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Old 03-12-2017, 10:28 AM   #1
weby
 
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Default Shield sizes and DB

What size shields give what level of DB?

The examples in low tech are things like:
-The Roman Scutum quoted at 22lb so that is apparently the surviving example from Dura-Europos in Syria that is 105.5 centimeters high, 41 centimeters wide that gives DB 3
-But the Argive Shield that is typically about 1 meter in diameter gives only DB 2

So what size shields should give DB 1, what DB 2, what DB 3?
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

Let me use That Other Game's shields for comparison:

Small/Light Shield = DB 1. The only visual example I can think of is the one carried by William Thatcher early on in A Knight's Tale. GURPS calls these "Small Shields".

Large/Heavy Shield = DB 2. This is the typical Viking or Medieval Knight shield, Captain America's shield, or one similar to those carried by the Myrmidons in Troy, commonly round or triangular/kite shaped. GURPS calls these "Medium Shields".

Tower Shield = DB 3. Best modern comparison is the large riot shields carried by police; the classic Roman Republic era rectangular shields are also a good visual example. GURPS calls these "Large Shields".
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
Let me use That Other Game's shields for comparison:

Small/Light Shield = DB 1. The only visual example I can think of is the one carried by William Thatcher early on in A Knight's Tale. GURPS calls these "Small Shields".

Large/Heavy Shield = DB 2. This is the typical Viking or Medieval Knight shield, Captain America's shield, or one similar to those carried by the Myrmidons in Troy, commonly round or triangular/kite shaped. GURPS calls these "Medium Shields".

Tower Shield = DB 3. Best modern comparison is the large riot shields carried by police; the classic Roman Republic era rectangular shields are also a good visual example. GURPS calls these "Large Shields".
Those do not really give any size indication (as in how big they are really) except the riot shields, but those commonly range from something like 90cm*50cm to 120*60cm or more so very different sizes.

What I am interested in is:
How bit must a shield be to get DB 1, 2 or 3. As in area covered or dimensions.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

Quote:
Originally Posted by weby View Post
What I am interested in is:
How bit must a shield be to get DB 1, 2 or 3. As in area covered or dimensions.
I've never seen any numbers on that either official, semi-official or totally informal.

You'd need measurements of actual shields in all categories for a starter. An example of the problem is things like your estimate of Argive shields looking rather large to me.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
I've never seen any numbers on that either official, semi-official or totally informal.
I have not either, thus the question, as there must have been a process to place historical shields into categories.

Quote:
You'd need measurements of actual shields in all categories for a starter.
I am trying to avoid having to go through too many books to find suitable values.

Quote:
An example of the problem is things like your estimate of Argive shields looking rather large to me.
Could well be, I have not looked at primary sources yet, that size is from couple of web pages like https://periklisdeligiannis.wordpres...plite-shields/ and the wikipedia article.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

To be honest, it seems as though it's more of an art than a science, based not on overall volume of the shield but on how much of the person wielding it the shield covers.

Shoulders to waist, or mid-chest to mid-thigh, DB 2. Significantly more than that, DB 3; significantly less than that, DB 1. (Parrying Bucklers with their DB 0 pretty much just covers a hand, IIRC, so DB 0 can be said to be "significantly smaller than a DB 1 shield".)
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

This is an excerpt from "the AppendX" of my Other Game's Fifth Edition-based optional shield size rules.

SHIELD SIZE AND TYPE

The primary rules emphasize the medium shield, which is assumed to be a classic (and culture-neutral) protective device that provides half-cover. Such a beast weighs about 10 lbs, and is probably about five square feet in area.
There are many other shield types, and if the players and GM want to indulge in the extra detail, the list of shields can be expanded as follows.

Buckler. This shield may be constructed of heavy leather, wood with a facing or lining, or is one of the rare shields that is commonly constructed entirely of metal. It is gripped with one hand in the center, and tends to be about 12-18” in diameter. Anything less than about 2 square feet is probably best represented as a buckler. If metal, they would be roughly 1/16 to 1/20” thick; if wooden they would only be ¼” or so.

Small Shield. These represent “heater” type shields and other similar construction and geometry. They tend to be perhaps 30” tall and perhaps 20” wide, but anything from 2-4 square feet qualifies as a small shield. They tended to wooden construction, sometimes faced with thin metal, but tended to also be about 1/3 of an inch thick if wooden. All-metal shields would be expensive and rare (see Reinforced Shields, below).

Medium Shield. The standard protective shield in Torengar is a circular shield with a metal “boss,” which protects the hand with about a pound of iron or steel. The remainder of the shield is from 28” to perhaps as much as 36” in diameter, sized to the warrior. The wooden construction is about 1/3” average thickness, and the shield is gripped like a buckler. Other types exist, such as “kite” shields or “targe” shield which are of similar surface area (the kite shield tends to be tall and narrow) but are instead strapped to the arm rather than gripped. Shields of 5-7 square feet of surface area are medium shields. If planted as an obstacle or used to hide behind, it provides half-cover.

Large Shield. Not quite a piece of siege equipment, these massive protective devices are tall (40-50”) and wide (30-45”) and the wider they are, the more they tend to curve around the warrior, perhaps with as much as a foot of curvature. The Roman shield called the scutum is the classic example. They are heavy and meant to be used in formation, which is why the high Strength score is acceptable—they’re not meant for sprinting with. Anything from 7-14 square feet is considered a large shield. If planted on the ground as an obstacle, it can be considered to provide three-quarters cover.

Siege Wall. Not listed on the shield table, but anything larger than about 14 square feet is more properly cover, not a moveable shield. Such a structure will provide total cover, but cannot be wielded as a shield or used for an active defense.


I was surprised at how small heater shields were. If one looks at the Other Game's weight stats, it would appear they took said heater shield's typical weight (about 6 lbs from the source I was using) and said "medium shield." I did not do this; I changed a medium shield to 10-ish lbs. Regardless, this is one yardstick to use or work from.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
This is an excerpt from "the AppendX" of my Other Game's Fifth Edition-based optional shield size rules.

*snip useful info*
Thank you for that very useful information, those values look like they should likely work for Gurps too.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

So if you look at Low Tech, it's got somewhat clear answers to this embedded in the shield descriptions...

Large shield: "They cover the warrior from chin to shins,"
Medium shield: "covering from chin to thighs"
Small shield: "rarely longer than the forearm"

I can't particularly reconcile that with your numbers, but it might be worth asking whether you're sure you've got the right scutum. From looking it up, it sounds like that's a rectangular medium scutum (DB2), not the earlier eliptical heavy one. I don't have the hoplology scholarship to say whether Low Tech's distinctions and numbers are sound, but they are there.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:29 PM   #10
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Shield sizes and DB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
So if you look at Low Tech, it's got somewhat clear answers to this embedded in the shield descriptions...

Large shield: "They cover the warrior from chin to shins,"
Medium shield: "covering from chin to thighs"
Small shield: "rarely longer than the forearm"

I can't particularly reconcile that with your numbers, but it might be worth asking whether you're sure you've got the right scutum. From looking it up, it sounds like that's a rectangular medium scutum (DB2), not the earlier eliptical heavy one. I don't have the hoplology scholarship to say whether Low Tech's distinctions and numbers are sound, but they are there.
The rectangular scutum I looked up was 45" tall and 41" wide, weighed 20-25 lbs. It has about a foot of curvature in it left-to-right. Moving the lower bound of large shields to 9 square feet would not go amiss. That would still put most of the scutums in the large shield category, but allows for some larger versions of medium.
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Last edited by DouglasCole; 03-12-2017 at 12:32 PM.
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