D&D 5E Have we misunderstood the shield and sword fighter (or warrior)?

ECMO3

Hero
"A shield is made from wood or metal and is carried in one hand. Wielding a shield increases your Armor Class by 2. You can benefit from only one shield at a time." ~quoted from the rules (and the D&D Beyond site).

Edit for the link: Shield

In that description, it's not even said to be armor. It's a hand-item which can be wielded to gain the benefit of +2 AC.


For comparison the definition of half-plate is: "Half-plate consists of shaped metal plates that cover most of the wearers body. It does not include leg protection beyond simple greaves that are attached with leather straps."

So I guess half-plate is not armor either since it is "not even said to be armor"

A shield is listed on page 146 as requiring an action to doff AND it also defined doff as taking it off.

A shield is in the table labeled "Donning and Doffing Armor" also on page 146 and is in the table labeled "ARMOR" on page 145.
 

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Argyle King

Legend
For comparison the definition of half-plate is: "Half-plate consists of shaped metal plates that cover most of the wearers body. It does not include leg protection beyond simple greaves that are attached with leather straps."

So I guess half-plate is not armor either since it is "not even said to be armor"

A shield is listed on page 146 as requiring an action to doff AND it also defined doff as taking it off.

A shield is in the table labeled "Donning and Doffing Armor" also on page 146 and is in the table labeled "ARMOR" on page 145.

I'm aware of that the shield is listed in the table discussing donning and doffing. I have not disputed that doffing is an action.

However, what I've quoted also shows the shield as being an item held in the hand.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I'm aware of that the shield is listed in the table discussing donning and doffing. I have not disputed that doffing is an action.

To be clear it is in the table labeled "Donning and Doffing Armor"

And the text above that table states that doffing is specifically to "take armor off".

Explain how you are going to drop it without taking it off .... because it is an action to take it off according to the rules.

Further when you "don" you "put on" armor according to the PHB page 146. So if you "donned" your shield then according to the verbiage in the PHB you "put on" your shield and further according. To the PHB it is an action to take it off.

However, what I've quoted also shows the shield as being an item held in the hand.

You have not quoted anything saying it is "held" in hand. Go back read your quote above, it says exactly what I claimed it said three posts ago. It uses the words "carried" and "wielded" exactly like I said it did.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
To be clear it is in the table for "Donning and Doffing Armor"

And the text above states that doffing is specitically "take armor off".

Explain how you are going to drop it without taking it off .... because it is an action to take it off.



You have not quoted anything saying it is "held" in hand. Go back read your quote above, it says exactly what I claimed it said three posts ago. It uses the words "carried" and "wielded" exactly like I said it did previously.
Not to be pedantic, but how do I carry something in my hand without holding it?
 


ECMO3

Hero
If you aren't using an arm-strap, it would fall to the ground.

Sure you can drop it and you just used your action to do that. Now you have a move and a bonus action left.

You can say "I can drop my shield" but that is still an action, because you have to take it off to drop it and it is an action to take it off. The rules are explicit and clear on this.

If you drop a boulder on someone that doesn't make it not an attack because I am allowed to drop something for free. If I am carrying caltrops or ball bearings in my hand I can't just put them out to create a barrier because "well I am carrying them and I can drop them for free" .... it is an action to do any of these things.

It doesn't take an action to unequip it, it takes an action to doff it (not the same thing, FYI).

It takes an action to "take off" a shield. That is in the rules. That is what doffing it is according to the rules
 
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ECMO3

Hero
I'm aware of that the shield is listed in the table discussing donning and doffing. I have not disputed that doffing is an action.

To be clear it is in the table for "Donning and Doffing Armor"

And the text above states that doffing is specitically "take armor off".

Explain how you are going to drop it without taking it off .... because it is an action to take it off.

However, what I've quoted also shows the shield as being an item held in the hand.

You have not quoted anything saying it is "held" in hand. Go read your quote above, it says exactly what I said it said three posts ago. It uses the words "carried" and "wielded" just like I said.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
Not to be pedantic, but how do I carry something in my hand without holding it?
It is mostly semantics.

The difference is a rules difference, but an important one. The argument is you can drop something that is "held" without an action (the argument istself is not well supported, but that is the premise). However, the rules don't actually say it is "held" though and the rules do not at all provide for freely dropping things that are "carried" or worn.

That said, if I have a splint on my hand, I am "carrying" and "wearing" that splint, but I am probably not "holding" it.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I know that I personally can sure as heck swim with one hand (and two feet). I bet I could do it with a wooden shield. (Maybe not if I was also wearing a lot of armour, but that's another story).

Climbing with a shield on would not be impossible either, depending on what you're trying to climb. I once had a DM try to claim that it would be "impossible" to climb a ladder (of all things) with a shield on. Lucky for me, I was in a store with a 12-foot ceiling and a ladder, so I showed him that I was perfectly capable of climbing up a ladder with NO hands, far or less ONE.

People can do a lot of things that we think they can't, and even more if they practice it. Many things are hard to do (especially if you don't know the "trick" to it) but people are pretty amazing. (Why am I on this tangent? Ignore me.)
 

Argyle King

Legend
It is mostly semantics.

The difference is a rules difference, but an important one. The argument is you can drop something that is "held" without an action (the argument istself is not well supported, but that is the premise). However, the rules don't actually say it is "held" though and the rules do not at all provide for freely dropping things that are "carried" or worn.

That said, if I have a splint on my hand, I am "carrying" and "wearing" that splint, but I am probably not "holding" it.

I agree that you would be wearing it.
I do not believe it is natural language to say you are carrying it.

I suppose there may be a way in 5e to wield something without using hands. I'm not familiar with techniques for holding a shield with teeth or feet, but it is a fantasy game, so I'm open to hearing how such an idea may work.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I agree that you would be wearing it.
I do not believe it is natural language to say you are carrying it.

I suppose there may be a way in 5e to wield something without using hands. I'm not familiar with techniques for holding a shield with teeth or feet, but it is a fantasy game, so I'm open to hearing how such an idea may work.
Wrist razors from Athas are blades attached to a forearm bracer. 3e had armor spikes that could be used to make attacks. I don't know if D&D ever had it, but Pathfinder had the Dwarven Boulder Helm, specifically designed to head butt someone. 3.5 had the Dwarven Buckler-Axe, strapped to the forearm.

So weapons that don't require the actual use of the hand could exist in the game. Not that I expect to see them, 5e's "vision" doesn't seem to include exotic weaponry.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
IIRC 2E had head spikes, elbow spikes, and knee spikes for armor.

As for the shields, it just depends on how you want them to function. 5E designers decided the default is a strapped shield, not a truly carried shield, as indicated in that the shield is "worn" so takes more effort to don/doff. The benefit to the extra time is that you can't drop such a shield, so it just depends on if that benefit is worth the time.

It is confusing since nothing else (other than the don/doff time) indicates a strapped shield, the wording under shields of "carried in one hand" would indicate otherwise. The wording under shield should have specified it was strapped and thus worn since that was their intent.

So, once again, WotC's use of natural language results in their "intent" not coming across and creating more confusion and disagreement than simply being direct and thorough would have done. Well, it is what I came to expect a long time ago when it comes to 5E and WotC.
 

I think this is one of those occasions where the 5e ruleset conflicts with observable reality, so you need to consult your DM for their decision on the matter.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The relevant rules:

Shields. A shield is made from wood or metal and is carried in one hand. Wielding a shield increases your Armor Class by 2, You can benefit from only one shield at a time.

Don. This is the time it takes to put on armor. You benefit from the armor's AC only if you take the full time to don the suit of armor.

Doff. This is the time it takes to take off armor. If you have help, reduce this time by half.

The argument -
1. You do not benefit from the shields AC unless it was donned.
2. Wielding a shield increases your AC by 2.
3. We can thus conclude that the only way to benefit from a shields +2 AC is by wielding and donning said shield.
4. That necessitates the question what is the difference between wielding and donning?
5. My contention is that wielding a shield in 5e is done by donning it and to stop wielding a shield in 5e is by doffing it.
6. Therefore, the only way to stop wielding a shield is by doffing it.

I really don't understand the notion that the 5e rules support being able to don the shield without wielding it.

Fiction and Realism
Fictionally, one can think of a D&D shield being strapped onto your arm. Realistically these types of shields were not typically just strapped to your arm because force (to the upper part of the shield for example) can cause them to rotate around the arm and end up out of position, becoming a hindrance more than a benefit. One would typically strap their arm in so that there was also a handle or strap over the hand to hold on to in order to prevent the rotation of the shield around the arm.

Unrealistic Combat Rounds
Combat is split up in turn based order. This means your loadout for attacking could potentially be different than your loadout for offturn defense. The game recognizes this and puts limitations on your ability to change out equipment. One such limitation is imposed on shields requiring them an action to equip or unequip. This is specifically to prevent many non-genre appropriate shenanigans.
 

Argyle King

Legend
Wrist razors from Athas are blades attached to a forearm bracer. 3e had armor spikes that could be used to make attacks. I don't know if D&D ever had it, but Pathfinder had the Dwarven Boulder Helm, specifically designed to head butt someone. 3.5 had the Dwarven Buckler-Axe, strapped to the forearm.

So weapons that don't require the actual use of the hand could exist in the game. Not that I expect to see them, 5e's "vision" doesn't seem to include exotic weaponry.

Those are good examples of adding another mode of use for an object by adding accessories -the buckler axe being of particular relevance.

I think there is room to add a few customization options for weapons, armors, and shields; but I think that would go against the general direction of the game being simplified/streamlined. A 5e "arms and equipment guide" for those wanting additional options is something I would have an interest in.

After my previous post, I had an idea for bard-specific magic item: the Shieldmonica. I plan to write it out more later. For now, the rough idea is that it's a harmonica which generates a shield while played. +2 AC for the user, but it also provides advantage on perception checks for detecting the bard for creatures within 100ft. While being played, the tune (played on the harmonica) can also be used as the verbal and somatic components of bad spells.

In regards to the shield conversation, I think it has derailed the thread too much already.

One thing I've learned -which is relevant to the topic of "sword & board"- is that I wish 5e offered a few more options for that style. For both attack and defense, what's listed as a "shield" for 5e is simultaneously vague and very specific about what it is.
 

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