Shield Proficiency For Core Classes


Character Operations Manual Playtest General Discussion


Proficiency with shields is listed in the playtest as its own thing; separate from weapons and armor. Now that they've been added to the game, some core classes should be proficient with shields at 1st level also, but which?

I think it should just be these four (listed in the order of necessity), and as I continue to playtest with shields, these classes will be proficient with them for now:

Soldier: Soldier is the one class with access to all equipment by itself; even Power Armor proficiency can be gained with the right fighting style. It stands to reason then that soldiers should also get proficiency with shields.

Solarian: As the OG melee-focus class, solarians should also get shield proficiency. An argument could be made that they don't need them; that solar armor stacked with a shield might be too good, but feat taxing them for their best option would not sit right with a lot of solarian players/fans, I think. The premiere melee class is going to reach for shields as soon as they are available: put them within reach.

And now for the more subjective choices...

Envoy: Comparing backwards to Pathfinder, the Envoy is like a non-magical intersection between a paladin and a bard: getting into scraps and inspiring allies or distracting enemies more than dealing the highest damage, and what will help them do both better? A shield. Giving them free shield proficiency would make their role as mid-fight healer and inspiring leader easier to do since they would last longer doing it.

Mechanic: For the class most likely to tinker with volatile, explosive tech, carrying around a blast shield seems natural. It goes along with the idea of a class that emphasises being a smart, resourceful engineer over being an offensive powerhouse. It also serves a little bit of a buff to those mechanics that decide to go with a drone (and lack the offensive power gained from long arm proficiency).


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Playtest page 17, Shield Bonuses and Shield Proficiency sidebar wrote:
A character is proficient with shields if they are proficient with light armor and either advanced melee weapons or heavy armor.

They already have a method of identifying which classes have free shield proficiency. Going off this Solarians and Soldiers get proficiency for free, Exocortex Mechanics can get it for free at level 7, and I believe anyone else can get it for free with a single feat (since I believe everyone gets Basic Melee Proficiency for free and that's the only prereq for Advanced Melee. Heavy Armor is also an option but requires 13 Strength so it's more of an investment.)


I would actually love to have a shield on my melee Envoy. Right now he just carries a knife in one of his four hands (he's a Witchwyrd) so he can provide flanking for melee fighters. Using a shield would help him with his main job of making melee characters' lives easier, because he could take more attacks before disengaging.

I'm not sure I'd use the move action to raise the shield, though, since Envoys typically have more actions than time to take them.


As shinigami pointed out, there's a built-in way to handle that, and I rather like it.

Noone is more than one feat away from being proficient, and said feat does more than just grant shield proficiency. Should allow most classes to try shields out, playtest threes or otherwise.
Plus it's a reason to maybe not put longarms on pretty much everyone.


Nyerkh wrote:


Plus it's a reason to maybe not put longarms on pretty much everyone.

Which is the best part of shields IMO.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Big Lemon wrote:
Nyerkh wrote:


Plus it's a reason to maybe not put longarms on pretty much everyone.
Which is the best part of shields IMO.

Yes, but watch as "shield is mandatory!" replaces "longarm is mandatory!" as the new repetitive character build refrain. . . *ahem*


Shinigami02 wrote:
Playtest page 17, Shield Bonuses and Shield Proficiency sidebar wrote:
A character is proficient with shields if they are proficient with light armor and either advanced melee weapons or heavy armor.
They already have a method of identifying which classes have free shield proficiency. Going off this Solarians and Soldiers get proficiency for free, Exocortex Mechanics can get it for free at level 7, and I believe anyone else can get it for free with a single feat (since I believe everyone gets Basic Melee Proficiency for free and that's the only prereq for Advanced Melee. Heavy Armor is also an option but requires 13 Strength so it's more of an investment.)

Wouldn't that be Exocortex Mechanics get it at level 1 for free? Or did I miss something?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Yes, they would have it at level 1.


Metaphysician wrote:
Big Lemon wrote:
Nyerkh wrote:


Plus it's a reason to maybe not put longarms on pretty much everyone.
Which is the best part of shields IMO.
Yes, but watch as "shield is mandatory!" replaces "longarm is mandatory!" as the new repetitive character build refrain. . . *ahem*

It will never be mandatory if it is used for an entirely different goal and playstyle than longarms.


With the potential exception of four/six-armed races, maybe, longarms is still the key to damage for a bunch of classes.
Shields as an alternative for those not looking for damage at all cost is fine. At least now there is an alternative.
I don't see it becoming a huge issue.

Even for highly mobile melee specialists, forgoing range is a risky proposition. But they're probably the ones that could make the most of shields, so I'm okay with them paying a price for it.

Multi-armed races, being able to wield a two handed weapon and a riot shield at the same time is when it gets tricky, I think.
If you have more than two arms, there is little reason to not grab a shield,as is. And if you only have two arms ... Maybe buy more.
A built-in limiter could be a nice addition.

I haven't had the opportuniy to test it though, so I might be overestimating the benefits. Anyone has data ?


1am posting.. so not the best idea but.

Can shields be Maze Core'd ?

I feel like my small arms characters (biohacker/mechanic) would love to have a shield. the usual maze core is a flamer/line weapon with a stun/nonlethal weapon. Though the biohacker tends to use an analog injector more.

If shields can be maze core'd then having one combined with a shield projector small arm (youch that bulk!!) or the line weapon would be pretty fun.


Zwordsman wrote:

1am posting.. so not the best idea but.

Can shields be Maze Core'd ?

you'd think so...


Zwordsman wrote:

Can shields be Maze Core'd ?

No.

Maze Core wrote:

Only powered or technological equipment can be built as maze-core devices, and the items must be melee weapons, small arms, longarms, heavy weapons, computers, or

technological devices.


Ah. Too bad for my Biohacker. (I like the analog injectors more than the techno ones.. think its called nightarch injectors? the ones that sound like revolvers)

My mechanic will still benefit though, with a taser/flamer combo and a shield in the other. and his Rig on an arm or something


Gilfalas wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Playtest page 17, Shield Bonuses and Shield Proficiency sidebar wrote:
A character is proficient with shields if they are proficient with light armor and either advanced melee weapons or heavy armor.
They already have a method of identifying which classes have free shield proficiency. Going off this Solarians and Soldiers get proficiency for free, Exocortex Mechanics can get it for free at level 7, and I believe anyone else can get it for free with a single feat (since I believe everyone gets Basic Melee Proficiency for free and that's the only prereq for Advanced Melee. Heavy Armor is also an option but requires 13 Strength so it's more of an investment.)
Wouldn't that be Exocortex Mechanics get it at level 1 for free? Or did I miss something?

Oh right, I forgot they got Heavy Armor at 1, I was going by the Longarms prof they could get later ^.^;


Shinigami02 wrote:
Gilfalas wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Playtest page 17, Shield Bonuses and Shield Proficiency sidebar wrote:
A character is proficient with shields if they are proficient with light armor and either advanced melee weapons or heavy armor.
They already have a method of identifying which classes have free shield proficiency. Going off this Solarians and Soldiers get proficiency for free, Exocortex Mechanics can get it for free at level 7, and I believe anyone else can get it for free with a single feat (since I believe everyone gets Basic Melee Proficiency for free and that's the only prereq for Advanced Melee. Heavy Armor is also an option but requires 13 Strength so it's more of an investment.)
Wouldn't that be Exocortex Mechanics get it at level 1 for free? Or did I miss something?
Oh right, I forgot they got Heavy Armor at 1, I was going by the Longarms prof they could get later ^.^;

They get Longarms at 1st as well as the heavy armor. Part of the Exocortex differnce from Drone.


Nyerkh wrote:

With the potential exception of four/six-armed races, maybe, longarms is still the key to damage for a bunch of classes.

Shields as an alternative for those not looking for damage at all cost is fine. At least now there is an alternative.
I don't see it becoming a huge issue.

Even for highly mobile melee specialists, forgoing range is a risky proposition. But they're probably the ones that could make the most of shields, so I'm okay with them paying a price for it.

Multi-armed races, being able to wield a two handed weapon and a riot shield at the same time is when it gets tricky, I think.
If you have more than two arms, there is little reason to not grab a shield,as is. And if you only have two arms ... Maybe buy more.
A built-in limiter could be a nice addition.

I haven't had the opportuniy to test it though, so I might be overestimating the benefits. Anyone has data ?

I don't think there is as of right now any rule against it, but I feel that maybe there should be, mostly because it is really hard to square the image of how someone would handle a bulky weapon and a shield, regardless of the number of arms, given that shields are supposed to be wide enough to block attacks. Granted that gets into things like multi-armed species-handedness, which may be a bit more granular than the game wants to get.


Gilfalas wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Gilfalas wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Playtest page 17, Shield Bonuses and Shield Proficiency sidebar wrote:
A character is proficient with shields if they are proficient with light armor and either advanced melee weapons or heavy armor.
They already have a method of identifying which classes have free shield proficiency. Going off this Solarians and Soldiers get proficiency for free, Exocortex Mechanics can get it for free at level 7, and I believe anyone else can get it for free with a single feat (since I believe everyone gets Basic Melee Proficiency for free and that's the only prereq for Advanced Melee. Heavy Armor is also an option but requires 13 Strength so it's more of an investment.)
Wouldn't that be Exocortex Mechanics get it at level 1 for free? Or did I miss something?
Oh right, I forgot they got Heavy Armor at 1, I was going by the Longarms prof they could get later ^.^;
They get Longarms at 1st as well as the heavy armor. Part of the Exocortex differnce from Drone.

...I meant Advanced Melee. Not sure why I said Longarms there. I'm just all sorts of slipping up in this thread apparently.

EDIT:

Perpdepog" wrote:


I don't think there is as of right now any rule against it, but I feel that maybe there should be, mostly because it is really hard to square the image of how someone would handle a bulky weapon and a shield, regardless of the number of arms

I mean I don't have any harder time picturing a bulky weapon and a shield than I do picturing someone dual-wielding sniper rifles or heavy weapons, and that's legal enough.


I'm not worried about any credibility, verisimilitude or "nope, that looks too weird" kinda thing. SF is all about the weirdness to begin with, for one. I've seen those playable alien race.
Even PF had kasathas dual-wielding longbows, so ...heh.

The one thing that concerns me somewhat is that I don't see a reason everyone wouldn't buy a cyberarm to wield a shield. Most people are going to be proficient anyway, so why not?

Although again, I haven't had the opportunity to test the things, so I might be overestimating shields. They just look more than decent for a minimal investment.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Extra arms and a decent shield is not really a cheap, low level investment. I don't think "everyone" is an applicable thing, here.


HammerJack wrote:
Extra arms and a decent shield is not really a cheap, low level investment. I don't think "everyone" is an applicable thing, here.

It's a minor boost to ac unless you spend the move action. its really not hard for the boss to hit you anyway.

A much better use for your move action though (if they don't have mor ereach than you) is to 5 foot step away . The boss is most likely better off full attacking you, and he can't do that if you're dancing with him (if your party cant back up, make ballroom dancing lessons mandatory for the 5d6 days in the drift...)

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:

It's a minor boost to ac unless you spend the move action. its really not hard for the boss to hit you anyway.

A much better use for your move action though (if they don't have mor ereach than you) is to 5 foot step away . The boss is most likely better off full attacking you, and he can't do that if you're dancing with him (if your party cant back up, make ballroom dancing lessons mandatory for the 5d6 days in the drift...)

At low levels, this is certainly true. I've seen vanguards get in trouble because the AC boost from raising a shield just doesn't measure up to the increased DPR from boss full attacks.

But at higher levels, the AC bonus from a raised shield goes up. If you've also been keeping up with armor, then it starts to make more and more of a difference. At a certain point, your AC could be so high relative to the boss' to-hit that he's better off single attacking you than whiffing with a full attack. (Caveat: I haven't played beyond level 8 yet, I don't know if monster to-hit outpaces AC, but I think the more constrained monster creation method from Alien Archive should prevent that.)

This effect should be more pronounced when tanking mooks instead of the boss, and against monsters with more than 2 attacks in a full attack, since their multi-attack penalty is also higher.


Big Lemon wrote:
Nyerkh wrote:


Plus it's a reason to maybe not put longarms on pretty much everyone.
Which is the best part of shields IMO.

Yup it gives more of a reason why somebody would want to stick with small arms/basic melee and get some more diversity. I don't think they intended for everybody and their brother regardless of class basically always using long arms unless they are doing a specific melee or operator build.


Ascalaphus wrote:


This effect should be more pronounced when tanking mooks instead of the boss, and against monsters with more than 2 attacks in a full attack, since their multi-attack penalty is also higher.

I'm pretty sure you'd be even MORE better off stepping away from something with 3 or 4 attacks.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:


This effect should be more pronounced when tanking mooks instead of the boss, and against monsters with more than 2 attacks in a full attack, since their multi-attack penalty is also higher.

I'm pretty sure you'd be even MORE better off stepping away from something with 3 or 4 attacks.

Well, it's always unpleasant to take full attacks. But staying right in front of a monster is sometimes the best way of ensuring that it doesn't go after anyone else, because your attacks of opportunity are fairly painful.

I toyed a bit with some numbers, and it does look like a full attack does still have a higher DPR even with shield raised, especially against CR +3 enemies. But the gap is significantly reduced, because in Starfinder a +2 AC really is quite a big deal. Enough maybe that all the other abilities you have (DR, honking big stamina pool) will allow you to tough it out.

Community / Forums / Archive / Starfinder / Character Operations Manual Playtest / General Discussion / Shield Proficiency For Core Classes All Messageboards
Recent threads in General Discussion