Did you use shields in the playtest? What did you think of them?


General Discussion


I had planned on testing out shields later in the playtest, specifically seeing how they held up against people using two handed weapons, but never really got the chance for various reasons.

My main concern was that, beyond low levels, the defensive boost was just not going to be enough compensate for the smaller damage dice on one handed weapons once magic +X weapons entered the equation.

Just hoping to see what experiences everyone else had.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My groups used shields quite a bit and they were AWESOME...because we misread the rules. RAW the new shield rules are a mess, but they do have some great cinematic potential when misinterpreted. Shield block prevented a lot of damage and was very cool.

It's kind of hard for me to judge weapon & shield vs two handed weapon as that was split along Fighter/Barbarian lines in my groups. The sword and board Fighter out-damaged the two handed weapon Barbarian every time...but I think that was more the Fighter's superior accuracy than equipment.


The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion, so they're always relevant. Personally, I very much enjoy them.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I only used them on one of my PT characters but I must say it actually "felt right" at the table despite my initial distaste for the Action investment when I read it.

The Shield DID end up getting broken after only 2 combats but with help during downtime I was able to get it back in shape though I never used it again on that Character ironically.

I think they have plenty of design space left around Armor and Weapons that needs improvement but I think I like shield rules as they are now, just so long as there are good ways to continue upgrading shields magically in the CRB I'll be happy.


Ya, my group used them pretty regularly and they were solid, even the shield cantrip held its own. I could see potential problems for people who make fighters without considering their action economy but as long as you’re mindful of it they should be fine.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Yep. Shields are good.

Magic shields have some leveling issues where certain Feats require, say, a Heavy Shield but the best available magic shields at some levels are Light Shields (this is particularly notable around 4th level where a Sturdy Light Wooden Shield has Hardness 8 and 3 dents while the best available Heavy Shield is a mundane one, which is no better in Hardness or Dents than a mundane Light Shield), but the actual shield mechanic is effective and solid.


My group had a Goblin Paladin and a Human Cleric using shields in Part 3 and an Elf Paladin using them in Part 5. In part 3 they seemed pretty useful, they actually were quite helpful because most of the enemies in Part 3 are really weak so the shields took them from hard-to-hit to nearly untouchable. Shield Block didn't see much use due to low enemy accuracy but shield hardness compared to prospective enemy damage was good.

Part 5, the Paladin was quite good. He was a bit lower damage than the Monk with his d10 Dragon Style but Cold Iron Holy vs. Demons had a lot to do with that (The Paladin had Blade of Justice which was great but costs an action some turns). That said he was still plenty strong offensively with his d8 Longsword to make himself plenty of a threat, rather than an ignore-the-tank situation. Also Shield Ally plus Adamantine Sturdy Shield made for some SERIOUS damage mitigation (Hardness 20 IIRC, and could take FOUR dents safely. But even without Shield Ally the 18 Hardness and 2 safe dents would have been very nearly as good), which saved his life at least once and by extension at least one other party member (Possibly the whole party sine it was the Cleric he ended up saving after surviving via Shield Block) by virtue of his continued living.

And while it isn't quite the same I have found the Shield cantrip to be a very popular third action. The AC bonus has turned more than one blow and the Shield Block effect is great despite the cooldown (Especially nice for taking an AoO without losing a spell).

So yeah, shields good IME.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yep. Shields are good.

Magic shields have some leveling issues where certain Feats require, say, a Heavy Shield but the best available magic shields at some levels are Light Shields (this is particularly notable around 4th level where a Sturdy Light Wooden Shield has Hardness 8 and 3 dents while the best available Heavy Shield is a mundane one, which is no better in Hardness or Dents than a mundane Light Shield), but the actual shield mechanic is effective and solid.

That issue could be solved with changing Sturdy into a Rune instead of all magic shields being specific items. Make Study the functionality of Potency Runes, while things like Floating, Reflecting and Arrow Catching can be Property Runes. It opens up the possibilities of shields more. You could get the shield type you want with the better level of protection. It can also let you get magic shields in the material you want, like Orichalcum. Orichalcum is the perfect shield material due to it's hardness and self-healing. But for some reason Sturdy Shields don't come in Orichalcum, neither do the other magic shields.

As for shields in the playtest, I didn't use them much. I tried with my character in part 2, but I don't think I ever used a shield block reaction. Either I wasn't attacked when I had it raised or didn't raise the shield because I needed the actions to move and power-attack, or at the beginning was fighting things that were below my level, so I found it better to take the third action to attack again because my chance of hitting was still ok and theirs was low anyway. So I really didn't get enough of a look at how they work.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, I get the feeling that the idea of ‘shields cannot be magical’ simply stems from ‘we can’t double up on +5s’. Once you get rid of Potency, shields should be easily enchantable and customisable.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ediwir wrote:
The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion

What? No they don't. At least, not based on what I was looking at. Care to explain?


Draco18s wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion
What? No they don't. At least, not based on what I was looking at. Care to explain?

I can agree with that. I mean shields absorve a lot of damage but 18 late game is much less than 4 early game...

Paizo Employee Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
oholoko wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion
What? No they don't. At least, not based on what I was looking at. Care to explain?
I can agree with that. I mean shields absorve a lot of damage but 18 late game is much less than 4 early game...

Ediwir's right, with maybe a smidge of an outlier around 1st level (where a lot of things are a bit special due to being the very beginning of the game), the top sturdy shield can block around half an on-level critter's hit (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less).

But the cool thing is, even without the maximum progession, you can get extremely increased durability over time with a shield build. For simplicity of the situation, consider a level 18 fighter with ~300 HP, taking damage roughly 40 per hit, twice per round, with a regenerate active to regen 20 per round. Keeping it easy to handle, we have the low-hardness-but-eminently-reusable invulnerable shield (13 hardness) and Quick Shield Block. Without the shield block, the fighter can last 5 rounds before finally falling (net 60 damage per round x 5 = 300). With it, she lasts 9. Not too shabby. Of course, most fights don't last 9 rounds, but it's still a cool durability stat.


Yeah, it does remain fairly consistent. 4 damage blocked when 1dx+4 damage is high is pretty close to 18 when 6dx+7 is high.


Mark Seifter wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion
What? No they don't. At least, not based on what I was looking at. Care to explain?
I can agree with that. I mean shields absorve a lot of damage but 18 late game is much less than 4 early game...

Ediwir's right, with maybe a smidge of an outlier around 1st level (where a lot of things are a bit special due to being the very beginning of the game), the top sturdy shield can block around half an on-level critter's hit (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less).

But the cool thing is, even without the maximum progession, you can get extremely increased durability over time with a shield build. For simplicity of the situation, consider a level 18 fighter with ~300 HP, taking damage roughly 40 per hit, twice per round, with a regenerate active to regen 20 per round. Keeping it easy to handle, we have the low-hardness-but-eminently-reusable invulnerable shield (13 hardness) and Quick Shield Block. Without the shield block, the fighter can last 5 rounds before finally falling (net 60 damage per round x 5 = 300). With it, she lasts 9. Not too shabby. Of course, most fights don't last 9 rounds, but it's still a cool durability stat.

That's pretty cool to know.

Dark Archive

My party has a Redeemer who uses a shield that has consistently been the toughest PC to scratch and the #1 reason nobody has died so far - especially with Shield of Grace in Part 7. Last session the party Wizard had 14hp remaining and took a hit for 35, but since the Paladin had Shield of Grace they were able to reduce the damage taken to just 7.

Of course, the Wizard then got hit with a Flesh to Stone, but there's not much a shield could've done about that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ty Mark.

That said, while sturdy shields have a consistent hardness progression, they lack a consistent type progression - and with some feats requiring particular shield types, this can be an issue.
Right now keeping up with hardness means giving up the use of your features, so... something’s not right.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion
What? No they don't. At least, not based on what I was looking at. Care to explain?
I can agree with that. I mean shields absorve a lot of damage but 18 late game is much less than 4 early game...

Ediwir's right, with maybe a smidge of an outlier around 1st level (where a lot of things are a bit special due to being the very beginning of the game), the top sturdy shield can block around half an on-level critter's hit (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less).

But the cool thing is, even without the maximum progession, you can get extremely increased durability over time with a shield build. For simplicity of the situation, consider a level 18 fighter with ~300 HP, taking damage roughly 40 per hit, twice per round, with a regenerate active to regen 20 per round. Keeping it easy to handle, we have the low-hardness-but-eminently-reusable invulnerable shield (13 hardness) and Quick Shield Block. Without the shield block, the fighter can last 5 rounds before finally falling (net 60 damage per round x 5 = 300). With it, she lasts 9. Not too shabby. Of course, most fights don't last 9 rounds, but it's still a cool durability stat.

"Follows scaling damage progression" sounds a lot like "isn't getting better at what they do."


Greg.Everham wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion
What? No they don't. At least, not based on what I was looking at. Care to explain?
I can agree with that. I mean shields absorve a lot of damage but 18 late game is much less than 4 early game...

Ediwir's right, with maybe a smidge of an outlier around 1st level (where a lot of things are a bit special due to being the very beginning of the game), the top sturdy shield can block around half an on-level critter's hit (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less).

But the cool thing is, even without the maximum progession, you can get extremely increased durability over time with a shield build. For simplicity of the situation, consider a level 18 fighter with ~300 HP, taking damage roughly 40 per hit, twice per round, with a regenerate active to regen 20 per round. Keeping it easy to handle, we have the low-hardness-but-eminently-reusable invulnerable shield (13 hardness) and Quick Shield Block. Without the shield block, the fighter can last 5 rounds before finally falling (net 60 damage per round x 5 = 300). With it, she lasts 9. Not too shabby. Of course, most fights don't last 9 rounds, but it's still a cool durability stat.

"Follows scaling damage progression" sounds a lot like "isn't getting better at what they do."

No, it does get better. A shield block on an enemy of lower level or of less damaging capability will be much more effective compared to a higher level or more damaging enemy.

You just should likewise expect creature/enemy damage to similarly scale to compensate.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ediwir wrote:

That said, while sturdy shields have a consistent hardness progression, they lack a consistent type progression - and with some feats requiring particular shield types, this can be an issue.

Right now keeping up with hardness means giving up the use of your features, so... something’s not right.

This. This is the big problem with shields at the moment, and it's a very real one at many levels of play.

It's also odd and inconsistent with mundane shields, which have identical Hardness regardless of whether they are Light or Heavy.


Ediwir wrote:
Yeah, I get the feeling that the idea of ‘shields cannot be magical’ simply stems from ‘we can’t double up on +5s’. Once you get rid of Potency, shields should be easily enchantable and customisable.

Or, potency on a shield could be way different, and PF1 has some neat insight into the matter.

In PF1, magic items had increased hardness and HP to compensate for its enhanced powers.

Why not do the same here? Each +1 increasing the number of dents it can take and adds twice that amount of hardness to the shield.

The downside is it adds another mandatory item, but it makes potency on shields a viable mechanic.


Doesn't Quality already improve the hardness of objects?


Captain Morgan wrote:
Doesn't Quality already improve the hardness of objects?

If it does then I don't know where that's stated, and just like other forms of Potency, the quality wouldn't stack with the potency benefits.

To be in line with my proposal, I'd think item quality would just increase the amount of dents it can take.


Yeah, page, 190, expert adds +1 hardness, master +3, Legendary +6. One also assumes that is worked into the increased hardness of the Sturdy Shield line, for example.

If potency was going to do anything to shields, I'd probably have increase dents instead. Which would be nice so things like the Lion's Shield could take a little more abuse.


I saw shields used frequently for the AC bonus. I rarely saw anyone choose to block damage with the shield. I suspect the heart of it was the player saw more advantage to the AC bonus compared to the minor amount of damage the shield could soak before it was rendered useless.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
I saw shields used frequently for the AC bonus. I rarely saw anyone choose to block damage with the shield. I suspect the heart of it was the player saw more advantage to the AC bonus compared to the minor amount of damage the shield could soak before it was rendered useless.

Personally, I think it can be boiled down to players not wanting to lose their shields, period. That is, never mind how they may have historically been used, never mind the narrative Paizo wanted to introduce into shield functionality, players just don't consider shields to be disposable pieces of equipment, and use whatever means they have (in this case, not using the damage absorption mechanic) to avoid that outcome like the plague.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Shields can be repaired, though. And pretty quickly and easily at that.

Avoiding taking the last hit, which renders them useless, in order to preserve the AC bump makes some sense, but repairing shields is just not that hard...


Yup, you have to remember shields only take one dent at a time when used to block, so they will never be destroyed in combat.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Shields can be repaired, though. And pretty quickly and easily at that.

Avoiding taking the last hit, which renders them useless, in order to preserve the AC bump makes some sense, but repairing shields is just not that hard...

I'll agree that mitigating that irritation isn't hard to do, but it's still an irritation to be mitigated (IMO, just like P1E's Precise Shot to shoot into melee or Improved Unarmed Strike to attack unarmed without provoking, neither of which, I believe, are in P2E).

Also, repairing a shield requires a repair kit, which requires you to be carrying a repair kit, costing you 1 whole hyper-precious Bulk out of your already anemic total amount (though that is a separate issue).

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Tectorman wrote:
I'll agree that mitigating that irritation isn't hard to do, but it's still an irritation to be mitigated (IMO, just like P1E's Precise Shot to shoot into melee or Improved Unarmed Strike to attack unarmed without provoking, neither of which, I believe, are in P2E).

Having to manage shields as a resource has never been a prblem for my group. People seemed pretty on board with this particular change, actually.

Maybe it's just growing pains? Shields are a lot better in PF2 than PF1, having some additional logistics stuff isn't too high a price to pay for that once you get used to it, IMO.

Tectorman wrote:
Also, repairing a shield requires a repair kit, which requires you to be carrying a repair kit, costing you 1 whole hyper-precious Bulk out of your already anemic total amount (though that is a separate issue).

I've never seen a Str-primary character (ie: the vast majority of people who'd use a shield) have that much trouble with Bulk. Bulk can be annoying, sure, though Bags of Holding help with that as much as they ever did, but high Str characters can manage their basic equipment fine (it's when they start loading down with treasure as well that things become tricky).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
oholoko wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
The progression of Hardness over level (when using the sturdy shields and upgrading regularly) follows damage increase with the same proportion
What? No they don't. At least, not based on what I was looking at. Care to explain?
I can agree with that. I mean shields absorve a lot of damage but 18 late game is much less than 4 early game...

Ediwir's right, with maybe a smidge of an outlier around 1st level (where a lot of things are a bit special due to being the very beginning of the game), the top sturdy shield can block around half an on-level critter's hit (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less).

But the cool thing is, even without the maximum progession, you can get extremely increased durability over time with a shield build. For simplicity of the situation, consider a level 18 fighter with ~300 HP, taking damage roughly 40 per hit, twice per round, with a regenerate active to regen 20 per round. Keeping it easy to handle, we have the low-hardness-but-eminently-reusable invulnerable shield (13 hardness) and Quick Shield Block. Without the shield block, the fighter can last 5 rounds before finally falling (net 60 damage per round x 5 = 300). With it, she lasts 9. Not too shabby. Of course, most fights don't last 9 rounds, but it's still a cool durability stat.

"Follows scaling damage progression" sounds a lot like "isn't getting better at what they do."

No, it does get better. A shield block on an enemy of lower level or of less damaging capability will be much more effective compared to a higher level or more damaging enemy.

You just should likewise expect creature/enemy damage to similarly scale to compensate.

Just standing there with whatever AC your armor gives you is enough Vs lower level opponents. Wasting an action on your turn to raise a shield just seems worthless Vs mooks.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Greg.Everham wrote:
Just standing there with whatever AC your armor gives you is enough Vs lower level opponents. Wasting an action on your turn to raise a shield just seems worthless Vs mooks

A bold statement, but one not borne out by the math.

Say a bunch (4) of lower level enemies each have a 20% chance to hit you (hits on 17-20). Raising your shield (for a heavy shield) lowers that to a 10% chance, reducing your expected damage input by ~50% (neglecting crits). The ability to shave damage off of one of their attacks makes that even better.

Additionally, some classes (Fighter) have feats that allow you to reactively Shield Block. Thus, you can spend all of your actions on offense and save defense for a reaction (granted, this can compete with other uses of your reaction). Furthermore, since the trigger to that feat is "an enemy succeeds or critically succeeds against you with a melee Strike," you don't have to use it if the enemy would have missed you.


Yeah, mooks can still inflict serious damage. If they are attacking 3 times a round, some of them will roll nat 20s as well. Plus if you get grabbed by one they can start doing auto damage with constrict and other shenanigans.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Yeah, mooks can still inflict serious damage. If they are attacking 3 times a round, some of them will roll nat 20s as well. Plus if you get grabbed by one they can start doing auto damage with constrict and other shenanigans.

Yeah, threw some yearling owlbears in with some Cyclopes against my party in a homebrew campaign of Iobaria. Although they weren't as accurate or damaging, their mechanics and presence made them just as deadly as their masters. And there was only 3 of them compared to the 7 Cyclopes! (They were 4th level but quite overgeared; need to fix that eventually...)

It's also good to notice that Shield Blocks don't work on non-strike effects like persistent damage or constriction. Makes sense and also drives the concept of avoiding being hit by the bad guys due to rider effects not being protected by Shield Blocks.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Yeah, mooks can still inflict serious damage. If they are attacking 3 times a round, some of them will roll nat 20s as well. Plus if you get grabbed by one they can start doing auto damage with constrict and other shenanigans.

Yeah, threw some yearling owlbears in with some Cyclopes against my party in a homebrew campaign of Iobaria. Although they weren't as accurate or damaging, their mechanics and presence made them just as deadly as their masters. And there was only 3 of them compared to the 7 Cyclopes! (They were 4th level but quite overgeared; need to fix that eventually...)

It's also good to notice that Shield Blocks don't work on non-strike effects like persistent damage or constriction. Makes sense and also drives the concept of avoiding being hit by the bad guys due to rider effects not being protected by Shield Blocks.

Yup, if you can avoid getting grabbed either through the raised AC or reducing the damage from a hit to 0 you have saved yourself a lot of pain.


Cheburn wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Just standing there with whatever AC your armor gives you is enough Vs lower level opponents. Wasting an action on your turn to raise a shield just seems worthless Vs mooks

A bold statement, but one not borne out by the math.

Say a bunch (4) of lower level enemies each have a 20% chance to hit you (hits on 17-20). Raising your shield (for a heavy shield) lowers that to a 10% chance, reducing your expected damage input by ~50% (neglecting crits). The ability to shave damage off of one of their attacks makes that even better.

Additionally, some classes (Fighter) have feats that allow you to reactively Shield Block. Thus, you can spend all of your actions on offense and save defense for a reaction (granted, this can compete with other uses of your reaction). Furthermore, since the trigger to that feat is "an enemy succeeds or critically succeeds against you with a melee Strike," you don't have to use it if the enemy would have missed you.

You've got to compare that to using an action to just capping the mook. Like... the mook at 0 HP gets no actions. It's dead. It stops doing stuff. You can hit them easily with your attack.

The other thing is that the damage output scales by level, and lower level monsters might have a 10% chance of hit, but they hit for a number that's less significant than an equal level monster.

Mooks, as conceived in the PF2 Playtest, end up being more or less just fun toys to move about the board. They're not real threats to anything.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Greg.Everham wrote:
Cheburn wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Just standing there with whatever AC your armor gives you is enough Vs lower level opponents. Wasting an action on your turn to raise a shield just seems worthless Vs mooks

A bold statement, but one not borne out by the math.

Say a bunch (4) of lower level enemies each have a 20% chance to hit you (hits on 17-20). Raising your shield (for a heavy shield) lowers that to a 10% chance, reducing your expected damage input by ~50% (neglecting crits). The ability to shave damage off of one of their attacks makes that even better.

Additionally, some classes (Fighter) have feats that allow you to reactively Shield Block. Thus, you can spend all of your actions on offense and save defense for a reaction (granted, this can compete with other uses of your reaction). Furthermore, since the trigger to that feat is "an enemy succeeds or critically succeeds against you with a melee Strike," you don't have to use it if the enemy would have missed you.

You've got to compare that to using an action to just capping the mook. Like... the mook at 0 HP gets no actions. It's dead. It stops doing stuff. You can hit them easily with your attack.

The other thing is that the damage output scales by level, and lower level monsters might have a 10% chance of hit, but they hit for a number that's less significant than an equal level monster.

Mooks, as conceived in the PF2 Playtest, end up being more or less just fun toys to move about the board. They're not real threats to anything.

At -10 even if something is 2 or 3 levels below you isn't a guaranteed hit. And even level 1 things can have HP in the realms easily past one shottable by a level 4 character. We also get lots of fairly common scenarios where there isn't a creature within range to hit. Like if I spend two actions killing something next to me and there is nothing close I might as well raise my shield and force the next enemy to waste actions walking to me rather than do it for them.


Malk_Content wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Cheburn wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Just standing there with whatever AC your armor gives you is enough Vs lower level opponents. Wasting an action on your turn to raise a shield just seems worthless Vs mooks

A bold statement, but one not borne out by the math.

Say a bunch (4) of lower level enemies each have a 20% chance to hit you (hits on 17-20). Raising your shield (for a heavy shield) lowers that to a 10% chance, reducing your expected damage input by ~50% (neglecting crits). The ability to shave damage off of one of their attacks makes that even better.

Additionally, some classes (Fighter) have feats that allow you to reactively Shield Block. Thus, you can spend all of your actions on offense and save defense for a reaction (granted, this can compete with other uses of your reaction). Furthermore, since the trigger to that feat is "an enemy succeeds or critically succeeds against you with a melee Strike," you don't have to use it if the enemy would have missed you.

You've got to compare that to using an action to just capping the mook. Like... the mook at 0 HP gets no actions. It's dead. It stops doing stuff. You can hit them easily with your attack.

The other thing is that the damage output scales by level, and lower level monsters might have a 10% chance of hit, but they hit for a number that's less significant than an equal level monster.

Mooks, as conceived in the PF2 Playtest, end up being more or less just fun toys to move about the board. They're not real threats to anything.

At -10 even if something is 2 or 3 levels below you isn't a guaranteed hit. And even level 1 things can have HP in the realms easily past one shottable by a level 4 character. We also get lots of fairly common scenarios where there isn't a creature within range to hit. Like if I spend two actions killing something next to me and there is nothing close I might as well raise my shield and force the next enemy to waste actions walking to me rather than do...

For sure, there's corner cases like that. Not walking to an enemy is the key tactical decision, though, not raising the shield.

When an enemy already has little ability to hit you (maybe a 25% chance with it's first attack and 5% with a 2nd and 3rd), there's really no point in raising the shield. You get a very marginal benefit. Instead, you'd be better off with whatever other tactics your character is prepared to use. Maybe you 2-action something like a spell and then attack. Maybe you, as you point out, use that action to just create more distance or move to cover. The 10% hit chance reduction on the 1st attack just isn't worthwhile here.

That's really why shields aren't worth much Vs mooks. Mooks ALREADY aren't going to be threatening you with their 2nd and 3rd attacks. Your best bet is to use something more offensive.


On the plus side, you can likely shield block mooks attacks without even getting a dent, which makes for a decent reaction after your shield is close to being broken.

...I’m assuming you’re still fighting something big as well.


Greg.Everham wrote:
Cheburn wrote:
Greg.Everham wrote:
Just standing there with whatever AC your armor gives you is enough Vs lower level opponents. Wasting an action on your turn to raise a shield just seems worthless Vs mooks

A bold statement, but one not borne out by the math.

Say a bunch (4) of lower level enemies each have a 20% chance to hit you (hits on 17-20). Raising your shield (for a heavy shield) lowers that to a 10% chance, reducing your expected damage input by ~50% (neglecting crits). The ability to shave damage off of one of their attacks makes that even better.

Additionally, some classes (Fighter) have feats that allow you to reactively Shield Block. Thus, you can spend all of your actions on offense and save defense for a reaction (granted, this can compete with other uses of your reaction). Furthermore, since the trigger to that feat is "an enemy succeeds or critically succeeds against you with a melee Strike," you don't have to use it if the enemy would have missed you.

You've got to compare that to using an action to just capping the mook. Like... the mook at 0 HP gets no actions. It's dead. It stops doing stuff. You can hit them easily with your attack.

The other thing is that the damage output scales by level, and lower level monsters might have a 10% chance of hit, but they hit for a number that's less significant than an equal level monster.

Mooks, as conceived in the PF2 Playtest, end up being more or less just fun toys to move about the board. They're not real threats to anything.

You don't fight mooks one at a time though. Even if you kill that mook, the others are still going to come after you, and that 10% reduction in hits plus damage reduction is pretty great. Especially if you have any of those feats that let you shield block more than once, or raise your shield as a reaction AND block in the same turn.


Yeah but even 4-6 mooks will likely only hit you once if your shield is up. If you can negate that damage entirely without cost, you'll be waltzing through it and basically just dueling the boss.


Lol now I'm picturing the mooks going all notice me Senpai on the Fighter as he effortlessly holds them at Bay with his shield while duking out with the boss.


Also the idea of this definitely saw some play in my Heroes of Undarin game. At one point the Paladin was being beseiged by 4 or 5 Vrocks and the shield was absolutely essential in keeping him alive while he worked away at them, and it outright saved him from hitting 0 from the AoO storm when he had to disengage to save the Cleric from dying.


Action economy is very important in P2, and shields are a way to enhance it. Having a feat that lets you automatically raise your shield when already hit (Fighter's Reactive Shield) is like having a 4th action every round. Quick Shield Block which gives you an extra reaction for shield blocking each round is like having a 5th action every round. Combine that with Furious Focus, and you have a highly accurate attacker with lots of damage reduction and defensive capability.

Trying to discount mooks is a less effective way of looking at combat than your overall capability each round. What can you do on offensive? What can you do on defense? Can you be effective with as many of your actions as possible each round and amplify how many actions you can take in a round? There are some sweet ways to do that with shields that make combat more fun than P1.

When your shield goes down, being able to put two hands on your weapon is a good fall back. The bastard sword v. the great sword. Who would ever have the latter?


Ediwir wrote:
Yeah but even 4-6 mooks will likely only hit you once if your shield is up. If you can negate that damage entirely without cost, you'll be waltzing through it and basically just dueling the boss.

If that's how your mooks operate in such a situation, then those mooks aren't being ran the correct way.

Mooks may not have to be deadly themselves, but they can (and should) most certainly serve in a way to make the boss more devastating (otherwise why would the BBEG keep them around?). Can you imagine how powerful a BBEG Wizard is when he has lackeys creating distractions for him to unleash his raw arcane power on the PCs? Certainly more devastating than if he went to face them by himself and gets rekt via action economy and shutdown tactics.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Yeah but even 4-6 mooks will likely only hit you once if your shield is up. If you can negate that damage entirely without cost, you'll be waltzing through it and basically just dueling the boss.

If that's how your mooks operate in such a situation, then those mooks aren't being ran the correct way.

Mooks may not have to be deadly themselves, but they can (and should) most certainly serve in a way to make the boss more devastating (otherwise why would the BBEG keep them around?). Can you imagine how powerful a BBEG Wizard is when he has lackeys creating distractions for him to unleash his raw arcane power on the PCs? Certainly more devastating than if he went to face them by himself and gets rekt via action economy and shutdown tactics.

Depends on the mooks, really. In Sombrefell Hall the zombies did close to nothing besides blocking movement, and with only 2 actions per turn and minuscle modifiers I couldn’t have them do much more than that - they slowed down PCs while the shadows picked isolated targets.

I agree that mooks are tactical more than damaging, but sometimes there’s little tactics to use when the big guys themselves need a piece of melee combat.


Ediwir wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Yeah but even 4-6 mooks will likely only hit you once if your shield is up. If you can negate that damage entirely without cost, you'll be waltzing through it and basically just dueling the boss.

If that's how your mooks operate in such a situation, then those mooks aren't being ran the correct way.

Mooks may not have to be deadly themselves, but they can (and should) most certainly serve in a way to make the boss more devastating (otherwise why would the BBEG keep them around?). Can you imagine how powerful a BBEG Wizard is when he has lackeys creating distractions for him to unleash his raw arcane power on the PCs? Certainly more devastating than if he went to face them by himself and gets rekt via action economy and shutdown tactics.

Depends on the mooks, really. In Sombrefell Hall the zombies did close to nothing besides blocking movement, and with only 2 actions per turn and minuscle modifiers I couldn’t have them do much more than that - they slowed down PCs while the shadows picked isolated targets.

I agree that mooks are tactical more than damaging, but sometimes there’s little tactics to use when the big guys themselves need a piece of melee combat.

The Zombies serve as both pressure and a diversion for players to be potentially concerned about in an attempt to reduce the effectiveness of the real threat. If the Zombies could get into flanking range with the Shadows, the Shadows become that much more deadly thanks to the zombies. In this case, the zombies (mooks) didn't really need to do anything other than be in the right place at the right time. This forces the PCs to stand their ground and suffer the penalties associated with it (such as by wasting actions to negate flanking bonuses) or eliminate the secondary threat prior to the primary threat, otherwise the fight can (and will) get much more devastating.

On top of that, let's say the mooks aren't smart enough to do what I've described. A lot of times, a Big Bad melee creature will be very big and have reach to work with, meaning he can outright circumvent the fact that the mook is right in front of him, and the mooks serve more as a barrier for the PCs to break through in order to affect the big bad, since most PCs don't have reach any bigger than 5 feet. Exceptions do exist (reach weapons), but I'd rather call that PC preparedness than a failure of the mooks' purpose. And since a Big Bad is larger than the creatures in front of him, he can reach over them and affect the PCs unabated.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest General Discussion / Did you use shields in the playtest? What did you think of them? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Pathfinder Playtest General Discussion