Does Shield Master removing shields' two-weapon fighting penalties mean I don't take any penalties when dual wielding shields, even if I don't have the Two Weapon Fighting feat? I plan on getting Shield Master through the Weapon and Shield ranger combat style (gained as a slayer talent), so I won't have to meet its requirements.

e.g. If I have normally a +10 Attack Bonus, and I wielded a Kukri (primary) and Heavy Shield (secondary):

Normal: +4/+0

TWF: +6/+6

ShieldMaster(no TWF): +4/+10

ShieldMaster(TWF): +6/+10

So then if I wielded TWO Heavy Shields:

Normal: Same

TWF: Same

ShieldMaster(no TWF): +10/+10

ShieldMaster(TWF): +10/+10

Is my logic right here (e.g. Shield Master when using Dual-Shields makes Two-Weapon Fighting not needed? Or does Shield Master do less than that)?


1 Answer 1


You are correct, when using the two-weapon fighting combat option, the Shield Master feat means any attacks you make with a shield are made at no penalty. Since all of your attacks are made with a shield, none of them are penalized. The Two-Weapon Fighting feat is irrelevant, since all that does is reduce those penalties, while Shield Master eliminates them.

Note that, normally, Shield Master also requires the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. That means you cannot use Shield Master without the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, as feats’ requirements must be met in order to use them.

But if you use a slayer talent to get a ranger combat style, and choose from the “weapon and shield” combat style in order to get Shield Master without meeting its prerequisites, then yes, you get to skip the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, and it won’t matter since all it does is reduce the penalties that you’re ignoring. Note that this approach does prevent you from taking Improved Two-Weapon Fighting and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, which could be painful. You’ll have to think long and hard about whether or not it’s worth it to burn two or three feats on one or two extra attacks at low attack bonuses.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would also question the fact that second shield is not a weapon until you make an attack with it, so it won't qualify for feat requirements as "another weapon". \$\endgroup\$
    – Draco-S
    Jan 22, 2019 at 3:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Draco-S Shields are both weapons and protective gear. They are not “temporarily a weapon” while bashing, they just are weapons. See here are their weapon descriptions. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 22, 2019 at 3:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ "You can bash an opponent with a shield, using it as an off-hand weapon." That implies that you can't use shield as a primary weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – Draco-S
    Jan 22, 2019 at 3:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Draco-S That line was removed by errata, and honestly was always a description, not a proscription, anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 22, 2019 at 3:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan What if I'm playing a Slayer, and I used the Ranger Combat Style to take Shield Master at level 6 while ignoring the Pre-reqs? Then can I fully get away with not taking Two-Weapon Fighting? \$\endgroup\$
    – Paul Cline
    Jan 22, 2019 at 3:46

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