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Can a character wearing a ring of force shield use two-handed-weapons or make actions that need both hands and keep the shield-bonus, or is the hand occupied as though using a normal shield?

I'm asking about Pathfinder, but it might not be different in D&D 3.5.

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

The hand is occupied while it is activated.

It's basically because of the following, I'll bold out the important part:

An iron band, this simple ring generates a shield-sized (and shield-shaped) wall of force that stays with the ring and can be wielded by the wearer as if it were a heavy shield (+2 AC). This special creation has no armor check penalty or arcane spell failure chance since it is weightless and encumbrance-free. It can be activated and deactivated at will as a free action.

So, since you have to wield it as a heavy shield, it will take up your shield slot while it is on.

However, if you feel like it, you can activate and deactivate it as a free action, so turn it off at the beginning of your turn, smack some things around with your 2-hander, and turn it back on at the end of the turn.

(Free actions can only be taken on your turn.)

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"However, if you feel like it, you can activate and deactivate it as a free action, so turn it off at the beginning of your turn, smack some things around with your 2-hander, and turn it back on at the end of the turn." This sounds just like playing Dark Souls... – Lucas Leblanc Jan 8 '15 at 20:42

Ring of force shield essentially grants you a +2 shield bonus to your AC as if you were wielding a heavy shield without needing to actually wield anything. It requires no hands to wield--just an open ring slot. — Paizo designer Joshua J. Frost, Jul 6, 2009, 07:20 PM

Ring of force shield does not occupy nor take up your hand.

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I can't pull up the quote anymore (link not found?) - but it does sound to me like the force shield is just some magical thing floating around near the hand protecting you when you wear the ring... --- then again I just imagined trying to hold a two handed weapon with a weightless but bulky "heavy" shield on my hand :D And them mentioning the free activation and deactivation does sound like you can't have it on while you attack two-handedly... unless you have a third limb with it's own ring slot ;-) – Julix Jan 19 '14 at 5:59
@SevenSidedDie He's not wielding it, though. That's the whole point. Frost is pretty explicit about it; you get a +2 to your shield AC, you don't have to occupy a slot with anything, and you aren't physically wielding anything. "Without actually needing to wield anything" is the key phrase here; that means you don't have to wield a shield, which in turn means you don't actually have to have the physical skill or dexterity required to move the shield to block things. – Lucas Leblanc Jan 8 '15 at 20:49
@LucasLeblanc Not reopening this year-old argument (which are not supposed to happen in comments anyway, so I'll probably be deleting that comment). I've voted this down and voted up the other, and that's the most I'm interested in doing on this point. – SevenSidedDie Jan 8 '15 at 20:50

The debate is irrelevant since the shield can be turned on and off as a free action. The player can easily just say that the shield deactivates when he grabs his two handed weapon and activates when its released. It acts the same way as drawing a weapon with quick draw. It would be up to the DM to decide whether or not the player has to take the time to say Activate or Deactivate.

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This doesn't seem irrelevant; if the shield pops up at end f turn then the wielder will lose their ability to make attacks of opportunity with their two-handed weapon. – Erik Jan 8 '15 at 20:16

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