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    Default [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    How much worse is sword & board compared to two handed fighting for a fighter restricted to core books only?
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    More AC, less damage. It does let you got into two weapon fighting but dissimilar weapons really isn't the best for that. I would wait for someone with a more in depth knowledge to come as well.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    I have a lot ideas how to fix the two weapon fighting and swoard and shield, to make them worthwile and interesting.

    They're waiting for some work to make actual homebrew rules from them. And they're waiting. And waiting. Waiting.

    Anyway, large shield gives you + 2 to AC, and limits your damage badly. It's unfortunately much worse.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Can you dual-wield spiked shields? Do their AC bonuses stack if you can?

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Generally, weapon and shield is better at early levels where opponents have few hit points and an extra two points of armour class is maybe 25% of your total bonus. At higher levels, a two handed weapon is better, as you need a higher damage output and armour class bonuses are easier to come by.

    Quote Originally Posted by ozgun92 View Post
    Can you dual-wield spiked shields? Do their AC bonuses stack if you can?
    Yes you can, and no they do not.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2008-12-28 at 11:48 AM.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by ozgun92 View Post
    Can you dual-wield spiked shields? Do their AC bonuses stack if you can?
    Yes and no. However, you CAN use a Tower Shield and a Spiked Shield. Use the Spiked Shield for attacks and the Tower for AC, and if you REALLY need to boost your AC, use the Tower Shield for cover, and the Spiked Shield for a shield bonus to AC (cover is not a shield bonus, so this works, IIRC).

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Offhand it isn't nearly so bad as if you look outside core, since the various power-attack-boosting feats aren't available. You're losing up to 40 damage per hit from power attack, plus the strength-and-a-half bonus for two-handed wielding is cut down to just strength.

    It's still a hit. As Matthew says, it's as your total damage output and your enemies' hit points climb, and the importance of a few points of AC drop, that it really bites. And unfortunately, the best options for using a shield as a weapon are also outside core.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Two weapon fighting will end up with seven attacks per round, and sword and board will have four. Assuming you are 20th level for the purpose of this example, we can say you have sufficent funds to have a +5 large shield and a +1 longsword of speed, or for TWF, you have two +1 longswords of speed. Now with the two weapon fighting you will have 9 attacks/round and with sword and board you have 5. More attacks means a higher chance of hitting you opponent. So you will be doing more damage with TWF, but you will have about 7 less AC due to a lack of shield if you decide to go with the TWF. If you want to go with the sword and board as I assume you want to, I would recomend talking to your DM about using a few feats from Complete Warrior. Then you could get a spiked shield a sword and still be a two weapon fighter, take improved shield bash from Complete Warrior that way you retain your shield bonus when bashing. Suddenly you are a two weapon fighter with a sword and shield. Hope this helps
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    TWF & Dancing Shield is the best of best :)

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by ozgun92 View Post
    TWF & Dancing Shield is the best of best :)
    Thri-Kreen TWF+Dancing Shield+Tower Shield for cover+some other weapon.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Rechecking it, it's animated shield, not dancing shield, my bad.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    The principal problems with Shields:
    -Improved Buckler Defense means that for a feat, you get to wield a two-handed weapon and use a shield.
    -Animated Shield means that for the cost of a +2 enhancement, you get to wield a shield and use a two-handed weapon.
    -In core, shield doesn't protect others. This means that even though you can improve your own defense (although not by much), the hit you're taking to your attack means that with a shield, you're actually worse at protecting your allies than without it. Basically, if you wield a shield, enemies have even less of an incentive to fight you. This gets better outside Core, but unfortunately your other options get a greater boost.
    -In core, shield doesn't protect you from spells. This means that even though you can improve your AC, the hit you're taking to your attack means that with a shield, you're actually worse off against spellcasters.


    Basically, it boils down to two things:
    -It's quite cheap to get the shield benefits without losing your damage output.
    -Offense works in all scenarios. Shield only helps when you are targeted by attacks against your AC. Basically, it's horrible for party playing, and it's horribly sitiuational.

    ToB helps, but still...most Shield-use comes from its offensive applications, which is just sad.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-12-28 at 12:45 PM.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    I like using an oversized spiked heavy shield as a 2 handed weapon. It otherwise counts as a 1 handed weapon, and it deals 2d6 damage. Nothing says you can't use it as a shield, and I believe there's improved shield bash which lets you keep its AC bonus when you attack with it (it's still a shield bash, maybe).

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by woodenbandman View Post
    I like using an oversized spiked heavy shield as a 2 handed weapon. It otherwise counts as a 1 handed weapon, and it deals 2d6 damage. Nothing says you can't use it as a shield, and I believe there's improved shield bash which lets you keep its AC bonus when you attack with it (it's still a shield bash, maybe).
    Yea, it's generally either the Sword or the Shield that's obsolete. Shield is actually a fine weapon, and if you focus on it, you're much better off wielding it two-handed than using sword in the other hand. On the other hand, if you don't go that extra mile, your sword is just better. Not to mention, unless you're building Captain America, wielding only a shield as your weapon seems a bit silly. For some niché builds? Maybe. Mainstream to make shields worth it? Eww...
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by weenie View Post
    How much worse is sword & board compared to two handed fighting for a fighter restricted to core books only?
    Uh oh, this again...

    I'll try to be brief. This is just a rumour, though it's fueled partly by non-core splatbooks where you can get insane DM-kicks-you-out damage with two-handed splatbook cheese. A long time ago, I spent days and days on a try-all-possible-combinations computer program tweaking this problem to death. In general, sword & board is much, much better than two handed fighting. And two handed fighting is a little better than two weapon fighting. The exception is the animated shield, which makes two-handed fighting better at higher levels than sword-and-board. So every high level warrior should pick up an animated shield to be optimal. I think that's kinda silly but that's how it is (can you imagine the many legends being pictured out on urns?)

    Basically sword & board costs you a tiny bit of str & weapon damage while providing a massive boost to defense. Remember each +1 AC is a 7%-20% miss chance. For someone who's already heavily armored and already forcing the baddy to roll ~15's, the value of another point is closer to 20%. And enchanting 3 items (armor,shield, ring of protection) gives cheaper AC than enchanting 2. AC is cheap & easy to get, damage is not. As for power attack, it is a situational feat that may often have little benefit or even hurt your attacks due to the penalty to AB.

    There are situational exceptions, which is why THF, TWF, ranged attacks, etc., etc. exist, but SAB is the baseline. And you can always switch up your style mid-combat.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2008-12-28 at 02:39 PM.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    there are some good feats that help out sword and boarding. Agile Shield Fighter let's you twf without a dex investment, Shield Slam I think it is gives you a trip attempt after using a shield on a charge. Leap attack and shocktrooper still work even if you're using a shield. And there's no reason you can't make your opening attack a two-handed shield charge into the enemy for full power attack with shocktrooper.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    There are situational exceptions, which is why THF, TWF, ranged attacks, etc., etc. exist, but SAB is the baseline. And you can always switch up your style mid-combat.
    Eric, you forgot the fact that Sword & Board is much worse at playing for a team than a two-handed fighter, simply because your shield doesn't help when anyone else is attacked, and shield doesn't help against magical attacks, so against both of those, a shielded character just doesn't contribute on the same planet as a two-handed fither.

    Not to even mention, there're no one-handed martial weapons with reach, which further weakens your ability to protect the weaker characters and control enemy movement (and both, causes you to provoke more AoOs and robs you of lots of chances of having opponents provoke).
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-12-28 at 02:55 PM.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    I do agree with Ericgrau that a lot of the (particularly core) Sword & Board hate is exaggerated: While worse, it's not nearly as ineffective as many make it out to be. People have similar reactions to several other non-optimized options, which tend to be more useful than people give them credit for.

    Now that said, as someone who plays mostly Sword & Board fighters, it is indeed underpowered. From a math point of view, you're halfing your damage which makes it difficult to... do things. In core especially, power attack is just too vital for improving your damage.

    But honestly, if you ask me, that's not the worst part. You stated:

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Basically sword & board costs you a tiny bit of str & weapon damage while providing a massive boost to defense.
    And... and that's the bigger problem, in my opinion. It's not a 'massive boost to your defense'. It is, in fact, usually a very mild boost to your defense. Then in D&D, unless you constantly pour a heck of a lot of money into your defenses, you usually fall behind enemy's to-hits: If that troll needs to roll a 4 to hit you, then your AC (While still having an effect) is still relatively moot.

    If you ask me, that's the most frustrating part of sword & board: Your AC tends to make a very, very slim difference. Especially if you end up at the point where the enemy needs to roll a 2 to hit you, which happens with frustrating frequency unless you really dogpile the AC on yourself.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Semi-relevantly, what would be a good (average enemy needs 10+ to hit) AC for a level 20-21 character?

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Depends on whether you're playing against monsters or built characters and whether you expect characters to be using spells to improve their To Hit, and stat stacking and such. Against monsters? 45-60 is plenty (The Tarrasque is an exception, but you don't really need to straight-on fight it). Against PCs? When it matters at all, 60-100 (preferably Touch). Without Polymorph-type spells, the PC numbers are vastly lower.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    So (twisting topic to my purposes, mwahaha) would 64 AC, 56 Touch, 49 Flat-Footed be good enough?
    http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets/view.php?id=99120

    I checked against tarrasque, he needs a 7 to hit me :)
    A Great Wyrm Red Dragon needs 15 to hit me. (d20srd....)
    Pit Fiends are officially unable to hit me under 1=-10 20=30 system
    Last edited by Eloel; 2008-12-28 at 03:10 PM.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by ozgun92 View Post
    Semi-relevantly, what would be a good (average enemy needs 10+ to hit) AC for a level 20-21 character?
    My standard build has 38ish AC at that level, but by level 20 you have so much wealth that my program can't make use of it all with flat bonuses. You could tack on up to +5 with barkskin potions, for example. As for average or enemy needing to roll a 10 to hit, I'd have to check a few monsters. As a wild guess I'd go 5 lower than 38. So 33?

    Kantolin: No, the damage gain doesn't even come close to the AC boost. I think you made that up or heard some guy say it.

    I have a 10th level build on hand. 18 str, 12 dex, 14 con, 14 wis before item & level modifiers. Dwarf fighter 10. Boost str to 20 via levels. Notable gear: boots of speed (10 rounds haste), MW adamantine waraxe, spare MW waraxe, +3 heavy shield, +3 full plate, +1 ring of protection, dusty rose prism ioun stone, gloves of str +2, amulet of health +2. Basic stat boosting feats, combat expertise, w/e. Stats (including boots of speed): 117.5 avg HP, 28 AC, 20/20/15 AB, 16.5 avg. damage, crit 19-20/x3. Will utterly annihilate any core THFer in a straight fight unless he has an animated shield. Though other classes using SAB can do slightly better using limited use/day abilities. Anyhoo, give it a shot.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2008-12-28 at 03:32 PM.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    My standard build has 38ish AC at that level, but by level 20 you have so much wealth that my program can't make use of it all with flat bonuses. You could tack on up to +5 with barkskin potions, for example. As for average or enemy needing to roll a 10 to hit, I'd have to check a few monsters. As a wild guess I'd go 5 lower than 38. So 33?
    That, sounds, low?

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by ozgun92 View Post
    So (twisting topic to my purposes, mwahaha) would 64 AC, 56 Touch, 49 Flat-Footed be good enough?
    http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets/view.php?id=99120

    I checked against tarrasque, he needs a 7 to hit me :)
    A Great Wyrm Red Dragon needs 15 to hit me. (d20srd....)
    Pit Fiends are officially unable to hit me under 1=-10 20=30 system
    For a campaign without Epic Spellcasting and Polymorphing, it's definitely enough. For arena, it'll still be very helpful. Those numbers are definitely worthwhile. Just beware that much of the attacks will be magical and ignore your AC. But that grants you a great partial protection against attacks and touch spells.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-12-28 at 03:23 PM.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by ozgun92 View Post
    That, sounds, low?
    Can't tell if you're being serious or not. I've seen builds that can't do a thing offensively with 60+ AC. While OTOH I've heard people say that I must be optimizing purely for AC or something, when really that same build has 58.5 damage per hit, 5 attacks and good AB at level 20 (again w/o making full use of all that extra wealth on things like stat boosts via wishes). In reality it's just a simple balanced build.

    As for magical attacks ignoring AC. Yeup, my sim found that there was a cutoff around 50% of attacks ignoring AC. At that point, you drop the AC gear down to hardly anything and increase offense instead. A cloak of resistance or wis doesn't give enough of a save boost to do much, your only hope is offense. Interestingly enough, a level 13+ monk in full plate with a weapon does better than other classes in that situation, thanks purely to his SR. Picking a race that already has SR and getting full BAB levels might be a more sane option but I dunno I never tested it.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2008-12-28 at 03:45 PM.

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Perhaps a simple houserule could make shields better?

    For instance, we could rule that a shield acts the same was as a two handed weapon when used in conjunction with the Combat Expertise Feat, double your bonus from Combat Expertise when using a shield.

    Then we could use alot of the neat little AoO enhancing things like Robilars Gambit, combine it with those feats that add to attack bonus when you avoid an enemies attack, can't remember the name of them, though there's a few of them, and you may have a decent defensive opportunist build...

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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    What most people are forgetting is that a Sword and Board fighter is a much better tank than a two handed, or two weapon wielder. Why? Because he's got seven more AC, and when he dumps his BAB with Combat Expertise, he's suddenly got 12 more. And that's only core, plus I'm sure I've missed something.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    The best way to fix it is to make you somehow able to use shields to also protect nearby allies (Shield Block-maneuver from ToB is a great version of this - also, simply giving your Shield-bonus to nearby allies would be nice) and making it effective against some Magic (allow adding it automatically to Touch AC and Reflex-saves; maybe allow trying to block line of effect with an attack roll opposed by caster level+caster stat or some such).

    Basically, it needs to be able to protect your allies and protect you against Magic to be viable. Also, increasing the bonuses helps, as does making Buckler unable to be used against spells in the similar manner (it's too small to be effective like that) and making animated shields unable to protect you against magic or some such. That gives you real decisions between defense and offense. I like the idea of doubling Combat Expertise-efficiency too; maybe extend that to Two-Weapon Fighting as well.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxx View Post
    What most people are forgetting is that a Sword and Board fighter is a much better tank than a two handed, or two weapon wielder. Why? Because he's got seven more AC, and when he dumps his BAB with Combat Expertise, he's suddenly got 12 more. And that's only core, plus I'm sure I've missed something.
    This just isn't true. It actually makes him less of a threat to the opponents and thus the opponents can just bypass the shield fighter and go for the juicy casters in the back and he doesn't have the damage to turn their attention, nor the reach to restrict their movement.

    Also, the AC difference is much smaller than that; Animated Shield with Magic Vestment on it is just as good as a basic shield with Magic Vestment and only costs 9000 more; that buys you 2 points of AC on average (less as you increase in levels as the higher improvements cost more; with +1 bonuses, it'd actually be 4 points, but at that point, your shield would only grant +2-+3 so you simply don't buy the Animated Shield yet). So actually, he has 2 points more of AC (or 1 point and 1 feat if using Improved Buckler Defense), not 7.

    And all that defense makes you useless offensively, meaning you're a sitting duck against spellcasters, trippers, grapplers and everything else.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2008-12-28 at 04:46 PM.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxx View Post
    What most people are forgetting is that a Sword and Board fighter is a much better tank than a two handed, or two weapon wielder. Why? Because he's got seven more AC, and when he dumps his BAB with Combat Expertise, he's suddenly got 12 more. And that's only core, plus I'm sure I've missed something.
    True, if you're soloing or in cramped quarters you can be a much better tank. The problem is that in 3.5 there aren't many options for keeping enemies focused on you which makes tanking irrelevant in most cases.

    I tend to think that sword and board is a better option at low levels than at high levels, but that's an opinion based on other people's work, I am not a number cruncher myself.
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    Default Re: [D&D 3.5] Sword & Board

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Shield, Tower
    ...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.
    I think the italicized rule should either be houseruled out or have a feat that prevents it. The cover granted would also give a bonus to reflex saves for area of effect spells as do other forms of cover.

    Similarly, the excerpt says nothing about how far behind you this cover extends, but because the game allow "soft cover", I say that it is fair game to hide behind the shield as if it was a thin wall.
    Homebrew Magic Items you might enjoy:
    Coins Tokens of Fortune
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    Also, its time to think about Yeth Hounds in a whole new way

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