What if shields were more prominent?

Just something I’ve been thinking about recently.
Fire Emblem doesn’t really do a whole lot with shields, and I think that’s a shame. Hell, Berwick Saga actually does stuff with them (not that I would know much about it, never played the game). In Fire Emblem though, its usually just relegated to stuff like the Delphi/Fili Shield or the Iron Rune/Hoplon Guard, but they’re often not even acknowledged outside of the Dracoshield.

I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to make them work. The approach Echoes takes is cool, but I’m not entirely sure how it would work in a game with a full inventory (Haven’t played much of Sacred Echoes, so idk how they work there). I also remember reading a post a while back on another forum that had a section about shields and such, where shields and weapons would be catagorized as requiring one or two hands. Two-handed weapons could not be used with a shield, but dealt more damage I think; whereas one-handed weapons dealt less damage, but could be used with shields. It wasn’t super fleshed-out, but I thought it was pretty interesting.

So yeah. How do y’all feel about shields?


Could be fun to see how it could work if expanded upon, but I’m not sure I’m creative enough to do anything special with them.


I think Berwick would answer your question pretty well. Shields have their own weapon rank which you can get via using them, and leveling up, weapon rank replaces the skill stat in this game, so it’s quite important. Shields have a chance to block attacks based on your shield skill, which is when you actually get the shield defence bonus. Other special bonuses like fire resistance also exist. Other than that there are small shields, for weaker units, medium shields for kinda tanky units, and large shields for armor knights.

A more simple way to do shields is Tear Ring Saga. Shields have a straight up defence increase, but lose durability if hit. Anyone can use it, and all you need to do is keep them in your inventory. A leather shield for example increases your defence by 4, and has 4 durability. Silver shields later on give you 20 defence, but only have 2 durability iirc. If anything shields are a very nice to have thing on healers, or squishier units, because it often lets them barely survive a hit.

Highly reccomend you try out both games. They often have very unique ideas that tend to work out quite well in my experience. Not only will it be a fun game, but also give you some new ideas in regards to game design.


Full on equipment separated from your inventory would be nice.

Eg. Each character has an equipment slot for a helmet, shield, body armour, accessory, etc.

To actually implement this in fe8 you’d need a few bytes of ram per unit as well as a custom 4th / 5th page of the stat screen. The equipment granting stat bonuses / skills would be fairly easy. The new page would be a pain to make. The ram cost is why I personally wouldn’t make this, as anything that costs this much ram that’s saved on suspend needs to be debated over a lot to be merged into skillsys, as the suspend ram is limited and this would use up a ton (assuming all units can use this equipment).


Bells of Byelen uses an equipment system, but it’s limited to a single slot and not a Dungeon Master-esque, full-body setup:

I can’t speak to the technical side, but from a design standpoint, you’d need to think through how this impacts overall stats and growths.

From what I’ve seen, games with this much emphasis on gear tend to focus more on “gear as progression” vs. “stats as progression”, which would be a notable shift from FE’s design given the prominence of growths.

Def a few different ways to make this work, but I’d probably start by lowering growths across the board, especially DEF/RES, and making a higher percentage of the units defenses come from the gear. Alternatively, if gear has durability (which I prefer), you could probably be more lenient about how to weigh stats from the unit vs. stats from the gear. Alternatively, you could eschew stats entirely and focus on gear providing skills or access to different weapon types, etc. and leave stats largely alone.

To me, keeping numbers from inflating beyond what’s easily calculated is important given the volume of combat in FE, which is what I’d aim for if I had a system like this.

Beyond a single equip slot though, I don’t think FE would benefit from additional complexity given how many units you manage and more importantly, how many enemies you’d have to deal with and adjust to their weapons and all of their gear, too.


Shields are nice but trying to actually do anything with them is a nightmare when you really start to look at it.

I went over this in another thread funny enough.

There are two major factors that compound all of this, size and material.

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It’s a shame that the games don’t have more shields, considering that the first Fire Emblem™ was one.

I liked the way Three Houses made them, in theory. But like many things in that game, its implementation is not very good. There are so many mechanics in that game that the devs simply didn’t have time to polish equipment (there are 8 unused ones in the code, and 8 empty slots. You don’t really get a lot of special shields either.)

Make them more useful, and give them durability! Set Caduceus to 10 uses or something. Give the player shields that grant you defensive abilities but break if you get attacked a lot. I know staffs aren’t shields but you’re not gonna give a shield to a mage right? They can work together

This implementation can be really complicated and a hell to balance, so it’d be best if the game it’s in doesn’t have a lot going on, mechanic-wise.

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I’ve played hacks before where shields only give like +1 def. Shields, or other inventory stat boosters, should give at least +3. If it’s going to give less than that you should just give a consumable dracoshield. This is of course assuming standard balance with only five inventory slots, +2 statboosters, stats and numbers, and statboosters, inventory or consumable, not being purchasable most of the game. A dinky +1 shield is like 1-2 range shortbows, you could make it work if you change more things about the game, but if you insert the item into base FEGBA, things get weird.


In an ideal scenario, shields should work like they did in 3H, where you can have multiple in your inventory, but you have to equip them to get the effects. This is also how growth bands worked in PoR. I think it’d be cool to see this shield system in a more traditional style FE game. (Like Awakening)

But also, I think that for them to not be completely overpowered, shields should have durability, like weapons do, which would decrease with each hit taken by the user. This, combined with a weight penalty like weapons usually have, would make them more balanced.

Perhaps armor-effective weapons, or some other new type of effective weapon could either pierce through shields, or reduce the durability by a higher value per-hit. Or maybe this could be made into a new skill (Maybe call it “Shield Breaker”).

Currently I’m implementing shields in my hack, but I can’t make them have durability, because there is no ASM for that yet.

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Fire Emblem has mostly gone the route of the character’s stats reflecting what kind of armor they have. Armor classes have high def because they’re in heavy armor. Fighters have high HP and low def because they’re usually buff guys in regular clothing. In SRPGS where you do outfit your characters in a full set of equipment like FF Tactics Advance, it usually just feels like extra busywork that I’d rather not deal with, and moving equipment around based on who’s deployed is annoying. I think part of what makes Fire Emblem work is the simple stat calculations and that most entries revolve around numbers that are comparatively lower than most RPGs. I think that adding another source of stats to check would be more to the game’s detriment than anything.


Shadows of Valentia does some really fun stuff with shields, but they feel like an under-utilized item in game (Dracoshield is generally speaking the best, and on classes that don’t use weapon arts, they provide enough of a defensive boost high enough to turn most attacks into chip damage). I’m struggling to remember names of a particular hack, but having shields that have durability like weapons, with rare reinforced shields that are unbreakable, is a fun way to utilize the tools in FEbuilder to attach passive or equip bonuses to items.

The tricky bit would be giving roles to shields so it doesn’t de-volve it best-returns,highest-value in slot
I personally like the idea of shield variants that provide the stance and tower or short shield skills, like a buckler that gives speed and defence on enemy phase, or a mirrored shield that provides either high resistance or magic counter; the tools are there to make them more then just a static +2 to DEF

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Funny you should say that, my Fire Emblem game utilizes Shields.

They’re an equippable item in your Inventory. Only One shield can be equipped at a time. Equip two, and you get no bonuses from both.

Heavier Shields will reduce your speed when equipped.

Two-Handed Weapons are a new weapon type that negates the positive bonuses of having a Shield equipped.