I was surprised in my last post that many people discussed and commented in the rpg groups about their ideas of using shields and blocking. Since many of those ideas were very interesting, I wanted to present them here in the blog in a concise way and see what you folks think.
Option 1, Bonus to AC and Saving throw: This was the option people talked the most - instead of having another roll for blocking (which would slow the game), have the bonus be applied to AC (+1 Bucklers, +2 Small, +3 Medium, +4 Big) and also to relevant Savint Throws (like, for example, using a shield to block the fire from a dragon's breath or a fireball). This option is faster than rolling for block to every and each attack and I liked it very much. However, some said that the AC bonus should be lower (Bucklers and Small shield +0, Medium and Big shields +1), but the Saving Throw bonus apply normally. That is a rule to playtest and I would be interested in knowing what you folks find of it.
Option 2, Random bonus to AC: Proposed by Lucas in the PT version of the blog, to reflect the nature of blocking one could roll 1d4 for small shields, 1d6 for medium and 1d8 for big and add the number to their AC. That is similar to the rules I said in my last post, but I think it to be too random in the AC department. Nevertheless, an interesting idea to share.
Option 3, 'Combat Options': The AD&D book of combat options gives a lot of possibilities for shields, but most of them are related to spending the action in blocking and whatnots. It is a very interesting read, but I personally don't like it. I prefer 'automatic' and 'always active' effects instead of having to declare your action of blocking. But it is a very interesting read and anyone curious should take a look on it.
Option 4, 'Cover': Shields would offer a cover percentage relative to how much of the body they cover (Bucklers 10%, Small Shields 20%, Medium Shields 50%, Big Shields 75%). Every time it seems that the Shield could block an attack, the GM may roll the cover and, if lower or equal, then the attack fails. Melee attacks reduce the cover to half its normal value.
Those were the options to the 'Blocking with Shields'. However, besides that there are also extras that you can apply to every option.
Extra 1, Shields and Attacking: Using shields greatly hampers one's ability to fight. So, if you apply this extra to one of the options, reduce the user Attack by 1 per level of the shield (so, a buckler would reduce an attack in -1, a medium shield in -3 etc.).
Extra 2, Big creatures and attacks from behind: If a creature is too big, blocking is useless (GM's call for when a creature is too big). If the character is surrounded by many foes, those that surpass the shield (attacking from behind or flanking where the shield does not protect) will not suffer the block effect. That should not be something hard to deal with - no need for a combat grid. Just use common sense, like when the character is surrounded by goblins, some of the goblins will just get through the shield.
Extra 3, 'Turtle Formation' and hiding behind a shield or barrier: If you are hiding behind an object, you should apply the 'Cover' rules mentioned above, with a percentile chance of the attack being intercepted. Just have the attack be made against you normally and, if it goes beyond your AC, have an approximate value of how much of the body is vulnerable and roll a percentile die. For example, in a turtle formation, you'd have only 10% of your body exposed (the low part of your ankles and the gaps between the shields). This makes very hard for archers to hit well protected and trainned warriors.
And that is it, folks. This is what was discussed in the many groups, both in PT and EN. I hope yall liked it and, if you use any of those options, tell me how did they fare in your game. I'm specially curious with Option 1 and 4 and I hope to test them myself.
Until next time,