Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /home/mygurpsc/public_html/pmwiki.php on line 512
MyGURPS - BAE Shields

BAE Shields

Return to Savage Borderlands: BAE

In Borderlands, Shields are the most common personal defense. They project a damage-absorbing field around the user that regenerates over time and sometimes comes with cool bonus effects. Seriously, don't leave the bunker without one.

How Shields Work

Shields act as ablative armor, soaking damage before it can hurt the wearer. At its most basic, a shield has two attributes: Capacity and Recharge. Some shields also offer unique helpful benefits. In all cases, the maximum levels referred to apply only to what's available to PCs; foes (especially bosses and mini-bosses) can break these limits, as can GM-designed legendary shields!


A shield's maximum Capacity is how many Wounds it can take for the wearer. When the wearer is hit and would take a Wound after Soaking, reduce the shield's Capacity first. Shield Capacity ranges from 1 to 10, though values above 5 are rare (for PCs). Track Capacity on scratch paper, with tokens (different from Bennies), with a spare die, etc.

A shield with current Capacity 1+ is often referred to as "up" or "active" while one with current Capacity 0 is "down" or "disabled."


This is an abstraction of both recharge delay and recharge rate, represented as a die roll. This is always represented as two dice, like "d8/d4". The primary die is based on how many Recharge Upgrades the shield has; the secondary die is based on the manufacturer. A "recharge roll" is similar to a Trait roll with a Wild Die: roll both dice (which can Ace) and take whichever rolled the highest value.

At the beginning of the round, right after the GM deals out Action Cards, everyone makes a recharge roll, at +2 if they were not hit by any attacks last round. Their shield recovers 1 Capacity on a success, +1 per raise.

A character can switch their shield's ability to recharge on or off as a Simple Action. This can be useful for things like Roid shields. This does not stop the shield from spending Capacity when the wearer is hit; that cannot be turned off.

Recharge Rolls for Mobs: To save time, the GM can make one recharge roll per group of mooks. Apply the rolled value to the first quarter of the mob, then reduce it by a cumulative -1 across the other three quarters. For example, the GM rolls a 6 (for four mooks), so treats that as rolling 6, 5, 4, and 3 for the four quarters of the mob, which means 75% of the mooks regain +1 Capacity while 25% do not.

Swapping Shields

Treat shields like weapons: a Simple Action to stow one and a Simple Action to pull out and clip on a new one. If both actions are done in the same round, the new shield starts with the current Capacity of the old shield, or its own maximum Capacity, whichever is lower. If the wearer started the round with no shield, the new shield starts with Capacity 0.

Allies and Enemies

Shields can be programmed to tell friend from foe. Well, you can tell it who your friends are, and the shield assumes that anyone else is a foe. This allows effects like Nova blasts that hurt enemies but not allies, Power Charges that only your friends can pick up and use, etc.

Adding or deleting someone from your shield's "friends list" takes about a minute and doesn't require a roll. In an emergency, it can be done as a standard Action but this requires a Hacking roll.

Generating a Shield

Use the following steps to create a random shield, usually when it came up as the result in BAE Guns, Glorious Guns!.


First, roll d6 to determine the manufacturer, which will set the base stats of the shield.

1‑2AnshinCapacity 1, Recharge d4/d6, +1 Upgrade, Wt 2.
3‑4HyperionCapacity 1, Recharge d4/d8, Wt 2.
5‑6PangolinCapacity 2, Recharge d4/d4, Wt 2.


A White shield for a Novice character has the stats above. Rarer shields and/or more experienced characters get additional Upgrades:

RarityUpgrades   PC RankUpgrades
Green+1 Seasoned+1
Blue+2 Veteran+2
Purple+3 Heroic+3
Orange+5* Legendary+4
* Orange shields get +4 normal Upgrades plus an extra "11" result Upgrade applied at the very end of the process. This bonus Upgrade can be "used up" if a Capacity Upgrade is rolled right before the bonus Upgrade would be.

As noted in their statistics, Anshin shields get an extra +1 Upgrade beyond what's shown above.

For each Upgrade, roll d20 on the following table. Keep track of improvements as you go. With special abilities, you can just note the ability, level, and (if applicable) element as you go; e.g., "Defensive 2" or "Nova 3 Cryo". It's easier to wait until the very end to write down all of the special ability details.


If shield's current Capacity is 5 and it is not Orange, or if this is the last Upgrade possible for this shield, reroll this result using d12+7.

Capacity Upgrade

The shield gains +1 Capacity. However, this potent benefit counts as two Upgrades, using up the current Upgrade plus the next one that would be rolled.


If shield has any special abilities, improve one* of its special abilities by one level. If not, roll to add a special ability (below).


If shield has 2+ special abilities, improve one* of its special abilities by one level. If not, roll to add a special ability (below).


If shield has 3 special abilities, improve one* of its special abilities by one level. If not, roll to add a special ability (below).


If shield has any special abilities, improve one* of its special abilities by one level. If not, roll to add a special ability (below).


If shield's current primary Recharge die is d12 and it is not Orange, reroll this result using d12+1.

Recharge Upgrade

Improve the die type of the shield's primary Recharge die. For example, an Anshin shield goes from "d4/d6" to "d6/d6". As usual, every step past d12 adds a cumulative +1 to recharge rolls.

* If it has multiple special abilities, roll randomly (among those that aren't already maxed out) to see which to improve. If all of its special abilities are maxed out, roll d4: (1-2) Capacity Upgrade (if this is not the last Upgrade roll), (3-4) Recharge Upgrade.

Shield Special Abilities

Many shields have some sort of special ability; a few even have multiple. Each special ability has 3 levels. These are not cumulative; only apply the benefits from the listed level; e.g., a shield with Defensive 2 has Projected, not Turtle and Projected.

To determine a special ability randomly, roll d10:

1Absorb 6Nova
2Amp 7Roid
3Anti-Element 8Speed
4Defensive 9Spike
5Drop 10reroll


If the shield is up when the wearer is directly hit by one or more bullets or rockets (but not when caught in the splash of an area effect or attacked by an energy ray, vomit, etc.), roll a single d10. If the result is within the range listed below, the attack does no damage and the ammo is added to the wearer's supply.

The ammo added is equal to the number of successful hits, regardless of how much ammo the attacker expended. For example, a 3RB attack would add +1 ammo, despite the fact that it cost the attacker 3.

  • Level 1: Absorb (10)
  • Level 2: Absorb (9-10)
  • Level 3: Absorb (8-10)


If the shield is at full Capacity at the beginning of the wearer's turn, their first firearm attack that turn does extra damage. (Thematically, the shield loses a fraction of its Capacity, but not a full Wound's worth.)

Amp only enhances bullets, not rockets or melee attacks (which is what Roid is for). If used with a rapid-fire attack, only the first shot that hits gets the extra damage.

  • Level 1: If full, first shot does +2 damage
  • Level 2: If full, first shot does +3 damage
  • Level 3: If full, first shot does +4 damage


These shields grant resistance to an element. See BAE Elemental Damage for details; in brief, attacks of that element do -4 damage and don't inflict status effects. The resistance applies whether the shield is up or down.

Resistant shields protect the wearer from one specific element, determined when the shield is made. Resistance to explosive damage protects from explicitly "explosive elemental" weapons as well as rockets and grenades that don't have any other element.

Adaptive shields instead switch to protect the wearer from whatever element they were last hit by (except for Explosive). This means that the first attack gets no such benefit, but subsequent attacks do. (For example, if someone whose shield is currently Adaptive against incendiary gets hit by radiation, the radiation attack does full damage. If they're hit by radiation again, that second attack does -4 damage.) Level 2 Adaptive shields reset to a blank slate between fights, only adapting again once hit by an element.

  • Level 1: Resistant. Roll d20* for the element: (1-3) Corrosive, (4-6) Cryo, (7-10) Explosive, (11-13) Incendiary, (14-16) Radiation, (17-19) Shock, (20) Slag.
  • Level 2: Adaptive, for the next 5 rounds.
  • Level 3: Adaptive, indefinitely (even between fights).
* Exception: If a different special ability already involves an element, use that element instead.


The shield is especially adept at protecting the wearer, though the specifics depend completely on the level of this Upgrade. The Projected and Health effects are not dependent on whether the shield is up or down.

  • Level 1: Turtle. After generating the shield, add +1 Capacity — but while the shield is down the wearer has -1 Toughness. (Don't apply this penalty until after the attack which downed the shield.) If a Turtle shield is unequipped, the Toughness penalty lingers for 5 rounds.
  • Level 2: Projected. While the wearer is crouching or prone, the shield projects an extra force-field that gives +2 Toughness.
  • Level 3: Health. The wearer gets +2 Toughness.


First, roll d10 to determine what type of power-up the shield drops. This is determined now, not rolled randomly each time.

  • (1-4) Shield Booster. Immediately grants a recharge roll at +2.
  • (5-7) Fortify Charge. +2 Armor until the beginning of the recipient's next turn.
  • (8-10) Power Charge. +2 to all Damage the recipient does (by any means) on this turn.

Every time the shield loses Capacity because the wearer is hit, roll a single d10. If the result is within the range listed below, the shield drops the above power up (as a small energy construct) d4" away in a random direction. The shield will drop no more than one power-up per round. The wearer or any friend (not foe) can pick up the power-up as a Simple Action, at which point it grants its benefit.

Neither multiple Fortify Charges nor multiple Power Charges are cumulative.

  • Level 1: Drop (9-10)
  • Level 2: Drop (8-10)
  • Level 3: Drop (7-10)


When the shield goes down (for any reason), it releases an elemental area-effect attack centered on the wearer. The wearer and their friends are safe; everyone else is targeted. The nova can be evaded, but at -2. Once expended, the shield must recharge to full Capacity before the Nova ability resets.

Roll d20* for the element: (1-3) Corrosive, (4-6) Cryo, (7-10) Explosive, (11-13) Incendiary, (14-16) Radiation, (17-19) Shock, (20) Slag.

  • Level 1: 3d4 in an MBT.
  • Level 2: 2d12 in an MBT.
  • Level 3: 3d10 in an MBT.
* Exception: If a different special ability already involves an element, use that element instead.


While the shield is down, the wearer's melee attacks do extra damage. Simple, yeah? Some users turn off their shield's Recharge completely (see rules above) once it goes down, though that's obviously a risky move.

  • Level 1: +2 melee damage.
  • Level 2: +3 melee damage.
  • Level 3: +4 melee damage.


The wearer is faster in some way, though the specifics depend heavily on which level of Speed Upgrade the shield ends up having.

For level 2, roll a d4: (1-2) Fleet (faster when down), (3-4) Vagabond (faster when full).

  • Level 1: Adrenaline. While the shield is down, all guns reload faster. Reload 2 becomes Reload 1, Reload 1 becomes normal (Simple Action), and normal guns reload as a Free Action. COV weapons instead get +1 to Overheating rolls.
  • Level 2: Fleet or Vagabond. While the shield is [down/full], wearer gets +2 to Pace and improves their Run die by one type.
  • Level 3: Trigger-Happy. While the shield is down, all guns gain +1 to RoF. This can exceed the usual maximum.


While the shield is up, if the wearer is hit by a melee attack, the attacker automatically takes damage.

Roll d20* for the element: (1-3) Corrosive, (4-6) Cryo, (7-10) Explosive [doesn't become area-effect, but does +2 damage], (11-13) Incendiary, (14-16) Radiation, (17-19) Shock, (20) Slag.

  • Level 1: 2d6 damage.
  • Level 2: 2d8+1 damage.
  • Level 3: 2d12 damage.
* Exception: If a different special ability already involves an element, use that element instead.

Final Step

If Resistant, Nova, or Spike have the Slag element, give the shield the Red Text: This stuff's still around?

Return to Savage Borderlands: BAE