4E Rules Question: Rhythm Blade Weapon

I was reviewing all 3 of MetaVoid's characters today.

One common thing I noticed was that he was using a Rhythm blade weapon in his off hand to take a shield bonus to AC and Reflex, but from what I've seen from threads like this one. There is somewhat of a consensus the Rhythm blade only improves and existing shield bonus, but does not provide one on its own in absence of another shield bonus. So if you don't have something like a weapon with the defensive property, or the two-weapon defense feat or anything else that provides a shield bonus to AC and/or Reflex, the Rhythm Blade does nothing.

I wanted some judges to weigh in as to how this weapon will work in L4W, since it appears that it would have a significant impact on MetaVoid's characters.

Thanks.
 

WEContact

Visitor
Defensive doesn't grant a shield bonus, so Rhythm Blade doesn't interact with it either. Refer Metavoid to the Shielding enchantment.
 

Luinnar

Visitor
That is the first time I ever heard that it works that way. I always thought Rhythm Blade was to be used instead of a shield for dual wielders and those who don't use shields (and it would not stack with a shield). The bard guide and fighter guide seem to agree with that.
 
I'd say neither of those guides specify that they work one way or another, only that they are valid considerations for weapons. The fighter guide even points out tempest fighters as specifically benefiting, and tempest fighters get two-weapon defense for free.

As for intent, the Rhythm Blade was intended to bear paired with the other weapon of the Blade Dancer's Regalia, the Harmony Blade. The item set was designed for two-weapon rangers (given its 5 piece set bonus) who most likely will have taken two-weapon defense.

I somehow doubt the intent was to have a light shield that anyone can use without spending a feat for what is a paltry amount of gold even at the upper end of heroic tier.
 

Luinnar

Visitor
I'd say neither of those guides specify that they work one way or another, only that they are valid considerations for weapons. The fighter guide even points out tempest fighters as specifically benefiting, and tempest fighters get two-weapon defense for free.

As for intent, the Rhythm Blade was intended to bear paired with the other weapon of the Blade Dancer's Regalia, the Harmony Blade. The item set was designed for two-weapon rangers (given its 5 piece set bonus) who most likely will have taken two-weapon defense.

I somehow doubt the intent was to have a light shield that anyone can use without spending a feat for what is a paltry amount of gold even at the upper end of heroic tier.
Yeah I forgot about the shield bonus with two-weapon defense. Now that I actually look at the item description I think the thread you pointed out is right as well as your interpretation. :)

Edit: Did you get the items recently Metavoid or were they on your characters when they had past approvals?
 
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Mewness

Visitor
I have a character who uses a rhythm blade as well, and I only became aware of the issue a long time after he'd acquired it.
 

Dekana

Visitor
Jax uses one as well. I thought it was balanced by the fact that he doesn't get to use a weapon with a better property in his off-hand.
 

WEContact

Visitor
It's not really an issue of balance. The difference between the two rules interpretations is small enough that it won't make or break anything. This is more about how strictly the judges and SRs should enforce RAW.
 

Luinnar

Visitor
It seems like a common issue (I believe the character builder is bugged as well). I would like to see what the other judges think before I vote or rule on anything. We may need a proposal, I am unsure. :)
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
I've always assumed the Rhythm Blade was an enchantment that essentially let you give up your off-hand enchantment for the equivalent of a light shield (the seeming CharOp consensus). I have no problem with it in that capacity - in fact, I'd never even thought about the possibility that it might have a different intent until I read this thread.
 

WEContact

Visitor
I'd like to return to the crux of the question here: should the SRs expect character sheets to conform strictly to the Rules as Written, or should we be allowed to approve things that break the rules slightly as long as we feel that they break the rules in a way that may be Rules as Intended and is beneficial (or at least not harmful) to the game?
 

MetaVoid

Explorer
Yeah I forgot about the shield bonus with two-weapon defense. Now that I actually look at the item description I think the thread you pointed out is right as well as your interpretation. :)

Edit: Did you get the items recently Metavoid or were they on your characters when they had past approvals?
I had first one on my shaman as wish list item at around third level or so...she's now 9th.

Others are newer additions.

Also, they work in the old CB without shield bonus. I don't have new online access so cannot say anything about that. Also, they are part of the set and there are some sets that have powerful enchantments, but are rare now.
 
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stonegod

Spawn of Khyber/LEB Judge
As a reminder, I'm not judge over here, just in LEB (you should run a game over there, really ;))

The CB is not a rule-adjudicator; its buggy. Sometimes the bugs are in our favor. ;)

The crux is whether "increase" applies to a bonus value of zero (which is what you have when you have no bonus). From a purely math perspective, I'm fine w/ that. From a balance one, I'm fine w/ that. Where is the "consensus" that is doesn't work come from?
 

WEContact

Visitor
The argument that was made and was eventually accepted as valid was that PCs do not natively have a shield bonus of 0, because no rule anywhere indicates that they do. I'm looking through archives right now to see if I can find a thread where this happened.

If we want to houserule it here, that's totally fine with me. It wouldn't unbalance anything and it would preempt up future confusion on the matter.
 
Yep, it's pretty much a nit-picky type of rules lawyer argument that I think made it's presence known on the CharOp forum.

I too would be fine having it work, I just wanted to bring up the alternate interpretation.
 

MetaVoid

Explorer
I'm not a reviewer for L4W, but a shield bonus of 0 doesn't exist. So, if a PC has a shield bonus, it will add to it. If not, it doesn't.

As rules support for this interpretation:



No shield, no shield bonus. No power, feat, or magic item, no shield bonus.

Note: one exception to this. If a PC had a shield bonus of +1 and a shield penalty of -1 to AC and/or Reflex, then yes, the item would work. Not sure if this is possible in the game system.

KarinsDad opinion...
 

KarinsDad

Visitor
KarinsDad opinion...
It might help if you also quoted the relative text:

A shield bonus is granted by your shield. Shield bonuses apply to AC and Reflex defense. Powers, feats, or magic items might provide a shield bonus; these typically help only characters who aren’t using shields.
It might be rules lawyer-y, but I point out the words "granted" and "provide". Until it is granted or provided, the PC doesn't have it. This is unlike an armor bonus where the PC is granted one automatically.
 
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