Saturday Potpourri: Sword, Board, and Shield

Welcome to Saturday Potpourri, our column focusing on… Well, everything. It’s going to be a mix of topics, depending on what’s caught our attention that week.

And we kick off this week with Mike Miller’s Vexing Shield and the Shield Maven (NOT maiden), a fighter archetype focusing on the perfection of the shield.

Vexing Shield

Aura faint enchantment; Slot shield; CL 1st; Weight 15 lbs.; Price 5,170 gp


This heavy steel shield is riddled with dents and scratches. Despite its appearance, it is not structurally compromised in any way.


Once a day, as a standard action, by clashing this +1 heavy steel shield with his weapon, the wielder may call out an enemy that is within 40 feet. He compels the enemy to come and fight him. The target moves, on its turn, its speed toward him, avoiding any other dangers along its path (including any movement that would provoke attacks of opportunity). The target may do nothing but move on its turn. If the target ends its move adjacent to him, he can make an attack of opportunity against the target. A successful DC 15 Will save means that the target is able to act as normal.


Feats Craft Magic Arms and Armor; Spells knight’s calling; Cost 3,670 gp

Shield Maven Fighter Archetype

The common image of a medieval soldier is one of a man wielding a sword and shield. Unlike the Vikings, who commonly used their shields as offensive weapons, the medieval knight generally did not. For a player wanting to capture the flare of the medieval knight, it is hard to ignore the limitations of a sword and board character that does not utilize two weapon fighting. Simply put, the character sacrifices much and gains little by using a shield strictly for defense. The shield maven is designed to solve that problem.

With the shield maven, you can wade into the front line, soaking up attacks and blocking enemy movements so that the glass cannons behind you can get all the glory their fragile egos require. You may not have as many one shot kills as some in your party, but without you to hold the line, it would be a disaster.

The shield maven is an archetype of the fighter class.

Shield Maven

The shield maven crashes across the battlefield like a tidal wave. At the center of the carnage, he stands against the hail of iron, his sword flashing from side to side. He thumps his blade across his shield and shouts his challenge.

A shield maven has the following class features.

Maven Defense (Ex)

At 1st level, a shield maven gains the benefits of Shield Focus as a bonus feat. A shield maven gains no benefit from any two weapon fighting feats. He must use shields only in defense. The use of a shield as an attack by the shield maven negates all defensive bonuses granted to him via the shield maven archetype for the next round of combat.

Deflective Shield (Ex)

At 2nd level, a shield maven specializes in using his shield to deflect attacks. He gains a +1 bonus to his touch AC, and this bonus increases for every four levels beyond 2nd (to a maximum of +6 at 20th level); however, this bonus cannot exceed the sum of the armor and enhancement bonus to AC provided by the shield that the armor master is currently carrying. These bonuses do not apply in any round in which shield maven attacks with a shield.

This ability replaces bravery.

Shield Defense (Ex)

Starting at 3rd level, a shield maven learns the art of fighting with a shield. Whenever he is wielding a shield, the shield maven’s shield bonus to AC increases by 1. Every 4 levels thereafter (7th, 11th, and 15th), this bonus increases by 1. These bonuses do not apply in any round in which shield maven attacks with a shield.

This ability replaces armor training.

Shield Ally (Ex)

Starting at 7th level, once per round, whenever an adjacent ally is the target of an attack, a shield maven may expend an attack of opportunity, as an immediate action, to grant that adjacent ally a +2 shield bonus to AC. You must be wielding a light shield, heavy shield, or tower shield. He may not use shield ally in any round in which shield maven attacks with a shield.

About Kim Frandsen

Kim is a freelance writer for various companies (including Publishing, Fat Goblin Games, Flaming Crab Games, Outland Entertainment, Purple Duck Games, Rusted Iron Games and Zenith Games) as well as an editor of the Pathfinder and D&D 5th Edition product lines for Publishing. Hopes to one day rule the world!

View all posts by Kim Frandsen →

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