1985 Arcana Shield Mechanic 1.1

1985 Arcana

Hello and welcome to 1985 Arcana! A place where I (Jeremiah) and some of my compatriots work on creating new and interesting rules for DnD 5e. Here we’ll release new playtest material for everyone to download and test out. If you like it, let us know in the comments. If you think we need to make any changes, where happy to hear them! This is meant to be a collaborative project between 1985 Games and our community.

Shield Mechanics 1.1

Create a level of gritty realism with shield combat in this installment of 1985 Arcana. This playtest document presents new ideas surrounding shields and shield combat. You’ll find rules for shield durability, new shield types, fighting styles, feats, and more. These additional rules allow you to use your shield in a more versatile manner, just like they would have been used historically. 

We’ll release a playtest survey soon. When we do, please let us know what you think of these options. Your feedback can help us better the rules, and may end up in future products!

This Is Playtest Material

The DnD material in this article is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your DnD campaign but not refined by full game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game and aren’t created by the Wizards of the Coast team.

DOWNLOAD THE SHIELD MECHANIC PDF HERE


6 comments


  • 1985 Games- Jeremiah

    Hey Nick G,

    I’ve been thinking about what you said and I think I might have come up with a solution. My idea was to add additional HP to your shields every time you reach a new tier of play. Which would allow the shields to scale as you level while keeping things simple.

    Here’s an example of what the leveling tree might look like.

    1st-5th : 10- 15 HP
    6th- 10th : 20-30 HP
    11th- 15th : 30- 45 HP
    16th – 20th : 45- 60 HP


  • 1985 Games- Jeremiah

    Hey East Ant,

    It’s awesome to hear you like our stuff. If you test out the Tower Shield Archer I want to hear about it!


  • East Ant

    I Love the additional shield options! The bucklers offensive advantages give rogues and rangers some AC while also making good use of their off hand offensively. My vision for the tower shield is a moving heavily armored turret. Combine with archery fighting style and lookout!


  • Nick G

    This is great. I am 100% using the shield hp mechanic. I think the HP will end up being too low at high levels. The weakest shield on a Lv 1 Fighter could be as much as 50% bonus HP, but @ Lv 20 could be less than 20%. For V1.2, you might have a sliding scale that multiplies the HP by 1/2 prof bonus. So at Lv 1, all numbers as written, but at level 17 and up we’re looking at HP ranging from 15 to 60, which should make shields viable and interesting at all levels of play


  • Brent MacArthur

    I like your idea for shields.
    Would love to see you work out a feat and fighting style to represent the versatile weapons used with two hands. They are so famous widely used in movies and books but there is no benefit to using a versatile weapon with both hands.


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