Follow TV Tropes


Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me

Go To

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

Wood, animal hide, and/or metal for personal protection; not those fancy crackly deflecting bubble things.

Historically, shields are a staple of pre-gunpowder warfarenote , 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 in fiction, they're often used on their own to mark the wielder as a Technical Pacifist, Improbable Weapon User, someone with a protective or reliable personality, or someone who just got screwed by the armoury. Despite being one of the most ubitiquously useful historical arms ever invented, major characters who use them are surprisingly rare.

Bashing someone with a shield is a historical use of shields, and in RPGs this usually serves to stun or knock a foe 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 (not that kind) 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 either come back with their shields or on them, because dead men were carried on their shields.note 

This is, rather surprisingly, often an anachronism even when placed into Renaissance- or Reformation-era stories. Once plate armor became common in Europe, most forms of large shield were on the outs, since they were now redundant in protecting the legs. The small, center-gripped buckler is often derided in fantasy settings and tabletop settings as the bargain-bin shield, but it's actually the one that continued to be used into the 17th century. In fact, the buckler is where the Swashbuckler gets his name from even though you rarely see one use a buckler in the movies.

In video games, their effectiveness may be exaggerated to the point that Blocking Stops All Damage.


    open/close all folders 

  • The Bayeux Tapestry: Both sides are depicted using almond-shaped shields made of wood and reinforced with leather. Those became commonly associated with Norman warriors.

    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.
    • And, of course, the literal Millenium Shield. With 0 ATK and 3000 defense, it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Captain America:
  • 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.
  • 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 has Paperinik's Extransformer Shield, that comes with numerous gadgets and weapons. The most used are the Crusher, a rocket to fly, the Bradionic Paralyzer, and the Gravitational Commutator, but includes a lot of other gadgets, including two additional shields (a physical one and an energy one) for added protection.
  • Wonder Woman occasionally uses one, especially post-2016 to reflect her DC Extended Universe appearance.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana starts out with a shield during her duel with Medusa, which she uses effectively for protection before Medusa cuts the shield strap.

    Fan Works 
  • Jade Turtle's weapon in The Weight of Jade is a shield resembling a turtle shell.
  • A wand for Steven: Steven's shield is proven so durable that when struck with the Killing Curse — a curse famous for its power to Instant Kill ANYTHING it strikes — it merely knocks him unconscious.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku eventually takes some inspiration from his partner, Pyrrha, and adds a buckler to one of the gauntlets of his weapon, Emerald Gust. While he isn't nearly as skilled with a shield as her, he still gets good mileage out of it when deflecting bullets, Grimm claws, and attacks that would otherwise deal serious damage.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf's runeshield cancels or at least reduces the effect of magic attacks against him.
    • The Night King's sword shatters ordinary weapons, but doesn't do anything to his shield.
    • Euron points a ballista at the Wolf and fires it, warping hi shield to near-uselessness. The Wolf then proceeds to fight Euron one-on-one withut the shield... and it's still a curbstomp.
    • When fighting Drogon, the Wolf's shield lets him survive the dragon's breath, although he's clearly burned afterwards.
  • All Mixed Up!: Otto and Oscar both fight Mariana Mag on defense, using their shields for protection. However, as they aren't full-body shields, their lower bodies are exposed, which works in Mariana's favor when she hits Oscar in the leg with her stun gun.
  • Omoito: Shanghai's special ability is to summon large shields. Hourai isn't satisfied since she won't be able to fight back against threats to Alice, so Marisa tells them to work together if needed.

    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 
  • In the post-apocalyptic world of 2020 Texas Gladiators, the villains use riot shields with electric force fields that deflect bullets.
  • 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.
  • 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 Asterix 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.
  • DC Extended Universe: Diana of Themyscira/Wonder Woman primarily fights using a sword and a shield, making her practically the live action equivalent of a video game tank.
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, she uses her second shield to protect herself from Doomsday's dome energy blasts and tank his punches.
    • In Wonder Woman, she brings an Amazonian round shield (different from the one she uses in Batman v Superman and Justice League) with her to the World of Man during World War I, and uses it several times. She uses it both defensively, mostly against ranged weapons (it is hard enough to be bulletproof apparently), but also as an offensive bashing weapon. Once, she even deflects an incoming mortar round.
    • Wonder Woman 1984. Diana uses the ancient armor of Asteria (according to legend, built to protect the wearer from all the armies of Mankind) for the final battle, and it's shown capable of blocking an entire magazine of gunfire from several Phalanx CIWS's. However Cheetah can tear through it with her Super-Strength, so Diana discards the wraparound wings that form the shield because they're just getting in her way.
    • In Justice League, she uses her second shield to tank the electo-axe blows of Steppenwolf and protect herself from the Parademons' blaster fire.
  • Used with spectacular success in Dragonslayer, where Galen protects himself from the dragon Vermithrax's fiery breath with a shield fashioned of dragon scales.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has some examples:
    • Lady Sif in Thor and Thor: The Dark World.
    • Steve Rogers / Captain America's iconic shield appears in any movie featuring him. He starts out with a more mundane one, and is then outfitted with the classic one by Howard Stark. Unlike the comics, it's made of a single metal: vibranium, the rarest one on Earth.
    • During Avengers: Infinity War, Tony's newest suit is able to create a shield to defend himself, which can (briefly) stand up to a sustained blast from the Power Stone.
  • In Mortal Kombat: The Movie Johnny Cage uses a blade-rimmed shield to defend against Scorpion's fiery breath, then uses it to hack him to pieces.
  • Snow White & 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 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.
  • 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.
  • In Underworld: Blood Wars, the Lycans use riot shields to protect themselves from silver bullets.

  • 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.

  • Cozards in The Ancestral Trail at one point use a very similar technique to protect themselves against killer bees.
  • In "Bandits in Your Grocer's Freezer"; a hero is somehow summoned to save the market from the bandits and among his equipment is a shield.
    • Subverted when he's immediately shot dead by the bandits before even trying to use it.
    • Pete ends up using the dead hero's shield to battle the bandits, desperately blocking Boss's blows with the mace and eventually manages to Shield Bash him.
  • 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.
  • In the original Dragonlance trilogy, Tikka Waylan is a barmaid who gets inadvertently drawn into the adventure. She's armed with a sword and shield, neither of which she truly knows how to use. In her first combat, she fumbles her sword and then bashes the draconian that was attacking her to death with her shield. By the third book in the trilogy, she still can't use her sword well but she's gotten pretty good at using her shield as a weapon in addition to a defense.
  • The Elric Saga: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kings of the Wyld: Clay spends a significant portion of the book with no weapon except his shield Blackheart. He carved it from the corpse of the treant Blackheart, who Saga killed for leading a group of treants in attacking a town.
  • Ranger's Apprentice: Will teaches the Kikori to form a shield wall, which is something their opponents have never faced before and don't know how to fight. All their fancy sword forms are of little use against a large square of wood, especially if the sword then gets stuck in it, leaving them defenceless against the Kikori's relentless march forward with short swords.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, massive kite shields (both steel and sunforged) are frequently used by multiple characters. The choice of kite shields in particular is both out of need for coverage against shotspikes, and because they're the author's favorite type of shield.
  • 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. At the Battle of the Green Fork, 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 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.
  • Shields are prominently featured in Beowulf, making this Older Than Feudalism. For his final battle with a dragon, Beowulf has a shield made of solid iron which will withstand the dragon's fire. Another warrior who faces the dragon with an ordinary shield sees it reduced to ashes immediately, and so they both wind up huddling behind Beowulf's shield, which (barely) holds up long enough for them to slay the dragon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Deadliest Warrior:
    • Due to the show's dubious testing methods, 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.
    • 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.
  • 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:
    • 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.
    • Loras' shield saves his life when the Mountain attacks him after their joust.
    • While Jon normally eschews a shield in order to be able to wield Longclaw with both hands, when Ramsay challenges him to one-on-one combat with a bow, Jon wisely tosses aside his sword in order to pick up a nearby shield. He uses this shield to block all of Ramsay's arrows before closing in and knocking him down with a Shield Bash.
  • 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.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Pokum at one point prays to the Emperor for a sword and shield, receives them, and the shield is effective at blocking Zordock's magic.
  • Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger / Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The original Megazord used the Mastodon's head as a shield.
  • In season one of The 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.
  • 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, though Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, via his Ranger Key, reveals that it's actually still present and functional. The shield also grows with him and becomes the chest of his Humongous Mecha mode.
  • Merlin materializes one in a split second in Merlin (1998) to defend himself from a volley of arrows.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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... well, he never found out whether 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.
  • 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.
  • ‘’The Thebaid’’: Mars is armed with a blood-red shield radiating with enough divine light to be mistaken for the Sun
  • In Norse Mythology, Svalinn is a shield that protects the earth from being burned by the sun.

  • Played straight by the barbarian Warrior in Dungeons & Dragons (1987), 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.

  • Several heroic spirits in Fate/Nuovo Guerra are equipped with shields, such as Achilles, Odysseus, and Perseus. Incidentally, they're all from Greek myth.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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. A +5 suit of armor combined with a +5 shield gives you a total of 10 extra AC from enhancements alone.
    • Shield-specific 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.
    • Shields can be used as weapons, but do little damage. Feats can improve their effectiveness and give an interesting balance of options between defense and offense.
    • Many feats and spells encourage shield use for Paladins.
    • Some defensive characters use tower shields to give total cover, and shields AC bonus can turn them into Party Tanks.
    • Second Edition has more than one supplement dealing with shield, allowing them to be used for parrying, negating enemy attacks.
    • 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, 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. The bonus to AC that shields provide in 5th Edition is also vastly more useful than it used to be, as means of boosting AC are now much rarer. You can also take the Shield Master feat and (if playing as a Fighter or Paladin) Protection fighting style to gain even more benefits when using shields.
    • Note that in Fifth Edition as well as older editions, critics often somewhat inaccurately point to the shield protection as only providing a +5% or +10% bonus to armor (being a +1 or +2 to AC). This is accurate when talking about the absolute change in hit chance, although the relative change in hit percentage is much greater. For example, if a low-level enemy had something like a +3 to hit, the difference in hit chance between an AC 18 or AC 20 is 30% vs 20%, and with a buff like Shield of Faith, this becomes 20% vs. 10%. Technically, this is only a 10% difference. However, relatively speaking, the difference between 20% and 10% is you'll get hit twice as often without a shield as you would if you were carrying one.
  • 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 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 Ironclaw shields provide rather significant bonuses to dodge or parry rolls.
  • The Palladium system grants bonuses to parry with proficiency and use of shields.
  • 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.
    • Several martial classes have access to specialized archetypes that focus on shields as well, such as the Divine Shield (a Paladin who can empower their shield with holy energy and share its defensive traits with nearby allies) and the Shield Champion (a Brawler who focuses on punching and shield bashing enemies, and eventually gains the ability to throw their shield like Captain America.
    • In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, shields have been altered further - now, any class can use a shield for +2 AC at the cost of one action, and those who specialize in it (or pick up the feat) can use their reaction to reduce the damage of an attack that hits them; this does have a tendency to break the shield in the process. The previous emphasis on shield-bashing has been lessened, though is still possible.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. One rune-shield can negate magical attacks made against it (i.e. flaming swords are just swords).
    • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • In Dark Heresy and the other Warhammer 40,000 RPG settings shields give a bonus to parrying and provide additional armor to the chest and the arm holding the shield.
    • Deathwatch also featured shields that incorportated a force field generator (in addition to the other shield abilities), however since these are restricted to space marines they weren't available in the other settings.
  • 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.)

    Web Animation 
  • 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.
    • In Volume 4, Jaune's shield/scabbard can be combined with his sword to make a bigger two-handed sword for significant damage boost. However, in the same episode, it is shown that the two-handed sword still can still function as a shield in a pinch and stopped the boss' charge.
  • In Unforgotten Realms, Sir Schmoopy of Awesometon uses two discarded cartwheels to dualwield shields. And it works.

    Web Comics 
  • In Alice and the Nightmare, Bianchia's Vorpal object is a shield and it's apparently a handheld equivalent to Infinity+1 Armor.
  • In Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything, Rose's shield has come in handy for her on more than one occasion.
    • When Rose and Pearl try to train Steven how to use his weapon, she asks that he attacks her. They demonstrate that her shield can take it by demonstrating its durability with Pearl’s spear and the lasers it fires. Unfortunately, when Steven fires a laser, it bounces off her shield, ricochets off of a pillar and almost hits Pearl. Rose throws her shield to save her, only for the laser to hit Rose instead.
    • When Steven tries shapeshifting for the first time, the grunting and straining causes Rose to manifest her shield, legitimately worried that he could explode.
    • It protects her from the attack Steven unleashes unknowingly when defending himself from them, but only her.

    Web Videos 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Batfink: "Your bullets cannot harm me! My wings are like a shield of steel." And he'd say so in dang near every episode, too!
  • Odd in Code Lyoko has a shield made of energy which he activates by yelling "Shield!"
  • Eric, the team's knight, designated complainer, and Barrier Warrior, uses a magically enhanced shield in the Dungeons & Dragons (1983) cartoon.
  • All the knights and some of the warlords in King Arthur & the Knights of Justice have shields. The knights' shields specifically can bring the animal emblems on them to life.
  • In Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, Wildwing had an energy shield built into the gauntlet of his armour. It only lasted a few seconds, but he usually made them count.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, the weapon of the Turtle Miraculous is a shield. The two people seen activating the Miraculous, Nino and Fu, wear the shield differently. Carapace, Nino, wears the shield on his back whereas Jade Turtle, Fu, wears the shield on his head, reminiscent of an Asian conical hat.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The legendary warrior Flash Magnus was famous for his use of the enchanted, Nigh-Invulnerable shield Netitus, which could stop almost any attack cold, including dragonfire and energy beams capable of vaporizing rock. On-screen, he tends to enter combat while presenting his shield to the enemy to weather out their attacks, counting on it to halt whatever his opponent throws at him.
  • Samurai Jack has had occasion in several episodes to scoop up a shield, or even double-wield them. They tend to hold up pretty well for a while before being destroyed.
  • In Steven Universe each of the Crystal Gems have a Hard Light weapon they can project from their gem; Steven's weapon is a pink shield, much like that of his mother Rose Quartz, who even managed to use the shield to protect herself and her companions from the Fantastic Nuke which corrupted just about all of the other remaining gems on the planet into monsters. He also inherited the power to create a bubble shield around himself and anyone standing close enough to him. The bubble can protect anyone inside it from pretty much anything up to and including the vacuum of space, which interestingly was the primary source of conflict in the episode "Bubble Buddies" due to him initially not knowing how to dispel the bubble - all attempts to break him and Connie out of it by force failed.
  • Transformers: A few different Transformers use shields. It's a convenient way for toy engineers to use those leftover vehicle bits — called "kibble" in the fandom.
  • Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Animated carries an expandable Skyboom Shield.
  • Ulysses, in Ulysses 31, carries an energy shield to go with his Laser Blade
  • PJ Masks: As of the season 2 episode "Wacky Floats", Grek/Gekko has the power to summon 2 shields attached to his arms.

    Real Life 
  • Close protection units that conduct VIP protection ops will carry (at least) one or more briefcase bags that can turn into collapsible ballistic shields to protect them or the VIP if someone tries to shoot or stab them.
  • 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 Asterix 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.
    • The last serious attempt to use man portable shields in warfare happened during World War 1. Both the Germans and the French developed heavy shields to protect soldiers from rifle fire as they moved forward. However, the concept was quickly abandoned as shields strong enough to stop rifle rounds were also too heavy for a person to hold in one hand for anything except short assaults, the soldier would only have one arm to use their actual weapon, it only provided protection from one direction, and at close range, a rifle round would pierce the shields anyway.
  • 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. Roman shields, being made of metal, could be dropped/slammed onto an enemy's foot.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Shields Are Useful


Frozen Pride

Vexen's signature weapon -- Frozen Pride -- is a shield.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe

Media sources: