Two Weapon Fighter Build (Shield and Armored Spikes)

Updated: 8/11/2013 to include 1st level of Cleric.  The update gives this build increased mobility by adding a way to get around difficult terrain and by increasing the builds speed.  It also opens up casting cleric spells via wands.  Finally, one cleric level boost the Will Save.  All sure up melee character weaknesses.

Nerf Alert: Also, since this build was first introduced, Paizo has ruled to disallow a person from wielding his shield two-handed while two-weapon fighting.  I am excited.  It is this site’s first nerf.  I am sure there will be more to come.  Our builds are too good sometimes.  Even with the nerf, this build still rocks.

Introducing Optimized Pathfinder Melee Fighter Build named Gorum’s Porcupine.  He is a two weapon fighter, but not the typical two sword variety.  Instead, he uses a spiked heavy shield to bash and armored spikes to follow-up with.  He dishes out lots of damage and lots of accuracy. Now it’s time for a song from Bobby Pickett.

Gorum did the bash. He did the monster bash.
The monster bash.
It was an armor and shield smash.
He did the bash.
Creatures were dead in a flash.
He did the bash.
He did the monster bash.

Summary: Cleric1 (Separatist) / Fighter12 (Brawler). Gorum two-weapon fights with a shield (main hand) and with his armor spikes (off hand) from 1st to 10th level.  He switches to fighting with two shields (heavy and light shield) at 11th level.  At 13th level his damage output is as follows:

  • He gets 3 heavy shield attacks and 3 light weapon shield attacks that take no penalties for two-weapon fighting and with power attack do 30 average (heavy shield) and 27 (light shield) per strike.  If he hits enemy with light and heavy shield in same round, add 1d10 + 1.5*(STR Mod) rend damage (18 average) once per round.
  • If he hits with his last shield bash he attempts a bull rush, which if successful grants him an armored spike attack (27 damage average with power attack) and knocks his victim back towards his allies who each will get attacks of opportunity as the enemy flies backwards.

His bashing can also be very handy in other ways, but I will let you figure out how.  He is a BEAST.

The role of Gorum’s Porcupine is Brawler, battlefield controller and shield.

Starting Stats (25 points): Str (19), Dex (16), Con (14), Int (7), Wis (14), Chr (7)
Starting Stats (20 points): Str (18), Dex (16), Con (14), Int (7), Wis (13), Chr (7)
Starting Stats (15 points): Str (17), Dex (16), Con (12), Int (7), Wis (13), Chr (7)

Raising Stats – For all builds increase Dex, Str, Str, Str and then Str.

Campaign Traits / Feat Progression: Traits) Heirloom Weapon (+2 Bull Rush), Indomitable Faith (+1 Will Saves); C1) Travel Domain (Agile Feet, +10 speed), Destruction Domain (Torture Subdomain) (Painful Strike), Improved Shield Bash, Two-Weapon Fighting; F2) Power Attack; F3) Close Control (+4 bull rush, drag, reposition), Combat Reflexes, Improved Bull Rush (+2 bull rush); F4) Close Combatant (+4 attack / +6 damage with close weapons); F5) Iron Will, Spiked Destroyer (swift attack w/ armor spikes after bull rush);  F6) Nothing; F7) Shield Slam (free bull rush with bash attack and knock prone against walls), Improved Two Weapon Fighting, F8) Menacing Stance (adjacent enemies take -2 attack / -5 concentration); F9)  Greater Bull Rush (those bull rushed provoke attacks of opportunity), Step Up; F10) No Escape; F11)  Double Slice, Greater Two Weapon Fighting; F13) Two Weapon Rend, Shield Mastery (No attack penalties to shield when 2-weapon fighting with a shield)

Blue = Leveling Feats; Red = Fighter Feats; Green = Human Feats; Purple = Cleric  Domain Abilities; Black = Brawler Abilities

Note: You will have to depend on magical dexterity enhancements to use greater two weapon fighting.  Alternatively, take Deadly Aim in the place of GTWF to make yourself somewhat deadly with a bow.

Skills Ranks at 13th (26 points): Acrobatics (7rank); Perception (10rank); Stealth (6rank); Ride (1rank); Swim (1rank); Climb (1rank)

Cleric Spells (Commonly Prepared): 0) Detect Magic, Light, Spark; 1) Domain Spell: Longstrider, Protection v. Evil, Obscuring Mist 

Items (140K): +4 Belt of (Dex/Str) (40K); +2 (weapon/shield) Spiked Heavy Shield of Bashing (22K); +2 (weapon/shield) Spiked Heavy Shield of Bashing (22K);+2 Mithral Fullplate w/ +2 Spikes (12K); +1 Ring of Protection (2K); +1 Amulet of Natural Armor (2K); +3 Vest of Resistance (9K); +2 Longbow Comp (+8) (8K); Wing Boots (12K); Quick Runner’s Shirt (1K); 10K left to spend (wands)

48 Responses to Two Weapon Fighter Build (Shield and Armored Spikes)

  1. Palthinon says:

    OK so 1 question, running through the feat/class abilities and how do you get 2d6 damage with the shields? I’m seeing 1d8 at best with the choices listed above.

    • admin says:

      First, let me say that this build is still being developed and the final version will be posted this week. Actually, the final version will have one level of cleric at the beginning. This one cleric level will add a lot to the build.

      With that said, heavy shield does 1d4, spiked heavy shield 1d6, the bashing quality moves the damage up by two levels (so past 1d8 to 2d6).

      The final version will have him wield a bashing shield.

  2. Alex says:

    First off, you can’t two hand a shield as it must be used as an offhand weapon to bash with. Secondly, you can’t attack with armor spikes after using an offhand weapon or vice versa. The entire combat build doesn’t work.

    • admin says:

      The writers of Pathfinder have cleared up this issue. Any weapon can be you main hand weapon and any weapon can be your off hand weapon. This is true for home games and for Pathfinder Society Play.

      If I have time I will provide the link. That said the build is completely legal.

    • admin says:

      Here is the question that was answered by Sean Reynolds (Pathfinder Head Honcho)

      Shield Bash: If I make a shield bash, does it always have to be an off-hand attack?

      The text for a shield bash assumes you’re making a bash as an off-hand attack, but you don’t have to. You can, for example, just make a shield bash attack (at your normal, main-hand attack bonus) or shield bash with your main hand and attack with a sword in your off-hand.

      Update: Page 152—In the Shield Bash Attacks section, in the first sentence, delete “using it as an off-hand weapon.”

      —Sean K Reynolds, 08/31/11

  3. Trenton says:

    Bash applies to the shield, not the shield spikes. It is a shield enhancement, not a weapon enhancement, so it doesn’t stack with the added size category granted by adding the spikes. So the spikes are kind of redundant on a shield with the bashing property, am I correct?

    • robert eubansk says:

      No, you are wrong, they do stack. Further, the weapon on a spiked shield is the shield. If you just had a shield without any spikes it would still be a weapon if you where going to shield bash with it. The spikes increase the damage of the shield. The shield bash enhancement increases the damage yet again.

  4. Trenton says:

    Heirloom Weapon states that it can’t be masterwork, so therefore it can’t be magical, right? Also, the close control bonus doesn’t apply on your free bull rush from shield slam because close control grants you a bonus to your CM, and Shield slam is resolved using your attack roll. Again, I may be wrong but that’s how I read it.

    • Robert Eubanks says:

      The flavor text mentions that you carry a non masterwork weapon. Most traits are obtain at first level when you cannot afford a masterwork weapon with the money you have. Nothing about the trait says that you cannot later add magical enhancements to the weapon.

      If for some reason your GM is bucking you on this, no big deal get another trait, it is not build breaking at all and there are so many great traits to chose from. It is mainly added to this build because it fits the theme of the build. That said, flavor text is normally not considered to be rule just flavor.

      Finally, all combat maneuvers are made with an attack roll. Many people get confused by this thinking that CMB checks are not attack rolls. They are. They are just attack rolls that use you CMB. Accordingly, say that you are flanking a person and attempt a bull rush – you get a +2 to your bull rush. You also add the enhancement bonuses of the weapon. You also suffer the penalties of iterative attacks.

      I hope this has been helpful.

  5. Erick says:

    Just a quick clarification, how can you get Painful Strike as a level 1 cleric, given that it is a 2nd Level spell?

  6. Jon says:

    How can you worship Gorum (required for the Spiked Destroyer feat) and get the travel domain? http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Gorum. I really like the build but I want to make sure its legitimate.

  7. JW says:

    Curious as to the source on your nerf update: I can’t find a ruling that says you can’t combine TWF with two-handing a shield. Did Paizo rule out all THF/TWF combinations, or was it shield-specific?

  8. Brian says:

    With Shield Mastery – Do you still need to keep your second shield light? Doesn’t the RAW say no penalties for using a shield as a weapon (including a heavy shield in your offhand)?
    Also – Have you considered a 6k investment in Strongarm Bracers to move up another weapon size category?

    • admin says:

      You are correct concerning the shield mastery. I shall update when I get a chance to.

      As for the Strongarm bracers, these builds are from Paizo material and I believe Strongarm bracers are from 3.5. If I am wrong on this, please link me to the Strongarm Bracer text on pathfinder srd.

  9. Danny says:

    hey just quick question as i’m loving this character! with this part:

    “He gets 3 heavy shield attacks and 3 light weapon shield attacks that take no penalties for two-weapon fighting”

    how do you get it to be now penalties as I am getting it at -10 for 3rd attack (or is it ment to be like that either way?

    cheers :)

    • admin says:

      While it says no penalties, I believe the intent is for there to be no two-weapon fighting penalties. The build is still subject to iterative attack penalties. While a literal reading would suggest that all penalties are removed, trust me when I say that the literal reading, in this scenario, is incorrect. Even an optimizer like myself can not with a straight face okay the concept that this build can perform attacks with no iterative attack penalties.

      But hey, if your GM allows it, more power to you and have fun.

    • Steve Mag says:

      Shield Master feat at 11th level removes all attack penalties with a shield.

  10. Tom says:

    When using the shield slam feat it says to substitute your attack roll for the CMB check. I have a sneaking suspicion that that means the final bull rush value is flat out identical to your melee attack results (including negatives for power attack, not adding improved bullrush, not adding heirloom, etc).

    It seems like the term “check” is the result after adding in the feat and heirloom bonuses. I would love to be able to get in some extra points, as CMDs tend to be higher than ACs.

    Is that correct in your opinion i.e do you have any information to convince me that I am incorrect?. I’ll probably end up adding in the extra three and try to avoid having anyone call me on it, but it would be nice if I had more justification.

    • admin says:

      Typically, a bull rush is not performed with a weapon. It is typically performed with your body. However, with shield slam, the bull rush is performed with your shield.

      Therefore, you add you shield enhancement bonus, feat bonuses associated with you shield, feat negatives associated with you shield (power attack), and add any feats associated with bull rushing in general.

      You should not be challenged by anyone because these are the incontrovertible rules.

      • Tom says:

        That’s good news then. So bottom line is you add the heirloom and bull rush feats to the attack value you used to determine whether you melee hit them (that value already factors in the close combatant, power attack, etc). That sound right?

  11. Steve Mag says:

    Can’t you only shield bash with a heavy shield? Wouldn’t your off-hand attack with the light shield just be a regular attack then?

  12. Aaron Marquez says:

    Could you give a rundown of all the numbers that add up for this guy to be doing 30 on a hit with his heavy shield? I see that his shield is doing 2d6, and he is getting at most a +15 or so (by my calculations). Relying on him to roll max damage to the fall short of 30 is a bit disingenuous, so I believe I am missing something.

    • admin says:

      Its all in the text above. Power attack alone gives you +8. Close Combatant gives you +6. Strength gives you +8 factoring in the strength belt and raising strength stats at level 8 and 12. Your weapon enhancement gives you +2. That is a static +24 and I may be leaving something out becuase this is just a quick glance at what I have stated in the build. Add in the average weapon damage of 2d6 (7damage average) and you are at 31 points on average per attack.

  13. Andrew Freeman says:

    For PFS play (where the destruction domain might be dicey given alignment restrictions), Plant (subdomain Growth) might be of use. Enlarge person at will plus enlarge person as a level one spell – could help the damage output, as well as serve as an ace in the hole for when you want to bull rush a barn…

    • Andrew Freeman says:

      Tactics domain is a solid pick here as well! Nothing wrong with free init rerolls!

      • Andrew Freeman says:

        After further consideration, for PFS play it might be better to open with a level of fighter. You get TWF, Imp shield bash, and power attack front loaded, and wind up with more hp in the end.

  14. Andrew says:

    Replace Cleric with Warpriest. You up the dice on your shield, taking it to 3d6 with Bashing enhancement. You get free weapon focus on your shield, and blessings.

  15. Justin says:

    What would be the best race for this build? I don’t see any talk about optimization for that.

  16. Tinman says:

    If you are hitting him 6 times with a shield and using shield slam … where does the movement to keep up with him come from? You get what, one 5 foot move in there? Then what?

    • admin says:

      What’s up Tinman,

      You don’t have to bash with every attack. Wait until your final attack (or final attack that is likely to hit) to use shield slam. That said, the preferred option is to back your opponent against a wall.

      • Tinman says:

        That’s what I was afraid of. Build is still awesome but would be fantastic if there could be found a way to overcome the movement limitations. Thus far I’ve come up short on it though.

  17. Rob says:

    Am looking to use this build cuz it rocks. However, I don’t think you have to be a worshiper of Gorum. From the Inner Sea Gods book I am looking at it says Spiked Destroyer prereqs are only to be proficient with armor spikes, listed as a martial light weapon which the fighter gets. At the top of the feats section it says “The following feats are available to all characters and creatures that qualify for them.” Several do have deity prereqs, but not this one.
    Based on that, I suggest picking a more useful domain than the one you have and switching gods. Perhaps liberation domain for freedom of movement or even going with Warpriest and travel. What do you think?

    • admin says:

      What’s up Rob?

      Personally, I like the build just the way it is. Destruction (Torture) does a few things. First it lets you perform an intimidation check as a free action. Second, it lets you do nonlethal damage. Third it increases your damage. This means that you are more deadly, your enemies are less deadly and you don’t always have to kill someone to get your point across.

      Honestly, I think Paizo changed the language for Spike Destroyer so that it no longer requires you to worship Gorum. So if you want to pick another God that is okay with me. Just don’t discount Destruction (Torture) when you are comparing the other domain you pick up from another God.

      Finally, Warpriest as the first level class over cleric may be as optimal or maybe slightly more optimal. I have not compare the two yet. Look at what Andrew said above a few comments. If you like his suggestion go with it.

      With that said, the build as it is rocks and you will feel second fiddle to no fighter. If the builds on the site lead you to making some minor adjustments to suit you taste, then so be it.

      Have fun.

  18. Steve says:

    Why do you fight with Shield and Armor Spikes up to level 10? Couldn’t you use a Shield in your off-hand with the same penalty?

    Oh and a trait that might come in handy:

    http://www.archivesofnethys.com/TraitDisplay.aspx?ItemName=Shield-Trained

    Heavy shields are considered light weapons with this trait from Inner Sea Gods and of course it’s a Gorum trait.

Comments and Questions are Appreciated