Are shields actually that useful?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Scarab Sages

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Banecrow wrote:
This isnt a mmo where you can just taunt the enemy into attacking you and ignor all the other targets.

Compel Hostility

Yes, I can.


I liked the part where people actually thought that exceptions to rules were placed in front of the rules themselves. The game doesn't work that way, and it was worth a laugh.


Artanthos wrote:
Banecrow wrote:
This isnt a mmo where you can just taunt the enemy into attacking you and ignor all the other targets.

Compel Hostility

Yes, I can.

I prefer Unnatural Lust to compel them to rush over and assault me with their tongue. To each their own. ;)

The ugly ones get sent to the PC I dislike the most.


1handed + shield fighters typically do around 50-66% of the DPR of 2handed fighters of comparable optimization levels. How well they work really depends tremendously on your GM and campaign style. To wit:
If you campaign involves hordes upon hordes of CR-4 monsters and the like, defense can really shine.
If your GM is averse to eating an AoO, and a LOT of them are, defense can really shine.
If your GM's SOP is focus fire and damn the AoOs, full speed ahead, and tight corridors and such aren't his MO, don't even think about spending much on your shield capabilities.
If your GM tends towards small numbers of CR+x foes, your better AC is going to matter less.
If your GM is the kind that gets cranky when he has trouble hitting you, you might find you're better served by just cranking out the DPR with a two-hander.
Know your GM. Know how you can obtain 'aggro' from his monsters without incurring aggro from the GM himself.


pH unbalanced wrote:

So what about Free Hand Fighters with bucklers?

Free Hand Fighter wrote:
His fighting school benefits only apply when he is using a one-handed weapon and carrying nothing in his other hand.
Does a Free Hand Fighter get to use their class powers with a buckler strapped to their off-hand forearm (but with the hand still empty), and still get the shield bonus? Cause that seems decidedly weird, but its parallel to what's being said about bow wielders.

Buckler text:

Buckler: This small metal shield is worn strapped to
your forearm. You can use a bow or crossbow without
penalty while carrying it. You can also use your shield
arm to wield a weapon (whether you are using an offhand
weapon or using your off hand to help wield a two-handed
weapon), but you take a –1 penalty on attack rolls
while doing so. This penalty stacks with those that may
apply for fighting with your off hand and for fighting with
two weapons. In any case, if you use a weapon in your off
hand, you lose the buckler’s AC bonus until your next turn.
You can cast a spell with somatic components using your
shield arm, but you lose the buckler’s AC bonus until your
next turn. You can’t make a shield bash with a buckler.

Free Hand Fighter text:

Free Hand Fighter
The free hand fighter specializes in the delicate art
of handling a single weapon in one hand while using
his free hand to balance, block, tip, and distract his
opponents. While not a brawler, his open hand is as
much a weapon as a bow or blade.
His fighting school
benefits only apply when he is using a one-handed
weapon and carrying nothing in his other hand.

It would seem to state that the Free hand Fighter uses the off hand to make distractions, grab things, push things etc.
Meaning you would be unable to benefit from the AC bonus but would suffer the -1 penalty to attack rolls only if you use that hand to make an unarmed attack.

The AC bonus and attack roll penalty are clearly defined in the buckler text and I am unsure what confusion there could be.
Could someone elaborate on the confusion.


Shield are great if you have the dex to pull off two weapon fighting and shield bashing. You get a great AC and can really dish out the damage though not as much as Two Handed Fighter but close.


EWHM wrote:
1handed + shield fighters typically do around 50-66% of the DPR of 2handed fighters of comparable optimization levels.

Got any links to the math on that? Only managing 50% of 2-hander's DPR seems really low for an optimized shield-fighter.


Its probably more like 80% due to the shield basher taking a twf penalty and reducing their accuracy, but shield master can off set some of that in the mid to high levels. Its more expensive money wise to keep two weapons enchanted as well.

However the shield user is less likely to die, iterative attacks may miss and they punish power attack usage from npc's. Having two attacks can sometimes be a benefit as well such as against many lower cr opponents to spread damage rather than overkill and easier negation of the 1s always fail issue two handed fighters can sometimes have when their primary attack hits a brute npc on a 2. My personal experience is that 2her fighters are a waste of damage a lot of the time and it rarely matters when they crit, unless you hit for the monsters exact remaining hp you overkilled it and a lot of the 2h fighters i have run for overkill npcs with their minimum damage. They could do the same thing with a 1h weapon and have better defenses, i also find that i often put 2h fighters into negatives if they do not outright kill the npc with their attack since they are not really optimised for the return salvo.


Think about it like this - as you level up, your foes level up with you, so all things being equal, a 5% bonus to your defense (+1 AC) remains a 5% bonus, i.e. opponents are 5% less likely to hit you. A heavy shield can offer you anywhere from a +2 to a +9 AC bonus, and theoretically reduce your chances of being hit between 10% to 45%.

Personally, I think shields are under utilized.


Chengar,
Check the various flavors of the DPR olympics threads. I made several variants at 10th level and posted them.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
StreamOfTheSky wrote:
Artanthos wrote:
Banecrow wrote:
This isnt a mmo where you can just taunt the enemy into attacking you and ignor all the other targets.

Compel Hostility

Yes, I can.

I prefer Unnatural Lust to compel them to rush over and assault me with their tongue. To each their own. ;)

The ugly ones get sent to the PC I dislike the most.

Antagonize works best I think. Target doesn't get a save, turning even the world's most calm, level-headed, brilliant military tactician into a bumbling idiot who will stagger through a minefield to get to the target of his rage.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I note that nobody answered my question of what PFS does with bucklers used with bows or crossbows. I suspect they treat them as no penalty from the buckler, but you get the +1 AC bonus anyway.

Frankly, what'll usually happen is that the GM simply won't ask if the archer is using a buckler and if he's applying/not applying the attack penalty/AC bonus. :/

BNW is right that if you ask what the PFS stance is, the answer is "same as the Core rules". We don't take all the fuzzy or disagreed-upon parts of the rules and make campaign-wide adjudications on them, so if a GM feels that an aspect of the rules is unclear, they make their own decision for their own table.

For me personally, it seems clear enough that you don't take a penalty to attacks for using a bow with a buckler (after all, "without penalty" has to mean something). As for whether or not you keep the AC bonus it provides... I'm about 70% sure you lose it.


Ravingdork wrote:


Antagonize works best I think. Target doesn't get a save, turning even the world's most calm, level-headed, brilliant military tactician into a bumbling idiot who will stagger through a minefield to get to the target of his rage.

Uh, no they won't.

UltimateMagic wrote:
The effect ends if the creature is prevented from attacking you or attempting to do so would harm it (for example, if you are on the other side of a chasm or a wall of fire).

I'd say 'staggering through a minefield' qualifies (assuming the target knew the mines were there).

Along with this, the fact that it fails if the target is more than 1 (2 at the most) rounds away from being able to attack you, and the fact that it can be satisfied simply by including you as a target in a cast spell, makes this of rather limited utility. Not to mention the various other limitations (language-dependent, must make a skill check, mind-affecting, etc).


I had a ninja that used a buckler and walked around in full plate. He was horrifying, even for a level 15 character. Most of my characters carry a shield of some sort, but they don't always get to make use of it.


Ravingdork wrote:
Antagonize works best I think. Target doesn't get a save, turning even the world's most calm, level-headed, brilliant military tactician into a bumbling idiot who will stagger through a minefield to get to the target of his rage.

Not since they nerfed the hell out of it, it doesn't.

"The creature flies into a rage. On its next turn, the target must attempt to make a melee attack against you, make a ranged attack against you, target you with a spell, or include you in the area of a spell."

You use the feat as your action and win the check...enemy picks up a rock or stick and throws it at you. Whoopty doo. I guess against a very limited subset of monsters like most animals and vermin (oh wait, vermin are immune to mind-affecting, scratch that) that have no spells or ability to pick up objects it has a use... Of course, those sorts of foes are usually trying to rush to melee as much as possible anyway and do quite well in it for their CR, and the best plan when facing them is usually spells to keep them from reaching melee anyway. So...yeah, pretty worthless feat.

At least Unnatural Lust will make that enemy mage cease casting his silly spells and run over to me to make out. More than I can say for errata'd Antagonize.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Donovan Lynch wrote:

I'd say 'staggering through a minefield' qualifies (assuming the target knew the mines were there).

Along with this, the fact that it fails if the target is more than 1 (2 at the most) rounds away from being able to attack you, and the fact that it can be satisfied simply by including you as a target in a cast spell, makes this of rather limited utility. Not to mention the various other limitations (language-dependent, must make a skill check, mind-affecting, etc).

I was using "minefield" primarily as a figure of speech.

It gets less and less realistic with every cop/spellcaster after the first that is forced to fall for it.

Take the following for example:

"Don't do it Bob! He's too powerful for us! You saw what happened to Pete!"

"Can't help it, Bill! He insulted me Mah!"

*Bob runs out and dies*

"Hey Bill! Is that really your name? Man, the kids at school must have had a heyday with that one! Let me guess, you had a nick name back then? Was it Billy the Goat?"

"I'll kill you Bad Guy!"

*Bill runs out and dies*

So. Stupid.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed a post. That was uncalled for.


Wait now I'm curious What was uncalled for? gah this gonna drive me nuts now ross!


I would just like to add that although, as others have stated, that the PF system largely requires you to "explode your enemies before they explode you" the Shield bonuses do stop those 2nd and 3rd attacks that higher level play grants.
Those -5/-10 attacks suffer greatly vs. a decent Shield bonus to AC. It's true that some will argue that you shouldn't be in positions where hard hitting monsters are threatening but we all know it will happen.


Stuard Haffenden wrote:
Shield bonuses do stop those 2nd and 3rd attacks that higher level play grants.

IF your opponent is a fellow humanoid who uses weapons for iterative attacks then yes.

If your opponent is most monsters no, the multiple attacks work off the same + as the main attack, and aren't likely to miss either.

Shadow Lodge

Not necessarily. Many monsters have secondary attacks in addition to their primaries.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Stuard Haffenden wrote:
Shield bonuses do stop those 2nd and 3rd attacks that higher level play grants.

IF your opponent is a fellow humanoid who uses weapons for iterative attacks then yes.

If your opponent is most monsters no, the multiple attacks work off the same + as the main attack, and aren't likely to miss either.

Monsters just flat out aren't balanced. They make combat maneuvers too weak, touch attacks too strong, and depress the value of AC by not having iteratives.


Sending in a group of puny little kobold warriors in a confined corridor with the shield wall feat (front row bearing tower shields, back row bearing light crossbows) against the PCs is kinda fun.

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