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

Hawk Diesel

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.

It seems like you're over thinking this stuff. The game is supposed to be fun. If a spell caster wants to cast fly, and describes it as wings spurting out his back, then what's the harm? Of course, doing so, if it is cool for the story, the BBEG may attempt a swipe at his wings and try to slice em off. Ok, so now the caster takes damage and has to make a Con check to maintain the spell. He fails. DM describes the wing got sliced off, rather than just cut/knicked. I mean, last time I checked, a fighter getting hacked at doesn't generally lose limbs, they loose HP. Certain game/story moving situations might call for otherwise, but it's not often in my experience that player characters deal with lost limbs or broken bones. And are you really talking about physics in a game where wizards can literally cast a Wish spell?

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.

Um, yea, I will reskin things but that doesn't mean I ignore the differences. I embrace them. Because not every spell, spellcaster, fighting style, ability, ect needs to be Vanilla. Some like chocolate, some like mint, but it's all good because it's still ice cream. For me, the rules are secondary to moving forward a fun, engaging, and compelling story. The rules are a tool to utilize to ensure people have fun and that one person does not become more powerful than any other. The rules should not create such limits that makes it more of a chore and grind than a fun time and chance to tell epic stories.

And no, I don't want you to shut up. This is a forum where people can be heard. But this thread was started for a purpose to help out a fellow player that wanted to find a neat way to do something fun and unique. And instead, it has been highjacked and thrown way off topic because rather than help her find a way to do something, some people just try to shut her down and find reason why, in a game about dragons and zombies and heroes doing miraculous things, she can't do that thing that would allow her to tell a very special and FUN story. And the thing that she's asking for is not to turn into a giant and throw boulders or spew lava from her nose. In a game where Golems are a thing and wizards can shoot lightning from their fingers, she wants to be able to throw a shield as a weapon. How, in the context of this game, is this so drastic that it can't POSSIBLY happen? A monk's fists can become magic, a high elf can spray acid or throw fire or ice at will from out of nothingness with a cantrip, but god forbid a player throw a shield as a viable weapon option. I apologize [MENTION=8713]Afrodyte[/MENTION] for taking attention away from your original purpose in starting this thread. But hopefully, you've still managed to find something of value here.
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Lots of stuff of value to consider, yeah, from the base feature to how to make magic items and artifacts for it.

Just be glad I didn't say, "How do you make a character who wields a giant boomerang like Hiraikotsu?"


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.
Which is why my first post on the matter was mechanical recommendation. I only piped up about Cap's actually powers after others had started doing so.

There's a difference between being unwilling to help someone and pointing out that the source material for inspiration isn't quite as represented by some posters. I was firmly in the second camp. I still think there's a bit of a genre clash, but it can be mostly solved by "it's a magic shield", which fits very nicely into D&D -- at least as well as "because drugs" does in four color supers. I'd happily take a Cap clone over a Drizzt clone, any day of the week and thrice on Monday.


Lord of the Hidden Layer
Sure you can throw a big concave disk - it's just a large (heavy) Frisbee.

For an L1 character, I'd create a new Weapon, based on whichever monster's Spiked Shield, throw-able (what's the main point after all?) at the same range as a hand axe. The cool stuff can happen after the PC finds / creates / commissions a magic copy of same. If he throws the mundane version away (out of melee), it's gone until he runs over to pick it up; he loses the AC bonus too meanwhile.
And don't forget: anything the PCs use to great effect and advantage, monsters will use a copy against them, and BBEGs will plot a way to neutralize it.

first drafts (because I'm away from books)
Special Shield. Martial ranged weapon; 1d6 bludgeoning, 20/60 ft., heavy

Magic Item: Captain America's Shield
This enchantment allows a shield to be thrown and return to the thrower's hand at the end of his Attack action. It can ricochet among targets as many times as the character has Extra Attack. It gains a +1 bonus. This enchantment may only be used on shields that can be carried / wielded on one hand (arm?); tower shields and similar are not eligible.

Hawk Diesel

Don't know if this has already been mentioned, but I cam across a link for a Fighter "Shield Master" subclass.

It just screams Captain America in D&D

This is a really cool concept, but could use some rebalancing.

I might change the shield bash to say the shield is considered a light weapon and you maintain your AC bonus while attacking with the shield.

I would change shield throw to say that as part of your attack action you can throw it with a range of 20/60 and you maintain your AC bonus while using it in this way. I like the idea of it not returning if throwing over 20ft though. That's kinda cool

I would consider adding that increased damage increased to 1d10 at level 18.

Finally, Shield Ride is silly. I would give them Evasion instead. Or maybe Shield Reflect. Once per short rest, when a shield master is hit by a ranged attack or ranged spell attack, the shield master can use his reaction to reflect that attack back to it's source. The redirected attack uses the original attack roll to determine if the attack hits the new target.

I'm stealing this.
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First Post
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?
That's actually explained in the MCU and the comics. Vibranium in a natural metal state like the shield puts out the exact same amount of energy put into it, so when something hits it it actually bounces back because it rebounds with the exact same amount of force. Same goes for if the shield strikes something, since it is extremely light it just ricochets off and flies in the direction with the least resistance. Captain America has enhanced senses and processing function, so he is able to calculate what direction the shield will bounce in.


A very OK person
I agree with everyone who says just to treat it like a spear.

But if that doesn’t work, consider a battle master maneuver specifically for the shield throw. If you have additional attacks, it can ricochet between opponents. If all the attacks hit, it bounces back to you, but if any miss, you’ll have to go retrieve it. You get the extra damage from the battle master die and maybe keep the shield bonus to AC for using the maneuver.


As Toungez shows , Tulok the Bardbarian does a decent Cap build for 5e

Be aware he likes to reflavor abilities to suit his builds needs but they are WOTC only and usually use the standard array.

He's a very creative builds guy.


Tavern Brawler + Returning Shield.
I've got no problem putting Returning on a Shield, if that's what the player really wants.
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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.
It has to do with the way the shield spins. If its spinning its will deflect rather than absorb. Sounds good to me 😉


If a player wanted a 1st-level fighter or paladin of any race who could wield a shield just like Captain America, how should I, as DM, go about doing it?

Would the best way be to create a new type of (martial?) weapon based on stats from another weapon that does comparable bashing damage?

Would a feat be the right way to do it? I looked at Shield Mastery, but it doesn't do much in the way of having a shield be used for melee or ranged attacks the way Captain America does.

Easiest way to me would be to make a fighting style that gave the character proficiency in using shields as a weapon (I'd make it a simple melee weapon with the thrown property that deals 1d6 bludgeoning on a hit). Depending on how generous I'm feeling, I'd also either allow the fighting style to let the shield return after each attack or allow weapons to be enchanted with a returning property.


I think that is pretty easy and supported in RAW (although not at 1st level). Shield is an improvised weapon so shield master and tavern brawler feats should do it. Then just figure out what you want for damage, probably 1d8. That would handle everything except returning

For the returning I would do a custom battlemaster maneuver-before you throw a weapon you can use a superiority dice to return it to your hand visa a roccochet or boomerang effect. You deal 1d6 damage extra if it hits. With a V human fighter you can have all this at level 4.
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Steeliest of the dragons
Single houserule on the DM's part: Let the shield be treated as a melee and missile weapon when/but "thrown." Allow the character to take any/all relevnt feats available to archers/missile weapon persons: trick shot, point blank shot, bank shot around a corner, "multi shot" gets reskinned to be striking multiple targets on a single throw, etc... The fighter advances as the fighter does. Choosing feats where appropriate...they just get to treat the "thrown shield" as a missile weapon instead of a thrown one.

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