A Magic Shield For a Curious Paladin

Sometimes the face will confer added minor abilities to the shield and its owner. A demon face might come complete with horns protruding from the shield. Sometimes a face will cause thorns to protrude from the front and sides of the shield. A celestial/angel might cause the shield to cast a glaring light that repels evil if needed. The exact game mechanical effects are left up to the Judge/GM/DM/Rabble Rouser.


A magic item for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

This +1 Shield has a shiny metal of curious origins around its edges. At first it doesn’t appear to be much more than a regular shield, except the material it is made from is not of earthly origins. It is lighter than most shields, and exudes a sense of well-being when picked up.

After a few days, the owner will notice a change in the outer appearance of the shield. Some days it is white with a chrome metal edge. Some days it is almost pure black. If the owner rides through a forest, it may turn green and have an ivy pattern around its edges. In a desert, it turns a dark brown color.

It is most curious underground. The shield itself turns gray and the circle in the middle appears as a mercury pool of shiny metal. That’s when things get most interesting.

The owner can will the shield to give off light as a lantern. The shiny metal property can be used as a mirror if desired. Regardless of the appearance, the shield always confers a +1 bonus to Armor Class.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Pexels.com

After a time, the shield will begin to manifest faces. Each face is a different being-some human, some elf, some celestial and some demon. Each has a different personality. Each has something different to say to the owner. If the face speaks, it is unclear whether the shield is intelligent or if the phrases were somehow preprogrammed into the images. A phrase is rarely repeated unless it has some significance to the owner.

Sometimes the face will confer added minor abilities to the shield and its owner. A demon face might come complete with horns protruding from the shield. Sometimes a face will cause thorns to protrude from the front and sides of the shield. A celestial/angel might cause the shield to cast a glaring light that repels evil if needed. The exact game mechanical effects are left up to the Judge/GM/DM/Rabble Rouser.

Please also note that the shield is technically cursed. It will stay with the character who first wields it or with their armor if they take it off. If discarded, forgotten, or stolen it will reappear with the owner within 24 hours. The shield will even begin to taunt its owner if more than one attempt to discard it is made. Likewise, it can’t be painted or otherwise covered. It is indestructible except for powerful magic.

If the owner is rude to the shield, it may start mocking them openly, making noise when the character attempts to be stealthy, say inappropriate things during social encounters, etc. However, if the character takes care of the shield, cleaning and polishing it regularly and maybe engaging in polite conversation, the shield can become sort of an intelligent companion.

The shield can also influence the owner’s mood to a lesser extent. While the shield has no discernible agenda of its own, it may sense the mood of the group and reinforce that of its owner. Sometimes a face will appear to be happy. Sometimes if the group is quiet or sullen, the shield will exude a sense of melancholy. It is always unclear if there is an underlying intelligence or if it is simply mirroring what is around it.

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun monkeying around with this shield.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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