I took Justisaur’s suggestion to let shield proficiency grant some protection against gaze attacks (which is what the original aegis did).
This talent allows you to use a shield to increasingly greater effect, ultimately providing impenetrable defenses, defense against spells, and even the ability to turn spells on their caster.
|Free||Proficiency with light shields|
|Basic||Proficiency with heavy shields, tower shields, and shield bashing. Shield Wall|
|Expert||Improved Shield Wall, Deflect Arrows|
|Heroic||Aegis, Shield Protector|
A character is free to use a shield if the shield is equipped and the character is not helpless (yes, it works while flatfooted).
When adjacent to another character using a shield and you both have Expert Shield Proficiency you may form a shield wall. Choose a direction to defend against perpendicular to your line, and as long as you stay adjacent to each other you gain both shield bonuses against attacks from that direction. When taking part in a shield wall you lose your shield bonus against attacks from other directions. For instance, if two adjacent characters use large shields and have Expert Shield Proficiency they enjoy a +4 shield bonus attacks from one direction. If the characters stand in a line running east-west they can apply this bonus to attacks from one of the north or south directions (chosen together each round). This may be applied for each adjacent character standing in line (three suitable characters with large shields could have +4, +6, and +4 bonuses respectively.
Improved Shield Wall
As Shield Wall above, but you gain bonuses from and grant bonuses to all adjacent shield wall members that can be ‘exposed’. This means that if your shield wall is actually in a square, those with Expert Shield Proficiency on the ‘corners’ still count as members of the shield wall from both the ‘front’ and the ‘side’, granting and receiving bonuses normally. Members on the ‘inside’ of the shield wall do not count as exposed and thus are not included in the shield wall.
When struck by a ranged attack you may spend from your Dexterity pool and make an attack roll (DC equal to the attack roll that struck you) to negate the attack. This does not apply to exceptional ranged attacks such as giant-thrown boulders. You may not use Deflect Arrows while maintaining an aegis, below.
If you are free to use a shield and not maintaining an aegis, you may as an immediate action spend from your Dexterity pool (1/1 per round) to activate an effect that allows you to use your BAB + Shield Bonus to to activate a gaze reflection effect that allows you to use your Base Attack Bonus in place of your normal saving throw to resist or avoid gaze attacks. While maintaining an aegis you may not gain other benefits from your shield, including the shield bonus, Shield Wall, Shield Protector, or Deflect Arrows abilities. As an immediate action you may abandon your aegis to use one of these other abilities.
All adjacent allies (even outside or ineligible for a shield wall) may gain the benefit of your shield bonus in place of their own, if any.
You may spend from your Dexterity pool (4/1 per round) to initiate and maintain a wall of force (based on your shield direction and facing, choose a direction) or globe of invulnerability (centered on your shield). You still gain the benefit of the aegis ability (protection against gaze attacks) while this effect is present (all creatures protected by the wall of force or globe of invulnerability also benefit), but gain no other benefit from your shield.
If you are not currently maintaining an aegis, you may now spend from your Dexterity pool (4/1 per round) to activate it as an immediate action. Maintaining the aegis is now a swift action rather than a single action. You may choose to to spend from your Dexterity pool (2/-) to activate your aegis as an immediate action and the effect lasts only until your next turn.
If you are free to use your shield, as an immediate action you may spend from your Dexterity pool (4/-) to use a spell turning effect against a chosen spell that targets you. If you are maintaining an aegis you may choose to abandon it (ending the effect immediately) in order to use this ability.
The gaze defense is fine. That’s Perseus using his shield against Medusa. Quibble is whether a wooden shield could do this, but in real life look at a dresser top after a good dusting and cleaning. You can sort of see your reflection on some wooden surfaces. Besides, this is a good case for fun and ease of rules trumping realism.