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Old 03-19-2006, 12:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Classifying Shields

GURPS classifies shields fairly finely, but doesn't explicitly state what sizes of shield each category is expected to represent. Admittedly, shields appear in almost infinite variety, but that makes knowing how to rate a historical example in GURPS terms even more important. How have various people on the boards done this? Does anyone know of a clear statement on this anywhere?

My general impression is that the generic three-foot round shield is medium, that anything a foot in diameter or less is a buckler, that shields about two feet across like the Greek pelta are small, and that a rectangular or oval shield the size of a Roman scutum (four by two and a half Roman feet or so, although designs varied over time) or North African lamt is large. A lot of shields donít fit within these clear categories, though. For example, is a two-by-three-foot rectangular shield medium or small? Even these basic classifications might be hard to make if I were new to GURPS.

GURPS Fantasy (4e) rates a third-century AD oval Roman scutum as Medium.

GURPS Greece rated both the hoplon and the figure-eight shield as Medium. Elsewhere I believe that the hoplon was rated as Large but with special rules.

GURPS Low-Tech rated the Central American chimalli as Small.

GURPS Compendium 1 had a variety of shields listed on p. 43-5. There are some discrepancies: Saxon shields are Medium, but Viking ones are Large with special rules, for example.

Should weight, surface area, or largest dimension be the deciding factor when classifying? While we keep within the standard GURPS rules (where shield material doesnít matter) should shields of flimsier materials be rated as smaller than their size would indicate?
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