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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Jack Zander's Avatar

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    Default 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    So I've got a cleric who's entire strategy involves casting shield other on the entire party. Right now I'm level 6 and have divine metamagic: chain spell so I can use one shield other to hit all party members. I'm thinking about buying a rod of widen spell to increase the extremely limited range.

    Is there anything else I can be doing to enhance this often overlooked 2nd level spell?

    What are some ways I can increase my survivability? The DM ruled that DR and Energy Resistance work for both the target and myself, and that it is subtracted before damage is split, then subtracted again on myself. We have a fair amount of DR from our dragon shaman, but is there anything else I can be doing to essentially laugh at HP damage? Any tricks for me to get regeneration or the like?
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    Imp

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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    It isn't so much that it is an "over looked spell" as it is an unclear spell. The way it works can be ruled many different ways and to my knowledge WotC never cleared it up for us.

    Now given that your GM has ruled it the most advantageous way for the caster, it is very useful. By ruling that the damage from shield other always maintains its damage type, both the caster and the recipient can benefit from their own personal damage mitigation's. But even this ruling can be split into arguments over whether the damage is split before mitigation or after mitigation. If both members have 20 ER fire and one of them takes 100 fire dmg, does he reduce it to 80 fire then split it and take 40 fire passing 40 fire onto the caster which is reduced to 20 fire (final dmg 40 fire target, 20 fire caster) or does he split it first to 50/50 and then both reduce it to 30 fire each (final dmg 30 fire target, 30 fire caster)?

    Either way this angle of ruling can make shield other pretty useful.


    There are some things you need to watch out for though. In a way, chaining the spell can hurt tactically if the proper mitigation is not in place. You essentially turn melee power attackers into AOE threats. And if an enemy is already an AOE threat you turn them into single target threats to you specifically. For instance, Maw of chaos has untyped dmg in an AOE. Your party might take only 50% of the dmg, but you will take 50% of the dmg per effected party member and 100% of the dmg if you are in the AoE. Bad positioning in a standard party could leave you taking 350% damage from a potent dmg spell.

    Another example, A power attacking whirlwind build who has the means to overcome your DR will have a similar effect. By attacking the whole group at once, you will be at increased risk.

    Another example, A high dmg mounted build will actually love you. Now they can charge to the lowest AC most convenient target. And since they were likely to do enough dmg to kill a target 2 times over, now your spell salvages that wasted dmg. In effect they can kill the enemies cleric just by targeting the weakest link in the group.

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    Jack Zander's Avatar

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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    The DM ruled the spell 100% in my favor. First damage is reduced on the target. Then the remainder is split. Target takes that share. Then my share of damage is again reduced. This will help a lot for things such as Fireball where everyone may be taking 20-30 fire damage and then getting it reduced to nothing or near nothing. But I see some of the problems you've mentioned in regards to untyped damage. This is exactly the kind of things I'm asking for you guys to point out to me, so thanks. This is why I'm thinking getting regeneration would be the way to go.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Well, you are on to the basics. You want:

    - high con
    - lots of HPs (get improved toughness when you can and multiclass to something with a higher hit die)
    - healing (you're a cleric)
    - fast healing
    - damage reduction
    - energy resistance

    The biggies I would point out, though, are:
    - Amulet of Retribution/Retributive Amulet. Questionable whether you can use these together, since I think the MIC one was intended to replace the other.
    - One level binder dip with Improved Binding gets you Dahlver-Nar who has Shield Self.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    See if you can get access to the Minor Shapeshift feat from Complete Mage. You must be able to cast polymorph to take this feat, so as a cleric, it might require some fiddling around with domains. However, once you have the feat, you can add your HD in temporary hit points every round as a swift action. This can effectively serve as a scaling form of DR that stacks with any others you might have.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Zander View Post
    The DM ruled the spell 100% in my favor. First damage is reduced on the target. Then the remainder is split. Target takes that share. Then my share of damage is again reduced. This will help a lot for things such as Fireball where everyone may be taking 20-30 fire damage and then getting it reduced to nothing or near nothing. But I see some of the problems you've mentioned in regards to untyped damage. This is exactly the kind of things I'm asking for you guys to point out to me, so thanks. This is why I'm thinking getting regeneration would be the way to go.
    Ok, thanks for clearing that up. Regeneration can help. Delay death on you isn't a bad idea to keep in the back of your mind.

    My DM's never rule shield other in my favor so I have found trickier ways to use it. I don't know if you would want to dance on your GM's good graces by putting my tricky shield other tactic on top of the already advantageous ruling of delay death, but I guess I will let you decide.

    By worshiping Akadi, Azuth, Baravar Cloakshadow, Cyric, Mystra or Sehanine Moonbow you get access to the Illusion Domain. This will give you Project Image as a 7th lvl domain spell. You can now have the shadow duplicate of yourself cast the chain spell shield other on your entire party (including yourself). This will give you a flat 50% reduction in dmg for everyone, as half the dmg will route into the shadow illusion which isn't real and can't take dmg.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Quote Originally Posted by prufock View Post
    Stuff
    I'm trying not to multiclass. I've already got the highest Con and HP of the entire party (I focused on Con rather than Wis). That amulet looks great. I'll have to ask the DM if something like this would work for me. I'll have to look into binder as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    Other stuff
    That seems really great. Not sure how to get into that domain now that I've already picked all my stuff though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
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    Damn, that's a really great trick. I think I'll keep this in the back of my mind, and remind the DM that if he strikes me down, I shall create a character more powerful than he can possibly imagine.

    P.S. Any ideas on how to gain new domains?
    Last edited by Jack Zander; 2013-04-02 at 11:53 AM.
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Also important is battle strategy. You want to cast Sanctuary on yourself to help prevent you from being a target since you're already absorbing half of everyone else's damage. If you can get Invisibility all the better. You may have to spend a round or two healing yourself. It keeps you alive while you practically double everyone's hit points. It's a fair trade. If you can use the Vigor spells they'll help.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    Also important is battle strategy. You want to cast Sanctuary on yourself to help prevent you from being a target since you're already absorbing half of everyone else's damage. If you can get Invisibility all the better. You may have to spend a round or two healing yourself. It keeps you alive while you practically double everyone's hit points. It's a fair trade. If you can use the Vigor spells they'll help.
    I'm not a big fan of Sanctuary since it allows a save. I suppose it's still useful, even if only half of the creatures fail. Instead I've been relying on my AC of 26 at 6th level.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Another nice "item" for a shield other build is to buy a Shield Guardian from the monster manual. It will take half of the halved dmg you keep taking from the shield other spell.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    In our group, the Dm ruled that the damage becomes untyped and is no longer physical damage, since it is being rerouted by a spell. Therefore, my Dr doesn't count, and even if I have pro/fire up when the barb gets hit with a scorcher, I can't reduce the damage. His Dr versus physical attacks does reduce then total, then split the remainder. If he gets hit for 10, his DR 3 kicks is, then shield other leaves him taking 4 and me taking 3.

    We have another link in the chain, though. Another cleric casts SO on me, then Barb would take 10 - DR3 = 7. So splits that, so Barb takes 4 and I take 3. SO splits that 3, so i take 2 and Cler2 takes 1. It is a good way to make sure we all last through the fight, until we can heal up more effectively after battle.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Only other person that could shield other is the artificer, and I find that to be a terrible idea for our group. The shield guardian is nice though.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    I did this build in Pathfinder, but there's a lot of overlap with 3.5
    • Make con your primary stat and wis your secondary stat. A shield other build doesn't really need extra spells nor spells with saves. It may be too late to switch but there's always bumps every 4 levels and magic items.
    • If you have feats leftover then get improved toughness, but check out other feats below first.
    • Get the enlarge spell feat or a lesser rod of enlarge because shield other has a very small range.
    • Keep the shield other up 24 hours with extend spell or multiple spell slots, so you don't have to waste time raising it later.
    • At 7th level immediately pick up imbue with spell ability to grant your allies the ability to cast shield other to further distribute the damage. Get him a lesser rod of enlarge or a lesser rod of extend. I've done this build before and frankly I'd be scared to shield 3-4 allies by myself. A good target to imbue is a back row ally with high health, like an archer or a divine caster who doesn't melee.
    • With the damage spread 4 ways mass heals like mass cure light wounds become incredibly efficient. At level 9 it's 54 hp on 4 targets, twice as much as CCW. Augment healing also becomes amazing, because it's getting applied 4 times and it's spell level dependent not cure amount dependent. +40 hp per MCLW for 94 each? Yes please.
    • With so many shields you'll be taking the most damage while everyone else might last the whole fight without being in trouble. Anything that boosts self-only heals is nice, though last time I did this build it was in Pathfinder. I don't know what 3.5 has for that.
    • If you have nothing to do in the buffing round, bear's endurance on yourself is better than nothing.
    • Temp hp is always nice. If nothing else you can enhance a shield with heartening from the magic item compendium. 2,000 gp for +5 hp twice, activated as an immediate action, so it's almost like having 10 more max hp.
    • Iron ward diamonds (MiC) can get you or another a little DR.
    • Stoneskin gives DR 10/adamantine. Expensive with a 250 gp material component but later that's very worth it if someone in the party can access it. I don't suppose you have the earth or strength domain?
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2013-04-02 at 01:04 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Make con your primary stat and wis your secondary stat. A shield other build doesn't really need extra spells nor spells with saves.
    Check.
    If you have feats leftover then get improved toughness, but check out other feats below first.
    Check.
    Get the enlarge spell feat because shield other has a very small range.
    Whoops. This is what I meant when I said Widen Spell. Check.
    At 7th level immediately pick up imbue with spell ability to grant your allies the ability to cast shield other to further distribute the damage. Get him a lesser rod of enlarge or a lesser rod of extend. I've done this build before and frankly I'd be scared to shield 3-4 allies by myself. A good target to imbue is a back row ally with high health, like an archer or a divine caster who doesn't melee.
    Didn't think about that. Might be useful on the druid. He seems to prefer to stay in the back and let his AC tank while he summons.
    With the damage spread 4 ways mass heals like mass cure light wounds become incredibly efficient. At level 9 it's 54 hp on 4 targets, twice as much as CCW. Augment healing also becomes amazing, because it's getting applied 4 times and it's spell level dependent not cure amount dependent. +40 hp per MCLW for 94 each? Yes please.
    That's nice. I know Mass Cure X will be great, but I hadn't thought of augmenting it in any way.
    With so many shields you'll be taking the most damage while everyone else might last the whole fight without being in trouble. Anything that boosts self-only heals is nice, though last time I did this build it was in Pathfinder. I don't know what 3.5 has for that.
    Right, no PF material allowed so I'll prob just rely on Heal to bring myself back up every few rounds.
    If you have nothing to do in the buffing round, bear's endurance on yourself is better than nothing.
    I've already got a +4 Con item. Sure is nice having an artificer around.
    Temp hp is always nice. If nothing else you can enhance a shield with heartening from the magic item compendium. 2,000 gp for +5 hp twice, activated as an immediate action, so it's almost like having 10 more max hp.
    The immediate action is great. I'll definitely have to add this baby. Thanks!
    Iron ward diamonds (MiC) can get you a little DR.
    Right now I've got Addy Full Plate for DR 3/-. Is this much better than that?
    Stoneskin gives DR 10/adamantine. Expensive but very worth it if someone in the party can access it. I don't suppose you have the earth or strength domain?
    No I don't, but I do have access to an artificer. Not sure about the material component cost though. It doesn't seem like much, but we could be casting it every combat. It would add up fast.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: 3.5 Optimizing Shield Other

    Greater iron ward diamond is 8,000 gp for DR 5/-. The weaker and much cheaper ones are 3/- and 1/-.

    I also found amulet of tears for 2,300 gp. 3 charges, swift action, 12/18/24 temp hp for 1/2/3 charges.

    Elixir of adamantine blood gives 20 temp hp for an hour to those who wear adamantine armor, 250 gp. It's a standard action and you probably have other uses for the buffing round so it's only good at the entrance of dungeons. Still doesn't hurt to carry 1 or 2 for when that day comes.

    Stoneskin is not worth it now, but later when you can easily set aside about 2,000 gp for multiple uses it will be worth spamming. If you have an easy and cheap way to get the spell it might likewise be worth it now for dungeon entrances. But DR doesn't stack, so probably not worth it yet.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2013-04-02 at 01:27 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

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