Saturday, July 14, 2012

House Rule: Shields Shall Be Splintered

This is a variation on Trollsmyth's house rule.  Here.

Any time a character takes damage, he may opt to sacrifice his shield (if he is equipped with one), declaring it "splintered."  This renders the shield useless, but has the effect of completely negating the blow that would otherwise have damaged the combatant in question.  This only works for melee attacks, and cannot be used in regards to missiles or thrown weapons.

Against damaging magical spells (even breath weapons) that are clearly targeted and that cause effects which could be blocked, this rule can be invoked in the following way:  the player can declare that his character absorbs most of the effect with his shield, and gains a saving throw (if one was not allowed originally by the spell or magical effect) for half damage.  If there was originally a saving throw allowed, the invoking of this rule means an automatic success on the saving throw - but the shield is rendered useless in any case.


  1. I like the idea, especially as it doesn't get into the realms of how many hit points a shield has. Want to avoid all damage? Lose the shield. Could be a master crafted bit of kit, but would you rather keep the shield or the hit points.

    Quick question though, would you rule that the splintering has to be declared before damage is rolled/announced, or give them the choice to wait and see hoe bad the blow is going to be?

  2. I wait until after. It doesn't matter much to me if they decide to lose it before or after, so long as they lose it. It's essentially a question of fun, but secondarily it's resource management - keep the shield and the +1 to AC, or lose it and live. The savvy GM can do it either way, I just prefer to let the player choose their fate. Especially in the case of targeted magical attacks, it may not solve all the damage issues the PC faces - he may take some anyhow. I think it's up to the GM who is running. I prefer to let them know what's going to befall them if they don't lose the shield first. It's all taste.