Bashing shield special ability


Rules Questions


Hello everyone.

I'm in the middle of constructing a two-weapon fighting combat style Ranger who employs a shield the majority of the time.

The character is 6th level, with a Strength of 16 (25 point build), and currently has the Improved Shield Bash, Two-Weapon Fighting, Shield Focus, Dodge, and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feats.

The character is currently armed with a Heavy Pick and a +1 bashing light wooden shield. Here's where my question begins.

From the reading of the Bashing shield special ability, "...The shield acts as a +1 weapon when used to bash...". Does this break the normal rule of the enhancement bonus applied to a shield for armor class must be purchased separately from the enhancement bonus applied to a shield for attack and damage? I feel that it does as the description does not say that the weapon acts as a magical weapon. It specifically states "as a +1 weapon". Also the Bashing quality does not state that it provides all of your enhancement bonus to your shield bash so theoretically if I had a +5 Bashing shield but did not buy a separate enhancement bonus for attack and damage then the shield would still only act as a +1 weapon when used to bash. I could be off but that's why I'm here. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Also would the upgraded shield bash damage from the Bashing special ability and the increased shield bash damage from adding shield spikes stack with each other? Currently the shield does not have spikes, but I wonder if I should change that or not?


theporkchopxpress wrote:
From the reading of the Bashing shield special ability, "...The shield acts as a +1 weapon when used to bash...". Does this break the normal rule of the enhancement bonus applied to a shield for armor class must be purchased separately from the enhancement bonus applied to a shield for attack and damage?

I guess you could say it's an exception to the rule, but I'd hesitate to say it breaks the rule. The description of the Bashing Enchantment is the rules, too. You normally provoke an Attack of Opportunity when you try to Trip someone. When you have Improved Trip, you don't provoke an Attack of Opportunity when you try to Trip someone. You wouldn't say that Improved Trip breaks the rules, would you?

If you want a +5 Shield, the way to go is to enchant it as a weapon. The Bashing Enchantment gives the Shield a +1 Attack and Damage, but I know of no provision for that enhancement to be increased, and it won't stack with Weapon Enhancements on the Shield. It will still give your Shield Bash a +2 damage for a Virtual Size Increase that will stack with your Enhancemnt Bonuses.

theporkchopxpress wrote:
Also would the upgraded shield bash damage from the Bashing special ability and the increased shield bash damage from adding shield spikes stack with each other?

Nope. Shield Spikes are officially a Virtual Size Increase which do not stack with other Virtual Size Increases. The reason to put a Spike on a Bashing Shield is if you wanted it to do Piercing Damage, and since you are already doing Piercing Damage with you Pick, I advise against it. My instinct is to diversify, not double down. But I don't know what your character build will be like.

So, why a Heavy Pick? It seems unusual and far from optimal. What's your concept?


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I guess you could say it's an exception to the rule, but I'd hesitate to say it breaks the rule.

You are, of course, very correct here Scott. In my head I meant exception to the rule, but wrote breaks the rule in error. I appreciate your response!

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
If you want a +5 Shield, the way to go is to enchant it as a weapon. The Bashing Enchantment gives the Shield a +1 Attack and Damage, but I know of no provision for that enhancement to be increased, and it won't stack with Weapon Enhancements on the Shield. It will still give your Shield Bash a +2 damage for a Virtual Size Increase that will stack with your Enhancemnt Bonuses.

This is what I was looking for. I thought this was the case but wanted to refer with others to make sure I was on the right track! Thanks again!

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Nope. Shield Spikes are officially a Virtual Size Increase which do not stack with other Virtual Size Increases. The reason to put a Spike on a Bashing Shield is if you wanted it to do Piercing Damage, and since you are already doing Piercing Damage with you Pick, I advise against it. My instinct is to diversify, not double down. But I don't know what your character build will be like.

Ah ha! This makes a lot of sense! This one I wasn't really sure on and cruising around the internet I found some conflicting reports. I also agree with diversifying whenever possible.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
So, why a Heavy Pick? It seems unusual and far from optimal. What's your concept?

Character concept is a little on the simple side. The character is a Tiefling Ranger. Raised by his human parent and taught to leave the evil of his ancestry behind and embrace something better. Years later while the character appreciates where he comes from there's still far too much prejudice for him to make a life for himself in the sleepy hamlet he's from so he goes off on his own. He learns everything he can from anyone he can meet that is willing to talk to him, and eventually settles down in the wilderness becoming a ranger.

A large chunk of his time is spent exploring many of the various natural caverns where he lives, and so after a while he even leaves the forests behind in preference for learning how to survive below ground. The pick becomes a trusty tool and weapon that he is able to implement underground as it has a short haft which is good to use in close quarters and can be used in a pinch to pry an object out of a wall or possibly even dig through a collapsed tunnel or whatever might be needed.

In the end, I agree it is not an optimal weapon at all other than those very few instances where he scores a crit with the thing. However, it seemed to fit with his archetype which is the Deep Walker Ranger, and I found it interesting as it is a weapon that is not typically found among the people I play with on a regular basis.


Roleplaying reasons are good reasons to pick a less-than-optimal weapon. But I am too lawyerly a player not to offer an argument in favor of optimization.

Since the Heavy Pick is a Martial Weapon, I'm inclined to think a Heavy Pick is not a miner's pick at all but rather a military pick. If you are already considering military versions of miner's tools, maybe you should consider something like a miner's tool that is more optimized like a Warhammer or better yet, an Earthbreaker. "Earthbreaker" even sounds like a miner's tool that does 2d6 of blunt trauma with every hit. If you take the Thunder and Fang Feat, you can wield an Earthbreaker in 1 hand and a Klar in the other. A Klar is a kind of Shield. It counts as a Light Shield only it does 1d6 on a Shield Bash without any Enchantments at all. Normally, it is a 1 handed weapon, but can be used as a Light Weapon when you Fight Thunder and Fang Style. Klars are traditionally made from the skulls of big animals. Your backstory can include your having MacGyvered one from some animal you hunted down or scavenged. The Klar cannot benefit from Virtual Size increases, but the Earthbreaker can. If you cast Lead Blades (a Ranger Spell), your Earthbreaker will do 3d6 damage. It sounds all kinds of subterranean Ranger badass to me.

Liberty's Edge

See shield mastery though, which lets you use the shield ARMOR enhancement bonus as a WEAPON enhancement bonus.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Roleplaying reasons are good reasons to pick a less-than-optimal weapon. But I am too lawyerly a player not to offer an argument in favor of optimization.

Thanks Scott and that is never a problem. Also, I totally agree with you on the whole concept of militarized versions of common tools not actually being the same as the common tool. Your earth breaker theory is interesting to me for sure. I'm willing to walk down this road for a little bit to see where it takes me. The one thing I'm concerned about is how it will interfere with the build I had been working on. Obviously it would require me to trade out some feats in order to take WF: Earthbreaker, WF: Klar, and Thunder and Fang.

blashimov wrote:
See shield mastery though, which lets you use the shield ARMOR enhancement bonus as a WEAPON enhancement bonus.

Shield Master was definitely a part of my original build. For discussion I'll provide my original feat selection for my build. The character would be starting the game I'm playing in at level 6 but I've gone ahead and plotted out the feats through 20th level:

1st - Improved Shield Bash
2nd - Two-Weapon Fighting (Ranger Combat Style)
3rd - Shield Focus
5th - Dodge
6th - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (Ranger Combat Style)
7th - Shield Slam
9th - Mobility
10th - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting (Ranger Combat Style)
11th - Shield Master
13th - Bashing Finish
14th - Two Weapon Rend (Ranger Combat Style)
15th - Covering Shield
17th - Saving Shield
18th - Double Slice (Ranger Combat Style)
19th - Missile Shield

As you can see a lot of the feats are designed around the use of the shield. I'm curious as to how switching from the light shield to the klar would effect those feats or if it would make certain feats useless or unnecessary.


I would complicate your build at least a little bit with a couple of levels in Fighter to get Thunder and Fang Early.

1Fighter1: 2 Weapon, Weapon Focus Klar
2F1Ranger1:
3F2R1: Weapon Focus Earthbreaker, Thunder and Fang
4F2R2: Shield Slam

When you fight Thunder And Fang, you don't use your AC bonus to Shield when you Bash with your Klar. And when you take Shield Slam as a Ranger Bonus Feat, you don't need to meet any prerequisites. The Feat Tax on T&F is offset by the fact that you don't need to take Improved Shield Bash. And you were planning on taking 2 weapon fighting anyway.

5F2R3 Endurance, Feat

I like Endurance. One of the things that's always on my mind is the set of problems that come with Sleeping in Armor and Getting in and out of Armor. If you sleep in Medium or Heavy armor, you wake up Fatigued. If you don't sleep in your armor, you will end up fighting wandering monsters in your underwear. With Endurance, you can sleep in Medium Armor. You seem to want a high Dex build, so it might behoove you to save up for Mithril Medium Armor, like a Mithril Agile Breastplate.

I'm wondering about the best way to develop your character. From a Min-Maxer's point-of-view, your character seems a little unfocused.

You are taking Shield Slam: maybe you should take Greater Bull Rush so you can give an Attack of Opportunity to every Ally. I have a character build like this, and what I would do with it is take 5 levels in Inquisitor. At level 5, you get to put Bane on a Weapon, and your Klar would really benefit from that. At level 3 Inquisitor, you get a Bonus Teamwork Feat, and you get to use all your Teamwork Feats as if all your Allies had your Teamwork Feats. That means if you took Paired Opportunist, you would get an AoO off of Greater Bull Rush because your Allies get it, too.

Since you are planning on taking Improved and Greater 2 Weapon Fighting, you seem to want a high Dex, and that says to me you would really benefit from an Attack of Opportunity feature in your build. An AoO build feature backed behind a big, 2 handed weapon like an Earthbreaker is a very solid choice. I was just suggesting GBR + PO via Inquisitor. There are others.

I notice you are taking Dodge and Mobility, but I don't really see what you are doing with it. I had an idea that if I had a Monk, Master of Many Styles, and I took Panther Style Feats, I would benefit from taking Dodge and Mobility. Panther Style is a feat that lets you take bonus unarmed strikes if you provoke attacks of opportunity by moving out of Threatened Squares, so D&M would give you +5 AC for just such an occasion. I don't know that Unarmed Strikes are things you want to develop, and I don't know that you even want to dip into Monk. If you also took Aescetic Style Feats, you could apply your Panther Style Feats to some other weapon, but getting them to apply to either your hammer, pick, or shield would involve some munchkinly shenanegins.

Taking Dodge and Mobility is often done as a prelude to taking Whirlwind Attack: not unreasonable if you go with the Earthbreaker, but if you are going T&F, with Shield Slam and GBR, it would make more sense to take Cleave and Great Cleave. You'd have to take Power Attack for GBR anyway.

You were saying you wanted to be a Tiefling. 2 things I think of when I think of Tieflings are Natural Attacks and Darkness, and don't particularly see how you are exploiting either. If you are making your opponents Blind in the Dark, some kind of Sneak Attack would be cool. If you are going Natural Attack, I would dip into Warpriest, doing Sacred Weapon Damage with 2 claws, and when my SWD got up to 1d8, my Bonus Ranger Feat would be Improved Natural Attack. I'd carry a Bow and fight with my Claws when needed, no need to even put down your bow.

If you don't want to develop your build using Tiefling traits, are you sure you want to be a Tiefling? As a Dwarf, you have an incentive to wear heavy armor. You would get to wield a Dwarven War Axe as a Martial Weapon. DWA + Shield is a very solid combination.

Just some thoughts.


Thanks again for the great feedback Scott! Sorry for not replying sooner but I had a crazy busy weekend.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I would complicate your build at least a little bit with a couple of levels in Fighter to get Thunder and Fang Early.

Nice. I haven't played much with multi-classing in PFRPG, so I honestly didn't think about doing this. It would definitely allow me the ability to pick up Thunder and Fang pretty quick.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
When you fight Thunder And Fang, you don't use your AC bonus to Shield when you Bash with your Klar.

Did you mean that I would get my AC bonus to shield when attacking with my klar. Per the description of Thunder and Fang I was pretty sure that I would still get my AC shield bonus. Thunder and Fang is a really nice feat as it seems to give a limited version of 3.5's Monkey-grip feat and also provides the bonus of Improved Shield Bash while using a Klar. I could be reading it incorrectly though. Regardless, I think I would still want to get Improved Shield Bash as it is a requirement for Shield Master later on.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
You are taking Shield Slam: maybe you should take Greater Bull Rush so you can give an Attack of Opportunity to every Ally.

I certainly wouldn't be opposed to this, however, it does require me to find space for Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, and then Greater Bull Rush. I could certainly see some feats that could go away to make room for these though so that's not a huge problem.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Since you are planning on taking Improved and Greater 2 Weapon Fighting, you seem to want a high Dex, and that says to me you would really benefit from an Attack of Opportunity feature in your build.

Since I was purchasing the Two Weapon Fighting feats with Ranger bonus feats I did not need to meet the high Dex requirements, but if I switched to the multi-classing build you mentioned earlier I might need to tweak that a bit. The character is currently running around with a Dex of 14, so Combat Reflexes or another AoO feat wouldn't be a horrible idea. Also the character is wearing medium armor as of the current build I have for them.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I notice you are taking Dodge and Mobility, but I don't really see what you are doing with it.

Yeah, these were some of the feats that I took that were handy feats to have although they weren't doing anything specific. Covering Shield, Saving Shield, and Missile Shield are also in this category. I guess the idea behind them was to allow the character to move between multiple opponents in an effort to tank for less defensive allies when they got into trouble while keeping my character as protected as possible from incoming AoO's that he would get from this kind of movement.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
You were saying you wanted to be a Tiefling.

Once again, this part was more about character background/role play elements more so than the benefits of being of a particular race. I took an alternative racial trait for Tieflings called "Light from the Darkness" which allows the character to cast corruption resistance once per day instead of darkness. It's a situational ability so it will not always as good as the standard spell-like ability however it lasts an hour/level when the characters casts it on themselves so it's something good to cast and then forget about until it becomes an issue.

I also agree that this whole build could have been made further simplified by playing a standard race like a dwarf, but sometimes I just like to try something that's a little different and see if I can have some fun with it.


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I just wanted to say thanks for all of the feedback. Based off of the suggestions I will be doing a slight rebuild of the character to insert two levels of Fighter into the build, and making plenty of room for Thunder and Fang and the other feats we discussed.

This takes the character away from the question that started this thread, but sometimes that's what happens when you start exploring options. I appreciate all of your help!

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