Simple Shield Options

One of the things I want to do is provides some spell-less class options for the people of Kin. Since the continent and its associated islands have been without magic for millenia the standard Bard, Paladin, and Ranger builds make little sense. Current characters were built knowing that they will eventually get spells, but they do not know when. Some players made the choice to make their characters knowing that. But with the mundane ranger out there in the wild, this option makes a ton of sense for gaming in the Everflow.

The Paladin build is a bit more difficult. In order to fit the Kingdom of Kirtin’s Shield the 5th edition shield rules need to be tweaked. There needs to be a wider variety of shields for a shield expert to use. But one of the blessings about 5th edition is that it starts on a simple foundation compared to other rule-sets in Dungeons & Dragons history.

by Arctic Wolf at

by Arctic Wolf at

As the Basic Rules outline there is one type of shield, not the nearly dozen that existed in previous systems. To add options and keep it simple, I chose to mimic the armor system – light, medium and heavy. The base shield would be medium and the rules unchanged. That keeps the general rules simple enough. Most shields work like this.

The heavy shield, or tower shield, is that massive portable wall that an archer’s companion or shield wall would carry with them in order to protect the archers, siege operators or polearm users (often peasants). It is heavy (45 pounds, requires a 15 STR to use), expensive (30 gold) but provides a strong AC bonus of +4. A shield that large also reduces movement by 10 feet, in addition to any encumbrance issues. One ally of the wielder, or the wielder, can use an action to take full cover behind the tower shield. Only Fighters, Paladins and Clerics (War domain priests of Ahid, Az, Sel and Nuk) are proficient in this shield.

The light shield, or buckler, is tiny. It is strapped to the forearm and can allow for dual weapon fighting. It isn’t great at protection and it can hamper the ability to fight with two weapons. Weighing only 4 pounds it costs 20 gold and provides just a +1 AC bonus. But there are limits. If the character is using both weapons they do not get the defensive bonus. If the player commits their character to the defensive mode they can use their shield hand in a reaction. Bards, Rangers, Rogues, Clerics and Fighters start with proficiency in the buckler.

Here’s a not fancy table (also the first table on Full Moon Storytelling).

Type Cost AC STR Classes in Kin Effect Weight
Buckler 20 +1 Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue +1 to AC and use that hand for a reaction or can use that hand for an action with no AC bonus. 4 lb
Medium 10 +2 Cleric, Druid (non-metal), Fighter, Paladin, Ranger  – 6 lb
Tower 30 +3 15 Fighter, Paladin, Cleric (War) Reduces movement rate by 10 feet. Can be used as total cover by giving up an action. 45 lb

Again, the goal is to add some shield options with significant differences from the baseline rules, but to keep things simple for those that want to play simply. Many people clearly enjoy that 5th edition does not have rules bloat.

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