D&D 5E the shield warrior - better than some think?

Oofta

Legend
Going back to the OP, I think people overestimate DPR and undervalue things like additional AC and the protection style. Doing damage is not the only thing that matters and on average GWM is not enough better that it makes a significant difference.
 

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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
The problem I have with polearm master is not that you can attack with the butt end of your weapon, it's that it's limited to specific weapons if those weapons are used one handed. I think any melee weapon that isn't light should qualify, particularly if it's versatile.

The alternative is that you can only use the bonus attack if wielding the weapon 2-handed. Why can't I swing my longsword and then bash then with the pommel? Used one handed, a spear (for melee purposes) isn't that much different.
It is a failure of RPGs when you don't want too much simulation. Historically, yes attack with the pommel and hand-and-a-halfing your sword by holding the blade in one hand was also used. In such a case you are using the longsword two-handed, but not both on the hilt.

The illustration below shows to knights. The one on the left is hand-and-a-halfing his sword, one hand on the hilt the other on the blade. The one on the right is gripping the blade with both ends and using the hilt/pommel for bludgeoning. Such grips also allowed the attacker to use the guard to "grapple" and pull the opponent off-balance or even trip them.

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The game simply lacks this level of versatility and the rules to make such maneuvers more or equally beneficial to simply attacking with the blade.
 

ECMO3

Hero
People use the bonus attack from PAM while using a shield in the other hand...? Man that is some dodgy cheese right there.
Well one of the two weapons you can do this with is a quaterstaff ..... which has two butt ends.

The other is a spear and I don't see either of these as cheesy. Frankly I think using a Halberd like that is much cheesier.
 

jgsugden

Legend
The relative strengths and weaknesses of each style are going to differ - greatly - between campaigns. If, for example, the DM throws a Belt of Storm Giant Strength into the campaign, the Great Weapon master will reap huge benefits from it to offset that -5 to hit. On the other hand, if there is an awesome magic shield, or a great one handed weapon, the Sword and Board PC is going to benefit there. If the DM throws more high HP monsters, the sword and board PC will be better positioned relative to the GWM PC.

In the end - the question is are both viable and are either broken. I have yet to encounter a 5E build that can't be viable, and I have yet to encounter a 5E build that is truly broken (outside whiteroom situational setups).
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The BM fighter in my group is sword and board with protection style. LOTS of people says that's suboptimal but boy did he make it work over the life of the campaign.
I used the psi's warrior damage reduction capacity a lot. Then my PC died, was reborn as a rune knight (he was a scholar and we were playing SKT so it was fitting), which made him an even better tank and defender. So yeah...
 

I used the psi's warrior damage reduction capacity a lot. Then my PC died, was reborn as a rune knight (he was a scholar and we were playing SKT so it was fitting), which made him an even better tank and defender. So yeah...
Yea slight mismatch of flavor and mechanics with those 2 lol.
 

GreyLord

Legend
It kind of puzzles me when people say they love GWM.

Maybe I just toss creatures with AC's that are too high, and I am a BIG stickler about when they do or do not get Advantage.

GWM actually seemed to be a BIG hinder to those who have chosen it when I allow feats. They just....miss...constantly. I see praise for it all the time online, but my experience is that it isn't as cracked up as the forums seem to claim.

Sure, they get big hits with it sometimes, but in most fights it's been useless. It's why I think Fighters should get expertise to hit or something similar, because at times, they don't seem all that impressive in doing their thing.
 

I played a full campaign where I had a dex-build psi warrior with a duelist (sword and shield) style. I was a bit concerned that my damage output would simply pale vs the paladin (great weapon master and great sword) or ranger (sharpshooter and gunner).
I don't even see where there's a real risk here as long as you took duelist style. 6.5 weapon damage is slightly behind 8.3 - or 9.5 vs 11.3 if we include STR 16, but your extra 2 AC is significant. Also GWM has a cost - the gap is covered if you had an extra ASI for +1 to hit and +1 damage.

And the ranger's missing out on two potential ASIs and doesn't have the actual cheese there of Sharpshooter + Crossbow Expert for the third attack.
It kind of puzzles me when people say they love GWM.

Maybe I just toss creatures with AC's that are too high, and I am a BIG stickler about when they do or do not get Advantage.

GWM actually seemed to be a BIG hinder to those who have chosen it when I allow feats. They just....miss...constantly. I see praise for it all the time online, but my experience is that it isn't as cracked up as the forums seem to claim.
Great Weapon Master only really gets good when you get accuracy buffs such as reckless barbarians. If the barbarian is not going reckless then against low AC foes it normally does little more than break even - but a reckless attack or other easy means of advantage and it's great and can really scythe through low level foes. (It also does pretty well by a battlemaster with their extra d8 to hit). Without teamwork or to hit bonuses it's medioce.

For paladins who want to spend a feat my recommendation is spear + sheield+ PAM every time especially at level 11+ when you get an extra d8 damage per hit. The whole system matters.
 

It kind of puzzles me when people say they love GWM.

Maybe I just toss creatures with AC's that are too high, and I am a BIG stickler about when they do or do not get Advantage.

GWM actually seemed to be a BIG hinder to those who have chosen it when I allow feats. They just....miss...constantly. I see praise for it all the time online, but my experience is that it isn't as cracked up as the forums seem to claim.

Sure, they get big hits with it sometimes, but in most fights it's been useless. It's why I think Fighters should get expertise to hit or something similar, because at times, they don't seem all that impressive in doing their thing.
It can be great but it takes a set of circumstances that usually cost more than it's worth. You need 3+ attacks, over 60% hit (with the penalty), advantage, and the mobility/positioning to make it shine.
 


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