Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 6: Equipment


Source Core Rulebook pg. 277 4.0
A shield can increase your character’s defense beyond the protection their armor provides. Your character must be wielding a shield in one hand to make use of it, and it grants its bonus to AC only if they use an action to Raise a Shield. This action grants the shield’s bonus to AC as a circumstance bonus until their next turn starts. A shield’s Speed penalty applies whenever your character is holding the shield, whether they have raised it or not.

Raise a Shield is the action most commonly used with shields. Most shields must be held in one hand, so you can’t hold anything with that hand and Raise a Shield. A buckler, however, doesn’t take up your hand, so you can Raise a Shield with a buckler if the hand is free (or, at the GM’s discretion, if it’s holding a simple, lightweight object that’s not a weapon). You lose the benefits of Raise a Shield if that hand is no longer free.

When you have a tower shield raised, you can use the Take Cover action (page 471) to increase the circumstance bonus to AC to +4. This lasts until the shield is no longer raised. If you would normally provide lesser cover against an attack, having your tower shield raised provides standard cover against it (and other creatures can Take Cover as normal using the cover from your shield).

If you have access to the Shield Block reaction (from your class or from a feat), you can use it while Raising your Shield to reduce the damage you take by an amount equal to the shield’s Hardness. Both you and the shield then take any remaining damage.

Shield Statistics

Source Core Rulebook pg. 277 4.0
Shields have statistics that follow the same rules as armor: Price, Speed Penalty, and Bulk. See page 274 for the rules for those statistics. Their other statistics are described here.

AC Bonus

Source Core Rulebook pg. 277 4.0
A shield grants a circumstance bonus to AC, but only when the shield is raised. This requires using the Raise a Shield action.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 277 4.0
Whenever a shield takes damage, the amount of damage it takes is reduced by this amount. This number is particularly relevant for shields because of the Shield Block feat. The rules for Hardness appear in Item Damage.


Source Core Rulebook pg. 277 4.0
This column lists the shield’s Hit Points (HP) and Broken Threshold (BT). These measure how much damage the shield can take before it’s destroyed (its total HP) and how much it can take before being broken and unusable (its BT). These matter primarily for the Shield Block reaction.

Attacking with a Shield

Source Core Rulebook pg. 277 4.0
A shield can be used as a martial weapon for attacks, using the statistics listed for a shield bash on Table 6–7: Melee Weapons (page 280). The shield bash is an option only for shields that weren’t designed to be used as weapons. A shield can’t have runes added to it. You can also buy and attach a shield boss or shield spikes to a shield to make it a more practical weapon. These can be found on Table 6–7. These work like other weapons and can even be etched with runes.