Clarification on how shields actually work?


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


So I'm a bit confused as to how shields actually function. Based on my reading it looks a little like this:

Using Wooden Shield (3 Hardness) ->
Attack incoming for 7 damage! ->
Shield Block Reaction! ->
Hardness acts as damage reduction to player ->
Player takes 4 damage ->
Total damage to shield (7) is twice hardness, so shield gets 2 dents?

Or is it total damage to shield after hardness reduction is 7-3 = 4, which results in 1 dent?

The last bit is where I'm most confused. Not sure if this is fully correct.


The rules are unclear. Per Shield Block, one Dent. Per the example Shield Block references, either one or two dents... it is a mess.


Cantriped wrote:
The rules are unclear. Per Shield Block, one Dent. Per the example Shield Block references, either one or two dents... it is a mess.

Per shield block's actual text, it's 0 dents (because the only damage the shield takes per the actual wording is the amount reduced by hardness):

Quote:

You snap your shield in place to ward off a blow. Your shield

prevents you from taking an amount of damage up to the
shield’s Hardness—the shield takes this damage instead
, possibly
becoming dented or broken.

Per designer intent, it is two dents. Probably.

See this post:
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2vadp?Shield-Block-Reaction-damage#5
And his reply 3 posts later.


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Draco18s wrote:
Per shield block's actual text, it's 0 dents (because the only damage the shield takes per the actual wording is the amount reduced by hardness)...

You left off a bit:

Quote:
You snap your shield into place to deflect a blow. Your shield prevents you from taking an amount of damage up to its Hardness—the shield takes this damage instead, possibly becoming dented or broken. See page 175 for rules on dented and broken items.

And then see the rules for item damage on page 175:

Quote:
If an item takes damage equal to or exceeding the item’s Hardness, the item takes a Dent.

Per RAW, the shield can only absorb an amount of damage equal to or less than its hardness, and if it does so suffers up to one dent. If it prevents less damage than it's hardness it takes no dents. The sentence following the one I quoted (which includes the contested example) doesn't apply because as written a shield simply cannot ever take more damage than it's Hardness as a result of shield block. The damage in the example must have come from elsewhere (assuming there isn't a huge error somewhere), such as a creature attacking the object directly.

Silver Crusade

Also, to clarify, you can choose whether or not by using the block reaction if the shield will take any of the blow or just you. I guess this means if your okay taking on the full blow, you can save your shield from immediately getting the broken condition. It seems like characters will be spending a lot of time repairing armor and shields!


Prethen wrote:
Also, to clarify, you can choose whether or not by using the block reaction if the shield will take any of the blow or just you. I guess this means if your okay taking on the full blow, you can save your shield from immediately getting the broken condition. It seems like characters will be spending a lot of time repairing armor and shields!

Yup, thus why Quick Repair crops up in 2/25ths of the playtest backgrounds. Gotta repair your dented shield while the Wizard's regenerates and the rogue checks the hall for traps.


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PhoenixSlayer wrote:
Or is it total damage to shield after hardness reduction is 7-3 = 4, which results in 1 dent?

This is how I will be playing it. The hardness reduces the damage to both the user and the shield. Apply remainder to both user and shield. In your example, the remainder exceeds the hardness, so the shield gets one dent.


This makes the Shield cantrip look even better. One casting action, so fast as the single action Raise a Shield, and no need to worry about repairs.


You do have the ten minute reset after using it to Shield Block, though.


That is a good point. Although 10 minutes also Quick Repair's timer, and the cantrip doesn't require you to use those ten minutes doing one specific task. So the cantrip can save you a feat (or taking Warrior background just for the feat), and doesn't require you to take a break.


Shield is most appealing for the AC bonus, and the fact that you can cast/raise it with the hand holding your staff/wand. Leaving the other hand 'free' for a sword.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The way I understand using a shield (not the shield spell).

Raise Shield (action) will give you the shield's AC/TAC bonus. This represents you pushing and moving and slightly deflecting with it. If you do not choose to block with it but are just taking the action to keep it raised then you are getting this AC/TAC bonus and you take any damage from hits against you.

Shield Block (reaction) is using the shield as Damage Reduction. A couple examples assuming a shield hardness of 5:
1) You are attacked and use Shield Block. The damage coming in is 4, the shield takes 4 damage, you take none, Shield is not dented.
2) You are attacked and use Shield Block. The damage coming in is 7, the shield takes 5 damage, you take 2, Shield is dented 1.
3) You are attacked and use Shield Block and your shield already had blocked 3 damage. The damage coming in is 4, the shield takes 4 damage, you take none, Shield is now dented 1 because it has now taken a multiple of it's hardness worth of damage.

It sounds like this means that when using a Shield Block a shield cannot take more damage in a single hit than it's hardness. Which would mean that the wording about shields taking more damage than their hardness, for example taking double hardness damage causing 2 dents, is about situations where the shield itself is being attacked (ie sundering or attacking it as an "object").

Silver Crusade

Rhyst, I actually wonder if #3 is correct. It might be that if the hardness took the damage that there's nothing to record. The next hit starts fresh with it's hardness of 5 so, once again, no damage to you or the shield (i.e. no dents). Maybe this is where a clarification is needed.


Rhyst wrote:

...

3) You are attacked and use Shield Block and your shield already had blocked 3 damage. The damage coming in is 4, the shield takes 4 damage, you take none, Shield is now dented 1 because it has now taken a multiple of it's hardness worth of damage....

The rules never stipulate to record the 'remainder', and add it to subsequently taken damage. So I seriously doubt item damage is intended to be cumulative; besides the fact that that would defeat the purpose of items not having hit points.

There are no 'partial dents' ('nicks'?). A hardness 3 shield can prevent 1 or 2 points of damage an infinite number of times without ever being Dented. Just like a Hardness 3 Animated Broom can take 1 or 2 points of damage at a time forever without ever losing Hit Points.


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Rhyst wrote:

The way I understand using a shield (not the shield spell).

Raise Shield (action) will give you the shield's AC/TAC bonus. This represents you pushing and moving and slightly deflecting with it. If you do not choose to block with it but are just taking the action to keep it raised then you are getting this AC/TAC bonus and you take any damage from hits against you.

Shield Block (reaction) is using the shield as Damage Reduction. A couple examples assuming a shield hardness of 5:
1) You are attacked and use Shield Block. The damage coming in is 4, the shield takes 4 damage, you take none, Shield is not dented.
2) You are attacked and use Shield Block. The damage coming in is 7, the shield takes 5 damage, you take 2, Shield is dented 1.
3) You are attacked and use Shield Block and your shield already had blocked 3 damage. The damage coming in is 4, the shield takes 4 damage, you take none, Shield is now dented 1 because it has now taken a multiple of it's hardness worth of damage.

It sounds like this means that when using a Shield Block a shield cannot take more damage in a single hit than it's hardness. Which would mean that the wording about shields taking more damage than their hardness, for example taking double hardness damage causing 2 dents, is about situations where the shield itself is being attacked (ie sundering or attacking it as an "object").

You're only applying the DR (hardness) to the shield user. It applies to the shield as well.

As mentioned by others, situation 3 absolutely does not apply. Dents are binary - they either happen during an attack or not. There is no such a thing as a partial dent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Makes sense. I reread page 175 about item damage and understand it now that my example 3 doesn't exist (I wish the forum would let me edit it …)


Fumarole wrote:
You're only applying the DR (hardness) to the shield user. It applies to the shield as well.

No it doesn't, that would be applying hardness twice and be inconsistent with how Hardness works for other objects and creatures.

Per RAW:
If a goblin deals 3 damage, and you block with a wooden shield (with 3 Hardness), it "prevents you from taking" 3 damage (an amount up to its hardness), and the shield takes 'this' (aka 3) damage. You lose 0 HP, but because 3 damage is equal to its hardness, the shield takes a dent. If the goblin had only dealt 1 or 2 damage the shield would remain undamaged.

What isn't currently clear is what happens when the goblin does more damage than a blocked shield's hardness, because the only example we have of Item Damage (which stipulates the shield takes 3 times its hardness in damage but suffers only 2 Dents) is contrary to the RAW for Shield Block (which only allows a shield to take damage equal to what it prevents; which is up to its hardness).
However the example on 175 works fine if you replace the shield with any other unattended thin wooden object a character might need to break (such as a lever or steering wheel).

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