Mighty Crusader Expertise, just released, reads:

Benefit: When you are using a holy symbol and wielding a melee weapon in two hands, you gain a +1 feat bonus to weapon attack rolls you make with the weapon and a +1 feat bonus to implement attack rolls you make with the holy symbol. These bonuses increase to +2 at 11th level and +3 at 21st level.

Also, when you use two hands to wield a melee weapon with which you have proficiency, ranged and area attacks that you make with a holy symbol do not provoke attacks of opportunity.

I would like to take advantage of this as a sword&board paladin by using the versatile property of a longsword or equivalent. What feats, type of shield, or magic items do I need to have to be able to use a free action to switch between shield use and using my sword two-handed?

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    \$\begingroup\$ And while "just house rule it" is what I'm doing in my game, it's not actually a valid answer to this question and will be downvoted. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Aug 31 '11 at 5:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting question. The answer could also possibly help me with my Sword&Board Cunning Bard (who is also a candidate for playtesting the new Battle Song Expertise feat). ^^ \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Burigo Aug 31 '11 at 7:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a side note, I am hugely unimpressed with these feats. They're all dancing around the math fix, and some of them are incredibly silly. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Aug 31 '11 at 8:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Am I missing something here? Can't you just use a small shield which straps to your arm and not your hand? The free action would just be grasping the sword in two hands. \$\endgroup\$ – GMNoob Sep 1 '11 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob can you cite the rules showing that the light shield can be used like that? \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 1 '11 at 17:07

Page 267 of the Rules Compendium:

Using a Shield: To use a shield, a creature must strap it to the forearm. doing so is a standard action, unless otherwise noted. Removing a shield is also a standard action.

Light Shield: While using a light shield, a creature can use its shield hand for other purposes, such as holding another item or climbing, but the can't make attacks with that hand or with anything it is holding in that hand.

It would seem to me that you can use a free action to grab the hilt of a versatile weapon with your shield hand, since it is attached to your forearm. I believe at this point you lose the benefit of the shield, but you can use your holy symbol for the feat.

I can see how someone might read the rules to say that you can't use the weapon in a versatile manner at all while wearing a shield, but to me since there is no attack being made with the versatile weapon, it doesn't seem to apply.

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    \$\begingroup\$ -1. I really disagree with this interpretation. Versatile property allows the wielder to use the weapon two-handed. That is: if you leverage the Versatile property you are effectively wielding a two-handed weapon. You can wield a two-handed weapon while having a light shield strapped yo your arm, but you can't attack with it as long as the shield is worn. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Burigo Sep 1 '11 at 21:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 while the character cannot attack with the weapon, the character can attack with her holy symbol and counts as wielding the weapon 2h. It's fiddly but... \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 2 '11 at 0:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's clear that you can hold the sword in your shield hand. It's less clear that you can wield the sword in your shield hand. You could argue (though it seems way too pedantic) that to wield you must be able to attack, and so the combo doesn't work. In the end, I say go for it. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Withers Sep 2 '11 at 2:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Erik you are correct, I wasn't clearly answering the question at hand, I've edited it to clarify. \$\endgroup\$ – GMNoob Sep 2 '11 at 9:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now I see. Thanks to @Brian Ballsun-Stanton for pointing the torchlight on the holy symbol attack. -1 converted to +1. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Burigo Sep 2 '11 at 9:35

I think the best item in these cases is the Winged ShieldDDI. It floats around you needing no arm to be attached to (even if it occupies the Arms magic item slot as usual).

Earlier you may want to try a Shielding BladeDDI which grants a +1 shield bonus to AC in order to catch up for the missing shield. Of course this option is not as palatable as a true shield (no Reflex bonus and no feat-, power- or feature-related boon).

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