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I really enjoy working out rather unusual character builds, or taking a subpar character concept and try to make it work using min/maxing, point buy and having every level from one to twenty planned out before even starting the adventure (ability increases, feats, equipment, etc). My latest project is a wizard that is as tanky as possible (tanky meaning having high AC in this case).

To achieve this, my wizard would be a mountain dwarf (starting with light and medium armor proficiency), and have 14 Strength. Depending on how the campaign goes, around the time I'm getting close to having enough gold to buy a suit of plate armor I would forego an ability score increase in favour of the "Heavily Armored" feat (also giving me +1 Strength, raising that ability to the score needed to wear plate armor without getting a movement penalty.

Now, I would have an AC of 18, which is quite high for a wizard. But, as stated, my goal is for my character's AC to be as high as possible. Adding a shield to my character's equipment would seem like a cheap way to get an extra +2 AC for an impressive total of 20. But this is where I finally get close to my question.

Shields have a separate proficiency in 5E and wearing armor you are not proficient with not only imposes disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, ar attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, but also makes it impossible to cast spells. Not being able to cast spells would make my wizard kind of pointless so in order to make this work I would somehow have to get proficiency with shields.

At this point there are two ways to get shield proficiency in 5E: multiclassing one level in a class that has shield proficiency or taking the "Moderately Armored" feat. Multiclassing isn't really an option for me since it would leave me unable to get the high level Wizard features. So I would have to take the feat just to get shield proficiency. Since I'm already proficient with medium armor this seems like a complete waste of a feat to me. If that is as it is intended to work I wouldn't take the feat.

So my question is: Is the Moderately Armored feat really the only way to get shield proficiency without multiclassing?

Because it sort of seems like an oversight. Now, the developers can't reasonably be expected to take in to account people like me creating stupidly specific situations like this: a heavily armored dwarf wizard who uses a shield (my character would still be able to perform the somatic components for spells even wielding a shield since he would not wield a weapon). For the vast majority of character builds this would never be an issue, but I really think shield proficiency should also be included in the "Heavily Armored" feat.

In my other wacky character concepts I have found that sticking to the rulebooks generally works out just fine. My DM also sticks to RAW and doesn't use any homebrew rules. Normally I'm all for sticking to RAW but this just seems kind of silly. According to the rulebook, my wizard could hold a chair in his left hand and would still be able to cast spells, but when he's holding a shield this is suddenly no longer possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jan 12 at 22:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Can a wizard ever use a shield? (And possibly duplicate) \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Jan 13 at 8:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Consider this: Just holding a chair is not a difficult task. Just holding a shield is also not difficult. But using a shield properly so you know how to protect yourself using it, how you have angle it to deflect blows, or how to prepare your body to weather a blow. This is the stuff you have to train for when using a shield, till it becomes second nature. I imagine a wizard not trained to use a shield would be very distracted by having to consciously think about how to carry the shield properly so you profit from its protection. Too distracted for spellcasting. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Crovaxon Jan 13 at 12:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good point. Okay, so needing the proficiency to be able to cast spells while benefitting from having a shield makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – Wollie Jan 13 at 13:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just incidentally, as a dwarf you don't actually need 15 strength to wear plate armour. The Speed trait for dwarves states that "Your speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor." It's rarely relevant, and its ironic that the subrace it's most useful on gives +2 strength but there you go. \$\endgroup\$ – Fledges Jan 15 at 14:28
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You have to take the Moderately Armored feat to get Shield proficiency

It doesn’t matter that you have Medium Armor proficiency from your race; proficiency with Shields is a different proficiency and the Moderately Armored feat is the only way to get it without multiclassing.

This is not an oversight. The designers wrote it that way in plain English so that was what they intended to write.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you also shapechange into a creature with proficiency in shields? Another way to temporarily gain proficiency would be Tenser's transformation \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jan 12 at 23:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ "This is not an oversight. The designers wrote it that way in plain English so that was what they intended to write." - That's no guarantee. There have been a number of errata where what they wrote wasn't exactly what they meant. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Jan 13 at 5:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM: To be fair, not changing something in errata is not necessarily a strong argument that it was always written as intended. I agree with your answer's primary claim that this is how the rules work, but I don't think the current phrasing is strong evidence of designer intent either way. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 13 at 10:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast it may be my professional background in dispute resolution but I find it much easier to default to the assumption that what people wrote down is what they meant at the time. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jan 13 at 11:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Crovaxon Players don't have regular or reliable access to "talk [it] over with the writers/developers". \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jan 13 at 14:39

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