In the hands of a competent warrior, a shield often proves the difference between life and death.
Wielded by a shield master, the shield becomes the ultimate form of both defense and offense. With shield on arm and weapon in hand, this highly trained fighter alternates between striking their foes and blocking attacks. They weave in and out of combat, their shield an extension of their will and strength. The shield acts like a wall one moment, turning aside blows and trapping weapons, only to become a hammer in the next moment, slamming into foes like a battering ram.
This archetype shares elements in common with the Battle Master, including the use of Armament dice and special maneuvers.
At 3rd level when you select this archetype, you learn special shield maneuvers powered by armament dice.
You gain your choice of three maneuvers, described below. These maneuvers take full advantage of the shield as both a tool of defense as well as offense. You can only use one maneuver per round.
You gain two more maneuvers of your choice at 7th, 10th, and 15th level. Each time, you can also replace one maneuver you know with a different maneuver.
Armament Dice. You have four d8 armament dice. An armament die is expended when you use it. You regain all spent armament dice following a short or long rest.
Saving Throws. If one of these maneuvers calls for a saving throw to resist the effects, use the following calculation to determine the saving throw DC: Maneuver save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice)
Starting at 3rd level, you can make a shield bash attack as a bonus action as if you were attacking with your off- hand. This attack deals 1d4 points of damage plus your Strength modifier. You do not need to wield a light weapon in your main hand.
When you reach 3rd level, you gain proficiency with artisan’s (smith) tools. In addition, when repairing or fashioning a shield or piece of armor, add half your proficiency bonus (round up) to your skill check.
Also at 3rd level, if you chose the Protection fighting style, the way it functions changes. As a reaction, you can force the attacker to reroll one weapon attack that hits an ally adjacent to you. If you do not choose the Protection style, this has no additional effect.
Beginning at 7th level, as a bonus action you can select one opponent you can see. Your shield’s armor bonus improves by +1 against that opponent’s weapon attacks. You must spend a bonus action each round to gain this benefit, or to apply it to a different opponent.
The shield master’s maneuvers are described in alphabetical order.
- Barrier Defense. As a reaction, expend an armament die. If you are caught in a damaging area effect, you receive advantage on your Dexterity saving throw. In addition, subtract the results of your armament die from any damage you sustain.
- Brutal Crush. If you hit an enemy with a shield bash, expend an armament die. You inflict 1d6 plus the armament die roll plus your Strength modifier (minimum of 1) in bludgeoning damage.
- Disarming Attack. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can expend one armament die to attempt to disarm the target, forcing it to drop one item of your choice that it’s holding. You add the armament die to the attack‘s damage roll, and the target must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, it drops the object you choose. The object lands at its feet.
- Defensive Wall. When an attacker damages you with a ranged attack, you can use your reaction to expend one armament die to reduce the damage by the number you roll plus your shield’s Armor Class bonus, including any magical bonuses it provides.
- Disruptive Swipe. Expend an armament die and make a shield bash against a creature maintaining concentration on a spell. You inflict 1d6 plus your Strength modifier in bludgeoning damage. The creature suffers disadvantage on its Constitution saving throw to maintain concentration.
- Edge Strike. Make a shield bash against an opponent and expend an armament die. You inflict 1d4 plus the result of the armament dice roll plus your Strength modifier in bludgeoning damage. In addition, your opponent must succeed at a Constitution saving throw or become either blinded or deafened (your choice). This effect lasts until the end of the target’s next turn.
- Insurmountable Defense. If you don’t move during a round, you can use a bonus action to expend an armament die. Your Armor Class increases by that amount until the start of your next turn. If you move during that time, you lose this benefit.
- Pinning Strike. You make a grapple check with your shield against an opponent, but instead of rolling a standard attack, make an opposed grapple check against the target. Roll your armament die and add it to this check. If you win, your opponent loses the use of one of its limbs until you end the grapple or it breaks free. Thus, the creature either loses the use of its main weapon, or the use of its off-hand. If the creature held a shield in the pinned limb, it loses its shield bonus to Armor Class. If you make any other shield attacks or use another of these maneuvers, the grapple automatically ends.
- Shield Slam. Make a shove attack against a target as a bonus action. Roll an armament die. You inflict 1d6 plus your Strength modifier in bludgeoning damage. In addition, when you roll your opposed Strength (Athletics) check to knock your target prone or push it 5 feet away, add the result of your armament die to your check.
- Sweeping Shield. As an action, expend an armament die to make an attack roll against each of up to three enemies adjacent to you. Each hit does 1d6 plus your Strength bonus in bludgeoning damage.
- Swift Block. As a reaction, use your shield to block an enemy creature’s attack against you or an adjacent ally. The attack suffers disadvantage. If this attack hits, you may expend one armament die and subtract the results of the roll from the damage inflicted. If you have the Protection fighting style, you can wait to see if the attack will hit before you perform this maneuver. In addition, the amount of damage you subtract equals double the results of your armament die.
Improved Combat Superiority
When you reach 10th level, your armament dice turn into d10s. At 18th level, they turn into d12s.
In addition, whenever you hit with a shield bash attack, add your shield’s Armor Class bonus to the damage inflicted.
At 15th level, when you roll for initiative and have no armament dice left, you regain 1 armament die.
Fighter Folio © 2018 Total Party Kill Games; Authors: Brian Berg, Mark A. Hart.