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.

Shield Proficiency

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.

Strength Requirement

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 NameAC BonusStealthStrengthWeightCost
Light Armor
Buckler+ 13 lbs5 gp
Gauntlet+ 1Str 92 lbs20 gp
Medium Armor
Round Shield+ 26 lbs10 gp
Kite Shield+ 2DisadvantagedStr 1110 lbs25 gp
Pavise+ 2DisadvantagedStr 1318 lbs75 gp
Heavy Armor
Iron Sleeve+ 2Disadvantaged12 lbs50 gp
Tower Shield+ 4DisadvantagedStr 1525 lbs75 gp
Monarch Shield+ 3DisadvantagedStr 1735 lbs250 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.

Iron Sleeve

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.

Kite Shield

You also add the AC Bonus provided from this shield to a creature you are mounted on.

Monarch Shield

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.

Tower Shield

You only receives the AC bonus from the tower shield against ranged attack rolls.


4.75 Average Shield Rating
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5 3 reviews
2 people thought this was flavorful
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Guest Review4 / 5 Shields
Pretty cool!I dig this a lot; for the most part I like 5e's streamlining of various combat systems over earlier editions, but the consolidating shields down in to just the one flat +2 to ac is really boring and unflavorful. This might maybe lean just a tad too much in the direction of being too complicated, but it's adaptable.
Suggested ImprovementsI would maybe rethink about the proficiency thing; tying it to only armor tier proficiency doesn't seem quite right, shields are more of a "martial" type piece of gear so I don't think it necessarily follows that a magic user like a sorcerer could pick up the Lightly Armored feat and automatically also know how to block with a buckler or gauntlet because those kinds of maneuvers require a not insubstantial amount of dexterity that casters generally do not have. I'd probably still require shield proficiency in addition to a given armor tier proficiency. Also, I don't really get the "Monarch" shield, the name nor the description; if it's named after the shield from Diablo, that's a Heater shield, and why would it stop working when you're debilitated when all the rest don't do this?
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Guest Review Flavorful!5 / 5 Shields
This is perfectThese are amazing, thank you for sharing!
Revision: 1
Guest Review Flavorful!5 / 5 Shields
AwesomeI love these so much, they add so much of the versatility I have attempted to homebrew myself. Definitely using them in my campaigns, thank you so much for making this!
Revision: 1
Guest Review5 / 5 Shields
CuttlefiendI cannot believe they had left various shields out of 5e. This article provided an immediate and fair fix to our sessions.

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