Shields, can we fix them, should we fix them?


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Okay, as someone who admittedly loves fighter sword and board I've looked a lot into the mechanics of shields and they just seem weak for what they are meant to do. Although the ac bonus they give are always nice and you can technically use them for two weapon fighting, blocking with a shield seems to just be a "just trash your shield" kinda thing. Real quick before I talk about shields I would like a small adjustment to shield weapons to be counted as agile(not sure if that would make them to good, but idk just an idea). Now as much as blocking with your shield is cool it just isn't worth losing your shield over, it feels like if you decide to block any non low level threat then you have a huge risk of your shield breaking which isn't fun and using your reaction in this game is no joke. In addition magical shields and better materials for shields seem useless compared to sturdy shields(which throw the whole shields exploding after two hits out the window) I saw one rule where shields take only one damage if the damage exceeds its hardness and maybe if you lower sturdy shield hp that could work, but idk. Any way I've rambled on enough, what do y'all think?


There's been several threads. Search the Homebrew and House Rules board.


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Not only have there been several threads, but most of them presume that "what they are meant to do" is be used to block repeatedly without breaking or risking destruction - and I submit that perhaps "what they are meant to do" is actually not that, but to provide an opportunity to trade a piece of equipment (temporarily or permanently) for a small boost in effective hit points.

Because if that is the intended purpose, most shields in the game are doing their job (there's like 2 or 3 that aren't) rather than there only being 1 or 2 sorts of shield that are working as intended.


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As a GM, I would say that Shields seem pretty darned good for Champions at the very least. Yeah, they're limited in how often you can block with them... and thank God.

Champions as it stands are capable of severely hampering damage coming in toward their party, and also severely limiting damage coming towards them via shield blocking. Yeah, the durability of your shield limits how often you can do it, but it's still effectively free hitpoints stored in an item.

The +2 AC on its own is well worth the action it costs to raise a shield in any case, especially in comparison to a third attack (and likely even in comparison to a second).

I haven't seen a sword and board fighter in play but... in general, I'm reluctant to try and fix this before seeing an actual problem at the table. I assumed this would be a bigger problem than it has ended up being in play, when I first read the rules.


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KrispyXIV wrote:
As a GM, I would say that Shields seem pretty darned good for Champions at the very least. Yeah, they're limited in how often you can block with them... and thank God.

That's a product of the champion's class features, not the shield. Therefore shields are still a problem and the champion's features make them usable.

Same goes for the sturdy shield. Sturdy shield has enough hit points to make them usable. But there's still a problem in general.

(How widespread that problem is is still a matter of debate. Go read the old threads)


Draco18s wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:
As a GM, I would say that Shields seem pretty darned good for Champions at the very least. Yeah, they're limited in how often you can block with them... and thank God.

That's a product of the champion's class features, not the shield. Therefore shields are still a problem and the champion's features make them usable.

Same goes for the sturdy shield. Sturdy shield has enough hit points to make them usable. But there's still a problem in general.

(How widespread that problem is is still a matter of debate. Go read the old threads)

I mean, the Champions Class Features do a lot to force attacks into the Champion, and then allow them to block.

I've not actually seen a Shield Fighter in my games, but I don't see a couple points of Hardness and a few extra hit points making or breaking the base mechanics.

It sounds as though the perceived "problem" here is that shields other than Sturdy Shields aren't good at blocking, but I think the intent is clear that say, a Spellguard Shield, provides utility while raised and is not intended to be used on a regular basis to Shield Block.

Whether or not that is a problem is debatable. You may not like that design decision, but you're going to have a hard time convincing me that +2 to saves vs spells is not worth the Raise a Shield action with it. If that upgrades a save to a success or critical success (it modifies as many as 4 die results), that's quite possibly way more valuable than using a reaction to block all on its own.


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Sturdy shields seem mostly fine, aside from issues arising around level 4 when you probably don't have the money to buy a minor sturdy shield, a striking rune and a +1 armor potency rune, so you'll probably delay purchase of it til level 5-6, which means shields come online late.

Other shields are questionably not meant for blocking, with a few exceptions. The Forge Warden and the Arrow-Catching Shield definitely seem to be an oversight regarding the hardness and HP for the level of the item. The reforging and indestructible shields seem mostly fine... until you realise they're both level 15+ and with quick repair you can instantly repair your shields out of combat with legendary crafting, so reforging is practically useless. Indestructible has a niche, though I don't know how many blocks per combat you need to be making for it to be better than the appropriate study shield.

I would suggest, in lieu of anything else, allowing people to add the cost of a precious material shield to the cost of a specific magic shield in order to increase HP/Hardness/BT of those shields to the higher of the precious material shield and the specific shield (should almost always be the precious material).


I've been playing a sword-and-board guy (well, an axe-and-board guy) as a fighter at level five, and it seems to have been working out okay with a Sturdy Shield at least. I have some question about the other shields if you plan to actually block, though.

(Caveat: It may help that the character has Craft, though. It might be more of a problem in a party that didn't have that).


Thomas5251212 wrote:

I've been playing a sword-and-board guy (well, an axe-and-board guy) as a fighter at level five, and it seems to have been working out okay with a Sturdy Shield at least. I have some question about the other shields if you plan to actually block, though.

(Caveat: It may help that the character has Craft, though. It might be more of a problem in a party that didn't have that).

Very much like a Warpriest and Alchemist, the problems don't start appearing until you're past level 10. Right now, Sturdy Shields are the only available option for blocking across most levels, with Indestructible Shield (rare item) and Reforging Shield (rare item) being outliers. Everything else just gets completely destroyed by most creature attacks, not even considering higher level threats (that normally you would be blocking to mitigate some damage, but given the current state you will take the damage rather than waste hundreds of GP you invested).


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To sum up previous discussions on the topic:

1. Sturdy shields are fine for blocking.
2. Other shields are fine if you just want to get the AC benefit + special bonuses, but bad for blocking.
3. Arrow-catching shield and Forge Warden are bad because their special abilities are based on shield blocking, but don't have the stats to stand up to it.

The way I see it, only item 3 is a real problem, though it would be nice if other shields had more hit points (so you could still block some damage with them without turning them into a consumable).


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
HouseOfOnion wrote:
Okay, as someone who admittedly loves fighter sword and board I've looked a lot into the mechanics of shields and they just seem weak for what they are meant to do. Although the ac bonus they give are always nice and you can technically use them for two weapon fighting, blocking with a shield seems to just be a "just trash your shield" kinda thing. Real quick before I talk about shields I would like a small adjustment to shield weapons to be counted as agile(not sure if that would make them to good, but idk just an idea). Now as much as blocking with your shield is cool it just isn't worth losing your shield over, it feels like if you decide to block any non low level threat then you have a huge risk of your shield breaking which isn't fun and using your reaction in this game is no joke. In addition magical shields and better materials for shields seem useless compared to sturdy shields(which throw the whole shields exploding after two hits out the window) I saw one rule where shields take only one damage if the damage exceeds its hardness and maybe if you lower sturdy shield hp that could work, but idk. Any way I've rambled on enough, what do y'all think?

Unless I have misinterpreted what was being said. The above bolded part isn't an optional rule. It is the given rule. A shield (and the wielder) only take damage if the specific attack exceed's the shield's hardness. So a shield with 5 hardness can be absorbing attacks of 5hp damage time and time again, regularly keeping a snake from getting its poison damage.

While I have concerns about the strength of some of the magic shields I'd expect people would want to block with, most things aren't too bad. It does seem like some of the magic shields might become dangerous to block with at higher levels, and it makes we wonder if that should be. A part of me would like to see broken shield usable for AC and block after they are broken. (probably half AC bonus, and hardness when broken) and only become useless when 'destroyed', which technically a shield (as it is designed to be damaged) is not irreparably destroyed, until it takes another complete amount of damage equal to its HP. But perhaps make recovering a destroyed shield require downtime activity unless legendary in crafting combined with quick repair, to resurrect a shield that damaged. But making a magic shield be able to survive a good many level appropriate hits, even if it takes it out for the day, seems reasonable, even if normally one would rather not lose the ability it grants, so choose not to block such big attacks.

As far as what I think does need fixing. It needs to be clearer what should be done to magic shield statistics when you mix special materials with shields. I don't think it is currently clear, and I can extrapolate what I think should be done, but it should be more clear.

Shield have Hardness, Breaking Threshold, and HP. And as most objects, these are normally a ratio off of Hardness. BT is normally 2x hardness, and HP 2x BT, or 4x hardness.

Magic shields should specify how much they affect hardness of a shield, specifying either as a complete replacement of hardness, or how much it adds (or + with either a min or max). Then it should clearly mention if there is any adjustment to the ratio from hardness to BT, or BT to HP. So, for instance, a sturdy shield would mention that the BT for it is calculated as 4x the hardness. If something gave a bonus between BT and HP instead of just double, it would be mentioned specifically. (anyone know of examples of anything with HP not equal to 2x BT?)

As an example, it appears that a Lions Shield might have been described as +1 hardness, BT = 3x hardness. So if so described, a standard grade silver Lions shield would be 4 hardness, and 12 BT, and 24HP. Damage from the attack would remain the same, presumably, although would probably gain the silver trait.

As described, then an adamantine Lions Head shield would have a hardness of 11, BT of 33, and HP of 66. Which is still less than a 7th level sturdy shield a level lower than such a Lions Head shield would be, as an example for comparison.

The primary benefit of a sturdy shield would be that the BT becomes 4x hardness, and each step of sturdiness would of course advance the hardness another 2-3 points which combined with the 4x BT would keep the sturdy shield the king of withstanding the widest range of attack blocks.

Something like the arrow catching shield might need to have an added clause saying any ranged weapon strike taken via its reaction, if the attack exceeds the shields hardness, the shield would take at most its BT in damage, as long as the remaining damage does not exceed 2x the shield's original total max HP. This extra effect wouldn't affect the damage taken by the wielder after a block, but would make sure the shield's arrow catching ability was unlikely to destroy the shield outright. Hardness could be defined for it as as +3 hardness for wood materials, or +0 hardness for metal materials. Giving it a 'reason' for them to typically be forms of wooden materials, but opening up for some variation, if someone wanted an Adamantine Bullet Attracting shield for instance.

Staffan Johansson wrote:

To sum up previous discussions on the topic:

1. Sturdy shields are fine for blocking.
2. Other shields are fine if you just want to get the AC benefit + special bonuses, but bad for blocking.
3. Arrow-catching shield and Forge Warden are bad because their special abilities are based on shield blocking, but don't have the stats to stand up to it.

The way I see it, only item 3 is a real problem, though it would be nice if other shields had more hit points (so you could still block some damage with them without turning them into a consumable).

I agree that shields should not feel like consumables, and #3 makes them feel that way. And agree it would be nice to feel like you could get away with using a shield bock occasionally with the 'type=2' category of shields when against a level appropriate foe at higher levels to keep the flavor of what a shield does up at the higher levels. But we have to keep in mind that they don't become a must have item either, if they get to the point of never breaking and then they become something like Resistance Physical = level or something like that. That would be a worse situation than they are now.


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My experience DMing for a warpriest that has quite a few of the special benefit shields is that he can block with them quite often too, this being at level 12 now. While he obviously doesn't use it for massive blows, there are actually a pretty large number of attacks that he can safely take with them. Rogue style enemies have big swings in damage, so he can practically ignore a non sneak attack. Archer type enemies often do low enough single hit damage that they can be safely blocked.

Its weird that you only ever want to block trivial attacks with the non sturdy shields, but at least in play he's been getting 2-3 blocks per encounter with them. Which is pretty much half of his reactions for the fight anyway.


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Staffan Johansson wrote:


3. Arrow-catching shield and Forge Warden are bad because their special abilities are based on shield blocking, but don't have the stats to stand up to it.

Worth mentioning special material shields too. Most of them have no special properties beyond hardness and HP, but most of them aren't particularly good at blocking, especially compared to sturdy shields.


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I'm just making "sturdy" a rune you can put on any shield, in addition to whatever else it does. Seems like a gap in the rules, but I otherwise like how shields work.


Am I misremembering that the adamantine shield is an exception to the note about special materials being a bad choice for blocking?


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Thomas5251212 wrote:
Am I misremembering that the adamantine shield is an exception to the note about special materials being a bad choice for blocking?

Its just a s$&@tier version of Sturdy Shield available a level later.

Level 7 Sturdy: 8 hardness, 64 hp.
Level 8 Adamantine: 8 hardness, 32 hp.

Level 16 Sturdy: 17, 136
Level 16 Adamantine: 13, 52

Level 16 adamantine and the level 9 dragonslayer's shields have identical stats, except the dragonslayer also gives you +2 vs. frightful presence and resistance 10 against an energy type.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

One more issue I have: Druids get Shield Block as a free feat, but cannot use Sturdy Shields, as they are made from steel.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Krysgg wrote:

My experience DMing for a warpriest that has quite a few of the special benefit shields is that he can block with them quite often too, this being at level 12 now. While he obviously doesn't use it for massive blows, there are actually a pretty large number of attacks that he can safely take with them. Rogue style enemies have big swings in damage, so he can practically ignore a non sneak attack. Archer type enemies often do low enough single hit damage that they can be safely blocked.

Its weird that you only ever want to block trivial attacks with the non sturdy shields, but at least in play he's been getting 2-3 blocks per encounter with them. Which is pretty much half of his reactions for the fight anyway.

Dark Souls tactics, block the knives and arrows, not the sword bigger than your body.

Sovereign Court

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HouseOfOnion wrote:
I saw one rule where shields take only one damage if the damage exceeds its hardness and maybe if you lower sturdy shield hp that could work, but idk. Any way I've rambled on enough, what do y'all think?

That sounds like you were looking at my house rules. It would greatly extend the life of most shields rather than having to repair them after every battle. Recently, in a game I played in, the GM created his own rule to extend the life of shields, but not by as much as my rule had. His rule was that after deducting Hardness, the remaining damage is split evenly between the shield's HPs and the target's HPs. So 9 damage vs a Fighter using a metal shield to block, reduces the damage by 5 (Hardness), and the remaining 4 is divided into 2 damage to the shield and 2 to the fighter. In my original rule, the shield's Hardness reduces the 9 damage to 4 (because of the 5 Hardness), and those 4 points of damage are all passed on to the fighter, while the shield suffers 1 HP of damage itself because it was pierced by an attack greater than it's Hardness. In my latest House Rules version, I changed to the "divide remaining damage between the character and the shield".

Oh, and as for the question of should we fix the shield rules, my answer is a definite "YES!" Shields have always been a part of both historical fantasy games and historical battles, so having broken shield rules means the game is incomplete IMHO.


First World Bard wrote:
One more issue I have: Druids get Shield Block as a free feat, but cannot use Sturdy Shields, as they are made from steel.

That, along with unique blocking shields lacking stats, sums up my issues with shields.

I'd rather have good unique effect shields without good stats and good specialty shields with high stats than crappy effect shields with bad stats. Power budget is a thing, and we won't have a shield that does everything in a satisfying way. Even if you "fix" it, it will be economically unfeasible unless you make pure blocking or pure effect shields entirely overpowered (thus eclipsing the fix anyways).

However, Druid shieldblock and stuff like Arrow Catching or Forge Warden is non-functional and does indeed need a fix.


I mean, yeah, the special effect shields don't need to be very durable. I just object to them having barely more hitpoints than a non-magic item.


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Puna'chong wrote:
I'm just making "sturdy" a rune you can put on any shield, in addition to whatever else it does. Seems like a gap in the rules, but I otherwise like how shields work.

Very easy fix if you want to do this.

Shield potency rune levels X, Y, Z. Increase Hardness by 2/4/6.

Shield sturdiness rune levels A, B, C. Increase HP by 30/60/90 (maybe 20/40/60 if that's too high).

Remove sturdy shields.


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You can have non-sturdy shields block significantly less damage (and I still think that a level 20 shield should generally have a little more hardness than a level 5 one), but at least give them enough HP to not explode as soon as you try to use them.


The real question is: Does a shield have to be equally sturdy at level 1 and level 20?

A level 0 steel shield with hardness 5 and 20 HP will be able to take approximately 3 average 1d8+4 hits (8.5 damage) before it becomes battered. And for all we know enemy damage scales per level. So shouldn't a regular level 20 shield also be able to take at least 3 average hits of a level 20 enemy before becomming battered?

At the moment this does not seem to be the case, and player attitude about the issue is pretty clear, so unless there are specific design considerations that go against equal treatment I do consider the current design to be a mistake.

Sovereign Court

Well you can look at the damage per strike stats in the monster creation rules in the GMG, and see that "moderate" damage for a level 20 monster is 37. Meanwhile a level 19 sturdy shield has hardness 20 and BT 80. So 80/(37-20)=4.7, so it lasts a little longer actually.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Well you can look at the damage per strike stats in the monster creation rules in the GMG, and see that "moderate" damage for a level 20 monster is 37. Meanwhile a level 19 sturdy shield has hardness 20 and BT 80. So 80/(37-20)=4.7, so it lasts a little longer actually.

I think there is nobody in this thread who would disagree that sturdy shields do work fine...


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Well you can look at the damage per strike stats in the monster creation rules in the GMG, and see that "moderate" damage for a level 20 monster is 37. Meanwhile a level 19 sturdy shield has hardness 20 and BT 80. So 80/(37-20)=4.7, so it lasts a little longer actually.

Try that on a non-Sturdy shield. You can't really compare a level 0 non-magical steel shield with the most durable item in existence and claim equivalence.

An adamantine shield has hardness 13 and a BT of 26. So it lasts two hits...barely (39 damage to break in one hit, 37 average damage).


Rysky wrote:
Krysgg wrote:

My experience DMing for a warpriest that has quite a few of the special benefit shields is that he can block with them quite often too, this being at level 12 now. While he obviously doesn't use it for massive blows, there are actually a pretty large number of attacks that he can safely take with them. Rogue style enemies have big swings in damage, so he can practically ignore a non sneak attack. Archer type enemies often do low enough single hit damage that they can be safely blocked.

Its weird that you only ever want to block trivial attacks with the non sturdy shields, but at least in play he's been getting 2-3 blocks per encounter with them. Which is pretty much half of his reactions for the fight anyway.

Dark Souls tactics, block the knives and arrows, not the sword bigger than your body.

As far as I can tell from my play so far, the beneficial stuff is at both ends: the low end stuff where only small amounts will get past the hardness, and the ones so big that if the price is a broken shield, so be it to take less of that hit.


Draco18s wrote:
I mean, yeah, the special effect shields don't need to be very durable. I just object to them having barely more hitpoints than a non-magic item.

I can see that. As it is, I'd only take them if I was never going to block with them.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The trick with special material shields is that technically you can make specific magical shields out of them. The rules are confusing and might not by intended, but you can pull it off as written and doing so actually makes things work fairly well balance wise. An adamantine Forge Warden takes less abuse than a Sturdy Shield of comparable level, but also damages a creature hitting you and provides fire resistance. If I could afford it from the party loot, I'd personally use that a primary shield with a dwarven waraxe in my other hand and use it till it breaks, then drop it and either draw a sturdy shield or two hand my axe to finish off weakened enemies.


Speaking of the adamantine thing, is there any way to make other magical shields out of the special materials? I can't see anything, but I could have just missed something.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If you're going level by level, I think an appropriate shield should be able to take two critical hits or four normal hits from an appropriately leveled creature before becoming useless.

Also remember that you can't use a shield once it is broken, so an enemy really only needs to deal half the shield's hit points in damage after hardness.


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Probably beyond the scope of this thread but if it were up to me I think shields should just be fundamentally reworked.

Pathfinder 2 has pretty much removed the idea of losing your gear in non-narrative scenarios outside a couple specific exceptions like the Rust monster, so having it be such a pressing concern in this one instance feels wrong.

The whole concept of disposable, leveled tiers of gear is a Starfinder mechanic, not a Pathfinder 2 one, which makes the whole shield section feel like it belongs in a different book for a different game.


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Squiggit wrote:

Probably beyond the scope of this thread but if it were up to me I think shields should just be fundamentally reworked.

Pathfinder 2 has pretty much removed the idea of losing your gear in non-narrative scenarios outside a couple specific exceptions like the Rust monster, so having it be such a pressing concern in this one instance feels wrong.

The whole concept of disposable, leveled tiers of gear is a Starfinder mechanic, not a Pathfinder 2 one, which makes the whole shield section feel like it belongs in a different book for a different game.

That isn't entirely true, the overcharging wands rules are explicitly designed to take a permanent magic item and give it a non-trivial chance of being permanently destroyed.

Not saying I like that particular aspect either, but it isn't out of character for the rules, to have otherwise permanent items get consumed via 'over-use' such as blocking something way stronger than it can currently handle.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

In practice, neither shields nor wands is likely to be destroyed in any but the direst of circumstances because you choose when they take the damage. I feel like having a piece of equipment you can choose to sacrifice but probably never will is OK.


While true, I think the comparison isn't quite the same because the Wand condition is much easier to opt out of. You're always guaranteed that first usage with no repercussions and you can simply forget about overcharging if you don't want to risk it.

While most people aren't going to sacrifice their shields, the issue of consumability is still much more relevant because you have to be mindful of it whenever you're thinking about blocking and that can impact when you can use it.

It'd be like if you rolled an overcharge check every time you tried to cast a spell from a wand, but could choose not to use the spell on a failed check if you hadn't cast from it already that day.


Ediwir wrote:
First World Bard wrote:
One more issue I have: Druids get Shield Block as a free feat, but cannot use Sturdy Shields, as they are made from steel.

That, along with unique blocking shields lacking stats, sums up my issues with shields.

I'd rather have good unique effect shields without good stats and good specialty shields with high stats than crappy effect shields with bad stats. Power budget is a thing, and we won't have a shield that does everything in a satisfying way. Even if you "fix" it, it will be economically unfeasible unless you make pure blocking or pure effect shields entirely overpowered (thus eclipsing the fix anyways).

However, Druid shieldblock and stuff like Arrow Catching or Forge Warden is non-functional and does indeed need a fix.

My perfect balance is reaching a meaningful trade-off. Do you want to block frequently and reliably? Sturdy Shields and other similar materials are your way to go. Wanna have some crazy effect while blocking? You sacrifice frequency and maybe some hardness. Shields for mages? You sacrifice Shield Block usability for special effects (special reactions that works well with Spells rather than being effects on their own). Utility shields that offer good stats for that occasional block you want to have but can effects that makes the shield important in a different way (can store stuff to be retrieved mid-combat, are easier to draw, etc).

Basically, my whole argument on the matter that I always try to make it clear is that currently there's no meaningful trade-off. You just need to have a Sturdy Shield because everything else is very likely to become dust if you shield block with it at higher levels because the numbers somehow don't scale. I would like to have different options that don't feel like I'm gimping myself or I'm simply abstaining from engaging with the cool and unique mechanic this edition came up with.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm fine with some shields being designed for regularly blocking and others being meant to just deflect attacks, as emulated by the Raise Shield bonus AC.

What I'm not fine with is players having to worry about permanently destroying their multi-thousand gold piece shield just by using its block function. I especially never want to see a player have to deliberately take full damage, maybe even making them hit the ground, just to spare their shield.

Just imagine how bad that would feel. It's so unsatisfying and gamey, like this:

Player: "Yeah, I have a shield raised, and I do have shield block, and I could possibly stay in the fight, but I *really* like this shield so I'm just gonna drop my guard and take the hit to my face"

Party: "Good choice, that thing was expensive. Destroying it to stay upright would essentially negate the profit of our last dungeon. We've got Medicine to get you back up."

Compare that to:

Player: "Damn, my shield's totally broken. I'll have to fix it later but at least I'm still up."

Party: "Thank goodness you had that shield, that makes this fight easier for us with you on your feet!"


I've been thinking about it from the other angle... rather than "does it feel right that a shield can break, and that breaking is pretty common?" thinking in terms of "how many bonus hit points feels right for a piece of equipment to give?"

I'm focusing that question on the equipment part of the equation, rather than the feat part, because toughness is a feat that gives bonus hit points so shield block should give some degree more than toughness does because of the added requirements of equipment and actions used.

I haven't reached a conclusive answer yet, but thinking of that question has been interesting so far...

Sovereign Court

I find that while playing my fighter, I very often don't have the action available to raise my shield. (Because I want to Stride and Double Slice.) I get mileage out of Reactive Shield though. Maybe I shouldn't go for a sturdy shield but one of the other ones.


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The shield mechanics are fine imo, what's the problem are the values with the individual shield

why would buy someone a high grad mithral shield (Hardness 8, HP32, BT16) for 8800 gp at lvl 16 when you get a force shield (Hardness 8, hp32, bt16 and once per day 1 minute damage reduction 5/physical) at lvl 9 for 650 gold?

it's 13 times as expansive, has the same durability, needs a higher level and no magic ability...and for what? the shield bash counts as silver and you have light bulk instead of 1 bulk...

or the reflecting shield, admittedly the once per day spell turning is neat...but don't even think about blocking with that flimsy thing
(yeah, it is probably not intended for blocking....)

or the spellguard shield, okay it is nice for level 6...but it seriously needs upgraded versions because level 8+ it quickly looses its value for blocking (and the guys who have a shield for blocking are probably the biggest benefectors of it's special ability, not the only one, but the biggest)

and don't get me started on the arrow catching shield...


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I think if a shield with a special effect can block 4 hits, someone will ask for an equally priced shield with no effect but that can block 8 hits.

Search your feelings.
You know it to be true.

On the other hand, a Spellguard Shield is insanely effective on a lv20 rogue or even wizard, despite its monetary value being essentially spare change and its hardness being overshadowed by a piece of paper.


Ediwir wrote:

I think if a shield with a special effect can block 4 hits, someone will ask for an equally priced shield with no effect but that can block 8 hits.

This seems pretty legit, actually! 4 vs 8 is better than 1 (if lucky) versus like 5.


ChibiNyan wrote:
Ediwir wrote:

I think if a shield with a special effect can block 4 hits, someone will ask for an equally priced shield with no effect but that can block 8 hits.

This seems pretty legit, actually! 4 vs 8 is better than 1 (if lucky) versus like 5.

And on the opposite side, can I get a Force Shield for cheaper if it doesn’t block as much?


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That's exactly why I think Sturdy should have been some sort of Shield Rune, so people can decide if they want a shield just for the AC and effect, one for blocking, or both, but for a bigger price. Just not having that option at all doesn't feel that great.

I can mention my current character, for example. If I could, I would much rather have a cool effect on my blocking shield than a property rune on my weapon. The shield is much more important for her. But... well, there is no option; if you want blocking, gotta stick with the boring shield for eternity.

Sovereign Court

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dmerceless wrote:

That's exactly why I think Sturdy should have been some sort of Shield Rune, so people can decide if they want a shield just for the AC and effect, one for blocking, or both, but for a bigger price. Just not having that option at all doesn't feel that great.

I can mention my current character, for example. If I could, I would much rather have a cool effect on my blocking shield than a property rune on my weapon. The shield is much more important for her. But... well, there is no option; if you want blocking, gotta stick with the boring shield for eternity.

Also, if it were a Rune, it could be applied to wooden shields too, not just metallic ones, thus aiding Druids as well!


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I really think the only way to resolve this is to hear the official view of the Paizo devs.

As long as they stay silent, nothing will come out of this.


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So that I'm clear, you all think that a non-blocking shield should be able to take 4 hits - or block an attack every round for a typical encounter. And then be repaired to full while resting (this is implicit, encounters still tend not to go past 5-6 rounds in a lot of cases and resting is the norm, not the exception).

Versus a sturdy shield shield being able to take twice that? Or effectively a crit every round for a full encounter...

I personally think that sounds functionally like removing the 'shields break' mechanic entirely, and that you're describing a situation where you can block with your shield as much as possible...

I think the game works really well right now personally, where some shields are for blocking and some shields are for AC and special effects. I do agree there are some outliers where shields are clearly intended to be in the 'for blocking' category and are not, and those could be fixed, but I'm definitely skeptical of effectively removing the mechanic entirely...


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
dmerceless wrote:

That's exactly why I think Sturdy should have been some sort of Shield Rune, so people can decide if they want a shield just for the AC and effect, one for blocking, or both, but for a bigger price. Just not having that option at all doesn't feel that great.

I can mention my current character, for example. If I could, I would much rather have a cool effect on my blocking shield than a property rune on my weapon. The shield is much more important for her. But... well, there is no option; if you want blocking, gotta stick with the boring shield for eternity.

Again, making a shield from materials like adamantite basically does this. You won't get as much blocking power as a sturdy shield, but it becomes much better balanced against them when combined with extra effects.


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I think you should be able to keep pace with your early level performance independent of the "coolness" add-ons you decide to go with later.

Mundane, first-level armor gives you "x" amount of protection (and because this is how the game math works out, let's throw in your natural saving throw values). At higher levels, you need fundamental runes to keep your armor and saves at the same level of "worthwhileness" that you enjoyed for free at the beginning of the game. Fortunately, these runes are independent of the property runes. You don't have to choose between "energy-resistant" and keeping up with what your saves used to be able to do for you.

Mundane, first-level weapons let you dish out "x" amount of harm. At higher levels, you need fundamental runes to keep your accuracy and damage at the output the game newly expects you at. And again, because fundamental runes and property runes are separate, picking "frost" doesn't come at the expense of you continuing to be able to do what you used to be able to do at first level.

Okay, so what can a mundane, first-level shield do? Whatever it is, whatever amount of relative hp extension, extend that up through the levels and you have what any given shield, whether "floating" or "lion's" or even a wooden one carried by a druid, should be able to do at minimum.

So I totally agree that "sturdy" should have been a rune (actually, that "sturdy" and the armor and weapon fundamental runes should have been baked into the basic game a la ABP, but that's neither here nor there).

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