Homebrew Gear Guide: The Tower Shield

What Is a Tower Shield in DnD 5e?

A Tower Shield is a large shield that covers most of the body. It is usually rectangular and made of metal or wood. Tower Shields offer more protection than regular shields but are also much heavier and more difficult to use.

While the Tower Shield doesn’t exist in 5e, it is the perfect candidate for some homebrewing. A shield is only as good as the player using it in a game like Dungeons and Dragons. So, with that in mind, let’s look at how we can make a Tower Shield work in 5e.

Tower Shield Stats

  • Type: Shield (Heavy)
  • Cost: 30 gp
  • Armor Class (AC): +2
  • Strength: 15
  • Stealth: Disadvantage
  • Weight: 45 pounds

The Tower Shield is a large, rectangular shield used by those who prioritize defense. In desperate situations, the shield is big enough to hide behind completely.

  • Requires proficiency with heavy armor and shields.
  • Tower shields give at least half cover.
  • You can spend 10 feet of movement to have three-quarters cover until the beginning of your next turn.
  • You have disadvantage on attack rolls.

Tower Shields: A Brief History

The Tower Shield has been used throughout history. It gets its name from its tall, vertical shape, which resembles a tower. 

Tower Shields were first used in ancient Greece and Rome. The medieval knights of Europe later adopted them. Tower Shields were typically made of wood or metal and were often decorated with the coat of arms of the knight who wielded them.

The Tower Shield saw a decline in use during the Renaissance as gunpowder weapons made them obsolete. However, they have recently seen a resurgence in popularity as modern militaries now use them for crowd control and security.

How Homebrewing Works in 5e

Homebrewing in D&D is the process of creating new rules and mechanics for the game. This can be done by creating new monsters, spells, classes, items, or anything else you can think of. 

Homebrewing is a great way to add your personal touch to the game and make it more interesting and fun for you and your friends. If you’re unsure where to start, there are plenty of resources, such as the Dungeon Master’s Guide

Once you’ve decided what you want to homebrew, the next step is to develop rules and mechanics. You can do this by yourself or with help from friends.

How Do Tower Shields Work?

In Dungeons and Dragons, we can homebrew our own Tower Shield. Let’s start by looking at the rules written for shields in the Player’s Handbook.

Shields RAW

Shields. A shield is made from wood or metal and is carried in one hand. Wielding a shield increases your Armor Class by 2. You can benefit from only one shield at a time.

Source: Player’s Handbook, pg. 144

To approximate the effects of a Tower Shield, we will need to give it some additional stats. We’ll start with the cost, as that is an easy one. A Tower Shield costs 30 gp.

Next, we need to decide what kind of bonus to Armor Class it will give. In order to make it on par with other shields in the game, we will give it a +2 bonus to AC.

However, because the Tower Shield is so large and unwieldy, you will have the following disadvantages:

  • Disadvantage on Attack Rolls: When you are carrying a Tower Shield, you have disadvantage on all attack rolls.
  • Stealth Disadvantage: You have disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when you are carrying a Tower Shield.

In addition, the Tower Shield is heavy and will weigh down those who wear it. As such, it will have a weight of 45 pounds.

Finally, we need to decide what kind of cover the Tower Shield will provide. We will give it the following benefits:

  • While wielding the shield, you have half cover.
  • You can spend 10 feet of movement to have three-quarters cover until the start of your next turn.

Taking Cover

One of the most iconic uses of the Tower Shield is to take cover behind it. This can be done by spending 10 feet of movement to have three-quarters cover until the start of your next turn.

The Tower Shield is primarily useful when you are trying to take cover from ranged attacks. The shield will provide cover from most ranged attacks, although there are spells and other attacks that can bypass it.

Shield Wall

Another iconic use of the Tower Shield is to form a shield wall. This is done by placing the Tower Shield on the ground and holding it steady with your foot. You can then have any number of allies form a line beside you.

The shield wall provides an excellent defense against arrows and spears, but it is vulnerable to rear attacks, side attacks, or attacks from flying creatures.

Drawbacks of the Tower Shield

The Tower Shield is a powerful piece of equipment, but it has its drawbacks. Because the Tower Shield is heavy and unwieldy, you’ll have disadvantage on attack rolls and stealth rolls. 

This shield is best used in situations where you can take advantage of its strengths and avoid its weaknesses. For example, the Tower Shield is ideal for taking cover from a group of archers, but it would be a poor choice for a one-on-one fight.

Who Should Use a Tower Shield

Just because you can use a Tower Shield doesn’t mean you should. Some classes and builds are better suited for defense than others. The players that will get the most use out of the Tower Shield are Clerics, Paladins, and Fighters.

Homebrew Shield Options

Clerics

The Cleric is a divine caster who uses their magic to support their allies and protect the innocent. One of the ways they can do this is by using a Tower Shield to protect themselves and others from harm.

Clerics have the necessary strength and stamina to carry the Tower Shield and the training to use it effectively in combat. The Cleric’s divine magic can also be used to bolster their allies’ defenses, making them harder to hit.

Clerics are usually the party’s healers, and the Tower Shield can help them stay alive long enough to do their job. 

Paladins

Paladins believe in using their skills and abilities to save those who cannot defend themselves. They are the ultimate weapons in the fight against malevolent forces. Using Tower Shields, Paladins can protect the innocent and battle evil at the same time.

Tower Shields are not only for the strong and mighty but also for those with the training to use them effectively in combat. The Paladin’s magic and combat training make them strong candidates for using heavy armor.

Fighters

Fighters can also use a Tower Shield to provide extra protection for themselves and their teammates. The Fighter’s training allows them to use the shield to its fullest potential, making them a difficult opponent to defeat. 

Many Fighters are experienced soldiers who have fought in countless battles. The Tower Shield is a natural choice for them as it allows them to quickly take cover and defend against a wide variety of attacks.

Feats and Abilities

If you’re going to homebrew items, it’s important to consider what feats and abilities will work well with them. For the Tower Shield, the following feats and abilities are worth considering:

In addition to homebrewing items, it’s also possible to create new feats and abilities. For example, we can create a feat designed especially for Tower Shield users that gives them a bonus to AC.

Dungeons and Dragons is a game that encourages creativity, so don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with new ideas. The possibilities are endless!

Tower Shield Mastery

Requires proficiency with shields and medium armor.

You’ve mastered the use of the Tower Shield, granting you the following benefits:

  • You have a +1 bonus to AC while wielding a Tower Shield.
  • While wielding a Tower Shield, you can spend 5 feet of movement to have three-quarters cover until the start of your next turn.

Final Thoughts

Tower Shields are a great option for those who want to increase their AC, but they come with some disadvantages that should be taken into consideration. Make sure you are aware of the limitations of the Tower Shield before using one in your game.

And remember, have fun and be creative! Homebrewing is all about making the game your own.