Ability Tuesday-Body Shield

Body Shield is an ability for the tanky character in the party who really wants to be a meat shield for other party members. As a defensive action, a character with Body Shield can leap between an ally and an attack, whether melee, thrown, projectile, or spell. For a character with high constitution, it is certainly worth taking a heavy hit to keep the mage or the healer in the fight. The question for a player building that character, is whether it is worth getting the minor ability to be prepared for that scenario.

Levels in Body Shield increase the range to which the character can leap to get in front of attacks and defend an ally. Early levels give a 5 foot range per level, but by level 6 the increase in range per level is 1 foot. This means that later on, new levels do little to increase the chances that Body Shield change the course of a battle, but one more level can mean that party members stand one foot further from the body shielder, meaning less AoE threat while still protected by the meat shield.

Body Shield is a symbolic ability as well as a useful one, it can be a useful for making meat shields effective, or as a means to move a character on a defensive turn.

  • Enrick Loghsmyth is a doughty brawler with enough Body Shield to get to allies at a significant range. He doesn’t have a ton of health for his level, but it is a way to get his high damage output to key places in the battle.
  • With only a level each of Body Shield, Harding Prostus and Thisse Kaldriss can only get far enough to defend other front line fighters most of the time. It is more of a symbolic ability for them.
  • Dimon Malig gets Body Shield from his backstory. Whether it becomes a major part of his character depends on if his player builds constitution and if his character development involves proving himself to the part in that way.

Body Shield is a minor ability available to Brawlers, Fighters, Berserkers, Paladins, and Intrepids.  Other classes can get it cross class if they demonstrate that defending allies is important to them.

Game Design Note: I think this is my favorite ability as far as dynamics go. It changes the party formation in battles, pulling the party into a tighter, fire ballable group. If a fire ball were incoming, would the shielder leave the whole party hitting the fire ball earlier, exposing both he and the party to further attack? Or let the party try to dodge the fireball damage themselves?

It can be used to tank or to transfer the damage dealer to threat areas and atrite the enemy.

It allows for counter play as the opposing force can bluff the body shielder to one flank and hit the other. I just really like its implications for play and I think I’ll put it on an NPC enemy in one of our test campaigns coming up.

Would you get Body Shield for a character? What avenues would you expect it to open? Can you make it more interesting than I already think it is? Comment below to let us know.

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