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View Full Version : working on a fix for sword and board - think i've got something



riddles
2009-11-23, 08:33 AM
issues with sword and board:
1. can keep up with the damage output of leap attacking shocktrooper chargers
2. Attack bonus of enemies accelerates far faster than the AC bonuses PCs can get, making a shield redundant
3. animated shields

so, first fix is to ban animated shields. because they're silly. i can't do anything about damage output without involving ToB, and that's a game changer as it is.

the second issue is the one my idea tackles. a wizard can quickly become much harder to hit than a fighter because he/she can easily generate miss chance (blur, mirror image). we'll ignore invisibility for the moment.

what if using a shield granted you a miss chance dependent on your character level or BAB? it's much more difficult to lose a miss chance from your shield, so i'm not saying it should be as good as mirror image (which caps out at being hit 1 in 8 iirc), which can be negated with true seeing etc.

I'm thinking it should cap out at level 20 with a 50% miss chance (you get 10% every 4 levels) or 50% at BAB 20 (again, 10% every 4 BAB).

what are the foreseeable problems with this, other than it boosts sword and board clerics as well as fighters?

Animefunkmaster
2009-11-23, 09:17 AM
more dice rolls.

jmbrown
2009-11-23, 09:24 AM
Shocktroopers should get that extra damage output. That's the point of them. Don't increase the damage output of sword/shield wielders because their very design is as defensive fighters, not damage dealers.

I do like the idea of a miss chance except it would be a "block %". Shields should still give AC but each shield has a chance to completely block a melee attack and they should provide cover from ranged attacks.

4th edition also makes shields improve your reflex save which makes sense to me. A fire ball explodes right next to you and you instinctively throw your shield up to deflect some of the fire.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-23, 09:35 AM
If a shocktrooper attacks you, your shield is liable to break. Also nerfs archers more, because now the humanoid enemies not defended by Wind Walls have miss chances that ignore their attack bonuses.

Mark Hall
2009-11-23, 09:52 AM
A few things I've thought about:

1) Defensive fighting and full defense should be more effective if you have a shield.
2) Using a shield should give benefits with Combat Expertise similar to what using a two-hander does with Power Attack... if 1 point of to-hit bonus gave you 2 points of AC when using a shield, they become more attractive.
3) Shield AC should count against touch attacks. Shields should also provide cover from ranged attacks.
4) 2nd edition had a Weapon and Shield style specialization; invest in it, and you can choose each round between a +1 to hit and an additional +1 to AC; this did not negate your regular shield AC. There were also shield specializations, which greatly increased the AC bonus from shields.

I'll also add that fatigue-type rules greatly increase the utility of shields. Normal people get tired when swinging around huge chunks of steel. A shield can be used a lot more conservatively, allowing the guy who makes a charging leap with 14# of steel in his hands and another 45# of steel on his body to tire himself out, while you take it for a moment and then stab him while he's gasping for breath.

Person_Man
2009-11-23, 09:53 AM
Sword and Board doesn't need a fix. You just need to look beyond the obvious. Here's my guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123630). As you'll see, you have many options.

ErrantX
2009-11-23, 10:52 AM
Person Man for the win!

However, I do think that there are a lot of specific things that need to be done to make a Sword and Board fighter better. Lots of them. A two-hander? Power Attack is all that is really needed, everything else is just gravy.

With that in mind, giving shield fighting a better defensive buff isn't a bad idea (just do not and I repeat do not give it to bucklers; dedicated shield fighters use real shields).

I just started a soon to be refluffed Ruby Knight Vindicator (Clr3/Cru2) with a focus on White Raven enough Devoted Spirit to be dangerous (and defensive) who is currently sword n' boarding it. Shields just don't get enough love.

-X

jmbrown
2009-11-23, 10:59 AM
Add this line to armor qualities.

Block %

Shields have a chance of blocking melee and ranged attacks that target the wielder. When an attack hits the wielder but before damage is resolved, roll d%. On a success the attack is blocked and damage negated. Block % is ignored if the wielder loses his dexterity bonus to AC or is flanked by the attacker.

Reflex Bonus

Shields grant a bonus to reflex saves. Reflex bonus is negated if the wielder loses his dexterity bonus to AC.

A shield's block % is equal to its AC bonus x5 thus, a +5 tower shield has a maximum block % of 45%. The reflex bonus is equal to the shield's base AC so +2 for a heavy shield and +4 for a tower shield. Personally, I'd also raise the shield bonus of every shield except buckler by +1; it's pretty ridiculous that a buckler, which is literally the size of a dinner plate, has the same AC of a small shield.

Add this line to "Nonproficient with Armor Worn"

In addition, a character nonproficient with a shield does not benefit from the block % or reflex save bonus.

Add this line to any feat with "shield proficiency" as a prerequisite.

Special: A character receives a +5% bonus to block% when wielding a shield. This effect stacks with other feats granting the same bonus but not this one if taken twice.

The way I look at it, small shields don't suck, the sword n' board figher can actually do his job of defending other party members since he has to be flanked to lose his block %, shield feats like improved shield bash should be interesting options, and the block % never gets as high as a wizard's miss chance through a spell so as not to undermine their own abilities.

Amurion
2009-11-23, 11:13 AM
One problem with a shield in real life is that it inhibits your field of view. You have no idea what is happening behind the shield until it is too late. What I think they should do is add a slight AC bonus when dual wielding. The extra sword or dagger can act like a skinny shield that you can see around. Definetly keep the attack penalty for dual wielding, but add a little AC.

As far as a shield adding a miss chance, well, that is what your AC already is. If the attack roll is high enough to have hit someone with a touch attack, but miss because of armor class, that is representing a blow that scraped off the armor, that is all a shield is adding.

My two cents anyways.

jmbrown
2009-11-23, 11:18 AM
As far as a shield adding a miss chance, well, that is what your AC already is. If the attack roll is high enough to have hit someone with a touch attack, but miss because of armor class, that is representing a blow that scraped off the armor, that is all a shield is adding.

It's an abstraction that I've never liked. The block% represents a person actively blocking in combat. Someone holding a 32" diameter metal disc is going to be protect from damage regardless as the enemy still has to get past the shield (which is where the shield bonus to AC kicks in). A miss chance represents the wielder actually trying to stop blows which D&D ignores.

Skaven
2009-11-23, 11:22 AM
A few things I've thought about:

1) Defensive fighting and full defense should be more effective if you have a shield.
2) Using a shield should give benefits with Combat Expertise similar to what using a two-hander does with Power Attack... if 1 point of to-hit bonus gave you 2 points of AC when using a shield, they become more attractive.
3) Shield AC should count against touch attacks. Shields should also provide cover from ranged attacks.

I really like these, they make sense.

Not sure about the cover form archers part though, since archers are already weak. However in battle, shields have been used for cover vs arrows, so..

Gnomo
2009-11-23, 02:01 PM
You need two feats to make Shields worth something: Shield Specialization and Shield Ward (both on PHB2), i'm using an un-hittable dwarven defender with this, and it kick ass.

Of course in my games the DM houseruled that all shields have 1 extra point of AC except bucklers (they are good as they are), so with this I can get easily to 40 touch AC and 60 normal AC, it's 24th level but we don't use epic magic items.

Amurion
2009-11-23, 02:30 PM
It's an abstraction that I've never liked. The block% represents a person actively blocking in combat. Someone holding a 32" diameter metal disc is going to be protect from damage regardless as the enemy still has to get past the shield (which is where the shield bonus to AC kicks in). A miss chance represents the wielder actually trying to stop blows which D&D ignores.

So, would we only give out miss % if someone is in defensive combat? Of course, all this is moot if we comparing to real life where one blow can kill anyone, regardless of experience. So we really have to factor HP into a psuedo cross between actual damage and just plain old physical exhaustion.

Ormagoden
2009-11-23, 02:41 PM
Sword and Board doesn't need a fix. You just need to look beyond the obvious. Here's my guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123630). As you'll see, you have many options.

I don't even have to click his link to know this!
It never needed a fix.

Person_Man
2009-11-23, 03:25 PM
To expand on my previous post, I would argue that adding new mechanics or screwing with pre-exiting ones that players already know just to make one melee style more viable isn't helpful. It just makes the game more complicated. Here are the "greatest hits" from my guide:

1) Divine Shield + Shield Specialization (pre-req) + Shield Ward: Divine Shield lets you burn a Turn/Rebuke use to add your Cha bonus to your Shield bonus. Shield Ward adds your Shield bonus to your Touch AC and your ability to resist opposed checks (Trip, Bull Rush, Grapple, etc). Also, don't forget to have a friendly Cleric cast Magic Vestment to improve it further. For a Paladin or Hexblade/Blackguard build with high Saves and Cha, this is a ridiculously strong tank combo. Also keep in mind that breaking away from a Grapple requires your enemy to make a Grapple check against you, which triggers your Shield Ward bonus. So once you establish a Grapple, it's very difficult for someone to break free. (Marshal 1/Paladin 4, anyone?)

2) Shield of the Severed Hand: Once per round grants you a free Bull Rush whenever an enemy attacks you and misses. Combine with Shock Trooper and/or Dungeoncrasher for awesomeness. Requires True Believer feat and 7 HD. Complete Divine pg 102 or MIC.

3) Inlindl School: You can sacrifice your shield bonus to AC to gain 1/2 that bonus To-Hit with any light or Weapon Finesse-able weapon. While this may not sound like much, keep in mind that with enhancements, Shield Specialization, Divine Shield, Knight bonuses, etc, it's not that hard to get a +10 or higher shield bonus, which means that you can easily get a +5 or higher untyped bonus to hit for minimal investment. Also note that you could use a heavy shield and a Gnome Battle Cloak (or just a heavy shield in each hand, or one or two animated shields, etc) and only sacrifice the shield bonus from one, while keeping the bonuses from the second shield. Requires Combat Expertise, Shield Proficiency, and Weapon Finesse. Drow of the Underdark pg 56.

4) Bulwark of Antimagic: A +1 tower shield with an 1/day Anti-Magic Field. What tank doesn't love AMF? Draconomicon pg 118.

5) Negating: After being hit by a magic weapon, your armor or shield automatically casts Greater Dispel Magic on it, at caster level 20. Although this is in the Epic Level Handbook, as a +5 bonus it's available to anyone around ECL 10ish.

Gan The Grey
2009-11-23, 03:50 PM
So, would we only give out miss % if someone is in defensive combat? Of course, all this is moot if we comparing to real life where one blow can kill anyone, regardless of experience. So we really have to factor HP into a psuedo cross between actual damage and just plain old physical exhaustion.

Wellllll...TECHNICALLY DnD works the same way as real life with the whole 'one hit kill' thing. TECHNICALLY your hit points are just stamina and skill, with each 'hit' that causes HP damage representing a slow decay of stamina. However, there is no line separating stamina and wounds in DnD, until you hit 0, and even then, one wound sends you unconscious. So yeah, I feel you there, sir.

I use wound points in my games. Regular HP are all just stamina, while your Con score is your wound points. Once both HP and wounds are at 0, you die. Wound damage has the potential to cause permanent wounds or scarring, and heals more slowly.

Personally? I think the block % is a little much. Too many rolls. I do like the idea of increasing shield AC via different feats and a little homebrew though.