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Magic Items only allow one Shield slot...Okay, why?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


So, I'm curious about the design choice of multiple Magic Shields not able to be employed. And what I mean by this is that, if you have two Magic Shields with Armor properties, only one of them would function (probably wielder's choice at the start of each turn), and the other would be inert until the other is removed. What also doesn't make sense is that, even if one of your shields is inert, you can still employ that second shield as a Magic Weapon without issue (even though it somehow cannot benefit from Magic Shield effects).

While that's what the rules tell us, I'm more worried about why the above is the case.

Is it because effects stack? That can't be it, because general rules already state same bonus types won't stack, and enhancing a Shield still leaves it a Shield Bonus, which means using 2 +5 AC Shields won't get you any more AC than 1 +5 AC Shield would. This applies not only to Enhancement bonuses, but any attempt to squeeze multiple similar effects won't work, either.

Is it because of other magical effects? That's mostly balanced around how expensive enhancing a shield, both as an armor item and as a weapon, can be, in relation to a typical character's WBL. The odds of them having those benefits is slightly more likely than winning the lottery. Even if accomplished, a lot of them won't stack (being the same effect), or aren't broken if allowed anyway.

Is it because of legacy rules? What I mean is that the text regarding this is basically holdover from 3.X rules, and that it's copy-pasted. I'm not 100% sure if this is true or not, my memory of 3.X rules are hazy.

Is it because Paizo thinks wielding two shields as weapons and defense mechanisms silly? While there have been posts by developers who support this claim individually, rules changes have been made to make using a Shield just as plausible as using any other blade or polearm in the game, so I doubt this is the case.

Like, what am I missing here?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Balance.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

In 3.5, it was ultimately cheaper to spread your enchantments out over multiple shields. One being your main shield, the other being a buckler. If you wanted a +1 shield with several special abilities, it was cheaper to spread those over multiple shields. You would have a penalty to hit with your weapon because of the buckler, but that was minor. For example, a +2 light fortification shield is 9000gp. However, a +2 shield and a +1 light fortification buckler is a combined 8000 gp. Or enchanting your primary shield to +5 (25000gp), a secondary buckler to +1 with +5 worth of special abilities (36000gp). 61000gp total, but doing it as a single shield would be 100,000gp. A savings of 39,000gp. If you could get multiple arms for additional bucklers, it gets worse.

The same was an issue with magic armor and bracers of armor. Pathfinder ended that. It made shields their own slot, which limits you to a single one. And it made it so that you could only benefit from either your armor or bracers of armor, but not both.

Essentially, both changes were to remove the loophole of getting multiple enchantments for cheaper than normal. Part of that does still remain, however. It is cheaper to get an amulet of natural armor than it is to upgrade your ring of protection. For example, going from a ring of protection +2 to +3 costs 10000gp. For the same price, you can get an amulet of natural armor +2. You get +2 points of AC instead of +1, and also save 2000gp.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
taks wrote:
Balance.

Do you have an explanation for this, or any counterpoints to OP's points?

I'm of the mind it's probably a legacy holdover. The GMs I've had, and I as a GM, have never had a problem with ignoring the fact that 'Shield' is actually a separate magic item slot. I had a lot of fun with an extremely optimized TWF spiked shield build. He died twice, and came very close to death more times than I can remember. Not exactly overpowered.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Like, what am I missing here?

It's the exact same reason they had to make a new kind of welding to prevent defending from working as intended... Someone somewhere thought someone might get the minutest of extra benefit from the interaction and, in typical pathfinder fashion, nuked it from space. ;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jeraa wrote:

In 3.5, it was ultimately cheaper to spread your enchantments out over multiple shields. One being your main shield, the other being a buckler. If you wanted a +1 shield with several special abilities, it was cheaper to spread those over multiple shields. You would have a penalty to hit with your weapon because of the buckler, but that was minor. For example, a +2 light fortification shield is 9000gp. However, a +2 shield and a +1 light fortification buckler is a combined 8000 gp. Or enchanting your primary shield to +5 (25000gp), a secondary buckler to +1 with +5 worth of special abilities (36000gp). 61000gp total, but doing it as a single shield would be 100,000gp. A savings of 39,000gp. If you could get multiple arms for additional bucklers, it gets worse.

The same was an issue with magic armor and bracers of armor. Pathfinder ended that. It made shields their own slot, which limits you to a single one. And it made it so that you could only benefit from either your armor or bracers of armor, but not both.

Essentially, both changes were to remove the loophole of getting multiple enchantments for cheaper than normal. Part of that does still remain, however. It is cheaper to get an amulet of natural armor than it is to upgrade your ring of protection. For example, going from a ring of protection +2 to +3 costs 10000gp. For the same price, you can get an amulet of natural armor +2. You get +2 points of AC instead of +1, and also save 2000gp.

I was very big on optimization in my 3.5 days. I can't believe I never thought of this.

As an aside I thought of things more for the challenge, than to use them in a game. I didnt want the GM to have to give me "the talk" after the session.

Grand Lodge

Does this mean that if you were to dual wield 2 dwarven warshields and use the shield master feat to use their shield bonus as their attack bonus only one would function?

So you'd have to enchant one as a shield and the other as a weapon?


It should be noted that technically you can wield multiple magic shields (and get all of their special effects) if custom magic items are allowed. Doubling the cost of a slotted item makes it slotless.

The rule about special features shutting off is not a general rule - it only applies between magic armor and bracers of armor. So multiple magic shields would grant their special abilities as normal, provided the extra shields are slotless.

That does make it a less effective option than it was in 3.5, but still potentially possible.

Quote:

I was very big on optimization in my 3.5 days. I can't believe I never thought of this.

As an aside I thought of things more for the challenge, than to use them in a game. I didnt want the GM to have to give me "the talk" after the session.

You can also do it with slotless items. With my ring of protection +2/amulet of natural armor +2 example, if you dropped the amulet to +1 and made it slotless, you would still get the same AC bonus as upgrading the ring, not take up your amulet slot (or maybe it was already filled), and still save 6000gp by not upgrading the ring to +3.

Though that does require custom items, which may or may not be allowed.


Jeraa wrote:

In 3.5, it was ultimately cheaper to spread your enchantments out over multiple shields. One being your main shield, the other being a buckler. If you wanted a +1 shield with several special abilities, it was cheaper to spread those over multiple shields. You would have a penalty to hit with your weapon because of the buckler, but that was minor. For example, a +2 light fortification shield is 9000gp. However, a +2 shield and a +1 light fortification buckler is a combined 8000 gp. Or enchanting your primary shield to +5 (25000gp), a secondary buckler to +1 with +5 worth of special abilities (36000gp). 61000gp total, but doing it as a single shield would be 100,000gp. A savings of 39,000gp. If you could get multiple arms for additional bucklers, it gets worse.

The same was an issue with magic armor and bracers of armor. Pathfinder ended that. It made shields their own slot, which limits you to a single one. And it made it so that you could only benefit from either your armor or bracers of armor, but not both.

Essentially, both changes were to remove the loophole of getting multiple enchantments for cheaper than normal. Part of that does still remain, however. It is cheaper to get an amulet of natural armor than it is to upgrade your ring of protection. For example, going from a ring of protection +2 to +3 costs 10000gp. For the same price, you can get an amulet of natural armor +2. You get +2 points of AC instead of +1, and also save 2000gp.

Interesting analysis.

The big difference between regular Armor and Bracers of Armor is that they didn't really interfere with your ability to perform in combat. Using two shields means you either have to use the shields to attack, or drop one to take other combat options (such as drink a potion or draw some other consumable for use), because your hands were full by using the shields. Sure, Light Shields might make for a compromise, but the only clause with that is that you can hold items, not use them (as evidenced by making attacks with a weapon in your shield hand), as well as less overall AC (yes, it's one point, but that's big in the early game), so you'll still have to drop one to use items in either hand. Really, the only item that permits this is a Quickdraw Shield, and even then Free Action abuse is possible, and that item was published well after the Core Rulebook, where the Shield Slot was defined.

Bracers of Armor and standard Armor don't have that sort of restriction, and on top of your statements prior, made for obvious cheese. I'm just not seeing it as much in this instance since a lot of Shield properties are junk, and/or could have already been tacked onto one shield and wouldn't stack with the application of another shield (such as elemental resistances).

@ Jurassic Pratt: Yes, if you have two shields with defensive magical properties, only one would function at any given time, which is either the strongest one, or one that you wish to have function at any given time (though that is determined at the start of your turn to prevent any special ability cheese). Even Shield Master wouldn't work if you have, for example, 2 +5 AC shields, because the defensive magic in the other shield would cease functioning (similar to Bracers of Armor and regular Armor), and you'd be forced to enhance the other shield as a weapon to match the +5 for both attacks.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The big difference between regular Armor and Bracers of Armor is that they didn't really interfere with your ability to perform in combat. Using two shields means you either have to use the shields to attack, or drop one to take other combat options (such as drink a potion or draw some other consumable for use), because your hands were full by using the shields. Sure, Light Shields might make for a compromise, but the only clause with that is that you...

Only if you have 2 arms. An alchemist can easily have an extra arm or two to hold shields and we have some 4 armed races.

So an alchemist can have 2 shields and a weapon while still having a free hand for 'casting'/bombs.

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