Shields in Star Frontiers

Zeram's picture
March 25, 2008 - 8:35pm
So I was thinking about shields the other day and to my knowledge there is no rule or article related to using shields in Star Frontiers. And when I say a shield I mean like you would think of as being used in medieval times or like Captain America, etc. I even considered writing up an article submission for StarFrontiersman using shields but the more I thought about them I realized that the Star Frontiers rules would make it a bit difficult. So instead I just decided to create a forum topic to get a good discussion.

My thoughts/ideas/questions (not sure I like them all that much either)

Shield sizes: Buckler, Small, Medium, Large

Made of various materials that could come in to play in combat depending on what type of weapon you are up against.

Shields vs Ranged Weapons: Bucklers and Small shields are useless. Depending on what the shield is made of you could treat the shield as Soft or Hard cover where applicable (seeing as how these shields could hide at least half the user) as long as it is between the attacker and shield bearer.

Shields vs Melee Weapons: Would a shield be useful in lowering an attackers chance to hit you or would it just have a chance of deflecting or absorbing an attack that hits? Could the shield have a set amount of hit points it would absorb if the latter? If the melee weapon used by the attacker could go cleanly through the material of the shield is it pretty much treated as being null to the equation?

Could you consider a ruling that if someone is using a shield that they are treated as if they are defending as per the rules but they are allowed to still attack as a bonus? The modifier for an attacker to hit someone defending is -15, could there be a graduated scale depending on what type of shield is used ie a buckler would start at a much lower number say -3 or something and this would ramp up to a large shield at -15?

To be honest, I'm not sure what would be appropriate. Discuss.
(Also, if there is an article or something out there already done on this please point me towards it, thanks)

Full Bleed's picture
Full Bleed
March 26, 2008 - 1:51am
I don't have a lot of time to really develop much, but after looking at some modern day ballistic shields I've come to the conclusion that there is a lot to them.

Just some quick thoughts:

1)  Shields should have Coverage Ratings, not Size Ratings.  Roll against the coverage when hit to see if the shield is hit.
2)  Actively defending with a shield should be more effective that fighting with one.   Perhaps only get 50% of the coverage rating when attacking.
3)  There should be some negatives:
     a)  For starters, perhaps a -5 RS per 10-20% coverage.
     b)  Players can't effectively use a shield in combat with a coverage rating higher than one's strength score.
4)  Shields should absorb/take damage.  And there should be classes of efectiveness against different weapons types.
5)  Shields are directional.  Any shot from behind should not receive a coverage roll.  Perhaps 50% effectiveness against a flanking shot on the shield's weak side.

I guess the trick is to make them interesting without making them too difficult to use.  But there should be a certain amount of complexity or else everyone would be walking around with one.  The basic premise should be that shields are basically active defensive tools, not passive like screens and skeinsuits.  The "active" part of the formula should come with significant inconvenience and limitations offset by situational benefits.