Question about shield block


Rules Discussion


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I am not sure I understand how this works. The shield takes the damage of the attack reducing it by the hardness of the shield but what happens if this reduced it’s hp to 0, do you take the rest? What if you are blocking an ally?


Azouth wrote:
I am not sure I understand how this works. The shield takes the damage of the attack reducing it by the hardness of the shield but what happens if this reduced it’s hp to 0, do you take the rest? What if you are blocking an ally?

If you are hit for 20 damage, and block, your shield first reduces the damage (by 5 for a steel shield) and then you and the shield take 15. Or your ally and the shield, if you have that feat. The shield can't be more destroyed than destroyed, it doesn't go past 0.

Note that if there was a boss crit for 20, I probably wouldn't let my shield get destroyed to save 5 HP, unless that would take me to 0.

The Concordance

feat description

"Your shield prevents you from taking an amount of damage up to the shield’s Hardness. You and the shield each take any remaining damage, possibly breaking or destroying the shield."

Aka, the shield reduces the incoming damage by its hardness. The remaining damage is applied to both the shield AND to you. If this goes past it's BT it breaks. if it drops to 0 it is destroyed and you need a new shield.

The shield another, called Shield Warden, is described as such (bolding mine)

"You use your shield to protect your allies. When you have a shield raised, you can use your Shield Block reaction when an attack is made against an ally adjacent to you. If you do, the shield prevents that ally from taking damage instead of preventing you from taking damage, following the normal rules for Shield Block."

This means the hardness reduces incoming damage to your ally. then the shield and the ally both take the remaining damage.

The remaining damage is NOT halved, or splitt in any way, between shield and target. If the shield has hardness 5, the attack does 50. Both the shield and you take 45 damage.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Oh, that makes sense, what I didn’t understand was the shield and you take the damage. Thanks.


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Didn’t mean to post twice


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Also thanks for the answer.


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I somehow posted this twice.

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Merged threads.


Seems like Shield Block is never ever worth it, save the incredibly rare situation where ~5hp is the difference between life and death.


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Neo2151 wrote:
Seems like Shield Block is never ever worth it, save the incredibly rare situation where ~5hp is the difference between life and death.

well, it's like 50% increase in HP at level 1, and it stays pretty high % as you keep upgrading your shield.

i mean, at level 9, using a level 7 shield, it still blocks 40 damage before reaching BT. At nine, a d8 class assuming that he started with 12 con and raised it on 5th level, and had like 8 from ancestry, would have 108 hp. Getting an extra 40 is no small boost.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Add to that, as long as you have a repair kit and didn't get the shield lowered to the Broken state, you can make craft check to repair (heal) your shield.


Do you get to know how much damage the attack deals before you decide to use Shield Block? It seems like you do, since the trigger says you would "take damage".

And I assume that the damage after hardness applies BOTH against you and against you shield?

Thanks in advance.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Example, Buckler has Hardness 3 HP 6.

You have your shield raised. You are hit and have no other resistances. The damage is 5. You chose to Shield Block. 3 of the 5 are reduced away and you and the shield each take the remaining 2.

Your shield now has 4 hp and is 1 hp away from Broken.


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Rhyst wrote:
Add to that, as long as you have a repair kit and didn't get the shield lowered to the Broken state, you can make craft check to repair (heal) your shield.

I realized I said Broken above when I meant destroyed. Sadly Edit time period had lapsed.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Right, so if you are a fighter in a 5' corridor with a line of humanoids coming at you. If you know they need to roll a 16 to hit you on their first attack, and do 2-5 hp per attack. You know they would need to get a 21 to hit with their second attack. You decide to hold the corridor for you party to move on past this corridor so they can complete their mission.

So a foe comes up to you. they have a 20% to hit you with a regular hit, and a 5% chance to hit you with a critical. On their second hit, they would have a 5% chance of hitting with a regular hit, and no chance for a critical.

If they hit you with their first hit, you block with your shield, any unless it is the rare critical hit, your shield will block all of the damage, taking no damage itself. If it was a critical, 1/4 the time neither you nor the shield would take any damage, one fourth the time you and the the shield would take a mere 1pt of damage. Another 25% you and the shield would take 3 points of damage. The last 25% chance you and the shield could take 5 points of damage, which might be significant for some shields.

If the first attack was a miss, you can block the rare second attack or third attack that might hit.

So lets spread the probability out a bit, and assume you were holding the corridor for 20 rounds. And, we will say one of those rounds the first attack, the opponent that round gets a critical. You and your shield will have taken 0-5 damage in that one instance. Second attacks, more than likely only of the 20 second attacks will hit, more than likely it will hit on a round that the first attack didn't hit, in which case you shield block it and neither you nor your shield takes any damage. If we assume each round you dispatch your opponent in front of you the new opponent probably only gets two attacks, but if they get a third attack for some reason, only one in 20 will likely hit. There is still a good chance this third attack will be on a round that you haven't been hit yet, and you and your shield will take no damage from it either. If that isn't the case, the likely 25%-30% instances, you would take your 2-5 hp damage.

So if we just generalize, 20 rounds, 1 critical hit, 4 regular hits, and one second hit, and potentially one third hit. The four regular hits would certainly be blocked for a total of 8-20 hp of damage absorbed with no sustained damage. Of the second and third hits, more than likely at most one of them would not be blocked. leaving perhaps 2-5 HP of damage. The critical hit that likely occurs in that time period would do 4-10 hp damage, of which 5 would be blocked if they chose to do a shield block. There would be a 25% chance that it might then break the shield losing your shield bonus to AC and shield block option.

An odd effect might be since taking a critical hit, might potentially destroy your shield, since you probably have more than 10 hp yourself, you might actually choose to refrain from doing a shield block against a critical hit if you are at full HP, since I think you should see now how the shield has the potential of absorbing a great deal of small damage over time. Obviously, if your injured and 10 points of damage could take you down and leaving you in danger of getting quickly killed, you will use the shield block to stay up, but it does make for an interesting strategic decision.

In this case you are seeing that a shield could likely absorb some 10-25 damage over some 20 rounds without even getting damaged, and perhaps 15-30 with a small risk of getting broken. Such a fighter could likely withstand another 20 rounds of that, before risk of shield being broken from critical hits becomes more significant, as well as damage from secondary attacks potentially mounts up to their being injured enough to need to retreat.

Hopefully, their companions can use the 4 minutes they bought holding the corridor to run and fetch the item they are retrieving, or rescue the prisoner, kill the king, etc.

Yes, as with anything random, there is nothing saying the enemy couldn't get critical hits the first five rounds in a row and eventually bust your shield after only that long, but using the more general spread at least gives you an example of what could happen, with some more spread out rolls.


I'm still not certain when I use shield block, before or after the damage is rolled. Because that can make a big difference in the usefulness of shields.


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Uchuujin wrote:
I'm still not certain when I use shield block, before or after the damage is rolled. Because that can make a big difference in the usefulness of shields.

the trigger is "when you would take damage"

taking damage is the 4th step in the damage "order of things".
rolling the damage is the 1st step.


Uchuujin wrote:
I'm still not certain when I use shield block, before or after the damage is rolled. Because that can make a big difference in the usefulness of shields.

I want to know this too.

Is it written somewhere in the CRB?

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It's 'when you would take damage'. You can't take damage if it hasn't been rolled, since you could have resistance that could negate it (unlikely, but possible).


"Would"
Indicating the consequence of an imagined event or situation.


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Loreguard wrote:
In this case you are seeing that a shield could likely absorb some 10-25 damage over some 20 rounds without even getting damaged, and perhaps 15-30 with a small risk of getting broken. Such a fighter could likely withstand another 20 rounds of that, before risk of shield being broken from critical hits becomes more significant, as well as damage from secondary attacks potentially mounts up to their being injured enough to need to retreat.

And then you pull out another shield.


Could the tank spend feats on Quick Repair until he can repair the shield in one action?


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Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Could the tank spend feats on Quick Repair until he can repair the shield in one action?

Quick Repair itself answers you question. It requires you to be Legendary in Crafting to change the repair time to one action (although you would still have to have the repair kit in hand, which takes two hands, which means you have to remove the shield at some point). But Quick Repair doesn't reduce the time it takes to do something, it changes the time, so even if you could take it multiple times, it would have no effect.


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:
Could the tank spend feats on Quick Repair until he can repair the shield in one action?

dropping the items in your hands, repairing the shield, and picking them up is more often than not 3 actions.

but yeah, you can pick up Quick repair, and at 15, if you pick Craft as your first legendary skill, do that.


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I confess, I don't know if Rules as intended, you need to specify you take the shield block prior to hearing how many points of damage you take, or not. It does make a very strategic difference in how someone might use a shield, but even not knowing the specific amount of damage, the shield is still useful.

I could see a GM asking someone to determine if they are blocking before the damage is rolled, but I could also see them rolling the damage and letting them choose after the damage is announced.

I inclined think the answer is that because it is a reaction, something that provides the ability to interrupt events, I think damage is announced, and the player can then announce their reaction/interrupt.

If you have to decide before the damage is rolled, it almost creates a situation where the GM has to ask the player if they are going to use their reaction whenever they take damage, and before they announce the amount of damage, and that would slow down play. I think the simplest answer is, you roll damage, announce it, and if they player (or monster) has the reaction, and choose to announce it, the effects are modified accordingly.

As a potential backup of this ruling as being the intended way. I believe they way they have handled the Paladin's reactions has been announcing damage, and the paladin announces they are using their reaction (frequently after Jason mentioning/reminding them they have it) and Jason then revises the damage they take based on the reaction.

So I think the intended order is roll and announced damage, choose to react by raising shield to avoid it, adjusting if the reaction is used.

I'm not absolutely positive on that however.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Personally I will allow my players to know the result of the attack, and then decide if they want to block the damage with the shield.

For example, big bad with a greatsword and 2 badgers all attack said champion. Champion chooses to not block the badgers, but, finds out the first attack with the greatsword crits, chooses not to block so they don't risk destroying the shield, next attack hits but is not a crit, and chooses to block that hit instead. Or maybe he blocked a badger knowing that his shield would take little damage if any and he would not risk the attack, unless the badger surprised him and got a crit in, and he chose to block it so that most of the crit is eliminated.

I don't think it should be based on damage whether they block, but, based on the attack. I like the idea of my players being tactful but not munchkin number crunching.


I did some math on repairing shields. Here is a breakdown 1-20 with the following guidelines uses.

1: Proficiency used is Level 1 Training, Level 3 Expert, Level 7 Master, and Level 15 Legendary.

2: Int Modifier used is Level 1 is +1, Level 5 is +2, Level 10 is +3, and level 15 is +4.

3: Specialty Crafting is Level 1 is +1, Level 7 is +2.

4: Repair Kit (superb): Level 5 is +1. (can get this sooner but it is expensive).

Shields Used at what levels: DC
1-3 Steel Shield: 14
4-6 Sturdy Shield (minor): 19
7-9 Sturdy Shield (lessor) 23
10-12 Sturdy Shield (moderate) 27
13-15 Sturdy Shield (greater) 31
16-18 Sturdy Shield (major) 35
19-20 Sturdy Shield (supreme) 39

The DC is based on the books recommend DCs. A DM can chance it of course. It is also possible to get a higher item bonus than the repair kit with a magic item but its expensive.

Roll needed to succeed:
1: 9
2: 8
3: 7
4: 9
5: 7
6: 5
7: 5
8: 4
9: 3
10: 5
11: 4
12: 3
13: 6
14: 5
15: 1
16: 4
17: 3
18: 2
19: 5
20: 4

Other fun facts. At level 7 a Champion who has Divine Ally Shield and a Sturdy Shield (lessor) has 12 hardness for a shield. The max damage a shield takes on a critical fail is 12. Thus a Champion will never destroy their shield from then on due to a critical failure. For those who do not have Divine Ally Shield once they get Sturdy Shield (moderate) at level 10 they will also never destroy their shield on a critical failure.

At levels: 1, 4, 10, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20 having Crafting Assurance will not work. The rest of the levels they will. Not worth the bother IMO.


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Though it's a bit meta, the player knows the damage.
One could imagine that the PC sees the power or precision of the attack (which is otherwise going around the shield) before they interpose the shield. The player, not knowing how to interpret incoming attacks as well as his elite warrior PC, needs that info in distinct numbers. Otherwise it's the strength of the GM's (de)emphasis really guiding the choice.

Crafting Assurance can be worthwhile if you don't have/want Int or magic Craft items to make up for low Int. Or if you often have time pressure situations so you need to consistently fix your shield in the first lull.
Have to see how adventures adjust what with Treat Wounds being so effective now.

Most creatures do less damage than PCs of similar levels, making up for it with higher attack rolls. So that +1 AC from a shield makes a nice difference avoiding hits and reducing crits even against minions.
And minions often can't bypass hardness so a shield is excellent damage mitigation, especially vs. poisonous centipedes (et al).

I've seen a non-Shield focused Paladin w/ a shield block away more than enough damage to drop him twice over. Of course, his enemies also persist longer because he's using a smaller weapon. In a class whose feats don't build off of the die of the weapon much, shields are awesome.


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Mark did mention that you know the damage before you decide to shield block.

What I'm a trying to suss out is whether Hardness applies to all types of damage an attack does, like Resistance to all damage does. For example, if someone hits an object for 7 slashing and 3 fire, does that translate to only taking 2 slashing and no fire?

And does that apply to construct armor and shields? I am not sure why Hardness would behave differently than Resistance in this case, though the shield block does say it triggers when you take physical damage:

Trigger While you have your shield raised, you would take damage from a physical attack.

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. You and the shield each take any remaining damage, possibly breaking or destroying the shield.

Of course the bit about reducing that damage mentions nothing either way about whether it is physical.

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