I think I first saw a drawing of a lantern shield in a The Palladium book of weapons & armor. It may even have been featured in the ads for the book in Dragon Magazine, but I’m not sure.
It may even have been in the Exotic Weapons & armor book, come to think of it. Anyway, a lantern shield is a crazy weapon which basically combines a small spiked shield, a bladed gauntlet, and, as the name implies, a lantern.
I found a couple of photos of one which must be the very same one as the one illustrated in the Palladium book. From the front:
<another photo, also Wisgliebau’s>
I’ve never run across this weapon in any other book, but a couple of internet forum posts claim
- the port-hole opens with the little lever the gauntlet seems to hold, and this is used to blind an opponent at night
- they were described in Russian chronicles as having some use in defense of city walls, but exactly what use is unknown and the only illustration does not include a lantern
- they may also have been used as protection at night in cities from criminals
Here is a rather odd Russian illustration:
Anyway I can imagine this bizarre weapon being a bit of a deterrent to muggers, but more importantly, could this be imported into D&D?
Many versions of D&D have rules for spiked shields, so you could just call it that, but of course the important thing is you can hang a light source on it and use it in a dungeon. I certainly don’t want to lay off any hirelings, although I suppose it makes the perfect weapon for a torch bearer (twice the light!). The problem would of course be the risk of breaking the lantern on yourself, but otherwise it would allow an adventurer to carry a bulls-eye type lantern as well as a shield in that hand. Why don’t we see more adventurers with lantern shields? (And miner’s helmets, while we’re at it…)