Sword & Shield, minus the Shield Bash


Advice


Hi,

So I'm now looking at my first-ever PF char being a fighter. The guy in my mind's eye is sword & shield, but I'll be honest, I'm not terribly interested in he whole TWF/shield bash route. I get it, and I'm sure it works very well, but my interest in a shield is as a device to soak a few hits while I use my *actual* weapon to play whack-a-gnoll. If I built sort of like a two-handed fighter, but used a falcata* and a large shield, and maybe threw a feat to Shield Focus, could that work?

Thanks in advance for the feedback.

Red

*I just got here and don't know for sure, but that looks like kind of a zesty weapon. Does it deliver?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It would certainly work, but you would be missing out on alot of damage. Your offense would suffer, as you do less damage/have fewer attacks then other combat styles. There is also the added cost of enchanting your sheild as well as other defensive items.


OTOH, it's cheaper to enchant both Shield and Armor to +2 than just Armor to +4 and you get the base shield bonus too.

You won't do as much damage as the 2Hander or the TWF, but you'll do enough that you can't be easily ignored. I'd focus on playing a Tank role more than a damage dealing one. Aim to soak up damage and block for the rest of the group. Not that you won't deal damage, just not at crazy levels.

Silver Crusade

If you're new, I suggest you check out the Guide to the Guides that Broken Zenith maintains. It's an excellent place to start.

In particular, for a fighter, I recommend Rogue Eidolon's Guide to Fighters if you haven't seen it. It's Core Rulebook only, so you won't see some of the fancier & more powerful options, but it's less material to digest and gives you the basic idea and perspective to evaluate more-advanced options if you want to go look at them. You certainly don't *need* them to make a good fighter.

So I guess that tips my hand saying you don't need to chase super-optimization here. Nothing wrong with min/maxing, it's fun, but you don't need to go to extremes and it might be easier not to since it's your first character.

A couple thoughts.

You really might try two-handed weapon instead of sword-and-shield. I know it feels a bit wrong, but the trade-off is pretty steep. See everything Kolkotroni says, but really: with a two-handed weapon you get 1.5x Str and 1.5x Power Attack—at 1st level with an 18 Str and Power Attack, we're talking an extra 3 damage per hit (+9 instead of +6). And it just gets better from there.

You might also consider a single-level dip into Cleric or another class for one of your first four or five levels. A single-classed Fighter can be a damage machine, but it can get a bit boring. A level of Cleric (for example) will net you some neat domain powers (+10 speed from Travel is the best!), a few minor but fun-to-have spells, a (probably badly needed) +2 to your Will save, access to wands, and a boost to a couple useful skills (going from a -2 Diplomacy to +2 is pretty helpful: you'll never be the party face but you won't suck quite as bad at rolling to aid Diplomatic efforts).


Thanks for the input, fellas; very helpful. I have read RE's fighter guide, and found it a very informative read. Personally, I'm not afraid of optimization, and I enjoy crunching me some numbers, but I also reach a point of "good enough," in the sense of, if we were building cars, I don't need mine to be able to compete in Daytona, I just want to be able to drive on the interstate without blowing up. :)

That said, I will very carefully consider my options. I'll probably end up making one of each, an axe & shield, hold the TWF, and a 2-hander build*, and see if either one really jumps out as more compelling.

Joe, that dip into Cleric is an interesting idea I hadn't considered .It might be tough to work into the char concept that's brewing up, but I will definitely see if there's a way to make something like that happen.

Thanks again!
Red

*For whatever reason, the guy in my head, when I think of him as S&B, has a battleaxe, but when I envision him as a 2h guy, it changes to a greatsword, probably just so I would have that much harder a time comparing apple's to apples. :)


I would recomend you a dip into inquisotr instead. You will gain spells, a lot of skills and the spellbreaker archetype really help with your will saves.

Also tehre is nothing wrong witha non TWF sword and board character, you just do not use your feat for defense, afther all and in the end you need to do damge to kill your opponets.


Without going against your type and suggesting you add spellcasting here's some feats that can be cool for fighters that aren't going to focus on TWF with shields.

Shield Focus
Missile Shield
Disruptive
Spellbreaker
Ray shield

Now Disruptive and spellbreaker make you a good anti-mage and also lead into ray shield which is a lot of fun by straight out negating one of the spells cast at you.

Shield specialization isn't great but greater shield specialization is pretty good. negate a critical hit once a day and you hardly ever get critted thanks to the bonus ac vs confirmation.

Look into Tower shield specialist and Phalanx fighter if you're not going to bash.

Also I'd highly recommend combat reflexes to make sure enemies don't just ignore you.


I played a sword and shield fighter as my first PF character also. I used the Weapon Master archtype and a long sword. I did not use TWF at all.

We made it to 18th level before that campaign ended and he was doing very well.

My main weapon was a +3 Menacing Longsword and I had the Outflank Teamwork feat as did several of the other members in the party.

I took the Cleave tree, the wpn focus/spec tree, vital Strike, and Impr Critical, Critical Focus, and several Critical feats


i would recomend human for their favored class bonus. I would go

Stats:

str 14 (16), con 14, dex 14, int 12, Wis 14, cha 8.
traits:
Defender of the society, Carefully hidden

Feats:

1 - Toughness, Weapon focus, power attack
2 - Shield focus
3 - Missile focus
4 - weapon specialization
5 - Iron will
6 - Step up
7 - disruptive
8 - Improved critical
9 - combat reflexes
10 - spellbreaker
11 - ray shield
12 - pind down
13 - teleport tactician

Facored class bonus: I would put the pin into the CMD against trip and grapple.


I'm going to say pick brawler or weapons master as potential archetypes. This is mainly since you'll be losing damage and both archetypes have slightly increased damage based on that.

With your interest in the falcata the weapons master might be your best bet. After that your idea will work just fine but with a bit more thought towards offense since you'll be covering defense very thoroughly.


Consider a barbarian tank. Emperor Vious normally walks around with a 2 handed great sword. However, if you give him a longsword and a +2 heavy shield, at 13th level his AC is around 40 while raging.

He also uses a dip into cleric. It allows him to ignore difficult terrain, move faster, cast with wands and to have a higher fort and will save than normal. His touch AC is also ridiculous while raging. His save are off the chart.

You should have fun.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Why not just two hand an One-handed weapon, then pull out a Quickdraw Shield at the end of your turn.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Why not just two hand an One-handed weapon, then pull out a Quickdraw Shield at the end of your turn.

Now that is genius. In fact, that barbarian build that I cited to could go archetype Titan Mauler. Sub out a feat for quickdraw. Now you two hand with a two hand weapon and then quickdraw shield and use 2-handed weapon with one hand.

You are a genius


Do you know what your fellow party members are making?

.

.

If your party does plenty of damage, but needs you up front, then a high-defensive fighter who deals moderate damage is great:

  • Wizard or Sorcerer
  • Cleric or Oracle
  • Ranger (archer)
  • Rogue (TWF)
  • Sword & Board Fighter (you)

If your party is lacking damage, then I'd suggest focusing more on offense:

  • Wizard or Sorcerer
  • Cleric or Oracle
  • Bard
  • Sword & Board Fighter (you)


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Why not just two hand an One-handed weapon, then pull out a Quickdraw Shield at the end of your turn.

Because OMG that's cheese.

I don't care if it's RAW. I don't even care if it was the intent of the item. It's cheese.

Can you imagine seeing that in movie? Other than a parody?
I can't even describe what it would look like, since in real fights (or even movie ones) people don't take turns taking swings at each other.


I actually have seen it in a movie. Don't recall the name though. However, I can describe what he did. The fighter would sometime hold the shield to block attacks and at other times put the shield on his back spinning and twirling while blocking attackings from behind while the shield was sheathed.

It was the first thing that came to my mind when he mentioned the option

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Why not just two hand an One-handed weapon, then pull out a Quickdraw Shield at the end of your turn.

Because OMG that's cheese.

I don't care if it's RAW. I don't even care if it was the intent of the item. It's cheese.

Can you imagine seeing that in movie? Other than a parody?
I can't even describe what it would look like, since in real fights (or even movie ones) people don't take turns taking swings at each other.

Whoa. Keep the underpants dry.

Why do you think they made a Quickdraw Shield?

Imagine if it was an Archer. Would your underpants still be brown?

The thing even plays out fine thematically.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Quickdraw doesn't mean quick-stash.

Being sword and shield doesn't mean you can't 2h if you feel you must.

The sword and shield guy is the only archetype that has the OPTIONS of going 1h weapon; 1h weapon + Shield; TWF using weapon and shield; or 2h'ing their primary weapon.

Shield + Armor is the cheapest source of any armor.

On top of that, a shield can be enhanced with weapon mods...weapon mods you can use for Defender to up your AC further, or Guardian to up your saves, all without sacrificing any AC or weapon power, if you have SHield Mastery.

You can make Shield Bashing completely secondary. The Taldan archetype is perfect for this combination...the falcate is hands down the best one handed weapon, and it grants your best weapon training to using a buckler on your off hand as a small shield.

Being able to change to using a shield from 2h'ing is what you should do as a shield guy. Never be tied into one style...use what is best.

==Aelryinth


My undies are just fine. I just think it's stupid.

A shield you can pull out quick with your weapon while you're charging or something is fine.

But yeah, if the archer is firing his 4 or 5 shots then pulling a shield and using it anytime he could be attacked and repeating this every round, I think it's stupid.

It reinforces and relies on the whole artificial "Now it's my turn to attack and your's to defend. We'll switch in a moment" thing. Which is fine as a practical necessity, but the more it's brought to the foreground and used as a real thing the more it bothers me.


Aelryinth wrote:

Quickdraw doesn't mean quick-stash.

Being able to change to using a shield from 2h'ing is what you should do as a shield guy. Never be tied into one style...use what is best.

==Aelryinth

Sadly it does.

Quote:
If you have the Quick Draw feat, you may don or put away a quickdraw shield as a free action.

I don't have any problem with being flexible and switching from 2h to shield style. I just think it's silly to be able to do it every round to get all the advantages of both for the price of one feat.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Eesh, that is quite abusive, even if it does burn a feat.

I will note that the general ruling is that a free action can still usually be done only once a round per object. So if you draw it, stow it, you can't normally draw it again.

Mmmm.

==Aelryinth

Silver Crusade

Aelryinth wrote:
I will note that the general ruling is that a free action can still usually be done only once a round per object. So if you draw it, stow it, you can't normally draw it again.

That would help. Citation?


If you're looking for more skills than a "pure" fighter, dip 2 levels into ranger. Wand use for self heals, a ton more skills/class skills, a good save, a favored enemy, and doesn't interrupt the fighter feat progression provided you do it in the first 4 levels, as the style you pick will be a feat you needed anyways.

A 2/2 fighter ranger, has the same feats as a normal fighter, a better reflex(situational) a ton more skills(PF Gold right there), like stealth, perception, a couple more knowledges, the option to get trapfinding, a static +2hit/dam to a type of creature that was common wherever you grew up, and such.


Joe M. wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
I will note that the general ruling is that a free action can still usually be done only once a round per object. So if you draw it, stow it, you can't normally draw it again.
That would help. Citation?

It certainly doesn't apply to things like drawing and loading ammunition or thrown weapons

quickdraw wrote:
A character who has selected this feat may throw weapons at his full normal rate of attacks .

Though technically that would be to different objects. Loading crossbow or firearm, once you've reduced it too a free action allows iterative attacks.

The only limit I see is essentially GM fiat

Free Action wrote:
However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as decided by the GM.


thejeff wrote:


The only limit I see is essentially GM fiat
Free Action wrote:
However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as decided by the GM.

In this case the ban hammer would be an example of good DM fiat, IMHO.


You might like the Buckler Duelist archetype. A buckler gives just as much protection as a light shield, and it specialized in using a falcata in the main hand:)


Nicos wrote:
thejeff wrote:


The only limit I see is essentially GM fiat
Free Action wrote:
However, there are reasonable limits on what you can really do for free, as decided by the GM.
In this case the ban hammer would be an example of good DM fiat, IMHO.

If you mean just outright banning the option I would agree sort of. But I'd personally be offended if you decided the 2 quickdraw free actions was "too many" free actions and yet you allowed someone to full attack by quick drawing 4 throwing knives the next day. This is just my personal opinion.

As for whether it's cheese or not honestly I think that's the entire point of the quickdraw shield as well as things like the force shield ring so I'm really not opposed to the idea. It's just the game working as intended imo.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

that's why it's 'per object'. So you can't draw, stash, draw a quickdraw shield. but you can draw, draw, draw 3 daggers, one after another.

Seriously, a quickdraw shield should just allow you to equip it as a free action. it's the STOWING part which is broken, basically allowing you to flip back and forth between a 2h weapon and having a shield every round. This is fundamentally no different then wearing a shield while 2h'ing.

I know of no other item that is allowed to be STOWED as a free action. Anyone else know one?

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

that's why it's 'per object'. So you can't draw, stash, draw a quickdraw shield. but you can draw, draw, draw 3 daggers, one after another.

Seriously, a quickdraw shield should just allow you to equip it as a free action. it's the STOWING part which is broken, basically allowing you to flip back and forth between a 2h weapon and having a shield every round. This is fundamentally no different then wearing a shield while 2h'ing.

I know of no other item that is allowed to be STOWED as a free action. Anyone else know one?

==Aelryinth

Do you actually have a rules source for the "per object" limitation?

As I said, the only limit on free actions I've seen is "GM fiat".


Aelryinth wrote:

that's why it's 'per object'. So you can't draw, stash, draw a quickdraw shield. but you can draw, draw, draw 3 daggers, one after another.

Seriously, a quickdraw shield should just allow you to equip it as a free action. it's the STOWING part which is broken, basically allowing you to flip back and forth between a 2h weapon and having a shield every round. This is fundamentally no different then wearing a shield while 2h'ing.

I know of no other item that is allowed to be STOWED as a free action. Anyone else know one?

==Aelryinth

Not really. There's nothing about it being per object in the rules it's free actions per character per round and in theory every free action is equivalent which is why I'd be po'd if I can't use 2 to use a shield but Timmy the Kid gets 4-7 to throw his daggers.

As an aside you don't get a 2h weapon you get a one hand weapon used two handed it's very different because the 1h weapons have consistently weaker damage dice, lack reach etc. So either you get to threaten or you use a weaker weapon and it's not different from what people did using the ring of force shield so I don't know why you'd think it's broken.

Also on top of that the quickdraw shield is only a light shield so that's one AC down by default, and you still spend extra money on enhancement bonuses and a feat for a selectively useful skill. I'd say it's perfectly in line, something worth considering without being the best pick all the time.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

You can hold a bow in one hand.
You can hold a greatsword in one hand, if you don't want to take AoO's.

So, you can get the benefit of this shield every round. it's like a free Ring of Force Shield...and cheaper, enchanted to +1.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

You can hold a bow in one hand.

You can hold a greatsword in one hand, if you don't want to take AoO's.

So, you can get the benefit of this shield every round. it's like a free Ring of Force Shield...and cheaper, enchanted to +1.

==Aelryinth

Yes except the ring also duplicates a feat(does the quickdrawing on it's own), works against incorporeal since it's a force effect so ghost touch equivalent, and has no spell failure or armor check penalty so mithral equivalent.

So a +1 Ghost touch Mithral Quickdraw Shield w/ a feat effect is 16k for +4 Armor +1k for Mithral + 5k for a feat equivalent which means the cost to get the ring of force touch out of the shield is roughly 22k. Now assuming you have quickdraw and are not a spell caster getting the equivalent of the ring is only a bare 16k to the rings 8k pricetag.

Now even if we assume you have quickdraw anyways because you have nothing you want more as a feat and you aren't a caster the shield is only at a higher value if you don't care about the potential of incorporeal effects against you and even then it's only 6k less. I'm not saying the quickdraw shield is bad I'm just saying it's not like it's wildly better than pre existing options.

The key difference would be at late levels where you could use this to get a +6 AC and +5 extra armor effects but by that point you're already so far behind the ability to cast 9th level spells that you deserve a consolation prize.

So in my opinion yeah it's just about where I would want it to be a good option for some but not ridiculous.

And you're still trading off a lot of damage on your attacks of opportunity either by using a 2h weapon which you can't wield and having to use armor spikes or by using a 1h weapon held in one hand which reduces your damage and options to get access to reach during your turn as well as on the AoOp.

Edited - For brain failz.


Driver 325 yards wrote:

I actually have seen it in a movie. Don't recall the name though. However, I can describe what he did. The fighter would sometime hold the shield to block attacks and at other times put the shield on his back spinning and twirling while blocking attackings from behind while the shield was sheathed.

It was the first thing that came to my mind when he mentioned the option

I think that was Brad Pitt in Troy just after they landed on the beach.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

gnomersy, why are you comparing this against spellcasting? It has nothing to do with spellcasting.

This is about balance between the various modes of melee combat.
The advantage to sword and board is that you get the highest AC of the styles.
The advantage to 2H is highest damage, at cost of lower defense.
The advantage to missile is easy full attacks, at cost of less dmg/attack then 2h.
The advantage to 2w is more attacks when full attacking.

this basically throws sword and board out the window. It's have your cake and eat it, too. It has nothing to do with spellcasters.

In essence, you might as well be saying "sword and board should get str x 1.5 and power attack x3, like 2h'ers, for the cost of one feat."

That's how balance works, and it would be WORSE then this option, because a Greatsword is still +2.5 dmg over a longsword, vs a +1 AC advantage for using a heavy shield over a quick draw.

It's also a better option then a ring of force shield because it a) doesn't use a ring slot for a shield and b) you can get the AC bonus up to +6, the ring is frozen at +2. If the shield slot is 'free', it should be used.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

gnomersy, why are you comparing this against spellcasting? It has nothing to do with spellcasting.

This is about balance between the various modes of melee combat.
The advantage to sword and board is that you get the highest AC of the styles.
The advantage to 2H is highest damage, at cost of lower defense.
The advantage to missile is easy full attacks, at cost of less dmg/attack then 2h.
The advantage to 2w is more attacks when full attacking.

this basically throws sword and board out the window. It's have your cake and eat it, too. It has nothing to do with spellcasters.

In essence, you might as well be saying "sword and board should get str x 1.5 and power attack x3, like 2h'ers, for the cost of one feat."

That's how balance works, and it would be WORSE then this option, because a Greatsword is still +2.5 dmg over a longsword, vs a +1 AC advantage for using a heavy shield over a quick draw.

It's also a better option then a ring of force shield because it a) doesn't use a ring slot for a shield and b) you can get the AC bonus up to +6, the ring is frozen at +2. If the shield slot is 'free', it should be used.

==Aelryinth

Except you're splitting your money in terms of enhancement bonuses in half by doing this using a smaller damage die weapon which can't have reach and using a feat on top of all that just to gain maybe a 2-3 AC advantage over the 2 hand guy for the vast majority of the game.

Sword and shield is and always has been effective mostly when used with 2wf otherwise it's just straight worse than using 2h that's why you never see a Sword board non twf non shenanigans build in optimization threads. If anything adding variation in builds is the right thing to do for a game and this was a good thing to add.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Everybody forgets that you can two hand a Heavy shield.

It's a One-handed weapon.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Everybody forgets that you can two hand a Heavy shield.

It's a One-handed weapon.

Ah my apologies BBT I did forget to mention that one but it is also one of the valid shield fighting options although it's not really "Sword and Board" So much as "Board and MOAR BOARDS!" =P


TGMaxMaxer wrote:

If you're looking for more skills than a "pure" fighter, dip 2 levels into ranger. Wand use for self heals, a ton more skills/class skills, a good save, a favored enemy, and doesn't interrupt the fighter feat progression provided you do it in the first 4 levels, as the style you pick will be a feat you needed anyways.

A 2/2 fighter ranger, has the same feats as a normal fighter, a better reflex(situational) a ton more skills(PF Gold right there), like stealth, perception, a couple more knowledges, the option to get trapfinding, a static +2hit/dam to a type of creature that was common wherever you grew up, and such.

I've been noodling around trying to make this work, the only jam-up is that the ranger's combat style feats aren't usable in heavy armor, so now it's an issue of juggling which feature I want to eschew, heavy armor proficiency or a style feat. Still, I feel like I'm making forward progress. More on this story as it develops...

Red

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Heavy Armor prof is +1 AC. Look at it that way, and you should be good.

==Aelryinth


Redblade8 wrote:
TGMaxMaxer wrote:

If you're looking for more skills than a "pure" fighter, dip 2 levels into ranger. Wand use for self heals, a ton more skills/class skills, a good save, a favored enemy, and doesn't interrupt the fighter feat progression provided you do it in the first 4 levels, as the style you pick will be a feat you needed anyways.

A 2/2 fighter ranger, has the same feats as a normal fighter, a better reflex(situational) a ton more skills(PF Gold right there), like stealth, perception, a couple more knowledges, the option to get trapfinding, a static +2hit/dam to a type of creature that was common wherever you grew up, and such.

I've been noodling around trying to make this work, the only jam-up is that the ranger's combat style feats aren't usable in heavy armor, so now it's an issue of juggling which feature I want to eschew, heavy armor proficiency or a style feat. Still, I feel like I'm making forward progress. More on this story as it develops...

Red

Alternatively you can just pick up mithral heavy armor(which counts as medium for everything but proficiency) when you have the money and eschew neither.


Well naturally, mithral would be the ideal solution, assuming availability (however, when I'm planning these things out, I tend to worst-case that sort of assumption).

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Sword & Shield, minus the Shield Bash All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.