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Basically title. I'm a shield master who frequently uses his shield to slam people down prone. I want to minimize my chances of having my shield taken away from me.

Jeremy Crawford states something interesting from his twitter below:

@dpnorton If you attack with a shield, it's a normal improvised weapon, unless a special feature says otherwise. @SeldenNeil

— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) February 13, 2015

Also, the link below is extremely ambiguous, but Jeremy basically states that EKs can "use" shields and 2-handed weapons in the context of weapon bond (See the "weapon bond" tag below tweet):

http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/06/16/eldritch-knight-weapon/

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By strict RAW, no. Allowing it wouldn't harm your game meaningfully, however.

Shields are in the armour category, and are thus not weapons. You could easily argue that you could use it as an improvised weapon, but that does not make it an actual weapon. Using improvised weapons as justification for doing this does not hold up, as that would allow you to weapon bond to anything you could feasibly swing around. Including a goblin, if you're strong enough.

The biggest impact allowing this would have on your game, however, is the fact that putting on a shield normally takes an action, while allowing weapon bond allows you to do the same as a bonus action. This is not a massive benefit, and many DMs would allow you to have the shield in hand at the start of combat anyway.

Furthermore, Weapon Bond is what is referred to by the game designers as a "ribbon" ability. Ribbons are abilities that, while flavourful, don't have a tangible effect on game balance.

In short, by a strict reading of RAW, it's not allowed. However, I have not come across a single DM so far that wouldn't allow an Eldritch Knight to weapon bond to his shield, and it will not break your game balance.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for analyzing the underlying issues. It's not really about the rules, but the game, and the game isn't going to break down because you Weapon Bonded a shield. \$\endgroup\$ – Nelson Nov 5 '15 at 1:09
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While I would allow it, the rules put shields in the Armor Category, not the weapons list, and using a shield as a weapon is normally treated as an improvised melee weapon.

My read of the rules would be that you cannot, as it's not listed as a weapon.

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Absolutely.

Since a shield can be used as an improvised weapon, it can be bonded. Since Crawford states that the shield would be considered a normal improvised weapon, it can qualify as such.

Consider a player who has taken the Tavern Brawler feat so they are proficient with improvised weapons. This player may bond to an improvised weapon such as a chair leg (club) or a long iron rod (quarterstaff). These bonds are legal and covered under the text as improvised weapons.

Since a shield can also fulfill that role, there is nothing denying a player the ability to bond to it. The advantage to doing so is that the player can recall his/her shield to their character as they would an improvised weapon. The disadvantage, or cost to doing this, is that they don't have a second "proper" weapon bonded to call, and they've lost their bonus action so they can't utilize one of their other class features (War Magic) at level 7.

This is certainly not unbalanced in any way, if that's your primary concern. I mean, it's an Eldritch Knight. If he really wanted to, well, the shield spell is way more effective than an actual shield.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Would you allow a player to Weapon Bond to a goblin? Because smacking a goblin with another goblin is definitely possible (improvised maul). I'd allow bonding with a shield, but I disagree with your reasoning as to why. \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Nov 5 '15 at 9:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it a dead goblin? If so, that would qualify. The ritual takes time, so if you had a compliant, live goblin who agreed to be bonded, I wouldn't see why not. However as a DM I wouldn't have a goblin agree to be used as a weapon. Remember that the ritual takes a full hour, and if it ever leaves your reach during that hour, the ritual fails. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Nov 5 '15 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tie him up? If he's tied up, he can't really do much to move out of your reach. Alternatively, knock him out. If he's unconscious, you've got at LEAST an hour before he wakes up. And if you're strong enough, you can swing a live goblin at people. Other problematic objects would be a door, or pieces of lumber would be akin to a maul for a large sized creature. I wouldn't allow bonding to improvised weapons, because it opens the door to too many ridiculous things. \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Nov 5 '15 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since characters can bond to sentient weapons, it's not ridiculous at all. This makes your objection personal opinion rather than objecting to something within the rules. While I wouldn't personally permit a player to bond to a living goblin that has it's own will, I also wouldn't stop a player from being creative with the rules and having a ton of fun with this. True Polymorph opens up all kinds of windows for shenanigans with weapon bonds. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Nov 5 '15 at 21:08
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I would allow it at my table, based on your justification. Furthermore, why not? What's the downside of allowing an Eldritch Knight to bond with his shield? I don't see it breaking the game in any way, and if your character is built around using his shield as a weapon, then it would make sense that you could bond with it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question asks for what the rules say, not your personal opinion. You should answer the question first before editorializing. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 4 '15 at 21:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Something you have to consider is that Weapon Bond allows you to summon your weapon to your hand as a bonus action. Putting on a shield is normally an Action (and possibly an Interact with Object Action, depending on DM), so allowing this would allow your fighter to get the AC from his shield no matter where the shield currently is, for the cost of a single bonus action per combat. Not gamebreaking, but something to consider. \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Nov 4 '15 at 23:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh good point, that's something I didn't consider. Definitely not game breaking, but I could see someone making a big deal about that. I still think I would allow it, but I might put it up to a table vote since it seems it would be more of a house rule now. \$\endgroup\$ – DM John Nov 4 '15 at 23:37

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