Is this homebrewed shield weapon balanced?

Relatively new player here who likes to theorycraft. Currently playing a homebrew campaign, and I’m thinking of making a backup character for if my current one (a Ranger, who AFAIK are known to be squishy) dies. My DM is fairly lenient, and I want to make a custom weapon for this character. I like the idea of a gung-ho sword and board Battlemaster Fighter, who excels at crowd controlling large groups of enemies (planning on going Vuman and taking Mobile). The intention is to give the character more options when going sword and board, having the versatility to use Maneuvers at melee or at range by using the Throwing Shield (see below).

Throwing Shield
melee weapon (martial, shield)
AC: +2
Category: Items
Damage: 1d6
Damage Type: Bludgeoning
Item Rarity: Standard
Properties: Range, Thrown, Special, Light
Range: 20/60
Weight: 6 lbs.

Special: Auto unequips (doffs) when used as a thrown attack as part of the Attack action. When used as a thrown attack, the shield immediately returns to the user if the last target it hit is within 60ft of the user. Auto re-equips (dons) when it returns this way. Also gives the user bonus AC when equipped. Manually donning or doffing this shield requires one Action.

Some points I need to make:

  • Usually, standard sword and board using any weapon is legal because a shield isn’t counted as a weapon, it’s a shield, therefore there’s no requirement that the weapon you hold in the other hand needs to be a Light weapon.
  • However, in this case, RAW, since it’s counted as a weapon, the other weapon that you hold in the other hand needs to have a Light property for you to attack with that weapon and the Throwing Shield on the same turn.
  • Basically it means that using the Throwing Shield as a weapon (be it ranged or melee) follows the basic rule of two weapon fighting (not the fighting style).
  • So, it can’t be used as a weapon as long as you’re attacking using a weapon without the Light property with the other hand.
  • Not viable for the Dueling fighting style when going sword and board.
  • Following that, you can still use it as a shield (i.e. granted the bonus AC when equipped) even when you’re not using a Light weapon on the other hand.
  • Manually donning and doffing this shield still requires one Action. Unless a feat overrides this rule (such as Dual Wielder feat).
  • A rare (+1), very rare (+2), and legendary (+3) magic version of this shield exists, the bonus applies to AC, attack rolls, and damage made by this weapon.
  • Variant: 1d8 damage but doesn’t have the Light property. Can go Captain America style. Couples well with the Dual Wielder feat.

For simplicity’s sake, think of it as a weapon that gives bonus AC, instead of a shield. I actually have a few questions, for both the standard and the variant Throwing Shield, but for the purpose of making it less convoluted, I’ll just boil it down to these:
Is this balanced? Are there any weird interactions with feats I’m not aware of?

Bonus question: does lacking the Dueling fighting style makes the sword and board build (specifically this one) considerably less viable?

Can you cast and hold Produce Flame and then wield a weapon and shield?

The text of the produce flame spell reads:

A flickering flame appears in your hand. The flame remains there for the duration and harms neither you nor your equipment. The flame sheds bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet. The spell ends if you dismiss it as an action or if you cast it again.

Emphasis mine. The druid in our party asked our DM if he is able to cast produce flame in a dark cave, then opt not to attack with it, and wield a shield and sword. The goal is to continue emitting light, since he doesn’t have the light spell. He claims that since the flame does not harm his equipment, he is able to hold a shield or sword with the fiery hand with no problem.

Is this okay to do RAW, or are we missing something?

This is specifically not asking about casting spells with a sword in hand. He wants to draw his weapon after casting and holding the flames.

Related, but not the same question: 1, 2, 3.

Artificer Armorer (UA) Dual Wield Feat while wearing a Shield

I have made a PC (5e) Artificer’s Armorer subclass from UA that has the Dual Wielder (DW) feat. What happens when the PC is in the guardian mode and equips a shield?

Two-Weapon Fighting:

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

Dual Wielder Feat:

You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand. You can use two-weapon fighting even when the one handed melee weapons you are wielding aren’t light. You can draw or stow two one-handed weapons when you would normally be able to draw or stow only one

  1. Your gauntlets are weapons that due to the DW feat can be used for an off-hand bonus action attack. If you equip a shield, are you still qualified to perform this bonus action off-hand attack, as your offhand is both a weapon and a shield?

  2. You qualify for the +1AC, as you are wielding 2 separate weapons. Is the +1AC from the DW feat still applicable when you equip a shield?

How is miss chance calculated if a caster has Entropic shield active and is inside Darkness spell?

My question is simple. I have a warlock that has following invocations:

Darkness:

“This spell causes an object to radiate shadowy illumination out to a 20-foot radius. All creatures in the area gain concealment (20% miss chance). Even creatures that can normally see in such conditions (such as with darkvision or low-light vision) have the miss chance in an area shrouded in magical darkness.”

Entropic warding:

“A magical field appears around you, glowing with a chaotic blast of multicolored hues. This field deflects incoming arrows, rays, and other ranged attacks. Each ranged attack directed at you for which the attacker must make an attack roll has a 20% miss chance (similar to the effects of concealment). Other attacks that simply work at a distance are not affected.” Devil’s Sight: “You gain the visual acuity of a devil for 24 hours. You can see normally in darkness and magical darkness out to 30 feet.”

Devil’s Sight:

You gain the visual acuity of a devil for 24 hours. You can see normally in darkness and magical darkness out to 30 feet.

With entropic warding I get 20% miss chance on ranged attacks as deflection. In addtion, Darkness grants 20% miss chance if the caster is in it. If I am inside darkness and I have entropic warding on, do my miss chances stacks up to 40% (given I get ranged attack) or do I roll miss chance twice as twice with 20% with each roll.

What would using staff in main hand while using a light shield and rod in offhand entail?

Is it possible to use a Light Mithril shield +5 (I believe I can enhance shield?) in my offhand and a rod of (metamagic or absorption) in the same hand and still receive the AC bonus from the shield?

In my main hand I plan on having a staff or wand while rod and shield are in offhand. Would having these items in hand interrupt my casting of regular spells?

I’m playing an oracle/sorcerer, so components aren’t an issue.

Then if the rod of absorption/metamagic is used to block a spell or enhance spell would this disregard my shield bonus until next turn, similar to using the shield to shield bash?

Can I use an animated shield with the Mage Armor spell?

My question is an extension of this question.

Does the animated shield count as being armored for the mage armor spell?

Based on mage armor‘s description (emphasis mine):

You touch a willing creature who isn’t wearing armor, and a protective magical force surrounds it until the spell ends. The target’s base AC becomes 13 + its Dexterity modifier. The spell ends if the target dons armor or if you dismiss the spell as an action.

I’d assume you would have to cast mage armor after activating the shield and when you retrieve the shield you lose the mage armor, effectively reducing mage armor‘s time durability to a single combat.

To counter the possible duplicate: I am asking about the animated shield magic item, not the 1st-level shield spell.

Can the Shield spell be cast in response to being hit by an invisible enemy?

Let’s say I have a PC with the shield spell. I’m not surprised, and an invisible enemy hits me with an attack. My DM has not yet told me the attack roll number, so I am in a position to cast shield if I choose to.

However, the enemy is invisible, so would I be able to cast shield in response to an attacker I can’t see? Let’s assume the attacker is permanently invisible, like they’re using the greater invisibility spell. On the one hand, the shield spell simply says:

1 Reaction*
* – which you take when you are hit by an attack or targeted by the magic missile spell

There’s no mention of needing to see the creature.

On the other hand, it seems wrong to me that I can react to an attack I can’t see coming.

Are there any rules I’ve missed that would prevent the shield spell from being cast in this scenario?

Does a monster’s AC change when it doesn’t use its shield?

Every monster has a specific AC in its stat block. The rules don’t explicitly say anything like “subtract 2 from AC if the creature doesn’t use a shield”, do they? Does that mean a monster always has a fixed AC number regardless of the situation, even when it doffs the shield?

For example, the Goblin statblock says:

Armor Class 15 (leather armor, shield)

A goblin attacks with a shortbow. Since a shortbow is two-handed, the goblin can’t wield a shield at the same time. Should a goblin archer’s AC be 13 without a shield, or is it still 15?