Can a paladin/fighter plant a tower shield in the ground? What are the benefits that can be obtained from this? I'm thinking more like using Hide action or gaining half or 3/4 cover.

Clarification: I'm not asking about rules-as-written. Basically I want to check how this should work if this is allowed.

A giant fighter wants to plant his tower shield on the ground mid fight to create a cover. Does he need to do a strength check if the shield planted correctly? If he succeed, can he hide behind the shield? What benefit he has? Can this be done by medium creatures?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Tower shields don't exist in D&D 5E. Are you using some 3rd party rule for them? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2018 at 10:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GreenstoneWalker no. I know 5e only state "shield" and nothing else, so a giant fighter is going to use a tower shield. I don't think it will make any mechanical difference, then I come to this scenario. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vylix
    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:16
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ You can grow more tower shields, if given enough sunlight and water? \$\endgroup\$
    – Paul
    Feb 2, 2018 at 19:22

3 Answers 3


There are no explicit rules for this, because tower shields don't (as of early 2018) exist in 5th edition.

The closest I could find to rules that make sense are the generic Use An Object combat action (PHB 193) to plant the shield, then some kind of DM judgement call based on the Cover rules (PHB 196) based on how much of the defender's body is covered by the shield, in the direction the shield is facing. Since there are no rules for this, it's ambiguous whether the +2 shield bonus would stack with the cover bonus to AC from itself.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I imagine that you would lose the AC of the shield but gain 3/4 or 1/2 cover depending on DM ruling of shield size. Which means a gain of +3 at best or nothing otherwise, or a loss of AC if the shield was a +1 or more \$\endgroup\$
    – Baergren
    Feb 2, 2018 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Baergren That seems reasonable, as does losing the shield bonus entirely if someone attacks you from any other direction. However, these are clearly situational DM judgement calls. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 3, 2018 at 2:16

What defines a "tower shield" in comparison to other shields is size and shape, but D&D5E doesn't make those kinds of distinctions - all shields are the same. By rules-as-written, you can't do any of the things you propose.

That said... using a shield for the Hide action is a bit absurd. There's a shield there. Do you really think anybody is going to fall for somebody "Hiding" behind a shield. I'm reasonably certain they're going to know the shield is there, and equally sure they're going to know there's a person behind it.

As for improved defense, that's what the Shield Master feat is for. In addition to blending shoves into your attack routine, being expertly trained in the use of shields gives a bonus to Dexterity saves, and a Reaction that lets you reduce the effect of Dexterity-save-based effect that causes damage.


There is no RAW for tower shields in 5e but from other versions:

As @JoelHarmon stated you can use the Use an Object action to plant the shield. At that point, the shield stops being a Shield and starts being an obstruction.

So, you lose your Shield bonus to AC but you gain a cover bonus. It also block line of sight if someone isn't trying to fight past the shield.

As @T.J.L. mentioned, opponents are going to know that the shield bearer is behind the shield (unless you are on soft dirt, someone has to be holding it up). However, another character can hide behind it. You just have to use common sense based on the wits of the opponent.


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