Shields are made out of a wide variety of metals, hides and woods and an equally wide variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the material used, the strength and abilities of a shield may differ. The purpose of a shield is simple: a shield provides a physical barrier between an adventurer and his opponent's physical attacks. Shields may be enchanted to provide further defensive capability, however, all shields provided a standard +20 Defensive Strength (the enchant of the shield+20 is added directly to DS, regardless of stance). This bonus, may, of course, be reduced if a particularly poor material is used.
Shields are used extensively during the Evade/Block/Parry portion of combat. If an Evade attempt fails, the next step is the opportunity to block the attack. In order to block, the character must have a shield in their left hand. Shields provide more benefit when blocking missile and bolt spell attacks than they do against melee attacks. It is not possible, however, to block a bolt outright without using a specially enhanced shield.
Shield Use is the primary skill relating to proficiency in shields.
There are four basic types of shields: small, medium, large, and tower. The size of the shield determines its effectiveness in defense. The larger the shield, the better it defends, but at the same time, the worse it affects your ability to dodge and evade attacks, potentially lowering the overall defense of a character well trained in Dodging. Conversely, a small shield doesn't defend an attacker as well as a large shield does, but it allows for a character well trained in Dodging to evade attacks better. Generally, a character that is very well trained in Shield Use and not well trained in Dodging would benefit more from a larger shield, and a character with more training in Dodging than in Shield Use would benefit more from a smaller shield. When ranks in both Dodging and Shield Use are near equal, there are other factors that may determine what size shield may better benefit a character's defenses.
- Small Shield
- Alternative names: buckler, kidney shield, targe
- Small shields, sometimes called kidney shields or bucklers, are typically worn on the wrist or the back of the hand in a manner that makes the hand less capable of manipulating objects. Small shields typically weigh 6 pounds, have a shield size modifier of -15%, and lower evade defense by 22%.
- Medium Shield
- Alternative names: heater, heater shield, knight's shield, lantern shield, parma, target shield
- Medium shields, also called target shields, are the standard size shield found within Elanthia. They are the base shield used to determine defensive strength and the ability to outright block an attack. Medium shields typically weigh about 8 pounds, have a shield size modifier of +0%, and lower evade defense by 30%.
- Large Shield
- Alternative names: aegis, kite shield, pageant shield, round shield, scutum
- Large, or round shields, are large, bulky shields that are more effective at blocking attacks than smaller shields. Large shields typically weigh 9 pounds, have a shield size modifier of +15%, and lower evade defense by 38%.
- Tower Shield
- Alternative names: greatshield, mantlet, pavis, wall shield
- Tower, wall, or great shields are the largest of portable shields. They're typically large enough to provide complete cover from head to toe, allowing the defender to hide behind the shield until they're ready to make an attack. Tower shields weigh 12 pounds, have a shield size modifier of +30%, and lower evade defense by 46% due to their large bulk.
- For more detailed formulas, see Block.
Shields provide a chance to block any attack roll outright. The odds for an outright block are based on the defender's Shield Use ranks compared to the attacker's level. It is affected by stats, shield size, and stance.
A character with 1x shield training and a medium shield will block a like-level foe roughly 5% of the time in stance offensive. A character with 3x shield training and all other factors the same would have roughly a 15% chance to block that same attack.
If the attack is not outright blocked (or evaded/parried), then the shield contributes to Defensive Strength. The defender receives +20 DS just for holding a shield as well as the shield's enchantment bonus. Every 3 ranks of Shield Use additionally provides between +1 DS (in offensive stance) and +2 DS (in defensive stance) vs. melee attacks. Against ranged attacks, shield training is about +50% more effective. Larger shields provide even more block defense (according to their shield size modifier) at the cost of losing more evade defense.
Shields do not usually protect against warding magic. However, if the defender is not wearing armor, then holding a shield will lower CvA to +15. Shield Focus and Ensorcell can also lower CvA when holding a shield (even if the defender wears armor). Some rare shields confer a persistent bonus to Target Defense (TD).
- Main article: Shield Specialization
Shield Specialization is a maneuver system similar to Combat Maneuvers for warriors, rogues, and paladins. Each rank in Shield Use provides one Shield Training Point, which can be used to train in various shield-based abilities and attacks. The SHIELD (verb) provides access to this system.
- Sanctified (made of white ora or eonake)
- Antimagic (made of veil iron/krodera/kroderine, or has been permanently ensorcelled)
- Shield harness
- Banshee flare