Fox’s Cunning — Happy Turning Day!

Happy New Year and Happy January, Pathfinders! Conventional tradition tells us January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, endings and doors. The goddess Alseta claims those areas of concern in Lost Omens. The last day of the year is even a holiday in her honor: Turning Day!  And today I want to show you that players can have just as much fun with doors as game masters. I will warn everyone in advance that this build takes advantage of some gray areas, but it’s balanced enough that most campaigns will welcome the silly table with an open door.

Build Concept

This character is all about using your trusty repair kit to craft a shield out of a door! There’s plenty of reasons why a character would use a door as a tower shield. Maybe they were inspired by Alseta’s doorwardens. Or perhaps they began their adventuring life wielding a door during a prison break. Or maybe they just got tired of carrying extra shields and found it more practical to turn doors into extra tower shields. After all, shields break, and in a standard dungeon adventure, you will always have an extra door or two lying around! You can even invest in Stealth and Thievery to carefully affix a handle or two to an unopened door and remove it from its hinges, open it by entering your Everstand Stance, and wield the door against its room’s inhabitants! Whether it’s a large steel shield or a tower shield depends on the door and is largely up to your GM, as are the penalties for using an improvised shield. I’d let a character go ahead and treat it as a regular shield with a general feat and a successful Crafting check, but I wouldn’t fault a GM for slamming the door on that idea.

The build is only outlined to the 12th level and there’s plenty of room for customization. I picked Human, but any race can do it if your willing to delay your advancement a little. Especially if your GM isn’t too keen on unlocking the crystal keeper dedication. The archetype is pretty underwhelming, although at higher levels you can use some feats to make it easier to transfer runes from your broken shield to your new door. But we are taking the archetype just for the ability to lay electric latch runes. Theoretically Electrified Crystal Ward lets you imbue the hinge of your new shield with a trap that should trigger when you shield bash your target, letting you push an enemy against a wall while frying them with electricity. Theoretically, it might not work, since the electrified latch rune says it triggers when someone grasps the door latch. But the archetype lets you trap the hinge instead of the latch, and I doubt smashing the latch wouldn’t cause the trap to trigger given the disable clause. Furthermore, the core of the build is basic enough that I imagine many GMs will allow for the crystal keeper shenanigans, but the extra electricity damage isn’t going to make or break a character.

The rest of the build is a basic shield-focused fighter, using Aggressive Block and Powerful Shove to push and punish anyone who tries to attack you. By 6th level most GMs will learn to just go after your other allies, so you’ll have to use Shield Warden to protect your allies instead. You might want to find room for Everstand Strike instead of Reactive Shield so you can keep your Shield Block reaction. Even if your GM doesn’t allow crystal keepers, the character itself provides a fresh reimagining of the standard shieldbearer that is bound to leave your fellow players with some wonderful new stories for the new year!

Dustin Knight

Dustin has been playing and improving on RPGs since AD&D in 1999. He ran games and conventions around California while studying Graphic Design, Philosophy, English & Architecture. After developing a tabletop game seminar he began working freelance for Alderac Entertainment Games. During his stint on the East Coast, he became a Venture Lieutenant and began reviewing Pathfinder mechanics for Organized Play. After moving to Washington in 2019, he met Alex Augunas at Paizocon and developed, designed and wrote for Everybody Games LLC. He has since published work with Rogue Genius Games and Paizo. He can be found on the Know Direction discord where he goes by the username "KitsuneWarlock".