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I know that removing an equipped shield and stowing it (usually on the back) is a standard action.

I also know that dropping an held or wielded item is a free action.

What action type is removing an equipped shield and let it drop to the ground?

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As reference I'd add that this is (also) listen in PHB p 289 - although your q isn't answered there. –  Martin Jan 16 '13 at 20:34
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up vote 10 down vote accepted

In general, it is a standard action to remove your shield from your arm. From the Rules Compendium pg 267:

Using a Shield

To use a shield, a creature must strap it to the forearm. Doing so is a standard action, unless otherwise noted. Removing a shield is also a standard action.

If you choose to remove and stow it on your backpack, that is described specifically on pg 245 (Equip or Stow a Shield ) as also being a standard action.

It appears the hard part is unstrapping it from your arm. Putting it someplace once it's off is the easy part.

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So, stowing it on your backpack is a sort of gift: you already spent a standard action to remove the shield, I (the rules) allow you to stow it without additional effort. :) I this yours is the most realistic interpretation of the cross-reference you quoted. –  Erik Burigo Apr 8 '11 at 13:22
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Oh, and as always... Blessed be the Rules Compendium! –  Erik Burigo Apr 8 '11 at 13:39
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Blessed in the sense Oh man we screwed up these rules so bad, let's put out the errata as a supplement and not dare reprint PH1, which would piss off our existing fanbase and fuel flames that Essentials is 4.5e. –  okeefe Apr 8 '11 at 14:14
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Yes! That kind of blessing. :) Irony apart, I think they have made a good work, and messing up is somewhat intrinsic in handling the huge amount of material that has been published. Anyway, I'm not going to open a topic on this argument: it's not the correct place for this kind of discussion. ^_^ –  Erik Burigo Apr 8 '11 at 14:42
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My understanding is that your shield is actually strapped to your arm. Therefore to drop it you first have to unstrap it.

Unstrapping it and stowing it is a standard. I would probably require the same for dropping it. I feel like the reason for making equipping and unequipping a shield a standard is to make it difficult and I think that downgrading the action isn't in the spirit of the mechanics here.

However, the logical downgrade would be to a move action, this would provide you with some value because to get your shield back would then require a minor action to pick it up and standard to equip it.

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I agree with you on the added difficulty for unstrapping the shield (in contrast to a held item). I still wonder if sacrificing the "stow it away" part could effectively downgrade this action, and if there are rules supporting this theory. –  Erik Burigo Apr 8 '11 at 12:45
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There is post on the wizards board discussing this. I can't see past the first page while I am at work, so I don't know if they came to any conclusions, but here is the link community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19661946/… –  wax eagle Apr 8 '11 at 12:50
    
Good catch. They really disputed for about 4 pages, with 2 controversial interpretation: 1) a shield is held, so it could be released with free or minor action. 2) Definitely not a free action, otherwise the difference between stowing an item (minor) or stowing a shield (standard) would be countered. –  Erik Burigo Apr 8 '11 at 13:18
    
I would say its either a standard of a move (no way its a minor). I lean hard towards standard, but I would have no problem with a DM ruling it as a move because you are effectively giving up the shield for the rest of the encounter. However, the idea of being able to drop your shield, grab your weapon with 2 hands/dual wield and then charge/attack, all without an action point seems a bit over the top. –  wax eagle Apr 8 '11 at 13:32
    
I actually was thinking about Balde Initiate abuse (wizards.com/dndinsider/compendium/feat.aspx?id=650). ;) –  Erik Burigo Apr 8 '11 at 13:35
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