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The description of the Shield of the Hidden Lord magic item from the adventure Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus (p. 225) reads:

While holding this shield, you gain a +2 bonus to AC and resistance to fire damage.

Normal shields already grant a +2 to AC. Does the Shield of the Hidden Lord function as a shield, +2 or simply as a normal shield?

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It appears intended to be a +2 shield

Although the wording is poor, equipping the shield in D&D Beyond's Character Builder will give you a +4 AC (same as a +2 shield). A D&D Beyond forum moderator confirmed that this was intentional:

This is intended - The Shield of the Hidden Lord is a +2 Shield. When equipped and attuned to, you get a +4 to AC.

This also fits with likely player expectations, its Legendary rarity, and its history in previous editions of providing a magical bonus to AC.

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    \$\begingroup\$ From what I've seen, they've appeared pretty official. But I've updated my response to simply say "WotC moderator" (and at least their reply indicates they've worked on the Character Builder, and thus can speak to the intent of that feature's design). \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Vincent May 3 at 23:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ D&D Beyond is owned by an entirely separate company from Wizards of the Coast. Their staff are not WotC employees. The moderators on the DDB forums and Discord are also not staff/employees of either company, as far as I know. While you're presumably right about the intent, it's not WotC's character builder or a WotC moderator that confirmed the intent. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 4 at 9:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I've just looked at my physical copy. The quote in the question is the same in the book \$\endgroup\$ – Caleth May 4 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I need to downvote. I agree in the logic of what it probably should be, but with every instance of the publication stating the same, and the language being clear for when it adds above and beyond (and that it's missing), I don't think we can say that the dndbeyond moderators know it's 'wrong'. Only an errata can really fix this. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 4 at 15:20
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Magic shields that grant additional AC (beyond the normal +2 granted by a mundane shield) contain the following verbiage in their description:

This bonus is in addition to the shield's normal bonus to AC.

Examples:

The Shield of the Hidden Lord does not state this in its description. Therefore, it only grants the same +2 to AC that all shields grant.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Given the rarity of Legendary, it is possible the intent was the +2 AC and resistance to Fire damage in addition to the usual +2 AC as a shield, but as this answer says, it is missing the critical phrase quoted. So per RAW, this answer is correct. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer May 2 at 22:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's plenty of redundant wording in the rules (some of it which confused people into thinking it meant exactly the opposite of what was intended), so I'm not convinced by the logic of this answer, even if it is true about RAW. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 4 at 9:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure I understand the downvotes here. This is 100% correct RAW (maybe not intended, but without an errata, we don't know that.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 4 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ However, no other magic shield mentions the ordinary shield bonus, and armor +1 only says "You have a +1 bonus to AC while wearing this armor." \$\endgroup\$ – Caleth May 4 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Caleth Actually, that's not true. The Spellguard Shield states "Wielding a shield increases your Armor Class by 2.". And Armor doesn't provide a static increase to AC like shields do, they have a calculated value, so the +1 is on top of their normal calculated value (and magic armor also doesn't carry the same phrase that shields do at all.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 4 at 15:42

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