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JusticeZero
2014-11-22, 06:47 PM
Been trying to find ways to make shields more relevant. How is this one?
Blocker (feat)
Using a shield in which the user is proficient, the character can use their shield to block attacks. When struck by an attack, the character can use an attack as an immediate action to attempt to block, by rolling to hit the attacker's attack bonus for the attack that hit +10. If successful, the incoming attack is treated as a miss. If the shield is used in conjunction with a weapon, as typical for a sword and board fighter, then normal penalties for two weapon fighting will be applied, with the penalties applying for both the counter and on their next round.
Improved etc. versions allow more iterative attacks to be used to counter additional attacks from the same source, all using the same action, and gives a bonus of +2x tier on counters.

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-22, 07:32 PM
I like this idea. It's enough to get me to play a sword-and-boarder in 3.5, which is a very good thing. Makes combat more dynamic and encourages players to remain attentive when it's not their turn. A few suggested revisions, however:

Shield Block (combat):
You have learned the basics of defending with a shield.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with shields
Benefit: When a character who has this feat is attacked while they are using a shield, they may attempt to block the attack as an immediate action. The decision to block may be made after the attack result is known to the player, but may not be made after damage is applied. To attempt to block, the blocking character makes an attack roll with the shield (if the shield is enhanced as both a shield and a weapon, use the higher of the two enhancement bonuses); they then use the higher of their attack result and their armor class as their effective AC for the attack. A character cannot block attacks with this feat while flat-footed or otherwise denied their Dexterity modifier to Armor Class, nor can they normally block touch attacks (but see below). This feat functions on both ranged and melee attacks. This feat cannot be used with an animated shield.
Special: A character who can add their shield bonus to their touch AC (such as from the Shield Ward feat) may use this feat to block touch attacks.

And some more feats:

Improved Shield Block (combat):
You are a master of the defensive uses of the shield.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with shields, Shield Block, base attack bonus +6
Benefit: A character with this feat may make additional blocking attempts per round. Regardless of how many blocking attempts are made, only one immediate action is needed to make any and all allowed blocking attempts. A character with a base attack bonus of at least +6 may make a second blocking attempt at a -4 penalty. A character with a base attack bonus of at least +11 may also make a third blocking attempt at a -8 penalty. A character with a base attack bonus of at least +16 may also make a fourth blocking attempt at a -12 penalty. This feat cannot be used with an animated shield.

Shield Block Master (combat):
Your prowess with a shield borders on the instinctual.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with shields, Shield Block, Improved Shield Block
Benefit: Making one or more shield block attempts per round no longer requires an immediate action, and you may make shield block attempts while flat-footed or otherwise denied your Dexterity bonus to armor class; however, you may only make one such shield block attempt per round until you are no longer flat-footed or denied your Dexterity bonus to armor class. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus on all shield blocking attempts. This feat cannot be used with an animated shield.

JusticeZero
2014-11-22, 07:55 PM
Any specific reason for the change of resolution mechanic? I used essentially an attack vs. BAB, instead of an AC booster, which probably has a different curve. Not sure offhand how to model that best.

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-22, 08:01 PM
Any specific reason for the change of resolution mechanic? I used essentially an attack vs. BAB, instead of an AC booster, which probably has a different curve. Not sure offhand how to model that best.

Well, making it an AC replacer takes into account how well the enemy rolls; if it's an attack vs. opponent's attack bonus + 10, then you have the same chance of blocking when they roll a 7 as you do when they roll a 17. Also, the in-game example of blocking attacks (Wall of Blades and Manticore Parry from ToB) both function as AC replacers.

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-24, 06:38 PM
Another suggested feat:

Dynamic Defense (combat)
You take your knowledge of defense and use it to protect others rather than yourself.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with shields, Agile Shield Fighter, Shield Block
Benefit: You may make shield blocking attempts to negate attacks against allies within your reach. The attack against your ally is resolved against the higher of your blocking attempt result and your ally's AC.

SiuiS
2014-11-24, 06:50 PM
Too many penalties. Use the default party rules lose an attack for the turn (may require twf penalties), attack is reserved for deflecting. Deflection must beat opponents attack, the end.

If you want more penalization, the shield should take damage as it gets hit shields historically weren't all that permanent.

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-24, 07:10 PM
Too many penalties.

What do you mean? The only penalties are on iterative blocks, and the penalties are less than those for iterative attacks.


Use the default party rules lose an attack for the turn (may require twf penalties), attack is reserved for deflecting. Deflection must beat opponents attack, the end.

I don't remember this rule appearing anywhere at all. What source are you getting it from?


If you want more penalization, the shield should take damage as it gets hit shields historically weren't all that permanent.

Shields tend to be rather permanent in heroic fantasy, however. And when a feat actively makes it more likely that you'll lose your magic shield, that feat's not going to be particularly desirable. The word "blocking" isn't entirely accurate; this feat chain represents turning aside opponents' melee weapons (closer to turning the attack aside) and using the shield as cover to intercept ranged attacks (closer to actually blocking the attack).

SowZ
2014-11-24, 07:22 PM
Too many penalties. Use the default party rules lose an attack for the turn (may require twf penalties), attack is reserved for deflecting. Deflection must beat opponents attack, the end.

If you want more penalization, the shield should take damage as it gets hit shields historically weren't all that permanent.

That makes shields pretty useless again. Doing an attack is mathematically better than cancelling one.

Shields should give AC bonus that scales with BAB, for one. They should make you a true tank, sacrificing offense for the ability to be a true damage soaker. Shield users should also give their shield bonus to adjacent allies, giving the enemy a tactical reason to attack the S&B fighter as opposed to just ignoring him.

Xuc Xac
2014-11-24, 10:26 PM
If you want more penalization, the shield should take damage as it gets hit shields historically weren't all that permanent.

I'll worry about that when archers start breaking bowstrings.

UristMcRandom
2014-11-25, 01:11 AM
I like the look of it with Extra Anchovies' revisions, I assume that in an actual game these would be on the list of Fighter bonus Feats?

Something that comes to mind is the thought of using a shield to repel Dragon breath or a spell, perhaps an additional feat (Improved Shield Block Master)? Or just add it to the Improved/Master version (or not at all).

Kamai
2014-11-25, 03:40 AM
What I don't like is enforcing TWF penalties on the blocks. I understand that you want to have more effort in fighting/blocking, but nobody is going to do it at -8/-10 (1 handed weapon + heavy shield without TWF), and few people who want shields are really going to want to have the Dex for TWF, and even if they TWF, it's easier to block + fight with a light shield and one-handed weapon instead of a heavy shield and one-handed weapon, which I'm not quite sure is the intended result. How about taking a carrot approach, and gaining a 1/round free action block if you're fighting defensively, using Total Defense, or Combat Expertise. Add one more feat that lets you do as many free action blocks and immediate action blocks as iterative attacks, and I think you have a better functioning system.

BWR
2014-11-25, 05:21 AM
I've considered just upping the base benefits of shields. AC bonus increases and is applied to touch AC.
Buckler +1 AC, Light +2, Heavy +4, Tower +6 (possibly +8)

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-25, 10:29 AM
I like the look of it with Extra Anchovies' revisions, I assume that in an actual game these would be on the list of Fighter bonus Feats?

Yes. That's what the (combat) tag means (I use Pathfinder nomenclature for combat feats, because "fighter feat" sounds silly).


Something that comes to mind is the thought of using a shield to repel Dragon breath or a spell, perhaps an additional feat (Improved Shield Block Master)? Or just add it to the Improved/Master version (or not at all).

I think that falls in the realm of using the shield as cover, and only a tower shield can give enough protection to block dragonbreath.


What I don't like is enforcing TWF penalties on the blocks. I understand that you want to have more effort in fighting/blocking, but nobody is going to do it at -8/-10 (1 handed weapon + heavy shield without TWF), and few people who want shields are really going to want to have the Dex for TWF

Agile Shield Fighter (PHBII) requires Improved Shield Bash and Shield Specialization, and reduces the TWF penalties for weapon and shield to -2/-2 (regardless of main-hand weapon size). Maybe should I make it a prereq for shield block instead of assuming people will take it?


I've considered just upping the base benefits of shields. AC bonus increases and is applied to touch AC.
Buckler +1 AC, Light +2, Heavy +4, Tower +6 (possibly +8)

I would probably implement the AC bonus increase, but I'd still require Shield Ward for touch AC.

JusticeZero
2014-11-25, 11:26 AM
Well, making it an AC replacer takes into account how well the enemy rolls; if it's an attack vs. opponent's attack bonus + 10, then you have the same chance of blocking when they roll a 7 as you do when they roll a 17.
WAI. That's why I did it the way I did - if you are having to block, it probably isn't for a lower roll, so having a target that is significantly higher is a penalty on top of the expenditure of action economy resources. Also, I am trying to incentivize use of the more advanced shields some. I do forget sometimes that not every table gives the TWF tree to everyone free..

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-25, 12:58 PM
WAI. That's why I did it the way I did - if you are having to block, it probably isn't for a lower roll, so having a target that is significantly higher is a penalty on top of the expenditure of action economy resources. Also, I am trying to incentivize use of the more advanced shields some. I do forget sometimes that not every table gives the TWF tree to everyone free..

Well, Agile Shield Fighter is kind of a no-brainer feat if you want to sword-and-board. I do get the point you make about rolling vs. attack bonus; another thing I hadn't realized until now was that lots of enemies have a pile of attacks all at the same bonus (natural weapons and such), so giving shield-users that little boost would help offset the penalties on iterative blocks.

However, I feel like that might make the feat too strong; it could make shield-users basically untouchable. What does everyone else thing?

ETA: I've added Agile Shield Fighter as a prereq for all of the feats because only a fool would take Shield Block without first taking ASF.

Kamai
2014-11-26, 11:04 AM
Agile Shield Fighter (PHBII) requires Improved Shield Bash and Shield Specialization, and reduces the TWF penalties for weapon and shield to -2/-2 (regardless of main-hand weapon size). Maybe should I make it a prereq for shield block instead of assuming people will take it?


I'll admit that I didn't know about Agile Shield Fighter. Now, though, if this is the level that you call functioning for Shield use, you're asking for 4 feats just to get to functional, which is annoying for the Fighter, and painful for anyone else. If a Paladin wants Dynamic Defense, that's 5 of their 7 3.5 feats (10 PF feats) just to get the benefit.

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-26, 12:01 PM
I'll admit that I didn't know about Agile Shield Fighter. Now, though, if this is the level that you call functioning for Shield use, you're asking for 4 feats just to get to functional, which is annoying for the Fighter, and painful for anyone else. If a Paladin wants Dynamic Defense, that's 5 of their 7 3.5 feats (10 PF feats) just to get the benefit.

I don't really see what the issue is here. A fighter will have four feats by level 3, or level 2 if they're human. They then have one or two feats to spend (possibly on Shield Ward and Shield Charge) before picking up both Improved Shield Block and Shield Block Master at level 6. After that, they're free to multiclass/PrC out, and nab Shield Slam sometime later down the line. A Paladin (or almost any other class) will indeed have to spend a good chunk of their feats to get the same stuff, but that's not so much a nerf for them as it is a buff for the fighter - the message is that if you want good sword-and-board, Fighter is the way to go (or at least start). Plus, Fighter 6/ToB class 14 still gets ninth-level maneuvers (and the Crusader gets their eighth-level stance as a capstone).

On a different note, what do you all think about preventing the use of animated shields with Shield Block, with the logic being that an animated shield isn't smart enough/can't be controlled quickly enough to make effective blocks (and that proper blocking can only really be carried out when a person's instincts and reflexes are behind the shield)?

Kamai
2014-11-26, 08:47 PM
I don't really see what the issue is here. A fighter will have four feats by level 3, or level 2 if they're human. They then have one or two feats to spend (possibly on Shield Ward and Shield Charge) before picking up both Improved Shield Block and Shield Block Master at level 6. After that, they're free to multiclass/PrC out, and nab Shield Slam sometime later down the line. A Paladin (or almost any other class) will indeed have to spend a good chunk of their feats to get the same stuff, but that's not so much a nerf for them as it is a buff for the fighter - the message is that if you want good sword-and-board, Fighter is the way to go (or at least start). Plus, Fighter 6/ToB class 14 still gets ninth-level maneuvers (and the Crusader gets their eighth-level stance as a capstone).

On a different note, what do you all think about preventing the use of animated shields with Shield Block, with the logic being that an animated shield isn't smart enough/can't be controlled quickly enough to make effective blocks (and that proper blocking can only really be carried out when a person's instincts and reflexes are behind the shield)?

The problem here is the same problem that combat feats often seem to have. They're tuned for how many feats that the fighter gets, which drains a lot of feats for Fighters being good at a lot of different things, and it basically means that other martials can't do anything else with their feats. On top of this, when you're talking about it as a shield user fix, it should have about the same path as Power Attack/Leap Attack, or Point Blank Shot/Precise Shot, not the full TWF chain or this massive chain. Also, until you've pulled off this 4 feat chain, you have a sort of TWF + 1 AC as compared to say having Power Attack. For the person that wants to be skilled with a shield to be hard to hit, the whole chain does little until you've hit that 4th feat.

On the note of the Animated Shield, that seems pretty sensical.

Andion Isurand
2014-11-26, 09:58 PM
I think the TWF feats need to be changed, so that Agile Shield Fighter need not be a feat, and you don't need so much Dexterity to pull it off.

Using Two or More Weapons (http://magerune.blogspot.com/2014/06/using-two-or-more-weapons.html)

JusticeZero
2014-11-28, 03:48 AM
I would hope it doesn't massively cost feats to get, and the intent was to add a way to use a shield to "nope" incoming attacks that get past AC at the cost of their own action economy. On a dedicated tank, it might make them nigh untouchable in melee, but I'm fine with that since it's, you know, kind've a sword and board guy's thing.. They can only be one place and the enemy will learn not to fight them without countermeasures.

Extra Anchovies
2014-11-28, 04:33 AM
Hm. Now that I take another look at these, maybe those in favor of removing ASF from the prereqs are right. Agile Shield Fighter can still be good for shield-bashing builds (or focused S&Bers with fighter levels), but these feats would work better as a separate chain. I'll remove the clause about TWF from the body text, too.