View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class [WIP] Shieldmaster:Your shield is your life!

2014-07-06, 08:52 PM
A Shieldmaster is a warrior who has made his shield an extension of his body and soul. While others simply use a shield to block, or forgo one entirely, a Shieldmaster understands a shield can also be a weapon, or the tool that saves their life from deadly attacks. Never count a Shieldmaster lacking a weapon disarmed, for as long as they hold their shield, they can still deliver devastating blows that can turn the tide of combat!

Feats: Improved Shield Bash, Shield Ward
Skill Points per level:4+Int Modifier
Class Skills:As Fighter

A Shieldmaster gains no additional proficiencies

Class Features

Shield Mastery, Greater Shield Bash

Block Arrows

Stunning Bash

Cover the Joints

Unyielding Defense, Overwhelming Bash

Class Features:

Shield Mastery:At first level, a shieldmaster improves on his ability to block with a shield. He gains a bonus to shield ac equal to his Shieldmaster level that stacks with any other bonus to shield ac.

Greater Shield Bash: at first level, a shieldmaster can do greater damage when attacking with his shield. He treats any light and heavy shield he uses in combat as if it were one size greater than it is for damage purposes. This stacks with the damage increase from shield spikes:for example, a light shield(normally 1d3) does 1d4 damage, and a light spiked shield does 1d6 damage, as if it were a Huge sized light shield. This does not, however, stack with the damage bonus of the bashing property; only the higher enhancement is used.

Block Arrows:Starting a second level, a shieldmaster can block incoming projectiles just as if he had the Deflect Arrows feat, so long as he is wielding a shield.

Stunning Bash:Starting at Third level, a shieldmaster knows how to disrupt his enemies in combat with a powerful shield bash. As a standard action, he makes a single shield bash against an enemy at his highest BAB, and upon a successful hit, stuns that foe for one round if the target fails a Fortitude saving throw(DC 10+1/2 character level+strength bonus).

Cover The Joints:Starting at fourth level, a shieldmaster can deflect lethal hits just enough to save his life. If a shieldmaster is critically hit, he has a 25% chance to instead take normal damage, just as if he had Light Fortification.

Unyielding Defense: At 5th level, a shieldmaster can partially block even magical attacks, and protect is flanks. Whenever he is holding a shield, he is treated as having Evasion. In addition, a shieldmaster can no longer be flanked: he can respond to any and all foes surrounding him just as if he had the Improved Uncanny Dodge ability, and cannot be sneak attacked unless by a rogue 4 levels higher than his combined character level.

Overwhelming Bash: at fifth level, a shieldmaster has attained true mastery over using a shield as much as a weapon as a defense. As a full round action, he is able to lash at at every opponent that surrounds him at his highest BAB, applying the effects of Stunning Bash to all that the attack hits. This is usable a number of times per day equaling once per three character levels(once a day at level 3, twice at level 6 three times at level 9, and so on).

Comments, reviews, criticisms welcome

2014-07-06, 09:34 PM
I would say try and use the Exotic Weapon Master for a model to build the class on, first off. Additionally, the Dwarven Defender seems like it could fit what the Shieldmaster's purpose seems to be(other than just loving shields, that is). Also, take a look at the Shield Wall feats, as those are both very useful(when capable of being used, at least), and have the sort of thing a Shieldmaster would seem to need. Bonuses to Reflex saves, and possibly getting mettle or a similar ability whilst wielding a shield. Taking a look at the Shield-based maneuvers in Tome of Battle would also probably help; they're in Devoted Spirit, usable by Crusaders.

It seems like the class should really fit having a d12 hit die, being built to tank as it seems to. The feat requirements for the class are very stringent; a four-feat tax? None of which are particularly useful to most fighters, shields or no? The ability to bash with a tower shield and use it without penalty seems like it would both fit the class well, and be an attractive ability, especially if they get even better with it later. Shields giving the Shieldmaster cover would also be a good ability to include, particularly if it applies against spells. Consider the ability to specialize in one of the three basic types of shields; Bucklers, Light/Heavy, and Tower. Buckler specialists might be better at using their buckler to distract and harry the enemy, parrying blows their blows and capable of even using two bucklers, with the benefits of both, without an attack penalty.

They might be proficient in two-weapon fighting, but the informed know that a Bucklermaster's shields are just as deadly as anything gripped by their hands. Light/Heavy Shield specialists would be excellent at using their versatile protective instruments to keep momentum on their side, stunning and tricking their foes; when both weapon and shield can be used to strike, their foes would never know what to defend themselves from. Additionally, they would become proficient at using their shields to protect themselves, and allies, more effectively, covering their weak spots and flashing out to deflect a blow that might otherwise slay a comrade, even turning away some spells with enchanted shields. Towermasters, as some call those who train with the Tower Shield until they use it like an extension of their body, are juggernaughts in battle, fiendishly hard to slay and impossible to turn aside, implacable in their advance and capable of enduring incredible onslaughts simply by virtue of their shield. However, they do not simply use their shields like mobile walls; they can use them to smash enemies aside, or down into the ground, and it is nigh impossible to flank them, as they dance around their chosen weapon -or does it dance around them? Allies of the Shieldmaster would do well to stick close to him, for he delights in thwarting enemy strikes simply through proper placement of protective pieces. Whether armed with Flail and Heavy Steel, Buckler and daggers, or even tower shield and a heavy crossbow, the Shieldmaster is a formidable foe.

Just some ideas; I don't yet have much exact numbers to suggest for your perusal. Just remember that in order to stay up to date with spellcasters, a fighter type needs things that either scale with level, or fancy tricks that he can continue to gain even into high levels.

2014-07-06, 09:45 PM
The BAB requirement is pretty stringent already, considering they need so many feats to begin with.

2 + INT modifier is very low, especially for a class that doesn't have an INT focus, and with the likely entry being Fighter to boot. Not to mention that you haven't listed which skills, exactly, they have as class skills.

Considering how little-loved Shields are, I would say to boost the enhancement bonus to equal the character's Shieldmaster level.

Perhaps you could give them a modified Evasion ability, stating that it only happens when holding a shield in at least one hand, BUT it affects both Reflex saves and Fortitude saves? "Unyielding Defense", perhaps.

Why can Overwhelming Bash only be used three times a day? Why not base it off of their Effective Fighter Level (counting this class as levels in Fighter, -2), or half their BAB, or some other scaling measurement?

2014-07-06, 09:47 PM
Point to the perquisite feats. I actually found some better ones in the Players Handbook 2 that work MUCH better for what I'm going for.

Edit: Those comments added in, thanks for pointing out the scaling needed for overwhelming bash. I also like that Unyielding defense idea, but would adding that to fifth level plus the overwhelming bash make this too powerful?

Also, what would be a better skill point total for this class, being it's just an enhancement to fighter?

Kree West
2014-07-07, 08:58 AM
If you want shields to be a bit more flavorful and unique than +100 to AC here's an idea. For a 1st level class feature: As a move action you may make a shield roll. A shield roll is 1d20 + BAB + Dex mod + shield bonus. After the roll you may choose if this replaces your AC. This cannot be used in the same turn as a shield bash, you need to be able to move, etc. Basically you get to roll for AC.

2014-07-07, 07:52 PM
I've made a few changes(moving that uncanny dodge aspect to Unyielding Defense since that fits the flavor better, as well as explicitly making the Shield Mastery bonus stackable with shield enhancements), as well as adding a bit of flavor. This is about where I want this to be, so if you guys can add any final comments, please and thank you.

2014-07-08, 12:26 AM
If you want shields to be a bit more flavorful and unique than +100 to AC here's an idea. For a 1st level class feature: As a move action you may make a shield roll. A shield roll is 1d20 + BAB + Dex mod + shield bonus. After the roll you may choose if this replaces your AC. This cannot be used in the same turn as a shield bash, you need to be able to move, etc. Basically you get to roll for AC.

That is a bad idea because it just adds roll bloat to combat without actually doing anything interesting. You get a +/- 10 to your AC...

2014-07-13, 05:28 AM
Question: would increasing the Hit Dice to a D12 be overdoing it? It seems appropriate for being the tank of the party(which is what this is intended for, being the guy who absorbs all the blows while still doing decent damage thanks to slash and smash), but I don't want to actually imbalance this.