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From the developer's blog:

Shield Weights, posted on Sun Jul 9 12:23:09 2017

Posted by: Capita

Category: Special

I've made all the shields lighter, to let block users have a bigger range of viable not-too-heavy shields to choose from. While I was at it, I've also tweaked their dimensions and durability to be more in line with each other. The EFF spell is unaffected. As a one-off event, I will transfer deludes and enchantments if anyone wishes to change shields as a result.

Post-Change Observations

• With tactics set to block, I receive attack penalty messages starting at 30% burden and defence penalty messages starting at 40% burden. With tactics set to parry, I receive defence penalty messages starting at 30% burden. So for those who like to wear heavy armour or carry heavy items (or loot) in their inventory, block has some defensive advantage over parry and dodge at higher burden levels. Of course, at 50% burden you also lose a dexterity stat point.

Tempo (talk) 18:59, 31 March 2020 (EDT)

• Shield weight has little to no effect on block chance (a small shield is just as effective at blocking as a large shield)

• Block works like parry, in that shields have an advantage over weapons that weigh less than the shield, though this appears to be set rather than scaled

• Shield size (dimensions, coverage and weight) appears to work the same weigh other armour works

It seems to me that a player can either go full tank with a big heavy shield and lots of armour (Westley models this approach, using misc/block), or get more creative with a smaller lighter shield in order to balance a chosen weapon and minimize the offensive AP costs associated with burden and only using one weapon (Jinx models this approach, using flail/block). Both appear to be legitimate playing styles. Personally, I use axe/block and switch back and forth between the two approaches.

Tempo (talk) 15:23, 31 March 2020 (EDT)

Comments on the above from Pokey:

Can confirm most of the above from my own research:

  • Shield weight has little to no effect on block chance - As long as the weapons being blocked are relatively light (see notes below)
  • Blocking a heavy weapon with a light shield gets the same penalty as parry (scaled, unlimited)
  • Blocking a light weapon with a heavy shield get the same bonus as parry (capped at 5 or 10 % at +2 2/9lb heavier)

Agree that going full tank seems more or less reasonable since enchanted heavy shields are *reasonably* good armour, and there are no penalties to block chance beyond burden. However going very light shield seems to me to be taking all the penalties for shields with none of the benefits. i.e. you take heavy penalties when blocking heavy weapons or grapples (especially from shade trolls grflxen and other beasts), while gaining no significant armour. My personal optimum for the 'light' end of shields would be around 6 6/9lb, since that gives block bonus vs typical weapons wielded by tougher enemies (katanas, khopesh, dories and all swords), while not giving too big penalties vs shade trolls and beasts. I didn't notice any effect regarding 'balancing' the weight of weapon and shield, but then I wasn't looking specifically for that. In both scenarios obviously the big penalty is due to single wielding your weapon, and that doesn't change for heavy or light shields.

Not entirely sure if a block actually takes more AP than a parry. I know people say it does, but I haven't seen any evidence yet. Perhaps there's some other mechanic involved when you fight multiple enemies? I don't do that a lot as I only solo.


Agreed, I don't think there's any greater AP penalty for block users than for those who fight while holding prayer beads or a klein bottle. Any AP challenges I've personally encountered when using block seem to come down to one handed single-wielding. Tempo (talk) 18:49, 31 March 2020 (EDT)

A note on blocking vs thrown:

Testing in the smugglers, I've noticed that if my response is set explicitly to block, I defend better vs thrown weapons. i.e. comparing these setups:

- spear in left hand, shield in right - tactics parry right - tactics response parry


- spear in left hand, shield in right - tactics parry right - tactics response block

I defend around twice as many thrown knives in the second setup. My parry and block are roughly the same, with my dodge much lower.

Pokey (talk) 09:35, 4 December 2020 (EST)

Pre-Change Observations

Block was finally that effect most of this information needs retested. So far, I've noticed that the AP cost of block has been reduced, unsure as to how much (because I was unsure in the first place, but the npcs using block seem significantly stronger).

Just a few things to note.

Knowns: Most "light" shields (around ten pounds) outweigh most weapons. Shields take alot of damage, making leather unviable, and wood a close second to that. (Needs re-verified) Material increases chance to absorb. Material determines total absord possible. (True when considering custom shields, however this is largely dependant on the size of the shield [see below] in reference to non-custom shields) Enchanting makes shields harder to use.* (This was verified...but since the change this may be untrue now or reduced) Enchanting increases total absorb possible. (This was verified since I added it, forgot to update however, lost my notes on this also since then also, so I can't reference ammounts.) Size of shield increases chance to block. Size of shield increases chance to absorb. Weight of shield adds to AP cost to block. (Needs verified since the buffs, probably still true, but may have been reduced) Weight adds to chance to block. AP for block is rather high. (This is most likely untrue now) Block is very respectable for defending against multiple opponents. Absorbing attacks, takes no (or very small ammounts of) AP. (added to the main page as a fact).

Personal research suggests that block is more suited to higher bonus levels, and can be very difficult to level from the start (being frustrating until a 200 minimum bonus for a small wooden shield @ 6 6/9 pnds). This has since been disproved, by Mavado I think it was, meaning that block suffers a penalty thoughout the bonus ranges (low-mid-high) [Needs re-verified since the changes, its definately much easier to use now as a beginner} .Disregarding this fact, absorbs may be as good as block itself (which would be like having two defense ticking off at once, which means a highly enchanted, heavy, and large shield, which I'm going to test next. My current theory is that block users might be more prone to becoming damage sponges (without CCC mind you), and just in essense -reduce- incoming damage from high strength and armour, with block (which can deal with high burden) and the ever present absorb.

  • An interesting query has made me think this -may- be incorrect, and it may be wrong in two ways (not disproven mind you but...) First theory, enchanting may not affect block at all, and Second theory suggests it may -help- block, further testing to be done... (feel free to do this yourself as well, block is the most under used defense in the game!) {Never got around to testing this, it was the next thing I was gonna test after absorbs and I lost the data}

Reports of blocking darts from inhumation have been made, on my next character I will definately confirm this (whether its true or not...) This was verified...but I can't remember if it was true or not.... (sigh)

Burden doesn't effect block nearly as much as parry, and even less so than dodge, regardless of the stat penalty. I've been known to wander around with about a 35% burden (which is my comfort level) and get upwards of a 60% burden before I even start to notice a change, but at that point it starts become rather obvious (AP gets demanding) the upside to this is that to achieve this, I hardly -ever- have less than 19 strength (as a rule) and it takes quite a bit to burden me beyond my armours and weapon (including a rather heavy shield). {This may be untrue now, but as a possitive since AP cost was reduced, needs testing}

I have noticed that I start getting the message 'Your burden is penalising you slightly in your attacks.' when my burden is greater than 3 times my dexterity. Can anyone else confirm? Quotid (talk) 13:58, 16 November 2015 (EST)
This is true in one sense, check the data on burden, but yes the initial start point is pretty low compared to burden % and stat loss ~ Nuke

Holding a shield in both hands is a great way to "boost" block, as silly as it sounds, its great way to become super defensive in times of need (this doesn't work very well with light shields, its most likely a burden issue, I think this has been corrected since the change, but needs verified).

Unknowns: Shield effectiveness with weapon used, the theory here is that (like weapons) you get a synergy bonus for wielding something with compariable weight. The % of the weight of the shield that is negated from holding it (based on helpfile, but my best educated guess at this moment seems to be about half) Based on the above two things, and superficial research, some weapons go better with certain shields, although this seems more determined by weigh of weapon, rather than actual weapon used. The rough guide to this seems to be about 1/3rd of the weight of the shield for a comparable weapon (or rather half of half of the weight of the shield). Update: to my best ability, I have in fact noticed this to be true in -some- sense, nothing definately, BUT weapon weight does seem to help block out a bit, its currently completely unknown to me why (other than which is prolly the best explanation to this, is for the same reason two similiar weighted weapons attack better together, the reason this is in discussion is because melee and defense may not share a synergy bonus together like this.)

Competively, Block cannot compare to Parry/Dodge at the moment. It still lacks the extra edge that parry and dodge both share, in retrospect, the difference is like holding a single weapon and parrying with the same weapon (without the known benefits of parry). Block has a slight advantage in the sense that it's shields are generally much heavier than weapons. This advantage is not enough, especially considering that Block drains AP quite fast vs parry/dodge.

(My personal opinion) The only thing that would make block usable (in comparison) would be to give the shields a command like stun (which would drain AP completely), -or- have the action of -being- blocked cost AP (the logic here is that, having a weapon stopped completely mid attack can totally screw you up in combat "flow" having to recover everytime, this makes sense if you think about for a minute), although its quite possible even those wouldn't be enough, from personal observation, I still argue this a case in point, but sense not many people use it, its unlikely to happen, something nice to look forward to perhaps...

Updated, significately. Lost my old notes so I'll be going off of memory from here out (which is just as well because they buffed the skill and everything needs redone anyways). Feel free to add notes to this page so I can check them out or to verify something (however minor) and/or if you find out anything or please send me a tell ingame to Benvolio or Nuke. If I can get most of this data redone I'll update the actual page for block and hopefully delete this discussion!

Happy Hunting! ~Nuke


I was rereading this page, and was a bit confused by the line:

Absorbs cost little to no ap and basically just add to the defense of the character.

As I understood it, if a shield (or any armour) absorbs a hit, that means you've failed a defence skill check and as such have lost a large amount of AP. Can anyone confirm this? Quotid (talk) 09:34, 23 March 2018 (EDT)