Shields blocking: Unknown damage or known damage


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Sorry if this has been answered before but I searched and did not see a definitive answer. If you are able to use a reaction to block an incoming attack with a shield, is the damage roll known or unknown to the blocking player before he/she decides to block it?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Going to quote myself from a couple of posts from a while back, but the short version: You know how much damage.

Quote:
It's triggered when you 'would take damage from a physical attack', which is step four of damage, after applying resistances, immunities or the like (if an attack did 4 piercing damage and 6 fire damage to a skeleton, but the skeleton had Piercing Resistance 5, it would take no physical damage, for instance). Thus, you should know exactly how much damage is coming of what types, from how I read the book.
Quote:

Skeletal Champion has resistance 5 against piercing and slashing, as well as resistance 5 against several energy types. I'm going with fire to make to keep this simple. Next, I'm quoting all of Shield Block, and bolding for emphasis.

Shield Block wrote:


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.

Note that it isn't resistance. It says that it prevents you from taking damage equal to the shield's hardness. Minor but important distinction.

Now, since I'm trying to keep this simple, I have a wizard with a +1 flaming dagger attacks the skeletal champion. Said wizard has a Strength of 12. He hits, but doesn't crit. After rolling 1d4+1 + 1d6 fire, he rolls maximum damage and gets a whopping total of 5 physical damage and 6 fire damage. Steps 1 and 2 are complete, so we move on to step 3.

At this point we apply, in order, immunities, weaknesses, and resistances. None of the first two apply to the skeletal champion, so we apply resistance to piercing 5 (or slashing, as daggers can do both), as well as resistance to fire 5. The piercing damage is negated, and only 1 fire damage remains. We move to step 4.

1 fire damage remains. However, as page 452 states that physical damage is bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing, the skeletal champion cannot use shield block. It takes 1 fire damage.

Amusingly, if the wizard somehow did 6 damage with the dagger (like from having a 14 Strength), it looks like the skeleton could Shield Block and negate all of the damage. An odd quirk, I'll freely admit. Not enough for me to read the rules differently, though.


Cydeth wrote:

Going to quote myself from a couple of posts from a while back, but the short version: You know how much damage.

Quote:
It's triggered when you 'would take damage from a physical attack', which is step four of damage, after applying resistances, immunities or the like (if an attack did 4 piercing damage and 6 fire damage to a skeleton, but the skeleton had Piercing Resistance 5, it would take no physical damage, for instance). Thus, you should know exactly how much damage is coming of what types, from how I read the book.
Quote:

Skeletal Champion has resistance 5 against piercing and slashing, as well as resistance 5 against several energy types. I'm going with fire to make to keep this simple. Next, I'm quoting all of Shield Block, and bolding for emphasis.

Shield Block wrote:


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.

Note that it isn't resistance. It says that it prevents you from taking damage equal to the shield's hardness. Minor but important distinction.

Now, since I'm trying to keep this simple, I have a wizard with a +1 flaming dagger attacks the skeletal champion. Said wizard has a Strength of 12. He hits, but doesn't crit. After rolling 1d4+1 + 1d6 fire, he rolls maximum damage and gets a whopping total of 5 physical damage and 6 fire damage. Steps 1 and 2 are complete, so we move on to step 3.

At this point we apply, in order, immunities, weaknesses, and resistances. None of the first two apply to the skeletal champion, so we apply resistance to piercing 5 (or slashing, as daggers can do both), as well as resistance to fire 5. The piercing damage is negated, and only 1 fire damage remains. We move to step 4.

1 fire damage remains. However, as page 452 states

...

Thanks for the quick and helpful answer!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition, Rulebook Subscriber

Correct me if I'm crazy, but isn't the rule as of the errata that no matter how much resistance you have, you can never completely negate damage? If your piercing resistance equals or exceeds the piercing damage you take, you will still always take 1 damage. So the "resistance test" for shield block metaknowledge doesn't really fly anymore.

Personally, I think knowing the exact damage values is incredibly cheesy but it's a conversation I'd have with my players. I hate the fact that players will feel like the math indicates that it's a better decision for them to throw themselves in the way of their shield so it doesn't get broken. But then, the rules are definitely unclear.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Sporkedup wrote:
Correct me if I'm crazy, but isn't the rule as of the errata that no matter how much resistance you have, you can never completely negate damage? If your piercing resistance equals or exceeds the piercing damage you take, you will still always take 1 damage. So the "resistance test" for shield block metaknowledge doesn't really fly anymore.

Are you talking about this?

PF Core Rules 2e 1.0 Errata wrote:
Page 451: Following the formulas for calculating damage rolls, add the sentence “If the combined penalties on an attack would reduce the damage to 0 or below, you still deal 1 damage.”

If so, that's still under Step 1, which means it only applies before you apply resistances.


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I agree. Resistances are not Penalties. The statement doesn't apply to resistances at all.


Sporkedup wrote:
Personally, I think knowing the exact damage values is incredibly cheesy but it's a conversation I'd have with my players. I hate the fact that players will feel like the math indicates that it's a better decision for them to throw themselves in the way of their shield so it doesn't get broken.

I'd agree if there was a way to fix a destroyed shield. As it is, both of my players that use shields have thematically unique shields: one is a Cayden cleric who uses a wooden shield that's the front of an ale cask, and the other uses a shield we've flavored to be meticulously handcrafted and has his family tree on it and stuff. Replacing a shield isn't always as simple as buying a new shield in town, and I'd feel worse taking a sentimental item from my players because they thought dire wolves did a bit less damage or whatever...

Sporkedup wrote:
But then, the rules are definitely unclear.

Eh, maybe in the CRB, but I'll add more in the way of evidence from older discussions, namely this one I read a while ago.

corwyn42 wrote:

Here is the link to the discussion:

Seminar discussion

Here is Mark's post:

3Doubloons wrote:
The last iteration of the Shield rules (where shields could take 2 dents, but blocking only gave 1 at most) meant it was impossible for a fresh shield to break in one block. Is that still true in the final rules?
Mark Seifter wrote:
As you can see throughout the process when we kept answering the question multiple different ways on the streams, that last playtest iteration was mostly a patch on an issue involved with calculating the dents and HP. Using HP, it is possible for your shield to break, or even be totally destroyed, in one hit, but you get to know how much damage is incoming before you decide whether to block, so that only happens if you choose. Looking at how much it would take to destroy Linda's dwarf's shield in one hit, though, even on a crit that's not going to happen unless they're fighting something way beyond their level. Even a balor would be hard-pressed to do that much in a single crit.

AND

corwyn42 wrote:

Ok, I am looking through Mark's posts here is the link to all of them:

Mark's Posts

You can use the link below to see all his posts that contain the word shield ordered by Newest First:
Mark's Posts w/ Shield word - Newest First

I went through them until the beginning of August and I did not see anything that would change his original post entry. You can keep digging if you want - you might find something.

(Also, Cydeth was in that thread. Hi, Cydeth!)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Curgyr wrote:

(Also, Cydeth was in that thread. Hi, Cydeth!)

That I was! I don't know why this particular topic is the one that I've decided to not let go of, but it is. Probably because I do have all the citations figured out so far... but yeah. I love the new shield block mechanics, even if they are slightly weird at times.

Sovereign Court

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This ridiculous "decide whether to block AFTER you know the damage" rule will never see play at my table, or most people's I think.

If you are using that rule, then the complaint about the Rogue's Nimble Dodge being a reaction shouldn't apply either, simply have the GM roll the attack against the Rogue, and if it is within 2 points, inform the player and allow them to use their reaction to make the attack miss if the Rogue wants. That way there is never a risk of the Rogue using Nimble Dodge and possibly having the +2 AC bonus not mattering one way or the other... it ALWAYS works, and never wastes your reaction on an attack that would have missed anyways.

And why stop there? If an attack drops you to 0 HP, change you action the previous round to drink a healing potion instead of moving so that you now have enough HP to survive the hit!

Play should follow a simple order IMO. The player decides what to do on their turn. If the enemies attack the PC, the PC must decide how to use their reaction for the attack before knowing if the attack hits or misses, and definitely before the damage from a hit is rolled. The game's rules should not require you to go back in time to change things that have already happened in the game, and if they do, then that is a rule that needs fixing IMO.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Ah, straw man arguments and hyperbole. Good times.

Grand Lodge

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Samurai wrote:

This ridiculous "decide whether to block AFTER you know the damage" rule will never see play at my table, or most people's I think.

Attacks follow a simple flow:

1) Declare target
2) Roll and identity modifiers
3) calculate result
4) compare to DC AC (ie hit/miss)
5) Roll Damage
6) Determine Damage type
7) Apply Resistances/Immunities
8) If damage remains deduct it from HP.

Nimble dodge has the Trigger: "A creature targets you with an attack an you can see the attack" therefore you must declare using nimble dodge when the condition is met, ie you are targeted by an attack. ie step 1 above

Shield block has the Trigger: "While you have your shield raised and you would take damage from a physical attack" ie, you have establish that the attack is a hit (or crit) and rolled damage. Only then are you about to take damage from a physical attack. ie step 8 from above.

These have different triggers, and play out differently. RAW shield block not only doesn't need to be declared before damage is rolled, it cannot be declared before damage is rolled.

You may not like it, and are free to house rule it.

If shield block was intended to be declared before damage is known, it would have the trigger "A physical attacks hits or critically hits, and you have your shield raised". It doesn't.


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

This ridiculous "decide whether to block AFTER you know the damage" rule will never see play at my table, or most people's I think.

If you are using that rule, then the complaint about the Rogue's Nimble Dodge being a reaction shouldn't apply either, simply have the GM roll the attack against the Rogue, and if it is within 2 points, inform the player and allow them to use their reaction to make the attack miss if the Rogue wants. That way there is never a risk of the Rogue using Nimble Dodge and possibly having the +2 AC bonus not mattering one way or the other... it ALWAYS works, and never wastes your reaction on an attack that would have missed anyways.

And why stop there? If an attack drops you to 0 HP, change you action the previous round to drink a healing potion instead of moving so that you now have enough HP to survive the hit!

Play should follow a simple order IMO. The player decides what to do on their turn. If the enemies attack the PC, the PC must decide how to use their reaction for the attack before knowing if the attack hits or misses, and definitely before the damage from a hit is rolled. The game's rules should not require you to go back in time to change things that have already happened in the game, and if they do, then that is a rule that needs fixing IMO.

While obviously you can change the rules at your table, I have no idea why you would assume this rule wouldn't be used at most tables. Making declarations of popularity without some dataset is a pretty shaky practice.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cydeth wrote:

Going to quote myself from a couple of posts from a while back, but the short version: You know how much damage.

Quote:
It's triggered when you 'would take damage from a physical attack', which is step four of damage, after applying resistances, immunities or the like (if an attack did 4 piercing damage and 6 fire damage to a skeleton, but the skeleton had Piercing Resistance 5, it would take no physical damage, for instance). Thus, you should know exactly how much damage is coming of what types, from how I read the book.
Quote:

Skeletal Champion has resistance 5 against piercing and slashing, as well as resistance 5 against several energy types. I'm going with fire to make to keep this simple. Next, I'm quoting all of Shield Block, and bolding for emphasis.

Shield Block wrote:


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.

Note that it isn't resistance. It says that it prevents you from taking damage equal to the shield's hardness. Minor but important distinction.

Now, since I'm trying to keep this simple, I have a wizard with a +1 flaming dagger attacks the skeletal champion. Said wizard has a Strength of 12. He hits, but doesn't crit. After rolling 1d4+1 + 1d6 fire, he rolls maximum damage and gets a whopping total of 5 physical damage and 6 fire damage. Steps 1 and 2 are complete, so we move on to step 3.

At this point we apply, in order, immunities, weaknesses, and resistances. None of the first two apply to the skeletal champion, so we apply resistance to piercing 5 (or slashing, as daggers can do both), as well as resistance to fire 5. The piercing damage is negated, and only 1 fire damage remains. We move to step 4.

1 fire damage remains. However, as page 452 states

...

The explication was through but I believe you're incorrect on not being able to use Shield Block.

The trigger for Shield Block isn't taking physical damage but actually: While you have your shield raised, you would take damage from a physical attack. I would say a melee attack from from a flaming dagger is a physical attack even if the physical damage is resisted and only energy damage is left.


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Samurai wrote:

This ridiculous "decide whether to block AFTER you know the damage" rule will never see play at my table, or most people's I think.

If you are using that rule, then the complaint about the Rogue's Nimble Dodge being a reaction shouldn't apply either, simply have the GM roll the attack against the Rogue, and if it is within 2 points, inform the player and allow them to use their reaction to make the attack miss if the Rogue wants. That way there is never a risk of the Rogue using Nimble Dodge and possibly having the +2 AC bonus not mattering one way or the other... it ALWAYS works, and never wastes your reaction on an attack that would have missed anyways.

And why stop there? If an attack drops you to 0 HP, change you action the previous round to drink a healing potion instead of moving so that you now have enough HP to survive the hit!

Play should follow a simple order IMO. The player decides what to do on their turn. If the enemies attack the PC, the PC must decide how to use their reaction for the attack before knowing if the attack hits or misses, and definitely before the damage from a hit is rolled. The game's rules should not require you to go back in time to change things that have already happened in the game, and if they do, then that is a rule that needs fixing IMO.

I agree. Excuse me. I don't want to offend anyone, especially the designers who did a great job with the rules. but the Shield Block is the most strange, non-sense, out of order rule in the entire 2e!

Jared Walter 356 wrote:


Attacks follow a simple flow:

1) Declare target
2) Roll and identity modifiers
3) calculate result
4) compare to DC AC (ie hit/miss)
5) Roll Damage
6) Determine Damage type
7) Apply Resistances/Immunities
8) If damage remains deduct it from HP.

We know how the rule works. We know that it create more tactical options in combat. But it still a strange maneuver where a char can block/reduce any attack no matter how precisely is it because it was made after the damage has been calc, just like it was a divination magic but it's just a block, and create even more strange consequences and even some "unbalances" in game.

It's broken non-magical shields too fast if used against big damages, create a situations where the player with I shield will just receive "high" damages, because the most players chose to block only when the damage is smaller or next to their shield hardness creating a gap in the damage (this make then to choose receive the entire high damage and ignoring any low damage attacks, making this unatural for interpretations), and as the game level evolves and the damage increases, the shield block starts to become useless in face of more strongest enemies forcing the players to constantly upgrade their shields to a better Sturdy Shield version and so on ... There are so many other idiosyncrasies created by it that's is hard to list and explain all.

After all this rule working in a way that simply doesn't fell right!

To be honest, my first impression when I understand how it's work was "I will ban this thing from my games" but there are several other things in the game that depends on it, so now i'm trying to discuss an alternative to it.

And how more I read and discuss about this rule and better understand it and what situations this can create, worst it became. That's why I'm trying to create an alternative homebrew rule in other topic.

Sovereign Court

Jared Walter 356 wrote:
Samurai wrote:

This ridiculous "decide whether to block AFTER you know the damage" rule will never see play at my table, or most people's I think.

Attacks follow a simple flow:

1) Declare target
2) Roll and identity modifiers
3) calculate result
4) compare to DC AC (ie hit/miss)
5) Roll Damage
6) Determine Damage type
7) Apply Resistances/Immunities
8) If damage remains deduct it from HP.

Nimble dodge has the Trigger: "A creature targets you with an attack an you can see the attack" therefore you must declare using nimble dodge when the condition is met, ie you are targeted by an attack. ie step 1 above

Shield block has the Trigger: "While you have your shield raised and you would take damage from a physical attack" ie, you have establish that the attack is a hit (or crit) and rolled damage. Only then are you about to take damage from a physical attack. ie step 8 from above.

These have different triggers, and play out differently. RAW shield block not only doesn't need to be declared before damage is rolled, it cannot be declared before damage is rolled.

You may not like it, and are free to house rule it.

If shield block was intended to be declared before damage is known, it would have the trigger "A physical attacks hits or critically hits, and you have your shield raised". It doesn't.

For what it's worth, I changed the trigger for both Nimble Dodge and Shield Block to "You are about to be hit by an attack." Now Nimble Dodge for PC Rogue works the same as it does for the Drow Rogue monster in the Bestiary, and the Shield Block is also declared after step 4 in your chart (you are about to be hit). Because shields never take more than 1 point of damage on a hit in my rules, it is possible to do this and not risk destroying the shield in a big damage hit. It feels like the only reason they took the backwards "roll damage and THEN decide to block or not" rule was because of the system they created where both the shield AND the character take the damage beyond the Hardness. If you just get rid of that and say each hit beyond the Hardness does 1 HP of Shield damage and the remaining attack's damage to the character the problem is eliminated and combat can flow more smoothly.

DM: "The ogre rolls a 19 to hit you"

PC: "That hits. I use my shield to try and block some of the damage."

DM: "Ok, *rolls*, his club does 13 points of damage."

PC: "My steel shield's hardness stops 5, so I take the remaining 8 and mark 1 HP off the shield. Done."


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fenriswolf11 wrote:
Sorry if this has been answered before but I searched and did not see a definitive answer. If you are able to use a reaction to block an incoming attack with a shield, is the damage roll known or unknown to the blocking player before he/she decides to block it?

There are two possible answers to this question:

1) Unknown
2) Known

The main difference is that answer #1 makes shields close to garbage.

Since I don't want shields to be useless, I'm going with answer #2. You will have to make up your own mind, unless Paizo provides official guidance.

But that might never come. So we're back to: do you want shields to have meaning?

Cheers


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Curgyr wrote:

I'd agree if there was a way to fix a destroyed shield. As it is, both of my players that use shields have thematically unique shields: one is a Cayden cleric who uses a wooden shield that's the front of an ale cask, and the other uses a shield we've flavored to be meticulously handcrafted and has his family tree on it and stuff. Replacing a shield isn't always as simple as buying a new shield in town, and I'd feel worse taking a sentimental item from my players because they thought dire wolves did a bit less damage or whatever...

You do know shields are (or were, I guess) consumables?

Shields were made to be destroyed. You crafted an object which you then wilfully inserted in the path of lethal objects swung at you.

Of course they got dented and buckled and rent asunder and finally shattered in useless broken pieces.

So no, the problem isn't that your player can't keep hold of his ancestral ale cask lid or whatever, because that's fundamentally misunderstanding what a shield *is*.

Instead, the real problem is that magical (but not mundane) shields are priced as permanent items, even though the rules make them (easily) destructable.

Paizo needed to choose between
a) realistic shields that get destroyed all the time, even multiple times during a single battle
and
b) shields as very valuable magic items (that you can't afford to lose)

They failed to make that choice. THAT is the cause of the problem.

Cheers


PS. The true solution is to first make the magic enchantment of a shield survive the physical shield's destruction.

Once you have made that ruling, everything else falls into place:

Then you can easily rule that a player must choose to Shield Block before knowing the amount of damage an incoming attack will make.

Why? Because the worst-case scenario is now being without a shield until you have the time to procure another. An inconvenience, sure, but fair and very survivable.

More to the point: The worst-case scenario is NOT "losing tens of thousands of gold" just because you invested your money in one combat item instead of another.

It doesn't make a lick of sense that investing in armor or a sword is entirely safe, while investing in a shield is INCREDIBLY fragile. Shields just aren't that good.

So. If you could store your shield's magic in an amulet around your neck, say, and this amulet imbues whatever mundane ratty peasant's shield you hold up with its awesomesauce, then everything would work much much better.

You're welcome :)


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Zapp wrote:


You do know shields are (or were, I guess) consumables?

Shields were made to be destroyed. You crafted an object which you then wilfully inserted in the path of lethal objects swung at you.

Of course they got dented and buckled and rent asunder and finally shattered in useless broken pieces.

That's the main problem. The shields they shouldn't be that consumable!

Even the most shield occupying just 1 bulk, it's big enough to allow a character to carry more than 2. Even so, where it cannot carry it with a backpack (unless you the backpack on your chest, but this limit you mobility). The only shield I thing that classifies to been carrieable in qty is the bucker. But still complicated change such shield during a encounter.

Repair the shield on the field requires time, you frequently don't have such time when your are in a DG.

In reality a knight with a shield have a squire and a horse to carry such things. But in a role play this hard to keep when adventure in a very dungerous fantasy world where you are always in a dungeon, or a dungerous forest, or surround of undeads and so.

Zapp wrote:


So no, the problem isn't that your player can't keep hold of his ancestral ale cask lid or whatever, because that's fundamentally misunderstanding what a shield *is*.

Instead, the real problem is that magical (but not mundane) shields are priced as permanent items, even though the rules make them (easily) destructable.

Paizo needed to choose between
a) realistic shields that get destroyed all the time, even multiple times during a single battle
and
b) shields as very valuable magic items (that you can't afford to lose)

They failed to make that choice. THAT is the cause of the problem.

Cheers

The main problem is they choose to be fragile with shield that is big, heavy and expensive enough like a weapon, but the weapons are unbreakable but the shields are easily broken. So when you start to turn it a magical things it becomes even worst, becouse your shield become less dispensable but still fragile.

In other topic Draco18s points the problem this create for Forge Warden magical shield. A expensive lvl 10 magical shield fragile just like any mundane shield, but that need to do a block agains the opponent to activate it's main ability:

Draco18s wrote:


ts a level 10 shield with the approximate durability of a level 1 steel shield. And way too expensive to carry "more than one"

Forge Warden: Hardness 6, HP 24 (BT 12)
Steel Shield: Hardness 5, HP 20 (BT 10)

Even the Lion's Shield (a level 6 item) has more hp! (Hardness 6, HP 36)

And here's the kicker, you can't use a Forge Warden's shield--for its ability, you know, the reason you own one--unless you block an attack with it and have the shield take damage. That's two attacks from a cave bear (a trivial fight at Lv -4) to break that shield (average damage is 15).

Fight a triceratops (moderate at Lv -2) and its average damage will break the shield in one hit (67% odds).

Fight a deinonychus (tough at Lv -1) and its minimum damage is only 3 points shy of breaking the shield (with a 10% chance of destroying it outright!)


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Forge Warden isn't the only shield with that flaw, but its the most notable one because its ability specifically only works when you block with it. The arrow catching shield and the one that lets you block for other people fall into the same category as well.

I'd have to double-check their stats, though.

Just about every other shield falls into the "has more hit points" bucket.


Samurai wrote:
Jared Walter 356 wrote:
Samurai wrote:

This ridiculous "decide whether to block AFTER you know the damage" rule will never see play at my table, or most people's I think.

Attacks follow a simple flow:

1) Declare target
2) Roll and identity modifiers
3) calculate result
4) compare to DC AC (ie hit/miss)
5) Roll Damage
6) Determine Damage type
7) Apply Resistances/Immunities
8) If damage remains deduct it from HP.

Nimble dodge has the Trigger: "A creature targets you with an attack an you can see the attack" therefore you must declare using nimble dodge when the condition is met, ie you are targeted by an attack. ie step 1 above

Shield block has the Trigger: "While you have your shield raised and you would take damage from a physical attack" ie, you have establish that the attack is a hit (or crit) and rolled damage. Only then are you about to take damage from a physical attack. ie step 8 from above.

These have different triggers, and play out differently. RAW shield block not only doesn't need to be declared before damage is rolled, it cannot be declared before damage is rolled.

You may not like it, and are free to house rule it.

If shield block was intended to be declared before damage is known, it would have the trigger "A physical attacks hits or critically hits, and you have your shield raised". It doesn't.

For what it's worth, I changed the trigger for both Nimble Dodge and Shield Block to "You are about to be hit by an attack." Now Nimble Dodge for PC Rogue works the same as it does for the Drow Rogue monster in the Bestiary, and the Shield Block is also declared after step 4 in your chart (you are about to be hit). Because shields never take more than 1 point of damage on a hit in my rules, it is possible to do this and not risk destroying the shield in a big damage hit. It feels like the only reason they took the backwards "roll damage and THEN decide to block or not" rule was because of the system they created where both the shield AND...

That is a substantial nerf to shields, to the point where I can't imagine why your players would even waste time using them. In everyone else's game a standard-grade Adamantine Buckler can prevent 40 points of damage. In your game, it prevents 8. What a waste of 400gp.

It gets even worse as the shields get better. An 8,800gp high-grade Adamantine shield prevents 65 points of damage for everyone else, but only 13 for your players. What a great investment at level 16.

May as well just take the Shield Cantrip and block more damage without ever spending any money, for literally the exact same action economy, and never have to worry about wasting a hand on a shield.


Aratorin wrote:
That is a substantial nerf to shields, to the point where I can't imagine why your players would even waste time using them. In everyone else's game a standard-grade Adamantine Buckler can prevent 40 points of damage. In your game, it prevents 8. What a waste of 400gp.

The Adamantine Buckler (uncommon) have only HP 32 and in practice can prevent only 16, after it will be broken and become useless.

This way it's still not worth buying it

But with the Samurai rules at last it can be useful to block more damage (8 Hardness) so in my opinion it's now worth to buy.

Aratorin wrote:


It gets even worse as the shields get better. An 8,800gp high-grade Adamantine shield prevents 65 points of damage for everyone else, but only 13 for your players. What a great investment at level 16.

But it's hardness is now 13! But I agree theres better shields than it. It's much better to buy a Sturdy Shield, it not uncommon and provides better defense for only 1.000gp

But with core rules as said by Draco18s there's a lot more other shields that become useless if you try to block with then at high-level, like Forge Warden (lvl 10), becouse is easy to a criature balanced to face lvl 10 chars do much more damage than the shield BT, or even the Shield HP.

Aratorin wrote:


May as well just take the Shield Cantrip and block more damage without ever spending any money, for literally the exact same action economy, and never have to worry about wasting a hand on a shield.

But will work only 1 time! The shield cantrip broken if you block with it. No matter how much damage.

CRB wrote:
While the spell is in effect, you can use the Shield Block reaction with your magic shield (see the sidebar). The shield has Hardness 5. After you use Shield Block, the spell ends and you can’t cast it again for 10 minutes.

But I agree without a way to do more damage to the shields the things can easily become unbalanced. That the why in my own rules I kept a way to destroy shields, but it isn't based in decision of how much damage the char will receive, but in the opponent weapon type. So they can decide based on this (no more based in damage they take) if they want try to block or not.


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Samurai wrote:
This ridiculous "decide whether to block AFTER you know the damage" rule will never see play at my table, or most people's I think.

This is such a weird take given how over the top a lot of your own house rules are.


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Aratorin wrote:

That is a substantial nerf to shields, to the point where I can't imagine why your players would even waste time using them. In everyone else's game a standard-grade Adamantine Buckler can prevent 40 points of damage. In your game, it prevents 8. What a waste of 400gp.

It gets even worse as the shields get better. An 8,800gp high-grade Adamantine shield prevents 65 points of damage for everyone else, but only 13 for your players. What a great investment at level 16.

May as well just take the Shield Cantrip and block more damage without ever spending any money, for literally the exact same action economy, and never have to worry about wasting a hand on a shield.

I think you misunderstood. Samurai's homebrew makes shields MUCH better. It's a gigantic buff in fact.

Look at the example.

Samurai wrote:

DM: "The ogre rolls a 19 to hit you"

PC: "That hits. I use my shield to try and block some of the damage."

DM: "Ok, *rolls*, his club does 13 points of damage."

PC: "My steel shield's hardness stops 5, so I take the remaining 8 and mark 1 HP off the shield. Done."

It's the same as normal rules only instead of player and shield taking the same damage, the shield only ever takes 1 damage. That adamantine shield can now stop 256 damage (not including hits that don't damage it!) before being broken (hardness 8x32 BT). That's bonkers.


theservantsllcleanitup wrote:
Aratorin wrote:

That is a substantial nerf to shields, to the point where I can't imagine why your players would even waste time using them. In everyone else's game a standard-grade Adamantine Buckler can prevent 40 points of damage. In your game, it prevents 8. What a waste of 400gp.

It gets even worse as the shields get better. An 8,800gp high-grade Adamantine shield prevents 65 points of damage for everyone else, but only 13 for your players. What a great investment at level 16.

May as well just take the Shield Cantrip and block more damage without ever spending any money, for literally the exact same action economy, and never have to worry about wasting a hand on a shield.

I think you misunderstood. Samurai's homebrew makes shields MUCH better. It's a gigantic buff in fact.

Look at the example.

Samurai wrote:

DM: "The ogre rolls a 19 to hit you"

PC: "That hits. I use my shield to try and block some of the damage."

DM: "Ok, *rolls*, his club does 13 points of damage."

PC: "My steel shield's hardness stops 5, so I take the remaining 8 and mark 1 HP off the shield. Done."

It's the same as normal rules only instead of player and shield taking the same damage, the shield only ever takes 1 damage. That adamantine shield can now stop 256 damage (not including hits that don't damage it!) before being broken (hardness 8x32 BT). That's bonkers.

I misread Shield Block. I was under the impression that the shield reduced the damage by it's hardness value, and then the shield itself took the rest of the damage up to it's HP, and that any remaining damage spilled over.

Rereading shield block, I see that Samurai's rules do make them better, but I now feel that either with RAW or his homebrew rules, it simply isn't worth using a shield period.

The amount of damage that can be reduced isn't worth the cost of 1 action, and 1 reaction, that can both be spent in much more useful ways. On top of that you have to spend the money to get the shield.

Circumstance bonuses to AC are way too easy to get for the AC bonus to matter.

If you want to play a shield guy thematically, go ahead, but from a mechanical standpoint, it will always just be terrible.

Sovereign Court

Aratorin wrote:
theservantsllcleanitup wrote:
Aratorin wrote:

That is a substantial nerf to shields, to the point where I can't imagine why your players would even waste time using them. In everyone else's game a standard-grade Adamantine Buckler can prevent 40 points of damage. In your game, it prevents 8. What a waste of 400gp.

It gets even worse as the shields get better. An 8,800gp high-grade Adamantine shield prevents 65 points of damage for everyone else, but only 13 for your players. What a great investment at level 16.

May as well just take the Shield Cantrip and block more damage without ever spending any money, for literally the exact same action economy, and never have to worry about wasting a hand on a shield.

I think you misunderstood. Samurai's homebrew makes shields MUCH better. It's a gigantic buff in fact.

Look at the example.

Samurai wrote:

DM: "The ogre rolls a 19 to hit you"

PC: "That hits. I use my shield to try and block some of the damage."

DM: "Ok, *rolls*, his club does 13 points of damage."

PC: "My steel shield's hardness stops 5, so I take the remaining 8 and mark 1 HP off the shield. Done."

It's the same as normal rules only instead of player and shield taking the same damage, the shield only ever takes 1 damage. That adamantine shield can now stop 256 damage (not including hits that don't damage it!) before being broken (hardness 8x32 BT). That's bonkers.

I misread Shield Block. I was under the impression that the shield reduced the damage by it's hardness value, and then the shield itself took the rest of the damage up to it's HP, and that any remaining damage spilled over.

Rereading shield block, I see that Samurai's rules do make them better, but I now feel that either with RAW or his homebrew rules, it simply isn't worth using a shield period.

The amount of damage that can be reduced isn't worth the cost of 1 action, and 1 reaction, that can both be spent in much more useful ways. On top of that you have to spend the money to...

I don't really care for the PF2 Shield rules, either, but I wanted to provide a way to still use them for those that like them but just want shields to be more durable than wet paper. One other change I made is that a "Broken" shield can still be used, the "broken" condition just reducers the AC bonus from the shield by 1, but the Hardness can still be used to stop more damage until it reaches the "destroyed" state. So that Adamantine shield's HP last twice as long, and of course the shield can also be repaired when you get some time to do so.


I understand the feeling and I think there could certainly be a way to achieve that result, but you are effectively increasing a shield user's HP by an outrageous amount with this. Multiplying the effective HP of an adamantine shield by at minimum 32 times seems a little extreme...

But then again, as long as you can anticipate that power level in your encounter design I suppose it's a wash. But if I ever play in your game... you best believe I'm going shield use :D!


I really don't know why we're still debating this. The limitations of the core rules are clearly known by now. And it really boils down to either 1) play by the RAW, warts and all...

or 2) fix it.

In the spirit of that, let me repost what I said above... even adding a helpful link! :-)

The true solution is to first make the magic enchantment of a shield survive the physical shield's destruction.

Once you have made that ruling, everything else falls into place:

Then you can easily rule that a player must choose to Shield Block before knowing the amount of damage an incoming attack will make.

Why? Because the worst-case scenario is now being without a shield until you have the time to procure another. An inconvenience, sure, but fair and very survivable.

More to the point: The worst-case scenario is NOT "losing tens of thousands of gold" just because you invested your money in one combat item instead of another.

It doesn't make a lick of sense that investing in armor or a sword is entirely safe, while investing in a shield is INCREDIBLY fragile. Shields just aren't that good.

So. If you could store your shield's magic in an amulet around your neck, say, and this amulet imbues whatever mundane ratty peasant's shield you hold up with its awesomesauce, then everything would work much much better.

In fact, since I posted this the first time, I went ahead and created just such an amulet!

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42xzj?Shield-Block-rules-improvements#20

You're welcome :)

Sovereign Court

Zapp wrote:

I really don't know why we're still debating this. The limitations of the core rules are clearly known by now. And it really boils down to either 1) play by the RAW, warts and all...

or 2) fix it.

In the spirit of that, let me repost what I said above... even adding a helpful link! :-)

The true solution is to first make the magic enchantment of a shield survive the physical shield's destruction.

Once you have made that ruling, everything else falls into place:

Then you can easily rule that a player must choose to Shield Block before knowing the amount of damage an incoming attack will make.

Why? Because the worst-case scenario is now being without a shield until you have the time to procure another. An inconvenience, sure, but fair and very survivable.

More to the point: The worst-case scenario is NOT "losing tens of thousands of gold" just because you invested your money in one combat item instead of another.

It doesn't make a lick of sense that investing in armor or a sword is entirely safe, while investing in a shield is INCREDIBLY fragile. Shields just aren't that good.

So. If you could store your shield's magic in an amulet around your neck, say, and this amulet imbues whatever mundane ratty peasant's shield you hold up with its awesomesauce, then everything would work much much better.

In fact, since I posted this the first time, I went ahead and created just such an amulet!

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42xzj?Shield-Block-rules-improvements#20

You're welcome :)

That doesn't actually fix the Shield problem, it just means you now have to find/create another ~1,300 gp magic item so that WHEN your shield inevitably breaks you don't lose the magic from it. Who's to say the characters will always be able to find/create such a pendant for every shield that the characters get? If there are 3 shield users in the party, each will need to find or create their own amulet as well.


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I'll just my 2 cents worth...

People, please remember that shield use, as well as armour class and hitpoints are an ABSTRACTION.

Making one or two or even three Strike actions in a round doesn't necessarily represent that number of swings taken with a weapon. It could easily represent a whole flurry of blows, intended to force the enemy into a certain defensive posture that can then be exploited by that last, actually damaging attack.

'Raising your shield' does NOT just mean holding it up instead of having it hang limply beside your body, it represents using the shield as an ACTIVE DEFENSIVE weapon. The abstraction of this being the +2 AC.

'Shield Blocking' an attack with the accordingly named action does NOT simply represent interposing your shield between your alabaster skin and the slavering hordes of evil lusting for your blood. That is already part and parcel of using the damn thing to begin with!

Remember that 'Shield Block' is a feat. This feat represents something that only someone with that special training can do. And that is basically being even better at using a shield then the average Joe Adventurer.

Using the Shield Block action effectively gives you some damage resistance. DR is pretty powerful, so it needs to be restricted somewhat. The way it worked in the playtest was that you got 'dings', thus limiting your shield to a certain number of instances in each combat encounter you could use your shield to apply DR to an incoming attack. It did not matter how much damage the incoming attack dealt, except maybe if it was lower then the shield's harness, as you would maybe 'waste' some DR on a weak attack.

I am very happy that they dropped that despicably gamey mechanic for actual damage tracking, even if this creates its own set of problems. Of course, one of the problems is that a sufficiently strong attack can render your shield useless, or even destroyed, in even one hit.

This adds another consideration to your choices in combat as you now have to maintain your shield's HP in order to retain that crucial +2 bonus to AC. So it can make sense to tank a hit that would otherwise leave your shield inoperational, hoping to mitigate another hit that would still leave your shield providing its AC bonus.

However, you can ONLY make that choice if you know how much damage is incoming before you commit to using your Shield Block.

Again, Shield Block is an ABSTRACTION, therefore any arguments boiling down to 'But you can't realistically know the damage' have no bearing because this does not concern realism, it concerns an abstract mechanic.

The way it works now, by RAW, is the player DOES know the incoming damage and can make a tactical choice. Do I block now or do I conserve shield integrity to block a non-disabling hit later?

If you take that information away from the players, you force them to gamble on what is effectively an ablative form of protection. Which would not be so bad if you could repair destroyed shields. Which you can't. Having your shield broken is not so bad. You have to pay an action cost to drop it and maybe change to an off-hand weapon or duelling style to maintain AC, but you can manage with the right feats. Having it destroyed can nullify an entire set of feats for the rest of the gaming session, or even longer.

That. Is. Not. Fun!

Personally, I would accuse any GM who tried to enforce such a ruling onto a player because of 'realism' to be an adversarial GM, but maybe that's just me.

Unfortunately, just going back to 'dings' and taking shield HP as 'dings' on a 1:1 ratio is not a perfect, or even good solution either, as it makes shields so durable that *not* using shields becomes a losing proposition.

tldr: Having your shield HP as another resource to manage can be a fun mechanic. Getting blindsided by a critical hit because your GM withholds information he is by RAW supposed to volunteer is not fun.

Let people know the damage and decide if they want to sacrifice their shield or not.

Horizon Hunters

It's interesting to see the arguments that pop up, not because the wording is unclear or there is a mechanic or function that doesn't work RAW, but because a rule does not feel right.

I am no expert in the rule-set of original Pathfinder but I wonder how many DMs are coming from 5e games where if you're trying to challenge your players and be a very "by the book/RAW" DM, the actual damage dealt is very privileged information and ideally should almost never be revealed until the players decide to expend their reactions or not (Whether that be cutting words, shield or any other feature/ability).

Differences in systems are not the same as problems. The fact that this allows players to have a little bit more control leads me to believe that the need to tweak and adjust thing is coming more from DMs than from Players (which given the nature of this forum is not all that surprising).

Given how much the DM gets to keep secret if you're playing RAW in P2 I think in this one instance letting them make an informed decision when it comes to potentially breaking an important item is pretty harmless. Other than being more familiar to some players I am hard pressed to think of any benefit (besides game flow but that comes with familiarity) to running it with damage being an unknown factor.

I think in order for you to still keep the same sense of tension in combat, a good practice would be to make sure to let them know the damage and no other information when an attack hits and then ask if they'd like to use shield block. That way you do not give away any secondary affects that may affect a player's decision on whether or not to block. If you find your players spending too long deliberating their choices a time limit (10 seconds or so seems good but I have not needed to implement a rule like this yet, so I'm not sure what length of time is appropriate) to decide whether or not to block once damage is known could be introduced. If they go over they've missed their window to use their reaction.

Running it this way also helps the crunch of the rules fit better with the fluff of the fantasy, without giving away too much of your DM power. A player is already actively defending once we've taken a "Raise A Shield" action, that's why we receive a +2 to AC. Blocking when you know your about to take a huge smack (or when the attack is weak and pathetic) seems to fall in line with a quick snapping a shield into place to brace against a blow. I will admit it is logically not quite as perfect as having the damage be unknown but considering the other factors at play I think it is the preferable option.


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OK, I understand your point but I think you are abstracting too much.

Using your logic when a char receive an attack from an enemy strong (STR 18) with a rapier, at it hit but roll only 5 (1 + 4) damage and a player chose to block it with a shield with 5 Hardness and 10BT. In role play the player just like managed to block the enemy.
But when this enemy roll max dice (8 + 4) and take 12 dmg and the player decides to no block it because this would do much damage to the shield and takes all damage. In role play now the player was unable to block!

In practice you are giving the GM golden ability to partially rule what's happen to the game. Is like the same if the GM rolled a big damage against a player and after thinks "ok, this way I will kill this char" an decides to diminish it or attack other char instead because it doesn't like to kill that player.

I know I'm exaggerating the example, but it's to show how this rule works and when I read "forget, this rule is cool just abstract it" for a rule that if it wasn't made officially by Paizo and instead was homebrew rule made by someone in this forum, probably such rule would be ignored, criticized and many people will throwing stones against it but no one was saying "wow, this is a cool rule, we just need to abstract it".

To know the damage before or after block is just one of the problems with it. This rule has many others! Even knowing the damage before block, the block will become useless at high-levels as the damages increases unless you waste many gold pieces buying sturdy magical shields and basically obligating the player to use such shields and ignore all other options, there's several feats and even items that depend of this block to work, but that you receive at high levels when the blocks are already useless.

I cannot stop think that this rule was not just poorly designed. I like to see some GMs that's trying to solve it's problems and strangness, and discussing it not just accepting it.


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YuriP wrote:
I know I'm exaggerating the example, but it's to show how this rule works and when I read "forget, this rule is cool just abstract it" for a rule that if it wasn't made officially by Paizo and instead was homebrew rule made by someone in this forum, probably such rule would be ignored, criticized and many people will throwing stones against it but no one was saying "wow, this is a cool rule, we just need to abstract it".

I believe you misunderstand my point. There is nothing that needs abstracting here. The rules are *already* abstractions, trying to frame the ebb and flow of fantasy combat into hard mechanics.

Think of it that way: Magic does not make sense. At all. And yet we accept it as a given in a fantasy setting.

Now you argue:

YuriP wrote:
But when this enemy roll max dice (8 + 4) and take 12 dmg and the player decides to no block it because this would do much damage to the shield and takes all damage. In role play now the player was unable to block!

And? What exactly is wrong with that? It is *always* for the *player* to decide what his character does (unless he is being dominated or something), *not* the GM. So if a player decides to have his PC block a weak hit, but not a strong hit, to preserve his shield, that is *their* call to make and theirs alone. And it is the GM's job to provide the information necessary to make that *player choice* a meaningful one.

Now that shields could be a bit more sturdy at higher levels is a bit of a downer, but like as with the nerfed magic, it is always easier to buff them up to snuff later, then to try and reign them in again, if they come out of the gate overpowered.

Adding better materials, magic items or even feats to make shields more durable is as easy as printing new spells, or alternate rules to buff things up a bit.

But the rub is: Giving players something to play with, in this case their shield health, is better then taking agency away from them. You can house-rule your game however you want, but I can only reiterate that if the RAW mandates the GM volunteers the amount of damage *prior* to making the decision to block or not, and the GM fails to do so, that is adversarial GMing in my opinion.

And 'realism' is a piss-poor reason to deny a player choices, 'realism' was about the greatest contributor to the C/M-disparity in PF1, because help the gods that non-casters get nice things! How unrealistic! Seriously, if you don't bat an eye at fireballs, why should a martial have to justify just *being that good* with shields? Shield Block is a gods damn *feat* for crying out loud! They paid the price of admission, so *let them have their fun* already. :(

Horizon Hunters

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YuriP wrote:

OK, I understand your point but I think you are abstracting too much.

Using your logic when a char receive an attack from an enemy strong (STR 18) with a rapier, at it hit but roll only 5 (1 + 4) damage and a player chose to block it with a shield with 5 Hardness and 10BT. In role play the player just like managed to block the enemy.
But when this enemy roll max dice (8 + 4) and take 12 dmg and the player decides to no block it because this would do much damage to the shield and takes all damage. In role play now the player was unable to block!

In practice you are giving the GM golden ability to partially rule what's happen to the game. Is like the same if the GM rolled a big damage against a player and after thinks "ok, this way I will kill this char" an decides to diminish it or attack other char instead because it doesn't like to kill that player.

I know I'm exaggerating the example, but it's to show how this rule works and when I read "forget, this rule is cool just abstract it" for a rule that if it wasn't made officially by Paizo and instead was homebrew rule made by someone in this forum, probably such rule would be ignored, criticized and many people will throwing stones against it but no one was saying "wow, this is a cool rule, we just need to abstract it".

To know the damage before or after block is just one of the problems with it. This rule has many others! Even knowing the damage before block, the block will become useless at high-levels as the damages increases unless you waste many gold pieces buying sturdy magical shields and basically obligating the player to use such shields and ignore all other options, there's several feats and even items that depend of this block to work, but that you receive at high levels when the blocks are already useless.

I cannot stop think that this rule was not just poorly designed. I like to see some GMs that's trying to solve it's problems and strangness, and discussing it not just accepting it.

There are several points I disagree with you on:

1.) The "Combat RolePlay" has always been an abstraction of the dice you roll. No sane system could truly replicate the chaos of combat in a turned base game. Having different outcomes result in different role play interpretations or narrative entertainment isn't a flaw in my eyes. An attack being too overwhelming (dealing too much damage) to block is certainly a concept a creative DM could narrate.

2.) In most games the GM always has the ability to change the outcome in one way or another. Pathfinder Society GMs are bound a bit more by the rules that home game GMs but there is always a way for them to influence outcomes if they want to or feel it is merited.

3.)Sturdy shields are a great option if you want to block often but that is just one option for your reaction. It is up to the player which options they want to use and how often. Even a basic shield can be far from useless if it is the difference between dropping due to a lucky crit or not (Dying 2 is no joke).

4.) I think almost every rule discussed on this section of the site falls into the category of "If Paizo didn't put it in their game, the game Rules forum would probably not like it" :-D

5.) Later levels you also have access to more gold and more options for crafting interesting things.

Lastly if your primary concerns are altering a rule set that we know is functional but you don't like it, the Homebrew/House Rule discussion forum may be a great resource for you. Just from the standpoint of putting you in contact with like minded individuals who would have similar end goals in altering the play-style of the game.


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Goldryno wrote:
3.)Sturdy shields are a great option if you want to block often but that is just one option for your reaction. It is up to the player which options they want to use and how often. Even a basic shield can be far from useless if it is the difference between dropping due to a lucky crit or not (Dying 2 is no joke).

Two words:

Forge Warden.


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Zapp wrote:

You do know shields are (or were, I guess) consumables?

Shields were made to be destroyed. You crafted an object which you then wilfully inserted in the path of lethal objects swung at you.

Of course they got dented and buckled and rent asunder and finally shattered in useless broken pieces.

So no, the problem isn't that your player can't keep hold of his ancestral ale cask lid or whatever, because that's fundamentally misunderstanding what a shield *is*.

Zapp wrote:
It doesn't make a lick of sense that investing in armor or a sword is entirely safe, while investing in a shield is INCREDIBLY fragile. Shields just aren't that good.

Okay, I agree with you that investing in shields isn't safe while investing in armor and swords is. That's... exactly been my point. But that's about where we stop seeing eye to eye. I don't really see where you solution fixes the problem. It kind of preserves the stats of an item, but it doesn't preserve most of them (material, all the special features) and it doesn't allow the character to keep the same shield, which might be important to them for reasons other than their stats. Whether you agree with those reasons or not is immaterial; the fact of the matter is that everyone else is allowed to do so, no matter how realistic or sensible it is.

Look, this turned out long, so here are some spoiler tags for you. Goodness.

I think we have to take realism out of the equation. I mean, let's take a look at making sure Pathfinder does shield use like it was:

Realism in Shield Use:
I think really trying to make shields realistic would, frankly, require an entire redoing of the rules. I'm not an expert on shields - not by ANY means at all - but I've used one a handful of times in a few different contexts: SCA heavy, SCA rapier, and Belegarth. Fantastically enough, the rules of that last group actually describe how shields break against heavy hits (successive hits from two-handed weapons). Anyway, it's just my experience, but I actually think it's strange to separate Shield Block and Raise a Shield. I don't think planting your foot and trying to absorb a blow is a particularly specialized or skilled action - to me, it seems like the default. And, in fact, it seems like there are a lot of times it should be mandatory to Shield Block if you're using your shield at all. The idea of a shield contributing to AC but not taking damage suggests to me you're using the shield to dissuade attacks and limit enemy options, or maybe taking glancing blows. When an enemy really gets a strong enough hit on you to hit through your shield, they're doing one of two things:

1) Bypassing your shield, either by targeting an area not covered by your shield before you can react and move it, like the slot that's sometimes visible between a shield and a weapon, or they're faking or moving or otherwise acting in such a way that you overextend your shield and then striking the new opening. Shield Block should be neither mandatory nor allowed in this scenario, as your shield has been negated.

2) Striking you so effectively on your shield that you take damage regardless. Your shield was successfully in the way, but they either managed to batter it aside or simply hit you so hard that it hurts you through your shield - which is definitely doable. But Shield Block should be mandatory, and certainly isn't something "special" you've done. It's the basic way anyone handed a shield uses a shield.

Yes, there are some fringe cases where a really skilled fighter could use Shield Block where another person couldn't. The two I can think of, for each of the two options above, both involve a fighter reading an attack at the last moment and really getting their shield in there. Maybe they twist in such a way that an attack that would hit an opening hits the shield instead, but it's a poor block that damages both them and their shield. Maybe an attack that would hit the edge of their shield and batter through is intercepted right in the center, damaging their arm some but taking the worst of the hit on the shield itself. Still, to properly represent skilled shield use, such as a fighter twisting at the right moment to deflect some of the force of a solid blow taken on the shield, you'd think Fighters/Champions/people who invest in feats should get a better Shield Block reaction. Maybe the effective hardness of their shield goes up, because they know how to use the shield. This protects the shield AND you. Yay!

But that's a lot of changes. Realistic! But hard to implement. And, at that point, if we're modeling skills and use and physics in more appropriate ways, blades used to parry should absolutely break a ton of the time unless you're parrying a thrust! It's like you said, it's odd that we penalize only shield users for using their equipment as intended but aren't representing the damage other equipment takes. Because, unless you're nudging a blow to the side or otherwise redirecting its force, you're taking the force on the surface of your weapon, and believe you me, those puppies break. And then, wasn't the whole historical point of the mace to cave in plate armor? Shouldn't that affect AC calculation? Shouldn't your armor get damaged just as easily?

What about the Alchemist's bombs? Shouldn't a hard hit smash some of them? And wouldn't a Hydraulic Push ruin your Wizard's spellbook?

Okay, I'm going too far now. But you see what I mean? Even though it's sometimes silly, we allow players to keep every other item - not just its stats, but the items themselves. It doesn't always make a lick of sense, but their items just aren't something we take from them. So looking at that level of realism seems odd to me, especially because we're only applying it to shields.

Realism is always put aside - either carefully or otherwise - in rules sets to make them playable without suffering. You seem to think this can be fixed by making consumable shields less penalizing, and that might be the way you want to play. That's something I want to look at in its own merits, but I don't think that represents the design philosophy of Pathfinder where equipment and tone are concerned. I especially take umbrage to the fact that my players were said to be "using shields wrong" because someone wants to selectively apply realism to what equipment is assumed to stick around. The fact of the matter is that - if I can be so bold as to make an assumption about genre - Pathfinder doesn't simulate realism, it simulates fantasy. If you want to house rule a grittier tone, that's how you want to play Pathfinder, and that's fine. But the rules aren't there for you to play William the Footman levied in some political war in Dark Ages Britain; the implication is that you're playing a fantasy book or a fantasy movie.

Just like Inigo Montoya keeps his blade and Conan's helmet stay with him, Thorin Oakenshield gets to keep his improvised less-than wooden shield until he chooses to discard it. It literally never breaks. Aveline from Dragon Age 2 gets to keep her dead husband's templar shield from start to finish. Link's Hyrulian Shield is a Zelda staple. No one whines that these characters are getting shields wrong, because fantasy characters are allowed sentimental/signature equipment. And, frankly, the idea that taking these items - permanently - from your players without their consent because knowing the damage before choosing to use Shield Block seems "gamey" and "it isn't realistic", but not blinking an eye when Fillini the Blacksmith's Son in narrative (using Duelist's Parry) interposes the last blade his father forged - the one he intends to carry with him to the face of his father's killer and use to slay the man - between his fragile chest and the black, twisted dread mace of Warthgar the Doommaker as it cuts a crushing arc down through air towards him is silly and antagonistic. Fillini's player isn't "looking at the game wrong" because he expects his rapier's blade to never snap, but it's also not "realistic" to expect a blade like that to provide any AC bonus at all in the narrative described without directly absorbing pretty massive force.

I really believe it is inappropriate for a GM to asymmetrically trash sometimes valuable and potentially sentimental equipment from one player, even in the name of a rule "feeling unrealistically in the player's favor". It is in their favor. It allows them to keep gear they're invested in. They're still making a choice no other player has to make - do I give up this item that's important to me? - but it's allowing them to make it informed. Pathfinder allows characters to bring most of their items from character creation to the end game by the power of runes. This doesn't exactly apply to shields - there aren't really runes for shields, so the big improvement for shields is rare materials and the like. The same applies to weapons and armor that are unique magical or rare material, but I'll grant this is one of the only ways to really improve a shield. And, yes, that probably requires a new shield - when you get access to that kind of equipment! though you could allow "reinforcements" the way Thorin's improvised shield was polished and girded with metal - but the rules suggest to me a system that understands the aesthetic and sentimental value of equipment in a fantasy setting.

But let's look at it from a purely mechanics standpoint. Let's pretend my players don't have a right to specific brand of sentimental equipment, and that everyone should view shields in the most realistic way possible: as consumable. We can put aside your above point about how shields were and whether that applies to this game and just look at them as a consumable resource, the same as alchemical bombs and healing potions and stuff. After all, you have a rule that helps support it, fixing the issues you see with the balance while leaving things you don't see as issues:

Zapp wrote:

So. If you could store your shield's magic in an amulet around your neck, say, and this amulet imbues whatever mundane ratty peasant's shield you hold up with its awesomesauce, then everything would work much much better.

In fact, since I posted this the first time, I went ahead and created just such an amulet!

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42xzj?Shield-Block-rules-improvements#20

You're welcome :)

Like I said, I don't agree with the premise of consumable shields on the grounds of realism, considering how much pointed high fantasy Pathfinder has... But let's say shields are consumable and they have that amulet you mentioned. That still presents a lot of issues for people who rely on Shield Block for their feats and features.

Looking as Shields as Consumable:
That might work. I think it's a completely different kind of silly. An amulet that incongruously and nonsensically gives the benefits of magical properties to a shield you're holding without the two items actually touching trades one kind of suspension of disbelief for another, but it could be a functional mechanical fix for losing shields. Except, even if you can put those improvements on every shield they buy from town, the "magic properties that don't come from precious metals (materials)" you can store are only a fraction of what makes higher level/rarer/more expensive shields good. They don't actually make the shield harder to break or more effective to use versus high level attacks. Unless you count a magical shield's Hardness/BT/HP as a "magic property." It definitely doesn't cover rare material shields, which are a good chunk of the special shields you might want to use, and it probably doesn't capture some of the increased capacities of magical shields which make them more useful.

Let's take an extra step back and ignore rare material shields and other properties of magic shields. Let's say everyone functionally uses basic, item level 0 shields. Let's say shields are purely consumable. Some characters builds are designed specifically around the Shield Block reaction, so let's look at those characters the same as any other character who relies on depletable resources: like an Alchemist or a spellcaster. Because that's how those builds operate: if they lose their shield unexpectedly, they lose many of their features. But plenty of classes "run out" of their cool features. Those above-mentioned Alchemists have a limited supply of bombs. Spellcasters have a limited supply of spell slots. And they don't always know ahead of time if they're using their limited resources in an efficient or effective way. That's true!

Except it isn't. Spellcasters and alchemists have ways to improve the quality and number of those limited resources they utilize. Someone who has to buy basic shields... doesn't. Even if you give them a magic amulet to store some of the properties of a magic shield. If they have to buy a new shield every time (so probably one of the basic shields), they're losing the hardness and hp improvements that your amulet won't supply them. At that point, while you're allying that character to carry over some utility, you're only increasing the "staying power" of a Shield Block focused character with "consumable but its okay" shields if they can get ahold of the level 18 Indestructible Shield, and then they don't need your amulet because the shield doesn't break.. Granted, they have to buy the recipe, but an Alchemist's daily bombs can become more potent. A spellcaster's higher level spells do more. Shields would need to "do more" reliably as the character improves, or those shields they have to carry around a bunch of aren't even going to take a low-damage-roll blow before exploding into splinters.

But there's one very basic thing you're forgetting about classes who use consumable resources as the crux of their features. They get them for free every day.. A spellcaster's slots replenish. Focus points restore. An Alchemist gets Level+Int Mod reagents a day to craft the items they use, which they do for no GP cost, and that can be used to craft 2x or even 3x that number if they commit to making them all at once. The only thing I can think of for "consumable reliant characters" is that ammunition doesn't recharge every day, but, on the other hand - for those groups that choose to track it - ammo is so cheap and so light that it hardly matters.

And weight certainly matters... While I don't use the Bulk system because I'm terribly lazy and don't want to track it for my players or teach them how to track it (and then hope they remember to do it right), those other classes that have spell slots or lug around ammo and bombs can carry what they need. I'm not really up on how the encumbrance rules work, but even if you gave your Fighter/Champion free daily shields to lug around, how could they?

In all that, there's a fix I can see, but it isn't just your amulet that does it: Fighters would need to get "free shields" per day. But, instead of X shields, they'd get X miraculous (and totally free) repairs of a completely destroyed shield per day... It could work with the same action economy of readying a new shield (1 action and your broken shield is duct taped back together!) without forcing them to carry around 5 shields. As "shield specialists", they obsessively tinker with their shields, so any shield they prepare/repair using this feature would have to be set to a specific hardness/HP befitting a comparable rare material/magic shield of their level. This doesn't have to go up every level, but should increase every few levels like the Alchemist getting access to stronger recipes or the spellcaster's cantrips heightening to new spell slot levels. That... might work.

It still feels odd to me, so I don't think it fixes the problem of Shield Block feeling odd. But, as we've already established in my character (looking at you, Healing Hands! :P) I think different things can feel odd to different people, so that's fine! I think it requires editing a specific build of specific classes, rather than one class in a more blanket sense, and it requires a good deal of editing and house ruling. Personally, I think it's a lot of hoops to jump through to make shields consumable, but you could do it and then you could feel fine not telling your players the damage before they shield block. You can definitely do it, and more power to you! But that's not how I'm going to run my table, and it's not the default, and that's fine, too.

RAW is clear and it's even been clarified as a developer. The standpoint of Pathfinder representing dramatic fantasy fiction is also pretty clear, I think, and the history of spectacular and sentimental shields in fantasy fiction is not as prevalent as meaningful blades or heirloom armor, but it is just as established. If you don't like these things, you don't have to! What you should do is altar how the game is played at your own table to fit whatever design principles you want see in a system game. Make your shields consumable, but hand them out like free candy! Or be really realistic and make your blades snap! Play with the durability system however you want, even, or tweak classes drastically! What you should do is change how you play the game to suit your impressions of what it should be, however far away from the original game that takes you. I think the house rules required to get shields working the way you want them to are very specific and kind of difficult to connect, but you should work it out to the best of your ability and to your level of satisfaction if you want to jump through those hoops. But what you should not do is tell me that the problem is my players for "misunderstanding" how shields work in fiction, and then condescend to me personally about how real shields work in my game about high fantasy. There are solutions out there aplenty if you need to change your game to meet your expectations. Lord knows I change my game to fit all the time (see my flagrant and unwise disregard for Bulk rules).

As far as OP's question, we know how RAW works. As far as whether, from a mechanics standpoint, it needs houseruling? I don't know. It works just fine at my table, but I'm... very collaborative as a GM. Possibly too permissive. So I don't think so, but clearly there's some complaints about it. As far as your houseruling to make shields consumable goes, I think... well, they're not as polished as you're asserting. They need some work, but there's definitely a way forward there to that leads to something functional! As for realism, let's not pretend it applies to Pathfinder very often, let's not pretend your application of it isn't selective and spotty, and let's not act like your very particular applications of realism which don't align with Pathfinder RAW or how other elements of the game work and encourage player narratives is any excuse to take a hostile tone with either me or my players. Especially when I'd hope your issue is with a rule supporting a common enough fictional use of shields that you don't seem to enjoy and not actually with me or my table.

Sovereign Court

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You make some good points Curgyr. Why are shields the only item that can be damaged by attacks in PF2? The game should be consistent and either allow weapons and armor to be damaged, or not have paper-mache shields. I've never been a fan of Sundering items myself, so I would lean toward "Items in the player's personal possession can't be individually targeted and destroyed, including shields. Knock the target unconscious or kill them to remove the items and they can then be destroyed."

Maybe they'll put a rule like that in the DMG.


Samurai wrote:
That doesn't actually fix the Shield problem, it just means you now have to find/create another ~1,300 gp magic item so that WHEN your shield inevitably breaks you don't lose the magic from it. Who's to say the characters will always be able to find/create such a pendant for every shield that the characters get? If there are 3 shield users in the party, each will need to find or create...

It doesn't fix the problem... in much the same way Doubling Rings doesn't fix the necessity of maintaining two magic weapons for any two-weapon fighter.

That is to say, it does fix it :)


Lycar wrote:
That. Is. Not. Fun!

Have you, even for a second, ever considered that the people you argue against find the very idea "you're told the damage before raising your shield" to be...

That. Is. Not. Fun!

Lycar?


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Curgyr:

All I can say is:

Paizo needed to choose. They didn't. The problem is of their making.

The core problem is that they made shields destroyable in the first place.

It is when shields become destroyable that "realism" comes into the picture. If they hadn't changed the way shields have worked in D&D for decades, this wouldn't even be a discussion.

But they, and you, can't first make shields destroyable and then demand people don't infer realism-related issues into that. The ONLY reason to make a shield destroyable is because you feel it makes 'em more realistic.

You CAN'T suggest "it's important players can keep their shield" in a game that specifically makes them destroyable. That's just a clumsy eat-cake-ism: you can't have it both ways. If it's important, don't make shield work any different than armor. (That armor doesn't degrade and rot away is just as unrealistic)

Look, Paizo started out with a "neat idea". But then they stuck with it long past the point where it just wasn't viable anylonger. Why they didn't simply killed off their darling and reverted to the way shields have worked in D&D since forever, I don't know.

Anyway, I'm trying to solve the issue simply and in a straight-forward manner.

My observation is simple: it isn't the actual shield players worry about (since the cost of a shield is ~1 gp). It is its magic. So lets offer a way to preserve the magic if not the shield.

Grand Lodge

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Zapp wrote:

Stuff

First,

Piazo didn't make shields destroyable, they made them sacrificial, which is entirely different. Second, The shield block is optional, so you can just spend the action to gain the +2 AC and you are back to where shields where in previous editions. Third, damage to the shields isn't there to add realism, it's there to add balance and player choice.

Frankly, I think this is a solution in search of a problem, and I'll be running it as written. It's not super powerful and cannot be consistently used every turn, and it's not supposed to be, it's a low level feat.


Friendly reminder that the rules technically allow you to make specific magic shields out of precious materials like adamantine. It isn't spelled out well and may create questions for it works in a few cases, but an adamantine forge warden, as an example, is quite viable.


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Jared Walter 356 wrote:

First,

Piazo didn't make shields destroyable, they made them sacrificial, which is entirely different. Second, The shield block is optional, so you can just spend the action to gain the +2 AC and you are back to where shields where in previous editions. Third, damage to the shields isn't there to add realism, it's there to add balance and player choice.

Frankly, I think this is a solution in search of a problem, and I'll be running it as written. It's not super powerful and cannot be consistently used every turn, and it's not supposed to be, it's a low level feat.

I am specifically addressing the "I can't abide having the player decide to block AFTER getting the damage amount" crowd with my suggestion.

So no, this isn't a "solution looking for problem". It's a real problem alright, just not yours.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think there was a thread similar to this, and someone posted that Mark had made the comment somewhere that you know the damage before deciding whether to use it.
It doesn't make sense to me. Kind of like having to decide whether to use a one-time bonus on a save, but you'd have to decide before you knew if your roll was sufficient.
But whatever the rule is, is whatever the rule is.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ched Greyfell wrote:
I think there was a thread similar to this, and someone posted that Mark had made the comment somewhere that you know the damage before deciding whether to use it.

Here it is!

Mark Seifter wrote:
3Doubloons wrote:
The last iteration of the Shield rules (where shields could take 2 dents, but blocking only gave 1 at most) meant it was impossible for a fresh shield to break in one block. Is that still true in the final rules?
As you can see throughout the process when we kept answering the question multiple different ways on the streams, that last playtest iteration was mostly a patch on an issue involved with calculating the dents and HP. Using HP, it is possible for your shield to break, or even be totally destroyed, in one hit, but you get to know how much damage is incoming before you decide whether to block, so that only happens if you choose. Looking at how much it would take to destroy Linda's dwarf's shield in one hit, though, even on a crit that's not going to happen unless they're fighting something way beyond their level. Even a balor would be hard-pressed to do that much in a single crit.

{my bolding}

Sovereign Court

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Ok, for those that agree easily destructible shields are a problem, what do you think is the best solution?

Choice A) My current house rules that shields suffer 1 point of HP damage after being pierced. Shields can still be destroyed, but it takes longer for most of them (though a Druid's wooden shields still are quite weak).

Choice B) Those character's with Shield Block are able to block the shield's Hardness in damage once per turn as a reaction. The shield suffers no damage for doing so, but once it blocks damage the character no longer receives his shield bonus to AC until his next round (ie: next time he raises his shield.) You can pretty much ignore the shield's HP and BT except if someone is trying to melt it down or destroy it using downtime. Using this solution effectively gives shield users damage resistance once per round using their reaction.

Choice C) Use choice B above, but turn it into a Saving Throw contest between the attack roll and the attempted Block. The Defender's Shield Block requires a d20 roll to succeed. This could mean "Make a Reflex save vs the attack's roll to hit you in order to interpose your shield in time to prevent some damage".

Crit fail = no damage blocked, shield no longer raised this round
Fail = Block 1/2 the shield's Hardness, shield no longer raised this round
Success = Block the shield's Hardness, shield no longer raised this round
Crit Success = Block the shield's Hardness and you do not lose your Shield bonus against further attacks this round (your shield remains raised).

Choice D) As C above, but instead of a Reflex save, make it some other roll. It could be an attack roll, it could be d20 + level + armored Dex bonus + Unarmored (or best) Armor Proficiency bonus, it could be using your Class DC, or some other suggestion (please describe what you are thinking of if you choose D)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't think knowing the damage is too unrealistic. That it requires a feat or class feature to do indicates there is some special training going into the use. That training is the ability to guage the strength of an incoming blow and adjust your defenses accordingly in a split second. It is not unrealistic for someone to be able to intuit how hard and fast a blow is going to be and whether you a) can defend against it without losing a valuable piece of equipment b) must defend against it but will lose a valuable piece of equipment or c) can defend but realize it will break your valuable piece of equipment. The only unrealistic part is knowing exact numbers, but those exact numbers are the only way we have to interface with the game world as players and is always going to cause realism problems.


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Zapp wrote:
Lycar wrote:
That. Is. Not. Fun!

Have you, even for a second, ever considered that the people you argue against find the very idea "you're told the damage before raising your shield" to be...

That. Is. Not. Fun!

Lycar?

That these people do have a problem with the RAW is a given, otherwise they would not complain about it, now would they.

But they mostly argue 'realism', whereas my counterargument is 'fun'. If *they* get to declare 'Shield Block is unrealistic', then *I* get to declare 'but it is (more) fun the way it is, realism be damned'.

Or, to put it another way: Why do you complain about martials getting nice things?

You can rule your own game however you damn well please. But I find the idea of denying the player the information they need to make what is effectively a consumable item (even if it may only be 'consumed' for the current encounter) actually have an effect antagonistic. Also unfun.

On the other end, making a shield only take 1 point of damage on a block is a bit too generous in my opinion. Even with a standard steel shield it means the shield would only suffer any actual degradation after 10 blocks. How often do you even get to block in a single encounter? If there isn't even a real chance for the shield to fail in the course of a fight, why not do away with Shield Block and shield damage all together?

Except that the Shield Block mechanic adds extra staying power to shield users, above the AC bonus. And that helps differentiate the different fighting styles. The game would be poorer without it, therefore I am personally content with the way things are, if maybe with the caveat that shields could use a bit more durability at higher (damage) levels.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One of the guys (Cabbage, maybe?) pointed out that there are shields made of better materials you can get that soak up more damage. So at level 7 or 8, you'd have the option of an adamantine shield or something. So your shield is not always in danger of breaking.
And I feel like the break mechanic is just so that the character doesn't end up with a permanent damage reduction. Makes crafting useful, etc.


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Ched Greyfell wrote:

One of the guys (Cabbage, maybe?) pointed out that there are shields made of better materials you can get that soak up more damage. So at level 7 or 8, you'd have the option of an adamantine shield or something. So your shield is not always in danger of breaking.

And I feel like the break mechanic is just so that the character doesn't end up with a permanent damage reduction. Makes crafting useful, etc.

I'm going to keep chiming in with this every time someone forgets that it exists.

Forge Warden.

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