Shields are a directed energy field of some sort intended to minimize or prevent damage to an object or area. The size and power of the shield may vary based on a number of factors. Generally, the bigger the power source (the 'shield generator') supplying the shield, the greater the damage it can take before collapsing. For this reason, personal shields can only withstand small arms fire, while starship shielding can withstand barrages that would annihilate entire ground forces.

Examples of shields include plasma, particle, structural integrity, gravity, and ray shields.

Types of Shield

Gravity Shields

Gravity shields work by forming a "bubble" of intense gravitic distortion. This bubble is divided into two hemispheres, both of which rotate counter to each other. Objects caught in these fields are rapidly absorbed into their stream and eventually drawn to the equator, where they remain trapped until destroyed or released by the shield's deactivation. More powerful shields can even bleed off energy from energy weapons, resulting in a characteristic "ring of fire". Careful calculations allow one to "fling" captured projectiles from the field by rapidly switching it on and then off again.

Plasma Shields

Plasma shields comprise a volume of plasma confined by an electromagnetic field. This plasma is heated to the point where it becomes extremely difficult for other matter to pass through the field. While this shield is effective at protecting against physical projectiles, DEWs will pass through it unimpeded, arguably limiting the overall effectiveness.

Ray Shield

Structural Integrity Fields

Gravity shields are advantageous against projectile weapons and missiles, but allow greater penetration by energy weapons.

Grades of Shield

Personal Shields

Personal shields are generally limited to only certain types, as certain shield types require more energy than an individual shield generator or suit of armour can generate. Other than this they function in much the same way as any other shield, just on a smaller scale. The shield generator is generally built into a suit of armour which can then be worn by an individual, but shield generators can be integrated into interface devices; certain items of clothing or jewlery; or even, in extreme cases, into an individuals body itself. However, the advantage of an armour integrated shield generator is that it can draw power from other systems in the armour to boost shield strength; anything from thermal regulators, targetting assistance, or in extreme cases, motor controls can be drawn on for this purpose.

The quality of personal shielding is also far more variable than that of vehicular or starship shielding. The strength of the shield is generally directly proportional to the cost. Some of the most powerful shields on the market can withstand a shot from military vehicles before collapsing, while some of the cheapest, weakest shields can protect against only a few small arms rounds. However, even cheap shields are relatively expensive pieces of equipment; and while some would suggest that the benefits of even a weak shield outweigh the costs, a popular opinion amongst many professional mercenaries is that 'if you're stupid enough to need a shield in a firefight, it probably won't help you anyway'.

Vehicular Shields

Vehicular shields are, as the name would suggest, shields that protect vehicles from incoming fire. Given the size of most vehicles, and the nature of the weapons that will likely be targetting them, vehicular shields are designed to be powerful enough to deflect fire from everything up to heavy weapons. These shields, at their most powerful, are more or less immune to small arms fire, and will shrug of damage from anything short of an anti-materiel rifle or heavy weapon.

Coupled with point defense systems, a shielded tank or IFV can be a near unstoppable force against under equipped combatants. Most military's suggest focusing all fire on incoming shielded vehicles, and making heavy use of DEWs or rocket launchers to collapse the shields.

Starship Shields

Starship shields are the most powerful class of shield available, except perhaps for space station shielding. These shields are designed to withstand fire from some of the most powerful weapons systems in the galaxy, as well as protect the crew from the hazardous enivornment of space.