So, like the title is asking, does a Tower Shield providing Total Cover in a 5-foot doorway block Channel Energy from going through?

Aka, can a party heal safely if the tower-shield fighter blocks the doorway for a round?

I think it does, I'm just not sure.


3 Answers 3


The Tower Shield, as a shield, can only grant you Total Cover.

However, the Tower Shield is also a physical object in the game. Ignoring its extra game rules as a shield, if it is large enough to actually cover the doorway, the cover rules apply like they would to a pile of bricks or a door.

To determine if this will work, you'll have to ask the DM what the size of the door actually is, and what the size of the shield is. Then work out if an object the size and shape of the shield could be used to cover the entrance of the door such that you cannot go or see through it.

This is all in the realm of DM fiat. There may not be time to seal the door in combat. It may require checks. Foes on the other side may easily be able to push it aside. It may not be large enough. The effect could burst through the cover, having its damage reduced. You could be forced to be flat footed while holding the barrier up (as you cannot very well dodge while holding it up there).

But the existence of rules that state how you can use a Tower Shield to generate Cover does not preclude using the Tower Shield to generate cover in other ways. If you had a large sheet of metal that was 5' on a side, and you placed it in front of a 4' diameter hole, you'd have total cover against whatever was on the other side of the hole. If the shield is large enough to cover the doorway, you get Total Cover.

A tower shield has a hardness of 5 (+2*enhance) and 20 (+10 * enhance) HP, so it might not survive being used to soak the energy. Note that electricty and fire damage is halved, and cold is halved twice, before hardness.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ This is the correct answer. The shield's special rules do not preclude using it to block a door like a table. Similarly, even though there is no rule saying you can use a shield as a sled, doesn't mean you can't try it if the shield is the right size/shape. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 2, 2017 at 21:12

No, it does not

If you look at the rules for tower shields (found here), you'll find this:

Shield, Tower: This massive wooden shield is nearly as tall as you are. In most situations, it provides the indicated shield bonus to your AC. As a standard action, however, you can use a tower shield to grant you total cover until the beginning of your next turn. When using a tower shield in this way, you must choose one edge of your space. That edge is treated as a solid wall for attacks targeting you only. You gain total cover for attacks that pass through this edge and no cover for attacks that do not pass through this edge (see Combat). The shield does not, however, provide cover against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. You cannot bash with a tower shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.

When employing a tower shield in combat, you take a –2 penalty on attack rolls because of the shield's encumbrance.

The tower shield's total cover is only granted to you, not to anyone behind you. They merely get the same soft cover benefits they would normally have, which do not affect area of effect abilities.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The exception to this is characters with the Mobile Fortress feat, who are able to grant total cover to adjacent allies, as well as themselves (with some caveats). \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellion
    Mar 2, 2017 at 18:07

No, you cannot help other party members against burst effects using a tower shield.

A cleric's Channel Energy is a burst effect.

A burst spell affects whatever it catches in its area, including creatures that you can’t see. It can’t affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don’t extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst spells are specifically described as cone-shaped. a burst’s area defines how far from the point of origin the spell’s effect extends.

However, the Tower Shield only grants Total Cover to the wielder, not anyone else:

as a standard action, however, you can use a tower shield to grant you total cover until the beginning of your next turn.

This same rule is valid against a Fireball (area burst), Cone of Cold (cone burst) or a Geyser (emanation burst). Or if the effect would be benefical to your party, such as preventing the cleric from healing your enemies.


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