Shield Master (3.5e Prestige Class)

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The Shield Master

The shield master is exactly that; a martial warrior who has learned to use his shield to its fullest effect. He is a defender, a protector, and a guardian who is constantly putting his life on the line to save his friends and allies. Crusaders are the classes most attracted to the shield master way of life, but many a shield master has come from the ranks of swordsages and warblades as well.

Hit Dice: d6. You rely more on your ability to deflect or shrug off damage than actually soak it, so you are not nearly as tough as other warriors.


Skills: Profession (Soldier) 5 ranks.

Feats: Combat Reflexes and Improved Shield Bash.

Special: You must be proficient with heavy shields. You must also be able to initiate at least three martial maneuvers or stances from the Devoted Spirit or White Raven disciplines.


The Shield Master
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Class Features Martial Training
1st +0 +2 +2 +2 Defensive Warrior, Shield Fighting, Stand Firm +1 level of existing class
2nd +1 +3 +3 +3 Extension of the Arm +1 level of existing class
3rd +2 +3 +3 +3 Bonus Feat, Shielded Evasion +1 level of existing class
4th +3 +4 +4 +4 Shield Mastery +1 level of existing class
5th +3 +4 +4 +4 -- +1 level of existing class
6th +4 +5 +5 +5 Bonus Feat, Stalwart Defense +1 level of existing class
7th +5 +5 +5 +5 -- +1 level of existing class
8th +6 +6 +6 +6 Mettle +1 level of existing class
9th +6 +6 +6 +6 Bonus Feat +1 level of existing class
10th +7 +7 +7 +7 Unstoppable Bash +1 level of existing class

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level): Autohypnosis, Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Escape Artist, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (dungeoneering, engineering, history, nobility and royalty, or religion), Listen, Martial Lore, Perform, Profession, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival, Swim, and Tumble.


Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: You are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armors, and all types of shields (including exotic varieties).

Martial Training: At the indicated levels, you gain new stances and maneuvers just as if you had also gained a level in a previous class that granted these abilities. Your effective initiator level improves the same way. You do not, however, gain any other benefit of that class such as class features or skill points. If you had more than one class that would benefit from this ability, you must choose which class it applies to each time.

Defensive Warrior (Ex): The armor check penalty from using a shield or armor is lowered by one point for every four class levels.

Shield Fighting (Ex): When wielding a shield, any weapon you wield in your main hand is treated as a two-handed weapon whenever doing so would be beneficial to you, such as when determining your bonus for special attacks such as disarming, or when using feats such as Power Attack.

Stand Firm (Ex): You gain a bonus equal to your class level when defending against bull rush, disarm, overrun, or trip attacks while wielding a shield. If stationary, you are also treated as if you possessed four legs if doing so would be beneficial to you.

Extension of the Arm (Ex): At 6th level, you gain the benefits of the Two-Weapon Fighting feat while wielding a shield in your off-hand. You are also treated as possessing the Two-Weapon Fighting feat for the purposes of meeting other prerequisites, but any abilities dependent upon that feat also require you to be wielding a shield as your off-hand weapon.

Bonus Feat: You gain a bonus feat at 3rd level and every three levels thereafter. You must select your bonus feat from the following list: Active Shield Defense, Agile Shield Fighter, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Deflective Armor, Dodge, Exotic Armor Proficiency, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (any one-handed weapon), Focused Shield, Great Fortitude, Greater Heavy Armor Optimization, Heavy Armor Optimization, Improved Critical, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Improved Shield Bash, Improved Trip, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Run, Shielded Manifestation, Shield Sling, Shield Ward, Toughness, Weapon Focus (any shield), and Weapon Specialization (any shield).

Shielded Evasion (Ex): While wielding a shield, you gain the ability to use your shield to defend against potentially dangerous attacks, even magical spells. If you make a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, you instead take no damage. This improves at 6th level, allowing you to take only half damage even on a failed save. You do not gain the benefits of this class feature if you are helpless or do not have your shield readied.

Shield Mastery (Ex): While you have a shield readied, you can retain your Dexterity bonus to AC even if you are caught flat-footed or are struck by an invisible attacker. You cannot be flanked and you deny other characters any attacks that rely on being flanked from using those abilities unless they are four levels higher than you. At 8th level, you also retain your shield and armor bonus to AC against touch attacks or while flat-footed.

Stalwart Defense (Ex): You have learned to shrug off the effects of magic and the many other dangers you constantly throw yourself in front of. You gain your Constitution modifier as an inherent bonus to your saving throws. You're just that tough!

Mettle (Ex): You can resist magical attacks with greater effectiveness than other warriors. If you succeed on a Fortitude or Will save against an attack that would normally produce a lesser effect on a successful save, you instead negate the effect.

Unstoppable Bash (Ex): You can take a standard action to make one shield bash attack as a touch attack that ignores damage reduction or hardness.

Epic Level Progression[edit]

The Epic Shield Master
Level Class Features
11th Bonus Feat
12th --
13th Bonus Feat
14th --
15th Bonus Feat
16th --
17th Bonus Feat
18th --
19th Bonus Feat
20th --

HD: d6.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.


Maneuvers: You continue to advance in a previous initiator class into the epic levels. All of the standard rules and limitations apply.

Bonus Feat: You continue to learn bonus feats but at a more rapid progression, and you may choose them from the previous list as well as any epic feats that deal with the use of a shield, armor, or is of a defensive or tactical nature. These feats include, but are not limited to: Armor Skin, Bulwark of Defense, Damage Reduction, Energy Resistance, Epic Dodge, Epic Endurance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Weapon Specialization, Epic Will, Exceptional Deflection, Fast Healing, Great Constitution, Great Dexterity, Great Smiting, Great Strength, Holy Strike, Improved Aura of Courage, Improved Combat Reflexes, Infinite Deflection, Mobile Defense, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Reflect Arrows, Superior Initiative, and Widen Aura of Courage.

Defensive Warrior and Stand Firm: Your bonuses when using these two class features continue to advance at the same level progression mentioned in their individual descriptions.

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