Trollsmyth: Shields Shall be Splintered!
I’m considering allowing the shield to act as ablative armour. One thing historical shields frequently did was shatter. A strong blow with an axe or a sword could cleave a shield, splintering the boards. Viking duels often had a three-shield rule, allowing each combatant to enter the contest with a shield on his arm and two spares in reserve. (I believe this was seen in “The 13th Warrior”, but it’s been a while since I’ve watched it, so my memory could be faulty.)
With my houserule, you get the usual -1 to your AC with a shield. However, any time you take damage, you can opt instead to say your shield absorbed the force of the blow. The shield is shattered and must be discarded, but you don’t take any damage from that hit. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s valuable
I like this so much, I’m considering swiping it for my Savage Worlds Haunted Realm campaign. Only instead of automatically negating one hit worth of damage, I’ll let you spend your shield on a soak roll as if it were a Bennie. (Obviously that would only apply to attacks where you got to use your shield in the first place.)
I think that would add color, a tiny bit of historical verisimilitude, and not draw out combats too much…after all if you’ve just sacrificed your shield, in future rounds you’ll lack the shield bonus. I worry a little that it will devalue getting an awesome damage roll, but since it just uses the existing Soak mechanism it’s just one more chance to avoid going down…and if the roll is that good chances are it’ll reduce the number of Wounds but not be able to eliminate them entirely.