Shields are an important component of the defensive arsenal of many characters in Baldur’s Gate 3. By default, wearing a shield will raise your character’s armor class by 2, making them roughly 10% harder to hit. Fighters, paladins, rangers, druids, clerics, and barbarians start with proficiency using a shield, as do all human and half-elf characters, including Wyll and Gale. If you take the “Moderately Armored” feat you will also gain shield proficiency.
The drawbacks of shield use are few, with the primary disadvantage of a shield being that it will always use up the off-hand weapon slot, preventing the use of two-handed weapons or dual-wielding. You’ll need to trade off a bit of offensive capability to use a shield. With that in mind, I compiled a list of the best shields you can get in Baldur’s Gate 3, all of them with some special properties beyond just raising your AC.
#9 Adamantine Shield
When you wear the adamantine shield, any melee attacks that you’re able to deflect will send the attacker “Reeling”, a condition that will impose a penalty to any further attacks they attempt to make for several turns. You can use “Shield Bash” with the adamantine shield, allowing you to react to any successful melee attack against you by trying to knock the attacker prone unless they succeed on a dexterity saving throw. Lastly, like other adamantine armor, you can’t be hit by a critical hit while using this shield, preventing any unexpected upsets.
You acquire the adamantine shield in “The Grymforge” during Act 1. Adamantine gear is rare, and you can only possibly acquire two pieces in the entire game due to the limited amount of mithral ore. That’s why despite it being a powerful shield, I rank this one among the worst picks for magic shields in Baldur’s Gate 3.
#8 Glowing Shield
This shield’s biggest perk is the “Loving Protection” special trait, which will give you 8 temporary hit points if you are knocked below 50% of your hit point total and then take additional damage. Early on in the game, eight whole hit points can be the line between life and death. This ability functions once per short rest, so you can probably get some use out of it for every single fight in the early game.
You can acquire this shield early in Act 1. Scout out around the goblin camp to find this shield inside a chest on a ridge directly behind the camp. It’s one of the first magic shields you can get in the game, making it an excellent choice until your most vulnerable shieldbearer can upgrade to something heartier.
#7 Ketheric’s Shield
Ketheric’s Shield is unusual because it is geared to be used by spellcasters instead of the typically martial-focused characters that usually wear shields. It allows you to shield bash just like the adamantine shield and many other of the better shields on this list. Additionally, it adds +1 to your spell save DC, allowing spells like “Fireball” to be harder to resist, and another +1 to your spell hit rolls so even simple cantrips like “Firebolt” are more likely to connect. You also gain advantage on dexterity saving throws to help you avoid more spells.
Toward the end of Act 2, you’ll have a showdown with the undead general Ketheric Thorm. This shield, along with his powerful heavy armor, can be looted from Thorm’s body after he is killed. Pass it along to your best shield-proficient spellcaster for maximum effect.
#6 Shield of Shielding
Just like many of the other best shields on this list, the aptly-named shield of shielding will allow you to bash an enemy that strikes you with an attack. It’s main perk compared to the rest of the list is that it allows you to cast the incredibly powerful “Shield” reaction spell once per long rest. The “Shield” spell temporarily raises your AC by 5 right before you take damage from an attack, and allows you to deflect the usually unavoidable damage of a “Magic Missile”.
You get this shield from the lower city of Baldur’s Gate, specifically from the basement of the Stormshore Tabernacle. Look for a chest labeled “Offerings to Helm” to get this lifesaving piece of defensive gear.
#5 Absolute’s Protector
This shield is great for an evil-minded playthrough, reducing all damage from spells by 1 if you bear the “Mark of the Absolute” from Priestess Gut. It can shield bash, and you can also cast the spell “Fire Shield: Chill” once per long rest, making any enemy who strikes you in melee take 2d8 worth of cold damage.
During the battles in the Moonrise Towers of Act 2, you’ll take down a warlock named Z’rell. Loot his body to get this reactive piece of armor.
#4 Shield of Devotion
This shield is perfect for any shield-bearing healer like a paladin or cleric in your party. It will give them an additional level 1 spell slot, and like most other high-level special shields it will also let you bash enemies. Best of all, it gives you a free cast of the “Aid” spell on yourself, healing you for 10 points while also increasing your hit point maximum by the same amount until your next long rest.
This is one of the best shields thats available for purchase from a merchant, in this case Quartermaster Talli at the Last Light in during Act 2. It will cost somewhere around 570 gold depending on your persuasion skill and her opinion of you.
#3 Shield of the Undevout
This is a fantastic shield for some subclasses like oathbreaker paladins or trickery clerics like Shadowheart, along with any other front-line fighter that can inflict the “Fear” effect on your enemies. Wearing this shield grants targets of your “Fear” inducing effects disadvantage on the roll to resist becoming scared and unable to move. You’ll also gain a free level 1 spell slot and the abillity to shield bash.
To get this unholy shield you’ll need to defeat the deathknight named “That Which Guards” at the murder tribunal in Act 3. Climbing down into the Bhaalist Crypt is dangerous but reaps many valuable rewards like this one.
#2 Sentinel Shield
This shield is a fantastic all-around pick for most shield proficient party members. It gives you the same standard shield bash power as most of this list, but also a much more general effect that gives you a +3 bonus to your initiative rolls, along with the fantastic general bonus of getting advantage on perception ability checks. You’ll never miss a pile of dirt to sift through again!
The best part of this shield is that you can acquire it fairly early in the game compared to some of the earlier entries in this list, appearing at the Moonrise Towers during Act 2. You’ll find it for sale with a bugbear merchant named Lann Tarv after you’ve completed the opening cinematic at Moonrise Towers.
#1 Viconia’s Walking Fortress
This is the ultimate shield in the game. Its incredibly powerful, starting with the extra point of AC it gives you compared to any other shield, fitting for the only “Legendary” class of shield in the game. It has an improved version of the shield bash effect called “Rebuke of the Mighty” that still knocks melee attackers prone if they fail a dexterity saving throw, but also inflicts 2-8 force damage at the same time. It makes its bearer into a mage-killer by giving you advantage against spell saving throws and causing spell attack rolls thrown your direction to rolll with disadvantage.
Once per short rest, you’ll be able to cast the “Reflective Shell” effect on yourself that causes any projectiles, including spell attack rolls, to be thrown back at the attacker. This powerful effect lasts two turns. Lastly, once per long rest you can cast “Warding Bond” on an ally, giving them a +1 bonus to their AC and saving throws along with cutting all damage thrown their way in half. The cost of this spell is that the caster will take equivalent damage to anything that gets through to their bonded ally.
This shield is looted from the Shar cleric Viconia DeVir during the “Daughter of Darkness” companion quest for Shadowheart. You won’t be able to get this powerful shield until Act 3, but picking it up as quickly as possible is sure to save some of your most vulnerable characters by the end of the game.