How do you calculate the damage a PC takes when using shield block? The Shield Block feat allows you to reduce the damage from an incoming attack when you have your shield raised. The feat says (CRB, pg.266):

... Your shield prevents you from taking an amount of damage up to the shield's Hardness. You and the shield each take any remaining damage ...

Our table recently realized we had been running with two different interpretations of the emphasized text.

To illustrate, suppose 11 damage are being dealt to a character with a buckler raised (hardness of 3). The 11 damage are reduced by the shield's hardness, resulting in 8 damage remaining.

One interpretation at our table is that the PC and the shield each take 8 damage. This seems like a straightforward reading of the feat, but resulted in a counter-intuitive outcome: significantly more damage is done when you use shield block than if you don't.

The other is that the PC and shield split the 8 damage, with each taking 4. The consensus here is that damage dealt is a resource of some kind - there is only 8 damage to be applied, no matter how it is allocated.


1 Answer 1


Both the shield and creature take 8 damage.

The phrase

You and the shield each take any remaining damage, possibly breaking or destroying the shield.

could be interpreted in a couple ways, but one is far more likely than the other; the words "each take" are used instead of "split" or similar language. Both the shield and creature take any amount of damage that gets past the shield's Hardness*.

This may seem like taking more damage, but damage to your shield is different than damage to your health. This could be preferable in situations where you're unsure if you'll be able to recover your HP in the short term, and would rather worry about repair bills than a diamonds for Raise Dead.

If you're still concerned about the viability of Shield Block (and I don't blame you), it may be worth looking into the line of shields designed to do it better, a Crafting Talisman that allows you to instantly recover your shield, and the Rare shield that heals itself.

*I am unsure if the shield's Hardness then applies (in your example, reducing the shield's damage down to 5).


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