Sep 20, 2011

Fighting Shields rule for OSR D&D

This is a streamlined version of rules I wrote for B/X D&D in 2009, updated to make them easier to remember and less fiddly to use at the table.
A character using a shield defensively can reduce damage they take in combat by d4 each round. 
A Fighter can also choose to use their shield offensively instead of reducing damage. For one successful attack each round, roll a d4 and use the higher result of the shield or the primary weapon's damage dice.
Example 1: A 1st level Cleric with 5 hp is hit by a Goblin spear for 6 points of damage. The character has a shield and rolls d4 getting a 2. The Cleric only takes 4 points of damage and is still alive with 1 hp.

Example 2: A 1st level Fighter attacks a Goblin and hits with his sword for 2 point of damage. The character has a shield and chooses to use it offensively this round and rolls d4 getting a 4. The Goblin takes 4 points of damage and is defeated.