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Eldan
2010-03-16, 10:02 AM
So, shields.

It seems to me that people agree that, unless in very specialized builds using a few feats and maneuvers, shields are rarely worth it, compared to a second weapon or two-handed power attacking.

How can shields be made worthwhile?

I have thought of a few house rules, but they all seem pretty minor, more numerical advantages than anything else. I'd like to hear a few comments on them, and maybe a few other suggestions on how shields could be made more useful.

1) Since a shield can be used to deflect attacks in close combat, the bonus also applies to touch attacks. Should make them at least a little bit better at lower levels, as touch AC can be difficult to optimize for an armoured tank until the more expensive magic comes into play.

2) In the fencing pictures someone posted in an other thread today, bucklers were shown as being used in a variety of combat maneuvers. How about giving a small bonus, such as +2, on combat maneuvers such as disarm or feint when a shield is held in the off-hand? Probably not worthwhile, as at least disarm seems to be rarely used anyway, while feints tend to lead to highly specialized builds already.

3) Improving shield bashes: should shield bashes be more easy to use? How about dropping the improved shield bash feat and just allowing shield bashers to keep their shield bonus anyway? It seems to me that the penalties for two-weapon fighting and/or enchanting shields are high enough on their own without needing more penalties.

Thoughts?

Spiryt
2010-03-16, 10:09 AM
Bonus to maneuvers is definitely logical.

Although, generally I think that decently made shields mechanics might be just too complex for 3.5...

I thought that shields could just provide some small (depending on size) cover, perhaps scaled with BaB - really good fighter with good shield can protect oneself better than simple warrior.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-16, 10:12 AM
i would say just double there AC bonus and that should do it.

Greenish
2010-03-16, 10:16 AM
i would say just double there AC bonus and that should do it.Just hiding behind a shield doesn't make you very credible threat, defeating the purpose of having high AC.

pffh
2010-03-16, 10:18 AM
Make animated shields a +1 enchant, raise the AC to 1.5 of the normal and let someone holding a non-animated shield use a move action to raise it to provide cover (shields size governs the amount of cover).

Hmm you could also allow a shield bash to daze (10+1/2 damage (full damage for spiked) vs fort) for 1 round.

Oh and a non animated shield should count towards touch AC.

DragoonWraith
2010-03-16, 10:19 AM
You could give shields a "block chance" a la "miss chance", that's not stat dependent... or, dependent on your BAB but not your opponent's stats, since otherwise that's too good for casters.

In addition to the touch AC, you should eliminate the "cast a spell at the tower shield to hit the person behind it" rule - if someone has cover from a Tower shield, line of sight and line of effect to them are broken, so the mage can target the shield, but not the person.

Kyeudo
2010-03-16, 10:20 AM
See, the reason that a Shield isn't a very good option is that it only allows you to defend yourself. You give up either 1-3 attacks or .5 x your Strength mod in damage plus whatever you power attacked for.

Further, if you are a melee combatant, you have one of two roles on the battlefield: tank or dps. If you are a tank, you need to give the monsters a reason to hit you. If you aren't dealing much damage and they can't hit you, even a dumb monster is going to ignore you until it deals with more serious problems. If you are dps, you need to be dealing as much damage as possible.

A minor bonus on combat manuvers, some touch AC, and free shield bashes aren't going to change the way that a shield detracts from your offense in a serious way. You'd need to make it so that a guy with a shield can be the same level of threat that a power-attacking greatsword fighter, guisarme-wielding trip fighter, or two-weapon fighting rogue can bring to the table.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-16, 10:29 AM
Having it go to touch doesn't make any sense. If a shield goes to touch why then doesn't regular armour?


I agree though that shields do take away from offence. I would then liek others are saying allow shield bashes without the feat. I would also ban animated shields as it realy invalidates shields.

pffh
2010-03-16, 10:31 AM
Having it go to touch doesn't make any sense. If a shield goes to touch why then doesn't regular armour?


I agree though that shields do take away from offence. I would then liek others are saying allow shield bashes without the feat. I would also ban animated shields as it realy invalidates shields.

Because you can hold a shield away from your body. You can't do that with armour.

Eldan
2010-03-16, 10:36 AM
A minor bonus on combat manuvers, some touch AC, and free shield bashes aren't going to change the way that a shield detracts from your offense in a serious way. You'd need to make it so that a guy with a shield can be the same level of threat that a power-attacking greatsword fighter, guisarme-wielding trip fighter, or two-weapon fighting rogue can bring to the table.

Yes, that's already what I thought when I wrote my first post: shields are kinda useless in DnD. Guess I didn't express that well. And I'm aware that small fixes like what I proposed aren't going to fix that, though I have no idea how else to do it.

sonofzeal
2010-03-16, 10:38 AM
I've always liked...

Buckler = +1
Light = +2
Heavy = +3
Tower = +5

Oh, and let Heavy count as "cover" vs AoE stuff (so +2 on Ref saves), but not "total cover" like tower shields.

Spiryt
2010-03-16, 10:39 AM
Because you can hold a shield away from your body. You can't do that with armour.

Armor is away from you body. Sometimes much more away than shield, if you hold the shield with bare hand, for example.

Theories about how far away something should be from body, and how "hard" :smalltongue: you must be touched for spell to work could really be pointless.

I would just propose that heavy armor counts for touch AC as well. Medium and light only in half perhaps.


Back to the shields, they could just grant some bonuses to attack rolls, instead of penalties like in tower shields as it is. :smallyuk:

The problem is, that in the end any attack bonus anyway ends as certain additional damage, thanks to power attack.

Eldan
2010-03-16, 10:41 AM
Yes, it would end up as PA fodder, and significantly less than a two-handed weapon would provide. Which seems like the wrong way to go.

pasko77
2010-03-16, 10:42 AM
So, shields.

It seems to me that people agree that, unless in very specialized builds using a few feats and maneuvers, shields are rarely worth it, compared to a second weapon or two-handed power attacking.

How can shields be made worthwhile?

Switch to 4ed :smalltongue:

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-16, 10:42 AM
When you bash with a shield, the shield is still between you and the enemy. So allowing bashes without the feat would be a good step, IMO.

Spiryt
2010-03-16, 10:44 AM
I would say that because of it, and the things Kyeudo mentioned, 3.5 system is unfortunately flawed, or at least not very good to incorporate such things.

Tehnar
2010-03-16, 10:44 AM
I've houseruled what Sonofzeal said (though without the cover, a good idea) and banned animated shields (and that spell in SC).

For RAW ways to buff shields look at Person's Man Guide to Shields (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123630).

You can actually do quite a lot with shields. I recommend that the shield is your main weapon and you keep your off hand free for wand's or the like.

If you look at the Iron Chef competition there is a build there that uses Divine Shield as a good way to get a high touch AC and bullrushes into people to deal damage.

Kaiyanwang
2010-03-16, 10:47 AM
Keep the ones you proposed and

4) increase by one step the shield bash damage

5) Double the bonus to ac in combat expertise if a shiled is properly wielded (someone said it in these boards before).

Ignore 5 if you have troubles with three-kreens.

Spiryt
2010-03-16, 10:52 AM
If somebody isn't playing really "hardcore", I think that providing better defense than it is, while offering some better damage, and other bonuses, would make shieldbearer dangerous target that's hard to stop.

Perhaps they should give protection against crippling effects, like tripping, rays, stun, nets, constrict, grapple and something like could be the way to go.

Fighter that's harder to stop in many ways, can deal damage/do whatever he's doing more reliably.

LostOne27
2010-03-16, 10:53 AM
Allow shields to block attacks (ala parry) with your BAB as bonus. They should also provide cover, based on the size. The final thing they should be able to do...protect your teammates. You can use your shield to cover whoever is on your shield side, providing them a bonus to AC (they don't have to focus on that direction anymore, and can focus on the opposite side). Two guys using their shields to cover you (I know you've seen it in movies...when the guards protect a principle with their shields) and you've got total cover / a high AC because you're just hard as hell to hit.

Now, add in some formations and tactics utilizing these concepts, and shields become viable...although still not ideal for solo or small-unit fights.

Take, for example, the Romans vs barbarian hordes. The barbarians fought as individuals, using larger swords and axes, and could obliterate a legionaire in a 1v1 fight. The Romans, with their phalanxes, were most often victorious when their numbers increased enough for a proper phalanx to be put together and the shields interlocked.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-03-16, 10:55 AM
Allow shields to block attacks (ala parry) with your BAB as bonus. They should also provide cover, based on the size. The final thing they should be able to do...protect your teammates. You can use your shield to cover whoever is on your shield side, providing them a bonus to AC (they don't have to focus on that direction anymore, and can focus on the opposite side). Two guys using their shields to cover you (I know you've seen it in movies...when the guards protect a principle with their shields) and you've got total cover / a high AC because you're just hard as hell to hit.

Now, add in some formations and tactics utilizing these concepts, and shields become viable...although still not ideal for solo or small-unit fights.

Take, for example, the Romans vs barbarian hordes. The barbarians fought as individuals, using larger swords and axes, and could obliterate a legionaire in a 1v1 fight. The Romans, with their phalanxes, were most often victorious when their numbers increased enough for a proper phalanx to be put together and the shields interlocked.

you already get the to give ac to some one buy standing in front of them its called soft cover.

Emmerask
2010-03-16, 10:59 AM
Oh and a non animated shield should count towards touch AC.

get yourself the shield ward feat and you get this :smallwink:

Greenish
2010-03-16, 11:01 AM
The barbarians fought as individuals, using larger swords and axes, and could obliterate a legionaire in a 1v1 fight."Obliterate" is a strong word. Roman Legionnaires were (post-Marius) professional soldiers with relatively good weaponry and armour. (And of course, they fought against many enemies utilizing many different tactics, so saying "the barbarians" like the enemies of Rome were a single entity is an oversimplification.)

That said, there are rules and feats for formation fighting, I seem to recall.

Spiryt
2010-03-16, 11:03 AM
Take, for example, the Romans vs barbarian hordes. The barbarians fought as individuals, using larger swords and axes, and could obliterate a legionaire in a 1v1 fight. The Romans, with their phalanxes, were most often victorious when their numbers increased enough for a proper phalanx to be put together and the shields interlocked.

I don't really want to do another pseudo historical thread here, but:

- barbarians (depending which ones) weren't using any larger shields and axes, save maybe from Dacian falx, which is one specific weapon of antique
- there are almost no battle axes generally in Roman period (that's pretty a lot of years anyway)
- Celtic or Germanic swords could be vary from being a bit larger, too way smaller than Roman ( depending on the time, place, and preference obviously), often with very similar way of using.
- Why the hell barbarians should "obliterate" legionnaire 1v1?
It could depend on many things, but there are many examples of Roman soldiers killing their enemies in skirmish combat. Especially since Roman army was full of prof. soldiers,(since Marius reforms) and the enemies were some simple tribal warriors without real training and skill. And mostly without armor, too.
- romans weren't using phalanx formation since about 350 B.C., so in their "classic" time of greatest power.
- No one is really sure how tight and crowded were Roman formations - again it depended on too many things from terrain to situation, enemy, skill etc.

Sorry for longish intermission, but there was really much bad fantasy stuff in this post.

Ernir
2010-03-16, 11:20 AM
I don't think the issue is really that shields suck, more that the two fighting options (non-animated) shield users have are two-weapon fighting and one-hand fighting. And those tend to have problems doing their job.

I wouldn't be opposed to some tweaks to their effectiveness, like having shield AC apply to touch AC (makes sense, really)... but what they really need is one-hand fighting to be a more effective combat style.

Hurlbut
2010-03-16, 11:25 AM
I would just propose that heavy armor counts for touch AC as well. Medium and light only in half perhaps.
Why? Because you "touched" the armor on the target, you missed the Touch AC? :smallyuk:

Tinydwarfman
2010-03-16, 11:31 AM
I think one of the main problems with shields is a problem with D&D in general. Most players have no need for defense, as it doesn't do very much. For all of your big armor and combat expertise, you can't to jack to protect your allies. 90% of the time you are better off going on the offensive and obliterating the enemy before it can touch your allies. The best defense really is a good offense.

Spiryt
2010-03-16, 11:33 AM
Why? Because you "touched" the armor on the target, you missed the Touch AC? :smallyuk:

Because armor may interfere in touching/grabbing target/flow of energy and stuff.

It's not that it's well fluffed anyway (AFAIK), and if spell can go trough armor to body, you could theoretically curse somebody by touching ground right next to his feet as well.
No solution really makes more sense than any other.

And because touch attack rolls are generally concerned as too easy to make, armor counting to touch AC won't be bad at all.

Harperfan7
2010-03-16, 01:22 PM
These definitely have flaws, mainly being too feat intensive and MAD, but if you can get around that, I've made shields better.

Parry
Pre: Dex 13+, Combat Reflexes
Benefit: Whenever you are targeted by anything that requires an attack roll that isn't a ranged touch or a ray, you can expend an attack of opportunity to try to parry the attack. This functions as an opposed attack roll. You must declare that you are parrying before you know the result of their attack roll. If your attack roll is higher than theirs, you parry the attack. You cannot make more parries in any one round than you have attacks in a full attack action. Your first parry in a round uses your full attack bonus, the second uses your first iterative attack, and so on.

If you are fighting with two weapons, you may parry with either at your discretion and may make as many parries as you have attacks with both weapons up to your max number of AoOs per round. If you are hasted or are using a weapon with the speed enchantment, you gain an extra parry each round (up to your max number of AoO's).

For each size category larger than yours a weapon is, you suffer a -2 penalty to your parry roll (if you are parrying with a shield, this penalty is halved). If your opponent is using power attack, you take a penalty to your parry roll equal to the bonus damage the opponent receives from power attack (if you are parrying with a shield, this penalty is halved). If you use combat expertise while parrying, you also gain the ac bonus to your parry roll.

If you are two weapon fighting with a shield via improved shield bash and you use your shield to make a parry, you gain its shield bonus to armor class to your parry roll (but not its enhancement bonus if its enchanted as a weapon) and reduce the two weapon fighting penalty by 2. You cannot use a currently animated animating shield to parry.

You can only make one parry attempt for each enemy attack roll. Every attack you use to parry with, you lose during the following round (they reset at the end of your turn). You have to be aware of an attack to parry it, though you can parry flat-footed because of combat reflexes. You can parry an AoO against you, but not riposte it. You cannot parry when charging (or the AoO that comes after your charge). You cannot parry a riposte. You can parry a sunder.

Improved Parry
Pre: Dex 13+, Combat Reflexes, Parry
Benefit: Any size penalty your weapon/shield receives when parrying a larger weapon is lessened by 2.

Riposte
Pre: Dex 13+, Combat Reflexes, Parry
Benefit: Whenever you parry an attack, you may immediately expend another AoO to counterattack your opponent as a free action during their turn at the same attack bonus as the parry. This does not use an additional attack from the following round. If you are fighting with two weapons, you riposte with the weapon you did not parry with (at the base attack bonus as the parry). You cannot parry a riposte.

Godskook
2010-03-16, 01:25 PM
If I wanted to re-write shields, I'd start by seeing how giving them a miss-chance worked. That way, they're always relevant, like shields should be.

Tinydwarfman
2010-03-16, 01:26 PM
Because armor may interfere in touching/grabbing target/flow of energy and stuff.

It's not that it's well fluffed anyway (AFAIK), and if spell can go trough armor to body, you could theoretically curse somebody by touching ground right next to his feet as well.
No solution really makes more sense than any other.

And because touch attack rolls are generally concerned as too easy to make, armor counting to touch AC won't be bad at all.

Ya, they're SUPPOSED to be easy. Otherwise there is no difference between a touch attack and a regular one.

Shyftir
2010-03-16, 01:39 PM
There are a few major things that I think shields need.

1) full strength bonus to damage on a bash.

2) bonus to bull-rush both against and to.

3) added to touch AC

Also I've got in my head a prestige class that allows the "agile shield user" concept to work. I'm annoyed with all the classes that give benefits for being in only light armor and no shield. A small shield really doesn't slow someone down that much. I play a simulated combat game and sword-and-board is the unquestioned king of our battle fields. A good shield-man barely needs other armor except against weapons like a flail.

I've seen a guy using a shield spin around blocking shots left and right and throwing attacks with a light sword. It's pretty impressive. Now obviously these weapons and shields are a bit lighter than their real life counterparts but modern recreational warriors aren't exactly medieval warriors either.

I'm gonna go find a good video of what I mean and link it in an edit.

Edit: Here is a link its not the best stuff I've ever seen but it illustrates my point pretty well. The interesting stuff start about 2 minutes in and after that its all okay but some parts show a different pace than others due to relative skills and styles involved.

Belegarth Event (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVyXvIXsTSU)

Yukitsu
2010-03-16, 01:48 PM
bucklers +1, light +2, heavy +3, tower +4. Bonus is doubled so long as you aren't flanked or caught off guard.

Knaight
2010-03-16, 02:02 PM
Alternately.

Heavy Shield: +1/2 BAB to AC. Or +4 AC
Light Shield: +1/3 BAB to AC. Or +2 AC
Buckler: +1/4 BAB to AC. Or +1 AC.

You could tweak this so smaller shields get better as people become better warriors as well, for a different feel.

Lin Bayaseda
2010-03-16, 02:06 PM
In my game, I just have shields affect touch AC - so they're useful against ray spells, and various combat manuevers including trip and disarm. Seems to work fine.

Frosty
2010-03-16, 02:12 PM
To make shiekds worth it: Take a level in Crusader when you've got at least IL 3, and take that Counter that lets you grant an adjacent ally a bonus to AC equal to your shield bonus.

Greenish
2010-03-16, 02:23 PM
Edit: Here is a link its not the best stuff I've ever seen but it illustrates my point pretty well. The interesting stuff start about 2 minutes in and after that its all okay but some parts show a different pace than others due to relative skills and styles involved.

Belegarth Event (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVyXvIXsTSU)I like boffing as much as the next guy, but I doubt it's very indicative on how real weapons worked.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-03-16, 02:26 PM
One suggestion I've seen before (forget where) is to allow shields to grant a 5% miss chance per point of AC bonus, not including any magical enhancements, at the expense of sacrificing said bonus. So with a light shield you could either take the +1 AC or a 5% miss chance, or if you had Shield Specialization (Light) it would be between +2 AC or a 10% miss chance, but if you have a +5 light shield it's still only +1 AC or a 5% miss chance. This could be a default option, a feat, or whatever else you feel is worth it, but if nothing else it should probably come standard with any of the shield-improving feats.

Given that the prevalence of magical sources of miss chances and a dearth of mundane sources thereof is one of the big differences between casters and martial types at mid to high levels, something like this that helps with non-AC defenses should make shields significantly more popular.

Eldan
2010-03-16, 02:31 PM
To make shiekds worth it: Take a level in Crusader when you've got at least IL 3, and take that Counter that lets you grant an adjacent ally a bonus to AC equal to your shield bonus.

That is one of the things I dislike about 3.5... the idea that you need to learn maneuvers and feats in order to do quite mundane things.

Basically, I'm not looking for ideas on how to make a shield better by taking feats and maneuvers inside the existing 3.5 rules, but on how to improve them so that they are competitive without a great investment.

Person_Man
2010-03-16, 02:53 PM
So, shields.

It seems to me that people agree that, unless in very specialized builds using a few feats and maneuvers, shields are rarely worth it, compared to a second weapon or two-handed power attacking.

I disagree. There is no need to make your rules even more fiddly. You simply need to fully understand (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123630) how to use shields. You are correct that shields do not produce the same damage output as two-handed power attacking. Instead, they produce superior defense and battlefield control.

JaronK
2010-03-16, 02:58 PM
Actually, they do superior damage. Shield Charge + Shield Slam + Improved Trip... enemies are all hit twice on the charge, tripped, and dazed. What they lack is reach.

JaronK

Frosty
2010-03-16, 04:25 PM
Actually, they do superior damage. Shield Charge + Shield Slam + Improved Trip... enemies are all hit twice on the charge, tripped, and dazed. What they lack is reach.

JaronK
While this isn't a large amount of optimization, I think what Eldan wants is to make Sword and Board a viable style righbt out of the box even for newbies who know nothing about optimization.

PlzBreakMyCmpAn
2010-03-17, 02:37 PM
PersonMan and JaronK both are right.

If you are really looking hard for something silly about shields to fix: 2 shields gives the same protection as 1 shield RAW.

Yup. No that's silly. Just make shield bonuses stack.

JaronK
2010-03-17, 02:53 PM
While this isn't a large amount of optimization, I think what Eldan wants is to make Sword and Board a viable style righbt out of the box even for newbies who know nothing about optimization.

Even charging isn't viable if you don't spend any feats towards it, and neither is tripping or archery. Honestly, just putting Shield Charge and Shield Slam in front of newbies would do plenty. The only problem is they usually don't see those feats. If they were in core, shield wielders would never have been considered weak.

JaronK

Lapak
2010-03-17, 03:51 PM
Depending on how you feel about equipment destruction, I read an interesting take on shields in an old-school D&D blog (http://trollsmyth.blogspot.com/2008/05/shields-shall-be-splintered.html) a while back which suggested introducing the (reasonable) point that shields were often broken in combat and making that mechanically relevant, allowing the user to negate an attack by sacrificing their shield: the shield shatters and is lost, the wielder takes no damage.

This kind of ruling makes mundane shields pretty nice in a lot of ways, but devalues magical ones pretty heavily. I don't think that the idea is necessarily usable in 3.x as-is, but a variation on the theme might be relevant. Maybe with magical shields they've suffered damage that makes them useless until repaired, such as the handle or strapping breaking from absorbing the shock? Maybe say instead that the damage (whatever it is) goes straight to the shield itself, like a Sunder attempt except that the wielder is the one choosing to put the item in harm's way? That could prove pretty useful against spell-style energy attacks, given object resistance to damage.

Just tossing ideas out there - obviously they need polishing, but there might be something useful in that direction.

Person_Man
2010-03-17, 04:32 PM
Depending on how you feel about equipment destruction, I read an interesting take on shields in an old-school D&D blog (http://trollsmyth.blogspot.com/2008/05/shields-shall-be-splintered.html) a while back which suggested introducing the (reasonable) point that shields were often broken in combat and making that mechanically relevant, allowing the user to negate an attack by sacrificing their shield: the shield shatters and is lost, the wielder takes no damage.

This kind of ruling makes mundane shields pretty nice in a lot of ways, but devalues magical ones pretty heavily. I don't think that the idea is necessarily usable in 3.x as-is, but a variation on the theme might be relevant. Maybe with magical shields they've suffered damage that makes them useless until repaired, such as the handle or strapping breaking from absorbing the shock? Maybe say instead that the damage (whatever it is) goes straight to the shield itself, like a Sunder attempt except that the wielder is the one choosing to put the item in harm's way? That could prove pretty useful against spell-style energy attacks, given object resistance to damage.

Just tossing ideas out there - obviously they need polishing, but there might be something useful in that direction.

There's a special material called aurorum in the Book of Exalted Deeds. When any object made of aurorum is Sundered, it can be put back together as a full round action. Put that together with your idea, and you'd have a pretty nifty item.

There's also the 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 for awesomeness). Requires True Believer feat and 7 HD. Complete Divine pg 102 or MIC.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-03-17, 04:34 PM
This kind of ruling makes mundane shields pretty nice in a lot of ways, but devalues magical ones pretty heavily. I don't think that the idea is necessarily usable in 3.x as-is, but a variation on the theme might be relevant. Maybe with magical shields they've suffered damage that makes them useless until repaired, such as the handle or strapping breaking from absorbing the shock?

I like it. Mundane shields would be fine with the break-it-to-negate-an-attack approach; with masterwork or magical shields, I'd say doing so would reduce the shield's enhancement bonus by +1, with it breaking after it's down to +0. This would (A) provide an in-game way to tell masterwork shields apart (they can survive 1 more attack), which is a nice touch and (B) give shields with higher bonuses, as opposed to more special abilities, a reason to exist. They wouldn't become completely useless, but they would need to be repaired, so it's still not an option you'd always take.

Greenish
2010-03-17, 04:38 PM
introducing the (reasonable) point that shields were often broken in combatI'd love to see citation for that, preferably better one than "I think I saw it in The 13th Warrior".

Maeglin_Dubh
2010-03-17, 04:38 PM
I like it. Mundane shields would be fine with the break-it-to-negate-an-attack approach; with masterwork or magical shields, I'd say doing so would reduce the shield's enhancement bonus by +1, with it breaking after it's down to +0. This would (A) provide an in-game way to tell masterwork shields apart (they can survive 1 more attack), which is a nice touch and (B) give shields with higher bonuses, as opposed to more special abilities, a reason to exist. They wouldn't become completely useless, but they would need to be repaired, so it's still not an option you'd always take.

It seems like it would work really well for E6 as well, since +1 is likely the highest level of enhancement you're going to see, so replacing multiple masterwork shields won't seem like such a waste when masterwork is a mid-tier item as opposed to bottom tier (just above standard).

Tetsubo 57
2010-03-17, 05:05 PM
I hate the fact that in D&D the shield known as a 'buckler' is strapped to your forearm. Bucklers are held in your hand. To make them a bit more like they are used in real; life I would keep the AC bonus at +1 but grant a +2 equipment bonus to disarm and grapple. Bucklers are very dynamic in use. they are not just static objects that you hide behind. For the larger, more traditional shields (except tower) I would double the AC bonus.

Roderick_BR
2010-03-17, 08:33 PM
get yourself the shield ward feat and you get this :smallwink:
This: Shield Ward, Player's Handbook 2. Just make it be part of the Use Shield feat.

Also: Put together Shield Specialization with Active Shield Defense.
And Improved Shield Bash with Agile Shield Fighter.

The higher shield bonuses are good too (buckler: +1, light: +2, heavy: +3, tower: +4)

This makes shield more worth taking, and gives you more active options.

WhiteHarness
2010-03-18, 09:21 AM
Take, for example, the Romans vs barbarian hordes. The barbarians fought as individuals, using larger swords and axes, and could obliterate a legionaire in a 1v1 fight. The Romans, with their phalanxes, were most often victorious when their numbers increased enough for a proper phalanx to be put together and the shields interlocked.
But what few accounts of single combat involving Romans and barbarians survive tell us just the opposite--that the barbarians fought with in a wild, untutored manner with wide strokes, and that a well-trained Roman soldier would skilfully defend himself and take the barbarian apart. I submit the account of Marcus Claudius Marcellus vs. Viridomarus, and that of Manlius Torquatus vs. the giant Gaul, which can be found in Livy.

The notion that barbarians were better single combatants than the Romans seems to be a modern myth. Presumably, Roman civilization had evolved to the point that they applied science to their combat training, while the Gallic and Germanic barbarians, though larger than the average Roman, had access to nothing like the superb training available to the soldiers of Rome.

Altair_the_Vexed
2010-03-18, 12:06 PM
To chip in on the "break-to-negate" shield concept: why not have the shield take damage as if successfully Sundered, with any excess transferring to the wielder?

In my d20 Conan game, I used the optional rule that if you equalled the Defence of a parrying defender, you clashed with his weapon or shield, and dealt it damage. Worked really well in our (brief) games.

kakiseirei
2010-03-18, 12:29 PM
You could just make special magic shields as a kind of quick fix to this option, for example:

Soverign Shield:
Cost: 9000gp
Activation: Swift (Command)

This +1 Heavy Wooden Shield glistens when active. Upon the command word, the face of the shield acts as if coated in a strong adhesive. Any creature that misses a melee attack against the wearer must make a reflex save (DC 15 + wearer's Dex modifier) or have their weapon stuck to the shield. It takes a DC 20 Strength check (as a standard action) to free the stuck object. The glue lasts for 2 rounds from activation, upon which it releases any stuck creature. A natural weapon means that the creature is stuck to the shield and is considered flatfooted and cannot use that particular natural weapon, it may still attack with any remaining weapons it has.

This shield can be activated 2 times per day.
Moderate Transmutation
Creation: make whole CL 9th

Not perfect, but that would suit tanks more as a shield, and then also mean that a higher AC is better.

Ryumaru
2010-03-18, 12:32 PM
PersonMan and JaronK both are right.

If you are really looking hard for something silly about shields to fix: 2 shields gives the same protection as 1 shield RAW.

Yup. No that's silly. Just make shield bonuses stack.

Except they don't?

Shields both provide a Shield bonus to AC; two bonuses of the same type don't stack.

EDIT: Or I could read that totally wrong >.> Either way, two shields not only looks silly, but doesn't work in my mind. Most of it is deflecting blows -with- the shield, and having two larger shields on each arm... I don't see you maneuvering them very well.

Lapak
2010-03-18, 12:42 PM
I'd love to see citation for that, preferably better one than "I think I saw it in The 13th Warrior".I'll say frankly that I don't have one, but I don't find it particularly hard to believe that an object made of (sturdy) wood and designed explicitly to deflect or absorb strikes from weapons designed to defeat body armor suffered a lot of damage in the course of a combat. I'd be more surprised than not to find that shields carried by foot soldiers were regularly used over and over again on battlefields where they ran into, say, axes.

For full-on metal shields, reinforced jousting shields, that kind of thing? Sure, I wouldn't expect them to break. Even more 'normal' shields I'd expect to survive a very large number of strikes with a sword as opposed to an axe or mace. But to suggest that they didn't get broken in combat when weapons and armor got broken on a regular basis? How much do I need to back that up? Especially in the context of applying the idea to action-pulpy D&D combat, where instead of a battle axe you might be talking about a hill giant's maul?

More on-topic, I like PairO'Dice's idea about knocking the bonus down a notch (especially in a repairable way) and I agree that it would work that much better in an E6 environment.

Besides, I like the mental image of the maul shattering the shield and leaving the fighter staggered but unhurt, or the fighter throwing his shield into the path of a Disintegrate to survive, or ducking behind it as a red dragon turns the shield to ash and slag with its first breath.

Person_Man
2010-03-18, 02:18 PM
But what few accounts of single combat involving Romans and barbarians survive tell us just the opposite--that the barbarians fought with in a wild, untutored manner with wide strokes, and that a well-trained Roman soldier would skilfully defend himself and take the barbarian apart. I submit the account of Marcus Claudius Marcellus vs. Viridomarus, and that of Manlius Torquatus vs. the giant Gaul, which can be found in Livy.

The notion that barbarians were better single combatants than the Romans seems to be a modern myth. Presumably, Roman civilization had evolved to the point that they applied science to their combat training, while the Gallic and Germanic barbarians, though larger than the average Roman, had access to nothing like the superb training available to the soldiers of Rome.

Quoted for truth value. Starting at the end of the 2nd century BC, the Romans instituted a professional army that did nothing but train, march, pillage, build fortifications, and fight, and they did so together as a cohesive legion. For the most part everyone else in the Western world (except the Spartans, who had a much smaller population base and lots of sociological problems) used merceneries (who did not train/fight together for long periods of time, and thus lacked the ability to coordinate with each other very effectively) and/or conscripts (who were usually untrained farmers and paupers pressed into service). Ancient writers described "barbarians" as monstrous to make the stories of defeating them more compelling, but there is no evidence that their untrained/wild/one-on-one fighting was more effective then the fighting of professional soldiers.

Anterean
2010-03-18, 03:07 PM
I don't know if this is a specialized build but two weapon fighting with improved shield bash (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#improvedShieldBash) and a spiked (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/armor.htm#shieldSpikes) bashing (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicArmor.htm#bashing) heavy shield seems to work fine for me.

Ofcourse my group may not be that big on optimization.

Ashiel
2010-03-18, 05:13 PM
My group is currently playing with some modifiers that make shields much more attractive. The rules are subject to change as play-testing continues; but you can find the information in this document (http://www.mediafire.com/file/jmmwluy0iaz/D20 - House Rules.pdf).