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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    From the looks of it it seems like sword-and-shield just sin't that good.
    Especially considering you can just get an animated shield.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Due to the animated shield, no. Even without it, still no. Popular consensus is that killing enemies faster is a much better idea. If by using a two handed weapon you kill the enemy 1 round sooner, that's a whole round of attacks no one had to take.
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    On lower levels I'd argue that the added AC is more important than dealing more damage.
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    At level one, it's a viable option. After that, not so much.

    Without animated shields, get a source of bonus damage and TWF with a spiked shield and something else, maybe take Blood-Spiked Charger, and the Shield Ward feat.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    At low levels, yeah. At first level, opponents have low enough hp to die from a hit or two anyways, so using shield is really good option.

    At mid levels you actually take less damage from enemy if he can beat you a round or two less than if he has higher miss chance, so shield becomes bad idea.

    At high levels, the same problem. Plus you can afford animated shield. Plus enemies just think "Okay, we can't hit him but he does next to no damage, so we can just go around him..."

    As Bears With Lasers mentioned, TWFing with shield might be decent, if you have a source of bonus damage. (Wounding enchantment to shield spikes? O.o Sneak attack with shield? "Didn't see that coming?!")
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Perhaps there might be a way to make a shield work, but it will be far more effort than to even duo-wield...

    Grab a decent 1h weapon. If you can get away with a D10 1h weapon without blowing a feat, go for it (Dwarves, I'm talkin' ta you), otherwise go with either a Rapier ( D6 finessable and crit 18-20) or Longsword (d8 crit 19-20). Scim is a waste, Rapier can do everything a Scim can, and is finessable.

    Grab a Large Shield. Slap on Shield Spikes.

    Now we get to the magic. Your shield will be the most magical item you possess...

    The shield spikes are considered a weapon, so you enchant them with a +X Defending (depending on your budget, for the price of an enchantment of +)X+1)). You'll be trading all that in for AC anyways, as described a bit later. Now the shield itself will be a +1 Bashing (can be higher bonuses, or get Arrow Deflection if you're that worried about it, Bashing is the important part here). Because your shield is Bashing, it's considered a +1 magic weapon reguardless of the bonus on the shield itself, or the enchantment on the spikes. In effect, you're getting +X unnamed bonus to AC for the price of an additional +(X+1) weapon which happens to take up the same slot as your shield.

    Now for feats...

    Let's start with the basics:

    TWF, Oversized TWF

    With Oversized TWF, you're using your 1h weapon and your large shield with only a -2/-2, and they're both doing D8 damage. Very respectable for a duo-wield build considering you're stacking on an extra 10 AC for the bargain.

    Then slap on ITWF and GTWF at the appropriate levels

    It's about as close to an optimized sword-and-board build as I have ever seen.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Oversized TWF lets you use two one-handed weapons instead of one-handed and light weapon, so how did you get a large shield? :O
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Uh, Large Shield as opposed to Small Shield or Buckler. The +2 AC kind.

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bears With Lasers View Post
    Uh, Large Shield as opposed to Small Shield or Buckler. The +2 AC kind.
    Ah, so some leftover term from 3.0 (wasn't around then...)? My PHB and SRD call them heavy shields.
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    I do too, but I gathered that's what was meant. :P

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    alternate Sword and Board build:

    Bastard Sword
    Razored Shield [yes Victoria, it's Slashing damage] (Underdark)

    Human Fighter/Warblade/Bloodstorm Blade
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    Weapon Focus (Bastard Sword)
    EWP: Bastard Sword
    Shield Specialization
    Improved Shield Bash
    Shield Sling
    Weapon Spec (Bastard Sword)
    Melee Weapon Mastery (Slashing)
    Point Blank Shot
    Precise Shot

    Go with Stone Dragon and Tiger Claw disciplines
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    heck, that may be my next character... not bad
    Funny, I always figured I'd be killed by a paladin.
    So, what you're saying is we rolled a 1 on our credit check?

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Um, why a bastard sword? Do you REALLY think a feat is worth a 1-point increase in average damage?

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Good sword and board build = one you enjoy playing.

    However, optimally I think it requires use of PHBII feats. I'll tinker around when I don't have such a pounding headache.


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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Perhaps there might be a way to make a shield work, but it will be far more effort than to even duo-wield...

    Grab a decent 1h weapon. If you can get away with a D10 1h weapon without blowing a feat, go for it (Dwarves, I'm talkin' ta you), otherwise go with either a Rapier ( D6 finessable and crit 18-20) or Longsword (d8 crit 19-20). Scim is a waste, Rapier can do everything a Scim can, and is finessable.

    Grab a Large Shield. Slap on Shield Spikes.
    Go with a Kukri or short sword. You don't need Oversized TWF, it's finesseable (it's light), and it's only slightly lower damage or worse critical than a rapier. Since your shield spikes are your main weapon, you're not going to have to worry about it being your off-hand weapon, anyway.

    If you have a shortsword and a heavy shield, you have the core of a very effective sword-and-board build. Coincidentally enough, it's one that was quite popular about 2000 years ago... though they used Banded Mail.
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Well, there's the Divine Tower Shield Summoner.

    Uses the Tower Shield for Total Cover, while summoning minions to do battle. Quite vexing until somone figures out that when using a Tower Shield for Total Cover, you don't threaten, and Sundering is a safe matter.

    Also works with Astral Construct Constructing Psions.

    Oh, wait - you said SWORD and board. Oops.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    I can tell you from my own real life experience, having a two-handed weapon or wielding two weapons is simply more effective in combat than having a shield. (I'm in the SCA. www.sca.org ) The only time a sheild is really handy is when you're in a sheild wall facing pikes and archers, and that's because it affords you COVER. For skirmishing and one on one combat, I choose greatsword everytime (or two swords).
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Bastard Sword and a one level dip in Exotic Weapon Mastery, Now I get double my strength bonus to damage when wielding it two handed. I think THAT'S worth a Feat.
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by knewsom View Post
    I can tell you from my own real life experience, having a two-handed weapon or wielding two weapons is simply more effective in combat than having a shield. (I'm in the SCA. www.sca.org ) The only time a sheild is really handy is when you're in a sheild wall facing pikes and archers, and that's because it affords you COVER. For skirmishing and one on one combat, I choose greatsword everytime (or two swords).
    That is completely the opposite of what I heard from people who spar with experienced shield-users.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyserpent View Post
    Bastard Sword and a one level dip in Exotic Weapon Mastery, Now I get double my strength bonus to damage when wielding it two handed. I think THAT'S worth a Feat.
    Yeah, but you know, if we want to make efficient shield fighter, the two handing bastard sword... :D
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Yes, yes of course there is.

    Cleric of Heironeus with the War domain would be more than viable enough.

    Or a druid with a scimitar and shield.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Before the advent of fiberclass in weapon construction in Dagorhir (SCA pads the people, we pad the weapons, similar though), which allowed weapons to bend in entirely un-metallic ways, the sword and board was the definitive armament. We went through a long cavalcade of dominating folks who fought with tower shields, beginning with our group founder. This is as close to real life medieval combat has I have gotten. Sword and board is not just the thing, it's the only thing.

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Classic Sword and Board trades offense for defense ... in hard encounters against intelligent opponents that simply means you get ignored, you are both not a real threat because you cause low damage and too hard a target. It only works really well for the Knight, who can force opponents to pay attention. A TWF shield fighter can sidestep this problem, but that isn't really what most people mean when they say sword and board.

    The Knight class is pretty much the only way to make a classical Sword and Board combo work well.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2006-12-28 at 08:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Counterspin, the thing you need to keep in mind is this:

    In D&D
    As long as you're above 0 HP, you're fine. The main goal is to do damage and technically survive.

    In Real Battle or Live Simulation
    Getting hit once is devastating (and, in real battle, could change your entire life), so minimizing injury is higher priority than causing damage.

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrNexx View Post
    Go with a Kukri or short sword. You don't need Oversized TWF, it's finesseable (it's light), and it's only slightly lower damage or worse critical than a rapier. Since your shield spikes are your main weapon, you're not going to have to worry about it being your off-hand weapon, anyway.

    If you have a shortsword and a heavy shield, you have the core of a very effective sword-and-board build. Coincidentally enough, it's one that was quite popular about 2000 years ago... though they used Banded Mail.
    As a bit of pedantry, they used Tower Shields with Short Swords, and Throwing Darts for ranged combat.

    And I perfer my weapon to do significant damage. My shield (not the spikes, which actually only have the benifit of allowing me to use Defending and jack up the bonus as high as I can afford to get 'free' AC) is my 'off hand weapon'.

    Here's a sample build:

    Dwarf Fighter 4

    1st: Improved Shield Bash, TWF
    2nd: Oversized TWF
    3rd: Combat Expertise
    4th: feat of choice

    Since a Dwarf can use a Dwarven War Axe as a melee weapon rather than exotic, he will use a War Axe (D10 weapon) and his Shield of Bashing (D8 weapon).

    He can trade up 4 BAB for an extra 4 AC. He's got his enchanted shield, depending on how much wealth he has left, he may have gotten around to enchanting the spikes, although probably not much at this point. Keep in mind, the ONLY enchantment to give the spikes is Defending, and choose to keep ALL the enchantment bonuses turned into free AC.

    He's probably got an AC in the mid 30's, which is going to be very difficult for a CR appropriate encounter to hit him with, unless it's using touch attacks (4th level Kobold Sorcerer using Scorching Ray, for instance).
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Behold_the_Void View Post
    Good sword and board build = one you enjoy playing.

    However, optimally I think it requires use of PHBII feats. I'll tinker around when I don't have such a pounding headache.
    The PHB2 Shield Spec line of feats and the Shield slam & charge from Complete warrior make for good Sword and Boardage

    Quote Originally Posted by MrNexx View Post
    Go with a Kukri or short sword. You don't need Oversized TWF, it's finesseable (it's light), and it's only slightly lower damage or worse critical than a rapier. Since your shield spikes are your main weapon, you're not going to have to worry about it being your off-hand weapon, anyway.

    If you have a shortsword and a heavy shield, you have the core of a very effective sword-and-board build. Coincidentally enough, it's one that was quite popular about 2000 years ago... though they used Banded Mail.
    dont forget a shortspear or Javelin as well
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    A Warblade or Crusader may be able to make storm-and-board with the extra damage from ToB maneuvers. A Warblade with Stormguard Warrior and Robilar's Gambit can work as a storm-and-board, the shield's extra AC helps to offset the penalty Robilar's gives you.

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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bears With Lasers View Post
    That is completely the opposite of what I heard from people who spar with experienced shield-users.
    If the people you know who have recently sparred with experienced shield users are used to only fighting other dual weilders or two-handed weapons, sure - anything new and different is a challenge. Just like if you've never fought anyone with anything but sword and board adn then tried to fight someone with a greatsword, you'd probably get your ass handed to you.

    I knew how to fight with a bastard sword before I joined the SCA, but only a bit (took Aikido and learned some Kendo too). First thing I tried in the SCA was sword and board, but I hated being blinded by the thing. I felt like it gave my opponent more of an advantage than it gave me, so I picked up a two handed sword and started tearing people apart. In my authorization fight against a knight with a sword and shield, I legged him, then killed him. A KNIGHT. This was only a couple months after starting to fight with the local group. Later that day I won a title in a tourney. Since then, I made a greatsword which I like a lot more than the bastard sword, and I like to think I did a good job as the Defender of the Northern Mountains, fighting off the invading armies of An Tyr in AS 38... I realize that there are some people in the SCA who aren't used to fighting people with greatswords or bastard swords, but the majority have had enough encounters with them to know what to expect, at least to a certain level. In single combat and skirmishing, sword and board typically gets PWNED. In a shield wall, however, greatsword is bloody useless, as I learned the hard way many a time.
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    Thumbs up Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    As a bit of pedantry, they used Tower Shields with Short Swords, and Throwing Darts for ranged combat.
    No, no they didn't. Mr Nexx is right (except perhaps with regard to Banded Mail, but that's really a nomenlature thing). Read the Tower Shield description again and you will notice they are actually describing a Pavise. It's a common perception that D&D Tower Shield = Scutum, but it doesn't appear to be the case. The most definitive argument is that a Scutum did not weigh 45 lbs, which Tower Shields undeniably do. As for Throwing Darts, that may be the case for certain types of Roman Warrior, but it does not describe a Pilum, which may be best equated with a Javelin.

    Viable Sword and Shield Build. Beyond a certain Power Level you are going to be better served with Two Handed Fighting. At low Levels a Heavy Shield is a handy item to have access to. After about Level Four, the Sword and Shield Fighter is heavily outclassed.

    The reason not to use Short Sword and Heavy Shield in combination is that you cannot Power Attack with the Short Sword or use it Two Handed later on. The Exotic Weapons Master does make it a potentially good idea to invest in Bastard Sword and Heavy Shield at Level One and switch to Two Handed Fighting at some later point.

    Two Weapon Fighting will probably work out well, as you can use it in combination with Sword and Shield as an Unarmed Attack or with Spiked Armour and do the same thing later on with Two Handed Fighting.

    Basically, the best way to use Sword and Shield is to use it, invest nothing in it and make sure you can go Two Handed Fighting at the drop of a hat.

    Possible Core Build:

    Level One
    Two Weapon Fighting
    Exotic Weapon Proficiency - Bastard Sword
    Weapon Focus - Bastard Sword
    Level Two
    Power Attack
    Level Three
    Cleave
    Level Four
    Specialisation - Bastard Sword

    You could sub Proficiency, Focus or Specialisation out, but I think you need them for Exotic Weapon Master. If you are not following that path, Combat Expertise might be handy. Depends on exactly how you want to progress.

    In 'Real Life' there do appear to be those who advocate Weapon and Shield and those who advocate Two Handed Weapons. Hard to say which is really better.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2006-12-28 at 10:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Is there a such thing as a "good" sword-and-board build?

    Remove animated shields.

    Problem solved! That was easy.

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