower shield rules.

Note II: Perhaps an "Improved Block" feat, allowing characters to reduce the action needed from a move to a swift, would make these rules more appealing.


That sounds like quite a cool rule DM.

Grand Lodge

I allow shield to count for Reflex save bonuses to blasting etc attacks (ie it can help against burning hands, breath weapon or a fireball) as a house rule.


Thanks, stringburka. I was thinking of this scene while working on it.


Improved Block
Requirements: Fighter Level 6, Shield Proficiency, Shield Focus
Benefit: you may Block as a swift action
Normal: Blocking is a move action

Deflect Arrows
Requirements: Dex 13, Improved Unarmed Strike or Shield Focus
Benefit: To use this feat, if you have Improved Unarmed Strike, you must have at least one hand free (holding nothing); or, if you have Shield Focus, you must be wielding your shield. Once per round when you would normally be hit with an attack from a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it. You must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed. Attempting to deflect a ranged attack doesn't count as an action. Unusually massive ranged weapons (such as boulders or ballista bolts) and ranged attacks generated by natural attacks or spell effects can't be deflected.

Deflect Rays
Requirements: Dex 15, Deflect Arrows, Shield Focus
Benefit: You may apply your shield bonus to your touch AC against ranged attacks.

Improved Deflect Rays
Requirements: Dex 17, Deflect Rays
Benefit: You must be wielding your shield to use this feat. Once per round when you would normally be hit with a ray attack or other ranged attack that is resolved against your touch AC, you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it. If the attack could deal damage to objects, your shield instead takes full damage. You must be aware of the attack and not flat-footed. Attempting to deflect a ranged attack doesn't count as an action.


also, maybe Blocking is a Combat Maneuver that is usable as a move action and adds shield bonus and armor training bonuses to the CMB roll...

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