I have absolutely no idea how Shield Block works


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


p309 states simply that, using the Shield Block reaction REDUCES the amount of damage that you take from a blow by an amount equal to the shield's hardness. The shield takes the damage instead. It also says this may cause the shield to be dented.

Seems simple enough. I would take 10 damage, but my wooden shield takes 3 of it, and I take 7, right?

But what happens to the shield? Page 175 says that an item reduces any damage dealt to it by its hardness. So my wooden shield, hardnes 3, tekes 3 damage, which is reduced to 0. But then how could my shield possibly ever become dented, as it cannot deflect more damage than it has hardness?

But right there on page 175 it gives an example of a wooden shield taking 10 damage and getting two dents. But how could a wooden shield ever take 10 damage - it can only deflect 3? (unless it is attached to a wall or something and someone is hitting it, not in combat). There doesn't appear to be a sunder action any more.

The intention, supported by the examples, and the fact that shields can't get potency runes, seems to be to have frangible shields. But the rules don't support that.

I have no idea how this works.

*EDIT* the only way I can see to make this all work is if the Shield Block reaction doesn't REDUCE the damage at all, but instead the shield takes ALL the damage. But that is absolutely not what it says.


I think I understand how it works. When you shield block, and reduce the damage by the hardness, the shield actually takes the damage. It is not reduced because the damage was not dealt to it, but you. Whatever, the point is that I'm pretty sure that was what the balance was supposed to be. It is just not adequately expounded.

In the example where a wooden shield took 10 damage, that was from more than one attack.

Grand Lodge

In the example you provided your shield will actually be able to take ALL of the damage, but it takes 1 dent for each time the hardness is exceeded.

4 damage = 1 dent
8 damage = 2 Dents and your shield now has the broken condition.

The extra 2 damage go nowhere if I remember. I had this happen to me at PaizoCon while playing Valeros, so that is my reference.


I understand bow it’s SUPPOSED to work, but that’s not how it’s EXPLAINED to work.

RAW and RAI here are extremely different, and people cannot understand the mechanic without referencing the demos.


The text one 309 is wrong but not in the way you think if I'm getting this right. The text on page 175 is right. It tells you that the shield takes the damage and then reduces the damage dealt to it (it being the item not you) by it's hardness. So it takes 10 damage then reduces the dmg by 3. That is more than double it's hardness so it takes two dents.

This is a problem and you wouldn't know which is right without referencing the demos just like you say but at least we know. Maybe because other items would have to work according to page 175 we would have to assume the shield also works that way but meh.


Ediwir wrote:

I understand bow it’s SUPPOSED to work, but that’s not how it’s EXPLAINED to work.

RAW and RAI here are extremely different, and people cannot understand the mechanic without referencing the demos.

The rest of the damage goes to the PC, the shield is not taking all the damage, only up to its hardness. With the current RAW I think you can only get one dent per shield block.


Ediwir wrote:
I understand bow it’s SUPPOSED to work, but that’s not how it’s EXPLAINED to work.

Yes, we know. Your thread is literally the 14th on the subject.

Here's another one, posted within a few minutes of yours

No one knows how it is SUPPOSED to work, not even Paizo staff, as when they've popped into explain it, they haven't, and only made things worse.

e.g. a stream last week/week before had someone ask "what happens when a fighter with a wooden shield gets hit with 100 damage" and the response was along the lines of "I don't know, but the shield would take at least one dent, two if its a crit, but its probably destroyed."

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