Shield Construction and Guidelines

Shields may be used by anyone, however there are some restrictions for use by an untrained shield bearer (ie: someone without the proper Shield Skill, shown above, or the Strongman ability). This represents the fact that even a small shield is very heavy to someone who has not honed their arm strength and is not used to carrying one. If a trained combatant drops his or her shield, another combatant may pick it up long enough to counter one blow or carry it for a max of 5 minutes. At that point, the shield loses all effectiveness to the untrained user, and the user must drop it or set it down ,as appropriate for at least a 10 count before attempting to use or move it again.

When using a shield, even momentarily, please be cautious of your body position to avoid turtling. Turtling is defined as hiding one's body completely behind one's shield so that all legal target areas are impossible to hit without risk of a headshot. Thus, if you are 4'9" and take a large shield, people may regularly accuse you of turtling even if you are not intending to do so. Turtling is illegal in Dark Passages, and may result in the offender being pulled from combat if warnings are not immediately heeded. If you are short, or on one knee with a wounded leg, the safest way to not turtle is to periodically lower your shield between attacks, or to hold it slightly to your side instead of directly in front of you. Keeping your shield moving will allow your opponents to get in safely to at least attempt a clean shot from time to time. Keeping your shield stationary or ducking down behind it are strongly discouraged, as those maneuvers often result in turtling. If you are called on turtling, you must immediately shift your body position so that your shield is not blocking your entire profile. Keep in mind, historically, shields were meant to be constantly in motion to block incoming attacks.

Shield Construction

All shield physical representations (phys reps) must be constructed of one solid material, specifically wood or metal, with foam padded edges. All shields must have at least 5/8" foam around the edges, and may not have any exposed bolts or protrusions on the front face of the shield. You may cover a wooden shield with a thin piece of metal for appearances, however, if the facing of the shield's surface is metal, it will count as a full metal shield for purposes of damage and/or destruction effects (such as rust, rot, etc). Metal coverings must be secured in manner consistent with general construction guidelines, in that there may be no protrusions on the face or edges of the shield phys rep. The foam edges of the shield must be covered and secured using the appropriate color of duct tape (brown for wood or standard grey for steel).

For safety reasons, wood shields should be at least ⅛" thick, and must be cut from a single piece of wood (plywood is the most common and cheapest option). Solid metal shields should be rigid, with little to no flexibility. Padding the back side of your shield is not necessary, however it will be much more comfortable to use if the areas around the handle and beneath any arm straps are padded or covered.

Shield Combat Skill Cost



Total Size (sq in)

Starting Cost



36 - 200 (7 - 16 round)


2 CCP or EXP

Small Shield

201 - 452 (17 - 24 round)


4 CCP or EXP

Large Shield

453 - 531 (25 - 26 round)


6 CCP or EXP


Bucklers have a maximum size of 200 square inches, roughly equal to a circle of 16 inches in diameter. The minimum size is 36 square inches, roughly equal to a circle of roughly 7 inches in diameter. The buckler may be constructed with straight sides where the minimum length per side is 6 inches, maximum length per side is 20 inches. Bucklers may have a handle or may be strapped to either arm to allow for use of a two-handed weapon while still maintaining your blocking capabilities. You may only use one buckler at a time, but it may be placed on whichever arm you choose.

Small shields have a maximum size of 452 square inches, roughly equal to a circle of 24 inches in diameter. They must be larger than a max-sized buckler, and no side may be over 30 inches long for straight-sided small shields. A small shield must have a handle but may also include arm strap(s) if you wish. You may only use one shield of any size at any given time.

Large shields have a maximum size of 531 square inches, roughly equal to a circle of 26 inches in diameter. They must be larger than a max-sized buckler, and no side may be over 36 inches long for straight-sided shields. This allows for construction of tower shields. The maximum width for a max height 36 inch tall rectangular tower shield is, thus, 14.75 inches. A large shield must have a handle but may also include arm strap(s) if you wish. You may only use one shield of any size at any given time.

When purchasing the shield skill, you signify that your character has been trained to properly carry and handle a shield. You may utilize any shield of your level or lower, so someone trained in a large shield can always downsize to either of the other options, or a small shield can downsize to a buckler. To upsize, you need only pay the point difference between your current and desired levels.