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

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Regarding shields:

A shield's defensive value is (at least half anyway) because it is being actively used for defense: positioned against attacks, etc. If you are unconscious, paralyzed, or restrained, a shield would not really benefit you (or at best perhaps grant a +1 bonus due to being a physical barrier?).

This is a case where logic must dictate the rule (since WotC refuses to do it): no benefit from shields if you are unconscious or paralyzed. Restrained still allows you to act (although your speed becomes 0), so you can still use a shield effectively.

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Unfortunately 5E doesn't specify that a shield is strapped to your arm in any fashion, just it is "carried in one hand".

Anything carried in your hands when you go unconscious is dropped.
 

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Oofta

Legend
Regarding shields:

A shield's defensive value is (at least half anyway) because it is being actively used for defense: positioned against attacks, etc. If you are unconscious, paralyzed, or restrained, a shield would not really benefit you (or at best perhaps grant a +1 bonus due to being a physical barrier?).

This is a case where logic must dictate the rule (since WotC refuses to do it): no benefit from shields if you are unconscious or paralyzed. Restrained still allows you to act (although your speed becomes 0), so you can still use a shield effectively.

View attachment 262817

Unfortunately 5E doesn't specify that a shield is strapped to your arm in any fashion, just it is "carried in one hand".

Anything carried in your hands when you go unconscious is dropped.
In 5E it explicitly states that you have to use an action to equip or unequip a shield. There's no reason to believe according to the rules that you drop a shield if you are unconscious any more than you would drop the rest of your armor.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
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.
At low levels, into early tier 2, sure. GWM isn't a great low-level feat outside of reckless attacking barbarians. (Old SS had a lot of value even without the -5/+10, so I would definitely take that at 1st/4th level.) The value of the -5/+10 construct comes in higher levels, because it synergizes with max Str/Dex, and with most magic weapons (outside of Flame Tongue/Frost Brand), and with any granted increase to accuracy. Having buffs give advantage or other accuracy bonuses (hello, Bless!) are much more common than buffs giving weapon attacks more damage.

I like having all feats be half-feats, don't get me wrong. I'm on record as wanting the new ASI feat to only be +1/+1 so that there's no option to rush to 20. I think the new GWM and SS are better in terms of implementation despite being weaker feats once you get out of early-game. But let's not got confused, they changed those feats because they were extremely strong in mid and late game, not because they were too weak.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Regarding shields:

A shield's defensive value is (at least half anyway) because it is being actively used for defense: positioned against attacks, etc. If you are unconscious, paralyzed, or restrained, a shield would not really benefit you (or at best perhaps grant a +1 bonus due to being a physical barrier?).

This is a case where logic must dictate the rule (since WotC refuses to do it): no benefit from shields if you are unconscious or paralyzed. Restrained still allows you to act (although your speed becomes 0), so you can still use a shield effectively.

View attachment 262817

Unfortunately 5E doesn't specify that a shield is strapped to your arm in any fashion, just it is "carried in one hand".

Anything carried in your hands when you go unconscious is dropped.
That’s perfectly logical, but is it really worth making a rule that must be tracked? “Wait, which conditions? Is restrained one of them? Just a sec, let me look it up…”

Not really in the spirit of 5e, imo, but I can understand if people who like those of detailed rules want to houserule it.

EDIT: Another way to think about it is that there is a 1/10 chance that any attack becomes a miss because of a shield. If you want to talk realism that is way, way, way too low. But maybe about right if you are paralyzed holding a shield, or if you’ve fallen on the ground while holding a shield.

(But of course actively wielded shields can’t really be worth +5 because ultimately it’s a game, not a simulation.)
 
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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
In 5E it explicitly states that you have to use an action to equip or unequip a shield. There's no reason to believe according to the rules that you drop a shield if you are unconscious any more than you would drop the rest of your armor.
Right, you use your action to don or doff... so what? NOTHING in 5E says what that entails other than the image I posted about your shield is "carried in one hand." No strapping on your arm or anything else. According to the rules: if you go unconscious, you DROP ANYTHING you are carrying. So, I would say that is a pretty good reason to "believe" it. ;)

Also, most shields in history were simply held in one hand behind the shield boss or on a handle.

That’s perfectly logical, but is it really worth making a rule that must be tracked? “Wait, which conditions? Is restrained one of them? Just a sec, let me look it up…”

Not really in the spirit of 5e, imo, but I can understand if people who like those of detailed rules want to houserule it.

EDIT: Another way to think about it is that there is a 1/10 chance that any attack becomes a miss because of a shield. If you want to talk realism that is way, way, way too low. But maybe about right if you are paralyzed holding a shield, or if you’ve fallen on the ground while holding a shield.

(But of course actively wielded shields can’t really be worth +5 because ultimately it’s a game, not a simulation.)
I would simple rule that if you are paralyzed or unconscious your shield doesn't help you. I wouldn't bother with the half bonus personally.

I agree shields should be a bit "more effective" (given your edit), but basically the designers see it as half cover (tower shields would be 3/4-cover IMO). But in the sense of realism, a shield should only be effective against a certain number of opponents. However, since 5E doesn't normally use facing rules as the default, that is all hand-waved away.

If you are paralyzed while holding a shield, the enemy simply moves to a side where the shield is not and attacks without that hinderance. If you are unconscious, the enemy could use a free object interaction to move it aside, opening up your body to unhindered attack.

But, I agree, 5E is not a simulation, so I understand why the game ignores things which logically make sense, but start making the game too rule heavy for the common user (in the designers' views anyway).
 

ECMO3

Hero
At low levels, into early tier 2, sure. GWM isn't a great low-level feat outside of reckless attacking barbarians. (Old SS had a lot of value even without the -5/+10, so I would definitely take that at 1st/4th level.) The value of the -5/+10 construct comes in higher levels, because it synergizes with max Str/Dex, and with most magic weapons (outside of Flame Tongue/Frost Brand), and with any granted increase to accuracy. Having buffs give advantage or other accuracy bonuses (hello, Bless!) are much more common than buffs giving weapon attacks more damage.

Two things - first, most gameplay is primarily in tier 1 and tier 2, however even later, the new GWM will stil better than the old. A few examples vs 18 AC at 13th level:

1. At 13th level fighter using a +2 greatsword with a 20 strength:

Old GWM: 37.05 DPR

New GWM: 38.45 DPR plus he has one more feat than the other fighter.

2. 13thlevel Raging Barbarian with +2 greatsword getting advantage:

Old GWM: 41.9

New GWM: 38.2, as with the fighter above he has one more feat

3. 13th level Raging Barbarian with advantage with a Flametongue

Old GWM: 47.4

New GWM: 46.4 plus one more feat


Also with the new feat you take "smaller bites" meaning you don't lose as much damage taking someone to 0 hps.

I think the new GWM and SS are better in terms of implementation despite being weaker feats once you get out of early-game. But let's not got confused, they changed those feats because they were extremely strong in mid and late game, not because they were too weak.

GWM is not weaker. Mathematically it is superior to the current feat in most situations.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
GWM is not weaker. Mathematically it is superior to the current feat in most situations.
Hmm...fair. The near 100% chance to get the +prof bonus once per round does really make up a lot of the delta. New SS is still behind in high accuracy situations, since it lacks the +prof damage bonus, but GWM is pretty comparable outside of extreme conditions.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
At low levels, into early tier 2, sure. GWM isn't a great low-level feat outside of reckless attacking barbarians. (Old SS had a lot of value even without the -5/+10, so I would definitely take that at 1st/4th level.) The value of the -5/+10 construct comes in higher levels, because it synergizes with max Str/Dex, and with most magic weapons (outside of Flame Tongue/Frost Brand), and with any granted increase to accuracy. Having buffs give advantage or other accuracy bonuses (hello, Bless!) are much more common than buffs giving weapon attacks more damage.

I like having all feats be half-feats, don't get me wrong. I'm on record as wanting the new ASI feat to only be +1/+1 so that there's no option to rush to 20. I think the new GWM and SS are better in terms of implementation despite being weaker feats once you get out of early-game. But let's not got confused, they changed those feats because they were extremely strong in mid and late game, not because they were too weak.
IMO. At lower levels GWM's biggest advantage was the bonus action attack.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Two things - first, most gameplay is primarily in tier 1 and tier 2, however even later, the new GWM will stil better than the old. A few examples vs 18 AC at 13th level:

1. At 13th level fighter using a +2 greatsword with a 20 strength:

Old GWM: 37.05 DPR

New GWM: 38.45 DPR plus he has one more feat than the other fighter.

2. 13thlevel Raging Barbarian with +2 greatsword getting advantage:

Old GWM: 41.9

New GWM: 38.2, as with the fighter above he has one more feat

3. 13th level Raging Barbarian with advantage with a Flametongue

Old GWM: 47.4

New GWM: 46.4 plus one more feat


Also with the new feat you take "smaller bites" meaning you don't lose as much damage taking someone to 0 hps.



GWM is not weaker. Mathematically it is superior to the current feat in most situations.
I had been meaning to go through and so a slew of comparisons as I thought the new GWM would be fairly comparable. Glad to see some work toward that already done.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Good-bye level 5 hasted GWM berserker using Reckless Attacks to do ~84 damage in one turn.

Which is both good and…kinda sad.
Even if the Berserker hit with all 4 attacks using -5/+10 he would only then do ~92 damage. (7 + 4 + 2 + 10)*4 = 23*4 = 92 avg damage. His attack bonus is only +2. Seems he would have to be facing some extremely low AC enemies to get close to 84 DPR a turn with haste.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Even if the Berserker hit with all 4 attacks using -5/+10 he would only then do ~92 damage. (7 + 4 + 2 + 10)*4 = 23*4 = 92 avg damage. His attack bonus is only +2. Seems he would have to be facing some extremely low AC enemies to get close to 84 DPR a turn with haste.

Advantage on every attack with Reckless. Sure, there will be at least one miss more often than not. But against AC 13 there's about a 1/4 chance of hitting with all four attacks. Give him a +1 weapon (not unlikely) and it gets better. But with even one miss, heck even with two misses, that's a LOT of dpr for level 5.

And, yeah, I forgot to add the +2 rage damage.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Advantage on every attack with Reckless. Sure, there will be at least one miss more often than not. But against AC 13 there's about a 1/4 chance of hitting with all four attacks. Give him a +1 weapon (not unlikely) and it gets better. But with even one miss, heck even with two misses, that's a LOT of dpr for level 5.
75% chance to hit AC 13 means you only have a .75 * .75 * .75 * .75 chance to land all 4 attacks = 30% chance and that's only against a low AC of 13. Look at 15 AC and the chance plummets.

And, yeah, I forgot to add the +2 rage damage.
I didn't.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Against AC 15 (64% hit) average DPR would be 29 dmg (assuming STR 18 +4 bonus and a greatsword).

Against AC 13 (75% hit) it would be 38.2.

Neither are anywhere near 80+ damage. I don't know why when people consider DRP they assume every attack hits. 🤷‍♂️
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Against AC 15 (64% hit) average DPR would be 29 dmg (assuming STR 18 +4 bonus and a greatsword).

Against AC 13 (75% hit) it would be 38.2.

Neither are anywhere near 80+ damage. I don't know why when people consider DRP they assume every attack hits. 🤷‍♂️
Your numbers seem to be leaving out the cited haste attack and maybe even Bezerker bonus action attack.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
LOL, no, but I forgot to add the +2 final attack bonus after the GWM!

So, revised AC 13 = 47.4 DPR, and AC 15 = 38.2 DPR.
Using your chances to hit above (i'm ignoring criticals). Each attack should do 7+4+2+10 = 23 damage. You make 4 attacks. Thats potentially 92 damage before accuracy.

I get 69 DPR for AC 13 and 59 DPR for AC 15.
 




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