Shield Master (5e Class)

From D&D Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Shield Master

A master of the shield who specializes in defending themselves and those they travel with. Whether made to combat the harsh magics of spellcasters, or trained to become the steel-covered defender of the group, a Shield Master excels in defense and surviving what most others couldn’t.

Shield Up, Soldier

You are a Shield Master. Whether you are a soldier in training, or a mercenary that happens to be more proficient with their shield than most, you are a pro when it comes to defense. Others you travel with might be able to hit harder and deal more damage in comparison, but that doesn’t faze you. Because at the end of the day you’re able to go toe-to-toe with some of the worst creatures the world has to offer and laugh as their attacks bounce harmlessly off your shield.

As a Shield Master, you put more focus into training your defensive capabilities than your offensive ones. Most of your fellow Shield Masters come from some form of military training; being utilized in armies or the local guard regiment as the tank of the group meant to draw attacks away from the squishier members of your party. That or you could be a member of a mercenary group that’s sent in when skirmishes get a little too hot for the rest of the group to handle. Either way, your job mostly comes about from having to deal with combat on a regular basis and not wanting to be poked full of holes like other party members.

Whether you’re a grizzled old veteran who has survived some of the most brutal moments in more than a few skirmishes, or the heavy duty guardsmen sent in when things truly get well out of hand; seeing your well armored and defensible form spells disaster for your enemies and a miracle for your allies. Who needs the calvary when you can have a ball of pure defense?

Creating a Shield Master

When creating a Shield Master it is important to keep in mind that you aren’t the one dealing massive amounts of damage; you’re the one rushing in and taking all the hits that would normally fell your teammates but hardly put a dent in your own armor. It’s typically a job seen for those with a military background of some sort, or those whose job is to protect others and want to do it efficiently.

So that brings up the question: Why did you become a Shield Master? What are you trying to protect? Yourself? Others? Are you in some sort of group and serve as the tank? Were you assigned this job? Did you intentionally pick up the class to be able to wade into battle relatively unharmed? Or did you shoulder the responsibility as a tank so that others wouldn’t get hurt? Is this for some reason in your backstory? Or do you simply like laughing at enemies as they try to hit you?

Quick Build

You can make a Shield Master quickly by following these suggestions. First, Strength should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the Soldier background.

Class Features

As a Shield Master you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d12 per Shield Master level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 7) + Constitution modifier per Shield Master level after 1st


Armor: All Armor and Shields
Weapons: Simple and Martial Weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Pick 2 from Athletics, Perception, Intimidation, or Survival.


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) A morningstar or (b) a longsword or (c) A shortsword
  • (a) A hand-crossbow with 20 bolts or (b) a longbow with 20 arrows or (c) 5 javelins
  • (a) An Explorer’s Pack or (b) a Dungeoner’s Pack
  • (a) A shield and chainshirt or (b) A tower shield and chainmail
  • If you are using starting wealth, you have 3d4 x 10 in funds.

Table: The Shield Master

Level Proficiency
1st +2 Master of Shields, Untiring Arm
2nd +2 Shield Bash
3rd +2 Path of the Shield Master
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra Attack, Extreme Protection
6th +3 Path Feature
7th +3 Sunken In
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Shielded Mind
10th +4 Path Feature
11th +4 Armor Piercer
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Brutal Force
14th +5 Path Feature
15th +5 Hostile Barrier
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Mobile Defender
18th +6 Power Bash
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Path Feature

Master of Shields

Where most warriors spend their time learning how to fight with weapons, you have practiced how to best utilize a shield for not just defense but offense as well. At 1st level, whenever you are wielding a shield and are not incapacitated you may add your shield’s AC bonus to any Dexterity saving throw you make against a spell or other harmful AOE effect.

With the Shield Master Feat you may add double your shield's AC value to your Dexterity saving throw, provided you are able to.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Untiring Arm

A shield does not burden you but aids you instead. When using a shield, you do not feel its weight- meaning that its weight does not count towards encumbrance. In addition, whenever you use a tower shield you do not have disadvantage on Attack rolls. You still, however, have disadvantage on Stealth rolls.

Shield Bash

A shield may mainly be for defense, but you know how to utilize it just as deftly as a weapon. At 2nd level, on your turn you may take an Attack action to bash your opponent with your shield. You add your proficiency bonus to the Attack roll. If the attack hits, you deal 1d6 + your Strength Modifier. The target must then make a Strength Saving throw of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength Modifier or be pushed back 10 feet.

You may perform a Shield Bash as your second attack while using extra attacks once you reach 5th level.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Path of the Shield Master

When you reach 3rd level, you may choose to go down either the path of the Frontline or the Mage Bane Shield Master. In addition, regardless of which path you choose, you gain the defense fighting style (+1 to AC so long as you are wearing armor, this includes natural armor like the Warforged race).

Ability Score Increase

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, when you take the attack option, you may attack twice.

Extreme Protection

You know just where to put your shield to get the best protection from it. At 5th level, you are now resistant to all non-magical forms of bludgeoning, slashing and piercing damage. In addition, you gain an additional +1 to your AC when wielding a shield on top of the current bonus it gives.

This benefit increases to +2 when you reach 9th level, +3 when you reach 15th level, and +4 when you reach 20th level. .

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Sunken In

When you decide to settle into a defensive stance, there aren’t many who can break past it. At 7th level, if you do not use your movement on your turn you go into a defensive stance. Meaning that all attacks made against you are done with disadvantage. In addition, if a creature tries to leave your attack range and you manage to hit them with an opportunity attack, you reduce their movement to 0. If you take the Sentinel feat, you not only reduce their speed to 0, but also make them fall prone. Furthermore, any attack or effect that knocks you prone that you make a save for, you make the save with advantage.

In order to use this ability, you must not move (even 5 feet) on your turn.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Shielded Mind

You have not only become the master of shields, but also the master of a shielded mind. At 9th level, you gain proficiency with wisdom saving throws. You also have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, frightened, or being controlled. If you have the fey ancestry trait any attempt to charm, frighten, or control you is additionally made with disadvantage.

Armor Piercer

Defense is what you’re all about. So you know just where to hit to find the weakest point. At 11th level, whenever you make an Attack against another creature, you may use up your Bonus Action to ignore 2 points of their AC when making your roll If you opponent is using a shield. If the attack hits, then the very next attack done against the creature has advantage.

The amount of AC you ignore increases to 3 at 16th level, and 4 at 20th level.

Brutal Force

Further training has taught you how to put your full weight against your shield bash. At 13th level, whenever you make a Shield Bash against a creature and they fail, you may choose to either knock them prone or disarm them. In addition, should you manage to trap an enemy between you and a wall while performing a shield bash, if the target fails the save they will take an additional 2d8 + your Strength modifier of bludgeoning damage rather than moving 10 feet back.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Hostile Barrier

You might not be the heaviest hitter, but ignoring you isn’t a wise decision. At 15th level whenever an enemy steps into your Attack range, you may take an opportunity attack against them with your shield. If it manages to hit while you are Sunken In, then their movement speed is reduced to 0 and they cannot contiue their move, if there is a medium or larger size object 5ft to either side of you they cannot move past you. If you additionally have the Sentinel feat, they are then knocked prone. Whenever you successfully push an enemy out of your attack range with Shield bash, you may move 5ft towards them forcing them to make a dex save equal to your shield bash save, if hit you may take a free attack against the enemy with your main shield, this cannot be a shield bash.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Mobile Defender

Though you do best when you’ve set yourself up in your position, you’ve learned how to maintain that sort of stability even after moving. At 17th level your movement speed increases by 20 feet. In addition, you may now move 15 feet and still be able to maintain your Sunken In status.

Furthermore, any time you leave an enemy’s attack range, any opportunity attacks made against you are done so with disadvantage as you raise your shield while fleeing.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Power Bash

Your experience in using your shield not only for its defensive properties, but also for its offensive capabilities has made you all the more effective in using it. At 18th level, whenever you make a Shield Bash you may take up your Bonus Action to make the attack a Power Bash. If the attack hits, the target will be pushed back 10 feet regardless. However, now if they fail to make a Strength saving throw against 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier, they are thrown back in a straight line for 30 feet from you. If they do not hit anything before then, they fall prone at the end of the distance and take 1d8 + your Strength Modifier of damage. However, if they hit a wall or another being during this 30 feet, they take 4d8 + your Strength Modifier of damage and stop there. If what they hit is another creature, that creature also takes the damage and must make the same Strength Saving throw against 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength Modifier or also be knocked prone.

Lastly, if you have taken the Frontline Shield Master Path and are dual-wielding shields, your offhand shield may also make a Shield Bash attack. Though only one may do a Power Bash since it uses your Bonus Action.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Frontline Shield Master

On the battlefield, you are the protector of the team. You laugh in the face of danger as attacks clink uselessly off your armor, the few that get through barely hurting at all. You are a walking behemoth in terms of defense.

Armored Hide

It takes a lot to get through your defense, as enemies will soon learn. At 3rd level, You gain a +3 Bonus to AC when you are using any armor

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

You are now resistant to every type of damage except psychic damage. At 12th level, choose between piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage. Your now have immunity to that type of damage.

Shield Wall

You were made to protect your allies and be their shield. As such, at 6th level any attacks made against your allies when they are 5 feet from you are done with disadvantage. In addition, any allies near you when your “Sunken In” ability is active benefit from the bonus AC your shield provides Furthermore, you may use your Reaction to provide one ally within 5ft of you ¾ cover against an attack targeting them when you are Sunken In. This does not work against AoE spells or attacks.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Offensive Defense

Defense can make the best offense; or at least as far as you’re concerned. At 10th level you are able to modify your shield (spending 25 gold) so that it is equipped with spikes. Now when you do a Shield Bash and it successfully hits, you add an additional 1d4 piercing damage to your damage roll.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Indomitable Force

Your defense capabilities are practically second to none. At 14th level, you have advantage on any saves that determine whether or not you are knocked prone or moved from your space. When your “Sunken In” ability is active, you are immune to being knocked prone or moved from your spot.

The Walking Bastion

You are essentially a walking fortress at this point; your defensive capabilities are legendary in nature. At 20th level, Enemies roll with disadvantage against you

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Mage Bane Shield Master

You are a figure all magic users should fear. Stepping into the battlefield, you specialize in absorbing the damage caused by spells and preventing the casters from casting their spells in the first place.

Magical Tolerance

Your particular type of training has prepared you to resist the power magic users wield. At 3rd level you may pick one type from Fire, Cold, Lightning, Psychic, Poison, Thunder, Acid, Necrotic, Radiant, or Force to be resistant to. In addition, your damage resistance gained from extreme protection extends to magical, silvered, and adamantine weapons as well.

At 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th you may pick an additional type to gain resistance to.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Reflective Shield

Time to give those spellcasters a taste of their own medicine. At 6th level, you can use your Reaction to reflect back a spell that specifically targets you. Roll an Attack (d20) and add your proficiency modifier plus your Strength modifier. If the result is higher than the target’s spell attack roll or the target’s spellcasting DC, then you reflect the spell back to them.

This does not work against area-effect spells or spells that do not target you specifically.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Magical Enfusement

Taking the brunt of spells with your shield has begun to warp the metal in very mysterious ways. At 10th level, you may choose to imbue your shield with one of the magical damage types you have previously chosen resistance for. This gives you additional resistance against that one type (you now take a quarter of that damage from that type), and your Shield Bash now does 1d8 of that damage against foes. In addition, whenever you make a Shield Bash attack against a spellcaster using a concentration spell, they must make the save with disadvantage.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Spell Disturbance

You can tell the signs of a spell about to fire, so you know exactly when to strike. At 14th level, whenever a spell is cast that only targets you, the caster has disadvantage on the roll. In addition, whenever a spell caster within 5ft of you casts a spell, you may take a Reaction to disrupt the spell. Make an Attack roll with your shield (1d20 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier). If it hits, the spell instantly fails.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.

Anti-Magic Master

All your time dealing first-hand with the brunt of magic has taught you just how to deal with it to minimize its effects. At 20th level, you have advantage on all spell-caused saving throws. You also have immunity to the damage type you previously chose for Magical Enfusement.

You must be wielding a shield to use this ability.


Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Shield Master class, you must meet these prerequisites: a 13 Strength and 10 Constitution

Back to Main Page5e HomebrewClasses

Home of user-generated,
homebrew pages!