WARNING: Outdated Rules
The rules in this section have become obsolete following the recent rules overhaul. The most current version of the rules are those included in the Core Rules section of this website.
Shields block or deflect incoming attacks, reducing the likelihood of the Defender being struck. But shields can also be heavy and awkward, both in and out of combat, and impose certain penalties when carried or worn.
When attacked, a Defender adds the Defense Adjustment of his shield to his Defense roll against the Attack. So if Lunk is using a Targe when an orc swings at him, he makes an Adjustment of +2 to his Defense roll against the Attack. If the orc’s Attack roll is a 9, and Lunk throws an 8 Defense roll, it’s the +2 Adjustment granted by his Targe that raises his Defense roll to 10, blocking the orc’s swing. Good thing Lunk brought that shield!
Just as with armor, there can be a trade-off to carrying a shield into battle. For starters, any combatant using a shield is unable to wield any weapon that requires two hands, including heavy melee weapons as well as ranged weapons like bows, crossbows, or slings. Arcane spellcasters (those that use Mana Points) using shields suffer a Spellcasting Adjustment to their Savvy Check on any Attempt to cast a spell requiring gestures—which is almost all of them. (Divine casters do not suffer this same penalty; the gods are more impressed by spoken prayers than wiggling fingers.) These penalties apply regardless of the Brawn of the shield user, or the Brawn Min of the shield.
The Brawn Min of the shield and the Brawn of the shield-bearer both matter a great deal in determining the penalties to combat, though. For every point by which the shield’s Brawn Minimum exceeds the character’s current Brawn, he suffers a -1 Adjustment to all Attack rolls, whether Brawn- or Finesse-based, as well as to any Check rolls connected with balancing, falling down, or getting up.
Again, the table lists a Size for each type of Shield. These Sizes only come into play when a shield is being carried as dead weight on the character’s back or in his pack—when the shield is equipped and ready for use, the Brawn Min penalties, if any, apply instead.