New Feat Idea: Shield Block


4th Edition

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Shield Block

Prerequisite: Proficiency in Shields

Benefit: When using a shield, if you are hit in melee, you can use your reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC against that attack. If this increases your AC above the attack roll of that attack, it misses you.

What do you think? It's VERY similar to the Defensive Duelist feat, obviously. Should it have a bigger prerequisite?

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It is Defensive Duelist, which is an AC option for characters that might have less AC, but this is for characters that will already have higher AC.

I'm not a fan, mostly because it does the same thing as another feat, and Shield Master extends the shield's defensive use in a more interesting way.

In fact, Shield Master lets shield users do what TWFers are normally good at, and Defensive Duelist lets TWFers do what shield users are normally good at. It's pretty elegant design IMO.

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I really like the bonus action Push option for Shield Master, but the other two benefits seem very situational. Most Dexterity saving throws are for area effects, so they don't just target you. I guess the third benefit is quasi-Evasion, which is good if you have a decent Dex save.

I'm considering Shield Master for my 16th level feat for my dwarf cleric with 8 Dex, no Athletics proficiency, but Belt of Frost Giant Strength, so +7 on Athletics checks, and I can "pre-buff" with guidance.

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The other two benefits are situational, but our Champion Fighter has been quite happy to have them.
When playing a rogue or monk, I'm almost jealous shield users can get my trademark defensive schtick with a feat, as well as a solid offensive option.

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We finished my cleric's campaign last night (spoiler alert: Karzaug lost!), but before I run the new campaign, we're doing our World Serpent Inn campaign where I play a swashbuckly parkour-based half-elf rogue (thief) urchin 7. I usually DM, so I missed playing levels 5 and 6, so I haven't had a chance to use Uncanny Dodge yet.

Anyways, at 8th level, I plan on boosting Dex, but at 10th level, I'm thinking of either taking Defensive Duelist or Moderately Armored to get Shield proficiency, and then Shield Master at 12th. Since I'm a parkour-based rogue, I have Expertise in Acrobatics and Athletics, which incidentally makes me really good at grappling and the push combat action. So much so, I'm even considering a level in barbarian for rage and Advantage on Strength checks--and Shield proficiency. But I only have 12 Str, so I could either boost it to 14 first, or take Resilient (Strength) to qualify for the barbarian multiclass option.

If I go the Shield Master route, I'm going to have 2 options for my bonus action: Cunning Action or Shield Slam push. If I go the Defensive Duelist route, I'm going to have 2 options for my reaction: Uncanny Dodge or Defensive Duelist (definitely take half damage or possibly take no damage).

Decisions, decisions...


Petty Alchemy wrote:

It is Defensive Duelist, which is an AC option for characters that might have less AC, but this is for characters that will already have higher AC.

I'm not a fan, mostly because it does the same thing as another feat, and Shield Master extends the shield's defensive use in a more interesting way.

In fact, Shield Master lets shield users do what TWFers are normally good at, and Defensive Duelist lets TWFers do what shield users are normally good at. It's pretty elegant design IMO.

I should note: Nothing about Defensive Duelist says you can't have a shield in your offhand, or use your Strength for attack and damage - the only requirement is that it is a finessable weapon. A raging barbarian with loin cloth, rapier and shield counts, as does a fighter in plate dual-wielding shortswords.

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Fair point, in which case there's no need for Shield Block as any character proficient with the shield could use a finesse weapon and pick up Defensive Duelist.

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