Shields blocking: Unknown damage or known damage


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Zapp wrote:
It doesn't feel realistic to be able to determine with 100% accuracy if your shield will hold or not.

Yes, unrealistic. It is almost as if being able to do so would be quite a FEAT, that one would only expect the most trained and experienced of combatants to have.

Oh, wait...


Ascalaphus wrote:
It seems we read the same text quite differently.

*nods* and that's an issue you can see in play. They don't come out and say 'give the players what they want.' "Useful" covers a lot of ground and a Standard-grade Adamantine [hard 14, hp 56] is a useful item but it's 1 level higher [and uncommon] vs a Sturdy Shield (Greater)Item 13 Hardness 15, HP 120. It's VERY hard for me to say 14 hardness isn't useful to a blocking build but having less than 1/2 the hp is still pretty sucktastic. Even the Dragonslayer's Shield vs 14th level foes [Hardness 8, HP 32] can take an average attacks damage at 14 without destruction so it's still useful: it's a thin line to quibble over how many attacks a shield can take before it's destroyed when determining usefulness vs uselessness. Even a plain old Steel Shield is useful as it 100% falls under the 'they will wear it if it's better than what they have' especially when we're talking about shields as they are build with the possibility of their destruction and a plain old non-magic shield is far more useful than no shield at all.

Sovereign Court

I think that's stretching the definition of "useful" beyond the breaking point. Just because you might use a level 1 item at level 10 if you had nothing else, doesn't mean that it's a good faith piece of "useful loot".


Ascalaphus wrote:
I think that's stretching the definition of "useful" beyond the breaking point. Just because you might use a level 1 item at level 10 if you had nothing else, doesn't mean that it's a good faith piece of "useful loot".

But where is the cutoff? What shields actually HAVE the hardness and HP to be "useful" for your sensibilities? Is a good ability when you Raise Shield enough even if it doesn't have great hardness/hp? To a build built around blocking, is the "usefullness" of a steel shield and a Spellguard Shield that different at 7th? At 10th? SO IMO, you're making a too big a deal over the fact that the item is level 1 when the difference 5 level can mean is 1 hardness and 4 hp. What about a 10th level Arrow-Catching Shield? Has the same hardness and hp as the Spellguard Shield: ONLY +1 hardness and +4 hp. SO, I think you tossed the NORMAL steel shield aside too quick on what is level appropriate for "useful" as level for most shields doesn't involve increased hardness or hp. Heck, I can hand out a level 18 shield that only has Hardness 6, HP 24 so level REALLY isn't a factor IMO: level 1 to 18 can be as useful to a blocking build with the state of shields.

Sovereign Court

Look, everyone seems to be in agreement that Forge Warden and Arrow-Catching aren't working well. Those shields aren't durable enough to block with but they need to block to be useful.

Some other shields also aren't that durable, but they have uses other than blocking. So they'd be interesting loot for some characters. For a S&B ranger the spellguard shield is pretty good and could last for the rest of his career. But not so good for a character clearly built around blocking.

The CRB and GMG clearly aren't going to put down an exhaustive algorithm for the GM to decide what constitutes useful loot and what isn't, because that's impossible to do. PF2 wants characters to be diverse and that means you can't have a one size fits all rule to determine which loot is useful for who.


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To quote myself from one of the other threads:

Me wrote:

all of the __material__ Shield entries.

Oh boy, I sure do wish I had an adamantine shield! With the same hardness as a Sturdy shield, available a level later, rarer, and with half the hit points! Oh boy, I sure do wish I had a dragonhide shield, available one level lower than the dragonslayer shield, but with half the hardness and half the HP! Oh boy, I sure do wish I had an oricalchum shield, with three-quarters the hardness, 40% the HP than an equivalent level sturdy shield all for the wonderful benefit that "the first time each day it would be destroyed, it isn't"! You know what also wouldn't be destroyed and isn't after taking that much damage? A sturdy shield.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Look, everyone seems to be in agreement that Forge Warden and Arrow-Catching aren't working well. Those shields aren't durable enough to block with but they need to block to be useful.

I'l be 100% honest: NONE of the magic/material shields really have the hardness and hp they should other than sturdy. You shouldn't have a papier-mâché shield that's 18th level: there should be some minimum base hardness/hp that increases based on level for shields period.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Some other shields also aren't that durable, but they have uses other than blocking. So they'd be interesting loot for some characters. For a S&B ranger the spellguard shield is pretty good and could last for the rest of his career. But not so good for a character clearly built around blocking.

I don't think 'but it has other used' excuses the lack of structural integrity. Who enchants a high level item meant to take damage and leave it with barely better stats than a non-magic one? It's like having a magic 18th level Sailing boat with hardness and hp just slightly higher than a rowboats and people saying 'but it's still useful!'. Yes, it's slightly better than a normal rowboat for the low, low price of 16,000 gp...

Ascalaphus wrote:
PF2 wants characters to be diverse and that means you can't have a one size fits all rule to determine which loot is useful for who.

I agree: following that, they wouldn't want a "one size fits all" shield for those that block, but that's what you're saying. If the only useful shield is a sturdy one, that seem pretty "one size fits all" and against what you think PF2 wants: : diversity.


I was definitely hoping that Shields would have an independent rune system in PF2. Fundamental runes for shields would increase their HP and Hardness while property runes would add abilities like arrow attraction or maybe some activated abilities. I could see a shield that is targeted by a Light spell for instance by a relatively cheap property rune being worthwhile for those without access to darkvision.

This would go a long way towards fixing shields for me. I dislike how Druids gain Shield Block at first level, then are forced to use simply lower end shields due to their no metal anathema. Wood shields and Tower shields should be able to be sturdy. Why is only the Steel shield given that benefit?

Sovereign Court

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graystone wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
PF2 wants characters to be diverse and that means you can't have a one size fits all rule to determine which loot is useful for who.
I agree: following that, they wouldn't want a "one size fits all" shield for those that block, but that's what you're saying. If the only useful shield is a sturdy one, that seem pretty "one size fits all" and against what you think PF2 wants: : diversity.

Yeah, druids are in trouble, in so far as they currently have appendages suitable for shields anyway.

So I do think there should be some variants on sturdy shields in later books, doing it differently but also useful.

For example, you could have a "regenerating shield" made out of plant matter that in between combats heals, even when damaged to the point of destruction, as long as it wasn't destroyed by fire or acid. It would have a bit lower hardness/BT/HP than a sturdy shield (perhaps lagging behind by about half a tier), but still enough to take several blows.

It would be the obvious choice for druids because it respects their anathema. I'm okay with druids having fewer options because that metal prohibition would be meaningless if it was never a disadvantage; but currently it's just preventing them from really using shield block at all.

For fighters and champions, it would broaden the amount of choices, and it could be preferable for a character who doesn't have high Intelligence/Crafting to easily repair a high-level Sturdy shield.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
So I do think there should be some variants on sturdy shields in later books, doing it differently but also useful.

For myself, I rather every shield be able to function as a shield for all purposes and that way we would only need errata instead of a new book: Now I wouldn't expect hardness and hp up to sturdy standards but any shield should be able to take a single hit from a monster of it's level and not be destroyed: the current system is like having specific weapons, like a Mattock of the Titans or a Sky Hammer , that couldn't take fundamental runes. It would be useful but not as a weapon but only it's special abilities. It'd seem like a very odd disconnect just like shields are now IMO.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Yeah, druids are in trouble, in so far as they currently have appendages suitable for shields anyway.

They are in a weird place where their class allows them to use a shield block but the game doesn't make any shields worth a damn for that task: dark wood is bad, Dragonhide is armor only and is still bad... They really need sturdy to work on wood shields or a new druid version of that shield made. Either that or we give druids something else instead of block...


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graystone wrote:
Dragonhide is armor only and is still bad...

There are dragon hide shields. The low-level one is bad because it has garbage stats (but immunity to one element) and the high level one is inaccessible for a while.

Oh, and they're* dragonhide on top of steel.

*Buckler doesn't actually say, but its durability is lower than darkwood.


Draco18s wrote:
There are dragon hide shields.

Interesting. I checked the material section [that only mentions armor]. I didn't think to double check specifically for special material shields... Odd.

Looking at that section, it seems the stats are really bad for going out of your way for an uncommon item. Even the high level ones are trash for blocking: the highest ever pure dragonhide shields has a hardness of 7... I know someone is going to say 'but it gives immunity to an element!' but then what is the purpose of the higher level version if the harness and hp are meaningless at that level??? It doesn't make you more immune...


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber
Malk_Content wrote:
I still dont get the "its not realistic" complaint. All we are talking about is the ability to quickly assess the danger of an incoming blow and react accordingly. It's something fighters do all the time. Hell I'm not even that good of a fighter but have made the choice to take a blow or throw up a block in a small moment.

Sorry, I'm a little late to this...

For some of us, what is heavily subtracting from "realism" as it were doesn't actually have to do with the accurate assessment beforehand. It's more that, once a player knows the value of a hit, their incentive is totally backwards.

It's a small hit coming in? Take it with the shield. It's a big hit? Better tuck your shield out of the way and take the axe your face, because your face can be fixed in combat but your shield can't.

That, I think, is the rub here. If there were a combat repair feat like battle medicine, or a low level spell a martial could multi to get, then blocking wouldn't be so punishing. But since generally a member or two of your party can immediately seal up your wounds but nothing can repair a badly dented shield till you get a rest, that's the problem. If a player doesn't know the exact value, I'd hope they would be less likely to tank damage for their shield, instead of with it.

I also do wonder if a rune system applied could soften the trouble right now?


Ascalaphus wrote:

Look, everyone seems to be in agreement that Forge Warden and Arrow-Catching aren't working well. Those shields aren't durable enough to block with but they need to block to be useful.

Some other shields also aren't that durable, but they have uses other than blocking. So they'd be interesting loot for some characters. For a S&B ranger the spellguard shield is pretty good and could last for the rest of his career. But not so good for a character clearly built around blocking.

The CRB and GMG clearly aren't going to put down an exhaustive algorithm for the GM to decide what constitutes useful loot and what isn't, because that's impossible to do. PF2 wants characters to be diverse and that means you can't have a one size fits all rule to determine which loot is useful for who.

The posts directly after yours comprehensively tells us your arguments are basically a smokescreen that doesn't even try to defend the actual numbers put on paper.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Sporkedup wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
I still dont get the "its not realistic" complaint. All we are talking about is the ability to quickly assess the danger of an incoming blow and react accordingly. It's something fighters do all the time. Hell I'm not even that good of a fighter but have made the choice to take a blow or throw up a block in a small moment.

Sorry, I'm a little late to this...

For some of us, what is heavily subtracting from "realism" as it were doesn't actually have to do with the accurate assessment beforehand. It's more that, once a player knows the value of a hit, their incentive is totally backwards.

It's a small hit coming in? Take it with the shield. It's a big hit? Better tuck your shield out of the way and take the axe your face, because your face can be fixed in combat but your shield can't.

That, I think, is the rub here. If there were a combat repair feat like battle medicine, or a low level spell a martial could multi to get, then blocking wouldn't be so punishing. But since generally a member or two of your party can immediately seal up your wounds but nothing can repair a badly dented shield till you get a rest, that's the problem. If a player doesn't know the exact value, I'd hope they would be less likely to tank damage for their shield, instead of with it.

I also do wonder if a rune system applied could soften the trouble right now?

I think thats just a problem with a world in which a) being hurt doesn't matter until you are literally dying and b) bodies can be repaired insanely quickly. Given those premises valueing your expensive equipment is realistic, and that is an incentive build on the core premises of DnD. If you didn't know the damage before, you'd get to the point where you just don't block, which is even more extreme than picking and choosing optimal blocking.


But using the same principle, as well as not knowing the damage is a bad option because the high risk of damage in such fragile shields makes shield blocking unfeasible. Knowing the damage also does not mean that it is a good solution to the problem! And in the end this creates a whole new series of new problems strangeness.

That's the why we complain, just "to know" still keeps the non-sturdy shields too fragile, much more hardly to repair then heal wounds, more limited in feats than other off-hand and two-hand equipments, artificially creates a need of a very specific class of expensive magical/material shields options if you want keep your blocking ability useful, and also create a strangeness where the players have a fully and exactly control of how and where their shield broken (if they even decide to break it) or how much damage those shield will take, not even the attacker can control the damage like this.


YuriP wrote:
That's the why we complain, just "to know" still keeps the non-sturdy shields too fragile, much more hardly to repair then heal wounds, more limited in feats than other off-hand and two-hand equipments, artificially creates a need of a very specific class of expensive magical/material shields options if you want keep your blocking ability useful, and also create a strangeness where the players have a fully and exactly control of how and where their shield broken (if they even decide to break it) or how much damage those shield will take, not even the attacker can control the damage like this.

Why do you not complain about how unrealistic it is that no gear breaks, ever, outside of shield block? I do not remember having come across a 'gear takes damage on critically failed saving throws' in the PF 2 rules, but feel free to correct me if there are any.

Also, Sunder is no longer a thing. So the *only* instance when your gear is in danger of suffering damage is when you

A) have a certain feat and
B) deliberately chose to use it.

Nobody forces you to use a shield block, but if you *do* want to use your feat/class feature, then could you at least bring yourself to agreeing to it being *better* for the players to *know* the information they need to get the most out of their feats and wealth?

There are so many things in this game that are abstractions that don't really make sense in a narrative way, but this is the hill you chose to die on?


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Lycar wrote:
Why do you not complain about how unrealistic it is that no gear breaks, ever, outside of shield block?

Let's keep on course here - the complaint is that shield block makes gear break.

Sovereign Court

Zapp wrote:
The posts directly after yours comprehensively tells us your arguments are basically a smokescreen that doesn't even try to defend the actual numbers put on paper.

I don't see the need to defend those numbers because I disagree with the premise that all shields are intended for blocking.

Sovereign Court

Sporkedup wrote:

For some of us, what is heavily subtracting from "realism" as it were doesn't actually have to do with the accurate assessment beforehand. It's more that, once a player knows the value of a hit, their incentive is totally backwards.

It's a small hit coming in? Take it with the shield. It's a big hit? Better tuck your shield out of the way and take the axe your face, because your face can be fixed in combat but your shield can't.

I think this is the most concise argument against the current rules that I actually agree with.

It's tricky to design. On the one hand, if you're letting shields do more than increase AC, they do need to take some sort of damage. Historically, shields did get broken in battle sometimes. In the viking duel called holmgang combatants would bring a specified number of backup shields, usually three.

On the other hand, I think (high-level) shields in this game are a bigger investment than historical shields. It wouldn't play very well for shields to break that much.

The current system is obviously a compromise, and I haven't seen any better alternatives. I mean, some people want to increase the numbers of all shields - and I can see bumping the numbers to a point where each shield can at least block one hit without being destroyed. Maybe a solution is to relax the "break threshold is half the hit points" rule and give shields more hit points but not bigger break thresholds. That lowers the chance of destruction while keeping break rates the same.

If you changed it so you had to decide before knowing the damage, then I think both break thresholds and hit points need to go up substantially. You should be able to guess "if this monster hits about as hard as last time, I think the shield can still take it".

I do think it should be possible to re-engineer the numbers so you can change the order of operations, although you'd need to do playtesting to find out where the right numbers are.

I think you're also going to run into trouble with overly risk-averse players, who'll never dare to use shield block if they think there's even a small chance that a hit will break/destroy the shield. The current system is kinder to those players. So maybe that's a reason to keep things as they are.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Zapp wrote:
The posts directly after yours comprehensively tells us your arguments are basically a smokescreen that doesn't even try to defend the actual numbers put on paper.
I don't see the need to defend those numbers because I disagree with the premise that all shields are intended for blocking.

*scratches head then looks at*

Ascalaphus wrote:
wants characters to be diverse and that means you can't have a one size fits all rule to determine which loot is useful for who.

*Looks back at first quote*...

Yeah, it doesn't seem like these two things mesh at all. You can't have diversity if only one shield actually can block an attack leaving all other shields in the 'not intended for blocking' category. I could see the argument if there are multiple shields for both jobs but there isn't: I wouldn't agree with it but I could see it. IMO, a shield should carry out it's basic functions as shield: being able to give you AC and be able to block. It just boggle my mind that an 18th level shield would be designed to barely stronger than a normal off the shelf mundane one for blocking. I don't think it's too much to ask that all shields be able to block a single on level attack ones without exploding. If they don't, they might as well just not give hardness and hp total for 'Ac' shields so new people don't try to actually use them as a shield and try to block with them...

Shadow Lodge

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When I first started using miniatures for rpgs (this would have been start of dnd3e) I came from the perspective of being a long time tabletop miniature wargamer. Having squares and being able to count out where you could move to or how your aoe would land felt like cheating. You were supposed to guess your range, declare your movement or attack, then measure to see if you made it, or lay down the template and see what you actually hit.

To this day, it still irks me. Being able to precisely place that fireball to hit the maximum enemies and miss your friends, or being able to move exactly around the enemy reach to get to flank and attack in the minimum number of actions, it all still feels like cheating. But it isn't, it's just a different game with different rules. This game (pf2) is not realistic, nor is it a simulation. It is a very gamey game with lots of rules. These rules in no way attempt to simulate reality. Instead they attempt to make a "balanced" game with interesting interactions that is fun to play.

These arguments about shields sound like the same thing to me. It feels wrong to some people, probably because they learned on other games where you are supposed to choose before knowing the result and it is cheating to know the result before choosing. Even though I know this game has different rules, I was taught differently, so it feels wrong.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Funnily enough wargaming has also largely moved on with most games letting you pre measure.

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