Is there any rule that prevents 2handing a Heavy Shield?


Rules Questions

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It seems pretty strange, but I don't see anything in the rules. Have I overlooked something, or is this legal?


Not that I'm aware of.


This is legal.


To my knowledge it is legal. Shields can be used as weapons and heavy shields are explicitly said to be one-handed weapons when used to bash; therefore, you could wield them two-handed (like any one-handed weapon) for an extra STR bonus.


This is actually my backup plan if a GM vetoes a dual-wielding shield build for being too silly (if legitimate).


Starfinder Superscriber

Bizbag, I my game we have a dual-wielding shield user. His damage output is a little low, but he's got a good survivability.


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Only common sense. But no actual rules. :)


Not to split hairs, but the general rule is that 1-handed weapons can be wielded in both hands and gain the benefit of such. Heavy Shields are classified as 1-handed weapons (with regards to bashing), hence by RAW they qualify for 2-handed fighting.

So perfectly legal. :)

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

The ol' Captain America bash is definitely legit. I actually just finished building a Weapon Master for an upcoming campaign who's going to be focused on two-handing a shield.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
thorin001 wrote:
Only common sense. But no actual rules. :)

No.

Common sense allows it.

A Shield is a Weapon.

In all ways.

It can be enchanted, as a Weapon.

It is a valid option for Weapon Focus.

It is in the "Close" Fighter Weapon Group.

The Heavy Shield is a One-handed Weapon, and can be wielded in two hands, for x1.5 strength to damage, just like every other One-handed Weapon.

Shadow Lodge

Yep, this is legal. And you can still make use of Improved Shield Bash with it. It would make for a great Brawler[ACG] character with Shield Master.


DJEternalDarkness wrote:

Bizbag, I my game we have a dual-wielding shield user. His damage output is a little low, but he's got a good survivability.

Curious to see how you get two shield bonuses to stack with the stacking rules.


@Gilfalas: By RAW, you don't (or shouldn't). Shields provide a shield bonus to AC, so you'd only gain the higher benefit under the "bonuses of the same type don't stack" rule.

I'm not certain about defensive enhancements. Personally I think you would only gain the defensive enhancements from the shield you were using as a shield, since the FAQ on the Defending property seems to indicate that you gain a magic item's benefit by using it in the manner appropriate to the enhancement (i.e., a weapon is made for attacking so you gain its benefits by attacking; a shield is made for defending, so you'd gain its defensive benefits only when defending with it). I could be wholly wrong on that, though.


Xaratherus wrote:

@Gilfalas: By RAW, you don't (or shouldn't). Shields provide a shield bonus to AC, so you'd only gain the higher benefit under the "bonuses of the same type don't stack" rule.

I'm not certain about defensive enhancements. Personally I think you would only gain the defensive enhancements from the shield you were using as a shield, since the FAQ on the Defending property seems to indicate that you gain a magic item's benefit by using it in the manner appropriate to the enhancement (i.e., a weapon is made for attacking so you gain its benefits by attacking; a shield is made for defending, so you'd gain its defensive benefits only when defending with it). I could be wholly wrong on that, though.

Which is all what I thought. Which makes me wonder why one would DW shields (aside from doubling up on Weapon Focus/Specialization).

Shields in general are sub par weapons without enchantment (enchantments which could be used better on an actual weapon with better stats to start).

So it would seem it would be both a cash intensive and feat intensive way to fight.


In my Saturday game, we've got a Ranger who uses a shield as his primary weapon. It's actually very effective. He has the Bashing enhancement on it (which allows him to 'double-dip' his defensive enhancement bonus for attacks as well), generally is enlarged, and uses a second weapon (a keen scimitar) so that he can make use of a feat (or class ability, not sure which) that gives him a free shield bash every time he crits with his scimitar. So on a lot of turns, he winds up getting 4 hits with his scimitar and about 5 shield bashes (we're level 14, almost always have Haste up, he TWFs with the scimitar and shield, and usually crits at least once with the scimitar each round). So when built around it, it can be highly damaging.

But I do agree that I'm not certain how well dual-wielding shields would really function.


You would DW shields and then take the Shield Master route. This lets you not only apply the defensive bonus while at the same time using them to bash, but if you also outfit them with Defending, you can choose to use the weapon enhancement as an AC bonus while at the same time using the Defensive bonus as the attack bonus while also the defensive bonus and...

Well it all gets rather convoluted and confusing, but it adds up to a lot of AC eventually...also a lot of cheese as I think most tables would look askance at a character walking in with a shield strapped to each arm.


From what I'm reading, the Shield Master feat does not provide any exemption to the normal "bonuses of the same type do not stack" rules.

A shield provides a shield bonus to AC; wielding a second shield would provide a second shield bonus to AC; since bonuses of the same type don't stack, you'd only gain the AC benefit from one shield. Am I missing something in the Shield Master feat that overrides that general rule?


Not only is it legal, it's also the basis for one of my favorite character builds:

Bashing Buzz - The Shield-Bashing Ranger! (Because Greatswords are for wussies!)


The legality is definately unclear.

A worn shield can be used as a one-handed bludgeoning weapon for shield bashes, and for this it has an entry on the weapons table.

While one-handed weapons ordinarily can be used with two hands, nothing suggest you can wear a shield on/in two hands. As such, it might not be possible to make two-handed shield bashes.

The whole "A shield is a weapon"-argument does not hold up on its own, given the fact that a shield is an armor type with very specific rules that are being discussed here.


Depending on the construction of the shield, it could be strapped to the arm, held by a large central grip on the rear face of the shield, both strapped and held.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
HaraldKlak wrote:

The legality is definately unclear.

A worn shield can be used as a one-handed bludgeoning weapon for shield bashes, and for this it has an entry on the weapons table.

While one-handed weapons ordinarily can be used with two hands, nothing suggest you can wear a shield on/in two hands. As such, it might not be possible to make two-handed shield bashes.

The whole "A shield is a weapon"-argument does not hold up on its own, given the fact that a shield is an armor type with very specific rules that are being discussed here.

It is clear as a summer sky.

It is a weapon, in all ways.

Providing a shield bonus alters this in no way.

Every single wording, in every single realm of RAW, note the Shield as a weapon.

This argument holds up on it's own, with great stability, that cannot be denied.

It the work of a fool to suggest otherwise.


HaraldKlak wrote:

The legality is definately unclear.

A worn shield can be used as a one-handed bludgeoning weapon for shield bashes, and for this it has an entry on the weapons table.

While one-handed weapons ordinarily can be used with two hands, nothing suggest you can wear a shield on/in two hands. As such, it might not be possible to make two-handed shield bashes.

The whole "A shield is a weapon"-argument does not hold up on its own, given the fact that a shield is an armor type with very specific rules that are being discussed here.

You don't have to strap it to both hands. You only have to support the attack with the offhand. To make it impossible it would need to be called out to be impossible.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Xaratherus wrote:

@Gilfalas: By RAW, you don't (or shouldn't). Shields provide a shield bonus to AC, so you'd only gain the higher benefit under the "bonuses of the same type don't stack" rule.

I'm not certain about defensive enhancements. Personally I think you would only gain the defensive enhancements from the shield you were using as a shield, since the FAQ on the Defending property seems to indicate that you gain a magic item's benefit by using it in the manner appropriate to the enhancement (i.e., a weapon is made for attacking so you gain its benefits by attacking; a shield is made for defending, so you'd gain its defensive benefits only when defending with it). I could be wholly wrong on that, though.

What's the whole point of dual shield use? To get weapon enhancement equivalents on the cheap somehow?

The Exchange

LazarX wrote:


What's the whole point of dual shield use? To get weapon enhancement equivalents on the cheap somehow?

If you want to two-weapon fight you must;

a) Use no shield
b) Use a shield and a weapon
c) Use two shields

a) results in a lower AC than b) or c).
c) allows you to get twice the effect of b) from feats like Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical, etc.

So the answer is basically "higher AC without increasing feat tax." I did a lot of math on this a couple of years ago (there's a thread somewhere) and even with Shield Master and Bashing Finish a TWF (no shield) will do slightly more damage than two shields. Lots more than a sword-and-board build. The difference is in the AC.


A +5 shield with +1 Holy weapon enhancement appears to work as a +5 Holy weapon for a shield expert and costs 43K, compared to a 98K +5 Holy sword, which doesn't increase your AC by 7. Or do it with light shields and keep both your hands free in battle.


Why you think it should be?


blackbloodtroll wrote:


It the work of a fool to suggest otherwise.

Wow, mature, turning to name calling in your first reply to me...

And I got to love your narrrow RAW scope, rather than actually adressing my concerns.

As for your 'arguments':
- "It is a weapon, in all ways":
I am not denying that it might count as a weapon, but it surely isn't a weapon in all ways. Actually they have very specific rules for being used as weapons. And very specific wording, such as "threat as...", "used this way...".

- "Every single wording, in every single realm of RAW, note the Shield as a weapon.":
Well no, not every single wording, actually only a few, most note shields as a type of armor.

Let us some things clear:
A shield is not a weapon. A shield is a special type of armor. This is RAW.

Some kinds of shields can be used as weapons when making shield bashes. This is RAW.

What isn't defined by RAW, is specifically how a shield bash works, in terms of trying to two-handedly wield a worn shield.
RAW doesn't define whether a shield can be used as a weapon if it isn't strapped to your arm.

Sovereign Court

Matthew Downie wrote:
A +5 shield with +1 Holy weapon enhancement appears to work as a +5 Holy weapon for a shield expert and costs 43K, compared to a 98K +5 Holy sword, which doesn't increase your AC by 7. Or do it with light shields and keep both your hands free in battle.

Fair enough, but swords can get great burst damage via large critical range and feats. It's more of a offensive/defensive style choice.


My personal opinion is no because to utilize a shield it needs to be strapped on and not just held or supported. Since you can't strap it to both arms, you can't 2 hand it.

As far as its a weapon so you can, armor spikes are on the list, can you two hand them? Can you 2 hand a blade boot or the iron beard thing?


gourry187 wrote:


As far as its a weapon so you can, armor spikes are on the list, can you two hand them? Can you 2 hand a blade boot or the iron beard thing?

Without checking I guess that all of those are light weapons that do not gain any benefit from two-handing them.

Shadow Lodge

HaraldKlak wrote:

Let us some things clear:

A shield is not a weapon. A shield is a special type of armor. This is RAW.

Well, you can attack with it as a weapon, it is listed in the "Weapons" table in the CRB, you can enhance it as a magic weapon, there are feats designed for you to use it as a weapon [one of which has a prerequisite of taking weapon focus in a type of shield], and there is a special type of shield designed with the intent that it would be used as a weapon. So, from what I can tell, its a weapon.

As to the topic:I would say that it is legal, and wouldn't call it cheese, because all you are doing is using your off-hand for additional support and force behind the shield.


LazarX wrote:
What's the whole point of dual shield use? To get weapon enhancement equivalents on the cheap somehow?

Honestly, not all that certain. I've seen it used as a 'primary' weapon but I haven't seen them dual-wielded.

Bashing is a fairly inexpensive enhancement that gets used a lot by shield bashers, of course.

Haraldklak wrote:
What isn't defined by RAW, is specifically how a shield bash works, in terms of trying to two-handedly wield a worn shield.

But it is defined by RAW.

When used to bash, the description of the various mundane heavy shields refer you to look at the martial weapons table; it's listed there as a one-handed weapon.

Above the table are the rules for the weapons on the various sections of the table, including the rules for one-handed weapons, which includes the fact that you can wield those weapons listed on the tables as one-handed in two hands in order to deal 1.5 STR damage.

Without text to state otherwise, that is clear RAW that when used as a weapon it is a one-handed weapon, and thereby follows the general rules for one-handed weapons.


There are weapons which spell out that they can't be used two-handed to get the higher str bonus. If it was the intention that it is impossible to do it with a shield it would have spelled it out, too.

rapier wrote:
Drawback: You can't wield a rapier in two hands in order to apply 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus to damage.


I doubt the game designers ever thought of using a shield two-handed. If so, there is literally no RAI here.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Matthew Downie wrote:
I doubt the game designers ever thought of using a shield two-handed. If so, there is literally no RAI here.

I feel like there's enough scenes in pop fantasy showing a guy decapitating someone while holding his shield or throwing his whole body into a massive shield tackle that one of the designers thought of this at some point and didn't see any reason to step in and say "We don't want any of that in our game!".

It's not uncommon, and people have been doing since at least 3.5. Considering how much the design team plays, I would be astonished if they hadn't all seen a two-handed shield fighter at least once, and I'd imagine someone at Paizo has probably even played one at least once. I thought there was even a 3.5 archetype centered around the idea, but I can't swear to that.

Dark Archive

Matthew Downie wrote:
I doubt the game designers ever thought of using a shield two-handed. If so, there is literally no RAI here.

You think none of them ever read a Captain America comic and thought of it applied to a fantasy setting? Or in any of the many medieval/fantasy stories, comics and movies where people do?

Shields are called out as being weapons, if the Devs thought to do that then I think it's unlikely they were short sighted enough to consider someone might use one two handed. It works RAW and probably RAI to wield a shield in two hands as a weapon (now, dual wielding shields is a different kettle of fish and that *might* be something they never considered, but who knows, only them unless they post here and tell us!)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Now, two handing a Light Shield is not going to give you anything extra, as it is a light weapon.


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There are historical dueling shields that are predominantly two handed, but occasionally are depicted used one handed with a sword

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/pix/talhoffer_thrust _over_shield.gif

compared to

http://mikemonaco.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/hackenschilden-twohanded.jpg

Since it can be used one handed it is not a two handed shield (not in the current equipment list) and is therefore a spiked heavy shield.

Others have established that two handing a heavy shield is rules legal. This establishes it is historical and therefore not a paradoxical rules artifact.

There are no grounds left for rejecting it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Atarlost wrote:

There are historical dueling shields that are predominantly two handed, but occasionally are depicted used one handed with a sword

Here.

compared to

Here.

Since it can be used one handed it is not a two handed shield (not in the current equipment list) and is therefore a spiked heavy shield.

Others have established that two handing a heavy shield is rules legal. This establishes it is historical and therefore not a paradoxical rules artifact.

There are no grounds left for rejecting it.

Linked.


I'm gonna use this, reflavor the shield as a steel chair, and make La Parka, the skeleton Luchador.


I'm getting deja vu here…

If all you're using is a shield, two-handing it is both allowed under the rules, and realistic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are a ton of Captain America haters.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Now, two handing a Light Shield is not going to give you anything extra, as it is a light weapon.

A madu on the other hand is a one-handed weapon with all* other stats of a light spiked shield. It costs you a feat to be proficient with but it has other benefits as well.

Edit: *Not all stats are like the light spiked shield, but most.

Edit2: I have mixed the madu and klar here. The klar is a onehanded weapon but has few bonuses over the light spiked shield apart from that. The madu is a light weapon but has lots of other benefits.


Xaratherus wrote:

From what I'm reading, the Shield Master feat does not provide any exemption to the normal "bonuses of the same type do not stack" rules.

A shield provides a shield bonus to AC; wielding a second shield would provide a second shield bonus to AC; since bonuses of the same type don't stack, you'd only gain the AC benefit from one shield. Am I missing something in the Shield Master feat that overrides that general rule?

Late to the game here. I posted and was busy with other things so never looked back here until now. No sorry, I wasn't implying that the two shield bonuses stacked with each other. Sorry if that wasn't clear. This was more in reference to how the Defending enhancement could be used. Improved Shield Bash would be enough to conserve one of your shield bonuses if you're attacking with both. Having Defending on them would allow you to switch the attack enhancement to AC while attacking. So this boosts your AC some. At the same time Shield Master lets you use your Defense as a bonus to attack in addition to its normal defense. So your +5 Defending +5 AC shield would technically grant you +5 hit and damage (from Shield Mastering the +5 AC) and +10 to AC (from the base +5 and the +5 from Defending).

Now whether two +5 defending weapons can have their +5's stack onto AC is a debate I've seen on here, but I don't recall the outcome of that, if there was one.

As for 2-handing a heavy shield, I'm sure it's been said (but I admit I've only scanned the latest replies), but it doesn't have to be strapped to both arms. A longsword is held primarily in one hand and supported by the other if you're 2-handing it. You're free to add or remove that extra hand depending on if you want a 1-handed or 2-handed style.

A Heavy Shield works the same way. Strapped to one arm, gripped with the other hand to provide that extra SMASH on a bash. Or I suppose grabbing the other guy's head and bringing it in to meet the edge of your shield as you ram the shield into his head is a viable image too...although not technically how RAW works.

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