TSS Bug: Tower Shield Training / Tower Shield Defense

Game Version 2.0.1e

The interaction between Armour Training and Tower Shield Training, as well as Tower Shield Defense, appears to be bugged for Tower Shield Specialist, which would render the class obsolete. Depending on your interpretation of Tower Shield Training, the dexterity bonus for a level 11 TSS (pictured) with 30 dex wearing banded mail and wielding a tower shield should be:

banded mail: +1
armour training: +3
tower shield training: +6 or +8

= +10 / +12

As you will see, however, the dexterity bonus remains at +4 (banded mail + armour training). In an odd twist, removing one’s armour whilst retaining the tower shield actually effects the latter’s +2 dexterity bonus, but not the incremental bonuses purported to be added by the Tower Shield Training feat. Lastly, the Tower Shield Defense feat appears to do absolutely nothing whatsoever, although the aforementioned dexterity bonus from the tower shield is added to touch ac if the armour is removed.

I have read numerous posts on similar issues with armour training, but in fact armour training appears to be working as intended. It is Tower Shield Training and Tower Shield Defense that are not. It may have something to do with the update in 2.0.0z (pictured)?

Note: this is a brand new character with no strength or fatigue issues and no history of such issues. It has been reloaded into the game multiple times and zoned in and out of various areas. I am noting this because it was a fix for others with an issue with armour training. This is not the same issue.

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Have tested in game version 2.0.4j now. Same result. Still bugged.

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Tower Shield has a max Dex Bonus of:
Default: +2
TSS - L3: +4
TSS - L7: +5
TSS - L11: +6
TSS - L15: +7
TSS - L19: +8

Banded Mail has a max Dex Bonus of:
Default: +1
TSS - L3: +2
TSS - L7: +3
TSS - L11: +4
TSS - L15: +5
TSS - L19: +6

Therefore, while deploying a Tower Shield it is of utmost importance to use a Armor that follows alongside the Tower Shields max Dex Bonus.

This includes:

  • Breastplate (+3, Medium)

  • Scale Mail (+3, Medium)

And Mithral versions of:

  • Mithral Banded Mail (+3, Heavy)

  • Mithral Full Plate (+3, Heavy)

Armor within a ±1 window:

  • Hide (+4, Medium)

  • Chain Mail (+2, Medium)

  • Mithral Chain Mail (+4, Medium)

  • Mithral Half-Plate (+2, Heavy)

This isnt a bug, it works as intended. The game uses the lower max Dex Bonus, which in your case is the one of Banded Mail (+1, Heavy). TSS is a Medium Armor wearer. The Tower Shield makes up for the loss in Armor AC.

Wear anything heavier and you loose AC from Heavy Armor, wear anything lighter and you loose AC from your Tower Shield. Its quite difficult to grasp this, but the TSS is locked to a specific Armor type, Medium, because of how its Class Features work in tandem.

You can still wear Full Plate, because the extra +3 AC makes up for the loss from max Dex Bonus from your Armor. But Banded Mail, Half-Plate and Splint Mail are all really bad choices. Going the tank route, getting Medium Armor Focus is the way to go for a TSS.

These values are not added together. The lower max Dex Bonus is used. Wear a Tower Shield naked and your Tower Shield max Dex Bonus is the cap, remove it and wear Half-Plate and your Heavy Armor max Dex Bonus is the cap instead.

In mind with some Armors being Mithral you could also look for a route through the game using Mithral Armor when possible, though you need to heavily consult the wiki.

But if you wear a Tower Shield that is also Mithral, again Mithral Heavy Armor would cut off chunks of your max Dex Bonus. You would need to wear Mithral Medium Armor for the full gain so its best to focus on Medium Armor for your TSS at all times.

Edit: The game only has a single Mithral Tower Shield, according to the wiki …
( source: Warden of Darkness | Pathfinder Wrath of the Righteous Wiki )

It can only be worn by Evil characters too, so its best to forget about using Heavy Armor as a TSS entirely. One is locked to the non-Mithral Tower Shields max Dex Bonus progression.

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Thank you for taking the time to elaborate this wonderfully comprehensive explanation of something I clearly did not understand. The wording led me to believe that the bonuses to dexterity were additive. At first glance, TSS being locked into medium armour also seems counterintuitive, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. I suppose it is realistic.

Since you seem to be well versed on tanky subjects, do you have any suggestions for ramping AC outside of TSS? I’m trying to avoid pyjama tanks for hard+ difficulty and if the dexterity bonus is locked to the lowest max dex bonus between the two in the case of TSS then it doesn’t seem viable.

Furthermore, if fighters can take the Tower Shield Specialist feat at base attack bonus 11 / level 8, what exactly is the point of TSS?

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Medium / Heavy Armor users, and to some extent also Light Armor users, are generally inferior to stacking AC from taking 1 Level dip into Monk or similar to get WIS>AC or CHA>AC, then stacking attribute bonuses into DEX / WIS while not wearing any Armor for uncapped AC from 2 sources.

The Pathfinder system simply suc#s when considering Armor. Lets agree that we cant change this for the topic at hand.

My advice is, that if you like the TSS to not play on the hardest difficulties and not care that there are broken builds out there that play 100x easier. These broken builds kill some of your fun while playing the game.

TSS are Medium Armor wearers because Medium Armor follows alongside your Tower Shield progression the most.

The point in playing it is that you have fun doing so. All Classes I played in WotR were not of the most broken sort. I ignore the fact that far better builds are available, if a Class has features that I like but is bad on the numbers side, Its a good Class for me.

I played as a Wizard, Shaman, Kineticist, Alchemist, Paladin and Arcanist and I had fun playing them because I liked the Class Features, not the numbers that made them superior. I always play as a Trickster, again also because I like that Paths Features.

There are players out there that gamed the system and easily made through the game at Unfair difficulty. What did they achieve ? They countered numbers with more numbers and followed alongside a fixed path for their MC and every Companion instead of following their own idea of playing the game. Doesnt sound like too much fun to me, really.

If you like Tower Shields and the TSSs Class Features, just play and have fun. It possible to make it through the game as a TSS on average difficulties and it can be fun. You have your own unique experience.

Youre also better off now that you know how Armor follows alongside your Tower Shield. Dont stack too much DEX with it, instead go for STR to up your Attack Bonus and CON for HP. Both of these are highlighted with a Thumbs Up.

I hope you find a good Class to play through the game and have loads of fun.


Edit: There are some OP builds out there, available under …

Many of those take 1 Level dips in whatever gives them the best numbers. The people that made these builds know how to game the system the best, vastly more so than I ever could. Its sad that taking dips is considerably stronger than following 1 Class or 1 Prestige Class to the end.

Sylvan Sorcerer 15 / Loremaster 5 / Lich 10 was the only one that stood somewhat out, probably due to the fact that Sorcerer Lich is OP to begin with and doesnt need these dips.