While outfitting my Chaos Sorcerer, I stumbled on this sticky question: can I equip him with a magical shield?
Chaos Sorcerers are pretty beefy, and if they get into combat they have to issue a challenge. It’s pretty important, then, to take some magical items that beef up their survivability as well as (or instead of) their magical potential. A dead sorcerer is no good.
There seems to have been a lot of argument around the internet as to whether or not a Chaos Sorcerer can equip a magical shield, and I think I’ve finally come up with the definitive answer.
Why Should Chaos Sorcerer’s Be Able to Wield Magical Shields?
There is one major justification for the argument.
In the Warriors of Chaos army book, the section titled “Using Chaos Magic” states:
The term ‘Sorcerer’ is used to describe Wizards who follow the Chaos Gods. Sorcerers are unusual in that they wear Chaos armour and use magic shields or magic armour just like other Champions of Chaos. (p. 106)
Many people have interpreted this to mean, quite literally, that Chaos Sorcerers can use magic shields. Since this accompanies other “rules” text, like the fact that a marked Sorcerer must use spells from the Lore of his chosen god, it should also be deemed “rules” text.
Why Should Chaos Sorcerer’s Not Be Able to Wear Magical Shields?
Most of the arguments against the use of magical shields by Chaos Sorcerer’s rely on this statement in the Warhammer Fantasy Rulebook, in the section titled “Magic Armour“:
A character that is not allowed to wear ordinary armour cannot be given magic armour/helms (unless differently specified in the Army book). A character that is not allowed to carry ordinary shields cannot be given magic shields (unless differently specified in the Army book). This includes many kinds of Wizard whose natural magical harmony would be seriously affected by the armour (p. 121).
Following this logic, the Chaos Sorceror is allowed to wear magical armor because he normally has a suit of Chaos Armor. However, there is no option on the Sorcerer profile to upgrade to a shield, so therefore it was not intended for Sorcerers to wear magical shields.
If the Sorcerers are intended to be battle wizards (of a sort) that wear armor, why would they be allowed to take a magical shield but not a mundane one? Makes little sense. If that was the intent, they would probably be able to wear a shield so that they could wear a suit of magic armor and still benefit from a shield’s protection.
Furthermore, they state that the descriptive information in the “Using Chaos Magic” of the Warriors of Chaos army book is simply descriptive text and not rules text. Therefore, it does fulfill the requirement in the rulebook: “unless differently specified in the Army book.” Presumably this would come in the form of a rule attached to the character’s profile, which specifically stated that the character could take magical armor and shields.
Is There a Definitive Answer?
There have been several discussions online (and I’m sure many more in gaming stores) about the correct answer to this question. There seem to be proponents for each side and little common ground to stand on. Either you believe the descriptive text is a rule or you believe it isn’t.
There has been, however, some indication from Games Workshop that it is not intended for Chaos Sorcerers to use magical shields. In his article “Eye of the Gods, Favour of the Ruinous Powers,” Adam Troke said:
Oh, and despite the scurrilous advice I’ve given in the past, you can’t equip your Sorcerers with magic shields… and apparently no amount of wishing, arguing or whining on my part will make it true.
While this is not an official FAQ, it is published on the Games Workshop website and it comes from someone within the company. Adam seems to state unequivocally that Chaos Sorcerers cannot use magical shields.
Unless someone has a more definitive answer, I’m with troke: no magical shields for my poor little sorcerers.