Monks and "shields"


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These questions crop up commonly every now and then, so I'd like a way to put an end to the discussion. A monk cannot wield a shield and get his monk bonuses at the same time.

Can a monk use something LIKE a shield, but isn't actually a shield, and retain his monk bonuses?

I'm not looking for a debate, so please do not answer here if you're just going to say yay or nay. Only respond here if you're an official on the rules or can link/quote an official ruling on "Items that act like something VS items that actually are something." Thank you.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What do you mean, "like a shield"?

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blackbloodtroll wrote:
What do you mean, "like a shield"?

Things that use the word "like" such as Ring of Force Shield.

The answer to the OP is no they can not. But some people disagree.


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SwiftyKun wrote:

These questions crop up commonly every now and then, so I'd like a way to put an end to the discussion. A monk cannot wield a shield and get his monk bonuses at the same time.

Can a monk use something LIKE a shield, but isn't actually a shield, and retain his monk bonuses?

I'm not looking for a debate, so please do not answer here if you're just going to say yay or nay. Only respond here if you're an official on the rules or can link/quote an official ruling on "Items that act like something VS items that actually are something." Thank you.

Some of the designers have implied that they tend to look at FAQ threads where community debate occurs as 'higher priority' than ones where no debate occurs.

You're actually making it less likely to receive an answer by asking people not to discuss the issue here.

Shadow Lodge

Ring of Force Shield I think is the primary reason these threads come up. And I would say that a ring of force shield would work, but not something like a "bookler"(artifact-ish book strapped to arm) or a "Table Shield" (small table strapped to arm), and I would impose an encumberance penalty to attack rolls. Just because RAI. RAW, it calls out a shield, so you technically would get to use non-shields, but also RAW you would get no AC bonus unless it was providing cover (and you were probably not moving it anyway).


The Tekko-Kagi which "can be used ... defensively like a buckler" is another case.


Debate is healthy, so long as it remains amicable. : )

I'm in the "as/like a shield" = "it's a shield" camp, explicit differences aside. If it just says "shield bonus", that isn't enough to be treated as a shield. At least for RAW. RAI, I doubt it, and at home I'm more flexible about the whole thing.


Bearded Ben wrote:
The Tekko-Kagi which "can be used ... defensively like a buckler" is another case.

Does the Tekko-Kagi have the "blocking" quality? I don't see it in the table in Ultimate Equipment, but that description sure sounds like it should be blocking.

("Blocking: When you use this weapon to fight defensively, you gain a +1 shield bonus to AC.")


Nope, it has its own rules.

Note that the table entry is "disarm, see text" rather than "disarm, blocking" or "disarm, blocking, see text".

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It is either a shield, or it isn't.

Providing a shield bonus, is done by many things that are not shields.

This includes Turtle Style. Obviously, for Monks.

So, just because an effect or item provides a shield bonus, doesn't mean it's a shield.


Agreed. But if a rule says to "treat it as a shield", who am I to argue?


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Im of the opinion that the ring of force shields would shut off all of the monks abilities. Not that i think its overpowered, but what is the point of the game telling us its a heavy shield if we then just ignore that fact?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Buckler
Light Wooden Shield
Light Steel
Quickdraw Light Wooden Shield
Madu(Leather)
Madu(Steel)
Heavy Wooden Shield
Wooden Snarl Shield
Steel Snarl Shield
Tower Shield

That's it.

The Tekko-Kaki is in a weird place, as it's text suggests it is also a shield.

Otherwise, even if it provides a shield bonus, it's not a shield, unless specified as being so.


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But the Ring of Force Shield is wielded "as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC)" but doesn't require proficiency, has no weight, has no arcane spell failure and is encumbrance free.

So, what the heck does that all mean? It ignores everything that makes it a heavy shield except the +2 AC and the word Shield.


Now see, this is where the debate spreads out though.

It says for the monk that if it wields a shield it loses the bonuses. It doesn't say "Wield anything LIKE a shield" or "Wield anything that gives shield bonuses". I mean really, what makes a shield different from a weapon in terms of "blocking with this piece of metal"?

I mean, I'm pretty dang sure there's at least one kind of martial art out there that focuses around using just a shield.

Why is it such a big argument between "A shield" and "LIKE a shield."? As far as I see it, it's really black and white what a monk can and cannot use to get his bonuses.

All you have to do when you run across something that questions if a monk can use it with his bonuses is ask yourself, "Is this item a shield or armor?" The answer is either yes, or no. There is no "Well, it says acts like a suit of armor..." because that's irrelevant to what it says for the monk abilities. The monk abilities say "Cannot use a shield" not "cannot use anything that remotely resembles a shield in any shape, way, or form."


That is a way of interpreting the text. It is not how I would interpret the text, though. If a monk straps a barrel lid onto his arm to use it as an improvised shield, I'm certainly not going to grant that monk his AC bonus from Wisdom just because it isn't really a shield.

There are martial arts for every sort of combination of weapons, armor, and lack thereof; that's not really relevant.

Liberty's Edge

SwiftyKun wrote:
Can a monk use something LIKE a shield, but isn't actually a shield, and retain his monk bonuses?

Good luck getting an answer. Your question is vague. You need to cite examples.

If you are trying to fish for 'can my monk use a Ring of Force Shield', the answer is no. The description of the item states it plainly.

If you are asking about something else, then you will need to put the question in a context.


There would be a lot of people that don't agree with the "plainly" part of your post.


SwiftyKun wrote:

Now see, this is where the debate spreads out though.

It says for the monk that if it wields a shield it loses the bonuses. It doesn't say "Wield anything LIKE a shield" or "Wield anything that gives shield bonuses". I mean really, what makes a shield different from a weapon in terms of "blocking with this piece of metal"?

I mean, I'm pretty dang sure there's at least one kind of martial art out there that focuses around using just a shield.

Why is it such a big argument between "A shield" and "LIKE a shield."? As far as I see it, it's really black and white what a monk can and cannot use to get his bonuses.

All you have to do when you run across something that questions if a monk can use it with his bonuses is ask yourself, "Is this item a shield or armor?" The answer is either yes, or no. There is no "Well, it says acts like a suit of armor..." because that's irrelevant to what it says for the monk abilities. The monk abilities say "Cannot use a shield" not "cannot use anything that remotely resembles a shield in any shape, way, or form."

Actually, it is quite relevant. Basically There is no reason the ring of force fields couldn't have been described as being an invisible shield sized object that grants a +2 shield bonus. By declairing that the ring behaves 'like a heavy shield' It does a number of things.

It basically means that it interacts with the game in all ways like a shield. A fighters shield focus works with it, if he has weapon specialization heavy shield it works with it and really any other feats that are shield related work with the ring. Because its treated in all ways like a heavy shield when it is active.

After all that you can then say 'well it isnt a shield so a monk doesnt loose his Ac'


Mojorat wrote:
Because its treated in all ways like a heavy shield when it is active.

Except for requiring proficiency to use without penalty, imposing an armor check penalty on skills\DEX to AC\etc., taking up a 'hand', and causing arcane spell failure.

Which, other than providing an AC bonus, basically is everything else that a shield causes\does.

So no - it's not treated "in all ways like a heavy shield". It's treated differently in a number of significant areas.

Shadow Lodge

Its treated as a mithral heavy shield that is invisible, compatible* with 2h weapons, and has no ASF as opposed to like 5%.

*:
You make a full attack as a full round action, have spiked armor, release the hand with the ring and activate it (free action each), and then use it as a shield with armor spikes for AoO's.


Xaratherus wrote:
Mojorat wrote:
Because its treated in all ways like a heavy shield when it is active.

Except for requiring proficiency to use without penalty, imposing an armor check penalty on skills\DEX to AC\etc., taking up a 'hand', and causing arcane spell failure.

Which, other than providing an AC bonus, basically is everything else that a shield causes\does.

So no - it's not treated "in all ways like a heavy shield". It's treated differently in a number of significant areas.

This is sufficient for me, personally, to conclude that a Monk can use a Ring of Force Shield just fine.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Can you attack with a Ring of Force Shield?


Sure you put it in a sling, whip it around and let it fly... ;P

Now did you mean to ask 'can you shield bash with it'? I don't see why you couldn't, though RAW/RAI is VERY iffy on it. It all depends how much you think it's "like a shield".


Ring of Force Shield wrote:
This ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield
Monk wrote:
He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

I'd rule that it counts as a shield so you would lose your Monk bonus to AC.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Can you attack with a Ring of Force Shield?

I don't see why not. I would rule that you can. In fact, I would go so far as to rule that a ring of force shield does full damage to incorporeal creatures.

Things that give a shield bonus but aren't a shield would be ok. Things such as two-weapon defense and the shield spell would work without you losing your Monk AC bonus. Because the shield spell creates a disc that hovers in front of you as opposed to the ring which creates a wall of force that moves with the ring.

Liberty's Edge

Komoda wrote:
There would be a lot of people that don't agree with the "plainly" part of your post.

.

.
RING OF FORCE SHIELD
An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free. It can be activated and deactivated at will as a free action.

I am sorry, but it is plainly, clearly, and specifically stated. Those people would be wrong. It IS a heavy shield when it is wielded.

It being a 'special creation' with additional abilities (no ACP, ASF, no ENC) does not disqualify it as a shield either.

Shadow Lodge

@RedDogMT:I get that you are saying it clearly says it is a shield, however the only thing it grants with your typical character (shield bashers aside) is a +2 bonus to AC. So it can easily be confused as being a ring that only grants a heavy shield's bonus to AC. It isn't as clear as you think it is.


Here's the queztion. Its treated like a heavy shield. If I have wespon focus heavy shield greater weapon focus heavy shield. Can I then shield bash with it at +2? If I have shield focus am I getting 3 ac out if the shield?


Mojorat wrote:
Here's the queztion. Its treated like a heavy shield. If I have wespon focus heavy shield greater weapon focus heavy shield. Can I then shield bash with it at +2? If I have shield focus am I getting 3 ac out if the shield?

I would say yes to all those questions. What makes anyone think that it is not a shield? It even says that you wield it...

To those suggesting this shouldn't count as a shield: Do you consider your hand to be free when using a Ring of Force Shield? Why or why not?


Hand, yes, because there is no strap on one's hand or arm.

Also, it can be activated and deactivated as a free action so one could attack with the hand without penalty and then reactivate the ring for the protection.


Komoda wrote:
Also, it can be activated and deactivated as a free action so one could attack with the hand without penalty and then reactivate the ring for the protection.

I wouldn't allow that any more than I'd allow somebody with Quick Draw and a Quickdraw Shield to do that.


Ah, but what would be the point of being able to activate and deactivate it so quickly if your hand remained free the entire time you were using it? Why does it not just say that gives a +2 shield bonus to AC. If it was worded that way then it would work for Monks no problem. It unfortunately says that it " can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield"

Heavy Shield wrote:
You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand. A heavy shield is so heavy that you can't use your shield hand for anything else.
fretgod99 wrote:
I wouldn't allow that any more than I'd allow somebody with Quick Draw and a Quickdraw Shield to do that.

I would. The item is very expensive for what it does. 8500gp for a shield with no enhancement bonus? Applies against incorporeal touch attacks though.


If it said that it was treated in all ways like a heavy shield, I would agree.

It doesn't, though, and in a number of very significant ways, it is treated differently. It arguably shares more qualities with a magic item that grants an AC bonus than it does with a physical shield. Which is the source of the disagreement.

Note that the fact that you have to grip a heavy shield with your hand is irrelevant. A monk can TWF during a flurry, occupying both his hands , and still retain his bonus to AC. If you had a magic item that gave you a +8 shield bonus to AC but completely immobilized one arm while it was active, it still wouldn't cause you to lose your monk AC bonus.


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Robert A Matthews wrote:

Ah, but what would be the point of being able to activate and deactivate it so quickly if your hand remained free the entire time you were using it? Why does it not just say that gives a +2 shield bonus to AC. If it was worded that way then it would work for Monks no problem. It unfortunately says that it " can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield"

Heavy Shield wrote:
You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand. A heavy shield is so heavy that you can't use your shield hand for anything else.
fretgod99 wrote:
I wouldn't allow that any more than I'd allow somebody with Quick Draw and a Quickdraw Shield to do that.
I would. The item is very expensive for what it does. 8500gp for a shield with no enhancement bonus? Applies against incorporeal touch attacks though.

But it is quite a bother to remove a heavy shield from your arm when it is inconvenient and then put it back on afterwards. The ring lets you swap the shield in and out with free actions. That is highly convenient for many character types.


fretgod99 wrote:
Komoda wrote:
Also, it can be activated and deactivated as a free action so one could attack with the hand without penalty and then reactivate the ring for the protection.
I wouldn't allow that any more than I'd allow somebody with Quick Draw and a Quickdraw Shield to do that.

Uh, it clearly says that you can do that, so I don't know why you wouldn't.

You would let a level one fighter shoot a bow, drop it, move 30' while drawing a shield and a long sword, wouldn't you? Because that is straight out of the CRB.

crb wrote:
An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free. It can be activated and deactivated at will as a free action.

It does not strap to one's arm.

It does not take up the hand.
It does not weigh anything.
It does not have an armor check penalty.
It does not have any spell failure.
It does not have a penalty for use without proficiency.
It appears at will.
It disappears at will.
It is transparent.

Not one of those things is in common with a heavy shield.

What is left to interfere with the Monk's AC? The name?


It looks like this is just going to remain one of those things that depends on GM interpretation. There are valid reasons on both sides of why this does and does not work. We're not going to convince each other to run it one way or the other.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Komoda wrote:
What is left to interfere with the Monk's AC? The name?

The "as if it were a heavy shield" part.


James Risner wrote:
Komoda wrote:
What is left to interfere with the Monk's AC? The name?
The "as if it were a heavy shield" part.

Precisely this.

Either it is a heavy shield or it cannot be used for any purpose like it were a heavy shield in which case ignore shield focus ignore shield bashing because it isn't a shield ignore weapon focus shields and any other such feats and abilities.

It is in fact very clear that it is used as though it were a heavy shield it then gives you several specific exceptions to the general case of a heavy shield because it's magic, but if you want to ignore the rules you can do so.

Liberty's Edge

I wish they had simply made this item function like a weaker version of the Shield spell in a ring.

However, the wording and spell requirement to make it lead me to believe it is an actual shield, only one made of Force. It has no weight or encumberance value, but it is a shield. It is tangible and it occupies the same space and is required to be "wielded" to gain a benefit, thus occupying your thought and action the same as if you had a real shield on your arm.

I think it is a very lame restriction on a far from overpowering item, but it is what it is.


Komoda wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
Komoda wrote:
Also, it can be activated and deactivated as a free action so one could attack with the hand without penalty and then reactivate the ring for the protection.
I wouldn't allow that any more than I'd allow somebody with Quick Draw and a Quickdraw Shield to do that.

Uh, it clearly says that you can do that, so I don't know why you wouldn't.

You would let a level one fighter shoot a bow, drop it, move 30' while drawing a shield and a long sword, wouldn't you? Because that is straight out of the CRB.

No, I wouldn't let someone make an attack using the arm they're going to be wielding a shield with and still get the shield's bonus to AC. If you can't ordinarily do it with a shield bash, why should you be able to do it by dropping another weapon and drawing the shield?

If I'm missing something in the rules, feel free to correct me.


For what its worth, the literal interpretation is that it isn't stated to be or become a shield, and therefore isn't a shield.

Reasoning that goes: "X is used as if it were Y; therefore, X is Y" does not work under logic. Its like saying that because a spell-like ability is used just like a spell, then it is a spell. Or for that matter, like saying that because a pencil is used just like a pen, then it is a pen. Logically, you can't build that bridge without going beyond what the text actually states. Conceptually is another story, but conceptually isn't literally, and isn't objective.


Ring:

Spoiler:
RING OF FORCE SHIELD
An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free. It can be activated and deactivated at will as a free action.

Monk AC:

Spoiler:
He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

First point:
Please note, "can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield" means that it is, defacto, not a heavy shield. If it was a heavy shield, it would not be used 'like' one. It would be one.

Second point:
What is it? "a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force" and "This special creation". It is a shield-sized, shield-shaped wall of force, that is a special creation. Simplified version? It is a specially created wall of force the shape and size of a shield. It is wall of force.

Third point:
Even if this is a shield, which it isn't. Even if it is, it would not cause a monk to lose his AC bonus. Why? He loses them "when he carries a shield". Carries. You don't carry the Special Creation from a ring of Force Shield. The Special Creation "stays with the ring". Thus it is never actually carried. Monk bonus is intact.

Final point:
Is this even a serious conversation? Actual shield have restrictions because of the weight and encumbrance. This thing is weightless, has no acp, has no restriction of any kind, because it doesn't impede the wearer in any way. All they do is wear a ring. Not only by RAW is it not an actual shield, but is never carried, and it doesn't impose any penalty whatsoever. So, even if you really really really like the idea of telling a monk "NO RING!"... even common sense isn't on your side.


To me, wielding it as if it were a heavy shield means acting as though it were a heavy shield in all ways except the ones listed in the item description. So it does use a hand, can be used to bash, and you count as 'carrying a heavy shield' for monk penalties.


Matthew Downie wrote:
To me, wielding it as if it were a heavy shield means acting as though it were a heavy shield in all ways except the ones listed in the item description. So it does use a hand, can be used to bash, and you count as 'carrying a heavy shield' for monk penalties.

But that is patently wrong.

If I use a stick as if it were a sword... It is still a stick. And not a sword.
If I use a car as if it were a toilet... it is a car still. Just a dirtier one. But it still isn't a toilet.

Using something like something else doesn't transform it.

From a strictly logical point of view, in terms of logical classification, if you use X as if it were Y, then X is NOT Y.

If you use a wall of force 'as if it were' a shield. Then a wall of force is 'not' a shield. You cannot use something as if it were itself.

The statement: "I use the shield as if it were a shield." Is absolutely meaningless, and logically flawed. "I use the penguin as if it were a shield" That has meaning, even if it is silly. Because penguin and shield are different things.

If a description said "You can use a penguin as if it were a heavy shield", would you say that a monk carrying a penguin lost his AC bonus?


Quite frankly, I suspect this is something they don't care to make a ruling on. (specifically because they've demonstrated a preference to let game masters decide)

I appreciate the discussion, and there are good points on each side...

because the intent of the monk rules is "if you use any object like a shield (ie. hold it in your hand)"

vs the absolute non-substance of the item. (ie it can't possibly interfere with normal motions)


fretgod99 wrote:
Komoda wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
Komoda wrote:
Also, it can be activated and deactivated as a free action so one could attack with the hand without penalty and then reactivate the ring for the protection.
I wouldn't allow that any more than I'd allow somebody with Quick Draw and a Quickdraw Shield to do that.

Uh, it clearly says that you can do that, so I don't know why you wouldn't.

You would let a level one fighter shoot a bow, drop it, move 30' while drawing a shield and a long sword, wouldn't you? Because that is straight out of the CRB.

No, I wouldn't let someone make an attack using the arm they're going to be wielding a shield with and still get the shield's bonus to AC. If you can't ordinarily do it with a shield bash, why should you be able to do it by dropping another weapon and drawing the shield?

If I'm missing something in the rules, feel free to correct me.

Not to be snarky, but I thought I did. The example I showed is a clear and valid, feat free course of action for a first level fighter. I do not believe there is any ambiguity to the validity of these actions. As the shield was not used in the attack, it can be used for defense the moment it is in place.

Are you saying that if you change, "Shoot a bow" to "throw a dagger" you would allow it since the off hand is not used? If so, I see your distinction, but the game does not.


Remy Balster wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
To me, wielding it as if it were a heavy shield means acting as though it were a heavy shield in all ways except the ones listed in the item description. So it does use a hand, can be used to bash, and you count as 'carrying a heavy shield' for monk penalties.

But that is patently wrong.

If I use a stick as if it were a sword... It is still a stick. And not a sword.
If I use a car as if it were a toilet... it is a car still. Just a dirtier one. But it still isn't a toilet.

Using something like something else doesn't transform it.

From a strictly logical point of view, in terms of logical classification, if you use X as if it were Y, then X is NOT Y.

If you use a wall of force 'as if it were' a shield. Then a wall of force is 'not' a shield. You cannot use something as if it were itself.

The statement: "I use the shield as if it were a shield." Is absolutely meaningless, and logically flawed. "I use the penguin as if it were a shield" That has meaning, even if it is silly. Because penguin and shield are different things.

If a description said "You can use a penguin as if it were a heavy shield", would you say that a monk carrying a penguin lost his AC bonus?

We aren't wrong, we just don't agree with you. As stated, this is just one of those things that depends on GM interpretation. Consider the following:

Liquid Blade wrote:

Liquid Blade

Price 40 gp; Weight 2 lbs.

DESCRIPTION

You can empty the contents of this palm-sized metal tube with a quick flick of your wrist (a move action), causing the bubbling transparent liquid within to instantly solidify into a jagged crystalline blade. By holding the tube, you can then use the crystalline blade as if it were a Medium short sword with the fragile quality. The blade lasts for 10 minutes, after which it evaporates, leaving nothing behind but the tube. You can add one dose of poison to the liquid in the bottle, which acts like applying a dose of poison to a weapon except it is a full-round action; when the liquid turns into a solid blade, the weapon includes one application of that poison. When the blade evaporates, the poison does so as well.

Would you say that this counts as a short sword or no? I'd say it does. Would you not apply any bonuses from Weapon Focus(Shortsword)? I would apply any bonus that a character has that applies to shortswords such as Weapon Training, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization. I could see why some people wouldn't but that is my interpretation. There are valid reasons on both sides of this discussion, nobody is 100% right, it is up to the GM's interpretation.


Komoda wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
Komoda wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
Komoda wrote:
Also, it can be activated and deactivated as a free action so one could attack with the hand without penalty and then reactivate the ring for the protection.
I wouldn't allow that any more than I'd allow somebody with Quick Draw and a Quickdraw Shield to do that.

Uh, it clearly says that you can do that, so I don't know why you wouldn't.

You would let a level one fighter shoot a bow, drop it, move 30' while drawing a shield and a long sword, wouldn't you? Because that is straight out of the CRB.

No, I wouldn't let someone make an attack using the arm they're going to be wielding a shield with and still get the shield's bonus to AC. If you can't ordinarily do it with a shield bash, why should you be able to do it by dropping another weapon and drawing the shield?

If I'm missing something in the rules, feel free to correct me.

Not to be snarky, but I thought I did. The example I showed is a clear and valid, feat free course of action for a first level fighter. I do not believe there is any ambiguity to the validity of these actions. As the shield was not used in the attack, it can be used for defense the moment it is in place.

Are you saying that if you change, "Shoot a bow" to "throw a dagger" you would allow it since the off hand is not used? If so, I see your distinction, but the game does not.

Yes, those are different in my opinion. It's the same reason a Buckler could retain its AC bonus with the dagger throw, but not the bow. I'd let them draw the shield (because that's unquestionably allowed), but not benefit from the AC bonus.

What I was asking is where that example appears in the CRB.


Robert A Matthews wrote:
Would you say that this counts as a short sword or no? I'd say it does. Would you not apply any bonuses from Weapon Focus(Shortsword)? I would apply any bonus that a character has that applies to shortswords such as Weapon Training, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization. I could see why some people wouldn't but that is my interpretation. There are valid reasons on both sides of this discussion, nobody is 100% right, it is up to the GM's interpretation.

Similarly, there are also things like Bastard Sword (which are treated as two-handed martial weapons if you don't have the EWP) and the Sunblade (which is treated as a Short Sword, even though it's a Bastard Sword). Primary natural attacks are treated as secondary natural attacks if combined with manufactured weapons. Paragon Surge lets you be treated as if you had a feat for which you qualified, even though you don't. Weapon Familiarity for various races (typically) lets you use certain weapons and they're treated as if they were of a different classification.

Being "treated as" something else is not really uncommon in the rules. Whenever I've seen it crop up, it typically means "Use it as if it were X, even though it is not". Being "treated as" something is really no different that being "wielded as" something. So if the Ring creates an effect which is wielded as a heavy shield, then you should generally treat it like a heavy shield, in my opinion.

Ultimately as you stated, this is simply one of those GM interpretation areas.


If the ring is not supposed to be treated as a heavy shield, then why mention a heavy shield? It would have been easier to simply state this ring provides a +2 shield bonus.

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