Shield Guardians make two fist attacks at +7, are size large, strength 18(+4), CR7, and have an intelligence of 8. They can be commanded by the owner of their Master’s Amulet.

  • Can a Shield Guardian use weapons?
  • If so, at what proficiency? (i.e. does it only use it’s ability bonus or does it have a proficiency bonus for being CR7.)
  • Could it use a weapon in each hand?
  • Is there any armor beside shields that could fit - and if so - would they even have any effect?

Note: We should clarify that we are considering this in the context of Adventurers League. This is a slight variation on the question Do monsters have proficiency with all weapons and armors? because those answers suggest that for the DM’s creatures it is the DM’s call. Whereas Shield Guardians are treasure owned by PCs and the proficiencies would be logged on an AL log. Would this mean the first DM chooses the proficiencies of the Shield Guardian and that’s what gets logged? Or does every DM make a ruling every game? Is there perhaps a more generic guideline that applies for what weapons and armor are used and at what proficiencies?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have reopened this question because the adventurers league context may result in a slightly different ruling. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 19:03
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean the Guardian is treasure? It's a creature of the construct type. Do you mean that its controlling amulet would be logged treasure? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 There are adventures in AL now where a Shield Guardian and its amulet can be obtained as treasure and logged on your AL sheet. (Other questions on the Shield Guardian list more about the spoiler on this site) \$\endgroup\$
    – Praxiteles
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 19:35
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Praxiteles: The adventure in question only results in the amulet being added to the treasure sheet, not the guardian. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ This could be a bit of an X-Y problem - why do you need to know this, and what is your actual problem? I had a player who obtained a SG in Curse of Strahd - he wanted to give the SG some sort of silvered attacks, given the damage resistance of so many creatures in that setting - but knowing this suggests other answers besides arming them. Armor was never an issue, because the SG's regeneration ability is so powerful it is unlikely to matter how often they are hit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Feb 18 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


This is a DM's call

The only things the rules have to say about monsters using weapons and armor in general is this:

Assume that a creature is proficient with its armor, weapons, and tools. If you [the DM] swap them out, you [the DM] decide whether the creature is proficient with its new equipment. (MM, p. 9)

This and all your other questions boil down to simply asking your DM what they will allow in the absence of explicit rules to adjudicate them. This is not because the DM owns the monster in question, but because it is the DM's job in 5e to adjudicate all the rules at their table.

Using weapons

Shield guardians have hands and are humanoid in shape, so there is probably no issue with a shield guardian using most weapons or most armor. However, there are no rules that say they can, so this is a DM's call. If the DM rules they can wield a weapon in one hand, there should likely not be an issue with them wielding one weapon in each hand.

But, a shield guardian also does not have any weapons in their statblock. So, they cannot be assumed to have proficiency in any of them. The DM must also decide this.

Using armor

Additionally, as you pointed out, armor would specifically have to be found in the exact right size and shape to allow the shield guardian to wear it which is highly unlikely. Most likely, you would have to have such armor custom made. There are however, no rules for this either, but if we go for the rules for making animal barding we can at least deduce that this would at least be much more expensive than comparable human armor.

But, a shield guardian also does not have any armor or shields in their statblock, So, they cannot be assumed to have proficiency in any of them. The DM must also decide this.

If your DM allows the shield guardian to wear and be proficient in the armor, it should function just like normal armor does on any other creature.

Adventurers League rules

First, a minor correction. The shield guardian is not what counts as the treasure, it is in fact the Master's Amulet that counts as that (with the guardian assumed to be attached to it). Thus there should be no issue with logging anything about your Shield Guardian on the logsheet; you only have to track the amulet. For reference, see the spoiler in footnote 1 in this answer: What is the rarity of an Amulet of the Shield Guardian?

There are no rules or guidance from Adventurers League that give further guidance on this issue (see here for those official resources). Thus, it remains a DM decision from beginning to end.

As a D&D Adventurers League Dungeon Master, you are empowered to adjudicate the rules as presented by the official materials (PHB, DMG, MM, etc.). Run the game according to those rules, but you are the final arbiter of any ambiguities that might arise in doing so. (DDAL FAQ v7.1, p. 2)

And yes, that might mean that if you move from DM to DM, that each will have a different ruling. That is just the direct consequence of having DM adjudication be strongly present in 5e and moving between multiple DMs.


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