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arguskos
2008-12-10, 06:02 PM
Is there a way to make a sword-and-board fighter decent? I LIKE sword and shield fighting, and wish it could be viable in D&D. So, Playgrounders, is there a way? Try to keep it to mostly Completes+Core if you could. If not, that's fine, but I prefer Completes.

Gorbash
2008-12-10, 06:09 PM
It's hard enough to make just a fighter decent... Core sword and board fighter? Not really.

Perhaps greatsword + animated shield?

Tehnar
2008-12-10, 06:12 PM
The first step would be to ban animated shields.

Then:
Shield ward + shield specialisation.
There are some quasi two weapon fighting feats for shields.


I also heard that paladins make good shield wielders, but dont know the details.

Saph
2008-12-10, 06:12 PM
The two simplest answers would be:

Play at low levels. At levels 1-4, the extra +2 AC is often more useful than an extra d6 of damage, since most enemies go down in one or two hits anyway.
Use Tome of Battle. There are various maneuvers that work just as well with a single-handed weapon as a two-handed one - the Insightful Strikes, for a start.

Beyond that, though, it's difficult. The mechanics of D&D make two-handed-fighting a lot more efficient than sword-and-board at higher levels, due to the massive damage you can rack up with two-handed Power Attack and many monsters having such a high attack bonus that a shield doesn't make all that much difference.

If you want to make the most of it, though, there are a few feats and classes that work. I seem to remember Knights get more value out of a shield than most, and there's the Shield Ward feat as well.

- Saph

Matthew
2008-12-10, 06:13 PM
Probably best off with a knight, I would think, but fighter... well, don't look to "fighting with two weapons" or anything like that. There are some half decent shield feats:

Shield Feats:

Good(ish) Shield Feats (Highly recommended)

Block Arrow (Heroes of Battle, BAB 0+, Dexterity 13+) [Negates a Ranged Attack]
Shield Wall (Heroes of Battle, BAB 0+, Shield Proficiency) [+2 AC when in formation]
Shield Ward (Players' Handbook II, BAB 0+ Shield Specialisation) [Add Shield AC against Touch Attacks],
Shield Specialisation (Players' Handbook II, BAB 0+, Shield Proficiency) [+1 AC with Shield)

Average Shield Feats (High level or specialised stuff)

Shield Charge (Complete Warrior, BAB 3+, Improved Shield Bash)
Shield Slam (Complete Warrior, BAB 6+, Shield Charge)
Shield Snare (Dragon #309, BAB 0+, Improved Shield Bash) [Disarm with Shield],


Bad Shield Feats (Basically useless)

Shield Mate (Miniatures Handbook, BAB 1+) [An AC boost for non Shielded allies when in formation].

Feats Mentioned

These Feats are frankly not as good as Block Arrow and Shield Wall.

Phalanx Fighting (Complete Warrior, BAB 1+, Heavy Shield Proficiency) [The problem with this Feat is that it relies on Heavy Shields and Light Weapons, so it cannot be used in conjunction the better weapons]
Formation Expert (Complete Warrior, BAB 6+) [Similarly, this Feat is very specific and requires a high level]


You need to be making use of retraining somewhere along the line, though.

Knaight
2008-12-10, 06:14 PM
If your using the term fighter to mean one who fights, as opposed to the class, you can easily pull it off with a warblade, which is from tome of battle, but is(or was) avaliable on the wizard of the coast website, as are the abilities.

AslanCross
2008-12-10, 06:16 PM
The first step would be to ban animated shields.

Then:
Shield ward + shield specialisation.
There are some quasi two weapon fighting feats for shields.


I also heard that paladins make good shield wielders, but dont know the details.


+1. Shield Ward adds your shield bonus to touch AC, so it makes you quite a bit tougher. I think the Knight (PHB2) does a better job of sword/board than the paladin, though, since he gets optimization features that allow him to increase his shield bonus as well. Being able to retain full speed in heavy armor and d12 HDs are also pretty good if you intend to tank.

Immutep
2008-12-10, 06:23 PM
Tower shield if you're a fighter is a viable defensive option. Alternatively, a buckler allows you to switch between one and two handed fighting (even a longsword gets a benefit for being wielded two handed, you don't need to go to the extreme of exotic weapon proficiency [bastard sword] feat) although a buckler isn't much of an advantage AC wise, the price you pay for versitility!

Eldariel
2008-12-10, 06:29 PM
The "Shield Slam"-feat is quite decent. There's something there; someone actually made a Shield-focused build here (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1532.0). As highlights, you get to protect your allies with Shield Block-maneuver (yes, it uses ToB and frankly, if you want to go S&B, you should too), getting Shield Slam and Shield Charge to daze and trip opponents with charges, and later "Shield Counter" to actually stop opponent's attack by slamming them in the forehead with a Shield.

The Shield Ward-feat allows you to make defensive use of the Shield against spellcasters too, although it's a pity it only adds to your Touch AC and not saves or anything. I really think, one of the biggest differences between a fighter with a shield and a fighter without a shield should be the ability to protect themselves against area-of-effect spells.


But yea, this is one of the biggest reasons I love ToB - a ToB-empowered S&B fighter can actually deal damage too, while getting some extra mileage out of the Shield. Unfortunately, the combination of schools you'd optimally want doesn't exist in the core ToB classes (you'd want Devoted Spirit + Diamond Mind, with Diamond Mind providing you with PA-independent damage and Devoted Spirit with Shield-related maneuvers), but Eternal Blade would do it. It's annoyingly an Elf-only PrC with very strong flavour though, making it not usable for a vast number of builds. I suppose you could do decently with White Raven + Stone Dragon + Devoted Spirit for damage though.

But yea, a build like that is definitely what I'd use if I wanted to make an S&B character; maneuvers give you decent damage output, shield provides you and your allies with protection (reasonable to rule that Shield Ward allows you to protect them from Rays et al. too) and you of course get the nice AC bonus along with the offensive implications of the Shield.

Tacoma
2008-12-10, 06:30 PM
The answer is to play a sword and board and board and board fighter. Hear me out.

First you must for some reason have four arms. I'll leave this up to you. Magic item, or race, or PrC, or whatever.

The game says you cannot gain the second set of benefits from dual-wielding shields. If you wanted to, you could pick up two shields instead of a shield and sword. But while you could attack with two swords you cannot block with two shields. The rules under the shield item are pretty strict about this. You cannot get more than one Shield Bonus. But then again you don't need any special feats to pick up and use more than one shield.

However, in the description of Enhancement Bonus, it says you cannot put more than one Enhancement Bonus on one item. It specifically states that you should be able to use Enhancement Bonus from armor, shield, sword, etc. together.

It appears that you can stack the Enhancement Bonus from multiple shields. But this requires you to accept that you can do it because the rules don't forbid it, which is a real stretch.

But the description of a Shield Bonus puts the nail in the coffin. The Enhancement bonus of a shield doesn't give you an Enhance bonus to AC. It increases the shield's Shield Bonus. And so you cannot benefit from Enhancement Bonus for multiple shields either.

You still have some options. Each shield can be enchanted, right? Which means you can effectively get 100% fortification on the cheap by putting Medium Fort on each shield. Either your DM gives you three 50% rolls or allows it to stack to 150%. Either way is good. But if he nixes both, you can put heavy fort on one shield and leave the other two open for something else.

Now it's a stretch, but if you came up with a PrC that allowed wielding of multiple shields, you'd be golden. But you'd have to rely on your DM's blessing for that and he'd wonder why you want to use two shields.

zerombr
2008-12-10, 06:30 PM
i have a sword and board, works mainly because the GM felt that shieldmate should be able to deliver your shield bonus, up to your CHA, to all adjacent allies, instead of just +1 shield bonus, that makes it quite useful.

One thing i wanted to do, but hadn't the feats for is to take, IIRC

Improved Shield bash
Agile shield Fighter
Double Hit

and use it with my Rolibar's gambit

Crack, Bash!
Crack, Bash!


here's a thought, could shields gain the adaptable bonus from Bo9S?
it'd be amusing to consider Lightning Mace, with a mace/shield combo.

Keld Denar
2008-12-10, 07:22 PM
The answer is to play a sword and board and board and board fighter. Hear me out.


Shield bonuses to AC don't stack. You only get credit for the first one barring major DM fiat.

Tacoma
2008-12-10, 07:24 PM
Shield bonuses to AC don't stack. You only get credit for the first one barring major DM fiat.

I mentioned this. Five paragraphs of my post were directly concerning this. I agree with you.

Deepblue706
2008-12-10, 07:52 PM
Sword and Board is a viable way to go when you've got a low point buy, and starting at a low level. A 22pt Fighter (a level of play considered "challenging") will make good use of a shield because:
A) He won't be able to afford a high DEX
b) He won't be able to afford enough INT for Combat Expertise
and C) His STR won't be high enough to truly benefit from two-handing for quite some time.

Sure, you miss out on 2:1 PA, but a miss means you got nothing out of it, anyway. The loss of damage will be insignificant until you get to about level 10, I'd say. But then, if you really want damage, you can always have a mount and a lance standing by. They're not very expensive. Even one-handing the lance on horseback deals x2 damage on a charge (x3 on spirited charge), so its not like you're unable of dishing out big hits.

Alternatively, you could just use the Board. Two-handing a shield is actually very effective...its a bit sad how well it can work, actually.

Glyphic
2008-12-10, 07:56 PM
Perhaps the answer is just to use a shield? I seem to remember there being a Captain America build somewhere out there..

Tacoma
2008-12-10, 08:06 PM
It was probably just Pun-Pun with a Batman Wizard as a familiar in shield-shape.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-10, 08:13 PM
Perhaps the answer is just to use a shield? I seem to remember there being a Captain America build somewhere out there..

Kensai, perhaps?

Rebonack
2008-12-10, 08:23 PM
Make Combat Expertise provide a two to one return on BAB to AC when wielding a shield in your off hand.

That helps a fair bit.

zerombr
2008-12-10, 08:28 PM
funny thing is, the same conversation/principle comes about in FFXI, how most people nowadays are favoring 2handed weapons vs Sword/Shield

Kantolin
2008-12-10, 08:35 PM
The mechanics of D&D make two-handed-fighting a lot more efficient than sword-and-board at higher levels, due to the massive damage you can rack up with two-handed Power Attack and many monsters having such a high attack bonus that a shield doesn't make all that much difference.

Quote Saphs'; Emphasis mine, as it's the annoying part.

Having a shield wouldn't be so bad if you could utilize it (as well as your armour) to make you defensive enough so you had significantly more durability. But frequently, both the high-AC guy and hte low-AC charger are 'Did he roll a 1? If not, he hit me.', which is very lame.

If you want to focus on shield, you need to hyperboost your armour class - especially since most DMs won't have the enemy take attacks of opportunity just because you're not two-handing, and thus won't ignore you.

If you go core, also, you may still want power attack. It's far less useful than two-handed power attack, but it's still a method of improving your damage. Outside of core, there are feats that make things work a bit better.

JeminiZero
2008-12-10, 08:36 PM
You could take the Improved Buckler Defense Feat, go 2HF and wear a Buckler. Initially it provides you +1 AC for -1 to hit, like constant combat expertise.

Later on when you can shove in enchantments, the penalty to hit remains at -1, while AC continues to go up (+6 for a +5 Buckler).

MeklorIlavator
2008-12-10, 08:45 PM
Duskblade might help with damage output.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-10, 08:52 PM
Scout (can scouts use shields?) with the Riposte variant, Combat Expertise, Goad, and Deadly Defense...

Alternatively, Shield and Dagger. It's not Sword and Board, it's more Stabby and Board, but it's close. The point is, you TWF...with a shield as one of your weapons. There's absolutely nothing barring this short of feats, so Fighter's your best bet.

If you can get something with Powerful Build (like a Goliath from Races of Stone or a Half-Giant from the SRD/XPH), add enlarge person, Shield Spikes and the bashing enchantment, you can stack size growths out the wazoo.

Heavy Spiked Shield does 1d6+Str. Large spiked shield of bashing +1 does 2d8+Str. Huge spiked shield of bashing +1 (that is, the previous wielded by an enlarged half-giant) deals 4d6+Str.

Swing away.

zerombr
2008-12-10, 08:53 PM
Quote Saphs'; Emphasis mine, as it's the annoying part.

Having a shield wouldn't be so bad if you could utilize it (as well as your armour) to make you defensive enough so you had significantly more durability. But frequently, both the high-AC guy and hte low-AC charger are 'Did he roll a 1? If not, he hit me.', which is very lame.

If you want to focus on shield, you need to hyperboost your armour class - especially since most DMs won't have the enemy take attacks of opportunity just because you're not two-handing, and thus won't ignore you.

If you go core, also, you may still want power attack. It's far less useful than two-handed power attack, but it's still a method of improving your damage. Outside of core, there are feats that make things work a bit better.


Emphasis, Mine, Quoted for Truth, as I believe the expression is.
It always ticked me off that on standard d20 only increases a character's attack as they progress. Without Dodge or Combat Expertise or whatnot, it's heavily implied that any character, level 20 or 1 prefers to parry with his torso. One of the few things i liked about the Wheel of Time setting and some modern campaigns is that they add a defense bonus to class levels.

Grynning
2008-12-10, 09:03 PM
The "Shield Slam"-feat is quite decent. There's something there; someone actually made a Shield-focused build here (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1532.0).

Nice build. I don't like the two level dip in Barb just to get Imp. Trip but with point buy stats and the huge feat sink that is a shield build it's necessary I guess. I was thinking that a Gestalt variant of this would work quite well, put that build on one side and 20 levels of Knight on the other.

I know it's not the best feat, but I noticed no one has mentioned active shield defense from PHB II. Let's you fight defensively all the time and still make AoO's with no penalty, or use total defense and still threaten at a minus 4. Could be nice for a Thicket of Blades or a Robilar's Gambit build or something similar.

And one final thing - it's hilarious how not a single build mentioned here uses improved shield bash, the ONLY shield feat in the PHB (outside of proficiencies). Not saying they should, just noting it.

Eldariel
2008-12-10, 11:12 PM
Nice build. I don't like the two level dip in Barb just to get Imp. Trip but with point buy stats and the huge feat sink that is a shield build it's necessary I guess. I was thinking that a Gestalt variant of this would work quite well, put that build on one side and 20 levels of Knight on the other.

Well, you effectively gain "two" feats for two levels (since you get to ignore prereq) so it's quite efficient, and you also get Fast Movement and whatever variety of Rage you desire.

Also, the build actually has Improved Shield Bash - admittedly, a prerequisite, but it's there. I suppose you could use Agile Shield Fighter for basic TWF, but again, it's stupid feat intensive and that's a commodity the build doesn't have (heck, it'd want Shield Ward much earlier too if possible).


Anyway, a major issue in the build is that you're almost better off just fighting with a Shield Two-Handed. So the Sword-part of the S&B becomes rather mediocre. I guess that's what happens when you spend all your feats towards making your Shield do stuff, huh? The easiest way around that would be to pick up a Skillful/EWP: Kusari-Gama to make your weapon do something worthwhile (in this case, threaten area, trip, etc.).

mabriss lethe
2008-12-10, 11:21 PM
You could always switch it up, deal damage with the shield and get an AC boost from a defending weapon.

SoD
2008-12-11, 06:48 AM
If you can get something with Powerful Build (like a Goliath from Races of Stone or a Half-Giant from the SRD/XPH), add enlarge person, Shield Spikes and the bashing enchantment, you can stack size growths out the wazoo.

Heavy Spiked Shield does 1d6+Str. Large spiked shield of bashing +1 does 2d8+Str. Huge spiked shield of bashing +1 (that is, the previous wielded by an enlarged half-giant) deals 4d6+Str.

Swing away.


Minor problem; enlarge person, which effects humanoids. Not monsterous humanoids (Goliaths) and not giants (half'giants).

Knaight
2008-12-11, 09:00 AM
Maybe expansion then, from XPH, which works on everybody.

Telonius
2008-12-11, 10:59 AM
Emphasis, Mine, Quoted for Truth, as I believe the expression is.
It always ticked me off that on standard d20 only increases a character's attack as they progress. Without Dodge or Combat Expertise or whatnot, it's heavily implied that any character, level 20 or 1 prefers to parry with his torso. One of the few things i liked about the Wheel of Time setting and some modern campaigns is that they add a defense bonus to class levels.

Maybe change up the UA Armor as Damage Reduction (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/armorAsDamageReduction.htm) stuff to make shields grant DR only, but give no Shield AC? Something really significant, too, like DR 10/-, stackable with anything, magic granting it, let's say, +3 to DR per bonus, instead of +1 to AC per bonus.

Eldariel
2008-12-11, 11:09 AM
The problem with Shields is:
-Animated Shields (2 less points of AC...while being able to go two-handed)
-Improved Buckler Defense (1 less feat)
-You have to give up offense for AC. This might seem like a fair trade, but AC is only one form of defense (out of the 5 defenses in all the save, AC and Touch), while the attack improvements apply vs. all opponents, so using a Shield simply forces you to specialize. You should get defensive bonuses vs. magic from using a shield to make it worth it.

ericgrau
2008-12-11, 12:02 PM
Unpopular online but more than viable. The huge boost to AC far exceeds the minor hit to damage. All the super damage two handed combos require splatbooks. Power attack gives only a minor damage boost and only under certain circumstances (otherwise you miss too much for it to be worth it) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87339). And even if you hit those times a lot, just drop your shield. In short, in core you can just grab a shield and go and you'll usually be far better off. The one exception is the animated shield. It's true that THF+animated shield is better once you hit high levels.

Remember, on average (baddy rolls 10 to hit), +1 AC means -10% incoming damage. Compare that to the % of damage you lose by going one-handed.

At higher levels be sure to get enhancement bonuses to armor & shield, a ring of protection and dusty rose prism ioun stone to keep your AC up with everyone's AB. But that holds for anyone, not just SAB.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-11, 12:17 PM
Remember, on average (baddy rolls 10 to hit), +1 AC means -10% incoming damage. Compare that to the % of damage you lose by going one-handed.

Situationally true. This is only the case when his attack bonus+10 is near your AC to begin with. +1 AC can be overkill ("I have AC 24, the goblin has an AB of +1: I could drop my shield and he'd still only hit on a nat 20."), and it can be useless ("I have a flat-footed touch AC of 10, the BBEG has an AB of +30. I could use a Shield Warded shield and he'd still hit on anything but a 1.")

So it's not as close to the 10% you mention all the time. Yes, yes, d20 probabilities, etc. etc., but let's be frank: when it needs to matter, it probably won't.

ericgrau
2008-12-11, 12:34 PM
Situationally true. This is only the case when his attack bonus+10 is near your AC to begin with. +1 AC can be overkill ("I have AC 24, the goblin has an AB of +1: I could drop my shield and he'd still only hit on a nat 20."), and it can be useless ("I have a flat-footed touch AC of 10, the BBEG has an AB of +30. I could use a Shield Warded shield and he'd still hit on anything but a 1.")

So it's not as close to the 10% you mention all the time. Yes, yes, d20 probabilities, etc. etc., but let's be frank: when it needs to matter, it probably won't.

Ya, usually it's much more than a 10% boost; that was just a simple example. It's not at all hard to force someone to hit on a roll much higher than a 10; I've done the builds. Honestly folks, don't just throw out guesses unless you've done some number crunching like I have. I get crazy with this stuff. Just look at the PA table as an example. Opinions are fine, questions are fine, just don't assert guesses as if they were absolute fact.

There are situations where non-touch AC isn't worth a hill of beans, and then it's nice to switch over. But SAB is the best general-purpose style by far, and you can switch on the fly if need be. Everything else is situational, not SAB.

EDIT: As it happens I tested this and other combat styles by try-all-possible-combination computer simulation, enemies got 75% physical attacks and 25% magical (including touch attacks and mostly instant-death save-inducing attacks). SAB came out far ahead. That was just a side benefit of the sim; I was mostly testing gear and class combinations. Just throwing that out there since I probably won't have time to make further replies. And yes, I am this crazy. No, I don't expect others to be this crazy, nor are they less of a person for not being so. I just prefer it if people make a distinction between guesses and reason when making comments. "IMO" is a helpful tag, for example.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-11, 12:36 PM
Honestly folks, don't just throw out guesses unless you've done some number crunching like I have.

Please don't insult my intelligence by assuming that I have not run math as well on this--and other--topics.

Yukitsu
2008-12-11, 12:48 PM
A +2 AC from a shield decreases damage by 10% of the maximum possible (at level one, this is about .55 damage per attack) whereas an 18 strength without a shield deals 35% more damage per average attack than an individual with a shield, and this is completely indedependant of outside factors. The first number applies when you consider that other misses are accounting for 50% of the lost damage potential, meaning that you have a difference between taking 50% of the damage, and taking 40% of the damage. Or a .55 point difference.

Person_Man
2008-12-11, 01:11 PM
Sam the Shuffling Shield Soldier

Max out Dex. A small race is a good idea, as it raises your AC and Dex. I suggest Whisper Gnome or variant Kobold.

Go strait Fighter. Trust me, you'll need the bonus feats. The basic combo needs 7 feats (Human Fighter 4). To fully optimize it, you'll need 3-8 more.

Take Combat Expertise, Improved Trip, and Combat Reflexes. This gives you some battlefield control.

Take Dodge, Mobility, and Elusive Target. Elusive Target is very useful for a variety of reasons. But the key ability is Cause Overreach. Now whenever you move out of an enemy's threatened area and they miss on the AoO, you get a free Trip attack (and free follow up attack from Improved Trip).

Take Formation Expert (Complete Warrior). This gives you the Step into the Breech maneuver. Whenever you have a line of allies and one ally falls, you may Move into that position as if you had a Readied Action. Also, buy Boots of Speed. This gives you Haste (extra movement and attack) when you need it.

Have a team member cast Empowered Summon Monster/Natures Ally I once or twice, or Animate Objects. This creates a line of weak allies for you. As each one dies, you'll get a free Move. This means you'll probably get a Full Attack most rounds (because they Move for you, die, and you Move into their space), and you'll get plenty of free attacks on your enemies whenever they try to take an AoO on you (and miss, because your AC is so ridiculously high).

Optional:

Take the Ancestral Weapon feat (Book of Exalted Deeds) at first level. This feat lets you sacrifice magic items (bypassing the need to sell them at a 50% mark down) or gold in order to improve a single weapon. Designate your shield as this weapon. If you're playing in a long term campaign, it will save you a lot of money, and give you an uber shield/weapon.

Take TWF, Improved TWF, and then Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook). Now you have 2 more attacks when you make a normal full attack. And when you make an AoO, you may attack with both weapons (your shield and whatever).

Take Robilar's Gambit (PHBII). This will give you an extra attack whenever an enemy swings at you and misses.

Take Shield Specialization and Shield Ward (PHBII). This adds your Shield bonus to your Touch AC and your ability to resist special attacks. Since your Shield bonus will be ridiculously high (base + enhancement +1 from specialization) this should be quite high. This will go a long way towards protecting you from casters (and their dreaded touch attack spells) and very big enemies (like dragons and whatnot, which are fond of Grapple).

Take Item Familiar (Unearthed Arcana). This feat (which everyone qualifies for) gives a chosen item intelligence and special abilities. Lots of them are quite potent at high levels.

The end result: High AC, high touch AC, tons of attacks, plenty of mobility. Not the best build in the world, but it's playable in a normal group.

zerombr
2008-12-11, 01:42 PM
Maybe change up the UA Armor as Damage Reduction (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/armorAsDamageReduction.htm) stuff to make shields grant DR only, but give no Shield AC? Something really significant, too, like DR 10/-, stackable with anything, magic granting it, let's say, +3 to DR per bonus, instead of +1 to AC per bonus.

hmm not a bad idea, that's about how it goes in FFXI, not to say it's superior... I'd say it depends on if the enchantment bonus to a shield counts for the DR, My shield currently gives a bonus of +8 total, and 24DR is a bit much, now if it were.... 1 DR for buckler, 3 for small, 4 for medium and 6 for tower, that'd seem fair, just depending on shield size

Telonius
2008-12-11, 02:13 PM
hmm not a bad idea, that's about how it goes in FFXI, not to say it's superior... I'd say it depends on if the enchantment bonus to a shield counts for the DR, My shield currently gives a bonus of +8 total, and 24DR is a bit much, now if it were.... 1 DR for buckler, 3 for small, 4 for medium and 6 for tower, that'd seem fair, just depending on shield size

I might not have made that entirely clear - what I'm talking about would be something like this.
+1 shield -> add 3 to DR, 0 to AC
+2 shield -> add 6 to DR, 0 to AC
+3 shield -> add 9 to DR, 0 to AC
+4 shield -> add 12 to DR, 0 to AC
+5 shield -> add 15 to DR, 0 to AC
Any of the other shield special abilities wouldn't add to either AC or DR.

But I'd say some sort of base DR would make sense.

Base DR
Buckler 1
Light wooden 2
Light Steel 3
Heavy wooden 4
Heavy Steel 5
Tower 8

Those numbers are just off the top of my head, so they might not be balanced. But if you have a +5 heavy steel shield, it would get you DR 20/-. If you're a Barbarian 20 with one of them, your total DR would be 25/-. I think that either way would give you at least some incentive to use a shield rather than a two-hander.

Ailurus
2008-12-11, 02:15 PM
It would require paladin or cleric levels, but another option to help is the Divine Shield feat in Complete Warrior (spend a turning attempt to add cha bonus to your shield's ac for level/2 rounds). Obviously this is only useful if you have another reason to boost charisma, but helps some to offset the problem monster hit bonus scaling faster than AC (especially since the DM in my campaign ruled that while divine shield is active, the bonus applies to all uses of the shield, including the touch ac bonus from the shield ward feat and when using the shield block maneuver)

Blood_Lord
2008-12-11, 02:16 PM
Please don't insult my intelligence by assuming that I have not run math as well on this--and other--topics.

To be fair. I'm pretty sure it's not possible for him to not insult everyone's intelligence.

He's too busy hating on Power Attack to actually make any sense. All this based on faulty math.

Just check his link. All his power attack math is based on the assumption that needing a 19 to hit comes up just as often as needing a 2 to hit, and everything in between.

And since Attack bonuses scale much faster then AC, yeah, not happening.

Matthew
2008-12-11, 02:47 PM
To be fair. I'm pretty sure it's not possible for him to not insult everyone's intelligence.

He's too busy hating on Power Attack to actually make any sense. All this based on faulty math.

Just check his link. All his power attack math is based on the assumption that needing a 19 to hit comes up just as often as needing a 2 to hit, and everything in between.

And since Attack bonuses scale much faster then AC, yeah, not happening.
I dunno, I don't think his tables claim much more than the average damage with x chance to hit and y average damage. What they are significantly failing to factor in is critical hit damage; the formula for doing so is:

[Normal Number of Hits x Average Damage] + [Unconfirmed Critical Hits x Average Damage] + [Confirmed Critical Hits x (Average Damage x Multiplier)]

You are correct, though, the value of power attack is directly related to the typical armour class range at the level examined, as well as the typical hit point range of opponents, traded off against the advantages of a shield and any investment therein.

Working things out in terms of averages over the long haul without reference to the damage range can also be very misleading. If you have an equal chance of doing 100 hp damage to a 100 hp creature in one blow over twenty attacks as you do of doing ten lots of 10 damage over twenty attacks, you have a very different dynamic [i.e. the battle will be over in 1-20 rounds or 20 rounds].

i.e. a 50% chance of doing 10 damage versus a 5% chance of doing 100 damage works out to the same average over twenty instances, but the chance to do 100 hp damage in the first round is a "better" choice if your opponent has 91-100 hp (because if you can end the fight before twenty rounds are up, he has less occasions to hit you).

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-11, 02:51 PM
Does he even bother taking things like Leap Attack/Combat Brute/Shock Trooper into account? Or Animated Shields for AC-boosters?

Fax Celestis
2008-12-11, 02:56 PM
Hell, shields don't even preclude power attack, nor leap attack, nor shock trooper.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-11, 02:58 PM
Hell, shields don't even preclude power attack, nor leap attack, nor shock trooper.No, but they make it weaker without Animation.

Telonius
2008-12-11, 03:10 PM
I dunno, I don't think his tables claim much more than the average damage with x chance to hit and y average damage. What they are significantly failing to factor in is critical hit damage; the formula for doing so is:

[Normal Number of Hits x Average Damage] + [Unconfirmed Critical Hits x Average Damage] + [Confirmed Critical Hits x (Average Damage x Multiplier)]

You are correct, though, the value of power attack is directly related to the typical armour class range at the level examined, as well as the typical hit point range of opponents, traded off against the advantages of a shield and any investment therein.

Working things out in terms of averages over the long haul without reference to the damage range can also be very misleading. If you have an equal chance of doing 100 hp damage to a 100 hp creature in one blow over twenty attacks as you do of doing ten lots of 10 damage over twenty attacks, you have a very different dynamic [i.e. the battle will be over in 1-20 rounds or 20 rounds].

i.e. a 50% chance of doing 10 damage versus a 5% chance of doing 100 damage works out to the same average over twenty instances, but the chance to do 100 hp damage in the first round is a "better" choice if your opponent has 91-100 hp (because if you can end the fight before twenty rounds are up, he has less occasions to hit you).

Basically, the best AC is a dead (or otherwise incapacitated) opponent. The faster you get to that point, the better.

zerombr
2008-12-11, 05:18 PM
I agree with a great deal of what Person Man says, but I'm not sure if Straight Fighter can cut the bill, I maintain that for a Sword/Boarder to do well, he's going to need to dip into the Bo9S to deal damage enough to tank.
I love the idea of Double Hit, as I mentioned, but that might be too many feats.

DHMYBWM but here's my concept

Knight is an obvious choice to dip, to get KNI3's useful terrain threaten ability
Crusader is a great choice, thematic, and powerful, adding Thicket of Blades
Paladin is thematic, but weak at high levels, still, getting lvl 4 is essential for Divine shield's need of Turn Undead
and Fighter aids, giving more feats to work with

I don't see the need for 5KNI/5CRU/5FGT/5PLD
as interesting as that may be,
how about something like 3KNI/4PLD/4FGT/9CRU

Paladin Variant - Holy Warrior, give up spellcasting for feats, (we aren't going high enough for spells anyway)

my gut tells me to get to Divine Grace asap, to increase survivability but Knight is solid enough at low levels
like
3KNI/4PLD/4FGT/9CRU

1KNI Knight's Challenge Shield Spec, Shield Ward
1KNI/1PLD Smite Evil,
1KNI/2PLD Divine Grace, Ancestral Relic (Shield)
1KNI/3PLD Divine health
2KNI/3PLD Shield Block +1 , Bonus Feat: Mounted Combat
2KNI/4PLD Turn undead, Improved Shield Bash, Two Weapon Fighting
3KNI/4PLD Defensive Rebuke
3KNI/4PLD/1CRU
3KNI/4PLD/1CRU/1FGT Divine Shield, Power Attack
3KNI/4PLD/1CRU/2FGT Agile Shield Fighter
3KNI/4PLD/2CRU/2FGT
3KNI/4PLD/2CRU/3FGT Rolibar's Gambit
3KNI/4PLD/2CRU/4FGT ITWF
3KNI/4PLD/3CRU/4FGT
3KNI/4PLD/4CRU/4FGT Double hit
3KNI/4PLD/5CRU/4FGT
3KNI/4PLD/6CRU/4FGT
3KNI/4PLD/7CRU/4FGT Open Feat
3KNI/4PLD/8CRU/4FGT
3KNI/4PLD/9CRU/4FGT

I'm at work, but that's my basic concept of a good shield monkey

Eldariel
2008-12-11, 06:02 PM
Unpopular online but more than viable. The huge boost to AC far exceeds the minor hit to damage. All the super damage two handed combos require splatbooks. Power attack gives only a minor damage boost and only under certain circumstances (otherwise you miss too much for it to be worth it) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87339). And even if you hit those times a lot, just drop your shield. In short, in core you can just grab a shield and go and you'll usually be far better off. The one exception is the animated shield. It's true that THF+animated shield is better once you hit high levels.

Remember, on average (baddy rolls 10 to hit), +1 AC means -10% incoming damage. Compare that to the % of damage you lose by going one-handed.

At higher levels be sure to get enhancement bonuses to armor & shield, a ring of protection and dusty rose prism ioun stone to keep your AC up with everyone's AB. But that holds for anyone, not just SAB.

Sigh...this is what Animated Shields are for. You're 2 points of enchantment behind, but ahead in damage. Whenever you're fighting an opponent that threatens the rest of your party, you need to kill then ASAP, not be a bit more survivable. Further, whenever fighting magical opponents (which should be way more than 25% of the time on higher levels), you need to focus on dealing damage since the shield provides you with no defenses. As we already concluded, your math does not account for most things relevant in D&D.