Buckler for Flanking or threatening


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

If you are adjacent to a spellcaster, don't have improved unarmed strike, and don't otherwise have a weapon in hand, would a buckler be sufficient to threaten them enough to require casting defensively?
If the answer is "no", I assume it would be just as useless for flanking.

Thanks.


By default Bucklers do not threaten, which also means they don't help for flanking. There are feats and likely other options to change this

I'm not certain what you are trying to achieve, but if you are trying to keep a hand free while still threatening, the cestus may be a better option.


Unless the character with the buckler has levels in Rondelero Fighter or has the Upsetting Shield Style feat, they cannot threaten with a buckler because a buckler is NOT a weapon without an ability that allows you to attack with it.


Improvised Weapons can be used to threaten AoO's. If you can convince your DM that you're "wielding" the buckler as an Improvised Weapon (and take a -4 penalty to the AoO), then you could threaten. In a tavern brawl, there's a difference between "holding" a chair and "wielding a chair as an improvised weapon" though, so ymmv at different tables with regards to a buckler that is equipped for defense and not actively being used as an improvised weapon. It all depends on what your definitions of a "weapon" and "wielding" are.

Your DM may rule that your buckler is not being used as a weapon, and he wouldn't be wrong to rule it that way either. Personally, I wouldn't allow it if you're using it as a shield though, but if it's unbuckled from your forearm and you're actively swinging it around as an improvised weapon then I'd allow it.


Just do what I do: Wear a spiked gauntlet on the same hand, and pop the spellcaster in the mouth when they try to cast a spell, or make them cast defensively. The buckler doesn't use the hand when you wield it.


I have several characters that habitually wear a cestus on each hand, one cold iron, one silver. Great for punching casters.


Ryze Kuja wrote:

Improvised Weapons can be used to threaten AoO's. If you can convince your DM that you're "wielding" the buckler as an Improvised Weapon (and take a -4 penalty to the AoO), then you could threaten. In a tavern brawl, there's a difference between "holding" a chair and "wielding a chair as an improvised weapon" though, so ymmv at different tables with regards to a buckler that is equipped for defense and not actively being used as an improvised weapon. It all depends on what your definitions of a "weapon" and "wielding" are.

Your DM may rule that your buckler is not being used as a weapon, and he wouldn't be wrong to rule it that way either. Personally, I wouldn't allow it if you're using it as a shield though, but if it's unbuckled from your forearm and you're actively swinging it around as an improvised weapon then I'd allow it.

I’m a bit conflicted about this… I know there isn’t any explicit rules that say improvised weapons don’t threaten… but at the same time… if they do threaten then any character wielding a ranged weapon would threaten without the need of snapshot, just at a -4 penalty… and a wizard with a mithral buckler could similarly threaten… that just doesn’t quite seem right to me… but at the same time, someone holding a tree branch as an improvised heavy mace doesn’t make sense to not threaten either…


Chell Raighn wrote:
I’m a bit conflicted about this… I know there isn’t any explicit rules that say improvised weapons don’t threaten… but at the same time… if they do threaten then any character wielding a ranged weapon would threaten without the need of snapshot, just at a -4 penalty… and a wizard with a mithral buckler could similarly threaten… that just doesn’t quite seem right to me… but at the same time, someone holding a tree branch as an improvised heavy mace doesn’t make sense to not threaten either…

If a buckler is being wielded as an improvised weapon, it cannot be wielded for its normal use (barring exceptions that allow the character to do so). The player is going to have to make a choice on their turn, and not as a reaction. The same goes for using a bow to threaten in melee as an improvised melee weapon. This is not likely to be ideal, because the GM is fully in control of what to treat the bow, whether or not it can be treated as a light weapon for weapon finesse, etc, etc. Or, not even allow it at all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well, if you're cornered and disarmed, and all you have left is your buckler, I'd unbuckle it, hold it from the strap, and start swinging it like it was a light flail. It beats taking an AoO for each unarmed strike you make. <--- I'd allow AoO's in this scenario

Chell Raighn wrote:
if they do threaten then any character wielding a ranged weapon would threaten without the need of snapshot

I wouldn't allow a Bow user to make an AoO with the Bow unless they were specifically wielding like a baseball bat or something, but if they were, I'd let them take AoO's (albeit -4 penalty). If you're wielding the bow appropriately because you're firing arrows, then I wouldn't allow it. But if you're out of arrows and cornered/outnumbered, you gotta fight back somehow-- choke up on that thing and start swinging for the bleachers <--- I'd also allow AoO's in that scenario.


I had assumed they'd meant using an arrow as an improvised weapon, since it's one of the few items to have specific rules for that.


DeathlessOne wrote:
Chell Raighn wrote:
I’m a bit conflicted about this… I know there isn’t any explicit rules that say improvised weapons don’t threaten… but at the same time… if they do threaten then any character wielding a ranged weapon would threaten without the need of snapshot, just at a -4 penalty… and a wizard with a mithral buckler could similarly threaten… that just doesn’t quite seem right to me… but at the same time, someone holding a tree branch as an improvised heavy mace doesn’t make sense to not threaten either…
If a buckler is being wielded as an improvised weapon, it cannot be wielded for its normal use (barring exceptions that allow the character to do so). The player is going to have to make a choice on their turn, and not as a reaction. The same goes for using a bow to threaten in melee as an improvised melee weapon. This is not likely to be ideal, because the GM is fully in control of what to treat the bow, whether or not it can be treated as a light weapon for weapon finesse, etc, etc. Or, not even allow it at all.

And… this makes a lot more sense… and it makes certain feats (Empty Quiver Style + Empty Quiver Flexibility) that specifically let you make melee attacks with bows serve more purpose than just eliminate the -4 improvised weapon penalty…


Chell Raighn wrote:
And… this makes a lot more sense… and it makes certain feats (Empty Quiver Style + Empty Quiver Flexibility) that specifically let you make melee attacks with bows serve more purpose than just eliminate the -4 improvised weapon penalty…

Absolutely. Glad I was able to help that make more sense for you.

Weapons are weapons, whether they are improvised or not. The trouble with improvised weapons is that the GM gets to adjudicate the rules about them outside of what is listed in the short paragraph in the weapons section of the book (and specific feats/other material that change how the rules work).


the opponent has to have a weapon that threatens an adjacent opponent to make an Attack of Opportunity(AoO).
> yes, buckler's do not threaten.
> A creature can't just declare that they are using an object as an improvised weapon when it is not their turn, thus they would have had to use it as such on their previous turn.

Casters provoking in combat is often enough that they should take steps to prevent or defend from such occurrences. It's not hard and spells often provide various solutions and options for armed combat and casting in combat.
Illusion of Calm, Long Arm, Obscuring Mist, Vanish, Blur, Blink, are a few. see also my Mage-killer build.

I suggest casters wear a cestus or carry a tonfa(fighting defensively) to simply provide them the opportunity to take advantage of an AoO.

Liberty's Edge

Java Man wrote:
I have several characters that habitually wear a cestus on each hand, one cold iron, one silver. Great for punching casters.

My Gorumite inquisitor does this. His usual weapon is a repeating crossbow, but the cestus gives him a melee weapon when he doesn't want to drop the crossbow to free up enough hands to draw his greatsword.

Shadow Lodge

While not covered in the rules, a major issue with using a 'fantasy buckler'* as an improvised weapon is the fact that it is physically strapped to your forearm, which should give it less actual reach than your bare fist.

In my personal opinion, a worn item should probably get an 'Anti-Reach' trait (your reach with this item is half your normal reach, rounded down to the next 5' increment) when used as an improvised weapon: You probably can't threaten an adjacent foe because you probably have a 0' reach with it.

*An actual 'Historical Buckler' could be used offensively without issue, but unlike the 'fantasy' version it completely occupies that particular hand.


I'm a little surprised Pathfinder 2 didn't clear up the weird fantasy buckler issue.


In my head I treat light shields as historic bucklers, and PF bucklers as a cool thing the game invented.

Shadow Lodge

Melkiador wrote:
I'm a little surprised Pathfinder 2 didn't clear up the weird fantasy buckler issue.

I'm guessing the issue is that the 'fantasy buckler' fills a specific niche in game (shield for folks who don't want a real shield) while the 'historical buckler' really doesn't: The closest in game equivalent would probably be the Light Steel Quickdraw Shield as you can just draw it like a weapon, but to be accurate it really needs a parry mechanic that would probably break the game (yes, I'm looking at you, Swashbucklers)...


Historical bucklers were actually made to be melee weapons… hitting someone with one wasn’t just possible, it was intended and encouraged… larger shields weren’t really used for bashing… they were too bulky and heavy for that… any semblance of bashing with them was more deflection and shoving, a knight would use the heft of the shield to try and push their opponent over thus making them more vulnerable and easier to kill.

Fantasy bucklers despite sharing a name and generally being about the same size as historical bucklers are entirely unrelated… the fantasy buckler was created from the simple idea of a small shield buckled to your arm, and was named after that concept. It was made for fantasy with no concept of historical bucklers even remotely considered. Historical bucklers got their name because of the result of their usage, hitting someone with one would often cause them to buckle over. The name Buckler essentially meant “makes one buckle”.

Fantasy Bucklers have been so engrained in fantasy for so long now that to remove them would mean putting something else in their place that serves the same function with a different name… and if you change bucklers for historical accuracy then you may as well change heavy and light shields too by replacing their bash attack with a special trip and/or bullrush combat maneuver.


We also seem to have have an assumption in games that all shields are strapped shields. In reality, many shields, maybe even most shields, were center grip shields.


To also be fair to historical bucklers, they were *really* s~&@ty shields, you had to be trained specially in their use because they were so small, light, and basically had not inertial dampening that to just use them like a held shield would probably mean you lose your hand Star Wars style anyway. You have to punch with it to effectively block, which while that may seem like that is a "parry" (and as much as I appreciate someone else realizing swashbuckler parry/riposte is bullcrap) there's not really a reason it needs a special rule over just requiring proficiency and free use of the hand to just get +1 AC. If anything, maybe the other shields could get an AC bump of +1 to balance out the buckler just being a better version of every other light shield (if you don't care about bashing) as opposed to giving bucklers *more* insane mechanics.

But also in reality, historical bucklers had equivalently tiny grips that in no way would occlude you from holding a weapon, potion, etc. in the same hand even if the typical person/warrior couldn't effectively use both a weapon and a buckler at the same time. Abstracting that to just being "on your wrist" instead of tightly in the palm while you also grip something else doesn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things, if anything its better this way than like every other way where it's somehow impossible to hold a tiny stick wand tightly against your sword or inside than handle of your bigger shield.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Buckler for Flanking or threatening All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.