D&D 5E Have we misunderstood the shield and sword fighter (or warrior)?

ECMO3

Hero
For a DEX-based sword & board fighter, you also have the option of switching to a ranged weapon when needed]
The only weapons you can make a dex-based ranged attack with while wielding a shield are dart, dagger or net. That is all your options right there without taking an entire action to doff your shield.

Strength-based sword and board is way better when it comes to ranged attacks as you can use d6 thrown melee weapons.

I think the highest damage sword and board build possible is thrown weapon fighting style, sharpshooter feat and darts. Since Darts have Finnesse you can use strength for them, even though they are a ranged weapon. I believe they are the only ranged weapon you can use even do this on a strength build.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Argyle King

Legend
The only dex-based ranged weapons you can use sword and board are a dart, dagger or net. That is all your options right there without taking an entire action to doff your shield.

Strength-based sword and board is way better when it comes to ranged attacks.

That's arguable. Those weapons have shorter ranges. Though the net is an interesting case because it is cheap and also requires the target to use their action to escape -meaning that they're not gaining an action on you in the event you need to use one of yours to re-equip the shield.

Dropping an item is a free action. Attach a lanyard to the shield so you can drop it for free when necessary and still have it attached to you.
(Honestly, that's a little weird to me, but 5e shields are very ambiguous concerning what type of shield they are. Bucklers? Shields with arm straps? Light? Heavy? With some shields, a shield sling makes sense. )

If you're at the range where longbows and such are useful, one action to re-equip isn't bad. Before that's even necessary, it may be that you have several turns of damage output without the enemy being able to retaliate at all.

Range 150/600 (longbow) vs 30/120 (javelin)

If I'm at a range of 30ft, I'm already effectively within melee range for a lot of encounters (as a lot of things have a movement speed of 30). I suppose there may be scenarios in which the target cannot get to you with movement, but, in that case, they're not able to engage me in melee anyway so I would stick with the ranged weapon.

Though, I would agree that the javelin is likely the best option for throwing.

I think it's somewhat strange that equipping a shield takes an entire action but equipping a weapon doesn't, but those are the rules.
 




Argyle King

Legend
Sure, if you were carrying a shield without actually ever using it for it's shieldy function...

How is that relevant to anything?

Whether or not an item was being used previously doesn't change the ability to drop the item.

Edit: I do agree that is weird, and (previously) I've mentioned that I think the shield rules are a bit odd, but that's how they are.

So, what's the difference between unequipping and dropping?
Dropping is just letting go of something (and it typically clattering to the ground) versus unequipping a shield being taking it off and stowing it on your person for future use.

Above, I mentioned putting a "sling" on a shield. More accurately, that would be using a "guige." A purpose for using one is to enable letting go of a shield to quickly free up that hand for other uses.
 
Last edited:


Argyle King

Legend
Okay, I drop my armor that I'm wearing. It's not unequipping it, it's just letting it go.

You can houserule as you want, but there's clear rules for this stuff.

Armor isn't an item which is equipped specifically to hands.

I agree that there are clear rules.
Unequipping takes an action.
Dropping an item held in a hand doesn't.

There's an argument for saying a shield is a special case. Though, I'd then ask what happens when a spell or attack forces me to drop what I'm holding...?
 

Argyle King

Legend
So as to not derail the thread, I'll concede to the idea that shields are a special type of item which cannot be dropped like other items can.

Even so, I've found that having a high dex tends to be more useful in a wider variety of situations.

Beyond that, the point of the thread is about "sword & board." It's odd to me that there appears to be a belief that it's less good. I think it's one of the better loadouts for a character.
 



ECMO3

Hero
True, but dropping it isn't.
Do you have a reference for that?

I would agree that most DMs generally allow players to drop things in their hand without using an action or interaction, but I do not think that is codified anywhere in the rules and I would argue the specific rules for doffing a shield override that even if it is.

Specific overrides general and it states it is a full action to doff a shield.

Also a shield is not usually soimply held in the hand, it is strapped to the forearm.
 




Argyle King

Legend
Do you have a reference for that?

I would agree that most DMs generally allow players to drop things in their hand without using an action or interaction, but I do not think that is codified anywhere in the rules and I would argue the specific rules for doffing a shield override that even if it is.

Specific overrides general and it states it is a full action to doff a shield.

Also a shield is not usually soimply held in the hand, it is strapped to the forearm.

"The intent is that letting go of something requires no appreciable effort. But picking it up does." ~quoted from Jeremy Crawford's Sage Advice.

That quote is also consistent with what is implied (but not outright stated) in various areas of the rules.

I agree that specific overrides general. Doffing and dropping are not the same thing. Doffing requires an action.

I suppose there's an argument for saying a shield cannot be dropped because that's a limitation placed by the rules on one specific item. So, what happens if someone using a shield is knocked unconscious? Do they retain the shield bonus?

Also, not all shields are strapped to the arm. That's one type of shield (and, contrary to what many people think, far from the most common type).

Various viking shields were held with the hand (typically with a center grip behind a boss), so as to allow quick adjustments -including being able to drop or discard it when necessary.
Additionally, a hand strap with a guige is a common shield design in various parts of the world.

5e doesn't have any of that though. It just has "shield." I had thought that was meant to be a vague category to cover a variety of styles and cultures.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I suppose there's an argument for saying a shield cannot be dropped because that's a limitation placed by the rules on one specific item. So, what happens if someone using a shield is knocked unconscious? Do they retain the shield bonus?


Absolutely they do. They do if they are paralyzed or restrained too.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Sword and shield got a big bump in the playtest simply because so many of the stronger styles got nerfed.
I don't think that is true. None of the fighting styles changed AFAIK. I think the change to two-weapon fighting rules made the two-weapon fighting style much more powerful. I don't think the others that are in the playtest (dueling, GWF, protection) changed at all.

I think sword and board actually got less attractive with the changes to two weapon fighting. The offhand attack is no longer a bonus action, it is now free, meaning there is no action economy loss for doing it. Also you can now use light ranged weapons in addition to light melee weapons.
 
Last edited:

ECMO3

Hero
Oh definitely, but I'd be very surprised to not see the nerfs to SS/GWM/XBE stick around.
GWM is not nerfed. It is stronger than it is in the PHB because it is a half feat and there is no attack roll penalty to add the extra damage. In most cases the new GWM will do more damage than the old one in terms of DPR.

Old GWM with greatsword at 5th level with 16 strength against AC 15 is 14.7 DPR

New GWM with greatsword at 5th level with 18 strength against AC 15 is 17.6 DPR

Those numbers include the critical hit damage but not the bonus action attack.

CBE is nerfed on paper but that is countered by the fact that anyone can now make an offhand attack with a hand crossbow if they use another light weapon to attack. So everyone gets what was the centerpiece on the old feat.

SS is also better I think, although this is arguable. They took away the damage boost, but they kept the best parts of SS (cover, long range) and in addition made it a half-feat and added the ability to shoot in melee without disadvantage.
 
Last edited:

Argyle King

Legend
Absolutely they do. They do if they are paralyzed or restrained too.

To me, that's somewhat odd given that unconsciousness causes dropping anything held.

If the hand isn't being used to hold the shield (as with forearm straps), why is that hand completely unusable for other things?
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top