Shield Banes
Ways to screw with Deflector Shields.


(permanent link) added: 2012-01-19 15:33:11 sponsor: Skrim (last reply: 2012-02-13 08:11:24)

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So your spaceship's got its big, fancy Deflector Shields to protect you from all manner of alien scum, or your Barrier Warrior can tank the nastiest of attacks and come out with nary a scratch. But what's this? The Monster of the Week just fired some kind of Energy Ball and your shields are gone! Woe to us all!

In short, Shield Banes are game mechanics or abilities that allow characters or combat machines to circumvent the protection of shielding, rendering their targets vulnerable and forcing characters or players to come up with clever new ways to weasel their way out of sticky situations (or not).

Shieldbanes can come in a number of varieties:
  • Attacks which do more damage to shields than they do otherwise. A more specialized case would be attacks which only do damage to shields.
  • Attacks which remove shields outright, temporarily or permanently. These may include Anti-Magic variants which dispell magic-based shields.
  • Attacks which are delivered after having somehow gotten inside the defense of the shields, for eg. melee or ramming attacks in some settings. A form of Attack Its Weak Point.
  • Attacks which, sometimes or always, just ignore shields and hit whatever's under them. This can include kinetic weapons in settings where shields only block energy. A form of Armor Piercing applied to shields.

Generally, when encountering Shield Banes, expect Oh Crap moments, Techno Babble outbursts, or the like. One way of countering them may be to have an Adaptive Ability, or in other cases by reversing the polarity or even simply adding more power. Compare Armor Piercing. Shield Banes are generally a good way to deliver The Worf Effect to a powerful shield-wielding character or said character's ship/base/what-have-you.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • The reason for using the Evangelion units in Neon Genesis Evangelion is that the Angels have AT Fields which can stop all but the msot powerful conventional attacks. The Evangelions can generate their own AT Fields to neutralise the Angel's field, rendering it vulnerable.
    • The Lance of Longinus (and its copies) is a weapon that can neutralize AT Fields on its own, while the positron rifle used to take down Ramiel is an example of the brute force method, being powerful enough to punch through the Angel's AT Field.

Film
  • Star Wars:
    • The Phantom Menace has the Gungan army, protected by a massive shield, facing off against a force of battle droids. When a number of droids walk through the shield, the first thing they destroy is the shield generator.
      • The film also shows Anakin Skywalker flying into the hanger of the droid control ship and destroying it from the inside when the Naboo fighters are unable to destroy it with more conventional attacks.
    • During the the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, the Rebels raise a shield around their base "strong enough to deflect any bombardment." Imperial troops land and destroy the shield's power generator.
    • Return of the Jedi features a Rebel commando mission to blow up the shield generator protecting the second Death Star, as well as a sequence in which X-Wings strafe the shield generators of the Executor, ultimately leading to its destruction.
    • In A New Hope, a ray shield blocks the Death Star's thermal exhaust port from lasers, requiring the use of proton torpedoes to destroy it. Because the torpedoes are material weapons, they can bypass this shield.

Live-Action Television
  • Several examples can be seen in Star Trek, especially Deep Space Nine:
    • The Jem'Hadar used this trope extensively in their first encounter with the Federation - with their phased polariton beams passing through the Odyssey's shields, and then of course, one Jem'Hadar attack ship outright ramming the Odyssey. Eventually the Federation adapts to the Jem'Hadar beam weapons, though.
    • Later in DS9, the Bree have weapons that disable the shields of Federation and Romulan vessels outright, to disastrous effect for the Alpha/Beta Quadrant forces.
    • In the Star Trek setting, ramming is generally a way of circumventing shields in general.
    • Star Trek: Generations. The commanders of the Klingon ship use espionage to learn the Enterprise's shield frequency. They set their weapons to that frequency, which allows their shots to go right through the Enterprise shields.

Literature
  • In the Honor Harrington novels the Grav Lance was intended to shatter "sidewalls" opening the enemy ship up for an energy torpedo assault. In practice, its extremely short range and massive bulk made it near impossible to use.
  • Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Star Wars Expanded Universe once hid a set of cloaked cruisers inside a planet's shield, bombarded the shield from outside, and had the cruisers fire in synchrony with the bombardment so that it looked as though his shots were ignoring the shield. The planet surrendered.
  • In Dune, shields can get heavily, fatally abused by lasers, which trigger thermonuclear reactions when they come into contact with them - rendering lasers illegal in warfare. Also, shields only repel matter travelling over a certain speed, so there is an entire school of warfare dedicated to attacks that are slow enough to bypass the shield, but fast enough to kill.

Tabletop Games
  • Star Fleet Battles:
    • Seltorian Web Breakers have a "Shield Cracker" mode that does serious damage to shields but none to the ship itself.
    • The Leaky Shields optional rule allowed 10-25% of damage to go right through a ship's shield and affect the ship.
  • Battlelords of the 23rd Century:
    • An Omega weapon (AKA Thud Gun) can damage flux shields.
    • Meson cannons only affect force fields.
  • Warhammer 40,000 used to have some weapons that would ignore invulnerable saves, such as psycannons and Necron warscythes, but later codices have removed most of them. The Vindicare asassin still has access to shieldbreaker ammunition, which does exactly what the name implies, destroying any wargear that grants invulnerable saves on the model it hits. It doesn't work on models whose invulnerable save is not given by a piece of wargear, though.
    • Heavy and superheavy versions of the Eldar D-cannon ignore Void Shields and Power Fields (mounted on Imperial Titans and some Ork superheavies, respectively).

Video Games
  • Terran Ghost's EMP Rounds in StarCraft II deal 100 damage per casting to Protoss shields. And then of course, in the original StarCraft there was the Science Vessel, whose EMP removed all shields and energy from its target.
  • The Vasari's Phase Missiles in Sins of a Solar Empire have a chance of ignoring shields and associated shield mitigation, for significant damage. This is particularly bad for the Advent, who rely primarily on shields for defense.
  • Freelancer has Pulse Cannons, which do almost no hull damage but do massive damage to shields. Also, they're some of the most accurate and least power-hungry guns out there.
  • In Pokémon, the move "Feint" breaks through Protect, Detect, and similar moves, while "Brick Break" breaks through the "Reflect" or "Light Screen" buffs. Also, the ability "Infiltrator" allows whoever has it to ignore Reflect, Light Screen, and Safeguard.
  • Web Game Final Defense. If the Spider Drone hits your base it will completely drain your shield energy, leaving you extremely vulnerable until the energy regenerates.
  • Stars! got "shield sappers", a category of beam weapons that has range 3 instead of typical 2 and do about 3-5 times the damage normal for their required Tech Level, but only to shields.
  • Various Final Fantasy games have spells that break shields. Especially useful in Final Fantasy VII since the Final Boss has one.
  • In Mass Effect there are ammunition upgrades that allow projectiles to bypass personal shields at the cost of slight damage reduction.
  • In Gratuitous Space Battles, Disruptor Bombs can temporarily throw shields offline, allowing attacks to directly target ships' hulls, and fighters can attack from ranges close enough to bypass them.

Western Animation

Real Life
  • The Roman Pilum was designed to get stuck in shields and make them awkward to use.

Additional examples or title suggestions are welcome.
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