In case of physical attacks, if your shield is broken, there are only 2 factors that reduce the damage taken:
- total armor points from equipment that you are wearing
- additional physical protection from the equipment you are wearing or prey
The level plays no role in a character's ability to reduce the damage taken. This can be easily tested by taking a high level EK to eg. rats and asking him to remove all his equipment. The player will be getting hit by rats despite being high level, since neither shield nor armor will be there to reduce the damage.