Shields and Tactics

Shields and Tactics Title.jpg

What’s the deal with shields for melee classes and casters with the Shield cantrip in Arcane, Divine, Occult, but not Primal? Like the Warpriest doctrine? Maybe you’re a Rogue keen on picking up Minor Magic Feat 2? Loving the Sorcerer Bloodlines? Elemental and Fey won’t get the Shield cantrip in Primal. Do you need it? Join me as I share what I’ve learned which may prompt you think tactically about shields in your game as a player or Game Master. I include advice from other players and examples.


In this video I confused the (Raise Shield) ACTION with the (Shield Block Feat), which is a REACTION. Thanks to Cuba Gator and Talutha for clarifying this and correcting my mistake! +250 DKP.

(Raise Shield) ACTION – Bonus to AC until your next turn only. Shield does not take damage if you get hit.

(Shield Block Feat) REACTION – Physically block an incoming attack and that is where the damage reduction events occur based on shield’s Hardness. That can only occur if you are using the (Raise Shield) ACTION.

This crystallized for me after making the shield video and getting some great help from other players and comments.

Actions with Triggers

"...When its trigger is satisfied—and only when it is satisfied—you can use the reaction or free action, though you don’t have to use the action if you don’t want to" (462).

Man. That is mega buried. The option to ***not use a reaction*** is so completely different than I was first interpreting Shield Block. One always imagines, Attack of Opportunity! WEEEE BAM. Free hit yea!! No one says, "Naw, I won't use it a free hit."

But, selectively using the shield to absorb damage seemed weird to me. I Raise my Shield, but not really? So why an AC bonus with and option to deflect/block? Do you folks think that "Raise a Shield" is an unskilled melee combatant being slightly harder to hit?


And if you swing and hit, then you don't actually hit the shield, because the user does not have the skill at blocking anyway. Here is where it gets weird. A skillful fighter says Raise a Shield, Enemy attacks, but you don't actually block to save the shield from damage with Shield Block?

Selectively using Reactions? With that in mind, no wonder the shield HP/BT Hardness values are relatively low.

Thanks to Nathan Fish in the Pathfinder 2E Fan-Group, who really helped clarify this!

Both Videos Below.