As noted below, this isn’t mine. But, man, this house rule is so stinkin’ cool! It has such a cinematic, heroic feel and it is going into my next game. Once we’ve had a chance to play with it I will post a retrospective and link the two posts together.
Uldbar has a very large shield.
With thanks to J. Brian Murphy (from his article in “Fight On!” fanzine)
Shields work. They are (along with the helmet) among the poor warrior’s most trusted items. In this setting, however, shields act as a form of ablative armour.
Shields still add +2 to your Armour Class, as per the main rules. In addition, any time that you take damage, you can opt to say that your shield bore the brunt of the blow. The shield then shatters, and must be discarded, but you don’t take any damage from that strike. This works against any damage caused by an attack roll, including spells.
If you have an enchanted shield (such as a +1 or +2 shield), every time you use the shield to absorb damage in this manner, it loses one of its pluses (or other magical effects). Once reduced to +0, it becomes a mundane shield and will splinter the next time it bears the brunt of a blow as described above. You know, some adventurers whisper that some very talented armourers can repair magical shields… but whether it’s true or not is up to the GM.
For my initial implementation I am adding the requirement that you must spend either a Hit Die or a point of Inspiration to sacrifice your shield. We’ll see where this goes.