My group is playing a RAW-only game for fun. The idea is to stick to RAW as closely possible, even if it causes weird problems or wacky interactions in the game world. So, from time to time some strange or unusual rule uses pop up. This is one of them.

By RAW, we have:

Benefit: In most situations, a tower shield provides the indicated shield bonus to your Armor Class. As a standard action, however, you can use a tower shield to grant you total cover until the beginning of your next turn. When using a tower shield in this way, you must choose one edge of your space. That edge is treated as a solid wall for attacks targeting you only. You gain total cover for attacks that pass through this edge and no cover for attacks that do not pass through this edge (see Combat). The shield does not, however, provide cover against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. You cannot bash with a tower shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.

Those rules don't say anything about size difference restrictions. Does this means that, by RAW, a Tiny Tower Shield can be used to provide Total Cover for a Huge or Colossal creature?

Is there any rule restricting this use-case somewhere else?


3 Answers 3


There are no rules for using an inappropriately-sized shield (or, for that matter, wearing inappropriately-sized armor)

The GM has probably already decided for your specific campaign whether according to the the game's silence is permission or denial, and this is a case where that decision matters. Armor for Unusual Creatures only says, "Armor and shields for unusually big creatures, unusually little creatures, and non-humanoid creatures (such as horses) have different costs and weights from those given on Table: Armor and Shields," therefore neither encouraging nor removing the possibility of using oversized or undersized armor and shields.

In other words, if the GM has ruled that the game's silence means permission, then a Fine creature can use a tower shield designed for a Colossal creature as either cover or as the roof of a mansion, and a Colossal creature can fish from its vest pocket in an emergency a tower shield designed for a Fine creature and use it either as cover or, I guess, as a tablespoon in case he's caught without in the middle of making a cake.

However, under a GM that rules that the game's silence is denial—which, really, is what this reader encourages lest all sorts of horrors ensue—, such absurdities won't happen.

Nonetheless, some shields do have entries on the weapon list. This makes an inappropriately-sized shield wielded as a weapon probably technically game legal even under a silence-is-denial policy, but that doesn't also mean an inappropriately-sized shield is suitable for that creature as a shield but, instead, only as a weapon. And this workaround doesn't matter for a tower shield as a tower shield isn't on the weapons list anyway.

Note: Inappropriately-sized shields are discussed in Paizo messageboard threads from 2011 and 2017 and, undoubtedly, others. Users tend to agree that using inappropriately-sized shields is impossible. Of course, such consensus should in no way color your rules-as-written campaign and is included solely for the benefit of other readers.


The rules don't support using shields that are not sized for the user.

All statistics in armor tables indicate that they are for Medium creatures and blurbs indicate adjustments to adjust weight and cost for larger or smaller creatures. All of this implies that you simply can't use inappropriately sized armor, including shields.



The first sentence of the description of the "Shield, Tower" says:

This massive wooden shield is nearly as tall as you are.

If the shield isn't "nearly as tall as you are" then it isn't a tower shield for you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this a lot, and, really, it should be decisive… except for that pesky nearly that makes the whole description relative. It may improve the answer to explain how that nearly forbids (rather than allows!) the use of wrong-sized shields. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2018 at 0:50

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