Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me

"Oak and iron, guard me well
Or else I'm dead and doomed to Hell"
Andal Proverb, A Song of Ice and Fire

Metal or wood for personal protection - not those fancy crackly deflecting bubble things.

Historically, shields are a staple of pre-gunpowder warfare, carried in a warrior's off-hand to guard his vital organs and help protect against arrows and melee weapons. Knights are known for carrying large kite shields with their heraldry brightly emblazoned on them, and the Phalanx of the Greeks and Romans uses walls of shields to protect soldiers. Most fictional characters seem to find a BFS or Dual Wielding to be cooler, deciding that Shields Are Useless, but there are more than a few who swear by a shield to guard themselves.

Shields come in all shapes and sizes and can be made out of anything from wood to Unobtainium to pure energy. Sometimes they're paired with a sword or other one-handed weapon, but oddly enough, they're often used on their own to mark the wielder as a Technical Pacifist, Improbable Weapon User, or someone who just got screwed by the armoury. Bashing someone with a shield is a historical use of shields, and in RPGs this usually serves to stun or a foe knock back. Throwing your shield is also another useful attack but its use in real life is less well documented.

Shields are also good for riding on. They can also have designs emblazoned on them, such as faces.

Not to be confused with Character Shield or Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me (although one may shout "Luckily my shield will protect me!" to invoke the latter trope). Somewhat similar to Deployable Cover. It is the raison d'etre of the Shield-Bearing Mook.

Medieval shields frequently sported colorful coats of arms, and movie directors have duly taken full advantage of that fact to make their heroes' armor more spectacular. Less commonly seen in fiction has been the historical use of shields to carry people living or dead. Many ancient Germanic tribes inaugurated a new king by raising him on a shield. Spartan mothers proverbially warned their sons to come back with their shields or on them, because dead men were carried on their shields. (Coming back "with" your shield, on the other hand, supposedly proved you had faced battle bravely, because a fleeing man would always throw away his heavy shield. After all, if the shield was large and sturdy enough to carry a body on, you couldn't run very fast while carrying it.).

This is, rather surprisingly, often an anachronism even when placed into Renaissance- or Reformation-era stories. Once plate armor became common, most forms of large shield were on the outs, since they were now redundant in protecting the legs. The Renaissance-era shield, the buckler, is often derided in fantasy settings and tabletop settings as the bargain-bin shield, but it's actually the most advanced of the lot. In fact, despite rarely being depicted using those, the buckler is where the Swashbuckler gets his name from.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Tower of God's Androssi possesses a set of flying shields that protect her very well, until she faces off against Hong Chunhwa's Narumada, which breaks them. Having lost her defence, she quickly beats him up and borrows his sword.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam carries a body shield. It serves as a sort of inanimate Red Shirt; we know the situation is getting serious whenever part of the shield is blown off. Eventually however, the solid shields are mostly replaced with Beam Shields, which are basically Laser Blades shaped like shield sections rather than sword blades. Crops up a lot in the alternate Gundam universes as well.
    • All of the Gundams in Gundam Wing have shields with varying levels of offensive capacity. Wing's is occasionally used as a punching weapon (and Wing Zero's has a pneumatic tip to facilitate this), Deathscythe's can function as a flying beam drill, Heavyarms' has its beam Gatlings built into it, Sandrock's has blinding lamps inside and can combine with its shotels to form a crushing claw, Shenlong's was thrown a few times, and Epyon's (as well as Spiritual Successor Tallgeese III's) mounts its heat rod.
      • The Mercurius Mobile Suit also has one of these, having a Beam Saber shooting out in the middle of the shield.
    • Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny had them aplenty, starting with Strike Gundam and going from there until they start introducing mobile suit portable energy shields at the end of Destiny. Infinite Justice has its cake and eats it too with the "beam carry shield", a solid shield that mounts a beam shield emitter (as well as a grappling claw and a beam boomerang that is occasionally used as a shield-mounted sword).
      • Before the Infinite Justice, the Victory 2 Gundam of Mobile Suit Victory Gundam had the Mega Beam Shield as part of its Assault armor mode.
      • Shinn used the Impulse's shield as a weapon during his duel with Kira, throwing it at the Freedom - then firing his beam rifle at it to attack from a strange angle.
    • Kyrios and Exia in Gundam 00 both carry shields with integrated weapons. Exia's has a gun with an attached sword blade while Kyrios's has a scissor claw built in.
      • Aside from Exia's Blade Below the Shoulder /shield combo, it also occasionally carries a regular shield in its other arm. Exia's successor 00 Gundam initially carried a shield made up of two connected GN Katars, but eschews them when he gets the 0 Raiser with its GN Field.
    • In The 08th MS Team when Shiro would have died if not for his MS' shield absorbing the blow, he even says "I am saved..."
      • This series is particularly notable for having one of the weirdest shield designs out there. In contrast to the enormous riotshields used by most Gundams, the MS here use what appears to be a buckler with the back end of a clawhammer attached.
      • The strange design allows the bottom part (the "clawhammer") to dig into the ground and stick straight up, just high enough to double as a level for the various high-powered long range weapons.
      • While it is incredibly small for a MS shield, it's big enough to protect their hover truck, which they do near the end, protecting it from a super-hot shockwave from the Apsaulus.
      • Smaller shields make sense given the area of operations on the show. The jungles provide decent cover, and a larger shield, would make a bigger target.
    • Even though it's rarely shown, the Maxter Gundam's surfboard also doubles as a shield.
  • In Rave Master, the shield is one of the most used forms of Musica's Silver Necklace.
  • On a similar note, Elsa's Adamantine Armor in the anime sports a huge shield capable of parrying even Wave Motion Gun rays.
  • Wendi's Riding Board in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS is a Swiss Army Weapon that can be used as a surfboard with flight capabilities, a BFG with modifiable ammo, and yes, a massive, human-sized shield.
  • Shiryu's shield in Saint Seiya, which was said to be the strongest in the world, but which was broken several times by strong enough opponents. Hyoga had one too, but wasn't used much.
    • The Libra Golden Cloth had six different pairs of weapons, including two shields that doubled as such and as projectiles since a warrior autoized to use the Libra Cloth could flail them around by their chains and handles. Seiya uses one of the shields to demolish one of Poseidon's pillars, launching it almost as if it was a mix of flail and throwing disus.
  • The Tower of Druaga seems to love shields. The main character specializes in them. In the first season he has some kind of shield which sticks a spike into the ground to stabilize itself and in the second season he gets a buckler that folds up when not in use. Also, armies of the Kingdom seem to use Phalanx-inspired tactics and often set up rows of shields. All of these shields often get enhanced by mages, becoming some kind of Deflector Shields hybrid (when you're blocking a dragon who can just step over you a normal sized shield isn't too useful), but the strength of the shield holder is always emphasized, rather than the power of the magic.
  • Lancelot, Suzaku's mech, uses an energy shield in Code Geass. Early in the second season, Lelouch gets a Crowning Moment of Awesome when he accepts Guilford's challenge to a duel, naming a riot shield as his weapon, then causes the plate they're standing on to collapse and surfs the shield down it to safety. The scene was iconic enough that the action figure of Zero's Burai comes with the riot shield in addition to its normal weapons.
  • The Valkyries in the Macross franchise start to include buckler-ish shields from the VF-11 Thunderbolt onwards. They are typically reinforced by the fighters' pinpoint barrier system, and doubles as a knife sheath for the VF-25 while the VF-27's conceals a forearm blade. But these pale in comaparison to the Macross Quarter, whose entire carrier deck is used as a shield in its mech mode, and in addition to reinforcing it with the pinpoint barrier it also conceals missile launcher destroids specifically for pulling off the MACUROSSU ATTACKKU!!
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion took this to its logical extreme during the sniper battle against Ramiel, with the only thing protecting unit 01 from the angel's wave motion gun being a shield carried by unit 00 (a shield that in the TV series used to be the bottom of a space shuttle)
  • Kamichama Karin - The resident talking cat can transform into a Greek-looking shield which can reflect other people's attacks.
  • Gallantmon/Dukemon, Guilmon's strongest form in Digimon Tamers, holds a lance in one hand and a shield in the other...and the shield fires an enormous energy beam as part of his Finishing Move. Shield of the Just!
  • Craniummon from Digimon Savers is very proud of his shield Avalon, which is believed to be an unbreakable defense. When the heroes manage to break said shield, he let them pass.
  • "Iron Wall" Pearl in One Piece deserves a mention: he's entirely covered in shields of various size, and even uses a pair with metal studs to attack. Thanks to said shield cover, he hasn't bleed in more than 61 fights.
  • The Castle of Cagliostro: The Interpol troopers make good use of their riot shields.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Lambo's Cambio Forma is 'Lampo's Shield', used by Vongola Primo's Lightning Guardian. Slightly averted as Lampo's Shield also has some offensive abilities on top of its high defence.
  • Heathcliff in the first story arc of Sword Art Online is one of the strongest players in the game, and by far its best tank thanks to his unique "Holy Sword" ability which allows him to use his massive tower shield as a weapon, in addition to giving him superior defense. Because of this, his health has never actually dipped below 50%. Heathcliff's usage of a shield actually allows him to beat the Dual Wielding protagonist Kirito in a duel but in reality it's because he's actually Akihiko Kayaba, the Big Bad and is using his GM abilities to godmode.
  • Absolute Duo has Tōru's Blaze manifest as a shield instead of a weapon (which most Blaze manifest as).
  • Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari 's eponymous Main Character was summoned as the Shield Hero into a fantasy world, along with three others (who became Heroes of the Sword, the Lance and the Bow). The twist in here is that except the one "weapon" they were assigned with by the summon they are literally not able to use any other. As in "trying to pick up another weapon electrocutes him" and "trying to attack with fists only hurts the fists". And electrocutes him sometimes. Also his status as the "Shield Hero" has both its pros and cons.. He gets better, though.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has several Artifacts that are shields. These either increase the Toughness of a creature, or prevent damage to a creature or player in some way. Except for the Pariah's Shield, which does the exact opposite.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Zigzagged with Big Shield Gardna. It's DEF of 2,600 can withstand most attacks, but if it blocks an attack, it shifts to Attack Position, where it's almost powerless. (Yugi was able to take advantage of this weakness in the anime during the Ceremonial Duel arc.)
    • Total Defense Shogun is good with one; its DEF is "only" 2,500, but unlike most monsters, it can attack an opponent while still defending.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America:
  • Night Thrasher of the New Warriors occasionally uses his skateboard as a shield. A retractable blade is built into the nose, but otherwise it's mostly used for defense. The Punisher, of all people, commented:
    "I called it stupid? It serves as a shield, a weapon and transport. Maybe I should get one."
  • Paperinik New Adventures: Paperinik's shield doubles as a weapon. It doubles as a lot of different weapons, and a jet-pack, and some various other gadgets and whatever else could be crammed into the thing.
  • In the comic book series Bone, Smiley Bone has the talent of picking a shield up exactly one second before the Annoying Arrows hit him.
  • The Guardian in DC Comics has a golden shield originally shaped like a circle with a bar at the top, and more recently coming to a point at the bottom. In both forms it's meant to look a bit like a police badge, since that's his day job.

    Films — Animation 
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, trainees for dragon fighting are taught that their shield is their most important asset, and given the choice between a weapon and a shield, they should always go for the shield.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300 features a moment where Leonidas explains the importance of shields in the Spartan phalanx. The film also features the famous line of Spartan wives, "Return with your shield or on it." Dead Spartans were carried back home on their shields, while fleeing soldiers typically dropped their shields so they could run faster. Essentially their own wives told them to die before fleeing. The Spartans' reliance on the shield ended up as their undoing at Thermopylae. The deformed Ephialtes couldn't wield it correctly, and when he was thrown out of the Spartan ranks (literally off a cliff in 300), he betrayed them.
  • Alexander features the Macedonian phalanx, which incorporates shields.
  • The Astérix and Obelix versus Cesar film has Detritus ordering his Roman legionnaires to use the turtle formation: the soldiers form a tight square, cover every single side with their shields, and charge forward. However, this being Asterix, the title heroes plow through the "turtles" like a hot knife through butter.
  • Braveheart features a scene in which Scottish soldiers hide under their shields during an arrow barrage.
  • The 13th Warrior features a ritualized duel between two Norsemen in which each combatant is given three wooden shields. Whenever a warrior's shield is splintered, he can stop to take another one. Once you're out of shields, the expectation is that you're doomed. It doesn't quite work out this way.
  • In Mortal Kombat Johnny Cage uses a blade-rimmed shield to defend angainst Scorpion's fiery breath, then uses it to hack him to pieces.
  • In 28 Days Later, Frank barricades himself at the top of an apartment building and fights off infected in full riot gear, complete with shield.
  • Troy features a great deal of shield use. Achilles assumes a number of fighting positions that interlocks his spear and shield, which has a notch cut into it for this purpose.
  • Used with spectacular success in Dragonslayer, where Galen protects himself from the dragon Vermithrax's fiery breath with a shield fashioned of dragon scales.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman. Although Helmets Are Hardly Heroic, this trope at least is played straight during the final assault on the Queen's castle, given all the Death from Above raining down in the form of arrows and boiling oil. A shield-mantlet is formed the moment they break into the castle, and later their shields are the only defense when the Queen uses her magic to send warriors made of a swarm of razor-sharp obsidian shards.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has some examples:

  • Shields in the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks can protect you, the player, in a number of different ways depending on which book you're playing through. Sometimes you get a bonus to your combat skill to reflect the shield's ability to protect you from enemy attacks, while others reduce the amount of damage you actually take in combat. Some shields also protect you from specific hazards that can easily kill you if you couldn't defend yourself properly.
  • In Lone Wolf, a shield gives you a +2 Combat Skill bonus. This is an easy advantage in combat that shouldn't be passed up, considering there is otherwise no Dual Wielding rules. (Some weapons are supposedly two-handed, but it is hardly enforced.) This is also much less situational than the equivalent bonuses granted by the Kai disciplines of Weaponskill or Mindblast, although there are circumstances where you explicitly can't benefit from a shield (like if you're dangling from a rope/ledge with one hand, or have an arm paralyzed). Against projectiles, however, it is extremely rare that a shield is taken in account.

  • In the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel The Sword of Kahless, Chancellor Martok and his Ferengi friend are arming themselves for a battle against Martok's illegitimate son who has taken over the Klingon government. The Ferengi is shown to a separate rack that includes an old-fashioned round shield. Martok explains that this is the gear of a shield-bearer, although he adds that the shield-bearers would often be themselves used as shields. Subverted in that the shield fails to protect the Ferengi from a disruptor shot aimed at Martok when he jumps to protect the Chancellor. While this is because he simply fails to raise the shield in time, it is likely an antique shield would do little against a high-powered disruptor shot.
  • Conn Iggulden's Emperor books are set during the Roman Empire, and a major part of Roman tactics is the legionaries bunching up, presenting a wall of shields to counter enemy archers.
  • Cozards in The Ancestral Trail at one point use a very similar technique to protect themselves against killer bees.
  • In The Dragon Knight, medieval shield use is discussed at several points, namely how using one properly is a whole skill unto itself because incoming strikes really should be deflected instead of blocked. When Jim — a passable swordsman by this point, but hardly exceptional — is forced into a formal Duel to the Death with an enemy knight, he discusses what weapon to use. He eventually decides on a two-handed sword, reasoning that his natural agility is more valuable than a shield he doesn't know how to use properly.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Lieutenant Aegis of the Dragon's Lair dual wields shields. It's implied he uses them to disable and disarm his opponents; when Eric first met him, his sparing partner's sword went flying in towards the exit and almost impaled Eric. The one on his right arm is enchanted to not only defend him against magic but to return them to their castor.
    • Tiza carries a shield as part of her role as Team Four's tank. It helps her soak up damage while remaining in good health. Technically, she uses a targe, which is worn on the arm and can move to protect the head down to the legs.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a lot of shield usage. Most knights carry shields into battle, and many combats include descriptions of attackers hacking into each other's shields. When first ambushed in the Mountains of the Moon, Tyrion defends himself with nothing but a shield. Later, Bronn jokes that as a small man with a big shield, Tyrion will give the archers fits. The Unsullied rely on their shield wall tactics in battle. Outside of their phalanx, they're considerably less effective.
  • In Stormbringer, Elric of Melnibone notably goes on a side quest solely to acquire the Shield of Chaos, which he'll need to stand a chance of taking on the Lords of Chaos against whose magic and general reality warping powers even his own abilities and Stormbringer would not prevail alone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the BBC show Merlin, the evil (and inappropriately named) Sir Valiant uses forbidden magic to cheat in the tournament by enchanting the snakes painted on his shield to come to life and bite his opponent.
  • Deadliest Warrior:
    • The Spartan's shield was dubbed the most lethal weapon in a contest between a Spartan hoplite and a ninja, scoring even more kills than the Spartan's spear.
    • William Wallace's team brought in a Targe with a big ass metal spike in it.
    • Conversely to the Spartan example above, the Viking's shield in Viking vs. Samurai actually worked against him, since the episode only approached it based on its killing ability. The Samurai was given the kanabo—a large wooden club whose main attestation in historical sources is a mythological weapon wielded by demons—in the same equipment slot. The shield recorded fewer kills than any other weapon in the episode, and the Samurai won the matchup 522-478.
  • Mahou Sentai Magiranger / Power Rangers Mystic Force: Wolzard Koragg has a shield with the eye of an Eldritch Abomination Big Bad implanted in it. He keeps it (or a red version of it) after turning good, minus the eye. The shield also grows with him and becomes the chest of his Humongous Mecha mode.
  • Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger / Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The original Megazord used the Mastodon's head as a shield. The Turbo and Astro Megazords also carried shields. As does the Samurai Megazord.
  • Kamen Rider Double's CycloneJokerXtreme form has, apart from the Prism Sword, the Bicker Shield, which can either power up its companion sword, fire a powerful laser, or create a larger Deflector Shield.
  • Flashpoint: The Strategic Response Unit frequently uses extremely heavy ballistic shields for protection in high-powered weapon situations. The officer carrying them is restricted to a handgun, but they have been frequently shown to stop anything up to a rifle bullet.
  • Game of Thrones.
    • During the Big Badass Battle Sequence in "Blackwater", Stannis' soldiers turn a boat (that they've modified with support ribs) upside-down so it can cover the battering ram from the rocks and flaming arrows being hurled at them by the defenders of King's Landing.
    • In "The House of Black and White", the Unsullied form a testudo with their shields to protect Queen Daenerys from thrown rocks when her subjects start rioting.
  • Vikings quickly shows the importance of the medieval shield when the proper use of the shield wall by the Viking raiders lets them defeat a much larger Saxon force. Battles between Viking factions are fought with a shield wall clashing against shield wall and breaking the enemy shield wall being the key to victory. In season 2 the Saxon forces are able to defeat the Vikings led by Ragnar and Horik because the Vikings end up too scattered to form a proper shield wall.
  • In season one of Last Kingdom this is zig-zagged. In the first episode the Saxons are massacred because they cannot break the Danish shield wall. Afterwards the main characters are rarely shown using shields. However, the season finale has a massive battle that is shield wall vs shield wall. It is essentially one big shoving match with a lot of stabbing through any opening that appears in the shield wall. When the hero is able to temporarily break the Danish shield wall, the Saxons use that opening to break the Danish line and win the battle.
  • Merlin materializes one in a split second in Merlin (1998) to defend himself from a volley of arrows.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Perseus using his shield as a mirror in order to kill Medusa without having to look at her is an example from Classical Mythology.
  • The Iliad makes particular mention of shields during various exchanges in the Trojan War, such as this battle between Hector and Ajax Telamonian. They tend to waver between this and Shields Are Useless depending on how badass the enemy is.
    [Hector] poised his spear as he spoke, and hurled it from him. It struck the sevenfold shield in its outermost layer- the eighth, which was of bronze- and went through six of the layers but in the seventh hide it stayed. Then Ajax threw in his turn, and struck the round shield of the son of Priam. The terrible spear went through his gleaming shield, and pressed onward through his cuirass of cunning workmanship; it pierced the shirt against his side, but he swerved and thus saved his life.
    • The Shield of Achilles is famous for the number of pictures painted on it.
  • In Norse Mythology, Svalinn is a shield that protects the earth from being burned by the sun.
  • In The Bible, Goliath (said to be 9'6 in some versions of the Bible) had a truly massive shield as part of his equipment. Ironically, if Goliath had actually used the shield when facing David, it would have been the Curb-Stomp Battle he and everyone else assumed it would be.
  • The Bible compares faith to a shield. Roman scutum, with which the listeners were familiar, were intended to support each other.

  • Played straight by the barbarian Warrior in Dungeons & Dragons, whose only defense against the fire-breathing dragon is a round shield one meter in diameter.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Captain New Japan wears a shield on his back and arm, though they don't get much use outside of pre tapes since he's a baby face.
  • Leva Ba...Captain Levamerica had a tiny wrist-mounted shield but got a giant one on Independence day 2015 after being hammered by Leah Von Thor at Slammin Ladies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has portable forcefield generators that look like bucklers and shields. There's also Power Shields, more commonly known as Storm Shields, which are so huge that they're normally used by Space Marine Terminators, who are already covered in the best armor that the Space Marine Chapters can field.
  • Warhammer has shields as basic equipment for most units, though they usually can't be used at the same time as most heavy weapons. They increase the armor save of the wearer by one point. Characters have access to some nice magical shields as well. As of 8th edition, shields can be crucial, as a soldier wielding a normal weapon with a shield receives a last saving throw to any attack he receives in hand-to-hand combat, no matter how desperate. As the rulebook puts it, even the largest axe can still be stopped by a shield and some luck.
  • Shields are a staple of Dungeons & Dragons, but generally the game mechanics lean in favor of Shields Are Useless. Shields are rated as a passive addition to overall armor, providing only a small bonus to armor class. Game mechanics that provide advantages include:
    • Magical shields offer an opportunity to double-up on magical enhancement bonuses. The AC bonus from a shield may not stack, but the enchantments do. Because of this, some players use two bucklers: One in the off-hand for defense and one in the weapon hand just for the enchantments.
    • Shields can be used as weapons, but do little damage. It's possible to duel-wield two shields, but the armor bonuses don't stack, making this a pointless strategy. Many feats and spells introduced in later books also encourage shield use for Paladins, and make shield bashing a much more viable form of attack.
    • Shields can be used as a primary weapon while wielding a smaller weapon in the off hand, dealing only slightly less damage than normal two-weapon builds while granting much better armor.
    • Some defensive players use tower shields to give total cover, and shields AC bonus can turn them into Party Tanks.
    • Magical enhancements as such as Exceptional Arrow Deflection, Reflecting and Greater Reflection can be pretty good, especially since Reflecting shields can send back spells. Another enchantment causes the shield to float in front of you, basically making it free AC for any character.
    • Fourth Edition has some melee combat powers for fighters that require the use of shields, which all generally improve the character's ability to tank and control the position of enemies reasonably well. Shields also grant a bonus to Reflex now, which is usually a tank's weakness.
    • In Fifth Edition, clerics can paint the holy symbol of their god on their shields so they can get the +2 Armor Class bonus and still cast spells.
    • Second Edition had more than one supplement dealing with shield, allowing them to be used for parrying, negating enemy attacks.
  • The Pathfinder variant also includes a wide set of feats to make shield combat effective, up to letting you use shields to outright deflect spells that have to be aimed. The shield will still be affected by the spell in question, but if you can catch a disintegrate on your shield and then toss it rather than get vaporized yourself, it's what is technically known as a good deal.
    • Additionally, the Shield Master feat allows a character to actually add the magical enhancement of a shield's defenses to their offensive capabilities, effectively making dual wielding shields a cost-preserving method of awesome or ridiculous optimization, depending on your tastes.
  • In GURPS, shields are extremely useful before the advent of guns, giving a bonus to all forms of defense when used properly. Against anyone with a gun (or laser) the shield just becomes a liability due to its weight. Unless you bring out Super Science tech to make a lightweight and nigh indestructible shield of course.
  • In The Witcher: Game of Imagination, shields are by far the most useful equipment anyone can have in combat. They provide flat bonus to physical protection, they considerably reduce received damage and can block pretty much anything thown at them, be that weapons, projectiles, spells, charging mob or monsters' attacks. In fact, they are the only conventional way to block ranged attacks and any experienced player will tell you rangers are the worst enemies you can meet. With minor point investment, characters gain access to Shield Bash, which is as effective as any other one-handed weapon. If not more effective, since it has a chance to knock your enemies on the ground. Did we mention a group of shield-bearers can form a turtle and became virtually invulnerable? But most importantly, shields are cheap and commonplace, which can't be said about any other powerful or useful gear.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Big Shield Gardna. Notably, the shield not only protects against most any attack a four-star monster can throw at it, but, as a one-time bonus, can defend against magic, including, but not limited to mind control. (This was even more useful back when Change of Heart was still allowed 1-per-deck.)
  • Exalted takes this trope and, like so many others, takes it to extremes of awesomeness. Shields in general improve one's ability to parry attacks, but carry with them a penalty to mobility. Then, however, you get into artifact Thunderbolt Shields, which even in their as-issued state provide huge defense bonuses and have no penalty to mobility (indeed, they IMPROVE mobility). And finally, there's the shield of the Unconquered Sun, which if lent confers TOTAL INVINCIBILITY.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, shields are the premier defensive equipment for the adventurer on a budget (i.e., you): They are cheap and grant a free parry once per round with a +10 bonus, which is liable to save your life more often than not. Consequently, most melee fighters in the system without a death wish tend to favor sword and shield over a BFS or Dual Wielding (which only grants a free parry anyway, but without the +10 bonus).
  • In RuneQuest, shields come in three different sizes and each requires active use of a skill, which is learned like any other, and can be used against only one attack per round. However, properly used they will block more damage than the heaviest armour, while being an order of magnitude cheaper to buy, and don't usually break the way parrying weapons will.
  • BattleTech's advanced rules offer BattleMech-sized shields that depending on their size and how actively they're used can absorb a fair amount of damage that therefore doesn't get applied to the hit locations protected by the the cost of increasingly interfering with the 'Mech's own weapon fire and potentially movement, but it's still a fairly substantial defensive bonus and they can be used as melee weapons in a pinch as well. As the in-universe timeline moves into the 32nd century, they even move out of the 'Mech arenas where they were first introduced and start to appear on "proper" military machines.
  • In Ironclaw shields provide rather significant bonuses to dodge or parry rolls.
  • In Rocket Age shields are usually useless, since most enemies have access to ballistic or advanced weaponry. The exception to this is the Venusian wooden shield. Made out a hard wood as strong as steel and coated with psychic crystals and resins, these ancient relics offer some protection against bullets and deflect ray beams.

    Video Games 
  • Used by the Player Character in Avalon Code. While it won't be much use at first, it's pretty much the only way to defeat the Big Bad.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Goofy uses a shield. The manual states that Goofy despises weapons. Notably, in the first game, many of his shields fall into one of two categories: those meant for defending and those meant for bashing.
    • One of the options for a tutorial weapon in the first game is a shield, which you use to smack your enemies around. It is also representative of the "path of the guardian" during the Awakening (Dive to the Heart) sequence.
    • Vexen's weapon in Chain of Memories is a giant shield. It also has five huge spikes, the longest of which is pointing upwards, and longer than his head. Considering how he wields it, the shield can be used for punch-stabbing.
      • In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ , Vexen's shield can by synthesized as a weapon for Goofy.
    • Among The Heartless, you have Defenders, who utilize shields as their main weapon, which Goofy can also wield.
  • Bloodline Champions has a very large shield for the Vanguard bloodline. Used for their Shield Bash and Reflect ability.
  • City of Heroes introduced the long-awaited Shield Defense powerset for melee classes (except Stalkers) in 2008, meaning that Blue Steel, local Memetic Badass and superhero cop, could finally be represented in-game. The shields usable by players are heavily customisable. For a long time the fan theory for Blue Steel was that his attacks were Shield Offense but this was stated not to be the case by Word of God. When he was finally put into the game as a fightable character (which wasn't until early 2012, less than a year before the game closed), he used the shield for defense and a police baton for attacks.
  • The Protector class in Etrian Odyssey uses shields, which is visually more prominent than their swords. The shield is used for most of their special abilities, particularly when it is used as a weapon for the powerful Smite attack.
  • Might not be all that significant, but in Vandal Hearts, one of the few classes to use a shield was the 'Hero' class, solely used by our hero, Ash. (Popular name amongst heroes, come to think of it... wonder if it's worth a trope.) For the most part, it's just a basic Kite Shield, which nonetheless helps make him one of the best units in the game, since it affords him good protection without limiting his mobility, the way the Big Frackin' Shields of the Defender-class does... but when/if you upgrade him to the Game Breaker 'Vandal' class, he replaces it with an umbrella-like green forcefield shield that pops out of his left hand at will.
  • Link from The Legend of Zelda series has a series of different shields in each game, able to deflect increasingly powerful attacks. The shield became very prominent in the move to 3D, with some games including puzzles that can only be solved through some use of the shield. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess repositions the shield button so that it only activates while targeting an enemy, but also lets you gain a Shield Bash move to stun the enemy and leave them open to attack. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword changed the shield mechanics significantly: you can put out your shield any time you have your sword out, but you have to thrust it out with proper timing to actually deflect an attack—simply holding it out prevents damage, but will still cause you to stagger and damages your shield.
    • Link's shield is so amazing in Majora's Mask, that raising it can somehow protect him from his face exploding with the Bomb Mask. That said, the Bomb Mask doesn't appear to make Link's face explode so much as it just creates an explosion in front of the wearer when they will it to do so. Thus Link can protect himself from the blast with the shield.
    • The Twilight Princess shields are so good, that even attacks such as Diababa's bites are blocked just by targeting!
  • Metal Fatigue had various shield based arms which could be added to the customizable Humongous Mecha the game was based around.
    • Two shields, to be precise: the Neuropa K-Shield which looks like a huge riot shield and protects against kinetic weapons as well as the buckler-like Rimtech Power Shield which protects against energy weapons.
  • In World of Warcraft, Both Paladins and Warriors can use shields. The former can throw them Captain America style, and the latter can use them to stun enemies. They are also wildly variable in size and style, from bucklers to giant, spiky slabs of iron.
    • In fact, for paladins and warriors specialized in protection, many of their signature moves can't be done without shields, and Dual Wielding shields has been requested for paladins by a vocal minority of players.
    • Additionally in order to avert Shields Are Useless for a tanking Warrior or Paladin their shield provides a very large percentage of their armor compared to other items. For example the current top level plate chest pieces have a base armor in the 5700's while the equivalent level shield has a base armor value in the 18,000's.
    • As far as blocking with shields go as one of 3 defensive mechanics, it's fairly common (both classes can greatly increase their chance to block with tanking abilities) but only reduces the incoming damage by a certain amount whereas dodge and parry negate all of it. Blocking tends to be more effective against many weak attacks as a result.
      • Prior to the Northrend expansion drastically changing shield mechanics, the amount of damage mitigated by blocking was absolutely pathetic, but it served another purpose. Blocks out-prioritized crushing blows on an enemy's hit roll, turning what would have been an extra-damage hit that could instantly smash a tank's entire HP bar into a mostly normal hit that could be survived.
    • Shields are also used by Shamans of certain builds, as well, although they almost never use them to actually block blows and are valued for their spellcasting boosts rather than the defensive ones, although all shields provide a significant armor boost.
    • In a rather humorous reversal of the trope, while death knights are designed and balanced around using either a BFS or Dual Wielding to tank, it's not uncommon to hear bad players lament or even blame their personal deficiencies on the class's inability to use shields.
    • In War Craft III, the Footman unit could use his shield to greatly reduce damage taken from ranged enemies, though this also slows it. Several other units have shields but do not have defensive abilities like these.
  • In the Brood War expansion for Starcraft, Medics come equipped with a shield. Compared to other Terran infantry, Medics are the most durable of the lot, though not by much.
    • Starcraft II's Marines have the option to be upgraded with combat shields which increase overall hp by 10.
  • Shields in Final Fantasy XI can be used by Paladins to smack an enemy in the face, with the job also having a bonus while blocking with it, and a spell to boost the blocking rate as well as reflect damage back to the enemy. There's even an Infinity Plus One Shield, which isn't as mind-numbingly bad to get compared to the other relics. Other classes can use some shields as well, although Dual Wielding is normally favored instead of using a shield.
  • There are several kinds of shields in RuneScape, which are mostly used for a variety of defensive abilities, such as reflecting damage back to attackers, becoming totally immune to damage, and even bringing you Back from the Dead. Some shields also have special abilities; for instance, one shield is mainly used to protect its user from dragon breath, and its upgraded version can store the breath and throw it again against the opponent. Another type of shield can reduce incoming damage by a considerable amount, albeit at the cost of prayer points.
  • Proto Man in the Mega Man series carries one of these around, aptly named the Proto Shield. In his playable appearances, he can only use it while standing still or in midair, since he slings it on his back while running.
    • The various Sniper Joe models also have these, though they have to put them away to attack.
    • Mega Man himself (and Mega Man X) has several types of "Shield" copy weapons, which typically absorb one hit if not thrown as an attack. They also tend to be made of ridiculous things, like leaves, petals, bits of junk, gems, or water droplets. Mega Man 7 lets Mega Man borrow the Proto Shield for a while, provided you defeat Proto Man as a Bonus Boss.
    • In the Mega Man Battle Network series, Mega Man can utilize a shield while using his Shield style in the second game, or while he has the Shield or Reflect program equipped. It blocks most attacks, but requires fairly precise timing to use, due to it being active for just a fraction of a second.
    • The shield is always usable and a necessity in Mega Man Star Force, as some attacks are unavoidable otherwise. Fortunately, it stays active a lot longer then in the aforementioned series, and you're also allowed to move and attack immediately after blocking something to reduce your risk of getting hit once it vanishes.
    • Zero in the Mega Man Zero series has the Shield Boomerang, which can be thrown when charged up. Fun fact: it's actually made by spinning Zero's Z-Saber around really fast.
  • Turtle Tamers in the Kingdom of Loathing can use their shield as a weapon with the Shieldbutt skill. And if they have the "Hero of the Half Shell" skill, the shield dramatically reduces the damage inflicted (by using the primary stat Muscle in place of Moxie for defence when calculating damage).
  • Kanji in Persona 4 smacks enemies with large objects, including pieces of wood, school desks and steel riot shields. One particular weapon, the Death Scuderro, is, in fact, a round shield with a spike in the center of it. However, none of the weapons are used for protection, as the character much prefers to smash things with them, or throw them really hard at things.
    • When told to guard, Kanji will drop his shield and protect himself by crossing his arms. Smart one, Kanji.
  • A number of RPGs allow characters to wield two shields. This is incredibly useless for physical attackers, and notoriously close to Game Breaker status for magic casting characters. Notable examples include Final Fantasy 3, 4 and 6, most of the Phantasy Star games as well as older NES games such as the Bard's Tale.
    • Lenneth Valkyrie from Valkyrie Profile uses two shields and a sword. The shields bob in the air around her, allowing her to hold her sword with two hands. Lenneth can even use a bow with those floating shields!
    • In one of the Ultima games, it was possible to give a character two spiked shields and a spiked helmet, for three (weak) attacks.
    • Ancient Domains of Mystery, too, allows the character to wield two shields. The shields mostly give bonuses to DV, which causes attacks to miss or be blocked, but most of them also have a small PV bonus, which is deduced from damage actually taken. When two shields are wielded, attacking is impossible, but spellcasting isn't - and it isn't hindered by armour in any way, either.
    • In Final Fantasy II, shields have the peculiar trait of making characters faster in battle—turn order is determined by Evasion-%, which shields raise. While characters cannot attack enemies while dual-wielding shields, it makes early-game characters extremely fast and gives enough of an Evasion-% boost to equip the heaviest armor while retaining max Evasion-%, making it ideal for characters who rely on magic for offense.
    • Dual Wielding shields is one of the most viable ways to use the Viking class in Final Fantasy III and the Master Monk of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 - the former's specialty is drawing physical attacks towards itself, and the latter has optimal attack when bare-handed - and using two shields counts as being bare handed.
      • Speaking of Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Dual Wielding a certain set of shields can be game breaking for Black Mages. Equipping the Fire Shield (absorbs fire), the Frost Shield (absorbs ice), and the Thunder Robes (absorbs lightning) means that a Black Mage can heal himself with his highly damaging spells. Area of effect often means a close range Black Mage can deal damage and heal at the same time, and the two shields make being in close range a lot more viable. This tactic is used against you in a few missions where a recurring enemy Black Mage absorbs fire, ice, and lightning based on this tactic.
      • Units that can use a shield can also dual wield shields for high evasion, but no weapons equipped means the unit will be quite weak unless their strength is extremely high. The Master Monk job can use this tactic to great effect since the class has a pretty nice evasion stat and by equipping two copies of the shields that give the most evasion bonus, the unit can pretty much reduce the chances of attacks hitting him by half!
    • One peculiar shield in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the Adamant Shield, is usable by all characters in the game, including those who can't normally use shields. Those characters who can wield two weapons have the option of using two of these shields. While this cripples the attack of the two ninjas who can do this, the monks are still perfectly capable of punching at full strength even while equipping a pair of these shields. Given the massive stat benefits of this shield, it's actually a useful tactic - if you managed to grind enough to get two of them, that is.
  • A pair of villains in the second half of Tales of Hearts are twin robots. One of them uses a pair of cleavers. The other one wields two shields, and uses them to defend himself while casting powerful spells. Of course you fight them both at once.
  • There are shields aplenty in Puzzle Quest, but only the Broken Shield actually protects from direct attack damage (and even then at a 10% rate). The rest do things like inflict damage on opponents with every attack, temporarily boost our attack or spell resistance stats, fill your mana gauges, or restore health.
    • In PQ2, shields (from lowly Bucklers to the mighty [Templar-only] Tower Shields) add to your overall defensive stats and add a temporary additional boost when used in battle.
  • SoulCalibur:
    • Sophitia and Cassandra use shields and shortswords. Several moves (moreso with Cassandra than Sophitia) involve hitting enemies with the shield.
    • Lizardman also carries a shield from Soul Calibur II to IV.
    • In Soul Calibur V, Sophitia is succeeded by her children Patroklos and Pyrrha. Naturally, they both use shields. Lizardman drops his shield in favor of Dual Wielding axes in this game, however.
  • In Fire Emblem games, Paladins and knights may or may not carry shields depending on the game. For knights/Armors (slow, heavily armored foot soldiers) from the GBA games, the shield is actually their massive breastplate, which comes off and can be carried in the hand for some reason. The RNG can make those shields either useless or unbreakable. Armors and Soliders in Radiant Dawn and the DS installments also block attacks as their 'Miss' animation.
    • The Fire Emblem in the first and third game (and their remakes) is an Ancestral Shield.
    • In Fire Emblem: Gaiden, characters have the option to equip a shield for extra defense, instead of a more powerful weapon or accessory.
    • The Hero class unit gets a shield, and has extra defense stats over the Swordmaster to go with it. They don't do much with them, though, aside from throwing them into their air for their critical hits in the GBA games: judging from the rest of their attack animation, it also either doubles as a sheath for their sword or they hold their swords behind their shields. They do block in Mystery of the Emblem and in the DS titles as their 'Miss' animation though.
  • Only a handful of classes in Atlantica Online can use a shield. Other classes carry different things in the same slot, such as ammo for ranged and orbs for casters.
  • Final Fantasy went back and forth on shields. Cecil and Kain in IV carry shields (for lack of alternatives) while most games make them optional or provide abilities that discards the shield for dual-wielding or two-handed usage of one weapon. In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, it's possible to carry shields (which boost evasion and sometimes other stats) in both hands, which is surprisingly effective for monks. As one encounter demonstrates, this can also be used for mages to absorb all three main elements.
    • Final Fantasy VI had possibly the most useful shields in the series, given that they not only boosted characters' evasion, but also gave substantial defense bonuses as well. They would be even more useful in the original if the Evade stat actually did anything.
    • In the original Final Fantasy I, shields are simply defense-boosting armor. The remakes, however, give shields a chance of blocking physical attacks, which is counted as a miss on the enemy's part. Strangely, shields can block poison damage too.
  • The SRPG Gladius has the Myrmidon, who has a skill pool devoted almost entirely to shield use (including the ability to throw their shield a la Captain America for large amounts of damage), as well as special, sometimes rather powerful, shields that only they can use. The downside to this is shields have durability in this game, and if the shield breaks it is gone for good, so one may end up having to spend a lot of money re-equiping the Myrmidon, and once their shield is broken, the Myrmidon is pretty much crippled for the fight. That said, there are unbreakable shields for the Myrmidon. Once you get those, only very specific skills can ever disarm them.
  • Most Knight Borgs in Gotcha Force wield shields as well as their weapon of choice. The Imperial and Dark Knights, however, wield ''two'' shields, with extendable swords inside.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Sniper able to unlock the Razorback, an Aboriginal-styled wooden shield (with a car battery taped to it) that protects him from the Spy's Back Stab, stuns the Spy and makes a sound to alert the wearer.
    • Rather counter-intuitively, the Razorback is actually the most frail "weapon" in the game, as weapons don't break and the Razorback shatters when stabbed. As a result, the real reason Snipers use the item is not the fact that it extends their lifespan by one stab; it's the paralyzing electric shock it delivers to the overzealous spook.
      • Even then, competent Spies will just resort to the Revolver or Ambassador instead of the Knife.
    • The Sniper now gets the thematically-named Darwin's Danger Shield, which simply gives a moderate health bonus.
    • The Demoman's second unlock is the Chargin' Targe, and while it does often protection to the Demoman, it requires... other incentives in order to make the average Scotsman choose it over a weapon.
      "If I were to pick up this cowering-plate, I would have to put down my second sword," a Scotsman thinks. "And surely that is madness." The Chargin' Targe solves this riddle by turning the useless shield into a deadly weapon you can run at people with and then bludgeon to death.
    • In other words, it has a large spike protruding from the centre. When the charge is stretched out to its maximum duration, an actual shield bash for 50 damage (characters' HP ranges from 125 to 300) is performed. The charge itself also critboosts any weapon attack done immediately after, which at 195 damage for a melee attack kills all but two classes at full HP.
    • There's now also the Splendid Screen, a smaller shield which provides less protection (only 1/2 the fire resistance and 3/8 the explosive resistance of the Targe) but can do damage with a charge from any distance, does 85 damage instead of 50 and guarantees a critical hit with a melee weapon on a successful bash.
    • The Demoman's Tide Turner is, inexplicably, a broken old fashioned ship's wheel which provides the expected blast and fire defense a Demoman shield as well as total charge control. It doesn't actually resemble a shield, but acts the part, and lays about opponents like no one's business thanks to its charge recovery feature.
  • Ragnarok Online has shields available for all of their classes... although some are restricted to certain classes. Paladins can use a skill called "shield boomerang" (no points for guessing what it does). This trope is played straight as it is possible to become immune to all magic if you add some phlebotinum to your shield.
  • In Urban Chaos: Riot Response, the shield is one of the most prominent mechanics. You are essentially invincible so long as you keep the shield up between you and anything trying to kill you, although many players prefer not using the shield as it makes the game too easy.
  • In Gears of War players can use metal retractable shields that block all bullets. They also block large and non-humanoid enemies from passing in single player and hoard mode.
    • In the second game players can also use fallen enemies as human shields, but they eventually break apart if shot enough.
  • In the first Red Faction, players get a riot shield.
  • In Heroes Of Might And Magic V, some units use shields to reduce damage taken from enemy ranged attacks. Some can even use it to protect nearby allies and use them offensively by smacking them into the face of the enemy, stunning them.
  • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Alucard can use various shields—activating them blocks missile attacks, and some of them can be used for magic attacks with the "Shield Rod" or "Mablung Sword" weapons. In the hands of a savvy player, the Alucard Shield turns this into Luckily My Shield Will Win The Whole Game For Me.
    • To elaborate: when you use the Shield Rod or Mablung Sword with the Alucard Shield, your shield gains an unblockable Collision Damage attack that does ludicrously high damage, heals you with every hit, restores your hearts (subweapon ammo) and gives you several seconds of invincibility. Well thought-out, it wasn't.
  • Olaf the Stout from The Lost Vikings is armed with only a shield. In the first game, the wooden shield was able to stop stone blocks the size of Olaf himself provided the shield was facing the right way. In the second, it was changed to titanium, with an added feature to allow Olaf to shrink to squeeze through passages. In both games, the shield doubled as a hang glider and a temporary platform. Olaf remains the only character in both games who is unable to attack enemies.
  • Riesbyfe Stridberg of Melty Blood uses a giant cello-shaped shield as her main weapon, although the shield is big and sharp enough to be a BFS.
  • An important feature in Dwarf Fortress, with realistic mechanics: they increase the wearer's chance to block an attack entirely rather than reducing damage, as DF has a separate parry roll instead of abstracting it into the armour stat. They alo have a useful secondary function as a surprisingly effective Improvised Weapon, and learning how to use a shield is a separate skill from both weapons and armor use.
    • Less realistically, a long-standing bug with how carrying multiple weapons is handled lets adventure mode players equip 20 or more shields, each with a chance of blocking every attack.
    • You can also block any attack besides a charge entirely even if it makes no sense; shields are currently all indestructible, even the wood ones, and can block streams of fire or gas and hits from things much, much larger than the shield's holder.
  • Modern Warfare 2 added the Riot Shield as a weapon. It can be used to both deflect bullets and bash enemies into submission, but it takes up a whole weapon slot, is vulnerable to explosive weapons and can be tough to use on more open maps. Strangely, although it is bulletproof (mostly), it is a clear shield. Most real-life man-portable shields rated to deflect gunfire are the opaque type with the small viewing port. These are usually referred to as Ballistic shields.
    • And even then, virtually no hand-held shield in Real Life can stop rifle rounds - they'd be too heavy.
  • Diablo II, in respect of being a Fantasy RPG, features shields. Notably, the Paladin class has a few abilities that require their use.
  • Crisis Zone as well as it's Spiritual Sequel Razing Storm give the player a riot shield to defend from enemy attacks. Said shield can completely defend the player from More Dakka, Beam Spam, Ramming from a Humongous Mecha, Macross Missile Massacre, Wave Motion Guns, and loose concrete.
  • In Vandal Hearts 2, amongst the weapon classes, "shield" is a separate class. They mostly fill into the Boring but Practical role as shields increase blocking capability tremendously (even against arrows/projectiles). Some shields have spikes studded in them, but are heavy like lead and cumbersome. Then you get the Killer Shield, which is like the aforementioned spiked shield, except much lighter in weight. And then, you can get the Zebra Shield, which teaches you the very rare Re-Animator skill.
  • In [PROTOTYPE] the first of Alex's two defensive powers gives him a shield of biomass. It shatters after taking a certain amount of damage and experiences some downtime regenerating. That said, since it outright blocks damage and doesn't affect Alex's diverolling, unlike the Armour that reduces, it isn't completely obsolete.
  • Certain Mooks in the Metal Slug series carry large metal shields that can take several pistol rounds before breaking. They panic once the shield's gone, so you can finally kill them.
  • The X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance games have shielded enemies who cannot be damaged so long as they're holding their shields, so you have to run up and tear it out of their hands.
  • Shields are prominently used by melee fighters in Titan Quest. They give the wielder the ability to block a portion of damage from the occasional blow. The Defender class is also specifically meant to wield a shield both for offense and defense.
  • Like the Dwarf Fortress example above, Final Fantasy XII shields do not boost defense, but rather evasion—since you can equip as well armor with a very high defensive stat, plus certain weapons and accessories that boost your evasion even more, can see where this is heading.
    • Except for enemies (read: any monster where a high evasion would be helpful) that can ignore evasion, making shields useless sans their added effects & magic evasion.
    • Also like those two, RuneScape's shields make the enemy hitting less likely rather than reducing damage taken as well. It's kind of an aversion, though, since all armour does only that. Until late 2010, at least, when actual damage reduction mechanics were added - and even those work only on 200+ damage hits. Most monsters can't even hit that hard.
  • The Warrior of Light, Dissidia's combination Knight in Shining Armor-Cape, is one of only two members of the cast to retain a shield. Very rarely is it actually used to guard attack, though; our buddy WoL seems to be taking cues from another well-known cape and using it as a projectile weapon more than anything.
    • Firion, meanwhile, has a small buckler. He doesn't use it to bash enemies with, however. Instead, he uses it to invoke a Beehive Barrier to block and counter attacks with.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has shields equipable by all classes, but only the warrior gets special skills to use them. As with Dwarf Fortress and Final Fantasy XII shields in DA boosts the chance of avoiding damage rather than reduce damage received. The special abilities include bashing enemies with them, becoming immune to flanking, reducing damage, and further increasing the evasion rate, amongst others. The style has far less offensive options that two-weapon style and two handed weapon style, but the stacking defensive buffs you get at high levels make a weapon-and-shield warrior practically invulnerable. It's a supreme case of Boring but Practical.
  • Dragon Age II also has weapon-and-shield as a Warrior build, and when combined with her class talent, a few strategically-placed points in Defender, and a whole-party Arcane Shield buff, Aveline is effectively invincible.
  • Demon's Souls allows you to equip anything onto either hands, including two shields. There is a spiked shield that you can use to attack with, but given the difficulty of the game, it's probably better to use a real weapon.
    • It is also possible to dual-wield anything in the game, blocking with a shield while doing so has them cowering behind it.
  • Mount & Blade allows the equipping of many different kinds of shields, from giant shields as tall and wide as a person, to round shields of varying sizes, to small diamond shaped heater shields. Though you can parry melee blows with any other melee weapon, a shield is your only bet for stopping arrows or couched lances. They also can't be wielded in tandem with any weapon that uses two hands, and, if subject to too much abuse, will break (though they'll be back in your inventory perfectly repaired after the battle). They can't be used as weapons either, somewhat unusually for a game that otherwise is pretty accurate to medieval warfare - several popular mods rectify this by adding a shield bash ability, though.
  • The Pokémon series contains a Pokémon called Bastiodon, whose case is unique in that it has a shield as a face. It's in the top 10 for both defensive stats, but all of its other stats are terrible. Sadly, its defensive capabilities are all but destroyed by double weaknesses to two of the most common attacking types in the game, Fighting and Ground.
  • Monster Hunter
    • Several weapons in the series come with a shield (Sword and Shield, Lance, Gunlance, optional on the Heavy Bowgun, the Greatsword can double as a shield in a pinch), which can be incredibly useful especially when paired with the right skills/items (Guard skill + Mega Juice). This can lead to the "turtling" tactic for lances and gunlances. Amusingly, shields and Greatswords will block things that, logically, should not be blockable with a shield, such as loud roars and stun-inducing flashes. Of course, having the shield is no guarantee of safety since Vespoid will hit you from behind, or you get hit by an unblockable attack, or your stamina runs out, etc. Basically, like everything else in Monster Hunter, it all depends on the player's skill.
    • Of course the alternative is having no shield at all and for most players, that is not exactly a good proposition because without one, even a full life bar goes down rather quickly.
    • 4 and 4 Ultimate introduce the Charge Blade, which looks like a much bigger and heavier sword and shield at first brush. Except the shield is bladed on the sides; jam it onto the end of that sword, which helpfully doubles in length, and suddenly you have a greataxe. Secondly, a few of the weapon's techniques have "Guard points", moments during an attack when the shield is bared. Being hit at this moment counts as blocking without costing stamina, plus the momentum of the attack prevents you getting knocked back so far.
  • The Front Mission series has shields as one of the more common pieces of Wanzer equipment, but they're mounted to the shoulders. Pretty useful, since quite a few of the available arms didn't have hands.
  • One of the later transformations of the Wii version of A Boy and His Blob version is a shield which deflects enemy projectiles and some of the enemies themselves.
  • La-Mulana has a few shields with varying degrees of protection. A few enemies also use shields.
  • In Dragon Quest IX, shields are among the strongest skills to learn, and highly recommended to master first, as it makes even your wizards, Fragile Speedsters, and healers noticably durable in pinches. Mastering them allows you to equip one regardless of class, and with one equipped, grants a passive +6% evasion, gives you access to powerful defensive skills like 'Defending Champion' (a 3mp ability that reduces ALL damage taken that turn by roughly 90%), Magic Mirror (a 4mp skill that reflects ALL harmfull spells back at the user for several turns), Holy Impregnable (a skill that protect the user from all status effects for several turns, and Immense Defence (Increases block chance for several turns). Mastering this skill also grants you access to a sidequest that awards a scroll that, when held in a character's inventory, stops any and all Critical Hits from harming them, which is godly for tanks, healers, and solo hero runs (sadly it gotten rather late outside of a grotto).
    • Shield is a critical equipment in Dragon Quest Swords, as it's the only way to avoid or reduce a direct damage done by an enemy. You need to use an item to repair your broken-down shield in the fly if you don't want to be overwheimed by powerful attacks since you can't dodge any attacks and the only other defensive option is to swat enemy projectiles back at them.
  • A villainous example occurs in Chrono Trigger. Your characters themselves don't carry shields (except for Frog in the official artwork, but that's Gameplay and Story Segregation), but a number of enemies carry shields that make them almost invincible until they lower them to attack.
  • Fiona, your defensive warrior in Vindictus uses sword-and-board in contrast to Lann's Dual Wielding, Evie's magic and staff/scythe work, Karok's two-handed weapons, and Kai's bow. Using skills like Guard and Heavy Stander, she can stand toe-to-toe against even the hardest-hitting bosses, and her Counterattack skill, which requires a successful Guard, is one of her hardest-hitting attacks. She needs to keep an eye on her shield's integrity though — too much damage to the shield without some way of regenerating (such as campfires) will break it and leave her at a severe disadvantage.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Allied peacekeepers (basic soldiers) look more like riot police then front-line soldiers. Their primary weapon is a Short-Range Shotgun, but they also have a metal shield that they can deploy to protect against bullets, while they slowly walk towards the target in order to unleash their weapon.
  • Characters in Video Game/Mabinogi can be equipped with shields, which substantially enhance their defense stat and the effectiveness of the Defense skill. Shields can be upgraded to provide even higher levels of defense. Elves and Humans equipped with a shield can use the Charge skill to deliver a high-powered shield-bash, knocking-back and stunning the enemy (Giants do not need a shield to use Charge, due to their size).
  • Is a discrete skill in The Elder Scrolls.
    • In Oblivion, one can equip a shield with a one-hand weapon. By holding the "Parry" button, one can hide behind it, and avoid almost all damage. However, it reduces one's speed to a crawl, and you can't attack while cowering behind your shield.
    • Also available in the game's three predecessors. There the chance for the shield to block an attack was randomly determined based on your "Block" skill.
    • Skyrim expands greatly on Oblivion's use of shields by giving the Block skill its own perk tree and some revamped mechanics. In addition to blocking attacks as in previous games, shields now have a bash attack that has a chance to stagger an opponent and interrupt power attacks if used as a counter-attack. The perk tree expands further on shield usage with extra bonuses like a major boost to elemental resistance (which is especially handy in dragon fights) and the ability to negate damage from arrows.
  • Shields are commonly used by Warriors and Paragons in Guild Wars. Depending on the build of the player, however, any class can find a shield handy if engaging in melee combat.
  • There are two types of (physically) shielded enemies in Borderlands. The first, Crimson Lance Defenders, have huge ballistic style shields that pretty much block every single attack. Fortunately they're not super strong and enough continuous hits to the shield will push it aside, leaving them vulnerable. The second are Spiderants, whose armored head functions pretty much the same as a ballistic shield. Again, multiple rapid hits will force them to one side but they are much much easier to outflank and hit from behind (or above).
    • Borderlands 2 has no Crimson Lance, but instead introduces Nomad torturers which use massive shields, sometimes covered in spikes or with a midget straped to the front (to cover up a hole). BUL loaders use their front plate as a shield aswell, though it's a lot smaller.
  • The Super Robot Wars series, featuring Humongous Mecha from all of anime history, of course uses this. Normally, pilots who use shield-bearing mecha will earn a skill called Shield Defense, which causes their mech to randomly pull out the shield and reduce the damage from an oncoming attack (the chance of activation increasing as you level the skill). In Super Robot Wars Advance (and only that game), shields were essentially an extension of the lifebar, activating automatically and having their own HP which had to be depleted before you started hurting the mecha. And of course, pretty much any giant robot example listed in the Anime section above pops up here too.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 had a riot shield made, but was Dummied Out for unknown reasons. Modded servers and custom maps have the riot shield fully usable and it is used a melee weapon to bash zombies with rather than actual protection.
  • Super Smash Bros.
    • All characters have access to a shield, which forms a protective bubble of energy that blocks any attack that's not a grab (unless it's unblockable). Holding the shield up too long causes it to shrink (so it doesn't cover their whole body) and eventually break, leaving them temporarily defenseless. Yoshi is the exception, as he uses an egg instead, which doesn't shrink.
    • The versions of Link also have their own personal shields, which can block projectiles with no effort.
    • Pit has the Mirror Shield as a special move, which can reflect projectiles and block even attacks that are otherwise unblockable under normal circumstances, such as Final Smashes.
  • Game Mod Red Alert 3: Paradox, along with Peacekeepers, also has a Gundam inspired mecha with shield, the Hanzo Z.
  • In Dark Souls, much like Demon's Souls, you will die. But you will die even more without a good shield, preferably one with high stability to prevent you from being staggered. Even then, you'll need to either invest heavily in stamina or get good at dodging and weaving around attacks, because a good, strong hit will likely stagger you, leaving you open to a horrible mangling immediately afterward.
    • Dark Souls II is similar to its two predecessors, only with the addition of a new enemy type that dual-wields massive greatshields. They drop the Orma's and Reeve's Greatshields, the descriptions of which claim that the knights "playfully" crush their opponents into submission.
  • Shields of a variety of sizes can be used in The Last Remnant, from bucklers to giant things too heavy for a human to lift. They are generally overlooked, as they force the user to use only one-handed weapons, rather than the more powerful power-grip, two-handed or dual-wield combat arts. Still useful; not only do they give a huge bonus to physical and mystic evasion and resistance, any character which blocks an attack with a shield will immediately perform a shield bash, blacking out the attacker for the rest of the round.
  • Mooks in Batman: Arkham City will start wielding riot shields about half way through the game as Dr. Hugo Strange starts giving them more and more weaponry. The shields prevent Batman from physically harming them and must be disarmed before actually taking them down. However, the shields can be picked up again, so if one mook loses it, another can pick it up and give Bats a hard time that way!
    • However, with the right upgrade, Batman can simply bend the shield in half.
  • Cerberus Guardians in Mass Effect 3 use a virtually impenetrable heavy alloy shields, wielding a M-358 Talon in the other hand. There's a few ways to deal with them; flank them, throw explosives past them, shoot through the viewing slot in the shield, use an armor-piercing weapon to shoot through the shield, or just use biotics to rip it out of their hands.
    • A DLC mod allows players to use the N7 Paladin class in multiplayer, which comes with a shield-shaped energy field that can be switched on to absorb damage while in the open.
    • In Mass Effect 2, the Shadow Broker uses the (presumably then-prototype) shield later wielded by Paladins. It offers full protection from weapons and powers (and melee attacks, unlike his more Deflector Shield-like stasis barrier) but isn't big enough to fully cover him, allowing Shep to score hits with a modicum of accuracy.
  • The shield is a major piece of equipment for the Fighter and Paladin in the Quest for Glory series, providing him with much better defense in melee combat over the Thief and Wizard (who must rely on evading attacks unless they put skill points into the Parry skill, which allows them to block with their weapon). You can go without your shield in the EGA version of Quest for Glory I (by dropping it. the VGA remake doesn't allow you to do this) and Quest for Glory V, (by just not equipping it) but all other games in the series force the player to use their shield, and it is vital to the Fighter in the end game of Quest for Glory III.
    • Ironically, the Weaponmaster in Quest for Glory I espouses Shields Are Useless in his fighting style, and talks down on the player's character for using a shield.
  • In all Counter-Strike games before Source, there was a riot shield that blocked all damage that occurred in front of a player. Although this riot shield would take up both the primary and secondary slots, leaving one with only a knife, and earning one the hatred of professional players.
  • PlanetSide 2 allows New Conglomerate MAX users to equip the Aegis shield ability. When activated, the player raises up their right arm and deploys an energy shield that resembles a modern riot shield, complete with a viewhole. It will block all incoming damage from in front, though it doesn't give any side, rear, or top protection, and disables the user's weapons. The New Conglomerate's tank, the Vanguard, can activate an all-encompassing energy shield which makes it invincible for up to 7 seconds, though it likewise disables weapon fire. The Engineer class can deploy a MANA anti-infantry turret, which has a small energy shield around the turret's receiver to protect the user's body from weapons fire from incoming weapons fire, but it annoyingly lacks a shield to protect the user's head.
  • In Rogue Legacy only the Paladin class comes with the ability to use their shield, which has the rather handy ability to block all damage at a cost of 25 MP per hit taken. In a game where MP is slightly easier to come by than healing, this isn't such a bad tradeoff.
  • In Xenonauts soldiers can be equipped with a riot shield. While this limits them to batons, grenades or pistols, the shield can tank at least one hit from all but the strongest alien firearms, making them very useful for breaching alien craft.
  • League of Legends has its share of shield users:
    • Pantheon, being a Spartan in all but name, carries around a large shield. He can not only deliver a jumping slam with the shield to stun enemies, his passive causes him to bring his shield into a defensive position, allowing him to No Sell the next basic attack from stronger minions and monsters, champions, and towers.
    • Leona also carries a shield, and uses it while charging her Eclipse skill to give her large defense boosts. Also has a shield-based stun.
    • Braum easily outclasses both in the shield department. Even though his shield is the least shield-like of all (it's a enchanted door), he certainly makes full use of it. He can not only project ice from the shield, he has a minor variant of the stunning shield attack where his allies can assist in the stun and a shield projection skill that reduces damage and catches projectiles, including ultimates. He even has special quotes upon blocking said ultimates.
    • In spite of carrying a shield around, Singed is an aversion. While he is tough and tanky and he certainly uses his shield for normal offense, that is not what he mainly uses in combat. He is mainly using his chemical poison to kill his enemies and Psycho Serum augmentation on himself to improve himself.
    • Taric similarly has a shield which he uses only offensively, projecting a stunning particle of light from the gem at its center (or merely using it to wallop enemies). His defense comes from his wall of gemstones, and he can shatter that into his foes' faces too.
    • There are also a few shield items: The basic Doran's Shield which grants health and reduced enemy autoattack damage, Randuin's Omen which slows enemies and is very effective against enemy autoattacks, and Aegis of the Legion for protecting the team from magical damage. (Braum seems amused whenever you buy a shield for his shield).
  • Dota 2 prefers to have shields for items: The only hero with a prominent shield is Dragon Knight, who possess a shield bash and plenty of tankiness (although the whole "infused with dragon blood" thing helps with the latter). As for the items:
    • The basic Stout Shield gives a chance to reduce damage from basic attacks; useful to help mitigate harass in laning. Agility heroes can tack on a couple of Slippers of Agility to turn the item into a Poor Man's Shield, combining the agility from the two slippers into one item and always reducing damage from an enemy hero's basic attacks.
    • Vanguard is the alternate build path for the Stout Shield, providing the same functionality while giving 250 HP and +6 HP regen in an attempt to give some scaling to the damage block passive. Vanguard itself can be built into a couple of more expensive items, neither of which are shields.
    • Buckler differs from all of these: Not only is it the only item that actually grants the user Armor, but its active ability gives an increase in armor to all allies for a while. This item rarely stays in shield form, however: The main reason to buy a Buckler is to upgrade it to Mekansm (sic), giving the active a heal in addition to the bonus armor. It can also be combined with the above Vanguard to create the Crimson Guard, a cuirass.
  • In Gunz 2 the new class called Shield Trooper (whose NPC identity is named Max) utilizes Shields to deflect gunfire and advance on enemies, and also has bashing attacks with it.
  • Sonic 1 Game Mod, Sonic Thehedgehog Megamix, creates a shield system for Mighty the Armadillo. He uses Sonic's entire moveset from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, allowing him to use his Insta-Shield, and all of the jump actions of that game's 3 elemental shields. A new ability is being able to store up to 4 shields of any combination of those 3 and the regular shield from Sonic 1, allowing Mighty to switch between any of them on the fly to take advantage of the attacks and immunities each of the elemental shields will grant him.
  • Paladins in Fantasy Life can use their shield to greatly reduce or block damage for a cost in stamina.
  • A strange subversion in Bloodborne. Being that the game is developed by FromSoftware, makers of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, Genre Savvy players may expect to have to use shields because they were borderline essential in From Soft's prior games. But while a shield is present within the game, the game discourages use of shields with the addition of firearms(shields and firearms can only be used in the left hand slot) and the Rally/Regain mechanic, which allows players to replenish lost health by striking back as quickly as possible. Not only that, but a shield's item description subtly mocks players expecting Bloodborne to be like From Software's other games that strongly encourage use of shields.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist features Special Units that are literally named Shields. They carry riot shields which can and will shrug off any form of gunfire. They can be killed if outflanked, and are quite fragile.
    • The sequel ratchets things up a bit with the Shields. On Very Hard and higher, a variant of the Shield appears carrying a much bigger shield with "FBI" across it. It makes shooting past them a lot harder. Then, when Captain Winters and his lackeys show up, they carry even bigger shields which cannot be shot past at all. Though there are more ways of dealing with Shields in this game. Not only can players outflank them again, but they don't stand up terribly well to explosions or fire.
  • The Hunters of Halo carry giant nigh-impenetrable metal shields made up of the same material the Covenant use to make their spaceships.
  • The shield men of Totally Accurate Battle Simulator can take a lot of punishment from the front, including a head-on collision with a cannon ball. Their attacks are very weak, unfortunately.

    Web Original 
  • Several heroic spirits in Fate/Nuovo Guerra are equipped with shields, such as Achilles, Odysseus, and Perseus. Incidentally, they're all from Greek myth.
  • In Unforgotten Realms, Sir Schmoopy of Awesometon uses two discarded cartwheels to dualwield shields. And it works.
  • In Noob, Golgotha used one in early installments but dropped it in Season 3 and its equivalent in the novels and comics in favor of using her axe with both hands.
  • In Alice and the Nightmare, Bianchia's Vorpal object is a shield and it's apparently a handheld equivalent to Infinity+1 Armor.
  • In RWBY both Jaune and Pyrrha carry shields, with Jaune's doubling as his sword's scabbard when not in use. This trope is cruelly subverted in the finale of Volume 3 when Pyrrha, battling Cinder, throws her shield to stop Cinder from striking her with an arrow. It connects, shatters the arrow... only for it to reconstruct itself seconds later and strike her.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Riot Shields. In disarmed societies, and/or situations in which it can safely be assumed that people aren't going to try to kill the police officers, it is as effective as it was in ancient times. They are basically a modern take on a classical Roman scuta, to the point where modern riot police mirror Roman formation tactics almost to a T. Why fix it if it ain't broke?
    • Student protests/riots in London over the summer of 2012 featured some black bloc protesters using riot shields of their own, disguised as big books with the titles of famous dystopian works, and charging the police lines. Though they didn't have the same success that Astérix had against the Romans.
  • And then there are ballistic shields. Some even protect against armor piercing rounds.
  • Shields were used by practically every single pre-gunpowder warrior culture in history in one point or another. A combination of being simple, intuitive, and highly effective means very wide distribution and use. Infantry or cavalry, in or out of formation, and whether deflecting rock, bone, bronze or iron, shields dominated much of the ancient world. Not only useful in close-combat, they were the best protection there was against arrows, as the short, maneuverable composite bows of the east and the smooth-shooting longbows of the west both hit hard and were extremely difficult to parry, especially in volleys.
  • And shields didn't necessarily end with gunpowder right away, either. There are large mantlets and pavises from the Middle Ages which have dents in them left by both crossbow bolts and bullets, while some inventories from the 16th century refer to "targetsnote  of proof". In the 19th century, the Commanche Indians discovered during their conflicts with U.S. settlers that they could make their shields bulletproof by stuffing large amounts of paper between the two layers of buffalo hide. As a result, whenever they raided white settlements they would try to get their hands on any Doorstopper books such as The Bible that they could find.
  • In the ancient world, shields were also offensive weapons - groups such as early Germanics had spiked bosses (the metal part on the centre of the shield face), though whether this was for catching enemy blades or for jamming into enemy faces is debated. Norse and Viking shields were also used as weapons, but in this case, the striking part of the shield was the edge, both due to greater reach and ease of achieving a stronger bind thanks to the smaller surface area, allowing more force to be exerted against an enemy weapon or shield.
  • Greek hoplon shields were made to be used in phalanxes and they were almost useless otherwise. They were bowl shaped to deflect spear thrusts and too big and clumsy to use individually. In combination, they created a wall of shields.
  • Applied on a far larger scale in tank design, where the side supposed to face the enemy (the front) is far more heavily armoured than the rest of the vehicle. Conversely, flanking and encirclement work just fine.

Alternative Title(s): Shields Are Useful