Shield's Stowing and Dropping

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In the moves list in the players hand book it says you can don or stow a shield as a standard action. What I was wondering was can you drop a shield as a free action, like dropping an item?

This came about when I was hacking through a lot of lower level creatures then came across a much larger giant. I wanted to drop my shield and wield my longsword in two hands to make a power attack against the giant.

Was wondering as of course flinging a shield aside and stowing a shield on your back or wherever are two completely different situations.
There isn't anything specifying this. I would probably allow you to drop a light shield as a minor action and a heavy shield as a move action.
I would allow dropping anything you are holding as a free action. The question then becomes whether you are holding a heavy shield or wearing it. In my game, I would rule that shields (but not bucklers) are held. Even though a heavy shield takes more to hold it, I would not judge that it takes more effort to release it.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I would allow dropping anything you are holding as a free action. The question then becomes whether you are holding a heavy shield or wearing it. In my game, I would rule that shields (but not bucklers) are held. Even though a heavy shield takes more to hold it, I would not judge that it takes more effort to release it.

It does kind of depend on what you imagine when you think shield. You have the kind where you just kind of place it on your arm, then you have the kind where it has 1-3 straps securing it to your arm.

Though you should probably apply the same mechanics to each kind within your own game for fairness and simplicity.

[*Looks back at DM that made Dalzig try to sunder his own shield to get it off.* ]
I'd have to take another look at the shield description or make a decision but I'm quite sure it wouldn't come to sundering, chance of arm breakage I'd say there.
I'd have to take another look at the shield description or make a decision but I'm quite sure it wouldn't come to sundering, chance of arm breakage I'd say there.

Oh, well, I was trying to sunder the straps, not the metal. So more of a chance of losing a hand than breaking an arm. :D
Here's what the phb says so far.

Quoted from the phb pages 213,214:
When you use a shield, you strap it to an arm and sometimes use the hand on that arm—your shield arm and shield hand.

Light Shield: You need to use your shield hand
to wield a light shield properly. You can still use that
hand to hold another item, to climb, or the like. How-
ever, you can’t use your shield hand to make attacks.

Heavy Shield: When you use a heavy shield, you
gain a greater bonus to your AC and Reflex defense,
but you can’t use your shield hand for any other task.


Quoted from Phb Page 289
Free Actions
Drop Held Items, Drop any items you currently hold


In 3.5 it was blatantly explicit that you couldn't get a full attack by undoing your shield since it was a move action and couldn't do this unless you did it as part of a move action to equip/unequip the shield.

Here in 4th edition, the shield is explicitly strapped to your arm and equipped or stowed away as a standard action. When using a light shield, it says you need to use your shield hand to "wield". Which makes it obvious that you are holding it in your hand. However it is possible that a dm is within his rights to impose an action to "unstrap" as shield.
I myself personally would allow unstrapping/dropping a shield as a free action due to wikipedia's definition, and because I actually own a shield and it isn't that time-consuming to toss it off.
I'd allow it as a free action. You have to pick it up again and then equip it (two seperate actions) if you want to use it again.

Like Saric said it's not very hard to toss off a shield. At the very most I'd make it a minor action but I think a free action is fine.
When using a light shield, it says you need to use your shield hand to "wield". Which makes it obvious that you are holding it in your hand.

You're missing the other "obvious", which is that you are both using your hand and having it strapped to your arm.

Sure, you can "let go" of a shield as a free action, but that's like "letting go" of your shirt. It's still attached to you, so nothing useful happens (except that in the case of the shield you can no longer gain the AC benefit). If you want to be free of the shield, you need to unstrap it first, and that's a standard action. If as part of that action you want the shield on the ground rather than in your hand or on your back, then that's OK.
My problem with that is is that it is not a standard action to unstrap a shield, it is a standard action to stow a shield. I read that as storing it for travel (strapping it to your back), and not just taking it off your arm.

I also think that it is a bit more complicated than dropping a sword. It's not just letting go, it is strapped to your arm, so probably a minor action to just drop it on the ground when it is equipped.
Shields aren't typically strapped to your arm as securely as you strap shoes to your feet or a belt to your waist. It's easy to let go and let it slip off your arm.

Unequiping a shield and stowing it as on your back is more involved. It's reasonable that such action requires a standard action.
You're missing the other "obvious", which is that you are both using your hand and having it strapped to your arm.

Sure, you can "let go" of a shield as a free action, but that's like "letting go" of your shirt. It's still attached to you, so nothing useful happens (except that in the case of the shield you can no longer gain the AC benefit). If you want to be free of the shield, you need to unstrap it first, and that's a standard action. If as part of that action you want the shield on the ground rather than in your hand or on your back, then that's OK.

http://www.swordsandarmor.com/images/SH787_Richard_Lion_Heart.jpg

I have an actual shield in my possession at my house (see above link), and even though it has a strap holding my forearm I can easily throw or drop the shield to the ground without much effort at all. The main discussion of the OP is if dropping the shield to the ground is a different action than stowing it away/equipping would be.

Now the rules specifically only say to equip or stow a shield is a standard action.
thus if you want to put a shield away = standard action.
If you want to equip a shield = standard action.
If you want to drop an item = free action.

And since I can realistically drop a strapped shield easily in real life, I have a very strong reason to believe it should be a free action rather than a standard action. If I wanted to let go of a shield's handle and just let the strap hang on I can do that too as a free action, granted I probably wouldn't gain its ac bonus and its very difficult to maneuver one's arm/hand while doing so. (trust me I've tried it.)
No way "dropping" an equipped shield should be a free action. A free action is something that takes zero time. You're not simply releasing your fingers, you're removing something attached to your arm. Even if you could somehow just shake it off, that's a small part of your turn where your arm is occupied doing something.

Looking at the Actions table on page 289:
Drop held items is a free action, but doesn't directly apply since it's not just sitting in your hand.
Equip or stow a shield is a standard action, but we want to drop the shield, not put it away. So this doesn't directly apply either.
Retrieve or stow an Item is a minor action.

So to remove and drop an equipped shield should be a standard action minus a minor action (the time it takes to fully remove and put away a shield less the time it takes to put an item away). This should either equate to another minor or a move action, DM's discretion.
I think it's infinitely simpler to simply allow someone wearing a Light Shield to simply forgo the benefits of said shield in order to wield a weapon in both hands. You lose the AC and Reflex penalty until the start of your next turn, when you do this, to prevent abuse.

I know this is in no way shape or form RaW, or RaI. It's my personal house rule that gives Light Shields more combat flexibilty, since Fighters, for instance, are trained in both.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

No way "dropping" an equipped shield should be a free action. A free action is something that takes zero time. You're not simply releasing your fingers, you're removing something attached to your arm. Even if you could somehow just shake it off, that's a small part of your turn where your arm is occupied doing something.

Looking at the Actions table on page 289:
Drop held items is a free action, but doesn't directly apply since it's not just sitting in your hand.
Equip or stow a shield is a standard action, but we want to drop the shield, not put it away. So this doesn't directly apply either.
Retrieve or stow an Item is a minor action.

So to remove and drop an equipped shield should be a standard action minus a minor action (the time it takes to fully remove and put away a shield less the time it takes to put an item away). This should either equate to another minor or a move action, DM's discretion.

Realistically, if you just have your shield arm at a downward angle and just release the shield's handle, the arm strap does nothing to prevent it from falling to the floor (I have actually done it with mine). So unless you actually have an actual shield sitting right next to you to actually back up your statements, then its just an opinion rather than fact. The strap is just there to help balance the shield and keep it close, not strangle your arm and latch on to you like a seatbelt.

Do you deny the fact that wielding a shield requires it to be held in hand? If not, then dropping a held item which a shield qualifies as = a free action. Why else wouldn't you be able to make attacks with a weapon while wielding a shield? If you or any other dm wants to penalize his or players and make them use minor/move actions to drop a shield, be my guest. I just don't agree with that decision due to the rules as written + real life experience.


I think it's infinitely simpler to simply allow someone wearing a Light Shield to simply forgo the benefits of said shield in order to wield a weapon in both hands. You lose the AC and Reflex penalty until the start of your next turn, when you do this, to prevent abuse.

I know this is in no way shape or form RaW, or RaI. It's my personal house rule that gives Light Shields more combat flexibilty, since Fighters, for instance, are trained in both.

Personally, I would just put in a buckler shield instead that only grants a bonus to AC and not reflex defense. Maybe have a penalty to attack rolls with the off-hand a la 3.5. I'd have to consider it a bit though.
Realistically, if you just have your shield arm at a downward angle and just release the shield's handle, the arm strap does nothing to prevent it from falling to the floor (I have actually done it with mine). So unless you actually have an actual shield sitting right next to you to actually back up your statements, then its just an opinion rather than fact. The strap is just there to help balance the shield and keep it close, not strangle your arm and latch on to you like a seatbelt.

Do you deny the fact that wielding a shield requires it to be held in hand? If not, then dropping a held item which a shield qualifies as = a free action. Why else wouldn't you be able to make attacks with a weapon while wielding a shield? If you or any other dm wants to penalize his or players and make them use minor/move actions to drop a shield, be my guest. I just don't agree with that decision due to the rules as written + real life experience.

I don't have one in front of me, but it's not like I've never put one on before. Anyway, there's no point quoting back real-world info when I quoted specific rules from the book.

If you have to so much as lower your arm to slide the shield off, that's part of the 6 second round you didn't have full use of the arm, reflected by use of a minor or move action. Even if it takes no effort, you have to wait for gravity or momentum to carry the straps clear of your arm.

Something that takes even a second to do is reflected in 4E as a minor action. This isn't 3.5E where you could draw a weapon as part of a move action anymore. They separated all actions into separate groups and granted us minor actions. Personally, I don't see what the big deal about making it a minor action is.

And light shields are basically bucklers, they're not "held" in your hand. You can still hold a light source or other item. Only heavy shields have a hand grip, which is why you can't hold an item in your hand when using them.
I don't have one in front of me, but it's not like I've never put one on before. Anyway, there's no point quoting back real-world info when I quoted specific rules from the book.

If you have to so much as lower your arm to slide the shield off, that's part of the 6 second round you didn't have full use of the arm, reflected by use of a minor or move action. Even if it takes no effort, you have to wait for gravity or momentum to carry the straps clear of your arm.

Something that takes even a second to do is reflected in 4E as a minor action. This isn't 3.5E where you could draw a weapon as part of a move action anymore. They separated all actions into separate groups and granted us minor actions. Personally, I don't see what the big deal about making it a minor action is.

And light shields are basically bucklers, they're not "held" in your hand. You can still hold a light source or other item. Only heavy shields have a hand grip, which is why you can't hold an item in your hand when using them.

Light shields are not bucklers in 4th edition. If they were, we'd have swashbucklers running around. In 3rd edition a light shield allowed you to hold items in that hand, but not attack with that hand. The only main difference between a small shield between editions is that you can actually climb now with one on.

And when dropping a weapon do you really think you would drop it immediately so it would fall on your feet and possibly injure yourself? No, you would at least take a fraction of a second to drop it at your side or in front of you, which is about the same amount of time it is to drop a shield in said manner.


Here's a good comparison, drawing a weapon requires you to put your hand near your side and then grasp a weapon, then pull it outward from you. This is a minor action. Sheathing a weapon such as a sword requires you to put your weapon at an angle and then push it into the scabbard and either continue till its secure or letting go. This is also a minor action.

As a final question, are you actually saying that outstretching your arm ahead of you or to your side slightly and letting go of a weapon is a minor action? If the answer is no, then you have to concede that dropping a shield = free action. (Considering you say you've used a shield before.)
Anyway, there's no point quoting back real-world info when I quoted specific rules from the book.

There are no specific rules governing the dropping of a shield. That's why this discussion exists.

And light shields are basically bucklers, they're not "held" in your hand. You can still hold a light source or other item. Only heavy shields have a hand grip, which is why you can't hold an item in your hand when using them.

The rules state that that you need to use your shield hand to wield a light shield properly. If you aren't actually holding the shield with your hand then why would you need to use your shield hand to wield it properly? Clearly you do hold it.

To me it's not that big a deal if dropping the shield is a minor action but I do believe it should be a free action. If it were to be a minor action you could drop the shield and use your bastard sword or longsword 2handed. But if it were a free action you could drop your shield and use your minor action to draw a dagger or an implement.
Look at the situation the other way. Retrieving or stowing an item is a minor action. Equipping or stowing a shield is a standard action. Thus, the difference between an item and a shield must be actually strapping or unstrapping it on your arm. According to the rules (I don't care about RL, this is a discussion about the game mechanics in the context of the game), applying the equip / unequip activity to a shield vs anything else is standard vs minor. That difference is a heck of a lot more than a free action, or even a second minor action.

At most, I'd allow a PC to forgo the "stow" step as a move action, but I see no inconsistency in saying it's a standard action to equip / unequip your shield, and where you put it after unequipping is up to you.
Lots of deep thought on this one. But...

I would still allow dropping anything you are holding as a free action.
I would still rule that all shields (but not bucklers) are held.
Free action.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I don't have book on my lap and i'm too lazy to go across the room to grab it.

But from what I know a light shield at least is also attached to your forearm by a strap....

You let go of shield (free action) it just hangs limply on your arm and your hand is free to wield something 2 handed. You don't get the shield bonus to AC since you are not effectively using it and thus does the same thing as dropping it would do.

I used this for using my shield hand to draw and throw javelins while my other hand already had a scimitar in it Oo
It takes a standard action to remove the shield and stowe it. It's impossible for us to say if the game designers thought that removing it would be a free action or a minor action. We only know that they thought both removing and stowing = standard action.

That difference is a heck of a lot more than a free action, or even a second minor action.

You can trade a standard action for a second minor action. I wouldn't say the difference is a lot more. If you could trade a standard for 2 additional minors then maybe it would be.
Look at the situation the other way. Retrieving or stowing an item is a minor action. Equipping or stowing a shield is a standard action. Thus, the difference between an item and a shield must be actually strapping or unstrapping it on your arm. According to the rules (I don't care about RL, this is a discussion about the game mechanics in the context of the game), applying the equip / unequip activity to a shield vs anything else is standard vs minor. That difference is a heck of a lot more than a free action, or even a second minor action.

At most, I'd allow a PC to forgo the "stow" step as a move action, but I see no inconsistency in saying it's a standard action to equip / unequip your shield, and where you put it after unequipping is up to you.

Look at the picture.
http://www.larp.com/midgard/shield2.jpg

You don't actually literally tighten a strap to your arm every single time, you just put your arm through the strap it as if it were a sleeve of a shirt. However, since you have to hold the shield somehow, you have to extend further and grasp the handle. I can understand why it can be considered a standard action. Especially when you are retrieving it from your back or the like.

As for dropping, I'll use a clock for this example. And where your elbow is pointing out towards = the hour hand.
If you have the shield in an upright,defensive position you most likely have your elbow pointing towards 8 or 9 o clock and your "shield hand" is pointing towards 3 o clock. If you let your hand go at these positions the shield will most likely sag on your arm putting extra weight on it. Just by putting your bent elbow up towards a fraction towards the upper portions of 9 or 10 o clock and letting go of the handle makes the shield drop to the ground.


As for a rules argument, there is nothing in the rules that says, tossing off a shield = a move action or a minor action. So all of you guys who are insinuating that it should be a move, or minor action are actually making house rules up (and you as dm are entitled to do that). However, The only official rule that there is that is in the rules as written right now is "dropping a held item", which so happens to be a free action. I don't see an argument at all, its clear as day until wotc changes it in an update/errata. Until that day, this case is closed.
When you use a shield, you strap it to an arm and sometimes use the hand on that arm - your shield arm and shield hand.

Basically, all shields are strapped to your arm, light and heavy. Since they only sometimes use the hand (light shields permit you hold items), shields are definitely more than simple held items. As such, the free action to drop a held item does not apply to shields.

IMO, it's pretty obvious that WotC recognizes that removing a shield is more than a free action. Otherwise why did they make stowing an item a minor action, yet stowing an equipped shield is a standard action? If the removal of the shield from your arm was a free action, stowing a shield would also be a minor action just like any other item, but it's not.

WotC may not have a specific rule for dropping and equipped shield, but it's certainly not a free or standard action. You can't simply say that there's no specific rule for dropping a shield so then pick whatever's most convenient and say it's RAW.
Imagine the action of drawing a dagger from a sheath. The act of taking the dagger out of it's sheath also makes the dagger immediately ready for use. The rules call it a minor action.

Now imagine taking a shield off your back. The act of un-stowing the shield doesn't make it immediately ready for use. You're just sort of holding it at this point. Unless you're Brad Pitt fighting in the Trojan War. Most of us would still need to equip it before we can use it. The rules call all of this a standard action. So if you break this down into sub-actions then which is a minor action? They can't both be. 2 minor actions =/= 1 standard action.

By the rules I could un-stowe and equip my shield as a standard action, move, and use a minor action to do something else. What if I un-stowe my shield and then drop it rather than use it? Wouldn't that be a minor action and a free action? If un-stowing a shield (without equipping it) is a minor action then how could strapping it to the arm (or unstrapping it) also be considered a minor action. Again, 2 minors do not equal 1 standard action.


ETA: nvm I found the answer to my question.
I agree that two minors don't make a standard action, but the difference between a standard and a minor is definitely not a free action. Think of stowing a shield like Charge (a combined standard action combined with a move action).

It might show up somewhere else, but "Equip or stow a shield" is listed on page 289 on the Action table under Standard actions.
I'm assuming most shields in D&D aren't the slip on varity. These shilds are for heavy battle. They are strapped to your arm, with at least two straps for some sort of stability and controll, if it's lose you can have full controll of direction and angle.

You want to quote reality, but this is no mere soldier, but this is a hero, fighting much more than you ever would in a real battle, the gear must be stronger.

At least this is the way I ruled, I had a fighter that wanted to drop his wep and sheild as free and then yse a range wep.

I know D&D is kinda video game like, but I'm not about to have instant weapon switching
Basically, all shields are strapped to your arm, light and heavy. Since they only sometimes use the hand (light shields permit you hold items), shields are definitely more than simple held items. As such, the free action to drop a held item does not apply to shields.

IMO, it's pretty obvious that WotC recognizes that removing a shield is more than a free action. Otherwise why did they make stowing an item a minor action, yet stowing an equipped shield is a standard action? If the removal of the shield from your arm was a free action, stowing a shield would also be a minor action just like any other item, but it's not.

WotC may not have a specific rule for dropping and equipped shield, but it's certainly not a free or standard action. You can't simply say that there's no specific rule for dropping a shield so then pick whatever's most convenient and say it's RAW.

There is 0 entries on what type of action it is to: "putting your arm through a shield strap, or taking your arm out of shield strap."

Wotc's rule for shields is to equip or stow a shield = "Use a shield, or put it away." = a standard action.

Is dropping a shield the equivalent of equipping it? No. Is dropping a shield the equivalent of stowing a shield? No.

Is a shield an item? Yes. Is a shield an item thats held? Yes. Dropping a held item = drop any items you currently hold. Thus, to drop a shield that you hold = a free action. Thats all there is to it. End of story.

If you want to continue trying to contest that be my guest. But the facts speak for themselves.
Fallacy: A shield is NOT a held item.
I agree that two minors don't make a standard action, but the difference between a standard and a minor is definitely not a free action. Think of stowing a shield like Charge (a combined standard action combined with a move action).

Any action less than a minor action is a free action. Speaking a few sentences would take longer than dropping a book you were holding in your hand. Yet they are both free actions. So it would be difficult to say that the difference between a standard action and a minor action isn't a free action. By the rules we have it would have to be.


ETA: I'm not aware of any shields that are NOT held in the hand in some way. Any shield bigger than a buckler will likely have a strap for added support but they are still held in the hand. Even this game's rules acknowledge that. There aren't any bucklers in the game so this doesn't matter, but I've never seen a buckler that straps to the arm. I've only seen hand-held bucklers.
Fallacy: A shield is NOT a held item.

Perhaps you should read the dictionary.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

Definition of held
Main Entry:held
past and past participle of hold."


Definition of hold
"4a:to have or maintain in the grasp.
b: to support in a particular position or keep from falling or moving. "



If i am carrying my girlfriend in my arms am I not holding her?

If you pick up an ally who's unconscious, are you not holding them?

A shield is strapped to your arm which is lo and behold, is holding the shield, keeping it from falling to the ground.

Sounds like your fallacy argument holds no water.
Held is a game term, it means it's in your hand. By that definition your holding her arms or legs while carrying her. Drooping a held item is a free action because you are just opening your hand. The fact that you can have a shield equipped, AND hold an item in your shield hand, indicates the shield is not just in your hand, but also strapped to your wrist.

If you want to be technical, something thing strapped to me, doesn't mean I'm holding it. If it's strapped to my arm, I'm not supporting it, the straps are. To take it one step further, and for fun, let's strap the shield to my leg. Am I holding it now?

Your argument must now be that it's not strapped tightly, and you are effectively supporting it by your arm, "holding" it. I would still point to "held item" is a game term meaning held in your hand, also that you can't effectively use a poorly equipped shield.

But none of this matters because we both know we're right. And since I'm in my game, and your in yours, there is no conflict. I was just put off by your "Thats all there is to it. End of story."

This is a discussion fourm after all.

"This was a triumph."
"This was a triumph."

"I'm making a note here: huge success"?

Sounds like we just need to agree to disagree. I stand by my point that if removing a shield on your arm was a free action then stowing a shield should be a minor action just like stowing any other item. But I can understand some people insisting that shields are held items (I just don't agree with it).

We've pretty much stated all the facts on both sides, and depending on interpretation it can go either way. So talk to your DM's for a ruling (or tell your players the way it is if you're the DM) and let's get back to playing.
Fallacy: A shield is NOT a held item.

Might want to look up what Fallacy means too.
At best, you are disputing a premise with an opinion.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Held is a game term, it means it's in your hand. By that definition your holding her arms or legs while carrying her. Drooping a held item is a free action because you are just opening your hand. The fact that you can have a shield equipped, AND hold an item in your shield hand, indicates the shield is not just in your hand, but also strapped to your wrist.

If you want to be technical, something thing strapped to me, doesn't mean I'm holding it. If it's strapped to my arm, I'm not supporting it, the straps are. To take it one step further, and for fun, let's strap the shield to my leg. Am I holding it now?

Your argument must now be that it's not strapped tightly, and you are effectively supporting it by your arm, "holding" it. I would still point to "held item" is a game term meaning held in your hand, also that you can't effectively use a poorly equipped shield.

But none of this matters because we both know we're right. And since I'm in my game, and your in yours, there is no conflict. I was just put off by your "Thats all there is to it. End of story."

This is a discussion fourm after all.

"This was a triumph."

Well at least you dropped the fallacy argument.

Held is not a game term because it isn't truly defined in the phb.
Despite the vast assortment of rules glut for everything in 3rd edition, I somehow miss that from when coming to rules adjudication. 3rd edition specifically called out a move action to drop a shield, or free action as part of a move action if your bab was +1 or higher.

Unfortunately in 4th edition, they failed to put a glossary of game terms much like they did in 3.0-3.5. Having such a portion in the phb would help tremendously to help understand what wotc means by "hold,held." Because it can mean hold as in just in the hand, or hold as in anything held in arms, hand, etc. So far the only real thing they have implied is that to "wield" is to have something in the hand and use it accordingly.


Quoted from the phb faq
"Rogue weapon talent requires you to “wield” a particular weapon. What does this mean?

"Wielding means you must be using that weapon in the attack. Merely holding it while you attack with another weapon isn’t enough to qualify for any bonuses that result.
"

Another example, the fact that I can hold a backpack by its strap much like a shield on my forearm and hold a weapon my hand of that same arm and drop both of them as a "free action" seems pretty solid to me.

Sure, I'll admit my saying "End of story." was and is somewhat arrogant , but my points have been very clear with the rules, by definition and real life experience. And as I said before, everyone is free to do what they want in their game, because hey, its their game. But you can bet if I ever played in one of those games, I'd bring my shield over if the DM ever tried to make me drop it as anything other than a free action i'd give him a nice shield bash. :D
As someone who has regularly USED a shield and one handed weapon in for combat in REAL LIFE (SCA, think historical reenactment), let me assure you that to be used effectively, a large shield DOES need to be strapped to your arm. It is not as simple as releasing your grip if you want to drop it. In order for me to get rid of my shield in real life, i would need my weapon hand free to undo a strap. If i were to design the strap for quick release, I would use a stap or sinch design. With this design I would be able to force the snaps open while still holding a weapon. With a quick release snap, I would imagine it would take me a few seconds, say a move action's worth of time. A buckle type strap would need my weapon hand free and take at least 5 or 6 seconds and I would be wide open to attack while i loosened things up enough to drop to the ground.

As for stowing it, forget it. We would be talking about adjusting straps and wearing it almost like a back pack.

Now with this being a heroic type action movie stype of combat game, it really boils down to the game master and how much realism he cares about. In the movies, there would be a natural pause in the combat while people were catching their breath or recovering from a blow giving our hero ample time to shrug their shield off their arm and let it clatter to the ground. D&D has always pictured a round of combat as not trading single blows, but as the effect of a more fluid dodge-parry-repost-feignt-telling blow type of thing.

In the end my two coppers says make dropping a shield a move action.
In that case, I just want to add, if the players were going to be torn over my desision, in the end I have always ruled in favor of the player, as long as the rules aren't clear
As someone who has regularly USED a shield and one handed weapon in for combat in REAL LIFE (SCA, think historical reenactment), let me assure you that to be used effectively, a large shield DOES need to be strapped to your arm. It is not as simple as releasing your grip if you want to drop it. In order for me to get rid of my shield in real life, i would need my weapon hand free to undo a strap.

No offense intended, but the equipment and combat techniques that members of the SCA employ aren't exactly historically authentic. The shield you use in SCA tourneys might have some sort of an adjustable strap be it a sinch, buckle, snaps, or something else. But that doesn't mean that a shield used in the Middle Ages did as well. Although, D&D 4e is a fantasy game and the designers may have intended just such an adjustable strap as the one you use. The rules are unclear as it makes no mention as to whether or not the strap is adjustable or merely a simple strap affixed to the shield as can be found on most real shields that were used centuries ago.
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