Wednesday, April 7, 2010

House Rules (LL) Bucklers

Probably my biggest complaint with the shield rules in LL and the other old school derived games is the general worthlessness of shields and bucklers.

A shield grants a measly 5% to AC which fails to show just how effective the item really is. A good shield is a torso sized defense thats mobile and has both offensive and defensive capabilities. Its such a good defense it is still in use today as a riot control tool (vs hth and thrown weapons) and as a ballistic shield vs firearms.

The question remains then, how to fix it without screwing the system up. Well fixing shields is pretty difficult (although I like this rule at Trollsmyth) but I do have some ideas on a fix for the buckler.

The buckler was THE preeminent defensive tool from about 1100 to 1600 or so, half a millennium (source) , almost as long as the gun has been #1 on offense. This is a matter of weight and convenience and the fact the weapon was simply handy to use.

To make the buckler more interesting w/o cluttering up the rules here are suggestions

#1 Fighters, Thieves and Clerics all get proficiency

#2 Treat it as an off hand weapon. Anyone proficient with it can strike with the buckler instead of a primary weapon at no penalty for 1d4 damage. This can come in handy when someone is disarmed or faces some nasty critter that say only takes damage from blunt weapons.

#3 A buckler user always gains +1 (plus any magic bonus) to AC and said magic bonus does count when used to strike a target just as if it was a a weapon.

#4 If using "Fighters with Flair" from Arkratic Wizardy or Knockspell #1 a buckler may be used with shield master or swashbuckler style but not both simultaneously This actually does a nice job of allowing the buckler to function much as it does historically and is an added bonus for those who like verisimilitude


  1. Bucklers seemed to show up a lot more in my games back in the day. I must have had some house rule back then. Never see them now. Only one character has a shield of any kind in the current campaign. I don't tamper much with them, but they do need a bit more appeal in my 1st ed. than just a small adjustment. Of course, just like helmets I take a shield into account for unforseen things that might relate to them (in the case of helmet, a rock falling from above or something).

  2. I tend to do the same thing with helmets.