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View Full Version : [3.5] Short Sword and Buckler Build?



Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-10, 12:19 AM
So, the use of the shortsword and buckler (the actual small punch shield, not something strapped to your forearm) was an extremely prevalent form of combat in the middle ages. Both sword and shield were used offensively and defensively, to strike, bash, grapple, and veil your developing attacks.

Trying to think of the best way to do this with a level 6 Gestalt character. I'll probably be using a light shield, rather than a D&D buckler, since a real world buckler is not the same thing.

For shortsword, I'll use a shortsword. That much is pretty simple.

For armor, I want to still be able to move my normal speed, possibly a bit faster (depending on classes) so nothing heavier than light, unless there's a way to mitigate the speed hit from medium armor.

This is for E6, so the possibility of Capstone Feats is open (for instance, a feat that allows level 6 fighters to take feats as if they have a BAB of 8). Also, playable 1-6 would be appreciated, because if I wind up DMing this thing, I'll want to use this character (as well as variants thereof at various levels) as guardsmen, men-at-arms, and combat instructors.

I'd like to keep spellcasting with this build to a minimum, as spellcasting in this setting isn't a widespread or universal thing, and while gestalt spellcasters are considerably more durable if they've also trained in martial traditions, it's still uncommon.

Suggestions?

EDIT: This group (http://www.youtube.com/user/tossetoke) shows examples of the sort of fighting I want the character to recreate.

Runestar
2010-03-10, 12:27 AM
Shadow blade lets you add your dex mod to damage while using shadow hand weapons and while in a shadow hand stance (one of which is the shortsword).

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-10, 12:39 AM
Shadow blade lets you add your dex mod to damage while using shadow hand weapons and while in a shadow hand stance (one of which is the shortsword).

Can this be attained without taking Swordsage? I don't know much about the Tome of Battle, but I seem to recall that it was possible to take some maneuvers/stances with feats.

HunterOfJello
2010-03-10, 12:46 AM
The Shadow Blade feat has a prerequisite of 1 Shandow Hand Stance and you can only use it with a Shadow Blade preferred weapon while in a Shadow Hand stance.

The Marital Stance feat gives you 1 stance but has a prerequisite of having 1 marital maneuver.

The Martial Study feat gives you 1 marital maneuver with no prerequisite.


So to get Shadow Blade you could take 3 feats or 1 level of swordsage and 1 feat.


*edit*


FYI, the Shadow Hand preferred weapons are the dagger, short sword, sai, siangham, unarmed strike and spiked chain.

*edit2*

Taking a 1 level dip into Swordsage really wouldn't be bad at all. The class has good reflex and will saves, d8, 6 + int class skills, +1 to initiative from the ability Quick to Act, Weapon Focus for a chosen discipline's weapons (which would would have gotten as a feat for the Short Sword most likely anyway), a lvl 1 stance (which is good and fulfills the prereq), and several maneuvers that you can use.

The first stance that you get from your first level in a martial adept class must be a level 1 stance. The two lvl 1 Shadow Hand stances are Child of Shadow and Island of Blades.

Child of Shadow gives you concealment as long as you move 10 feet during a round. Island of Blades gives you the benefit of flanking if you and an ally are both adjacent to the enemy. (So you don't have to waste time running all the way behind an enemy just to get flanking.)

Rainbownaga
2010-03-10, 01:11 AM
I'm curious, but does the medieval term 'short sword' reference a different weapon to the one d&d depicts (basically a gladus)? I know medieval longswords are better represented with bastard and greatswords, and a small sword is a narrow version of d&d's 'longsword' which is really an arming sword.

Comparing sword terminology between medieval and d&d is confusing :smallfrown:

Unfortunately I can't do much for your question; the good thing with bucklers is they allow you to take two handed swings, but only works if you use a longer sword.

Edit: I swear I've seen this being done in the re-enactments/illuminations; of course they are using smallswords rather than short.

Draz74
2010-03-10, 01:17 AM
Tome of Battle also makes fighting with two weapons much more effective in general (including if one of those weapons is a shield). Warblade 6 with Stormguard Warrior is actually what I'd recommend.

But you probably want to hear more about Feats, since you might end up with a lot of them in E6. There are a lot of feats in PHB2 that make using a shield more worthwhile: Shield Specialization, Agile Shield Fighter, Shield Ward. And some others, but those are the good ones.

Tome of Battle also has a nifty maneuver to let you protect an ally with a shield. If you're into that kind of defensive stuff. Neither Warblade nor Swordsage get access to that maneuver, though, so you'll probably want to take it via feat.

gorfnab
2010-03-10, 01:26 AM
If you're not keen on Tome of Battle stuff a mix of Swashbuckler and Fighter should do the trick. You can't shield bash with a buckler but you can shield bash with a small shield. Maybe a build like
E6 Human
1. Swashbuckler - Two Weapon Fighting, Combat Expertise
2. Fighter - Improved Shield Bash
3. Fighter - Improved Feint, Improved Disarm
4. Swashbuckler
5. Swashbuckler
6. Barbarian (Whirling Frenzy UA, Lion Totem CC) - Improved Two Weapon Fighting

And then when you start getting bonus feats from E6 leveling looking into stuff like Shield Specialization PHBII, Shield Ward PHBII, and Improved Trip.

Rainbownaga
2010-03-10, 01:32 AM
One thought- rangers are proficient with shields, automatically gain the weapon proficiency tree, and light shields are light. Since you're already 'fluffing' the small shield stats to represent the buckler, there's no reason not to go spiked (read 'optimized for shield bashing') and bashing enchantments. I would still be tempted to go for a full size sword however. Do you have any links to pictures of these short sword battles?

arguskos
2010-03-10, 01:33 AM
On the Armor front, if you want to use roman gladiator armor (which I personally think is awesomely thematic), you can check the Dragon Compendium for the Retarius (http://www.coolminiornot.com/store/shopimages/products/normal/tow030002), Samnite (http://www.gladiatorschool.tv/samnite.jpg), Secutor (http://www.spronk.nu/Pagina's/Digitheek/Graphics/Clipart/Mensen/Geschiedenis/Oudheid/Romeinen/Gladiatoren/glad_pro_secutor.gif), and Thracian (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/warriorchallenge/gladiators/images/glad_pro_thracian.gif) armors. None are honestly all that amazing mechanically, but I like them.

Note: I honestly doubt my period knowledge is even CLOSE to what you want, but, I think of stuff like this when you mention short sword + shield fighting. Sorry if I got it blatantly wrong or something.

Soranar
2010-03-10, 01:39 AM
actually you cant shieldbash with a buckler, so you need to use at least a light shield

but you could also take the champion of CC (elf only) to get dex to damage (on top of STR, even Int if you take swashbuckler)

a rapier would also make more sense for the whole swashbuckling thing

Draz74
2010-03-10, 01:41 AM
actually you cant shieldbash with a buckler, so you need to use at least a light shield

Can we go over this again? I'm not sure three times (including the OP) was enough. :smallamused:

Soranar
2010-03-10, 01:45 AM
Can we go over this again? I'm not sure three times (including the OP) was enough. :smallamused:

thing is a buckler is a punch shield... yet DND says it's not

thus the multiple confusion

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-10, 02:02 AM
One thought- rangers are proficient with shields, automatically gain the weapon proficiency tree, and light shields are light. Since you're already 'fluffing' the small shield stats to represent the buckler, there's no reason not to go spiked (read 'optimized for shield bashing') and bashing enchantments. I would still be tempted to go for a full size sword however. Do you have any links to pictures of these short sword battles?

I posted a link to videos in the OP, and as I think on it, what D&D calls a longsword is probably a bit more appropriate, but it could go either way, depending on which manual you read.

http://higginssword.org/guild/demo/pix/rf03_buckler.jpg

That's a good image, showing one of the clinch moves and the bucklers and blades used.

(Also, oddly enough, the light shield and buckler are very similar statwise, except you can't bash with a buckler, but you keep your hand free. So for this sort of buckler, light shield is what it should be doing mechanically.)

Also, it's E6 Gestalt, so I could theoretically do Fighter6/Swashbuckler6...

@Arguskos - Not quite the period I'm looking at... But interesting nonetheless, and will probably see some use given the hodge-podge of cultures in the setting.

arguskos
2010-03-10, 02:04 AM
@Arguskos - Not quite the period I'm looking at... But interesting nonetheless, and will probably see some use given the hodge-podge of cultures in the setting.
Yeah, wasn't sure. My historical knowledge of fighting styles is obviously weak. I just like stuff that looks good. :smallcool:

Faleldir
2010-03-10, 02:22 AM
Why do you want Fighter//Swashbuckler? You'll have only one good save!

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-10, 02:27 AM
Why do you want Fighter//Swashbuckler? You'll have only one good save!

Not an ideal choice, I understand. But someone had pointed out I could use fighter and swashbuckler, and I was reiterating the Gestalt nature of the setting.

gorfnab
2010-03-10, 02:44 AM
Also, it's E6 Gestalt, so I could theoretically do Fighter6/Swashbuckler6...


Well in that case let me revise my build

E6 Human Sword (either rapier or short sword) and Light Shield
1. Swashbuckler // Rogue - Two Weapon Fighting, Combat Expertise
2. Fighter // Rogue - Improved Shield Bash
3. Fighter // Rogue (Penetrating Strike ACF DS)- Improved Feint
4. Swashbuckler // Rogue
5. Swashbuckler // Fighter
6. Fighter // Rogue - Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Improved Disarm

Human Sword, Triple Dagger, and Buckler
1. Rogue // Fighter - Twin Sword Style (PGtF), EWP Triple Dagger (A&EG), Two Weapon Fighting
2. Swashbuckler // Fighter - Combat Expertise
3. Rogue // Fighter - Improved Disarm
4. Rogue // Fighter - Improved Buckler Defense (CW)
5. Swashbuckler // Fighter
6. Swashbuckler // Fighter - Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Improved Feint
For bonus feats from leveling in E6 consider Improved Unarmed Strike, Superior Unarmed Strike, and Improved Grapple so then you can start to really mimic some of the stuff found in the manuals.

Also here is a manual for sword and small shield fighting from http://www.chivalrybookshelf.com/.

The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship
A Facsimile & Translation of the World's Oldest Personal Combat Treatise
by Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng
Full Color, 178pp. AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER, 2003
Published jointly with the Royal Armouries at Leeds
ISBN: 1-891448-38-2

So far my fencing manual library consists of HIGHLAND SWORDSMANSHIP Techniques of the Scottish Sword Masters (ISBN: 1-891448-15-3), The Duellists Companion (ISBN: 1-891448-11-0-5), Academy of the Sword The Mystery of the Spanish Circle in Swordsmanship & Esoteric Arts (ISBN: 1-891448-40-4), and HIGHLAND BROADSWORD Techniques of the Scottish Regiments (ISBN: 1-891448-21-8). I plan to pick up the Agrippa and Fabris manuals sometime soon.

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-10, 02:57 AM
Heh...

If you know Jeff Forgeng, you might recognize the picture I posted earlier as being from the Higgins Armory Sword Guild, who he works with. I did some photography for them about five or six years ago, helped out with a few of their demonstrations and such. Never had the money for their classes, or the travel time (lived about an hour away) but it definitely got me interested in better portrayal of combat in my gaming.

gorfnab
2010-03-10, 03:19 AM
Heh...

If you know Jeff Forgeng, you might recognize the picture I posted earlier as being from the Higgins Armory Sword Guild, who he works with. I did some photography for them about five or six years ago, helped out with a few of their demonstrations and such. Never had the money for their classes, or the travel time (lived about an hour away) but it definitely got me interested in better portrayal of combat in my gaming.
As a SCAdian I understand completely. There are many times I wish I was able to attend a class or lecture at the Oakeshott Institute but I just don't have the time or money right now. Well hopefully that will change if my wife and I finally decide on when we're going to move to the Twin Cities.

faceroll
2010-03-10, 03:43 AM
Picking up a level of swordage late in the build for assassin's stance (+2d6 sneak attack damage), the shadow hand feat for dex to damage, and a couple maneuvers for attacking with both weapons at the same time, would add a lot to the build, imo. Sneak attack means you know how to really take advantage of flanking, as I'm told getting a +2 bonus to hit people that are flanked is not nearly as representative of what a huge bummer it can be.

gorfnab
2010-03-10, 05:32 AM
Picking up a level of swordage late in the build for assassin's stance (+2d6 sneak attack damage), the shadow hand feat for dex to damage, and a couple maneuvers for attacking with both weapons at the same time, would add a lot to the build, imo. Sneak attack means you know how to really take advantage of flanking, as I'm told getting a +2 bonus to hit people that are flanked is not nearly as representative of what a huge bummer it can be.

Shadowblade can be picked up easily with a level of swordsage however Assassins Stance requires a bit more since it's a 3rd level stance which means you need an IL of 5+. And with the gestalt rules I've seen only actually character levels count toward IL not total classes which means needing at least 5 levels of swordsage in order to get Assassins Stance.

faceroll
2010-03-10, 02:50 PM
Shadowblade can be picked up easily with a level of swordsage however Assassins Stance requires a bit more since it's a 3rd level stance which means you need an IL of 5+. And with the gestalt rules I've seen only actually character levels count toward IL not total classes which means needing at least 5 levels of swordsage in order to get Assassins Stance.

Fighter level = initiator level. So you pick up swordsage at level 6 and can pick from all those shiny 3rd level moves.

AtwasAwamps
2010-03-10, 03:00 PM
Fighter level = initiator level. So you pick up swordsage at level 6 and can pick from all those shiny 3rd level moves.

isn't it fighter level/2 = initiator level?

faceroll
2010-03-10, 03:01 PM
isn't it fighter level/2 = initiator level?

No, that's everything else.

pffh
2010-03-10, 03:26 PM
Well if you're open to homebrews then my watchman class (see sig) is designed with E6 games in mind and it's main weapon is a short sword.

So a Fighter 1 (for the shield prof)/Watchman 5 and using your feats for shield bashing and two weapon fighting would give you a non-lethal short sword wielding, breast plate wearing, shield bashing guard type character.

ericgrau
2010-03-10, 03:32 PM
Grappling will turn your light weapon from a disadvantage to an advantage. Also fits your style. Shield becomes minor at this point, but you might as well put something in your other hand since you can't TWF in a grapple. Or you stick with something similar to the above build so you can both TWF and grapple as desired.

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-10, 04:02 PM
Grappling would be thematic, and would work well with the shortsword.

Are there any feats that allow one to use a one-handed weapon in a grapple, so I can use a longsword?

Also, can I grapple when wielding a shield with my shortsword, or would I have to drop the shield?

Icewraith
2010-03-10, 05:36 PM
May I suggest the exotic weapon or houserule "It's actually a %$#&ing Buckler?"

+1 AC
Takes up hand
Can Bash
Treated as having hand free for Grapple/Trip attempts

After all, from that picture, that position is either moving into a trip or is already what D&D would consider a grapple.

ericgrau
2010-03-10, 06:05 PM
The shield is strapped to your arm so you can't very well drop it in a grapple. Your shield hand is still free while wielding a shield, so I don't think you have any issue grappling with it.

The specific rule is that you may carry objects in your shield hand but not wield a weapon with it. So now it's a matter of whether or not that's good enough to grapple with. IMO just say that you can initiate the grapple for the fluff reasons you gave and move on. For maintaining the grapple you hold with your shield hand. Regardless, you'd lose your shield bonus to AC.



Are there any feats that allow one to use a one-handed weapon in a grapple, so I can use a longsword?

We're talking about one point of damage here, so even if there was it wouldn't be worth it.

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-10, 09:29 PM
The shield is strapped to your arm so you can't very well drop it in a grapple. Your shield hand is still free while wielding a shield, so I don't think you have any issue grappling with it.

The specific rule is that you may carry objects in your shield hand but not wield a weapon with it. So now it's a matter of whether or not that's good enough to grapple with. IMO just say that you can initiate the grapple for the fluff reasons you gave and move on. For maintaining the grapple you hold with your shield hand. Regardless, you'd lose your shield bonus to AC.


We're talking about one point of damage here, so even if there was it wouldn't be worth it.
A buckler isn't strapped to your arm, it's just held by the crossbar as if punching (which, you might imagine, makes it good at punching) and there's at least one maneuver I know of that involves dropping it on purpose to escape a grapple. Of course, the grapple you're escaping from has been initiated by a person using a buckler as well.

(Note: When I say buckler, I mean a real-world buckler, which is what I -think- D&D means by Light Shield.)

As for longsword, you have a point. I'll probably just restat a shortsword to deal slashing damage as well as piercing (why it only pierces in the current rules I've never quite understood... if you can do piercing and slashing with a dagger, you can certainly do it with a shortsword.)

gorfnab
2010-03-12, 04:45 AM
No, that's everything else.
No he is correct.
Page 39 of Tome of Battle under Initiator Level


If you are a single-class character, your initiator level equals your level in the class that provides access to martial maneuvers (crusader, swordsage, or warblade). If you lack any martial adept levels, your initiator level is equal to 1/2 your character level
And page 39 of Tome of Battle under Multiclass Characters


If you are a mutliclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class +1/2 your levels in all other classes...This process applies to all of a character's level whether they are in martial adept classes or other classes.

5 levels non-martial-adept (IL 2.5) + 1 level martial-adept (IL 1) = IL 3.5

On a side note: for the fencing I do in the SCA I use a buckler (~12" round wooden leather covered shield with center grip, no boss) and my wife uses a targe (~18" round wooden "studded" leather covered shield with metal boss and center grip).

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-15, 12:24 AM
Well, I'm currently setting up a Warblade to run in a forum game here on GitP, and I've already started him on the path to aggressive shield use. Not a buckler, specifically, but a heavy spiked shield, which I'm already specialized in.

Any feats that don't go into Warblade or maneuver specific functions are going towards ensuring that I use the shield as the weapon it was, starting with Improved Shield Bash and Agile Shield Fighter.

Caiaphas Senterra (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheetview.php?sheetid=192254)
Male LN Sharakim Warblade 5, Level 5, Init +2, HP 75/75, Speed 30'
AC 21, Touch 12, Flat-footed 19, Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +1, Base Attack Bonus 5
Masterwork +1 Bastard Sword +10 (1d10+5, 19-20/x2)
Spiked Darkwood Shield +9 (1d6+4, 20/x2)
Masterwork Dagger +10 (+8 if thrown) (1d4+4, 19-20/x2)
Masterwork, Spiked, Senterra Family Crest +1 Darkleaf Breastplate, Shield Sheath (Dagger), Spiked Heavy Darkwood Shield (+6 Armor, +3 Shield, +2 Dex)
Abilities Str 18, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 9
Condition None
Darkvision 30
Shadow Affinity in area of darkness or shadowy
illumination, +2 Racial bonus on Hide, Move
Silently, Search, & Spot checks.
Light Sensitivity receive a 1 penalty when in
sunlight or Daylight.
+1 Racial bonus on attacks vs. Orcs & Half-Orcs.