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balistafreak
2010-06-17, 09:36 AM
The wording on this is hilariously vague.

Here's the tower shield rules:



This massive wooden shield is nearly as tall as you are. In most situations, it provides the indicated shield bonus to your AC. However, you can instead use it as total cover, though you must give up your attacks to do so. The shield does not, however, provide cover against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. You cannot bash with a tower shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.

When employing a tower shield in combat, you take a -2 penalty on attack rolls because of the shieldís encumbrance.

And here's the ruling on total cover:


If you donít have line of effect to your target he is considered to have total cover from you. You canít make an attack against a target that has total cover.

When you "use [a tower shield] as total cover", how does this work? Do you draw a line of wall or do you just have total cover in all directions? Does it take an action? Would such action provoke AoOs (that would be blocked if you gained total cover from them)?

These rules are pretty vague. I'd like other people's views on them.

My own interpretation of them, while not totally RAW, has been this:

Covering a direction with a tower shield is a free action that provokes attacks of opportunity. Instead of granting a shield bonus to AC, your tower shield until your next turn instead acts as a wall that grants total cover that stretches from any two corners of your square. (Note that attacks of opportunity cannot be made through total cover, although adjacent enemies can simply five-foot-step around your cover and attack next turn.)

You may not use the attack action in the same turn you cover a direction with a tower shield, although you may drink a potion, use a wand, draw a weapon, manipulate an object (that you haven't blocked access to, of course), and engage in similarly non-physically-stressful actions.

Example: You are standing at the center of 3 hobgoblins to form a T-shape. The two hobgoblins at the top of the T are adjacent to you - the one at the bottom is at ten tiles away, with a bow.

You declare that you'll use your shield as total cover from the top left corner of your square to the bottom right corner. You provoke an AoO from either hobgoblin, one of which (the left hobgoblin) is negated by total cover. You now have total cover from the left hobgoblin and the bottom hobgoblin. However, you do not have cover from the right hobgoblin, and you don't even have a shield bonus to AC against him.

Note that on the hobgoblin's turn, the left hobgoblin could simply 5-foot step to directly above you and attack around your cover. The bottom hobgoblin could move some distance to the right and get line of effect to the top right corner of your square, thus allowing him to attack you - however, you would probably still have a +4 AC bonus against him for cover, as drawing a line of effect to either the bottom left or right corner would be interrupted by the full cover you threw down.

2xMachina
2010-06-17, 09:42 AM
Do you want an FAQ answer?

I read it. Taking Total Cover is a standard action. 1 side of your square is now considered a wall/etc and provides cover as if a wall.
No mention of provoking AoO.

Snake-Aes
2010-06-17, 09:52 AM
Total Cover from a shield is pretty much hiding behind it, which means on that direction you have a wall. Since fighting of any sort requires some movement, it makes sense you blow your cover if you stand up to attack(you go back to partial cover). It doesn't have to provoke attacks of opportunity, but I'm not sure how to figure out your ac from positions against which you do not have cover.

Total Cover is not practical in melee at all...it's more of a "wait, I've got this...where's that damn potion?" action when you're pinned down by archers.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-17, 09:54 AM
As I pointed out in another thread, and suggested above, there is a laundry list long FAQ answer that is just good.

I the standard action thing became official, even Pathfinder uses it.

Moreover, the standard action cover increases tactical flexibility - I recommend it.

Matthew
2010-06-17, 09:57 AM
I usually just consider it to be equivalent to taking a total defence (if I recall the name correctly) action. Whilst it makes sense in a sort of D20/3e way for it to act as total cover in all directions (after all shields work in all directions) it is probably more sensible to consider it to be providing cover towards one direction.

balistafreak
2010-06-17, 10:09 AM
Firstly: is this an official errata/FAQ, or yet another Sage ruling that may or not make sense? :smalltongue: Can you give a link, if one exists?

Secondly, I argue that standard action cover prevents you from accomplishing anything. Say I want to hide behind my shield from the archers on the wall while I drink potions/buff with a wand/use a healing belt/whatever that isn't attacking. Standard action cover means all I can do is sit on my butt. Oh, and move around, but that's not exactly helping the situation.

Yes, total-cover shielding is completely pointless in melee, which I tried to point out in the example.

Oh, and add in the clause that you cannot make an attack on the same turn that you set up total cover. That means no "I throw my javelin and then hide with impunity".

2xMachina
2010-06-17, 10:43 AM
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/er/20030221a

v.3.5 Main D&D FAQ pg 70. However, it is said FAQ =/= RAW

Using the standard action pretty much makes you useless the round you do it. (Unless you use it to move away) And they can go move sideways and deny your cover. Probably the only good use is in tight corridors, and you want to wait for some reason (Lesser Vigor for example, or waiting out their buffs)

Another_Poet
2010-06-17, 10:49 AM
We always rule it to be unidirectional cover. You choose which way you're planting it and have cover against that direction.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-17, 10:52 AM
Secondly, I argue that standard action cover prevents you from accomplishing anything. Say I want to hide behind my shield from the archers on the wall while I drink potions/buff with a wand/use a healing belt/whatever that isn't attacking. Standard action cover means all I can do is sit on my butt. Oh, and move around, but that's not exactly helping the situation.



Try to prepare an action vs a dragon breath, or to cover and approach a mountain troll, then come back to me.

Jarian
2010-06-17, 10:53 AM
As you said, it's vague. Too vague, really, for RAW to be of any use other than "lol tower shield of invisibility".

I've always used the standard action route, and you choose a 180 degree arc to have total cover from.

2xMachina
2010-06-17, 10:57 AM
Try to prepare an action vs a dragon breath, or to cover and approach a mountain troll, then come back to me.

Dragon moves to the side and breathes on you.

Troll side steps and attack you where your shield doesn't provide total cover. (Partial cover). No AoO, cause he's moving out of an area where he has Total cover from you. Or he can move to your sides, eating a AoO with cover, and hitting you with none.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-17, 11:03 AM
Dragon moves to the side and breathes on you.

Troll side steps and attack you where your shield doesn't provide total cover. (Partial cover). No AoO, cause he's moving out of an area where he has Total cover from you. Or he can move to your sides, eating a AoO with cover, and hitting you with none.

I said ACTION PREPARED. You can prepare standard actions.

So I'm forcing the troll moving? Stepping in some greased area, or a rogue is ready to come out from darkness/tree/whatever, and I'm flanking him, maybe?

I'm forcing the targets focusing the fighter instead of say, the bard? Bad move.

Towershield is for tactics. If one does not like it, just take the exotic shield proficeency AFC from races of stone. Done.

2xMachina
2010-06-17, 11:09 AM
Ah, ok. Was confused. They generally call it readying an action.

Though... IDK. It's generally like the tank problem. No reason for them not to just ignore you.

Snake-Aes
2010-06-17, 11:13 AM
Another good way to bust cover is a trip/bull rush. Or even disarm, if you want to nab the shield and toss it aside.

Claudius Maximus
2010-06-17, 11:25 AM
Sunder works well too, since the standard Tower Shield is made of wood.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-17, 11:40 AM
Ah, ok. Was confused. They generally call it readying an action.


Have patience. I generally succeed in translations, but sometimes I make a mistake on the fly (sadly, more in core, because mine is in Italian).


Sunder works well too, since the standard Tower Shield is made of wood.

True, but in Races of Stone there is an Adamantine one. If can be made on Adamantine, can be made of Obdurium. Base hardness 30 can be useful!

Yes you can bull rushed, but you can bull rush too (not during cover). Look up in wotc archives (fighting dirty). There is a suggested house rule to use a towershield in helping you bull rush (+4 to the attempt, not bad!).

balistafreak
2010-06-17, 12:14 PM
I don't know - every standard action you take to provide cover is a standard action not spent killing the enemy.

And that's terrible.

I mean the example of readying a shield to provide total cover against an attack solves absolutely nothing - the dragon is still going to breathe on you next turn, the troll will still be standing there next turn, etc.

As long as it's a standard action to put up the shield, it will never provide "tactical options" because bad options are no options.

Call me arrogant, but I really believe just throwing down a wall for a free action is the most enjoyable and interesting way to handle tower shields.

And who says that this is limited to PCs? I'd love to see an encounter where mooks constantly prepare actions to move in front of charging/arrow shooting/spellcasting PCs with total-cover tower shields, completely negating their actions. It'd be a refreshing change from the mooks that simply stand there and do nothing. As a standard action, a mook can only prepare an action to move in the way, which may or may not accomplish anything - as a free action, the mook can do so with his shield still up.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-17, 12:19 PM
The dragon breath weapon recharges int the following round? I already bringed in an example about the troll.

A player of mine used these tactics. To lure a dragon to breath in a well planned counter-attack after a deep dragon was stalking the party. To approach an heavy templated mountain troll that was dropping the ceiling launching rocks.

I don't say you have to use it always. Heck, the warrior above use THF generally. But when chance arrives, can be great.

The Dark Fiddler
2010-06-17, 12:20 PM
I mean the example of readying a shield to provide total cover against an attack solves absolutely nothing - the dragon is still going to breathe on you next turn, the troll will still be standing there next turn, etc.

Dragons can only breathe every 1d4 rounds, so it protects you from damage letting you live long enough to fight for those extra rounds.

Not to mention that the round that you use the cover to protect yourself from the attack (the monster would still attack you, and the cover would then negate it, because it wouldn't know you were readying the action) is an attack not dealing damage, not targeted to more squishy party members, and an extra round to get into tactical positions.

Another_Poet
2010-06-17, 02:59 PM
I mean the example of readying a shield to provide total cover against an attack solves absolutely nothing - the dragon is still going to breathe on you next turn, the troll will still be standing there next turn, etc.

I've seen it used well. The PCs came through a narrow hallway into a huge room. At the other side was an archer in a fixed, fortified position with Rapid Shot. In between was difficult terrain. The fighter used the tower shield as cover and led the way, with everyone else following single file close behind. They crossed the room impervious to arrow fire, stormed the fortified foxhole, and captured the archer and his brother.

ap

Lans
2010-06-17, 06:32 PM
True, but in Races of Stone there is an Adamantine one. If can be made on Adamantine, can be made of Obdurium. Base hardness 30 can be useful!
.

Isnt obduriam also more heavy than Adamantine/steel

holywhippet
2010-06-17, 06:37 PM
I've seen a fighter use a tower shield to good effect when fighting inside a building. He had goblins coming at him from through a door and also from down some stairs. So he'd just use his tower shield to block off one or the other - this was 3.0 though so the rules were slightly different.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-18, 02:26 AM
Isnt obduriam also more heavy than Adamantine/steel

Well, if you start carrying a towershield, I suppose you don't want to tumple around.. and you are likely to be an high streght PC.. so..

Kyeudo
2010-06-18, 02:52 AM
I've actually played with the "Omnidirectional no-action required" total cover option, with only the caveat that they have to declare on their turn which mode their tower shield is in. It wasn't that bad.

The Cleric ran around the battlefield and was essentially a mobile +2 bonus from flanking. His contributions to the fight weren't any better than a healbot, as I still let him cast touch spells with it up. For one feat, all it did was make sure that damage went to the meatshield.

On a fighter, who gets Tower Shield proficiency naturally, it would have been even worse. Sure, he can't die, but that doesn't mean much when you're the meatshield and just made yourself completely ignorable.

Escheton
2010-06-18, 06:48 AM
It takes a standard action to set it up. What action does it cost to take it down?
Or is it actually a standard action each turn? Because wings of cover then has you owned to the point that you might as well roll a meatshield sorcerer.

If it's a just a standard to set up then you can just chug that potion next round and be save as you hide behind your mobile wall.
Now, in this interpretation, can you move the wall?

2xMachina
2010-06-18, 06:56 AM
According to FAQ? Standard action each round. It also goes on to say you can move with it, but it might not provide you cover while doing so...

So, yeah... They nerfed it pretty bad.

Or you can ignore the FAQ, and just say you can do anything with the Tower Shield up, provided you don't attack or do any offensive action.

Aharon
2010-06-18, 07:12 AM
Luckily, it's just FAQ.
The non-nerfed version is restrictive enough. I think standard action/round for omnidirectional total cover is a fair trade.

Sliver
2010-06-18, 08:26 AM
The Cleric ran around the battlefield and was essentially a mobile +2 bonus from flanking.

I don't get it... You give a flanking bonus if you can flank. You can flank if you threaten a square. You threaten a square which you can attack. You can't attack if the target has total cover from you, which it has, since there is a tower shield between you. Am I missing something?

Snake-Aes
2010-06-18, 08:31 AM
I don't get it... You give a flanking bonus if you can flank. You can flank if you threaten a square. You threaten a square which you can attack. You can't attack if the target has total cover from you, which it has, since there is a tower shield between you. Am I missing something?

No, you're not missing anything. If you can't attack in your round, you aren't threatening any square.