Disarming shields


Rules Discussion


It seems unclear to me how disarming works with shields.

1) If a PC successfully performs a Disarm action on an opponent, does a -2 circumstance penalty apply to the shield's AC bonus (thus negating any benefit)?

2) If a PC critically succeeds on a Disarm action, presumably the shield is dropped to the ground. But what if it is strapped? Besides Bucklers, are other shields strapped to the arm?


1) no. He takes a -2 attack if he attacks with an aoo, using a shield, before his turn starts.

2) I think all shields are strapped, so a critical disarm would do nothing. I think, since they marked in a proper way the strapped part, that disarm was not meant to be used on shields.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So, I fall in the other camp it seems like :-)

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Disarm Single Action
Attack
Source Core Rulebook pg. 243
Requirements You have at least one hand free. The target can’t be more than one size larger than you.You try to knock something out of an opponent’s grasp. Attempt an Athletics check against the opponent’s Reflex DC.

Critical Success You knock the item out of the opponent’s grasp. It falls to the ground in the opponent’s space.
Success You weaken your opponent’s grasp on the item. Until the start of that creature’s turn, attempts to Disarm the opponent of that item gain a +2 circumstance bonus, and the target takes a –2 circumstance penalty to attacks with the item or other checks requiring a firm grasp on the item.
Critical Failure You lose your balance and become flat-footed until the start of your next turn.

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1) Until the start the opponents turn they
a) Take -2 circ penalty on attacks (most of oppotunity)
b) -2 circ penalty on "other checks" that require a firm grasp

Since AC is a DC :) and therefore a check, it does follow that your opponent would take a -2 circumstance penalty to AC negating the benefit of a steel shield throwing them off balance with a smaller one.
This also works cinematically as "knocking the shield out of position"

2) It falls to reason then that on a crit the strap breaks (or the buckle bends and the straps fly loose) and you knock the shield out of the opponents hand.

In my opinion, these results fall more closely with what we would expect to have happen on successful "disarm" of a shield by someone in the game. I don't see another way in the rules to get the cinematic effect of pushing the shield out of the way purposefully. You obliviously can still use that description for a successful hit by someone using a shield (and not blocking with it).

Nightfox


After mulling this over between our game sessions, I'm inclined to agree with Nightfox on this.

Until I get an official Paizo ruling here, I feel that a successful Disarm should have a benefit and should negate any contributing circumstance bonuses to AC from the shield for the round. After all, the PC still has to use up a precious action to do so (and likely using their even more precious first and highest attack bonus to have any real chance of success against most opponents). Likewise, I like the cinematic effect of knocking the shield so hard on a critical success that it rips the shield off of their arm.

I'm also thinking I will add the shield's circumstance bonus to the defender's Reflex DC, since the shield is indeed strapped to their arm and its entire purpose is defense, so it should not be as easy to disarm a shield as it is to disarm a regularly held object.


Remember that regardless your decision ( AC is a DC, but I am not sure that a DC is a check. You make checks against a dc, but you don't DC against a check. Checks should need a roll, against a DC ) is not for the round, but until the start of that creature round.

About the reflex to defender dc it is already part of a fighter feat,

Quote:

PFS Legal Reflexive ShieldFeat 6

Fighter
Source Core Rulebook pg. 148
You can use your shield to fend off the worst of area effects and other damage. When you Raise your Shield, you gain your shield’s circumstance bonus to Reflex saves. If you have the Shield Block reaction, damage you take as a result of a Reflex save can trigger that reaction, even if the damage isn’t physical damage.

and because of that I don't think you should give it for free, even if only for the purpose of setting the disarm dc ( which is already high, unless you are talking about a player disarming another player ).

Apart from that, since it is a homerule it is your call.

As for disarming a shield, since it is equipped I am not sure that laceraring the strapped would be someting meant to occour. Simply cause if so, you won't be able to wear the shield once the strap is gone.


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Nightfox wrote:

Since AC is a DC :) and therefore a check, it does follow that your opponent would take a -2 circumstance penalty to AC negating the benefit of a steel shield throwing them off balance with a smaller one.

This also works cinematically as "knocking the shield out of position"

I would like to start by saying that I like this as a houserule, but it is not correct.

AC is a DC yes, (armour class, difficulty class).

DCs are used when someone makes a check, but they are not a check themselves.
I suggest looking up the check entries in the PHB (head over to the index) and the DC entries. The book frequently makes the distinction between them.

It is also why conditions like clumsy also list both "...to dexterity checks and DCs, including..."


You make some good points about checks vs DCs. Based on that logic, it would not make sense to reduce the circumstance bonus to AC through a success.

One option would be to have a Success provide the usual +2 bonus to future Disarms for the round. With Critical Success knocking the shield from the hand (thus negating the circumstance to AC for the round), but due to the strap the shield is not dropped.

With this in mind, one could either make it cost an additional Interact action to grab the shield back into hand, OR make that free with a Raise Shield action. Thoughts?


Thes33 wrote:

You make some good points about checks vs DCs. Based on that logic, it would not make sense to reduce the circumstance bonus to AC through a success.

One option would be to have a Success provide the usual +2 bonus to future Disarms for the round. With Critical Success knocking the shield from the hand (thus negating the circumstance to AC for the round), but due to the strap the shield is not dropped.

With this in mind, one could either make it cost an additional Interact action to grab the shield back into hand, OR make that free with a Raise Shield action. Thoughts?

A critical success already knocks the shield from thr hand, that is RAW. It is any held item not just weapons :p

This is a game where bucklers leave the hand free, so I wouldn't worry about the realism (perhaps the strap breaks or is severed... or it gets yanked off.)


The grabbing part is already specified in the disarming rules, since the shield also count as weapon, but since it is strapped and require an action to remove it, it is part of the armor set and can't be disarmed that way.

The shield doesn't stay attached because you have a tight grip on it, but the grip can affect the chance to hit.

If so, it would be like having a broken shield unusable until the strap is repaired.


I mean, if you decide that the strap is destroyed by the disarm and that you don't need it to use that shield once you Pick ed it up, then nobody will use a shield with strap because of action saving.


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I fall into the camp that shield require straps, and thus can't be caused to be dropped or knocked out of hand, so they aren't subject to the critical effect of disarm.


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HumbleGamer wrote:

The grabbing part is already specified in the disarming rules, since the shield also count as weapon, but since it is strapped and require an action to remove it, it is part of the armor set and can't be disarmed that way.

The shield doesn't stay attached because you have a tight grip on it, but the grip can affect the chance to hit.

If so, it would be like having a broken shield unusable until the strap is repaired.

The disarming rules have nothing to do with weapons.

"Requirements You have at least one hand free. The target can’t be more than one size larger than you.

You try to knock something out of an opponent’s grasp. Attempt an Athletics check against the opponent’s Reflex DC. Critical Success You knock the item out of the opponent’s grasp. It falls to the ground in the opponent’s space."

The only shield with a strap description is a buckler.

To use any item you must spend an action to draw/retrieve it, shields don't cost extra actions so having the strap break narritively is fine. With a buckler it has other implications but bucklers being usable with an item in your hand is dumb anyway, rule of cool it.

So RAW. In general any held item may be disarmed on a critical success. Shields take one action to draw, the strap description on the buckler doesn't impact that.

Grand Lodge

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Claxon wrote:
I fall into the camp that shield require straps, and thus can't be caused to be dropped or knocked out of hand, so they aren't subject to the critical effect of disarm.

I agree with Claxon on this. Shields are strapped to the arm (pg. 273) and the action to get rid of a shield is the detach action not the drop item action.

Since the disarm action can only knock something out of an opponents grasp. "You try to knock something out of an opponent’s grasp." A shield is not a valid target for a disarm attempt.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:

The grabbing part is already specified in the disarming rules, since the shield also count as weapon, but since it is strapped and require an action to remove it, it is part of the armor set and can't be disarmed that way.

The shield doesn't stay attached because you have a tight grip on it, but the grip can affect the chance to hit.

If so, it would be like having a broken shield unusable until the strap is repaired.

The disarming rules have nothing to do with weapons.

"Requirements You have at least one hand free. The target can’t be more than one size larger than you.

You try to knock something out of an opponent’s grasp. Attempt an Athletics check against the opponent’s Reflex DC. Critical Success You knock the item out of the opponent’s grasp. It falls to the ground in the opponent’s space."

The only shield with a strap description is a buckler.

To use any item you must spend an action to draw/retrieve it, shields don't cost extra actions so having the strap break narritively is fine. With a buckler it has other implications but bucklers being usable with an item in your hand is dumb anyway, rule of cool it.

So RAW. In general any held item may be disarmed on a critical success. Shields take one action to draw, the strap description on the buckler doesn't impact that.

Every shield has a strap.

The blucker ONLY rely on strap, that's why it has a free hand, while bigger shield needs a strap for the forearm and the hand on the grip to carry or use it.


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HumbleGamer wrote:


Every shield has a strap.

The blucker ONLY rely on strap, that's why it has a free hand, while bigger shield needs a strap for the forearm and the hand on the grip to carry or use it.

In the real world yes, in pathfinder it isn't defined and this is a discussion of what the rules do. My point regarding straps is regarding implications when it comes to rules.


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I agree that shields have straps (that is clear via Pg. 273, Table 6-2) with required Interact action to remove.
Thus, one cannot knock a shield from a character's arm completely (outside of GM fiat and narrative choice).

But I would argue that a raised shield is in the character's grasp. They must grasp it to hold and use it.

Therefore, based on this logic, a Success on Disarm would weaken the grasp on that shield. Is that enough to negate its circumstance bonus to AC? On this I am unsure how best to proceed.

On a Critical Success, I have no doubt that it should remove the circumstance bonus to AC. The character has NO grasp on the shield. Because of the strap, however, the shield rules would override the Disarm rules, and the shield remains strapped to the arm. Upon GM fiat, perhaps rolling a natural 20 can result in the strap itself being cut, provided the attacker is wielding an appropriate slashing weapon.


Or maybe it could affect the shield boss/Spike if they are attached and not made into the shield at the beginning.

After all seems that the shield itself is not treated as weapon, but it becomes one when you mod it with one of those "attached weapons".

There is also the possibility that a critical blow could ben your arm, and the impact is powerful enough to let the shield slide on the arm ( without breaking the strap. But then the shield itself would be the only item which would need an extra action to be fixed on the arm ).

But 99% jared nailed it.


Thes33 wrote:

I agree that shields have straps (that is clear via Pg. 273, Table 6-2) with required Interact action to remove.

Thus, one cannot knock a shield from a character's arm completely (outside of GM fiat and narrative choice).

But I would argue that a raised shield is in the character's grasp. They must grasp it to hold and use it.

Therefore, based on this logic, a Success on Disarm would weaken the grasp on that shield. Is that enough to negate its circumstance bonus to AC? On this I am unsure how best to proceed.

On a Critical Success, I have no doubt that it should remove the circumstance bonus to AC. The character has NO grasp on the shield. Because of the strap, however, the shield rules would override the Disarm rules, and the shield remains strapped to the arm. Upon GM fiat, perhaps rolling a natural 20 can result in the strap itself being cut, provided the attacker is wielding an appropriate slashing weapon.

You are correct, I keep forgetting that table exists. Worst placed bit of important information in the whole equipment section imo.

(I went two sessions not realising that it takes an effective 3 actions to get anything out of a backpack in combat without dropping it. Something I am happy for, but something that wasn't the clearest and could have done with a mention in the backpack entry as well, if only a reference to the table with a pafe number)

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