In the Options books of 2e (2.5 I guess you call it), it is possible or mages to wear armor if you buy the skill. Thusly, it is quite possible to have an armored mage.
It gets interesting (how I love these situations) when an armored mage, or even a mage with Bracers of Defense, invokes a Shield spell on top of that. How does this work? I've really monkeyed around with this and am open to your collective opinions. I see two different scenarios:
1) Use the better of the two ACs and potentially ignore the effects of the Shield (if it's worse) for AC entirely (thusly, defeats the purpose of casting it for the most part except for negating Magic Missiles and that measly +1 saving bonus). Usually the Shield spell has the better AC, but not always. Then what's the point? I'd counter. I'd think you'd WANT double defense if you could do it.
2) The effects stack. The attacker must first penetrate the Shield spell with a hit roll, the rolls a second hit roll to penetrate the AC effects of the armor or magical bracers. I've done this before, and if the first roll is a Crit Hit I negate the Shielding spell from the force of the blow (it "pops").
I am going to offer a third option, which I use in my campaign (though it rarely comes into play).
The shield spell requires no concentration to maintain - the force shield simply hovers in front of the spellcaster of its own accord (or, perhaps, at the minute thought of the spellcaster). Therefore, the spellcaster is free to act normally once shield has been cast.
So, if the spellcaster is wearing armor and/or wielding a physical shield in one hand, all of that protection stacks. Simply add the AC bonus provided by the spell to the total AC of the spellcaster.
So the shield is a tangible barrier of force that can move to protect the wizard from frontal attacks only. In the same way a regular shield doesn't provide two separate ACs for an attack to bypass, I feel that an AC represents all the various defences someone has at their disposal resulting in one final figure that represents the difficulty to land a blow on them.
Using that line of reasoning I'd argue that on an armoured caster the caster's AC would be as stated in the spell description unless they were wearing armour that granted a better AC, in which case you might allow the shield spell to provide a +1 bonus to AC like a regular shield. I'd say that the shield spell and a regular shield would get in the way of each other so you couldn't cast the shield spell AND bear a shield.
I'd say that the shield spell and a regular shield would get in the way of each other so you couldn't cast the shield spell AND bear a shield.
I am going to disagree with Wolfling only on this particular part of his position.
Some extreme players have been known to have their PC wield two shields in lieu of a weapon and shield. They generally act as meat shields to defend the rest of the party, but when they want to attack, they simply use a shield bash. Yes, it is silly, but in a fantasy game, it might be reasonable. It is easy to imagine such a PC getting the AC bonus from both shields as it would be very difficult for an opponent to get an attack past such a solid wall of defense.
Therefore, if a spellcaster were to wield a shield in one hand while leaving the other hand empty to cast spells - like shield - I see no reason why the protection offered by both shields shouldn't stack.
The Shield spell gives you a fixed Armor Class, as does regular armor, bracers, etc.; they would not be cumulative with each other (even if the mage had a regular physical shield). Shield is also not cumulative with magical protections, only Dexterity, so the best AC would apply. A normal shield would also not be cumulative for the simple reason the Shield spell is exterior to the mage's person.
For example, if the mage had Bracers of AC 3, and no dexterity bonus, they would have an AC 2 against hand-hurled missiles and AC 3 against everything else.
Even if they have something like Bracers AC 4 and a Ring of Protection +4 (i.e. AC 0, surpassing all of the AC the spell gives), the Shield spell would still have benefit in the negating of magic missiles and similar spells.
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