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Active blocking

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Player characters can actively block by holding the block key (default: Left Shift). While blocking, a character gains +2 Armor Class, has increased Damage Reduction, and is immune to most special attack and weapon effects. This includes, but is not limited to, Scorpion/Spider Poison, Wraith Constitution Drain, and damage enchantments such as Crippling, Flaming, Wounding, Maladroit, and even Bane. Active blocking to dodge special attacks requires a fast internet connection and player dexterity.

A shield is not required to actively block, although blocking with a shield provides significantly more bonus DR than blocking without one. For characters that are not proficient with shields, one alternative is an orb, which provides no DR bonus either but increases all saving throws and elemental resistances. All benefits mentioned above apply regardless of the character's equipment. A player can block and gain its benefits even while prone or helpless, unless they are also restrained by an effect such as Hold Monster or Earthgrab.

Active blocking suppresses Feather Fall and dismisses your mount. If you hit the ground while actively blocking, you may take a small amount of fall damage based on the height difference between the ground and the point you started blocking - this caps at about 150 ignoring the effects of PRR and Tumble, and is thus usually much less than if you took the fall with no Feather Fall whatsoever.


The benefits of blocking apply only to melee attacks against the character's front 180°. Against ranged attacks, the bonus DR from active blocking, as well the various immunities it bestows, apply to attacks from all directions, but you will only receive half your normal total DR than you do against melee strikes. Unless using an orb as described above, blocking spell attacks has no effect whatsoever.

A blocking character cannot attack with weapons. If he has a shield, he may attack with it instead, using the shield's attack and damage values. This requires no special skill or feat, though the character suffers attack penalties if he is not proficient with that shield, and he loses the shield's bonus to his Armor Class unless he has the Improved Shield Bash feat.

Characters cannot run normally while blocking. They either hop or somersault instead, depending on their Tumble skill. Blocking also displays the number of your available tumble charges.

Blocking characters cannot jump at all. Blocking characters can cast spells and activate items, but this cancels the blocking status until the casting finishes.

Active damage reduction[edit]

Active DR is the additional Damage Reduction gained while blocking. It stacks with the character's Passive DR.

Note: Thrown weapons and wands are treated as one-handed weapons in these categories.

With shield[edit]

This formula applies when blocking with a shield, regardless of what's in your main hand.

  Active Melee DR = (BAB / 2) + 2 + Shield DR rating + Shield Mastery Enhancements
Active Ranged DR = Active Melee DR / 2

The following enhancements may be taken to increase Active DR while using a shield.

Two weapon fighting, bow, or crossbow[edit]

This formula applies when blocking while wielding two one-handed weapons or a bow or crossbow.

  Active Melee DR = (BAB / 3) + 2 + Two Weapon Blocking Feat (two weapon fighting only)
Active Ranged DR = Active Melee DR / 4

The following feat may be taken to increase Active DR while wielding two weapons.

Two-handed fighting, single weapon without shield, or unarmed[edit]

This formula applies when blocking while wielding a two-handed weapon, wielding one one-handed weapon but no shield, or fighting unarmed.

  Active Melee DR = (BAB / 5) + 1
Active Ranged DR = full Active Melee DR


Example 1 - A level 8 fighter with the regular and Improved shield mastery feats, actively blocking with a +4 Heavy Adamantine Shield would have the following DR when using or blocking with shield:

  • Passive DR vs. melee and ranged = DR1/-
  • Active Blocking DR vs. melee = 1 + [(8/2) + 2 + 2 + 4 + 6] = DR19/-
  • Active Blocking DR vs. ranged = 1 + [(8/2) + 2 + 2 + 4 + 6]/2 = DR10/-

Example 2 - The same level 8 fighter with two weapons would have the following DR:

  • Passive DR vs. melee and ranged = none
  • Active Blocking DR vs. melee = [(8/3) + 2] = DR4/-
  • Active Blocking DR vs. ranged = [(8/3) + 2]/4 = DR1/-

Example 3 - A level 14 barbarian with innate DR5/-, a two-handed weapon (THF), and Stoneskin (DR10/Adamantine) would have the following DR:

  • Passive DR vs. melee and ranged = DR10/Adamantine OR DR5/-
    For normal attacks he effectively has DR10. For Adamantine attacks he has DR5/-.
  • Active Blocking DR vs. melee and ranged = [10 or 5] + [(14/5) + 1] = DR10/Adamantine OR DR5/- AND DR3/-
    For normal attacks he effectively has DR13. For Adamantine attacks he has DR8/-.