I already posted about the offensive and defensive tradeoffs of using a shield. But how is it as a weapon? Not bad, actually. Here is a quick look.
Shields are Weapons
Perhaps the most important takeaway point of this post is this - a shield is a weapon. It's a defensive weapon, but it's a weapon. You can Block with it, smash people with it, charge behind it, or slash with the edge (if it has blades or a rim blade, as in Low-Tech Companion 2, p. 20 or Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables, p. 35). But it's a weapon.
This means Shield is a valid specialty or part of a valid specialty for Weapon Master. Yes, cumulative Blocking (Martial Arts p. 123) at 1/2 the penalties, +1 or +2 per die of damage, and halved Rapid Strike penalties.
You have two basic options for attacking with a shield - Shield Bash, and Shield Rush.
Shield Bash - just bash him with your shield. Damage isn't very high, though, even if you add spikes (or a conical boss or disarming spikes, from LTC2, p. 20). A long, sharp spike (also from the same page) will make the damage impaling, but they can break off pretty easily when you block, so they aren't good long-term additions. But if it doesn't do that much damage, why bash?
The real reason to bash is, you're giving yourself a valid outlet for a Dual-Weapon Attack while also retaining the benefits of having a shield. Plus you've got another factor going for you:
Weight - Shields are heavy, often really heavy (25 pounds for a Basic Set Large Shield, and 15 for a Medium Shield!) This makes them hard to parry without worrying about breakage. Few one-handed weapons can try a parry without checking for breakage, and the smaller ones are so light they'll break if they try and fail the parry as well. The lighter shields in Low-Tech, though, work against you a bit here. The heavier the better for bashing versus parries.
Shield Rush - a Slam behind a shield. This has a few things going for it.
- you roll against Shield to hit, and Shield will almost certainly be better than your DX (or you might want to reconsider being a shield-wielder, if it's not)
- you get extra damage on the slam equal to the DB of the shield. Spikes add here, too. The bigger and better your shield is for your protection, the better it is at helping you slam. For a Large Shield with a spike, we're talking +4 to slam damage. This can turn even a moderate-speed slam into some real damage, which increases your odds of knocking your opponent down.
- your shield takes the damage when you slam. So you won't get battered as much even if you get in a heavy slam; it's hard to really damage a shield badly.
If you're using the shield options I mentioned above (rim blade or blades) you can even get some swing/cutting damage going, which means much more damage on a weapon much too heavy for breakage-free parries by most opponents. It also makes them more lethal, but even just with Basic Set, shields are a serious offensive weapon as well as a defensive one.