Shield Bashing?

As something that frequently comes up when blade-wielders are dealing with skeletons, who reduce non-bludgeoning damage, how much damage does a shield do? Ostensibly something in the 1d4 range (and you receive no AC bonus from the shield that round) but I thought I’d see what everyone else thought.
Actually, now that I look at it, I don’t see the undead damage reduction I was talking about earlier. Most probably it’s an AD&D conceit I’m bringing with me. In any case though, I’m sure there are a variety of other reasons one might choose to hit someone with their shield, besides that, and perhaps others are interested too. Thanks.

I’d think it would be less dangerous than a dagger. Say 1d3 damage.

I was thinking there might be a proficiency that lets shield users get bonuses to Knock Down and other maneuvers.

The rule that Arneson used in AiF was that shields do half damage (in Aif that’s 1-5) when used as a weapon but losses the defensive bonus.
Keep in mind that using a shield as a weapon primarily means thrusting and swinging with the edge of the shield to hit the opponents face, arm or leg. Pushing, shoving, and “bashing” with the flat of the shield is part of its normal function in combat. The shield arm will be tucked in close while the combatant pushes and shoves off the back leg, attempting to unbalance opponenents to achieve an opening for the primary weapon.

To adjudicate a shield bash, I’d just look at what the player is trying to achieve. Is he trying to knock the opponent down? Then it’s a Knock Down. Is he trying to knock him out? It’s an Incapacitate. Is he trying to do damage? Then it’s just an attack.
Otherwise it’s merely narrative. Consider the following two scenarios:

  1. A fighter with a sword and dagger (two weapon style) attacks. He hits but only does 1 damage. Since this was a low damage roll, the Judge narrates that the sword missed but the dagger grazed the foe.
  2. A fighter with sword and shield (weapon and shield style) attacks. He hits but only does 1 damage. Since this was a low damage roll, the Judge narrates that the sword missed but a bash with the shield landed.

If a fighter wanted to unstrap his shield and swing it two handed like a giant frying pan, then I’d let him use it as a weapon doing d4 or perhaps d6 dmg? Better off just using the sword honestly even if dmg is 1/2.

Bargle > “If a fighter wanted to unstrap his shield and swing it two handed like a giant frying pan…”
Huh? I’m not following. The vast majority of shields are held either by a central handgrip - as say a viking shield - or a just off center handgrip and a forearm loop. neither in my experience restricts the shields mobility or edge use. If you are having trouble visualizeing the damage a shield can do, think of what it would be like to be hit by the edge of a sheet of plywood, or a roadsign.

Indeed, people really do seem to have bizarre ideas about what sort of a weapon a shield is. The edge is really lethal in the hands of someone who knows how to handle a shield, like you say it’s like being hit by a thin and hard piece of metal (assuming it’s bound with metal). Slam that down onto someone’s instep or up into their jaw, and you break bones. And that’s only with bigger shields that aren’t as easy to swing around.

The attachment of a shield to the arm also offers a way to break the arm of a shield-wearer, simply by grabbing the rim and spinning it hard.

A 30lb spartan shield was mostly wood covered in a thin layer of bronze. It was mostly defensive, but served as a nasty surprise attack when an openning can up.

The small buckler was actually designed to act more like an off-hand weapon (such as a parrying dagger) than as a traditional shield. A metal punch from that would definitely knock you off your game.

Taking all this into account, I think shield bashes are more likely to be treated as a bonus to combat manuvers than attacks in of themselves. I could see using a shield to knock someone down or push past them than dealing damage. Maybe a proficiency that gives a bonus to a small selection of specific combat manuvers while armed with a shield, obviously a smaller bonus than from the combat manuver proficiency, but slightly broader for one prof? Also, one may want to have a proficiency (or rule) that allows +1 to attack when sword and shield, at the cost of forgoing the +1 bonus to ac (magic bonus may still apply to ac).

Don’t forget the Highland trio, claymore, dirk and buckler, with the latter two in the same hand. I’ve yet to see an RPG give that any sort of consideration.

D&D bucklers can be used with a weapon (essentially “buckling” onto one’s arm) but you don’t get the defense if you attack, and you take a -1. Also, while bucklers are better for smashing faces than most shields, the D&D buckler is the only one you can’t shield bash with.

In general, D&D has a terrible record in realistically presenting weapons and armor. The armor that D&D “Full Plate” is modeled after is a super-heavy, you-don’t-plan-on-moving armor that no one in their right mind would walk into combat wearing, while real plate is significantly lighter.