D&D 5E How would you make a character who uses a shield like Captain America?

Afrodyte

Explorer
Now that I think about it, the boomerang isn't listed as a weapon, and the stats for such a weapon would probably be ideal for a throwing-shield kind of fighting style.
 

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hejtmane

Explorer
While on the Shield coming back on a throw you could make a modify magic shield similar to this item so a magic shield with a return property just pointing out that the concept is in the DM Guide for magic items so making a shield with magic return is an option. Me as a DM would provide you with a magic shield eventually to embrace the concept not that powerful but I would have something. (Myself as a DM I am currently doing my own custom magic items using the DMG current items as guide lines for myself; the big difference I have removed all +tohit because of bounded accuracy)

DwARVEN THROWER
Weapon (warhammer), very rare (requires attunement by a dwarf)
You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made
with this magic weapon. It has the thrown property with
a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet.
When you hit with a ranged attack using this weapon,
it deals an extra ld8 damage or, if the target is a giant,
2d8 damage. Immediately after the attack, the weapon
flies back to your hand.
 
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Skyscraper

Explorer
I would build a class around it altogether.

Give him the shield from the outset. The class is entirely based on that for combat.

A few ideas for class design:

- Base the class on the fighter class.
- replace fighter manoeuvers with shield manoeuvers.
- replace feats with more shield manoeuvers.
- class is limited to medium armor
- shield is magical, a +2 shield (total +4 AC); PC also has advantage REFLEX SAVES against attacks that the PC can see
- shield has a thrown/returning property
- shield does 1d8 damage thrown or melee
- if the PC does not attack with the shield on a turn, he gets an additional +2 to AC and reflex saves until his next turn
- As a reaction, PC can use shield to give adjancent creature +4 AC/ADV on REFLEX SAVES as a reaction
- as the PC levels up, he can develop additional powers, through feat-equivalent of manoeuver-equivalent powers. E.g. knock target creature prone with shield, ricochet shot that bounces off first target then attacks a second, etc...
 

GreenTengu

Adventurer
Okay, so I love the whole Marvel cinematic universe, and the Cap movies are among my favorites, but it's always bugged the heck out of me...

How do you hit someone harder--or at all--with a metal that absorbs impact?!?! :-S

Ahem. Sorry.

All shields, and all armor for that matter, absorbs impact. What that means is that when something hits it, the force of that blow doesn't transfer over to the other side. But if it is moving, it is still a metal object that makes impact itself-- that impact just won't be felt by someone on the other side.

I think the problem wouldn't be the impact part, but the bouncing part. Why does it bounce instead of dropping to the floor after hitting something?
 


Mercule

Adventurer
I don't see why you'd punish a player or make her wait a ton of levels to earn the core ability of Captain America.
I wouldn't -- if I was running Champions. In D&D, there's a genre mismatch. If you want to make it work, great, but the rules aren't really geared towards it.

Let's say you give the paladin the 1d8 damage, ricochet, and returning ability. Let's even say, because it's not really any better than a longbow, you don't require an additional feat or magic item. How is the player going to feel when that one bad guy is in an odd position, without ammo and a chasm between him and the party -- but he has a shield. No feats, no magic item; he just throws it and bounces it twice, critting the wizard. Less severely, do you tell another player "no", when he's in a position where throwing his shield would be helpful? If so, what's the rationale?

I'd go with, at minimum, a feat or a magic item. Probably the magic item. Feel free to hand it to the PC at the start of the game -- the offset is that he either abandons his concept or he knows he's never getting an upgrade. Maybe the item grants proficiency upon attunement (which the PC would have at the start, but no one else could pick it up and do the cool stuff). I wouldn't feel too bad about him not being able to upgrade because the "bounded accuracy" math assumes no magic items.

As far as the ricochet goes, I wouldn't give him that at the beginning. What makes sense, to me, is that each bounce is an attack, whether or not it's against a creature. So, when he gets to 5th level, he could "attack" a side wall to bounce the shield at the wizard in the back line. If he went Fighter, instead of Paladin, that gives him some impressively complex sneak shots. Wall shots automatically bounce correctly, but bounces from creatures require a successful attack roll (if you want to be nicer, just fail the bounce on a natural 1).

If you wanted to get really fancy with the shield, I'd require the magic item as a base then each new trick is a feat. You might get more than one trick per feat, depending on what it is. Cap's break-fall by landing on the shield isn't potent enough to be worth a feat on its own, but might work paired with proficiency in Dexterity saves while holding the shield.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Don't overthink it.

If the concept fits in the campaign, apply the least cumbersome whitewash on it and move forward.

If it were me, I'd just say that you treat the character like the shield is simultaneously a shield and spear at the same time. He uses it like a spear (d6 damage, 20/60 range, versatile (d8) for melee) and he has to have his other hand free to use it this way (d8 damage is fine when used in melee).

When you give him an enchanted shield (if you do), treat it as either one or two magic items. Either a defensive item, or an offensive weapon, or both - but only if you count it like two magic items the PCs found.
 

NotActuallyTim

First Post
Cap's original shield in most continuities is just steel. It's also not round, it's shaped like some bit of American symbolism. The shield the eagle holds in it's claws in some picture somewhere?

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Captain_America's_Shield

Check the part near the bottom, Other Shields used by Captain America.

I'd say Cap's ability to throw stuff and have it return to him is purely skill, and honestly I'd be tempted to make a feat based purely around chucking objects at people and catching them to represent that. Something like...

Stuff Chucker (name is WIP)
-When you throw an object, it bounces off of objects and enemies to return to your hand(s). This causes no additional damage beyond what existing mechanics would allow.
-You add your Proficiency bonus to any attack made by throwing an object, including improvised weapons.
-Anything you throw as weapon attack against a target deals a minimum of 1d6+STR damage.

That's probably full of holes, but whatever.
 

Afrodyte

Explorer
Don't overthink it.

If the concept fits in the campaign, apply the least cumbersome whitewash on it and move forward.

If it were me, I'd just say that you treat the character like the shield is simultaneously a shield and spear at the same time. He uses it like a spear (d6 damage, 20/60 range, versatile (d8) for melee) and he has to have his other hand free to use it this way (d8 damage is fine when used in melee).

When you give him an enchanted shield (if you do), treat it as either one or two magic items. Either a defensive item, or an offensive weapon, or both - but only if you count it like two magic items the PCs found.

Thinking back on it, I'd probably make it a fighting style that allows you to do more with a shield. This way, you don't have to use feats if you don't want to allow them (especially if it's only one player asking for this).

"You can wield a shield as a melee weapon that does 1d6 bludgeoning or slashing damage (depending on the make of the shield) and has the Thrown property (range 10/40)."

Granted, this is wordier than the other fighting styles, so there might be some revision necessary.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
I'd say Cap's ability to throw stuff and have it return to him is purely skill
It very much is, which is why it's a bit misplaced in D&D (hear me out).

The super-soldier serum pretty much (explicitly, IIRC) put Cap at the absolute peek of human physiology. It's literally impossible for a human body to function better than Cap's does. Technically, he's not super-human; maybe ultra-human would be a better term. That includes his mind, too, but he uses it like a quarterback or general rather than as Stark or Banner would -- it's all in hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and natural tactics.

That all comes together for how he uses his shield. It may look like a big Frisbee, but it's still pretty heavy. Without his strength, Cap wouldn't be able to throw it. Without his dexterity, he couldn't effectively aim it. He needs both, as well as his hardiness, to catch and stop it. Without his mind, he couldn't predict five bounces out during the time it takes him to throw it. Even using the shield effectively requires his ultra-human abilities to get the angles right so that he can choose to absorb the shock or ricochet an attack away.

What Cap does isn't just an iconic idiosyncrasy. Every move is actually a testimony to his ultra-human abilities. And that's why I say it doesn't really fit in a D&D game.

Sure, druids can control the weather, but they don't use the wind to fly like Storm. Warlocks have an unlimited eldritch blast, but they don't shoot it from their eyes like Cyclops. Fighters get a lot of stat points as they advance, but they aren't going to have all 20s like Cap.
 

NotActuallyTim

First Post
A fair point, but Bucky Barnes can do it, and I think he could have only learned how pre-mindwashing and robo arm installation.

And he doesn't have any powers.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Don't overthink it.

If the concept fits in the campaign, apply the least cumbersome whitewash on it and move forward.

If it were me, I'd just say that you treat the character like the shield is simultaneously a shield and spear at the same time. He uses it like a spear (d6 damage, 20/60 range, versatile (d8) for melee) and he has to have his other hand free to use it this way (d8 damage is fine when used in melee).

When you give him an enchanted shield (if you do), treat it as either one or two magic items. Either a defensive item, or an offensive weapon, or both - but only if you count it like two magic items the PCs found.

I really like this idea best. It's not really much different that a shield and spear, but flavor-wise instead of describing him as a spear thrower, he's throwing his shield. Multiple attacks? The shield is ricocheting. And it returns to his hand always just in time to block the next attack. The only issue that might come up is with ammunition (javelins normally have a limited supply before you need to pick up thrown ones of just run out). But giving the player an unlimited supply is no more game breaking that mage type characters having cantrips at 1st level that can be used without need or worry for ammo.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
It's not RAW, but as a DM, I'd do it this way:

The shield does 1d6 bludgeoning, as a melee or thrown weapon. Thrown, it has a range of 20/60. This makes it the equivalent of the best weapons with the thrown property.

During his turn, while attacking with the shield, the PC doesn't gain its bonus to AC. So if he draws any attacks of opportunity or some other form of reaction, he's more likely to get hit.

Where you're really going to run into problems is with multiple attacks. In melee, it makes sense, but thrown... I can't think of a way to justify the shield bouncing back fast enough for multiple throws. So I'd allow him to make multiple attacks (assuming he has them available), but only if they're against different creatures (to represent the shield ricocheting from one to another).

I wouldn't require a feat for this, because frankly, there's no mechanical benefit to it. (In fact, given the above restrictions, there are mechanical downsides.) It's just cool flavor.

You know what? I might be persuaded to make the shield d8 damage, just because there is no real advantage.

This is essentially what I had a DM do for me, though I went Eldritch Knight to get Weapon Bond and bonus-action return my shield. The principle was almost identical though.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Sure, druids can control the weather, but they don't use the wind to fly like Storm.

Fly spell. Levitate. Aaroakroa.

Warlocks have an unlimited eldritch blast, but they don't shoot it from their eyes like Cyclops.

Why not? Where the blast comes from is pure flavor. Yes, they need that free hand for somatic components/arcane focus. But you could describe it as eyebolts as easily as you could say its a Predator's shoulder cannon. Makes no difference mechanically.

Fighters get a lot of stat points as they advance, but they aren't going to have all 20s like Cap.

Have you seen how many times they can up there stats? They can get close. But you are also comparing worlds where Gods walk the earth and the Tarrasque could pop up at anytime. No reason players can't strive towards these concepts and describe them in these ways.
 

NotActuallyTim

First Post
Fly spell. Levitate. Aaroakroa.

Why not? Where the blast comes from is pure flavor. Yes, they need that free hand for somatic components/arcane focus. But you could describe it as eyebolts as easily as you could say its a Predator's shoulder cannon. Makes no difference mechanically.

Actually, I think that varies based on what a person considers mechanics. I regard a functioning weather system and somewhat similar to realistically modeled airflow as a valuable and important game mechanic. Same for which body parts a person needs to blast stuff, and whether or not they can lose those body parts, and how they might lose or be impaired in those parts. I'm aware that not everyone expresses that opinion, but the choice not to have those mechanics determines whether those suggestions can be used for reskinning or not.

Have you seen how many times they can up there stats? They can get close. But you are also comparing worlds where Gods walk the earth and the Tarrasque could pop up at anytime. No reason players can't strive towards these concepts and describe them in these ways.

Meh. Gods and Tarrasques are just as much fluff as superheroes, tooth fairies and hamsters that travel around in human butt cheeks. Wubba Lubba DubDub!

Determining which concepts are appropriate (or not) for a groups game is just as important as anything else. Not every concept can be supported at once without weird and downright silly stuff happening in the setting. For a good example, check out the Spiderman story where Parker makes a deal with the devil to undo his marriage because he can't handle great responsibility.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Fly spell. Levitate. Aaroakroa.
I didn't say they couldn't fly. I said (implicitly) they don't use the control weather spell to lift them into the air.

Why not? Where the blast comes from is pure flavor. Yes, they need that free hand for somatic components/arcane focus. But you could describe it as eyebolts as easily as you could say its a Predator's shoulder cannon. Makes no difference mechanically.
I'm not sure I'd say it's pure flavor; mechanics generally support or are informed by flavor. Even though it's primarily fluff/flavor, there are some oddities like the somatic components. That's one of the reasons why the "temporary" Warlord subforum exists. Some people have an easier time than others with that handwave.

Have you seen how many times they can up there stats? They can get close. But you are also comparing worlds where Gods walk the earth and the Tarrasque could pop up at anytime. No reason players can't strive towards these concepts and describe them in these ways.
While becoming a god has (almost) always been conceptually present in D&D, it was generally viewed as either retirement or a transition to another style of play. It definitely isn't 1st level stuff.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Actually, I think that varies based on what a person considers mechanics. I regard a functioning weather system and somewhat similar to realistically modeled airflow as a valuable and important game mechanic. Same for which body parts a person needs to blast stuff, and whether or not they can lose those body parts, and how they might lose or be impaired in those parts. I'm aware that not everyone expresses that opinion, but the choice not to have those mechanics determines whether those suggestions can be used for reskinning or not.

How does it make a difference if a person describes their fly spell/levitate spell/Aarakroa wings differently? Whether it's magically bending the normal laws of gravity versus having such fine control over the wind and air that they create buoyancy and propulsion versus sprouting wings on their backs versus manifesting some kind jetpak, the effect is the same. They can fly. We aren't granting them control over all the weather using that ability, but we are granting them a specific sphere of influence within the capabilities of the mechanical effect/outcome. So yea, I think reskinning fly to say your are controlling your local (as in around your body) weather finely enough to provide flight is valid. It doesn't break the rules or provide uses not given by the specific abilities.

Meh. Gods and Tarrasques are just as much fluff as superheroes, tooth fairies and hamsters that travel around in human butt cheeks. Wubba Lubba DubDub!
Don't really know what you're getting at here. But my point here is that it seems like we're splitting hairs on what you can or cannot do in a realm of fantasy.

Determining which concepts are appropriate (or not) for a groups game is just as important as anything else. Not every concept can be supported at once without weird and downright silly stuff happening in the setting. For a good example, check out the Spiderman story where Parker makes a deal with the devil to undo his marriage because he can't handle great responsibility.

I agree with you that some concepts might not fit a particular gaming group, which is why session 0 is important for any group to create the foundation for the style of play and what kind of game is going to be run/played/enjoyed. But this is seriously getting off target from the OP's question. She did not ask whether she should or shouldn't allow this in her game. She asked how, based on 5e rules, she might fairly implement a character that can use a shield in a manner similar to Captain America. She did not suggest allowing a Captain America stand in for a player, or ask if such a character would be congruent to the theme/play-style of an established game.

EDIT: [MENTION=5100]Mercule[/MENTION] Sorry, I read that as that druids can control the weather, but not fly like Storm. Not as they can cast control weather, but not use it to fly (a point in which I do agree. A player shouldn't cast that spell and expect to be able to fly). As to the issues with flavor vs. mechanics, I guess my DM style is to let fun concepts to inform rulings, rather that for the mechanics and RAW stand too greatly in the way. As long as it doesn't break the game or unbalance the party, I'm generally ok with it. But I'm a relatively new poster, so I'm not familiar with the Warlord section.

While becoming a god has (almost) always been conceptually present in D&D, it was generally viewed as either retirement or a transition to another style of play. It definitely isn't 1st level stuff.

Very true, and another point where we agree. But the OP isn't asking for Captain America at first level. She's asking how to get an effect that allows her to have a character use a shield in a similar way as Captain America.
 
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Afrodyte

Explorer
I agree with you that some concepts might not fit a particular gaming group, which is why session 0 is important for any group to create the foundation for the style of play and what kind of game is going to be run/played/enjoyed. But this is seriously getting off target from the OP's question. He did not ask whether he should or shouldn't allow this in his game. He asked how, based on 5e rules, he might fairly implement a character that can use a shield in a manner similar to Captain America. He did not suggest allowing a Captain America stand in for a player, or ask if such a character would be congruent to the theme/play-style of an established game.

I'm a she, but, yes, that's precisely what I was asking.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Ach! My apologies! I should have paid more attention to your name. ^_^ Also, I guess that says something about my perceptions of peers on this site. I will try to be more careful in my assumptions.
 

NotActuallyTim

First Post
How does it make a difference if a person describes their fly spell/levitate spell/Aarakroa wings differently? Whether it's magically bending the normal laws of gravity versus having such fine control over the wind and air that they create buoyancy and propulsion versus sprouting wings on their backs versus manifesting some kind jetpak, the effect is the same. They can fly. We aren't granting them control over all the weather using that ability, but we are granting them a specific sphere of influence within the capabilities of the mechanical effect/outcome. So yea, I think reskinning fly to say your are controlling your local (as in around your body) weather finely enough to provide flight is valid. It doesn't break the rules or provide uses not given by the specific abilities.

Bending gravity works in a vacuum, that's why. In addition, it alters spacetime, resulting in a relative time based on the amount of force gravity exerts on mass. Wings can be cut off, whereas the Storm Sorceror's ability to affect winds is not, as far as I know, something that can be cut out with a sword. As far as I'm concerned, by implementing reskinning as a mechanic, you lose access to having mechanics that accurately model physics, anatomy and in some cases even the magic of the settings that people are playing in.

I agree with you that some concepts might not fit a particular gaming group, which is why session 0 is important for any group to create the foundation for the style of play and what kind of game is going to be run/played/enjoyed. But this is seriously getting off target from the OP's question. He did not ask whether he should or shouldn't allow this in his game. He asked how, based on 5e rules, he might fairly implement a character that can use a shield in a manner similar to Captain America. He did not suggest allowing a Captain America stand in for a player, or ask if such a character would be congruent to the theme/play-style of an established game.

And here I thought we were talking about reskinning things by deliberately ignoring potential differences between them to suit our purposes, and what actually gets sacrificed as a direct result of that. Whatever, you want to me shut up, I'll shut up.
 

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