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    Barbarian in the Playground
    Arillius's Avatar

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    Mar 2010

    Default Advice on Pathfinder Sword and Board Character?

    Alright, I recently tried my hand at building a sword and board character with a focus on defense. It's, at the moment, a 1st level human paladin. I'm thinking my character will focus on defense and healing, doing a small amount of damage with her weapon and bringing in the smite when she needs to, but otherwise focusing on taking the worst of the beating and letting the other party members wail on enemies. At third level on I figured I'd just focus on lay on hands and channeling.

    The only thing is, I don't really have much experience with melee characters that weren't focused on... cutting things in half.

    If anyone has some advice on this holy tank character? How to handle things battle? Should I try and do more damage with some shield bash feats or is my idea actually viable for a holy healing tank kind of thing? Any advice at all would be good.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
    Gnome Alone's Avatar

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    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: Advice on Pathfinder Sword and Board Character?

    Since the measure is "any advice at all," I guess I feel okay weighing in. The problem with characters with shields is that they sacrifice that sweet, sweet 1.5 Strength bonus to damage for like, what, 2-4 points of AC or so? That's not nothing, but it's not a ton, and the major issue here is you gotta get enemigos to attack you in the first place. If you have a DM who's modus operandi is "monsters attack armor man cuz, uh, they dumb, " then more power to ya, and AC is worth its weight in gold.

    BTW, I think this should be in the 3.5/Whatever Forums, perhaps there you'll find some more Pathfinder specific folks/people who say swordsage'd instead of ninja'ed/more well-informed advice... what have you.
    Last edited by Gnome Alone; 2012-05-19 at 02:33 AM. Reason: Added an apostrophe
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    Ogre in the Playground
    Doorhandle's Avatar

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    May 2011

    Default Re: Advice on Pathfinder Sword and Board Character?

    Take Antagonize if your G.M hasn't banned it. It's an amazing feat for getting the enermy to hate you, which is good if you're the one taking the hits. Otherwise, concider invesiting heavly into sheild-based feats: Ray sheild is a godsend, and TWF with the sheild is an okay option if you're not using a tower sheild.

    Also, minor question: does the enhancement bonus to A.C from a sheild stack with that from armour?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
    Nero24200's Avatar

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    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Advice on Pathfinder Sword and Board Character?

    As someone who has recently played a sword and board character for PF I think there's a feat that might interest you. It's from the APG (though I forget it's name), it allows you to swap places with someone being attacked.

    It worked well because I built my character very defensively, so the feat allowed me to "force" enemies to attack me over our squishy witch or bard. Having said that if you want a Sword and Board character who isn't heavily focused on defense it might not be for you.

    Edit: The feat name is In Harms Way
    Last edited by Nero24200; 2012-05-19 at 10:23 AM.

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    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Advice on Pathfinder Sword and Board Character?

    Feats to consider. Obviously you can't have them all, but each is worth having.

    Paladin feature: Choose bonded weapon instead of mount.


    Bleeding Critical
    Critical Focus
    Dodge (Only if you really want to focus on defense. Obviously better than in 3E but still not awesome. Can pass without issue.)
    Extra Lay On Hands (If you like to swift heal yourself a lot.)
    Great Cleave
    Power Attack (Yes, Power Attack. You still get decent damage. For the tough battles you can drop the shield, wield your weapon two-handed and Power Attack for even more damage.)
    Shield Focus (Since you're using a shield anyway. This plus Dodge stacks, but it's up to you to decide to spend two feats for +2 AC. I'm not recommending the feats for shield attacks because it requires high Dex and two-weapon fighting. You won't have the feats and ability scores for it. They're better off for a particular Fighter class combat style than a Paladin.)
    Step Up
    Vital Strike (Improved, Greater) (Better with a greatsword than a one-handed weapon, but still another way to get some extra damage.)

    Advanced Player's Guide
    Bodyguard (Combat Reflexes is a prerequisite - immediate action to use an AoO as an aid other to improve ally's AC. Don't need a shield for this but fits the theme.)
    Covering Defense (Shield Focus is a prerequisite - When using total defense action provide a cover bonus to AC for an adjacent ally)
    Following Step (Step Up is a prerequisite - Can now move 10ft when opponent moves and does not take away any movement on your turn.)
    In Harm's Way (Bodyguard as a prerequisite, when using aid other action to improve ally's AC, immediete action to take the brunt of a successful attack against ally.)
    Missile Shield (Shield Focus is a prerequitie. Can avoid hit from one missile attack in a round, like Deflect Arrows)
    Saving Shield (Immediate action give adjacent ally +2 shield bonus to AC)
    Step Up and Strike (After using Step Up or Following Step, use an AoO to make an attack against the opponent)

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    Barbarian in the Playground
    Grail's Avatar

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    Sep 2008
    Newcastle, Australia

    Default Re: Advice on Pathfinder Sword and Board Character?

    Make sure your character can still dish out damage rather than just trying to soak it. If you aren't a threat, then the enemy can ignore you.
    Last edited by Grail; 2012-05-20 at 10:02 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Advice on Pathfinder Sword and Board Character?

    If your DM is fine letting you use 3.5 feats in Pathfinder, there's two feats I'd take a look at.

    1) Divine Shield from Complete Warrior. Not that great at early levels, but if you get up to level 8-10+ (so the duration is decent) it makes the AC bonus from the shield a lot more significant.

    2) Shield Ward from PHBII. Once you get an enchanted shield and/or if the DM lets you use the Divine Shield feat, its just fun to run around with touch AC around or above 20.

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