Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shields Again

A ways back I did some analysis on the shield and it's application in D&Dish gaming.  Lot's of number crunching most of it showing how 1 pt to AC is sorta wimpy and sells the shield short as they are darned useful in actual combat. Here's another idea, not brand new but not too tricky.

Shield rule XXII
1. Shields have HP scores (suggesting 6 for wooden, 9 for iron-bound, 12 for all metal)
2.  Modify AC as per the rules you are playing with.
3. The damage on any even scoring damage blow suffered by a shield-bearer, when the shield counts,   is divided between the shield and the shield-bearer.  Shields are ruined when they run out of HP.
(optional a). Excess damage beyond what the shield can take is ignored
(optional b). Excess daamge beyond what the shiled can take is suffered by the shield bearer.
(optional c). Missile weapons only inflict 1 pt of damage to a shield, with the exception of throwing axes and darned big missiles.
(optional d). Firearms punch through shields, the shield only takes 1 pt of damage and the remainder suffered by the shield-bearer (unless you have say bullet-proof shields).

Advantage... shields are darned handy, certainly so  at low level or when fighting mannish foes.
Disadvantage- there's another score to keep track of (good luck enofrcing that) and math.

What about magic shields?  Well... uh yeah, what about them?    I suppose there are 3 general options:
I. Magic shields aren't damaged by blow from normal weapons.
II. Magic shields arent damaged by normal weapons scoring damage less then the shield HP total.
III Magic shields have a lot more HP  (10 more per plus)

No numerical analysis this time (I'll have to work that up).


  1. The numbers on the shields are pretty small, so one could just have the shield take one entire hit per combat, player chooses after hit but before damage rolled. When used the shield must make an item saving throw or be destroyed.

    Give fighters an extra shield use, saving throw still required.

    No tracking and predictable utility are the big pluses, and it can be put to pretty dramatic use.

    1. Shield saves can be sweet but... it is something else for the player to track, it just isn't fiddily as hp for a shield. How's the shield save modified by a really big blow? Do different shield types modify the shield save; if not why not? Do some weapons beat shields and how is that impacted by a shield save?

    2. Since you can only use it once per combat anyway, there's no reason to finesse the save. It's pretty much just there so you can fail it and deliciously describe exactly how it was destroyed while saving you from being swallowed by the purple worm or dissolved by some pudding. Lots of things much more valuable than shields receive much less attention from the rules, and when I add rules to B/X I strictly draw the line at one paragraph.

    3. I get where you are going but shields work more then once per combat, granted with the numbers I was using above the shield isn't too likley to survive more then one combat itself once you get past fighting kobolds and goblins. My older post had a biit on shield saves and the impact on combat but without the autobreak.