Shieldmaster

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I want a melee build with a shield theme. What do you suggest? 

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Snapping Tetsu - no wait, just kidding.
Lots of ways to go with a shield-equipped fighter.  You could concentrate on forced movement (Tide of Iron and Footwork Lure as at-wills, Shield Push feat which lets you not just punish, but often negate attacks which violate your mark).  You could also spend a feat on spiked shield, meaning you can use both shield-only and two-weapon powers, going either with one-handed weapon talent or tempest fighter.
Brawler fighter can be a pretty good option too. You'll need a shield you can use as a weapon (like a spiked shield) to attack when you have someone grabbed, and a spiked gauntlet as your weapon. The brawler unarmed bonus works on many shield encounter powers to make them super accurate, although they're generally not the best choices for their level - it depends on how far you want to go with the concept.
I've never understood how Snapping testudo is supposed to work...
81259321 wrote:
My new rule for people who are obtuse is to just assume they're purposefully trolling. It makes me less sad for humanity that way.
Heavy Shield/Spiked Shield, I suppose. It's just a bad idea.



Thematically, it's a cool idea. But yeah, it just wasn't quite there mechanically.

Anyway, as everyone is saying, if you want a Warrior whose shield is used for more than blocking hits, the Fighter's your guy. Shield Fighters are awesome at forced movement, and with the Shield Push feat, can push enemies who are trying to attack your allies out of the way before they can hurt your allies.

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Heart of the Dragon: A Dragonborn's Handbook

Infernal Wrath: A Tiefling's Handbook

I once played a level 12 Testudo with a Sun shield (counts as a heavy blade) and a throwing shield.

I wouldn't say it was super-effective, but it was fun for the one-shot.
I've never understood how Snapping testudo is supposed to work...

It doesn't, by RAW. So...  you're not alone.
Didn't the Snapping Testudo Article come with a bunch of Shield Enchantments that were weapons?

But they only went up to +4 enchants for some reason... 

Why doesn't it work other than that? 
Wielding two shields at once isn't really allowed.



I never did figure out why that "wasn't allowed." Apart from the whole "you can't use two Arm items at once" thing. Even the Character Builder lets you place a heavy shield in both your weapon hand and off hand. So I wonder who/what is in the right.

Regardless, I made a weird build that ran Strapping Tesudo and I think is was rather interesting. Not good, but a interesting idea that I'd like to work out a bit more but it allows me to run three shield at once. Two spiked shields and a Winged heavy shield. I need to rebuild it since for some reason the New builder isn't allowing me to get a Winged Heavy shield. (think it has to do with the compendium being off) but i'll post it tommorrow or soon if I get the chance too.
The CB is not a rules source. That would be the first point of confusion.

The second issue is you never "wield" shields. So you can't wield two of them. Which means none of the powers in ST and one of the features simply do nothing, by RAW. So you get an AP benefit and the level 16 benefit (which is awful). Yay?

Even if it worked it wouldn't be a good PP, but it doesn't.
You could also spend a feat on spiked shield, meaning you can use both shield-only and two-weapon powers, going either with one-handed weapon talent or tempest fighter.



Does spiked shield count as a melee weapon for the purposes of Two-Weapon Defense? If it does, this combo would essentially be like getting a net +2 to AC from the spiked shield, (one for being a shield, and one for being a melee weapon).

I tried this out, Character Builder doesn't seem to bump up the AC when my character has Two-Weapon Fighting and a spiked shield and then chooses Two-Weapon Defense. I know CB isn't the be-all end-all, so just because it won't do it doesn't mean it shouldn't work. Thanks so much for any light anyone can shed here.
two weapon defense is a shield bonus, so it doesn't stack with the shield bonus that spiked shield gives you.
two weapon defense is a shield bonus, so it doesn't stack with the shield bonus that spiked shield gives you.



 $#!+! Dadnab typed bonuses! Thanks Nelphine.

Figured i'd post this build regardless if it's RAW or not. I've actually contacted CS about it and even they agreed that there never was a offical ruling regarding what body spot a shield actually took. I'm not worried about it, let's just try to have some fun and post theorical build and discuss them anyways. I've always wanted to at least.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Ironblood Shieldhands, level 30
Dwarf, Fighter (Weaponmaster), Snapping Testudo, Adamantine Soldier
Build: Arena Fighter
Fighter Option: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents Option: Arena Training
Arena Training Option: Arena Training (Spiked shield)
Arena Training Option: Arena Training (Tortoise blade)
Tyr - Freed Slave (+2 to Endurance)
Theme: Gladiator

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 26, CON 22, DEX 17, INT 12, WIS 16, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 16, CON 14, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 13, CHA 8


AC: 48 Fort: 54 Ref: 47 Will: 45
HP: 226 Surges: 17 Surge Value: 62

TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +28, Endurance +30, Heal +23

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +18, Arcana +16, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +20, History +16, Insight +18, Intimidate +15, Nature +18, Perception +18, Religion +16, Stealth +18, Streetwise +15, Thievery +18

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Gladiator Feature: Disrupting Advance
Dwarf Racial Power: Dwarven Resilience
Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
Fighter Attack 1: Tide of Iron
Fighter Attack 1: Shield Feint
Fighter Utility 2: Shielding Shove
Fighter Utility 6: Kirre's Roar
Gladiator Attack 9: Bloody Blades
Fighter Utility 10: Mighty Surge
Snapping Testudo Attack 11: Steel Jaws
Snapping Testudo Utility 12: Shielded Aggression
Fighter Attack 13: Entrapping Shield
Fighter Utility 16: Shield Clamor
Snapping Testudo Attack 20: Paddlewheel
Fighter Utility 22: Undeniable Challenge
Fighter Attack 23: Battering Shield
Fighter Attack 25: Marking Barrage
Adamantine Soldier Utility 26: Inexorable Advance (epic)
Fighter Attack 27: Diamond Shield Defense
Fighter Attack 29: Debilitating Bash

FEATS
Level 1: Armor Proficiency: Plate
Level 2: Shield Defense
Level 4: Encouraging Shield
Level 6: Stout Shield
Level 8: Improved Defenses (Retrained to Shield Finesse at 21)
Level 10: Shield Push
Level 11: Shield Specialization
Level 12: Hindering Shield
Level 14: Superior Reflexes
Level 16: Superior Fortitude
Level 18: Armor Specialization (Plate)
Level 20: Toughness
Level 21: Superior Will
Level 21: Shield Finesse
Level 22: Epic Reflexes
Level 24: Epic Fortitude
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Martial Mastery
Level 30: Dwarven Durability

ITEMS
Helm of Able Defense x1
Cloak of Displacement +6 x1
Ring of Vigilant Defense x1
Shadow Band x1
Foe Caller Gauntlets x1
Diamond Cincture (epic tier) x1
Belt of Mountain Endurance
Boots of Quickness (epic tier) x1
Agile Braxat Lord Shell Armor +6 x1
Foe Maker Spiked shield +6 x1
Defensive Spiked shield +6
Shield of Deflection Heavy Shield (epic tier) x1
====== End ======

I usually do full epic builds but if anyone wants a paragon build just ask at what level and i'll edit my character. 


Figured i'd post this build regardless if it's RAW or not. I've actually contacted CS about it and even they agreed that there never was a offical ruling regarding what body spot a shield actually took. I'm not worried about it, let's just try to have some fun and post theorical build and discuss them anyways. I've always wanted to at least.


CS is incompetent and, not surprisingly, wrong. Magical shields take the arms slot. Regular shields are are "strapped to the forearm." Which is meaningless mechanically but since they have the additional caveat that you can't use your shield hand for various tasks, that is fine. You can equip two shields, one magical and one not or both not.

The issue is you don't wield shields. You use them. Since you can never wield a shield none of the features in ST that require wielding two will ever function.

The issue is you don't wield shields. You use them. Since you can never wield a shield none of the features in ST that require wielding two will ever function.

It works... if you use the four very specific shields in the same article Snapping Tetsudo is in.
The issue is you don't wield shields. You use them. Since you can never wield a shield none of the features in ST that require wielding two will ever function.

It works... if you use the four very specific shields in the same article Snapping Tetsudo is in.

The four magical shields you can only use one of at a time? Still doesn't work. I suppose in theory you could use a magical shield that counts as a weapon and a non-magical spiked shield...

Actually I'm not entirely sure that'd work either, considering the wording on the magical shields.
This is the possible combination list that I stated when I contacted the CS:

Any normal shield (Light/Light, Light/Heavy, Heavy/Heavy)
A spiked/tortoise shield and any normal shield (Spiked/Light, Spiked/Heavy)
A spiked/tortoise shield enchanted as a weapon and any normal shield regardless of enchantment. 
A spiked/tortoise shield enchanted as a weapon and a spiked/tortoise shield enchanted as a shield. 

Adding from this thread:
A "Weapon" shield and a spiked/tortoise shield either normal or enchanted

But even then there were several rule conflict and questions that came up when I stated that since the rules are vague as is.  I don't know exactly how the whole Rule of Three Thing works but I'd love to get this question to them and end the thing. Since there has never been a true ruling about exactly what the shield takes when used. It only references a "Shield hand" and not much else and the Spiked shield is the only item that states that "Although a character cannot use two shields at the same time, a character wielding a spiked shield enchanted as a weapon can employ arms slot items such as bracers" but this has never been truly confirmed as a rule only stated in that one source.

So my questions ended up being:
Where does a shield take up on the body? Off-hand, Arm or Both?
Does a Spiked Shield/Tortoise Blade still function as a shield for attacks?

But that's just advancing the arguement that I didn't want in the first place, I just wanted to talk about the build in general as a duel-shield build regardless of the RAW on shields.

 
Um, those are the rules. They don't need to be confirmed, you can go and read them. Shields don't say they take a slot, so they don't, you just can't do some things with your hands. Magical shields say they take a slot, so they do. Spiked Shields enchanted as a weapon take up the weapon slot, because that is what magic weapons do. And etc. I mean if you completely and totally ignore all the written text that deals with this in the rules, then sure, there could be some confusion. Like I'm confused as to why anyone would do that.

Also, again, CS is incompetent and frankly bringing them up in any serious discussion of the rules is.... I can't think of a polite word.

And this is CharOp, if a build doesn't function by RAW it really isn't worth discussing. Also the build, even if it worked, would be awful by comparison to nearly any other option, including wielding a spiked shield and a normal shield and deriving no benefit whatsoever from it. Discussion over. Yay.
two weapon defense is a shield bonus, so it doesn't stack with the shield bonus that spiked shield gives you.



 $#!+! Dadnab typed bonuses! Thanks Nelphine.


   What you'd need to do is get a spiked shield with the rhythm blade enchantment that increases your shield bonus...

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(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

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There are reasons they call me Mad...

 
   What you'd need to do is get a spiked shield with the rhythm blade enchantment that increases your shield bonus...



That would just give you a ordnary heavy shield at that point. Which while a interesting idea, the heavy shield would be a better option depending on the build. Tempests could find it interesting but you'd be wasting a feat on getting the training for it. So i'm not sure how it would work.

Edit: Actually now that I think about it the build could be consider RAW since i'm using Arena Fighter. The shield could be wielded as a improvised weapon but I think that falls under a whole mess of other rulings that I'd have to look up. Depends on how others would view it.

 
   What you'd need to do is get a spiked shield with the rhythm blade enchantment that increases your shield bonus...



That would just give you a ordnary heavy shield at that point. Which while a interesting idea, the heavy shield would be a better option depending on the build. Tempests could find it interesting but you'd be wasting a feat on getting the training for it. So i'm not sure how it would work.

Edit: Actually now that I think about it the build could be consider RAW since i'm using Arena Fighter. The shield could be wielded as a improvised weapon but I think that falls under a whole mess of other rulings that I'd have to look up. Depends on how others would view it.


The benefit of the free hand of a spiked shield and reduced ac penalty isn't nothing.
The lack of heavy shield support is an issue though.

Rogue + Blade and Buckler Duelist is another shield fighter.
True, I guess I did miss that, I was still thinking about my build. Yell

Though i'm a little lost on what you mean by heavy shield support...i'm probably just being dumb though.
True, I guess I did miss that, I was still thinking about my build. 

Though i'm a little lost on what you mean by heavy shield support...i'm probably just being dumb though.



What he is referencing is that there isn't any (or nealy none).  A rhythm blade spiked shield is better than a heavy shield in every way unless you were going to enchant the shield with a shield enchantment.  Most characters don't (as they tend to want the armbands of power) but that is the one corner case.
Ah, thanks. I guess that is true. Most of the shield feats usually apply to both unless you want to run the Snapping Tseuedo PP although that would be just a good. Plus it would make the build more interesting since you could wield the winged shield and have 3 at once! 

I'm still surprised that there is so much hate for that PP, especially given the fact that a Arena Fighter build could techniquly run it. But it would depend on if a shield "wielded" as a improvised weapon would work. I think there's some good OP potiental (nowheres close to other builds mind you) in that PP if people consider it.
It was better (still not good but better) before when the gauntlet axe was a light shield that kept your hand free but that is no longer an option.  This worked well with arena fighter since you could take gauntlet axe as one of your arena weapons and so be proficient with it.  You could then wield a rhythm blade dagger in your off hand+a gauntlet axe in the same hand (remember it is a hands free weapon) and a spiked shield in your other hand (which you should NOT use as an arena weapon as it is a better weapon improvised than when you are proficient as it deals more damage).
Ya, I just realized that about the spiked shield. Funny how that works sometime.

So in the end any shield would work with the arena fighter and the Snapping Testudo PP, since by RAW you would wield them as improvised weapons dealing 1d8 at +2 thus qualifying for the PP. (Though I always assumed "use" and "wield" were the same thing.)

But damage isn't what I'm trying to pull, it's mostly a high defense, multi marking duel-shield build that can just sit there and constantly mark multiple enemies and just take hits without need to do much while using a unique (if unpopular) PP.

Perhaps a bit weird for a OP but I'd like to try.
Ya, I just realized that about the spiked shield. Funny how that works sometime.

So in the end any shield would work with the arena fighter and the Snapping Testudo PP, since by RAW you would wield them as improvised weapons dealing 1d8 at +2 thus qualifying for the PP. (Though I always assumed "use" and "wield" were the same thing.)

But damage isn't what I'm trying to pull, it's mostly a high defense, multi marking duel-shield build that can just sit there and constantly mark multiple enemies and just take hits without need to do much while using a unique (if unpopular) PP.

Perhaps a bit weird for a OP but I'd like to try.

Unpopular would imply a majority disliked it. It just doesn't work very well and even if it does, it isn't good compared to other options. I make no claims as to its general popularity.

But we can go over why it is bad. AP benefit is all right (though the times when you'll want a bonus to defenses aren't always the times you want an extra action). +1 to AC and Ref is decent but considering there are are basically unhittable builds it is just meh. The 16 feature is.. well, how many times does it actually come up in your games that you're giving an ally cover from a ranged attack? Normally the ranged guy isn't contrained in any way, he can move over a bit and have a clear shot. The powers, lacking any keywords, don't get a lot of bonuses. They are otherwise comparable to other PP powers... but just comparable, not better, and they have a downside. So same-but-worse. Not a comparison they win.

It has no strong upside other then the flavor of using two shields. And you can use two shields without taking this PP. That is the real issue. What you want can be had by refluffing without impacting mechanical effectiveness... so why not just do that? You can build it with higher defenses, more/same multi-marking potential, and you can certainly make a more durable build in terms of taking hits.

Still personally irritated that the RAW issues were pointed out before the issue was even compiled... they could have fixed it.

It has no strong upside other then the flavor of using two shields. And you can use two shields without taking this PP. That is the real issue. What you want can be had by refluffing without impacting mechanical effectiveness... so why not just do that? You can build it with higher defenses, more/same multi-marking potential, and you can certainly make a more durable build in terms of taking hits.



Why? Because I really like the idea of trying a pure duel-shield build. One where only shield powers are used, no weapons what so ever. Perhaps that's a bit weird for a OP but I personally think this PP has a lot more potiental that people give it credit for. With the items I had in the build I posted I was receiving at least a +9 to AC at the start of combat, +7 to reflex, and +4 to will and fort, and that's not even including the shield bonuses and action point bonuses. I know people don't like it but I see it as a fun challenge to try and OP it and if no one else wants to then the thread can just die. I may bump it once to see of others aren't interested but that's my view of it.
The PP has no potential, because it mechanically doesn't work at all.
And you can use two shields and refluff. So... not seeing your problem. And the items are transferable to other builds, that isn't an upside for the build specifically.

Hell using Arena Fighter you don't even need refluff. You are literally attacking with the shields, regardless of what powers/PP you pick.

Trying to optimize ST and trying to optimized a dual-shield user are not the same thing. ST really is that bad (rated red in the Fighter handbook) but a dual-shield Fighter is easy to optimize. Better still is using a shield and a Superior weapon with the Defensive property and calling it a shield. Fluff is your friend.
Even if the PP is bad, i'm still willing to try to optimize it regardless of it downsides and regardless of how many people hate it. Like I said I think it has potiental and if you don't want to help then just don't post. Perhaps someone else will want to try, maybe not, but that's the fun in optimizing
(at least to me.) It may not be the best build but you don't see me constantly trying to knock someone elses down, even if it is constructive criticism. 

Perhaps someone else will join in, I don't know but i'll just repost my build in case anyone wants to join or continue the conversation down a different shield related path. 

 

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Mardred, level 30
Dwarf, Fighter (Weaponmaster), Snapping Testudo, Adamantine Soldier
Build: Arena Fighter
Fighter Option: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents Option: Arena Training
Arena Training Option: Arena Training (Parrying dagger)
Arena Training Option: Arena Training (Tortoise blade)
Tyr - Freed Slave (+2 to Endurance)
Theme: Gladiator

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 26, CON 22, DEX 17, INT 12, WIS 16, CHA 10

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 16, CON 14, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 13, CHA 8


AC: 48 Fort: 54 Ref: 47 Will: 45
HP: 226 Surges: 17 Surge Value: 62

TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +28, Endurance +30, Heal +23

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +18, Arcana +16, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +20, History +16, Insight +18, Intimidate +15, Nature +18, Perception +18, Religion +16, Stealth +18, Streetwise +15, Thievery +18

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Gladiator Feature: Disrupting Advance
Dwarf Racial Power: Dwarven Resilience
Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
Fighter Attack 1: Tide of Iron
Fighter Attack 1: Shield Feint
Fighter Utility 2: Shielding Shove
Fighter Utility 6: Kirre's Roar
Gladiator Attack 9: Bloody Blades
Fighter Utility 10: Mighty Surge
Snapping Testudo Attack 11: Steel Jaws
Snapping Testudo Utility 12: Shielded Aggression
Fighter Attack 13: Entrapping Shield
Fighter Utility 16: Shield Clamor
Snapping Testudo Attack 20: Paddlewheel
Fighter Utility 22: Undeniable Challenge
Fighter Attack 23: Battering Shield
Fighter Attack 25: Marking Barrage
Adamantine Soldier Utility 26: Inexorable Advance (epic)
Fighter Attack 27: Diamond Shield Defense
Fighter Attack 29: Debilitating Bash

FEATS
Level 1: Armor Proficiency: Plate
Level 2: Shield Defense
Level 4: Encouraging Shield
Level 6: Stout Shield
Level 8: Improved Defenses (Retrained to Shield Finesse at 21th)
Level 10: Shield Push
Level 11: Shield Specialization
Level 12: Hindering Shield
Level 14: Superior Reflexes
Level 16: Superior Fortitude
Level 18: Armor Specialization (Plate)
Level 20: Toughness
Level 21: Superior Will
Level 21: Shield Finesse
Level 22: Epic Reflexes
Level 24: Epic Fortitude
Level 26: Epic Will
Level 28: Martial Mastery
Level 30: Dwarven Durability

ITEMS
Winged Shield Light Shield
Helm of Able Defense x1
Cloak of Displacement +6 x1
Ring of Vigilant Defense x1
Shadow Band x1
Foe Caller Gauntlets x1
Diamond Cincture (epic tier) x1
Belt of Mountain Endurance
Boots of Quickness (epic tier) x1
Agile Braxat Lord Shell Armor +6 x1
Foe Maker Spiked shield +6 x1
Defensive Spiked shield +6
Shield of Deflection Heavy Shield (epic tier) x1
Agile Chainmail +6
====== End ======

Wait how are you using three shields and why did you take tortoise shield as one of your arena weapon?
Mostly because I was emphsizing the spiked shield and tortoise blade and the primary weapons but then forgot about the improvised weapon benifit of the Arena Fighter.

As for the three shields, it depends on what shields I'm using, the build is pretty poor (the reason why i'd like to OP it while still using ST) but if you use the two spiked shields as enchanted weapons you aren't using the arm slot which allows for the winged shield to be used there. Depending on how the heavy shield works on the body (i've never seen any real confirmation that a unenchanted shield takes the arms slot) I could have a spiked shield enchanted as a weapon, a normal heavy shield and the winged shield floating around. But again that depends on how the heavy shields work.
...Where did you even get the idea that non-magical shields take the arms slot? The rules don't ever say that and they have to make an explicit point that magical shields do take the arms slot. Feels like I am repeating things.
...Where did you even get the idea that non-magical shields take the arms slot? The rules don't ever say that and they have to make an explicit point that magical shields do take the arms slot. Feels like I am repeating things.



HoFL pg 325: "To use a shield, you must strap it to your forearm...." Does the forearm mean arms slot or just the upper part of the hand? Perhaps i'm looking to much into it but even in the normal PHB pg. 213 "When you use a shield, you strap it to an arm and sometimes use the hand on that arm—your shield arm and shield hand." So that's where the assumption comes from, they've never claified what "Shield Hand/Arm" really means. 

Again that's my view of it and I haven't found any thing in the rules or here to confirm it right or wrong. So sorry if i'm repeating myself somewhat.
Is "Forearm" an item slot, by RAW? The item slots that exist are listed under the magic item section. Non-magical shields don't take any of those slots, because they don't say they do. The reason you haven't found anything to confirm the idea that they take the arms slot is because that isn't the rule. What shields do, and don't do, is listed in the shield section. They restrict some things you can do with your hand. That is it. I suppose technically they are even slotless items that happen to restrict what you can do with your hand, by RAW. There is no reading which would suggest they actually take up your arms slot, unless they are magical.
Agreed it's not by RAW from that point of view, but the then why would they use such ambigious language? Why not just say "you equip it to your off-hand"? Regardless, I was looking into to to much, but my view still remains the same but i'll accept both for the sake of it. 

I'd just like to continue to try to OP the ST if possible. I'm not sure what item I could replace for the Tortoise Shield, any other good defensive weapon like the Parrying Dagger?
There is a lot to be said for a shield based fighter in a game with inherant bonuses. Suddenly those powers which sucked because they were missing the weapon keyword are now crazily accurate due to the inbuild bonuses applying to all attack and damage rolls.

Whether it is worth picking up Snapping Tetsudo though is still debatable though....
Agreed it's not by RAW from that point of view, but the then why would they use such ambigious language? Why not just say "you equip it to your off-hand"? Regardless, I was looking into to to much, but my view still remains the same but i'll accept both for the sake of it. 

I'd just like to continue to try to OP the ST if possible. I'm not sure what item I could replace for the Tortoise Shield, any other good defensive weapon like the Parrying Dagger?

Singing Stick, just because of the mace/bludgeon support at epic (and it'll increase the forced movement of ST powers via Bludgeon Expertise).

Because not all rules writers are good at their jobs.