Magic Shields

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Crusader's Shield

Characters who choose to own a magic shield can either purchase one from a vendor, or build it themselves, if they have the Creator feat (or know someone who does, and who is willing to commit to the time investment to help them).

When buying a magic shield, it must nearly always be custom-made by an armorsmith to match the requirements of the purchasing character. Very few stores would have the space to keep a full inventory of every possible combination of shields.

Magic shields are a combination of four elements, and these elements are each priced individually and added together to determine the total price of the shield:

  • the base shield (i.e. a wooden buckler, or a heavy steel shield)
  • any Dweomermetals used in the construction of the shield
  • the enhancement bonus applied to the shield
  • the sum of all Shield Magic Properties applied to the shield

Base Shield

The cost of the base shield can be found on the Armor and Shields page.

Dweomermetals and Special Materials

Dweomermetals, such as mithril, argent and bloodgold, can grant a shield special qualities and provide bonuses to their wielder. The prices and special qualities of each dweomermetal are described in detail on the Dweomermetals page.

Dweomermetals do not alter the total pluses of enchantment on a shield, or count against the pluses of the shield's magic properties, though the cost for a shield made with a dweomermetal is added to the overall cost of the shield.

Note that special materials can be added to an existing shield, or an existing dweomermetal can be removed entirely, or removed and replaced with a different dweomermetal. See the reforging rules described on the Dweomermetals page, as well as the Hirelings and Services page.

Shield Enhancement Bonus

Heroic tier characters (characters from level 1 to level 20) can wield a shield with an enhancement bonus up to +5, and can have up to +5 pluses worth of Magic Shield properties applied to their shield.

Epic tier characters (characters level 21 to level 35) can wield a shield with an enhancement bonus up to +9, and can have a total of up to +9 pluses-worth of Magic Shield properties applied to their shield. However, the enhancement bonus of the shield must be raised to at least +6 before it can have any Epic magic shield properties applied to it.

Any attempt to wield a shield more magically enchanted than your level allows results in the character taking a non-proficiency penalty with the shield (-4 to attack rolls), and the possibility of even more dire consequences (such as insanity, or being controlled by the shield).

At level 36 and higher (apotheosis) all restrictions on enhancement bonuses and the magic item properties are lifted, at which point the shield may be enchanted in any way the character can afford.

Enhancement bonuses add directly to the shield's base Shield bonus. This means a +4 heavy steel shield (which has a base shield bonus of 2) would have a total shield bonus of 6. The shield is still called a "+4 shield" to make clear that the additional 4 points of shield AC are coming from the magical enhancement that has been applied.

Magic Shield Properties

Magic Shield Properties are additional traits, bonuses or effects that magic shields grant or perform on top of the normal functionality of that shield. Magic properties for shields can be found on the Shield Magic Properties page. A shield can have more than one magic property applied to it, but the cost to do so is the sum of the plus-cost of all properties applied. Thus, a shield with both the "Keen" magic property (a +1 property) and the "Lesser Energy Warding" property (a +2 property) would have a total of +3 worth of properties. The cost of these properties is also based on the sum, not the individual plus-cost of each; therefore, in this example, the pair of properties would cost 12,500 gp.

The limit to the total value of all shield properties that may be added to a shield is +5 pluses worth of properties for characters level 20 or below (heroic tier), or +9 pluses-worth of properties for characters levels 21 to 35 (epic tier). At level 36 and higher all restrictions are lifted, and a shield may be enchanted in any way the character can afford and the referee will allow.

No item may ever have the same property twice. Furthermore, two different items with the same property do not cause that property's benefits to stack (i.e. be added together).

Upgrading and Changing Enchantments

Enhancement bonuses cannot be removed from a magic shield once applied, but the enhancement bonus can be increased. The cost to do so is the difference in cost between the old bonus and the new bonus.

Magic shield properties can be removed from a shield, replaced with altogether new properties, or upgraded to a higher version of the existing magic shield property (when applicable). The cost to do so is the difference in cost between the old plus-cost and the new plus-cost. However, if the plus-cost goes down, there is no refund of money unless you can convince the craftsman performing the alterations why he should actually pay you for the privilege of doing that work. Performing magic shield property swaps and upgrades takes one full day of work per change in the plus-cost, with a minimum of 1 full day. Even if this work isn't performed by a player, the player must wait for the alterations to be performed, and they cannot make use of the shield while the craftsman is working on it. Some craftsmen might offer to lend or rent out a shield while their customers wait, though they would expect the loaner shield to be returned to them in good condition.

Magic shields which are altered in such a way as to violate the limitations of the campaign level will inflict a non-proficiency penalty on the wearer, or worse.

Determining Cost

To find the cost of the enhancement bonus, and/or magic properties, refer to the table below:

Enhancement Bonus or Magic Properties Cost
+1 1,150
+2 5,000
+3 12,500
+4 28,000
+5 90,000
+6 (epic) 377,500
+7 (epic) 1,150,000
+8 (epic) 3,600,000
+9 (epic) 11,025,000

Buying a magic shield from a vendor also takes time, if that vendor doesn't have the shield in stock. As mentioned above, unless the shield is very simple (i.e. no dweomermetal, and just an enhancement bonus with no properties), it is extremely unlikely a vendor will have it in stock. Custom ordered shields take 1 day per plus of the enhancement bonus and per plus of any magic properties being applied, and an additional day for any dweomermetal to be added. Therefore, a +4 keen, lesser energy warding, ambergold heavy steel shield would require 8 days to build -- 4 days for the +4, 3 days for the 3 pluses-worth of properties, and 1 day for the dweomermetal.

Player-Created Magic Shields

A player character who has the Creator feat may attempt to make their own magic shield. To do so, the character needs a good workshop. There must be a powerful heat source such as a blown forge or magical fire. There must be a strong anvil and a wide variety of high-quality tools. There must be adequate room to work, with benches and tables. Finally, there should be a supply of materials, the most obvious being the shield or the pieces of the shield to be assembled. A good forge can be a cozy affair, or a massive workshop that sprawls and rambles through many rooms of a castle. In no case is any workspace ever portable.

The Creator Level (CL) of a magic shield is equal to three times the enhancement bonus of the shield, or three times the total plus-cost of the magic properties of the shield, which ever is higher. Whichever of these values isn't used then modifies the CL by +1 per 3 pluses. Finally, if the shield has a dweomermetal, the CL is increased by an additional +1. So, our Ambergold +4 heavy steel shield with Keen (+1) and Lesser Energy Warding (+2) would have a CL of 14 (12 base for the +4 enhancement bonus, which is greater than the +3 pluses of the magic properties; +1 CL for having 3 pluses of magic properties, and +1 CL for having a dweomermetal).

Adding magic properties to a magic shield will also require a remnant of the appropriate tier, and an item that is symbolic of the enchantment being applied by the property, for each property being added. The GM is the final arbiter of what qualifies as 'symbolic', but GM's are encouraged to be fairly generous in their interpretations. Items used in the construction are consumed in the process of building the shield.

  • Time Required: Crafting magic shields requires one day per two Creator Levels (CLs) of the item, minimum of seven days.
  • Feat(s) Required: Creator (Feat). Creator, Epic (Feat) is also required for items requiring a Creator Level of 21 or higher.
  • Skill(s) Required: a Bailiwick skill check.

The cost of a magic shield created by a player character is only half the cost of buying it in the store. This cost is further reduced by the cost of any symbolic items used in the construction of the shield.

Sunders Against Shields

Shields, like armor, are designed to protect the wearer, and are therefore more difficult to Sunder. Shields have a durability akin to unattended objects, requiring more than one successful Sunder attempt to inflict the Broken condition upon the shield. In addition, if an enemy attempts to sunder any of your worn or wielded items, and you are proficiently wielding a shield, you may ALWAYS elect to have that sunder check apply to your shield instead, as long as your shield does not already have the Broken condition.

  • Bucklers have a durability of 1 (requires only 1 point of Siege Damage to inflict Broken)
  • Light Shields have a durability of 2 (requires 2 points of Siege Damage to inflict Broken)
  • Heavy Shields have a durability of 3 (requires 3 points of Siege Damage to inflict Broken)
  • War Shields have a durability of 4 (requires 4 points of Siege Damage to inflict Broken)
  • Tower Shields have a durability of 5 (requires 5 points of Siege Damage to inflict Broken)
  • The durability of shields is increased by 1 if the shield is made of steel

In addition, some dweomermetals, and some magic properties can alter the durability of a shield.

Interaction between Shields and Armor

You can stack (i.e. add together) an Armor Bonus, an Armor Enhancement Bonus, a Shield Bonus, and a Shield Enhancement Bonus. However, two bonuses of the same type (e.g. two Armor Bonuses) do not stack with each other; instead, you may only use the highest available value. See also the Character Creation rules for additional details on the various bonuses that can be added to your total Armor Class value.

Shield enhancement bonuses to Shield AC do not act as attack or damage bonuses when the shield is used in a shield bash.

Activation of Shields

Usually a character benefits from magic shields in exactly the way a character benefits from non-magical shields: by wearing them. If a shield has a special ability that the user needs to activate, then the user usually needs to utter the command word (a standard action).

Shields for Unusual Creatures

The cost of a shield for non-humanoid creatures, as well as for creatures who are neither Small nor Medium, varies. The cost to enchant a size large shield is unchanged, however, nor does the shield's size increase the time required for enchantment.