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When do natural armor bonuses stack?


Rules Questions

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Think of it this way:

Enhancement bonuses to natural armour enhance natural armour the same way a +x enchantment on a plate mail improves the AC bonus of the platemail. In a sense, the 'natural armour' is analogous to said platemail/chainmail/chainshirt etc. Increases to natural armour is like upgrading from leather armour to studded leather to chain shirt to chainmail. Enhancement bonuses to natural armour work are enhancements to said natural armour.

As for the mage armour issue, the enhancement bonus to AC applies to the armour. So a +1 enhancement bonus on a chain shirt bumps the Armour bonus to AC granted by the armour to +5. It is not 2 seperate bonuses applied concurrently, but rather a single bonus.


Zurai wrote:
By this logic, mage armor stacks with worn armor. Bonuses to AC are listed in statblocks (including the mini animal companion statblocks) simply by their bonus type. Look at any adventure. Actually, look specifically at an adventure with a mage that has pre-cast mage armor. You'll see that it's listed in their stat block as "AC X (+4 armor ...)".
Core, pg 149 wrote:
Armor/Shield Bonus: Each type of armor grants an armor bonus to AC, while shields grant a shield bonus to AC. The armor bonus from a suit of armor doesn’t stack with other effects or items that grant an armor bonus. Similarly, the shield bonus from a shield doesn’t stack with other effects that grant a shield bonus.

Core rulebook spells out that it does not stack, as Mage Armor specifically calls the bonus it gives an AC bonus. It however does not spell it out for Nat AC bonus


Stubs McKenzie wrote:
Zurai wrote:
By this logic, mage armor stacks with worn armor. Bonuses to AC are listed in statblocks (including the mini animal companion statblocks) simply by their bonus type. Look at any adventure. Actually, look specifically at an adventure with a mage that has pre-cast mage armor. You'll see that it's listed in their stat block as "AC X (+4 armor ...)".
Core, pg 149 wrote:
Armor/Shield Bonus: Each type of armor grants an armor bonus to AC, while shields grant a shield bonus to AC. The armor bonus from a suit of armor doesn’t stack with other effects or items that grant an armor bonus. Similarly, the shield bonus from a shield doesn’t stack with other effects that grant a shield bonus.
Core rulebook spells out that it does not stack, as Mage Armor specifically calls the bonus it gives an AC bonus. It however does not spell it out for Nat AC bonus

That doesn't actually cover anything that you quoted from my post.

You're asserting that "AC 14 (+4 natural armor)" is not the same thing as "+4 natural armor bonus to AC". This assertion is incorrect.

Because "+4 natural armor" is a natural armor bonus, it therefore does not stack with any other natural armor bonus to AC. Why? Because the rules do actually cover it, by saying that no two bonuses of the same type stack when applied to the same stat.


I think you have that a bit backwards, my last post covered exactly what I quoted from your post. You suggested by reasoning mentioned previously, the spell mage armor and worn armor would stack. I quoted the book showing directly that they wont, whatever the reasoning adhered to.

If you look up a few posts, you will see that I already agreed with your statement, admitted I was wrong about Nat AC stacking as I suggested it did. The only thing i corrected, and it's a small correction, is just that there cannot be a circumstance in which the spell Mage Armor can be read to stack with any sort of other Armor Class bonus, which is explicitly what any type of worn armor gives, an Armor Class bonus. There is no wording like that in PF core for nat ac bonuses, which is why the discussion persisted between us, which it no longer does on that front.


Stubs McKenzie wrote:

I think you have that a bit backwards, my last post covered exactly what I quoted from your post. You suggested by reasoning mentioned previously, the spell mage armor and worn armor would stack. I quoted the book showing directly that they wont, whatever the reasoning adhered to.

If you look up a few posts, you will see that I already agreed with your statement, admitted I was wrong about Nat AC stacking as I suggested it did. The only thing i corrected, and it's a small correction, is just that there cannot be a circumstance in which the spell Mage Armor can be read to stack with any sort of other Armor Class bonus, which is explicitly what any type of worn armor gives, an Armor Class bonus. There is no wording like that in PF core for nat ac bonuses, which is why the discussion persisted between us, which it no longer does on that front.

To help keep the terminology from getting even more confused I believe it is an armor bonus that you are referring to.


Stubs McKenzie wrote:
You suggested by reasoning mentioned previously, the spell mage armor and worn armor would stack.

Incorrect. I stated that if the reasoning Runeblade used was valid (that a bonus listed in a statblock was an untyped bonus simply because it says "bonus_type" instead of "bonus_type bonus"), that mage armor would stack with normal armor. Which is true, because the rule that you quoted said that armor bonuses from armor doesn't stack with armor bonuses from magic; Runeblade's post stated that armor doesn't provide an armor bonus unless it's listed as an armor bonus in the statblock, rather that it provides an untyped bonus to armor.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Zurai: Reading comprehension appears to be dead. I blame the education system. I sincerely hope you succeed in your attempts to educate.

Everyone else: Zurai is correct.


Ravingdork wrote:
I sincerely hope you succeed in your attempts to educate.

I rarely do. I'm a cruddy teacher. Fortunately for the world, teaching isn't my profession.


I miss that deleted line that should explain how enhancement bonuses work, even in 3.5 it was worth a FAQ and some WotC articles.

Ravingdork wrote:


Everyone else: Zurai is correct.

I agree.


RunebladeX wrote:


you gain a +1 bonus to natural armor-again no bonus type listed so if anything was worded as such it would be an untyped bonus and would stack with anything.

In order for something to be classed as a NATURAL ARMOR BONUS it has to be worded as such. "NATURAL ARMOR" IS A BONUS TYPE, just like sacred, insight, etc. your total bonus to natural armor is NOT the same thing as a NATURAL ARMOR BONUS. there completely different things.

You are getting confused here.

First of all there is the question 'what is it a bonus to'?

Somethings provide a bonus to AC.

These include armor bonus, shield bonus, size bonus, natural armor bonus, insight bonus, dodge bonus, etc.

If you have two effects/conditions/items granting your PC an armor bonus with each then they don't stack. We can agree on this, right?

Likewise if you have two effects/conditions/items granting your PC a natural armor bonus with each then they don't stack. So far so good?

Now some things can provide a bonus to an item or to a named bonus. For example a PC wearing +1 leather armor and under a mage armor spell has two armor bonuses to AC. They are +3 and +4 respectively. They do not stack, so the higher (the +4 from mage armor) applies.

Another PC casts magic vestments (at CL 12) on the leather armor, giving it a +3 enhancement bonus to the armor bonus the item provides. Now an uninformed player might confuse what amount of armor bonus to AC this PC might have.

Is it a +7 bonus (+4 from mage armor, +3 enhancement bonus to armor bonus)? No. (The enhancement bonus is to the leather armor)

Is it a +6 bonus (+3 from +1 leather, +3 enhancement bonus to the armor bonus)? No. (The +3 from +1 leather already includes a +1 enhancement bonus to the armor bonus from leather, these don't stack but rather overlap).

Which leads us to is it a +5 bonus? Yes. (+2 from leather armor, +3 from the highest enhancement bonus it has yields a +5 armor bonus to AC which is higher than the +4 armor bonus to AC from mage armor- they don't stack so the higher applies).

Again so far so good?

Now you could have a monster PC who's race has a +1 natural armor bonus to AC. Think of this monster PC as 'wearing' 'natural' armor that gives a +1 bonus.

The PC gets polymorphed into something else that grants him a +4 natural armor bonus to AC.

What's his natural armor bonus to AC?

It's +4, as the two natural armor bonuses to AC do not stack, but overlap just as the leather armor and mage armor granting armor bonuses to AC did not stack but rather overlapped.

Now to complicate things the PC could be wearing an Amulet of natural armor +1 and be under the effects of a (CL 3) barkskin. The item gives a +1 enhancement bonus to natural armor, while the spell gives a +2 enhancement bonus to natural armor. These are not tied to a specific thing granting natural armor to the PC so it is applied to the highest unmodified bonus.

In this case the PC would get a +6 natural armor bonus to AC as they would get the higher of the +4 and +1 natural armor (yielding a +4) added to the higher of the +1 and +2 enhancement bonus to natural armor yielding a +2, which sums to +4+2=+6).

To throw one more wrench into things. Imagine that this PC elects to take the feat 'improved natural armor'. This would improve his normal +1 natural armor to +2 natural armor. When polymorphed into something with a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, he would get the higher of the +4 natural armor bonus to AC (from polymorph) and the +2 natural armor bonus to AC that he normally has.

So where did I loose you?

-James

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The amulet and the spell would not stack being the same sort of enhancement. no matter who is wearing them.

The leather armor with the magic vestment is an armor bonus plain and simple. the spell enhances that bonus, it does not provide a new one of it's own.


Zurai wrote:

Stubs McKenzie wrote:

You suggested by reasoning mentioned previously, the spell mage armor and worn armor would stack.

Incorrect. I stated that if the reasoning Runeblade used was valid (that a bonus listed in a statblock was an untyped bonus simply because it says "bonus_type" instead of "bonus_type bonus"), that mage armor would stack with normal armor. Which is true, because the rule that you quoted said that armor bonuses from armor doesn't stack with armor bonuses from magic; Runeblade's post stated that armor doesn't provide an armor bonus unless it's listed as an armor bonus in the statblock, rather that it provides an untyped bonus to armor.

When you say incorrect, (blurb) that mage armor would stack with normal armor... that's what was correct. You say it's true because Runeblade's post stated that armor doesnt provide a an armor bonus unless <stuff>, but what i quoted from the book specifically refuted his claim, and your subsequent response on the subject. I am not looking to argue, but to clarify what I was talking about. I won't derail the thread any further. Thanks for the corrections (Zurai) as it was something that I was also obviously confused about before :)

Shadow Lodge

What originially confused me was the 'nimble' advanced mutagen which gives a +1/ 2 levels Natural Armor Bonus. Considering alchemists already get a +2 natural armor bonus from their mutagens (and this only works when mutagens are active) it seems pointless to give a +1-2 bonus for the first 5 levels of the class. Seeing things like this in print made me question my own understanding of the way natural armor works.

Nimble:
Nimble (Ex): The master chymist’s lithe physical frame gives her an alchemical bonus on all Dexterity checks, Dexterity skill checks, and CMD, and a natural armor bonus to her Armor Class. The bonus is equal to half the master chymist’s class level.

Regardless, the more this is discussed the more I feel my original thoughts on it (which agree with Zurai's) were spot on and the developer either forgot about the NA bonus from mutagens or just chose a strange way to word an ability that doesn't kick in until 6th level in the class.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

hmm guess i was wrong-my bad. actually its pretty stupid the way natural armor does work in some clases and makes some class abilities absulotely worthless, as in the alchemists case.

James maissen- can you take improved natural armor when your getting the natural armor bonus from an amulet now? i always thought you had to have the natural armor bonus well..dare i say..naturaly to qualify for improved natural armor? and on a side note is there other ways to increase natural armor bonuses like you can do with armor? like are there items that actually give you natural armor as apossed to say items that give you natural armor enhancement bonuses? or what would be the cost of having say an amulet made that gives a +1 sacred bonus to natural armor?

Dark Archive

an innate armor bonus stacks with an enhancement to natural armor the same way the enhancement on +3 full plate stacks with the innate 9 ac for a total of 12


0gre wrote:
While I agree that Natural Armor Bonus seems like it shouldn't stack it appears in a few places where you would think it should stack. The Alchemist and the Chymst Nimble ability being the one I can think of off the top of my head but I think there are others.

I don't think you're correct on the Alch/MC thing.

Mutagen:
Upon being imbibed, the mutagen causes the alchemist
to grow bulkier and more bestial, granting him a +2
natural armor bonus and a +4 alchemical bonus
to the
selected ability score for 10 minutes per alchemist level.

Nimble:
The master chymist’s lithe physical frame
gives her an alchemical bonus on all Dexterity checks,
Dexterity skill checks, and CMD, and a natural armor
bonus to her Armor Class.
The bonus is equal to half the
master chymist’s class level.

Nimble is alchemical, Mutagen is not. Mutagen's alchemical bonuses are to STR/CON/DEX only.


No, they both give natural armor bonuses. There's no such thing as an "alchemical natural armor bonus". There could theoretically be an "alchemical bonus to natural armor", but that's not what's being described in either ability. Ogre's got it right.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

ok a year later lmao... maybe i can get Zurai back again too.

Say you have a natural armor of +2

now take the Half-fiend template from the bestiary.

Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +1.

would it be natural armor Of +2 or +3? The ONLY reason im asking is the way the half-fiend is worded. It says nothing about a +X natural armor BONUS. although technically it IS a bonus to natural armor. The way it seems to be worded is that your current natural armor bonus simply IMPROVES an additional +1, in this case increasing the current +2 to +3?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

RunebladeX wrote:

ok a year later lmao... maybe i can get Zurai back again too.

Say you have a natural armor of +2

now take the Half-fiend template from the bestiary.

Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +1.

would it be natural armor Of +2 or +3? The ONLY reason im asking is the way the half-fiend is worded. It says nothing about a +X natural armor BONUS. although technically it IS a bonus to natural armor. The way it seems to be worded is that your current natural armor bonus simply IMPROVES an additional +1, in this case increasing the current +2 to +3?

If something improves an existing bonus, your natural armor would increase to +3.


0gre wrote:

What originially confused me was the 'nimble' advanced mutagen which gives a +1/ 2 levels Natural Armor Bonus. Considering alchemists already get a +2 natural armor bonus from their mutagens (and this only works when mutagens are active) it seems pointless to give a +1-2 bonus for the first 5 levels of the class. Seeing things like this in print made me question my own understanding of the way natural armor works.

** spoiler omitted **

Regardless, the more this is discussed the more I feel my original thoughts on it (which agree with Zurai's) were spot on and the developer either forgot about the NA bonus from mutagens or just chose a strange way to word an ability that doesn't kick in until 6th level in the class.

I think this is just another example of bad proof reading of the material before final write up. It would appear a mistake, but since most are RAW junkies it doesnt matter if it was not intended to be the way it is. I really wish they would get some better people to review all the material before release and one that takes into account previous books. Then some of these issues might not occur.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sorry to necro this thread again. It says the answer is in the errata, but I'm not finding it. At the end of the day, do beastshape and barkskin stack?


Yes they do stack. Barkskin is provides an enhancement bonus to natural armor which stacks with the animal's natural armor.


beastshape provides a Natural Armour bonus while barkskin gives an enhancement bonus, so yes they do stack.

Edit: lol you step away from your computer and someone answerers it first


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

In my opinion, Natural Armor should be given a base rating, like DR or AC... that way it can be enhanced and its not confusing as to what bonuses stack and which do not. A power would either state 'grants Natural Armor 4' or 'grants a Natural Armor bonus of +4'. Nautral Armor wouldn't stack and Natural Armor bonuses wouldn't stack, but a Natural Armor bonus would stack with Natural Armor...


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Though the back and forth of this thread made my head hurt, I finally got an understanding of Natural Armor that I can give to a player who is going to have it as a main feature of their class (Hobgoblin Iron Monk).


Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread, it's helped me with figuring on how exactly an aasimar draconic bloodline sorcerer with the Dragon Disciple PrC as well as the Angelic Flesh (Steel) feat should (probably) work.

Maybe I ought to start a thread to learn just what bonuses stack and which don't.

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