A gallant knight wields a large kite shields to guard his mount and himself for the barrage of attacks they face. An armored behemoth of a man grabs his tower shield and presses deep into the ranks of the enemy archers, making him neigh untouchable. A dastardly rogue deflects your blade with a thick iron plated gauntlet. In all these cases, the character is protecting them self with something that is a little more complicated than a basic shield.
Shields in D&D
In D&D 5e there is only one type of shield, the Shield. It provides a +2 AC bonus and requires a hand to use. It’s simple, it’s basic, and it’s not a bad system. Unless a group really wants variety and choices, this is fine. Naturally, this system is for a group who does want more variety in defensive options.
Due to the nature of these new shield options, there is more of a gradient in what characters have proficiency with them. For the sake of simplification, each of the shields below will be labeled as either Light, Medium, or Heavy. This is a parallel to the levels of armor. A character with proficiency in that armor type will also have proficiency with the associated shield options. This means that you should ignore ‘Shield’ as an armor proficiency when using this system.
When a character who is not proficient with a shield is using one, they suffer disadvantage on all attack rolls or ability checks.
A character that does not meet the strength requirement for a shield treats the shield has having the two-handed property.
Table of Shield Options
All of the shields detailed blow are used as a replacement from the shield within D&D. Most of these shields have a special property associated with them. Click on the name to be scrolled to the details on what that special property is.
|Armor Name||AC Bonus||Stealth||Strength||Weight||Cost|
|Buckler||+ 1||–||–||3 lbs||5 gp|
|Gauntlet||+ 1||–||Str 9||2 lbs||20 gp|
|Round Shield||+ 2||–||–||6 lbs||10 gp|
|Kite Shield||+ 2||Disadvantaged||Str 11||10 lbs||25 gp|
|Pavise||+ 2||Disadvantaged||Str 13||18 lbs||75 gp|
|Iron Sleeve||+ 2||Disadvantaged||–||12 lbs||50 gp|
|Tower Shield||+ 4||Disadvantaged||Str 15||25 lbs||75 gp|
|Monarch Shield||+ 3||Disadvantaged||Str 17||35 lbs||250 gp|
This is a completely metal gauntlet that covers your hand and forearm, it is designed to stop melee weapons, and can not be forcefully removed.
You only receives the AC bonus from the gauntlet against melee attack rolls. You can still use the hand that the gauntlet is on as if it was free to hold objects, weapons, or perform grapples. However, you do not gain the AC bonus while that hand is in use.
The iron sleeve is a thick and flared armor covering a creatures entire hand and arm fully. The creature can not use this hand for anything other than manipulating the iron sleeve. The iron sleeve can not be forcefully removed, and requires 1 minute to doff.
A creature wielding an iron sleeve only receives a + 1 AC Bonus against ranged weapon attacks. When a creature wielding an iron sleeve performs a shoving attack, the target takes piercing damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier.
You also add the AC Bonus provided from this shield to a creature you are mounted on.
You only receive the AC bonus of a monarch shield when you are not afflicted by any status conditions that gives you disadvantage on attack rolls, or that leaves you incapacitated.
The Pavise only provides a +1 AC bonus against melee attack rolls.
You can place this shield down as an action, providing half cover against any attack that would go through its space, unless the source of the attack is within 5 feet of the shield. While placed down you do not benefit from the AC Bonus of this shield. Any creature within 5 feet of the shield can use the attack action to knock this shield down, ending this effect. If the creature is capable of making multiple attacks with the attack action, this attack replaces one of them.
You only receives the AC bonus from the tower shield against ranged attack rolls.