Greetings fellow Ramblers!
I have a treat for you today, something that I’ve only discovered the versatility of in the last few years, despite 25+ years of gaming. To me a shield was always a tool, much like a weapon but with less variety, and never really something that stood out as useful for anything more than extra AC for a melee character. All this changed a few years ago (probably about 3-4 years under the 3.5 rules) when I made an Azerblood Fighter (Tank) by the name of Jock McStrap (yes, it was a joke name but this is a rare thing for me and I was playing outside my comfort zone at the time). He had a fairly high Constitution, I think it was about 24 by 8th level, and as many of the feats that gave him more hit points or AC as I could stack on him. Since he was built to take punishment, he also needed a high AC, and after looking through the special shields I came upon the Spined Shield and was instantly smitten. A shield that doubled as a ranged weapon (something that my Dexterity challenged character didn’t have) was A-OK in my book and so with my GM’s permission I added on as many extra pluses as I could afford with my starting gold (he was a replacement for my previous character and so started at 8th level) and thus my view of shields was forever altered. He went on to miss waaaaay more times than he actually hit with the spines, but that never deterred him (or me) from using it.
So now when I make a character who can use a shield, I look beyond its AC bonus and try to see whether or not I can find other uses that will complement the character I am building. To this end, I now present a new column for you here that I hope will give you some extra versatility when rolling up your Pathfinder Fighter or Paladin, Druid or Inquisitor, Cleric or Cavalier or any other concept that you imagine.
Thanks to Theodric, each Sunday I’ll give you a new shield and I hope that you enjoy them and can get some use from them. And as an added bonus for my first week, I’m also gonna give you a new shield Magical Property as well.
The reconnaissance shield was devised by a wizard general during a massive civil war to help his scouts get close enough to the enemy camps to gather useful information without getting caught. After the enemy commander learned of the tactic, he ordered large cleared areas be made around their campsites, but despite this sound order enough of his tactics and troop movements had been gleaned by that time to lead to his eventual defeat.
Aura Moderate Illusion; CL 6th
Slot shield; Price 22,150gp; Weight 45 lb.
This +1 Tower Shield looks like any other wooden shield of its kind, except for the carved leaves along the front border. It is used primarily by armies and forest scouts as a useful device for spying on enemy encampments.
While Proficiency with Tower Shields is needed for normal use, its other power can be used by anyone without penalty.
Three times a day, the wielder can crouch down behind the shield and make the image of a tree appear around herself. This illusion acts as a major image in all ways, save it is centered on the shield and cannot be moved. The tree can be made to appear as any kind the wielder wishes to blend in with their surroundings and can be any height from 10-20ft. A viewing slot in the shield (undetectable from the front facing) can be opened up once behind the shield so as to spy upon whatever the user wishes. The duration lasts for as long the shield is held, although movement in any direction of more than a foot from the spot the illusion was first enacted also cancels the effect.
Requirements Craft Magic Arms and Armor, major image; Cost 11,075gp
Originally developed by a magus who employed a shield as his weapon of choice to confuse his enemies, this special ability has made its way into general use, although its cost means it is still quite rare.
Shield Special Ability
Invisible: A shield with this special ability can be made invisible at will as a swift action. This invisibility lasts for up to 10 rounds, after which time it becomes visible again. The wielder can make the shield visible again at any time during the 10 rounds as a free action. Once the shield has been made visible, it cannot become invisible again for a number of minutes equal to the rounds it was invisible.
While active, an invisible shield gives it’s user a +5 bonus on bluff attempts to feint in combat. It also imparts an additional +2 deflection bonus to AC while it is active, as your opponent is never quite sure where your shield is positioned.
Strong Illusion; CL 9th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, shield, greater invisibility; Price +3 bonus.