[RPG] Can you let go of a shield without doffing it


Follow on from my previous question.

One of my players has a (unknown to him) evil hand. I want to work out what the mechanical implications of that evil hand letting go of his shield would be.

Shields take an action to "doff", i.e. stop receiving the benefit of the shield (2 AC for basic shields, other effects for magical shields).

In the previous question it was discussed that "donning" a shield involves something beyond just picking it up – most likely strapping it securely to your arm.

  • Can you stop holding a shield without "doffing" it?
    • If you can, do you still get the benefits (AC, other)?
    • If you don't, could you regain the benefits without using an action
      (just start holding it again)?
  • And how, if at all, would your hand be restricted in what it could do
    while not holding (but also not doffing) the shield?

What this might actually look like in physical terms: Having donned the shield by strapping it to your arm, you let go of the handle you're holding, leaving the shield still strapped to your arm (but likely now much less useful against attacks). Your hand is now free (although your arm isn't). It might be able to do things like touch a holy symbol on a necklace, or grapple someone. Then it might be able to without an action (free object interaction?) start holding the shield again, giving you the AC benefits back.

Best Answer


As you can see in the photo, letting go of the handle is insufficient to free the hand, nor is it likely to cause the shield to move. Some shields have two straps and a handle making it less likely to move if you release your grip. This makes your arm instead of your hand absorb the impact on the shield.

Also by RAW, there is no mechanic for a half worn shield, it is either on or off, and requires an action to change state.

shield straps two straps