Shields in ADOM are a piece of equipment worn in either of the two hands. The term "Shields" also refers to the shield weapon skill, access to which is the major benefit of wearing one.
The amount of DV gained from wearing a shield is
- the shield's base DV bonus, plus
- the level of the shield skill times two, or twice the shield's DV, whichever is lower.
In other words, the player cannot gain more DV from the shield skill than twice the shield's DV factor. If the player is using a small shield, the maximum DV that can be gotten from it is 6 (2 DV from the shield itself, 4 DV from the skill), even if the character's skill level is higher than 2. Shields with zero or negative DV are not affected by the skill in any way.
Training shields is also dependent on their DV factor; shield marks can only be obtained if
- the PC is not in berserk mode (this prevents shield training of any kind)
- the PC's shield skill level is lower than the shield's DV factor.
This means that the above small shield would only enable the player to reach level 2 of the shield skill. To get higher, the player needs better ones.
It becomes apparent that the overall greater importance of PV fades in comparison to that of the shield's DV factor, as even a 1 DV difference, combined with the ability to train the skill to a higher level, effectively means a 3 DV difference.
Using a second shield ("dual-shielding") will not enable the player to gain the benefit of the shield skill twice; only the DV and PV values of the second (lower DV) shield are added. It is still a worthwhile defensive strategy if the player has a sufficiently powerful second shield and doesn't want to use melee attacks anyway. Note as of version 1.2.0, dual-wielding prevents the PC from casting spells and also sharply lowers their accuracy with missile weapons — in an attempt to balance their attractiveness to PCs relying solely on ranged tactics.
Shields are the only item group in the game that cannot be used to attack enemies in melee; any other item wielded in the hand slots can be used for this. A PC wearing two shields cannot perform melee attacks except kicks. This is an effective method to avoid accidentally attacking monsters in melee, for instance under darkness or in the Animated Forest.
Shields can be thrown, however. Not only do they train the shield skill in this manner, but said skill will actually increase the damage and to-hit of thrown shields just like any ranged weapon skill. The energy cost for using them also decreases in the listed manner. The only factor that will not improve is the shield's throwing range. Talents that apply to ranged attacks, such as Good Shot or Quick Shot, will also apply. This makes shields quite effective thrown weapons.