This skill allows a warrior who is skilled with Large Shields to use his shield to defend a nearby target. The master defender can use his shield to defend himself and one other target. The target being defended must be involved in the same melee as the master defender (using a melee weapon), or otherwise to the immediate right or left of the target and the declaration to defend them must be made at the beginning of the round. If the Master Defender is using a Large Round Shield, the target being defended gains a bonus to his DEF equal to the Master Defender's rank with this skill times 3.5 (i.e., a rank 10 Master Defender adds 35 to the the defense of the person he is defending). This bonus decreases to 2.5 if the Master Defender is using a Kite Shield and 2.0 if using a Tower Shield (i.e., a larger shield allows the Master Defender to better defend himself but at the price of reducing the ability to Defend Other).
The master defender who is Stunned or using the Full Defense or Desperate Defense maneuvers cannot Defend Other. If they are using the Defending maneuver (sacrificing SC for DEF) the target being defended only gets half the normal DEF bonus.
If the target being defended is being attacked by multiple attackers, the master defender can defend against all of them, but his bonus is divided by the number of attackers. For example, Derrick is rank 10 and is defending Darius from 5 giant ants. Derrick's master defender bonus is 35% but, since Darius is being attacked by 5 creatures, the bonus is divided by 5. Darius gets a +7 to his DEF against each of the ants.
The warrior's rank with this skill cannot exceed his rank with Large Shields.
Note that all shields have a Minimum STR needed to wield. Defending others requires even more STR. The Minimum STR to defend others is 2 higher than listed for the given shield.
Although Master Defender special maneuvers cannot be used with small shields (small round shield and buckler), Master Defender skill allows the character use small shields for their own defense when necessary. Rank is equal to Master Defender rank.
Magic shields add their bonus directly. Thus, if the Master Defender is using a +5 DEF shield, the +5 DEF also adds to the defense when used to Defend Other. If the Master Defender is using a magic shield that adds +1 DEF per rank, then he gets the +1 DEF per rank of Master Defender when using the Defend Other maneuver.
This skill also enhances the Master Defender's own skill with defense, giving him a +1 DEF per rank of this skill regardless of the type of shield being used.
A Master Defender can throw his large round shield (not tower or kite shields) to defend a target at range from a single attack. Maximum range is equal to (STR - 15) + (DEX - 15) + (Rank x 2) feet. The Master Defender need not have a held action to perform this maneuver, but he must be aware of the attack that he is defending against. The Master Defender must roll equal to or less than (Rank x 6) on percentile dice and, if successful, the attack is deflected and misses the intended target. The shield will land on the ground a short distance beyond the point of the intercept.
Someone skilled with shield can also employ their shield more effectively against archers and this is even more true for a Master Defender. The character cannot attack, or take any other action except movement (Walk or Run only, no Sprint or Fast Sprint). Bonus is 4% per rank for Large Round Shield, 5% for Kite Shield and 6% per rank for Kite and Tower Shield. This bonus applies to the Master Defender, and one additional person who is behind the Master Defender (the Master Defender must also desire to protect that person for them to get the bonus). Note that this bonus is in addition to normal shield bonus for defense.
A Master Defender can choose to wield two shields instead of a shield and a weapon. When doing this, he can use two special shield maneuvers. For example, he can perform both a Shield Bash and Defend Other. The shields must be Large Round Shields. Kite and Tower shields are too unwieldy to be able to double wield.
A character cannot develop skill in more than one "master" skill. For example, if someone has Master Bowman skill, they cannot develop Master Defender or Master of Hurled Weapons skill.