Stacking Shield Bonuses - What Consequences?


Advice


Here's the simple question: If we just said shield bonuses stacked (and made some sort of exception for the Shield spell), would it really ruin anything?

I mean, it's obviously more realistic. And I've always really liked the idea of somebody dual-wielding shields to bash someone's brains out. Thematically, it's neat, as it indicates a more "self defensive" style.

Doesn't it make more sense to let the bonuses stack? If I houserule it in, what effects will it have?

The one obvious change is making dual-wielded shields actually become one of the most optimized options. But...well, we already have overly optimized options. This would just rearrange things.


A big part of knowing how to use a shield is knowing how to keep it between you and the threat. You can't put two shields between yourself and the same swordblow.

Also, until you've worn a shield, you probably cannot realize how much space they take up in front of you. The other part of using a shield is not letting it get in the way of your own attacks. I cannot picture how a fighter could have room to actually attack with two unless one was held to the side to allow the other room, obviating any defensive value.


Zog of Deadwood wrote:
Knowing how to use a shield is knowing how to keep it between you and the threat. You can't put two shields between yourself and the same swordblow.

Sure you could. If the sword goes through one shield, the next is behind it to absorb more of the blow.


Zog wrote:
A big part of knowing how to use a shield is knowing how to keep it between you and the threat. You can't put two shields between yourself and the same swordblow.

By that logic, there's no point in wearing any armor but one piece: I mean, it's not like every piece of the armor can block an attack at once.

There's a reason tower shields grant double the bonus heavy shields do. That reason is that more area covered improves your defense.


This being said, if it really bugs you, here's a way to incorporate it while remaining consistent:

Flowing Defense
You have learned how to defend with two shields at once.
Prerequisites: Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Shield Bash
Benefit: When wielding two shields, the bonuses stack. This feat does not apply to the shield spell or similar effects, nor to Two-Weapon Defense.

Scarab Sages

Zog of Deadwood wrote:

A big part of knowing how to use a shield is knowing how to keep it between you and the threat. You can't put two shields between yourself and the same swordblow.

Also, until you've worn a shield, you probably cannot realize how much space they take up in front of you. The other part of using a shield is not letting it get in the way of your own attacks. I cannot picture how a fighter could have room to actually attack with two unless one was held to the side to allow the other room, obviating any defensive value.

It depends on the shield. If you are using a big Heater, Kite, or Coffin-lid strapped to you arm, I agree it's unfeasible. If you are wielding two center grip rounds you can use punch blocks and edge blocks to be able to more effectively block with one shield or the other by responding to the side of the attack.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Zog wrote:
A big part of knowing how to use a shield is knowing how to keep it between you and the threat. You can't put two shields between yourself and the same swordblow.

By that logic, there's no point in wearing any armor but one piece: I mean, it's not like every piece of the armor can block an attack at once.

There's a reason tower shields grant double the bonus heavy shields do. That reason is that more area covered improves your defense.

Sure, but a tower shield is huge. Certainly two small shields, or a small shield and a large shield, would still cover less area than a tower shield. Even two large shields won't cover much more area, if they even do at all. Why would they then grant more of a protective bonus?

As for armor, I trust we all realize armor doesn't prevent its wearer from getting hit--it prevents him or her from taking hit point loss from blows that don't avoid or penetrate the armor. That's why there is a distinguishing difference between armor and shield bonuses (not that the system is more than remotely realistic, but what do you want from a game?)--with shield bonuses we know precisely which part of the protective gear is giving the bonus.


Zog wrote:
Sure, but a tower shield is huge. Certainly two small shields, or a small shield and a large shield, would still cover less area than a tower shield. Even two large shields won't cover much more area, if they even do at all. Why would they then grant more of a protective bonus?

Because two shields are more agile than a tower shield, allowing the wielder to protect a wider area even if they don't physically cover the same amount.


Imbicatus wrote:
Zog of Deadwood wrote:

A big part of knowing how to use a shield is knowing how to keep it between you and the threat. You can't put two shields between yourself and the same swordblow.

Also, until you've worn a shield, you probably cannot realize how much space they take up in front of you. The other part of using a shield is not letting it get in the way of your own attacks. I cannot picture how a fighter could have room to actually attack with two unless one was held to the side to allow the other room, obviating any defensive value.

It depends on the shield. If you are using a big Heater, Kite, or Coffin-lid strapped to you arm, I agree it's unfeasible. If you are wielding two center grip rounds you can use punch blocks and edge blocks to be able to more effectively block with one shield or the other by responding to the side of the attack.

Hm, maybe. It sounds iffy, but I don't have sufficient SCA experience to say it's not possible at all. However, I would think that if such a thing were possible in the game (dual fighting with two small shield), there would be a feat tax above and beyond TWF. Possibly a style feat. Just saying that shield bonuses stack and that any fighter with TWF can do so with shields? No.


TWF already works with two shields just fine. I've made a build around it—it can actually be quite effective. The only difference is whether the bonuses to AC would stack.

Did you see the feat I suggested above?


While I personally think fighting with two shield to be silly...to each their own.

I would say the feat you came up with above is the way to go instead of just house ruling shield bonus stack. As I think learning to effectively fight that way would require more training which the feat would represent.


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4 armed alchemist with 3 tower shields,a Klar, and a shield extract.


Sounds like a great final boss.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
4 armed alchemist with 3 tower shields,a Klar, and a shield extract.

But to nitpick...

  • Alchemists aren't proficient with klars.
  • Alchemists aren't proficient with tower shields.
  • Alchemists aren't proficient with any shields.
  • Shield wouldn't stack, as stated in the OP.

    ;)


  • Kobold Cleaver wrote:
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    4 armed alchemist with 3 tower shields,a Klar, and a shield extract.

    But to nitpick...

  • Alchemists aren't proficient with klars.
  • Alchemists aren't proficient with tower shields.
  • Alchemists aren't proficient with any shields.
  • Shield wouldn't stack, as stated in the OP.

    ;)

  • 1 level of fighter then.


    Then the only nitpick's the last bit. ;D

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

    What you really need to do here is look at whether or not this is practical in a game sense. The obvious intent here is to jack up your AC, which assumes that you're either gonna be the party tank, or that everyone is similarly armoured. Once you factor in the extra enhancement bonuses on this second shield, plus the additional AC tricks you're probably using like barkskin or expertise, and you've quickly got a guy the monsters just can't hit without a critical. At this point one of two things happens:

    1. The DM pumps up the monsters so they once again have a chance at hitting you, and since they are so pumped up, those hits are gonna hurt a lot more. With an AC so much higher than the rest of your party any monster who has even a chance to hit you is pretty much guaranteed to hit your friends, which sucks for them because I bet they can't take a hit like you can.

    2. The monsters can't hit you, and without the satisfaction of drawing your blood and the promise that they could kill you they are going to stop fighting you all together and move on to a softer/ juicier target. Now you're playing the tank the monsters are actively avoiding, and rather than being the one who's supposed to be tying them up, you become the awkward, heavily armoured goon clanging along behind a combat which has moved away from you, trying to get their attention.

    This isn't really a question of if it's technically possible or physically practical. It's more a matter of what this does to the game and how it forces DM's to react to players that are too hard to hit.

    Meat shields are only effective because of the meat involved, once you're just a shield hungry monsters lose interest


    That's not an argument against dual-wielding shields, that's an argument against excessive powergaming in general. There's a middle ground.

    Let's make a 20-PB human fighter—we'll name her Scales. Scales is an ex-bodyguard for the daughter of a noble. When the noble's house was overrun by orcs, she and the daughter escaped but were separated. Scales is seen by most as a somewhat eccentric hiresword, but in reality she's just trying to track down her missing (and probably dead) charge.

    Scales:
    Human Fighter 1
    Str 16
    Dex 18
    Con 12
    Int 12
    Wis 10
    Cha 7

    AC: 20 (10 + 4 Dex + 2 Shield + 4 Chain Shirt)

    Full Attack: Heavy Shield +2 (1d6+3) and Light Shield +2 (1d4+3)

    Feats: Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Shield Bash, Double Slice

    Gear: Heavy Steel Shield (spiked), Light Steel Shield (spiked), Chain Shirt

    I personally prefer to stick with ordinary bludgeoning shields, but we're going with spikes for now.

    This is hardly an obscenely overpowered build. It's not obscenely underpowered, either. It's just, well, a build. Not the best, but Scales is mobile and fairly hard to hit. As for it being "silly", the character's fighting style is presented in-character as her just being kind of weird and protective.

    The roleplay works, and the build functions. It would, however, be nice to give her the option of gaining benefit from both shields at once.

    If you want to create a crazy "living shield" character, go ahead. But any class, feat, or weapon can be abused to make the game dull if the player himself is dull.

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

    I agree, I simply mean that two-shieldedness is so inherently abuseable that it's not surprising it has been left out of the rules


    I'm not exactly sure how it's "so inherently abuseable". Many of the strategies people joke about would actually be terrible. Dual-wielding tower shields? So much for making attacks.

    Besides, *mumblemumblecastermartialdisparitymumblemumble*

    Shadow Lodge

    Kobold Cleaver wrote:

    I'm not exactly sure how it's "so inherently abuseable". Many of the strategies people joke about would actually be terrible. Dual-wielding tower shields? So much for making attacks.

    Besides, *mumblemumblecastermartialdisparitymumblemumble*

    Use them as improvised weapons. You are still taking a -6/-6 even with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat [-4TWF, -2TS].

    RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

    Assume shield focus, improved bash, mastery, TWF etc.

    Mastery is allowing you to use the armour enhancement as a weapon enhancement. This is basically giving you two +5 weapons at half the cost of regular +5 weapons (for which you should have plenty of money givin that you don't nee to actually pay for weapons anymore). Even if these shields are only bucklers they are each providing you +7 armour in addition to being top shelf weapons, and you're not even losing this bonus while bashing. Further, mastery is basically giving you "perfect TWF" since master provides no TWF penalty what fighting with a shield and "other weapon".

    It's just way too much for way too little


    I'm not sure you can do that. It gets pretty convoluted, but:

    1. In order to use an improvised weapon, you must have hands free.

    1. The tower shield makes your hands not free.

    1. The tower shield is not suitable for bashing. It's literally noted that tower shields can't be bashed with.

    It'd be a fun build to try to make, though. I think an orc fighter who quickly multiclasses to barbarian after getting TWF and Double Slice would be the best bet. At third level (fighter 1/barbarian 2), with rage and Catch Off-Guard, he'll have about...

    -4 TWF -2 TS +8 Str +3 BAB = +5/+5

    So, if you're willing to break a bunch of rules, you become almost feasible. For an AC bonus that's still one point lower, and an armor situation more than three times more encumbering than what Full Plate gives. :P

    But hey, take that, buy full plate, and we're talking a 27 AC (25 in rage). And a -26 ACP.


    Nick Bolhuis wrote:

    Assume shield focus, improved bash, mastery, TWF etc.

    Mastery is allowing you to use the armour enhancement as a weapon enhancement. This is basically giving you two +5 weapons at half the cost of regular +5 weapons (for which you should have plenty of money givin that you don't nee to actually pay for weapons anymore). Even if these shields are only bucklers they are each providing you +7 armour in addition to being top shelf weapons, and you're not even losing this bonus while bashing. Further, mastery is basically giving you "perfect TWF" since master provides no TWF penalty what fighting with a shield and "other weapon".

    It's just way too much for way too little

    And yet it's both RAW and RAI. Shield Master is an expensive feat that requires you to be level 11 and have heavily invested in this fighting style, and shields do not make very good weapons to begin with. This is just compensating for all the hell the poor 1d6/1d4 warrior went through.


    The shield extract is mostly because the only way to hit him is with a magic missile :)

    At level 3

    10+
    +9 armor
    +12 (4 tower shield X3)
    +1 klar

    = 32 ac. More with mutagen, dodge, etc.

    Swinging at a boss and praying for a 20 isn't my idea of a good time.

    For PCs it only gets worse, because increasing the shield bonuses by 1 each is exponentially cheaper than increasing the bonus on 1 shield.

    for 6 k worth of enchants he gets +6 to his armor class. Doing that at +3 to armor and shield would cost 18,000

    For 4,000 * 5 = 20,000 he adds 10 to his ac. To do the same with armor and shield would cost 50,000.


    Oh, is this a serious argument? In that case...congratulations. You've proven that using a complex rules array, a clueless GM, and very few compunctions about game fun, it is possible to make a broken build. My goodness.

    ;D

    The note about enhancements is a pretty good point, though. However, you're still basing this whole build on a convoluted scheme with a laughable touch AC and absolutely abysmal Dex- and Str-based skills. It's a one-trick pony that will not be much fun to play even if the GM does allow it.

    Seriously, that's actually one of the most ineffectual bosses I've ever seen. He moves slow, has almost no offensive capability, and can't possibly have a Touch AC above 12. Unless he's a kobold, or something. The gunslinger and alchemist will have a "blast". As will the trippers, grapplers, and sunderers.


    Kobold Cleaver wrote:
    Oh, is this a serious argument?

    Not really.

    Quote:
    In that case...congratulations. You've proven that using a complex rules array, a clueless GM, and very few compunctions about game fun, it is possible to make a broken build.

    Well, I think i effectively demonstrated "hey why is this rule in place" (secondary objective) while giving a laugh to the visual (primary objective)

    OH! he could also have a tentacle. And a dwarven boulder helmet. And a barbazu beard. Wonder if that tentacle can hold a shield... :)

    [ooc]Seriously, that's actually one of the most ineffectual bosses I've ever seen.

    Make him a Monk wight. :)


    Why can't he have an animated shield to? Surely if two shield is twice the AC... I forget if eidolons can use shields? No armour, but I think they could use shields. Get ten shields easy :)


    Broken Prince wrote:
    Why can't he have an animated shield to? Surely if two shield is twice the AC... I forget if eidolons can use shields? No armour, but I think they could use shields. Get ten shields easy :)

    Shields are weapons so fair game.


    If you're not looking to powergame, then why do you need the extra shield bonus? Two weapon fighting with shields is already plenty powerful.


    No other weapon in the game provides a defensive bonus. Even combo weapon/shields like the klar are either a shield or weapon not both at the same time. Even defensive weapons like the sword breaker don't grant a defensive bonus. To allow a shield to be both a shield and at the same time a weapon would immediately make all weapons obsolete.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
    Mike Franke wrote:
    No other weapon in the game provides a defensive bonus. Even combo weapon/shields like the klar are either a shield or weapon not both at the same time. Even defensive weapons like the sword breaker don't grant a defensive bonus. To allow a shield to be both a shield and at the same time a weapon would immediately make all weapons obsolete.

    It absolutely, without a shadow of doubt, is a weapon.

    It is treated as a weapon. It is a valid choice for Weapon Focus, Weapon enchantments, and even is in Fighter Weapon Groups.

    It is even on the weapons table.

    Go tell Captain America his shield isn't a weapon.

    A shield is a weapon.


    Mike Franke wrote:
    To allow a shield to be both a shield and at the same time a weapon would immediately make all weapons obsolete.

    The Falcata disagrees, as does the scimitar and scythe. I hear they are forming a protest as we speak.


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    Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
    John Kretzer wrote:

    While I personally think fighting with two shield to be silly...to each their own.

    I would say the feat you came up with above is the way to go instead of just house ruling shield bonus stack. As I think learning to effectively fight that way would require more training which the feat would represent.

    I cannot stop thinking about the person with a shield on each arm, screaming as the fight, and calling themselves a Tie-Fighter.

    Scarab Sages

    Mike Franke wrote:
    No other weapon in the game provides a defensive bonus. Even combo weapon/shields like the klar are either a shield or weapon not both at the same time. Even defensive weapons like the sword breaker don't grant a defensive bonus. To allow a shield to be both a shield and at the same time a weapon would immediately make all weapons obsolete.

    Improved shield bash is in the the crb. The shield has always been able to be a shield and weapon at the same time.

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