I am running a dark, reasonably realistic zombie apocalypse game using Savage Worlds, and one of the characters has scavenged the door of a Heavy Armoured Humvee. He intends to convert parts of it into some sort of shield, which in principle I have absolutely no problem with. However, I have no idea how to stat it.

My main concerns are maintaining a sense of realism whilst keeping it balanced mechanically and still useful. Although gun battles are infrequent in the setting, they are increasingly going to feature, and I am particular unsure how the shield should operate when the character is facing multiple foes shooting him from different directions as Savage Worlds does not model character facing.

The stats I am particularly interested in are:

  • Weight
  • Armour Value vs ballistics and how/when this should apply
  • Parry bonus
  • Any inherent disadvantages to wielding it, for example an inability to use two handed weapons.
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    \$\begingroup\$ What I love about RPGs is that scavaging humvees to make shields to protect against zombies actually does fall under "reasonably realistic" :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jun 16, 2013 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


Most of this is actually covered by the rules if you dig around.

Savage Worlds does model facing. It just doesn't make a big deal about it most of the time. The shield rules reference the in-fiction facing this way (SWD, p. 50):

If a character with a shield is hit by a ranged attack from the protected side, roll damage normally, but add the Armor bonus of the shield to the character’s Toughness (it acts as an obstacle).

The rules have a range of shields from bucklers to large shields (p. 53), with their parry bonus determined by their size. (Note that these are all wearable shields. There are no stats for the unwearable kind of tower-shield, which can't be used in melee anyway and so would give no Parry bonus, so are best represented by the obstacle rules on page 75.) The parry bonus of this crafted shield will depend on its size: either +2 for the largest size (largest that can be worn, that is) or +1 for the two smaller sizes.

Armour value versus missile weapons is also included in the stats for shields on the same page: +2 Armour against shots that hit for medium and up. (Bucklers grant no bonus, as they are not large enough to count as obstacles.) This is, again, only for shots that come from the protected angle.

There are no rules for shields extra special armour, but they can be inferred from other rules (which is the Savage Worlds way of doing things). If this is just a door of heavy plating, then once it's pared down to a carriable weight and size it might not be any more special than a normal shield and not need any extra stats to reflect the original vehicle's heavy armour. However, if this door had extra bullet-stopping technology beyond "put lots of metal in the way" that is light enough to use as part of the shield, then I'd look to the various anti-ballistic armours for how Savage Worlds models that. The Kevlar vests, in particular, simply have an extra effect: they remove a certain number of AP from the incoming projectile, which makes the armour's AV more effective. The regular Kevlar Vest, for example, negates 4 AP of incoming projectiles.

Weight is going to be up to you though. What seems sensible? That's what Savage Worlds wants you to stat this thing with: what seems sensible. Personally I'd just use the weights of the shield sizes in the book. Since those reflect wood with metal banding, that's probably about the same as modern composite armours.

So there you have it. These are stats I would use for this makeshift shield, depending on size:

Shield             Armour  Weight Cost Notes
HUMV Buckler        —        8     —    +1 Parry, negates 4 AP*
HUMV Medium Shield  —       12     —    +1 Parry, +2 Armour to ranged shots that hit, negates 4 AP*
HUMV Large Shield   —       20     —    +2 Parry, +2 Armour to ranged shots that hit, negates 4 AP*

* See Kevlar Vest description, SWD p. 50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a source on "tower-shields are not considered shields mechanically, but as moveable cover"? I didn't recall having seen that before, so I did a text search on my copy of SW Deluxe and the word "tower" does not appear in it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 9:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveSherohman SW is a generic system that gives you rules for modelling real or imagined things, and a real "tower shield" is not a piece of armour—so the rules don't model it as a piece of armour. More specifically, if it's the type of tower shield that you cannot wear but must be hauled and erected befor use, then it's not a shield mechanically (probably a +3 or +4 AV obstacle depending on material/size, p. 75); if it's the type of "tower shield" that you can wear (e.g. the smaller kind of pavise), then it's a Large Shield mechanically. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just want to say that this answer is a great example of the strengths of the Savage Worlds system. It probably took SevenSidedDie at least twice as long to type all this up than to come up with the answer in the first place. People who look at the SW core rulebook and say "why is it so short?" or "I don't see a rule for X, does that mean you can't do it?" need to read this kind of thing to get a sense for how easy it is to fill out a new setting by defining new rules that build on the base laid out by the core book. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: What I'm getting from your reply is that you have interpreted the rules in such a way that "movable cover" is the appropriate way to model tower shields. I have no problem with that, but "I model it this way using the rules" is not the same as "the rules model it this way". The SW Deluxe core rules do not appear to explicitly model tower shields in any way, given that the words "tower shield" do not appear in that book. What I'm trying to get at is "does this appear in any (official) source, or is it your own interpretation?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 7:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dave I appreciate that reasoning, and I will tweak the wording to not imply an explicit mention of tower shields. In an effects-based generic system though, it's the right way to model them. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 14:30

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