According to that AD&D rules (and the BECMI and 0D&D rules for that matter if I recall correctly), shields provide a flat +1 bonus to AC (or, -1 if you want to get technical). The only difference between shield sizes is in the size and weight of the thing, and how many attacks per round it can defend against. This is all fine and good, but I find that, in the end, it adds a level of monintoring and book keeping that drag out what would otherwise be an exciting combat: how many attacks has Bob's fighter faced this round?, and do multiple attacks from a single create (a claw/claw/bite say) count as one attack, or three? and so on. In the end, it seems to get in the way of the goal of fast and clear combat rounds and ends up dragging things out.
In that light, I propose the following two possible rules.
Option The First: Ignore the different shield sizes. There's only one shield size and it weighs X number of pounds and provides only a +1 bonus to AC. Period. It's a level of abstraction I'm willing to accept in the quest for simplex resolution even if it does bring up interesting questions about why a shield built by a halfling would be the same weight as one built by an ogre, and why a halfling wielding an ogre's shield would only receive a +1 bonus rather than benefiting from the much larger proportional coverage, but in the spirit of the rule, I can simply ignore those issues and forge on with getting to what's more interesting, the adventuring.
Option The Second: Various sized shields provide various degrees of defense:
*A small shield weighs in at 5 pounds and provides a +1 bonus to AC.
*A medium shield weighs in at 10 pounds and provides a +2 bonus to AC.
*A large/body shield weighs 15 pounds and provides a +3 bonus to AC with no special rules attached to it.
This provides a reason why somebody would carry another sized shield other than weight and eliminates the need for tracking how many attacks have been made against a particular character (or, heaven forbid, which of the 25 goblins each with his own shield has faced one attack, two, three, or four in a given round). It also, as I see it, makes carrying a shield even more desirable and the tradeoff between carrying a two-handed weapon at the cost of a single point of AC a little more interesting: do you carry that two handed sword and go through enemies like a farmer mowing wheat, or do you pick up a long sword and a large shield for that added defense?
Truth be told, I much prefer the second option. It adds just a bit of complication to the rules and strips out at the same time a needlesly complicated bit of ruling that slows things down when they need most to move quickly.
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11 months ago