The small diversity of types of shields in the gave (especially given their importance in combat) has bothered me for a long time (but my english is bad and it is difficult to explain what I mean).
I think that in order to differentiate bucklers from other types of shields so that buckler is not just a worse version of standard round flat shield it will be good to give him some purpose. Maybe create a special relationship with certain type of weapon category? Something like:
1) give the buckler and sword (all type of swords in the game) combination special meaning (that will be good from historical/realistic point of view) and, in the same time, different from sword and other types of shield combination. I can think of these things:
– giving a buckler smaller cost for equipping it. So if a weapon or a shield require 4 AP for equipping, buckler should be 2 AP. That way buckler will be special side arm type of shield for archers or two-handers.
– give special relationship with swords, something like +5 additional attack when using with sword. Or give the user +5 or 8 attack when it is attacking opponent, armed with sword type of weapon. Or maybe make this type of shield more of an offensive type. So flat +6 melee attack and +9 melee defense bonuses and only +5 ranged defense.
– give buckler special ability, something like “create an opening” at the cost of (cost is a question of balancing, of course) 5 additional fatigue. The use of this skill will add +15 to his melee attack rating (or flat 15-20% + to hit) and if this attack is a miss, -5 melee defense for the next attack against user.
– instead of “shield bash” – “catch the blade” – activated ability that will give some chance (something like 50% + difference between melee skills of user and opponent) to parry the enemy attacks until next turn. Parry means attack is missing its target. If it is activated (parry happen) the enemy weapon may be damaged (something like +2 or 4 damage).
Maybe if this change is approve in the game will be more types of bucklers (progression – different bonuses – maybe higher chance for activating of catching the blade and more durability).
If I may give additional proposition of shield type? What if we have two different types of relatively low level round shields? The flat round shield that is now in the game and dome-shaped round shield as additional type (this is also historical type of shield, used in the same time frame as flat round shield). The later will be little more expensive (but not by much) and more suited for defense against ranged attacks. So higher ranged defense, lower melee defense (like earlier version of kite shield). And I will give him different special ability in the place of “bash”. Something like “parry missiles” – increase chase of deflecting ranged attack.
This will give some option in early game against goblins.
PS Sorry for my bad english, I hope what I write is understandable enough