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Nerdarchy > Editorial  > RPG Ideas — Shields

RPG Ideas — Shields

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Welcome once again to the weekly newsletter. This week’s topic is shields, which we discussed in our weekly live chat. We hangout every Monday evening at 8 p.m. EST on Nerdarchy Live to talk about D&D, RPGs, gaming, life and whatever nerdy stuff comes up. You can get Nerdarchy the Newsletter delivered to your inbox each week, along with updates and info on how to game with Nerdarchy plus snag a FREE GIFT by signing up here.


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Delving Dave’s Dungeon

Last week we did swords so this week had to be shields. Sword and board, am I right? From this combo clearly the sword is more glamorous. There are tons of famous swords but not so many shields. I could only think of one — Captain America’s shield. Something doesn’t have to be glamorous to be important.

We talked about how shields can be a way to tell stories about your world during our weekly live chat. When enemies arrive on the battlefield with the sun gleaming off their shields emblazoned with heraldry or religious iconography you expect players to ask if their characters recognize the symbols. Let them make the appropriate Intelligence (History or Religion) check and if they succeed they get more information. My suggestion is tell the players it looks familiar and give them a name of an order, organization, kingdom or deity. Even if they fail the check they have a name they can investigate later on.

This is my preferred way of giving information about the campaign world. Instead of info dumps on the players instead find ways for them to engage in the world’s history. Get the players to ask the questions and have the answers revealed by interacting with the world. Even if they succeed, the answer might lead to a location or NPC in your world so they can continue to learn about the campaign through interaction.

Another idea brought up in the chat was gnomes using puzzle shields. Their shields lock together to form actual walls. I envision the front row of gnomes wearing special armor with built-in footholds. They run up and drive their shields into the ground as they take a knee. The bottom of the frontliner’s shields have spikes along the bottom to drive them into ground. The second line literally runs up their backs using the footholds. They lock their shields to the gnome beneath them and to either side. This creates a mobile gnomish wall the second line can use to lob down bombs or strike with long spears over. The shields could have open portals to drive spears through from the frontliners. A third line could also support the front line with pikes pushed through these portals. The third rank would also pass their shields up to rank two. These shields remain unattached from the wall so they can be used to stop attacks from above.

Frequent awesome chat viewer Bryan Smith (Dungeon_Dabbler on Instagram) brought it up during the chat and then created an illustration.

Perhaps the gnomes circle up on the battlefield creating defensive domes where they can attack down onto their enemies. This would also cause funnels their enemies would risk moving through if they wished to advance past the deadly defensive domes. I now want to introduce my players to the puzzle brigade, a highly decorated gnomish elite force. Either as allies who maybe they don’t take seriously or as enemies presenting unorthodox tactics they have to overcome on the battlefield.

From Ted’s Head

Shields are iconic features of the typical warrior. If you managed to catch the live chat about this topic I tossed out an idea for a cool construct that carries armaments into battle. I still have a desire to write this monster up but a time crunch is against me so look for this sometime later on the website. For now enjoy some cool shields meant to be paired with the swords I made last week, or maybe just shields inspired by their design.

Shield of the Skies

Armor (shield), very rare (requires attunement)

This large shield is adorned with images one might attribute to the sky like clouds, birds in flight or even the sun in the sky. This +1 shield has the normal handle and strap but it is much lighter than a shield of its size should be. If you are conscious and you fall you can hoist the shield above your head and the shield allows you to fall at a safe falling speed of 60 feet per round, similar to feather fall. The shield uses its magic and only works if you are falling. There are no limits to the number of times the shield can limit your fall.

Alternatively, while falling you can place the shield beneath your feet and gain a fly speed, riding the shield like a flying surfboard. Once activated the fly speed equals your speed and lasts 10 minutes. Your feet are locked onto the shield making it impossible to knock you off of the device. Once you have used this power you cannot do so again until the next dawn.

Thundering Shield of Reprisal

Armor (shield), rare (requires attunement)

This shield is made of metal and stylized like a thunder cloud. The lightning dancing across its surface make it obvious this shield is magical. This +1 shield can do two things. Any spell you cast that deals thunder or lightning damage has the thunder or lightning damage increased by 1d6. The added damage can only be used once each round, regardless of how many spells you are able to cast.

In addition if you are missed by a melee attack from a creature within 5 feet you can use your reaction to deal thunder damage to the attacker. Roll a number of d6s equal to your proficiency bonus. The sound of the thunder can easily be heard up to 100 feet away. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. Once you have done so you must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

From the Nerditor’s Desk

During our most recent session of Nobody’s Heroes, the Cypher System superhero campaign we play Tuesday nights at Nerdarchy Live, our team was targeted for supervillainy by a digital deviant named Gamer Girl. The whole team got pixelated and pulled into a video game world where we faced a variety of challenges inspired by some of our Game Master’s favorite games.

After my character Nite Lite failed one such challenge he found himself imprisoned in a fantasy castle dungeon while the rest of the Crime Ruiners (our superhero team) became transformed into fantasy versions of themselves on a quest to rescue him. The GM asked each player to describe how their superhero characters appeared in this world. Nerdarchist Dave’s character Blowhard appeared as a medieval knight in shining armor and carried a gleaming shield emblazoned with an image of a wind elemental. It was really fun and almost immediately Nerdarchist Ted and I messaged each other to say we’ve got to make a magic item inspired by the scenario.

Could the timing have been more perfect?

Braggart’s Bastion

Armor (shield), rare (requires attunement)

While holding this shield, you have a +1 bonus to AC. This bonus is in addition to the shield’s normal bonus to AC.

The front of this silver heater shield is emblazoned with an image of cloud bearing a humanoid face. While holding this shield you can use an action to cast the gust spell (save DC 13).

In addition you can use an action to cast the gust of wind spell (save DC 13) from it. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, regaining all uses after you compete a long rest. Whenever you cast either of these spells the face on the shield animates to exhale the gust with tremendous force. You may also expend one of the uses of this feature and forego the need to breathe for 1 hour, though you can end this benefit early (for example, to speak). If you use the shield in this way and cast either gust or gust of wind this benefit ends early.

*Featured image — “With a sudden flurry of clicking and locking the gnomes Puzzle Shields make a quick and sturdy wall in the blink of an eye.” — dungeon_dabbler on Instagram

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Nerdarchy staff

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