Blocking without "readying" a shield


Prerelease Discussion


So I don't have the rules I do not know what is in store, but I feel like as exciting as the new shield rules are, they seem problematic. The fact that you need to use an action to ready the shield to use the block action, already feels heavy on the action economy. I guess my question is why do they have to be linked.

Readying a shield sounds a lot like fighting defensively, you get your shield in position it makes you harder to hit for all incoming attacks.

Block only lets you stop one incoming attack to reduce the damage.

These seem useful and useable separate to each other. For instance are you required to use the attack action in the same round before you use an AOO, then how is your weapon ready?

Anyway I don't know how any of this works in the meta but it "feels" off, thanks for listening.


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I figure a lot of things they haven't showed us yet are about being able to reduce the action cost of things or to be able to make an action to do a thing more efficient. So while shield fighting at level 1 costs 1 action to raise and 1 reaction to block one attack, it might look very different for a shield-using fighter who is 12th level.


I mean, losing an attack you would take at a -10 penalty for DR 6/- sounds pretty good to me.

My bigger issue is the issue there always is with builds that focus heavily on defense: what's stopping the monster from just hitting the guy who DOESN'T have a shield?


but you are losing any thing that action could have done too /Extra move/ or other special action for +2 ac and the possibility to use a reaction DR 6.

I think the more comparable thing is that : chance for DR6 VS. chance to attack an undefended enemy, right? (AOO)


An AoO is a reaction so they don't compete.

From what I've heard shields still provide the passive, always-on shield bonus so this is nothing but a buff to your ability to crank up your defenses.


I like the flavor of the shield being more than a passive bonus, but the execution does seem a bit off.

One of my all time favourite uses of shields in a rules set is from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition, where if you had a shield you could attempt to block one attack at any point, unless you had already done so that turn. If you'd invested in parrying you could block once with the shield and parry once with your weapon.

If shields gave a passive bonus, gave a chance to block outright (duelist style) with a reaction and some other effects with an action, I could see that working. That's of course not how they actually seem to work.

My gut reaction is that players at some point are going to look at the shield mechanics and go "I'll just buff my ac some other way, leave my hand open to actually do stuff". Tracking hardness and eventually having equipment break may not go over so well.


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Arachnofiend wrote:

An AoO is a reaction so they don't compete.

From what I've heard shields still provide the passive, always-on shield bonus so this is nothing but a buff to your ability to crank up your defenses.

Here's how shields work:

* If you wear one and don't spend an action during your turn, they do absolutely nothing.

* If you wear one and spend an action to raise it, you get a +2 AC bonus until the start of your next turn, AND

* If you are hit while your shield is raised, you can spend a reaction to absorb the hit with your shield. The damage you take is reduced by the shield's hardness (the Shield cantrip has hardness 4, a wooden shield has hardness 9). Any damage over the hardness both harms you and damages your shield.

So no, shields do not passively buff you without expending actions, and absorbing a hit with a reaction has an opportunity cost (and vice versa) if you would have been able to use that reaction on an attack of opportunity instead.


Xenocrat wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:

An AoO is a reaction so they don't compete.

From what I've heard shields still provide the passive, always-on shield bonus so this is nothing but a buff to your ability to crank up your defenses.

Here's how shields work:

* If you wear one and don't spend an action during your turn, they do absolutely nothing.

* If you wear one and spend an action to raise it, you get a +2 AC bonus until the start of your next turn, AND

* If you are hit while your shield is raised, you can spend a reaction to absorb the hit with your shield. The damage you take is reduced by the shield's hardness (the Shield cantrip has hardness 4, a wooden shield has hardness 9). Any damage over the hardness both harms you and damages your shield.

So no, shields do not passively buff you without expending actions, and absorbing a hit with a reaction has an opportunity cost (and vice versa) if you would have been able to use that reaction on an attack of opportunity instead.

Oh, damn, that's really, REALLY bad. Not only does it eat up half your turn to use your shield properly (i.e. readying the shield and blocking an attack; only a quarter of your turn if you don't actively block an attack), you're also losing out on your AoO (if you have the "special training" to even make such an incredibly basic action) AND you're going to have to buy or craft and carry around several replacement shields for when they inevitably break.


I REALLY hope they change this. Someone who equips a shield is already giving up using bigger weapons and getting a x1.5 STR bonus or TWF. What I'm really worried about is that TWF will require a separate action for each weapon to attack which makes TWF pointless.

I posted this elsewhere but this is how I think using a shield (and TWF) should work.

While using a shield (or TWF), you have 3 actions.

1) Normal attack - Same rules as now. You make an attack roll at no penalty. You get no benefit from your shield.
2) Attack and Block - 1 Action, Make an attack roll with your (on hand)weapon at a -2 penalty while simultaneously activating your shield(off hand weapon). Off hand weapons, when used this way, are just less effective than shields.
3) Double Attack - 1 Action, make an attack with both weapons (or weapon and shield) -2 Penalty on both attacks (Probably a higher penalty on shields) no defensive bonus.


Arachnofiend wrote:

An AoO is a reaction so they don't compete.

From what I've heard shields still provide the passive, always-on shield bonus so this is nothing but a buff to your ability to crank up your defenses.

From what I've heard you have to use the Action to ready your shield to get the (formerly passive) Shield Bonus to AC, and then that also unlocked your ability to use the Block Reaction.


Yeah, this sounds more and more like people are going to just stop using shields.

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I'm willing to bet a large sum of money that folks on this thread are making some incorrect assumptions as to how shields work.


Charlie Brooks wrote:
I'm willing to bet a large sum of money that folks on this thread are making some incorrect assumptions as to how shields work.

Xenocrat's description matches what I gathered from the podcasts. But I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there were feats or class abilities that can make shields more appealing.


LuZeke wrote:
Yeah, this sounds more and more like people are going to just stop using shields.

To be fair, at very worst people will continue to do exactly what they do in PF1 and not use shields lol.

I think that making the reaction break your shield is a terrible design for sure.


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If an enchanted adamantine shield can block 30+ points of damage? I'd sure be tempted to use one. And if it's less than the hardness, no damage to the shield. I'd probably just take a craft skill so I could repair my shield (or have a friendly mage who can repair it, if possible), and possibly a spare shield for when it's damaged.


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From what I gathered, not readying a a shield gave shield AC but had more AC and the block button on an action. But yeah, sounds like it sucks a bit but lose your weakest attack for DR is pretty good. Heck, I might actually use a shield.


LuZeke wrote:
Yeah, this sounds more and more like people are going to just stop using shields.

I don't think so, and the devs and playtesters also don't think so.

Giving up your -10 attack to gain Damage Reduction is not a bad option, and +2 AC is much more meaningful here, because it also remove crit chance.


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Now, I wonder what Expert, Masterwork and Legend quality shields do.

Like for weapons you get a +1 on attack rolls with an expert quality weapon, a +2 with a masterwork quality weapon and a +3 with a legend quality weapon.


I wouldn't be surprised if they have better hardness or more hit points, but I could be wrong. So much to speculate on...


+1 +2 +3 hardness sound ok.


Possibly. I wonder if ACP is still a thing...


It is in Starfinder. I suppose it is in PF2e too.


Makes sense. Oh wow. So apparently you get HP from your class as well as your race now.


That's also a Starfinder thing (although in SF it's a bit different, as you have Stamina and HEalth, with stamina being easier to recover)


Can't say I've played any SF, so... News to me. Cool.


It really helps at first level. HAving 17 or so HP at lvl 1 makes life less swingy.


Huh, I had thought that readying a shield was like drawing a weapon, not something that you had to do every round.

Scarab Sages

hmm, the shield actually eating the hit will make those Darkwood Shields I love so much less good, and the Adamantine ones nobody buys amazing. Interesting to see how it plays out, though it really makes me pine for the occultist who isn't half bad with a shield already.


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One thing to keep in mind is that bonuses to AC are roughly twice as good now.

Before, if I gave myself +2 AC, there was a 10% chance that it would matter (the case where you they roll your old AC or your old AC plus one). But wait, we forgot crits. There are different crit ranges, so we'll take the middle 19-20. There's a 10% of that (additive with the other number), and a 10% chance that the shield bonus matters for the confirmation. Overall, that's 11%.

Now, if I give myself +2 AC, there's a 10% chance that it stops a hit. If they had more than a 50/50 chance of hitting me, though, it also has a 10% chance of dropping a crit (AC+10) to a regular hit (again, this is additive, but now it's preventing the damage). That's a 20% chance to block one hit's worth of damage each time they attack. Moreover, if they do hit, you have the option to reduce the damage. Handy in an emergency to stay alive.

Assuming your enemy attacks twice, that's about (1-0.8*0.8) = 36% of an attack worth of damage. So, if you care evenly about your opponent's health and your health, and you do equal damage, you'd need to be hitting on 8+ with a -10 penalty to make it worth it to take that third attack over using your shield.

Now, if wielding a sword two-handed still increases damage, then there's that to factor in, but "hitting on 8+ with -10" leaves a fair amount of wiggle room.

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Gisher wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
I'm willing to bet a large sum of money that folks on this thread are making some incorrect assumptions as to how shields work.
Xenocrat's description matches what I gathered from the podcasts. But I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there were feats or class abilities that can make shields more appealing.

My take from listening to the podcast was that an unreadied shield gave an AC bonus but not the damage reduction. The only time I recall somebody mentioning their shieldless AC was when they specifically hadn't pulled it out while in exploration mode.

Just one of many reasons I'm looking forward to seeing the actual rules in print.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Charlie Brooks wrote:
I'm willing to bet a large sum of money that folks on this thread are making some incorrect assumptions as to how shields work.

Change SHIELDS to PF2, and we've got most threads here covered! But with little info, let the rampant speculation continue! :)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'll be honest even if shields don't have good ongoing options (magic items/feats/class features) I'm still likely to carry one on most of my frontline style characters for the first few levels. That a wooden shield can eat several hits worth 40% of my level one health is extremely worthwile.

I mean yeah they can break. But we don't know how easily. We know they've gone for a system of Dents before breaking. My bet would be 3 Dents. So at a minimum that (most basic) Shield has saved my 27hp of damage before I have to replace it. It is also very likely that you can remove dents with a) some minor investment in the craft skill and b) with the mending spell. Given that you know when your shield gets dented you can also just stop using it for DR if it is in the danger zone until you can repair it out of combat.


Gisher wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
I'm willing to bet a large sum of money that folks on this thread are making some incorrect assumptions as to how shields work.
Xenocrat's description matches what I gathered from the podcasts. But I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there were feats or class abilities that can make shields more appealing.

I would bet that more shield oriented classes are going to get a feat that lets them do stuff like move+ready their shield. Right now the basic mechanics sound okay but I am guessing there are a lot of feats and other things that will modify the action flow of how shields work.

For those who like playing tanky type characters the shield changes seem really good though. Especially at low levels it is blocking a pretty sizable amount of damage every round if you are working to do that. Ironically it also looks like shields will work more realistically in that basic ones are pretty disposable as they get shattered and splintered pretty frequently through use but better the shield than your head.


Malk_Content wrote:
I mean yeah they can break. But we don't know how easily.

IIRC what was said in the podcast, it works just like any other object with a Hardness score. In fact, the DR given by a shield is the shield's hardness. A shield will have an HP and once it reaches 0 it breaks.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
2Zak wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
I mean yeah they can break. But we don't know how easily.
IIRC what was said in the podcast, it works just like any other object with a Hardness score. In fact, the DR given by a shield is the shield's hardness. A shield will have an HP and once it reaches 0 it breaks.

Can't remember where (I think it was actually the same podcast) they mentioned objects don't have HP anymore. They just get a condition called Dent. With enough Dent they become broken. Now this doesn't mean a shield can take infinite damage and only score a single Dent, I believe there was also a rule for the equivalent of massive damage to outright break something.

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