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According to the Belegarth Book of War

2.2.1. Shields and Bucklers are rigid objects that are padded on the front and sides, and are equipped with handles or straps. A Shield may not be constructed in a manner that would confer the advantage of unbreakable armor.



See Constructing a Strap Shield and Constructing a Punch Shield

Shield Types

There are four primary types of shields in Belegarth as distinguished by construction and use, though all shields are treated identically under the rules

Strap Shields

These are the Belegarth version of the traditional medieval European shield. It has two straps on the back, one of which goes around the arm a few inches past the elbow and the other which is gripped in the (off) hand. They usually have a plywood core, although plastic cores (such as riot shields), sleds, and all-foam ("coreless") versions also exist.

Strap shields come in a large variety of shapes and sizes, the most common being the round, heater, kite, and tower. See constructing a strap shield for example images.

Strap shields have advantages in resisting being moved by a kick, bash, or weapon blow and are better suited to bash with than a punch shield, but they are also usually significantly heavier than a coreless shield and are thus harder on endurance and footspeed. They are also far less maneuverable than a punch shield due to their being attached to the arm rather than the hand.

Punch Shields

The closest historical counterpart to a core-less Belegarth punch shield is a zulu-style African woven shield. They have a handle which is centered horizontally and typically located around the upper third of the shield, which is gripped in the off hand. They are used to aggressively punch block, rather than the somewhat more passive arm block commonly used with a strap shield.

Punch shields are almost always, though not quite exclusively, made of an all-foam or "core-less" design. They are often formed with a boogie board or foam sled as the core with padding added, or they can also be made out of a sheet of rigid Polyethylene foam (as is the case with punch shields purchased from Edhellen). A few punch shields are made with a wooden core like a strap shield. However, a shield of comparable weight is much more fatiguing when held in the hand than when strapped to the arm, so this style is quite uncommon.

Punch shields can come in the same variety of shapes and sizes as strap shields, but most commonly are a roughly half-tower design. See Constructing a Punch Shield for example images.

Punch shields are generally used much more aggressively and actively than strap shields, since they can be moved more easily and widely. They also tend to be quite light, and are thus often favored by fighters who rely on foot-speed and tactical movement, such as flankers. Due to their light weight and they relatively weak manner in which they're held, however, they're quite vulnerable to being knocked about and moved out of line by kicks and weapon strikes, particularly from Polearms.


Bucklers are small shields often worn on the arm or shoulder which do not require the use of a hand. They are most commonly worn by polearmsmen and red-weapon wielders, but can also often be found on archers and florentinists. While they tend to be small (minimum 12" around) they still provide a very useful element of protection. They make the wielder a more difficult shot for archers by providing a legal blocking surface against arrows. This is particularly useful, since archers otherwise tend to focus on these types of fighters, due to their lack of shield protection. A buckler can provide useful defense against non-missile weapons as well - for polearms users, they tend to protect the forearm of the forward-most arm, which is often the closest target to an opponent, and the only one in range for opposing polearms.

Backstrap shields/slung shields

These are generally regular punch or strap shields with a long cord that allows them to be slung over a shoulder or behind the back, providing a larger area of passive protection than a buckler while still leaving both arms more or less unimpeded and both hands available for weapons. Like bucklers, they are worn by polearmsmen, archers, red wielders, and florentinists. Backstrap shields are often set up much like a backback, such that they cannot be easily removed or shifted to a shield arm for "traditional" use like a slung shield, but allowing much greater freedom of movement. They tend to be preferred by florentinists, in particular, while polearmsmen tend to prefer the greater flexibility and frontal protection provided by a slung shield.

Shields in Belegarth

Rules regarding shields

Please confirm with the Book of War for most recent rules regarding shields.

  • 3.10. Shields:
    • 3.10.1. Shields are destroyed by two heavy, solid, two-handed strikes from a Class 2 weapon.
      • Subsequent strikes to a destroyed shield continue into the target area on which the shield is worn. For example, if a shield on an arm is broken by two sufficient Class 2 hits and is not dropped, the next hit would be to the arm and, after that, to the body.
    • 3.10.2. Heavy strikes are defined as a stronger than normal strike, as defined in 3.4.2 and
    • 3.10.3. Shields may be used in any reasonable manner and still be considered a shield.
    • 3.10.4. Only one shield may be used by a combatant at a time.
    • 3.10.5. The wielder of the shield determines if a shield breaking hit is sufficient.
    • 3.10.6. Shields lying on the ground cannot be broken.
  • 3.11. Offensive Shield Techniques:
    • 3.11.1. It is illegal to use offensive shield techniques to move combatants into hazards or obstacles such as trees or paved surfaces.
    • 3.11.2. It is illegal to use the unpadded portions of the shield for offensive shield techniques.
    • 3.11.3. Intentional shield contact to the head or neck is illegal.
    • 3.11.4. Shield Bashing and Checking:
      • Shield Bashing is defined as a combatant charging another combatant and using the face or edge of their shield to make contact with their shield or body, such that forward momentum is impossible to stop within two steps.
      • checking is defined as a combatant using the face or edge of their shield to make contact with another combatant while stationary or charging from two steps away or less, such that the combatant is able to stop their forward momentum within two steps.
      • It is legal to shield bash or check another combatant from the front or the sides excluding the rear quadrant. The combatant initiating the bash or check must ensure that this will not place another combatant in an unsafe situation.
      • A combatant may bash another combatant who does not have a shield.
      • While performing a shield bash or check, a combatant may not make intentional contact with another combatant’s head or neck.
      • Bashes must target a combatant’s center of mass, not knees or legs.
      • It is illegal to bash or check combatants that have bows and/or arrows/bolts.
      • It is illegal to shield bash, as defined by, a combatant with a disabled leg.
      • It is legal to shield check, as defined by, a combatant with a disabled leg.
    • 3.11.5. Shield braces, edging, and bumping:
      • A shield brace is when a combatant plants their feet while holding or placing their shield in front of a moving combatant.
      • A shield bump is incidental shield contact against a combatant’s body or equipment when the intent is not to knock the combatant over.
      • Edging is using the edge of a shield against a combatant’s shield, body, or weapons.
      • Shield braces and bumps are legal from all four sides against other combatants.
      • It is illegal to intentionally edge a combatant’s head or neck.
      • Edging is legal from the front and both sides but not from the rear.
    • 3.11.6. Shield Kicking:
      • Shield Kicking is when a combatant makes contact with another combatant’s shield with their foot.
      • Kicking is allowed only to shields, not to people. The kicker must maintain sufficient control to not kick another combatant.
      • Kicking of shields less than 18. in diameter is illegal.
      • A shield kicker must maintain one foot on the ground. Kicks where both feet leave the ground are illegal.
      • Shield kicking from the rear is illegal.
  • 4.11. Shields:
    • 4.11.1. Shields must be padded on the edges and face so as not to cause injury when struck with a forceful blow of an arm/hand.
    • 4.11.2. The maximum width of a shield is three (3) feet (91.44 cm). Concave/curved shields will be measured along the curve of the face.
    • 4.11.3. The maximum height of a shield is eighteen (18) inches (45.72 cm) less than the height of the wielder.
    • 4.11.4. The minimum dimension on the face of a shield is twelve (12) inches (30.48 cm).
    • 4.11.5. Shield spikes are allowed for decoration but may not form any rigid protrusions.
    • 4.11.6. Shields must be reasonably rigid which is defined as the edges not bending towards each other excessively when attempting to bend the shield in half.
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