Attach the shield to their backs and disable it when they activate their ability. Makes them so much more unique looking than regular crossbow units, and that is kind of the point of unique units, no? to make them feel different?
EDIT: A gameplay repercussion or addition of this is that players will know when the ability is on cooldown from whether they have the shield or not. IMO, sounds like a cool interaction.
it looks quite similar to what a Genoese Crossbowman would be
That shield is called pavise and it was used by the Genoese.
I like the idea, they look no different at the moment
Reminder for devs on how to make this great unit actually feel unique. Doesn’t take much.
Cheap way is just to enable this static object on their backs while the ability is inactive. Though an animation of them putting it down would be nice. The COH games have plenty of nice animations like that, I’m sure Relic’s expertise on character-asset interaction animations would come in handy here.