Making a small shield

Hi there,

I am looking into making some shields, but would like to start small (buckler category) in order to not waste too much foam with failures and prototypes.

I spotted these awesome shields on Instagram and would love to make these. But the 40cm diameter isn’t directly applicable to a rectangular object. If I keep the same surface as a 40cm diameter buckler, can I go longer on the long edge?


Image from: Login • Instagram

I have seen some shields that count as bucklers in other shapes than round so there is precedent, but I suspect for a definite ruling you’ll need to email rules@

Better to have the strict instruction before putting lots of money and time into your creation. I like the design though!

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My strictly unofficial opinion would be that a buckler has to fit aside a 15 inch circle.

So if you were basing it on area your buckler would have a total area of 1200 square Centimetres. So a square one would be 34 cm on each side. Or a more rectangular one of about 60x20. So the ones pictured are still too big.

No one can give you a real answer if they would allow you to redistribute the area other than the rules email address for pd.

Let us know what they say though. It would be interesting to find out.

I have used a tiny shield-shaped buckler. It is even smaller than the max size on its largest measurement, but even that is better than having no shield at all.

So the official answer from PD:

“Non-round are fine. In those cases, the longest dimension is what would be measured (So, in the case of a square/rectangle, it would be the diagonal).”

Not making a round shield in this case is less effective in battle as the protective area will be smaller. But maybe a smaller shield might be interesting to carry around as a last resort, and won’t get in the way. For archers, or healers maybe?


It entirely depends on your build. You don’t have to do everything yourself too. Having friends is pretty op when they can block arrows for you with their full sized shield.

Other than that you can just wear heavy. Archers tend to ignore you and look for softer targets.

If you are only using a single 1 handed weapon and don’t have the shield skill then a buckler is a lot better than nothing


Yup buckers and a melee weapon costs no points in skills so you can still be a useful skirmisher type on the field.

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I will be wearing heavy with a large shield. Just fancied giving crafting a go and giving the good ones away to friends or maybe selling some for IC money. And when I am 100% confident I won’t mess it all up and have to bin the project, I will attempt a larger shield.

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When I used to play Empire battles, instead of reffing, I had a 12" buckler and never found a functional difference between that and a 15" one. A small shield like that has to be used actively anyway, you need to go intercept incoming blows with it, instead of just trusting they’ll hit the door you’ve strapped onto your arm. As a result, making it a little smaller doesn’t make that much of a difference to how much defense you get.


I’ve seen people (including @tea) make extremely effective use of bucklers 12" or even smaller.

I’m remembering a short sparring match years ago (maybe 2007) when I had a 42" sword and 20" round shield, and my opponent with a tiny buckler (eight or nine inches?) managed to hit me thrice on the left ear within a few minutes with his crowbar physrep of maybe 20-24".

That’s the person I paid to make me a buckler when Empire started: I wanted a trapezoidal one with a wave-shaped cross-section: see Tips on League combat - #15 by Canashir
It’s less than the maximum allowable size. The size is a compromise: I wanted it small enough to that I can carry sword and buckler on my hip as a matter of course without it being too cumbersome or inconvenient. So its dimensions are
9+3/8 inches wide at the top (238mm)
7+3/4 inches wide at the bottom (196mm)
11+11/16 inches tall (297mm)
Roughly 14+3/16 inches across one diagonal (362mm)
Roughly 14+1/8 inches across the other diagonal (360mm)

It’s painted with latex and then a protective coat of clear isoflex primer.
The grip is wrapped in leather.
Apart from that, it’s made entirely from layers of canvas and foam held together with glue and possibly a bit of sewing.
The foam is closed-cell polyethene, probably Plastazote.
The glue is Evo-stik epoxy (the solvent-based kind, I believe).
I vaguely remember the canvas looking like denim in a work-in-progress picture I saw.


Absolutely: my impression is that historically people almost always used two hands for fighting. If not a two-handed weapon, then usually a one-handed main weapon with a main-gauche dagger or a shield/targe/buckler.

As tea says, actively intercept incoming blows, or proactively knock or push away your opponent’s weapon to give yourself an opening to strike with minimal risk of being hit.

You can also use a buckler to protect the hand/wrist of your weapon hand when you extend it to attempt a strike; personally that’s where skilled people who really know what they’re doing tend to hit me if I don’t get that right.

I seem to remember seeing that quite a lot of two-handed sword technique works with minimal adaptation for sword-and-buckler, keeping the hands close together. I’ve not learned details though.

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Thank you for the in depth response. I crafted a small sword ~46cm total length for my son to play with at home. I think the next project will be a shield to go with it. And hopefully after that, I will be able to make something to take to the actual event.