So there's an issue with tenets of Evil champions in PF2, where they're well-defended and also have powers that punish people for attacking them, leading to a situation where... no one wants to attack them. This build is looking for a way around that, but I'm not sure how legit it is. I'm hoping for clarification.

Champion, Lawful Evil, Tyrant Cause, Shield Ally, Mephistopheles

The combo (and rules twisting) doesn't really come online until lvl 16, and shield of Grace.

Shield of Grace (Champion 16)

Prerequisites Shield Warden

You protect an ally with both your shield and your body. Whenever you use the Shield Block reaction to prevent damage to an ally, you can evenly split the remaining damage after the Shield Block between the ally and yourself.

Shield Warden (Champion/Fighter 6, Bastion 8)

Prerequisites [Champion] divine ally (shield); tenets of good; [Fighter] Shield Block

You use your shield to protect your allies. When you have a shield raised, you can use your Shield Block reaction when an attack is made against an ally adjacent to you. If you do, the shield prevents that ally from taking damage instead of preventing you from taking damage, following the normal rules for Shield Block.

The Champion gets Shield Block as a feat for free at lvl 1, thus enabling Bastion Dedication without further investment. The point of the combo is that Shield Warden allows you to block on behalf of others (and thus trigger Corrupted Shield) and with Shield of Grace, you get to take half the damage... which means that a foe has just damaged you and you can trigger Iron Command. Normally you couldn't do both in one turn, but that's what Quick Block and Divine Reflexes are for. The only weird thing about this rules-wise ist hat you're using the Bastion Shield Warden to qualify for the Champion Shield of Grace (as you can't qualify for Champion Shield of Grace due to taking tenets of evil).

Then we get to Shield of Reckoning, which is a bit deeper into the shenanigans.

Shield of Reckoning (Champion 10)

Prerequisites champion's reaction; Shield Warden

Trigger A foe’s attack against an ally matches the trigger for both your Shield Block reaction and your champion’s reaction.

When you shield your ally against an attack, you call upon your power to protect your ally further. You use the Shield Block reaction to prevent damage to an ally and also use your champion’s reaction against the foe that attacked your ally.

Iron Command is the Champion's Reaction for Lawful Evil. Its trigger is

An enemy within 15 feet damages you.

And here is the question. If they're attacking an ally within your shield block range, and you block, then shield of Grace means that they are dealing damage to you, which triggers Iron Command, thus matching both triggers.

TLDR: Is this setup rules-legal for PF2? The points of particular concern are whether you can use Bastion's version of Shield Warden to qualify for the Champion feat Shield of Grace on a Tenets of Evil Champion, and whether you can use the damage from Shield of Grace to satisfy the "trigger for... your champion's reaction" requirement on triggering Shield of Reckoning. (...though if it's not legal for some other reason, that would be good to know too.)

I'm specifically looking for guidance informed by general pathfinder 2 rules adjudication guidelines (or specific rulings, if available). I mean, I can read the stuff I've quoted about as well as anyone.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Dutiful Challenge is available on level 8, and it also encourages enemies to attack you \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 10:31

1 Answer 1


Sort Of

This build is legal. However, it probably works slightly differently than you described.

Where might things fall apart?

Shield of Reckoning's trigger is:

Trigger: A foe’s attack against an ally matches the trigger for both your Shield Block reaction and your champion’s reaction.

So in order to use Shield of Reckoning, we need one event that meets both the trigger of Shield Warden (an adjacent ally would take physical damage, per Shield Block), and the trigger of Iron Command (you would take damage from an enemy within 15ft). However, at the moment of Shield of Reckoning's trigger, we haven't Shield Blocked via Shield Warden, so our trigger for Iron Command isn't met.

But it sort of works

The trigger rules remind us that we can only use one reaction (or free action) per trigger. So what caused Shield of Reckoning to fall apart works in our favor here! We first use our Shield Warden + Shield Block reaction to reduce the damage our ally is about to take; we decide to split the damage via Shield of Grace. At that point, our Tyrant is now taking damage; this is a separate event and a separate trigger. So then we can use our Iron Command. This will take two total reactions, but we have more than enough reactions to do that.

But, actually, it could work

The trigger rules also state:

If two triggers are similar, but not identical, the GM determines whether you can use one action in response to each or whether they’re effectively the same thing. Usually, this decision will be based on what’s happening in the narrative.

So your GM can easily decide that, do to the "simultaneous nature of the events in the narrative" (or whatever other rationale they want), that this combo does work with Shield of Reckoning. The good news is: if the GM determines they are separate triggers, we can do it via the two reaction version. If they say it is the same trigger, we can do it via Shield of Reckoning.

Other Build Notes

There are some other potential questions about the build; to show it is legal, I'll discuss them here.

Shield Warden via Bastion Archetype

It is fine for Shield Warden to be taken via the Bastion archetype, and use it to meet prerequisites. There is nothing that says that prerequisites must come from non-archetype feats when taking a class feat. Indeed, when we take an archetype feat in place of a class feat, it is essentially a class feat. From the archetype rules (link is to APG version, but the CRB version has the same text):

Archetype feats you gain in place of a class feat are called archetype class feats.

Additionally, we know from the Additional Feats rules, that when we take a class feat via an archetype, it loses its class trait:

When selected this way, a feat that normally has a class trait doesn't have that class trait.

Oddly, this means that Shield Warden probably has no prerequisites when taken via the Bastion archetype, since both of its prerequisites are bound to a class trait (i.e. the Champion version must have tenets of good and divine ally (shield), while the Fighter version must have Shield Block). This isn't really an issue, since the Bastion archetype itself requires Shield Block, and is a prerequisite for taking Shield Warden via the archetype. I suspect the reason that the Fighter version lists Shield Block as a prerequisite is simply future proofing against possible class archetypes that trade away Shield Block (maybe some very specific offensive fighter archetype or something, or a Psionic fighter). In that case, those fighters would need to grab Shield Block via other means to take their version of Shield Warden.

Be careful where you use your reactions

This isn't really a build problem, but more of a warning: if your GM does allow for the Shield of Reckoning variation to work, then you probably aren't going to be able to use the extra reactions from Divine Reflexes or Quick Block for the combo reaction; Shield of Reckoning is its own reaction. Your GM could hand wave this, but that would create some potential balance issues (since each "extra reaction" feat would be essentially granting two extra reactions).

Is This Balanced?

Yes, for something that only comes online as level 16, I think even the Shield of Reckoning version is balanced. A Paladin Champion could attack the target and have all adjacent allies attack the target while Shield Blocking for their friend, and sooner than level 16 (level 11, I think: take Shield Warden at 6, Shield of Reckoning at 10, then your Exalt ability comes online at 11).

I as a GM would probably allow this, it doesn't seem too powerful, it requires oodles of investment that the aforementioned Paladin Champion doesn't have to do, and probably does less damage overall, despite coming online at higher levels.


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