Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

D&D 5E – Using Shields as Weapons (House Rule)

Attacking With A Shield

I have addressed the fifth edition rules for using a shield in a previous post (HERE). But I recently had a player ask if he could use a spiked shield. I couldn’t think of a good reason that he shouldn’t be allowed to do that, but the rules as written don’t specifically address the issue.
Time for a new house rule.
I soon realized that to do this I really needed to re-examine all of the rules for attacking with shields. What I came up with is a redefining of a normal shield – when it is used as a weapon – as well as spiked shields and a couple of other issues.

Normal Shields

Simple weapon: Normal shields can be used as simple light melee weapons.
Damage: 1d4 + STR bonus (bashing).
Proficiency: You are only proficient with normal shields used as weapons if you are proficient with all simple weapons.

Spiked Shields

(This shield is constructed with a sharpened spike at its center.)
Martial weapon: A spiked shield is a light martial melee weapon.
Damage: 1d6 + STR bonus (piercing).
Cost: You can add a spike to a normal shield for an additional cost of 2 gp. (Adding more than one spike does not change the damage.)
Proficiency: You are only proficient with spiked shields used as weapons if you are proficient with all martial weapons.

If you lack proficiency:

They can still be used as an improvised weapons, doing 1d4 + STR bonus damage. The damage type will be bashing for normal shields, or piercing if it is a spiked shield.

Two weapon fighting:

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a shield that you’re holding in the other hand, but only if you are proficient with using it as a weapon. You don’t add your ability modifier to the shield attack damage, unless that modifier is negative

Effect on armor class:

Using a shield to make an attack doesn’t deprive you of the +2 AC bonus.

Dual wielder feat:

You do not gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a shield (spiked or not).


4 responses to “D&D 5E – Using Shields as Weapons (House Rule)

  1. G Stephanie Morey November 4, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Straight forward and easy to test. I like the look of this house rule, and look forward to giving it a try next week. (If I can convince my timid cleric to pick up a shield for a few hours. I’ll let you know how it goes if I do.) Thanks, Ronny!


  2. Steph Bell December 31, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Thank fro adding more races + classes. I do miss your mana system though. Anyway, good job !


    • Ronny December 31, 2017 at 10:16 am

      I think you meant to post your comment here:
      Regardless, thank you for your comment. I really tried to get my mana system to work, but it really breaks down at higher levels.
      [My previous rules changed the spell levels to match the character levels but to make the transition from the EZ rules to the standard rules I dropped that and now use the same spell levels that are in the PHB.]
      For example a 15th level Druid could cast ten 12th level spells (the equivalent to ten 6th level spells in the PHB). Using the PHB rules, he could only cast one.
      I had a rule that you could only cast two two spells each of levels 13 [6th in the PHB] through 16 [7th in the PHB], and one spell each of levels 17 [8th in the PHB] or higher. I was going to add further restrictions on the number of lower level spells, but carrying that to it’s logical conclusion (using PHB spell levels) I got four spells of level 1, three of level 2 thru 5, two of levels 6 and 7, and one of levels 8 and 9. At that point, there is no longer any need for mana points.
      That and wanting to provide an easier transition to standard rules is why I had to drop the mana system.
      I still think that it could work, but I think the systems that I have proposed and the system in the DMG all need work in order to not make spellcasters overpowered.
      That being said, if you prefer a high level of spellcasting in your games you could still use the previous version of the EZ rules for spellcasting. You may have missed it, but I did add a supplement to the previous rules that added all of the other races and classes. It is here:


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