The Shield skill can be an important skill for those to whom combat is a priority, widening their options in battle for attack as well as defense. The Shield skill is actually rather versatile. It can be used in a number of ways. It can be used to either Parry or Block an opponent’s attack, or actually provide a means of attack, by either a Shield Bash to knock an opponent back or down, or to make a Rim Strike to wound the foe.
Parrying is the act of deflecting an in-coming attack, to change the angle at which it is approaching so as to make it miss. This can be done with a shield just as well as with the primary weapon, or the secondary or “off-hand” weapon. a buckler or target is most commonly used for this purpose.
The Parry AV is equal to [(Shield SL) + (Size of the Shield)], plus an att. mod. based on the defender’s CRD and STR.
The Block represents the simplest use of the shield and one of its main virtues. With the Block, the character simply hunkers down behind the shield and accepts the Strike on it from the opponent, to absorb the shock. This is not guaranteed to work, as it still depends on the skill and speed of the defender and how much cover the shield actually provides him, against which the opponent may still hit him if, once again, he is fast, skillful and lucky enough (high enough AV and/or low enough roll).
The Block AV (DV for the attacker’s Contested Roll) is equal to Shield SL) plus an att. mod. based on the defender’s STR, PLUS a bonus based on the degree of cover the shield provides for the character to duck down and hide behind, the size of the shield relative to the size of the character wielding it.
- If (Size x 3) of the shield is up to 1/4 the bearer’s (modified) STA, add only Size to the AV
- If the (Size x 3) of the shield is up to 1/2 the bearer’s (modified) STA, add (Size x 2) to the AV
- If the (Size x 3) of the shield is up to 3/4 the bearer’s (modified) STA, add (Size x 3) to the AV
- If the (Size x 3) of the shield is up to the bearer’s (modified) STA, add (Size x 4) to the AV
This Block DV is also be used when the character is subjected to missile fire of any kind, provided the character is actually aware of his danger and the player actually states he is using the shield to take cover best he can in response.
The Pavisse and Mantlet are made specifically for this purpose rather than to be wielded in the melée like any other sort of shield, with a stand attached to their back so they can stand up independently, the Mantlet commonly being even larger, to be wheeled around on the battle field as portable cover against archers. These are discussed along with the rest of the shields in the notes in the Appendix.
IF he is particularly pressed by a tough foe in battle, the character is able to combine his Block ability with one of his other types of defenses, into a Block-Dodge, Parry-Dodge, or Block-Parry defense. For this type of defense the applicable Defense DV’s is added together, but this effort will exhaust the character’s options for defending much more quickly.
Some shields are constructed with dagger-like spikes as their center bosses, compounding the Shield Bash with what amounts to a dagger Thrust Attack. Others have a dagger or shortsword-like blade mounted to the rim so the bearer has the option of making a dagger Thrust Attack with the rim OR a conventional Rim Strike, OR a Shield Bash with it, as desired, according to the circumstances.
Shield Bashing is one of the more aggressive aspects of the Shield skill. By putting his shoulder and weight behind it and successfully slamming an opponent with his shield, the character may attempt to knock an opponent off balance or even off his feet, along with the possibility of effectively Stunning the foe into inaction temporarily.
Shield bashing requires a roll “to hit” just like any other weapon attack. The character’s AV for this is equal to his (Shield SL), plus an att. mod. based on the character’s CRD and STR, PLUS (shield Size) PLUS the number of points by which the (modified) STA of the attacker is greater than his foe, OR minus if his (modified) STA is less, as applicable.
The DV is equal to the target’s Dodge, normally, OR Block DV OR Parry DV if also equipped with a shield. The Brawl skill can also be used to Parry, deflecting the blow by shoving it aside.
The POT of a Shield Bash blow is equal to [(STR ÷ 2) + (modified STA)], PLUS a DB equal to the Size of the shield, plus (1 per 4 lb’s) of the weight of the shield.
- Being successfully struck by a Shield Bash requires the opponent to make a successful AGL check vs. the attacker’s (Shield Bash POT) to keep his feet, and is subject to “Knock-Back”, normally.
- Failing the AGL check indicates the foe has not only been knocked back, but that he has lost his footing and fallen to the ground when he reaches that distance.
- If the Shield bash is potent enough, the rules for being Stunned may also come into play.
Rim Strikes are similar to Shield Bashing, but utilize the rim of the shield as a weapon to inflict a wound, instead. Where Shield Bashing is intended to knock a foe back, and hopefully down so the attacker gains a height advantage to help finish him off, the Rim Strike is an actual attack that may knock the foe back.
The POT of a Rim Strike is the same as any one-handed weapon strike, PLUS a DB equal to the Size of the shield, plus (1 per 3 lb’s) of the weight of the shield. If the POT is sufficient, the Knock Back and Stun rules may come into play, normally.