Wait, shields use both your action AND your reaction? What?!


Playing the Game


I was reading up on the Fighter feats, most specifically the Reactive Shield feat, which says you can raise your shield as a Reaction, calculating the AC against the new target number. It didn't say anything about hardness or deflecting damage, which bugged me since I thought raising your shield gave you both the AC and the deflection of the first attack.

Then I went over to the Encounter Mode section to see the Raise a Shield Action, with a "Shield Block" directly beneath it, being a Reaction that does exactly as I described above.

Realizing that concept, this is both really clunky and not very fun for shield usage whatsoever. If I'm a Fighter with the Opportune Attack feature, I can't use that if I have to be utilizing a Shield to protect myself from hits that I know I will be taking from combat, no matter how high my AC might be. And if sword/board is the standard for Fighters (and by relation Paladins), Opportune Attack is just a complete waste of a feature and does nobody any favors by being free.

It also really kills any other forms of Reaction usage, such as Aggressive Shield, Mirror Shield, etc. Feats that are specifically designed to utilize your Reaction when you have a Shield in use, and they have the "Raise a Shield" action requirement. There are other Reaction feats that you could do that may not require a Shield, but are nice to have for those fighting styles. But nope! You can't do that because you were dumb enough to raise your shield and effectively burn your Reaction as a result! How dare you try and keep yourself alive!

I mean, sure, there is the concept of "Well, they might not be using physical attacks!" or "They aren't hitting you this turn!" But if that's the case, why am I bothering to raise my shield if they are ineffective or pointless to do, and I could be using that action to do other things, like make another Strike, or do something else that's really useful?


You're confusing the"Raise Shield" action with "Shield Block" reaction.

Spending an action to raise your shield gives you the AC bonus. If raised you can expend a reaction to try and block, which uses the hardness of the shield to negate damage etc.

The reactive shield fighter feat lets you raise your shield as a reaction to gain the AC and maybe make the attack miss. Unless you have a way to get a second reaction, you would not be able to use the shield block reaction that turn.


I did initially. I actually thought they were all one and the same action, which would have been pretty nice.

The fact they aren't just kills what little enthusiasm I had for Shields. Between that and how Shields are designed as items now just makes me sick to my stomach. Not only are they bad disposable protection that eats half your turn just because you need to live, they are bad disposable "weapons" too, and they suffer from the same problem of throwing weapons in PF1.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I did initially. I actually thought they were all one and the same action, which would have been pretty nice.

The fact they aren't just kills what little enthusiasm I had for Shields. Between that and how Shields are designed as items now just makes me sick to my stomach. Not only are they bad disposable protection that eats half your turn just because you need to live, they are bad disposable "weapons" too, and they suffer from the same problem of throwing weapons in PF1.

I'm not so sure they are that bad. Here is an early game example.

Fighter 1 vs Orc Brute

The Orc has +5 to hit, the Fighter probably has a 16 AC. So the Orc hits him on an 11, or 45% of the time. If the Fighter raises his heavy shield his AC becomes 18, and the Orc hits him 35% of the time. That is 22% less often and a 28% increase in suitability. Not too shabby. You still ahve the ability to burn a reaction and soak any very low damage hit for no dents to your shield, double nice, so even more survivability.

What do you give up? One action and possibly your reaction. The action seems huge, but once you are engaged you are giving up a second and usually a third attack. How good is a third attack? You've got a +5 or +6 against AC 13 of the Orc. So, your third attack only hits on a 17 or 18... That isn't very often.

So you give up an attack that hits 15-20% of the time to gain a 28% increase in survivability before you factor in being able to shield block for even more survivability.

The Fighter Reactive Shield is actually amazing. You give up your reaction for that durability increase. So you have full offense, 128% survivability, and all it costs you is attacks of opportunity. Sign me up!


This is a big issue. A fighter wielding a shield that have to choose to spend his reaction to raise a shield (and receive DR) or to make an attack of opportunity is ok, but USING AN ACTION AND A REACTION to MAYBE use your shield is not so good and hamper the character fun and utility.

The AC circumstance bonus from shield SHOULD be a passive bonus.

Maybe, just maybe, Shield Paragon should be a 1st level feat, at maximum.

But my real thought is that the ability to wield a shield and use it to gain AC bonus should be part of the basic shield proficiency.

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