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For wizards it's fairly standard practice to get a mithral buckler and enchant it with something (Death Ward, Energy Immunity, etc).

My question is: is it possible to have a mithral buckler on both arms? Do you get the AC bonus from both bucklers? Would you get the enchantment effect from both bucklers? Would they interfere with your spellcasting ability?

My question stems from the fact that bucklers don't seem to occupy a body slot, they're placed in the same category as other weapons/shields except that they allow you to also wield a weapon but take a -1 on attack rolls.

Wizards don't typically attack, but obviously most spells have somatic components so it intuitively makes sense that the extra weight would interfere with casting ability, but if they're made of mithral, then there is no arcane failure chance.

Is there anything in the rulebook that says that I can't equip two enchanted mithral bucklers, stack their AC bonus, stack their magical enhancements, and still cast spells and wield rods with effectively no penalty?

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Bucklers provide shield bonuses to AC. If you have two, you have two shield bonuses to AC, and as typed bonuses they do not stack—you use the higher one.

Any penalties, though, do stack. That means the attack penalties, the armor check penalties, and so on. The arcane spell failure would stack as well, though if both are mithral, 0% + 0% = 0%, so you would still have none.

For the purposes of other bonuses from special properties, though, I see no reason you couldn’t use two. But I would definitely ask the DM to make sure he or she is OK with it because it is kind of unusual.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer could be further improved by including citations. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Sep 9 '16 at 22:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright, that's what I assumed, but I was hoping for citations to help back up my argument if my DM says "no, that's ridiculous". \$\endgroup\$ – ghosthardware Sep 10 '16 at 21:14
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Per the buckler description (Player's Handbook 124), a buckler is strapped to the forearm. As such, it's pretty easy to equip two on a character with two arms. (Fun note: with the spell girallon's blessing (Spell Compendium 106) and the spell permanency according to Savage Species (60), some normally human-shaped creatures can tote four to six bucklers depending on their size and caster level.) Unfortunately, per below, there's no way to stack the shield bonuses from different bucklers to a creature's Armor Class. Also, per the description, although the buckler explicitly leaves the hand free, the hand possesses slightly limited motion: a creature bearing a buckler makes attacks with the buckler arm's hand at a −1 on attack rolls.

Per the section Combining Magical Effects (PH 172), bonuses of the same type don't stack unless explicitly stated. As such, a creature would only benefit from one shield bonus, like from a lone buckler. On the plus side, the most beneficial AC bonus of all the creature's bucklers is used. (For example, a creature bearing a +1 buckler and a +3 buckler automatically receives the benefit of the +3 buckler.)

A magic shield must have at least a +1 magical enhancement bonus before it can have other magic shield special abilities, such as death ward. Per the previous paragraph, only the highest enhancement bonus will apply, but there's no reason why a creature wouldn't benefit from different special abilities on different bucklers. In particular, there are magic shield special abilities that work on either armor or shields, so it's definitely true that you can simultaneously use abilities from different defensive equipment on different defensive equipment. However, it's also true that any bonuses from the same source don't stack, meaning two identical magic shields are effectively the same sources, and that's, effectively, the same as wielding only one of them.

As a side note, if just going for the Armor Class, you want the bonuses as evenly spread as possible. (Cost increases by the square of the effective enhancement bonus bonus.) If just pursuing Armor Class, trying coupling the magic buckler with a +1 or more defending dagger in one hand and a bunch of +1 bucklers.

And on a final, hopeful note, the book says (emphasis mine) "You can't bash someone with a buckler," which means you can bash someone with two bucklers.1


1 I know you can't actually bash someone with two bucklers, either. Sigh.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Sep 13 '16 at 4:16
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Bonuses of the same type don't stack, except in the case of Circumstance bonuses and Dodge bonuses, which always stack.

In most cases the highest bonus of that type and the worst penalty are applied.

Here's a useful quote about it from the Stacking section of the Hypertext d20 srd:

In most cases, modifiers to a given check or roll stack (combine for a cumulative effect) if they come from different sources and have different types (or no type at all), but do not stack if they have the same type or come from the same source (such as the same spell cast twice in succession). If the modifiers to a particular roll do not stack, only the best bonus and worst penalty applies. Dodge bonuses and circumstance bonuses however, do stack with one another unless otherwise specified.

So, Yes. You can use two bucklers, but as shield bonuses specifically don't stack with one another, using a second one wouldn't confer a shield bonus, not to mention attacking with a weapon in that hand would confer a -1 penalty and remove the shield bonus for that round. Rules for the buckler state:

This small metal shield is worn strapped to your forearm. You can use a bow or crossbow without penalty while carrying it. You can also use your shield arm to wield a weapon (whether you are using an off-hand weapon or using your off hand to help wield a two-handed weapon), but you take a -1 penalty on attack rolls while doing so. This penalty stacks with those that may apply for fighting with your off hand and for fighting with two weapons. In any case, if you use a weapon in your off hand, you don’t get the buckler’s AC bonus for the rest of the round.

You can’t bash someone with a buckler.

However, it doesn't state that you can't use more than one, but based on the RAI, and the bit about not getting the shield bonus if you attack with an off hand weapon while wielding a buckler in that hand you can assume that wielding two bucklers isn't supposed to be able to be done. This specific ability on the Hypertext d20 srd supports this conjecture:

Animated

Upon command, an animated shield floats within 2 feet of the wielder, protecting her as if she were using it herself but freeing up both her hands. Only one shield can protect a character at a time. A character with an animated shield still takes any penalties associated with shield use, such as armor check penalty, arcane spell failure chance, and nonproficiency.

That kind of thing however is ultimately up to your GM and how he chooses to let this situation play out.

As for if you can double up on useful shield enchantments, as long as those specific enchantments stack with one another you can use them. For example, Medium fortification on one shield and light fortification on the other would be rather pointless as only the greatest bonus applies. But having something like Heavy fortification on one and SR(19) on the other would be fine.

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