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Armored Wizards


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


Essentially I want to create a "Dr. Doom" style wizard archetype. This is what I have created thus far:

Armored Mystic (Wizard)

Armor Bond
• At 1st level an Armored Mystic bonds with a single suit of armor gaining a connection with this specific piece of armor. At 1st level he may bond with light armor, at 5th level he may bond with medium armor, and at 10th level he may bond with heavy armor. The Armored Mystic is considered proficient with his bonded armor and does not suffer from the Arcane Spell Failure of his bonded armor. The Bonded Armor does not allow the Armored Mystic to cast an additional spell as normal arcane bonds do. This ability otherwise works as Arcane Bond. This ability replaces Arcane Bond.

Craft Magic Arms and Armor
• At 5th level an Armored Mystic gains Craft Magic Arms and Armor as a bonus feat. This replaces the Scribe Scroll bonus feat.

Mystic Armor Training
• At 5th level an Armored Mystic reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor by 1. Every five levels thereafter (10th, 15th, and 20th), these bonuses increase by +1 each time, to a maximum –4 reduction of the armor check penalty and a +4 increase of the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed. This is considered to be Armor Training in regards to stacking the abilities. Additionally at 10th level the Armored Mystic reduces the penalty to his movement caused by medium or heavy armor by 5ft. At 20th level the Armored Mystic ignores the speed reduction of medium and heavy armors. This replaces the Wizard’s bonus feats from 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels.

I know that this is not fully balanced. I know that the Magus class has many similarities (and Some may say that the Magus makes this unnecessary). My group has given me the dubious advice of being "Overpowered and Underpowered" but could not really pinpoint any particular area. The main issue is the increase in AC. The Mystic Armor training may be infringing on the fighter to much, and really is more for fluff. Any suggestions are more than welcome.


The 3.5 dwarf book has a prestige class that replaces somatic components with spell glyphs. That is the best armored mage I've ever seen.


Isn't eldritch knight exactly that?


Prepare all spells with still spell.


What about the Hellknight Signifer Prestige Class?

https://sites.google.com/site/pathfinderogc/classes/prestige-classes/other- paizo/e-h/hellknight-signifer


the abilities could spread out better.

also, i think the casting in armor should require an expenditure of energy, namely a swift action, to reduce or negate arcane spell failure. you know, attempting precise somatic components wearing metal gloves. this is a big sacrifice because of metamagic but i think it's fair.

then, i would introduce a bonus to casting defensively that scales with class advancement. maybe one in which a failed concentration check gives you the option to lose the spell or provoke an opportunity attack. the latter may not be as devastating considering you'll be armored, especially if the spell is worth it.

also, dr. doom may need Endurance if he is to sleep in his armor.


The idea is interesting, so I hope you don't mind if I branstorm.

Armored Mage
The wizard can cast spells in armor more easily than others of his kind. When wearing armors or using shields with which he is proficient, the wizard can lessen his arcane spell failure chance by 5% per level he posesses. He applies his armor check penalty to concentration checks, but this penalty is lessened by his strength modifier. At 4rd level the wizard can add the enhancement bonuses of his armor and shield to his touch ac, up to a maximum of half his level. At 8th level, as an immediate action, the wizard can sacrafice a spell memorized to gain a bonus to his armor class until his next turn. The bonus is equal to the level of the spell sacraficed. At 12th level the wizard's bonus to ac from enhancement bonuses from his armor and shield count as a force effect and thus inhibit incorporeal attacks. At 16th level.... no idea yet. This replaces Arcane Bond.

Armored Mage Bonus Feat
At 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, a wizard gains a bonus feat. At each such opportunity, he can choose a metamagic feat, an item creation, or any of the folowing: Armor Proficiency, Heavy; Armor Proficiency, Light; Armor Proficiency, Medium; Shield Proficiency; Combat Expertise, or Spell Mastery. The wizard must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including caster level minimums. These bonus feats are in addition to the feats that a character of any class gets from advancing levels. The wizard is not limited to the categories of Item Creation Feats, Metamagic Feats, or Spell Mastery when choosing those feats. This replaces Scribe Scroll and and Bonus Feats.


Gustavo Inglesias: We had considered Eldritch Knight, however it simply is horrible. It's only real ability is the capstone, which, while nice, simply cannot make up for the lack of everything else. They don't get any abilities to reduce ASF. Perhaps a modified Eldritch Knight would be a better choice than a Wizard Archetype though, Thanks for the suggestions.

Harrison: The Hellknight is fairly good (even getting the mask!) but is rather faction specific. It's workable, but difficult to implement. For clarification our group plays low level only, I personally have never leveled past 8th. Which admittedly colors my view towards granting lower level armor bonus. But thanks for the suggestion, I had not considered prestige classes very seriously before now.

Rainrax: The swift action idea makes sense, but on the other hand you could take the Arcane Armor line of feats (which I consider painfully underwhelming). The bonus to concentrate checks begins to make the Wizard more of a Magus, rather than a full caster who wears armor. Compare this to the Cleric for instance: the Cleric gets full casting, even traditional Wizard spells if they choose the right domain, gets better BAB and can cast in armor. Now I am not advocating overhauling the classes are such, but simply hypothesizing an archetype which gains certain armor based abilities in exchange for dropping other class features (which I guess is exactly what an Archetype is).
As to spreading the abilities out more (I assume you meant when they gain the next armor level) I admit that our groups low level play colors my opinion: Your suggestions for altered leveling?
The lack of endurance was entirely intentional, if they wish to take advantage of the heaver forms of armor they have to take the feat.

Ciaran Barnes: An interesting idea, allowing the casting to ignore ASF based on level. However at first level they would be extremely underpowered, as they would not have the advantage of a Familiar (which essentially gives two free feats; alertness and the familiar ability) or the advantage of Arcane Bonded Item which grants an extra spell. I personally think that granting the extra abilities based on level are a bit to powerful for a replacement of only the arcane bond. A good idea about the bonus feats, though I think it would serve the purpose better if it granted specific feats instead of allowing optional choices. Excellent concepts, thank you.

Note that under my "Armored Mystic" the normal limits for an Arcane bonded item would apply to the Armor, so if the Mage wasn't wearing the armor they would have to make the concentration checks or lose the spell, a big disadvantage when circumstances force you to remove your armor.

Grand Lodge

The magus doesnt get heavy armour casting until level 13... I'd say 7th and 13th for medium and heavy respectively.

I do think its a very niche concept, expanded it could be more flavourful. War Mage for instance... so no bonded item but light armour at 1st and Proficiency with 1 martial weapon. A third opposition skill for reduced arcane failure chance that stacks with arcane armour training - say 5% at 1-5, 10% at 6-10 etc...


I've never fully understood the armor restrictions to start with. Most of the somatic gestures seem to involve simple hand gestures. Beyond that, it just seems a really weird thing to limit someone by. I really can't imagine that wizards couldn't figure out alternative somatic gestures or even spells that don't require any...


Thank you. I personally think that armor at lower level than the Magus is acceptable as the Magus has a lot of in-combat bonuses, whereas this is a normal d6 HD wizard who can wear armor. By level 7 a standard Mage can take the Improved Familiar feat which can give some absolutely amazing things. The bonded items are slightly less stellar but are not shabby with the extra spell ability. By giving these up for the armor you are getting with Full-plate +9 AC, though you can add magic abilities to it. Compared this the Imp (shape changing, commune and other spell like abilities), Ratling (loads of nice Spell like abilities and can use any scrolls), or even the Agathion Cat (which grants healing like a Paladin as well as Spell like abilities).
I have considered War Mage (I have been working on something similar)but this is aimed not at having the Wizard at the front line, but granting them Armor and some abilities based around armor. This gives them more survivability at the cost of options.

If the Wizard is getting the Heaver Armor at the same level as the Magus then the Wizard is just a squishier, but more magical, Magus without spell combat.

Also note that with this "Armor Bond" it is a single piece of armor. They are proficient with only that particular armor, and can only ignore the ASF from that particular armor. I also realize I wasn't clear on how they would shift their "Bonded Item". I need to fix that.

Indagare: I share your opinion, though I respect the reasoning behind the mechanics of it. Can't completely outshine the non-magical classes, that would be...tacky.

Really the Archetype is more about flavor than power, yeah one could just use a Hat of Disguise...but to me that just feels...sad.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I will be rewriting this Archetype, incorporating some of your ideas. Please continue the suggestions though.

Grand Lodge

Tiberius Kardem wrote:

Thank you. I personally think that armor at lower level than the Magus is acceptable as the Magus has a lot of in-combat bonuses, whereas this is a normal d6 HD wizard who can wear armor. By level 7 a standard Mage can take the Improved Familiar feat which can give some absolutely amazing things. The bonded items are slightly less stellar but are not shabby with the extra spell ability. By giving these up for the armor you are getting with Full-plate +9 AC, though you can add magic abilities to it. Compared this the Imp (shape changing, commune and other spell like abilities), Ratling (loads of nice Spell like abilities and can use any scrolls), or even the Agathion Cat (which grants healing like a Paladin as well as Spell like abilities).

I have considered War Mage (I have been working on something similar)but this is aimed not at having the Wizard at the front line, but granting them Armor and some abilities based around armor. This gives them more survivability at the cost of options.

If the Wizard is getting the Heaver Armor at the same level as the Magus then the Wizard is just a squishier, but more magical, Magus without spell combat.

Also note that with this "Armor Bond" it is a single piece of armor. They are proficient with only that particular armor, and can only ignore the ASF from that particular armor. I also realize I wasn't clear on how they would shift their "Bonded Item". I need to fix that.

Indagare: I share your opinion, though I respect the reasoning behind the mechanics of it. Can't completely outshine the non-magical classes, that would be...tacky.

Really the Archetype is more about flavor than power, yeah one could just use a Hat of Disguise...but to me that just feels...sad.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I will be rewriting this Archetype, incorporating some of your ideas. Please continue the suggestions though.

The issue with giving higher armor at such low levels isn't the balance issue with JUST the wizard. An EK who will have 5 levels of wizard before entering EK will have a field day with the mithril full plate that he can now cast spells in with no ASF. Please remember that mithril is considered one class lighter for all class abilities (like say ranger combat sytle or barbarian rage abilities). Hell if you made the medium armor ability level 7 so the EK had to either wait til level 9 to start the prestige (which is PAINFUL), the level 1 ability of just the light armor is good enough with the mithril breastplate. The way the magus restricts this is that the medium and heavy armor prof comes with the ability to cast in them...which is not the case for the EK.

So my suggestion would be to make it so you gain light at 1, med at 7 and heavy at 13 WITH the restriction that the armor you can bond is based on the proficency of the armor.

Drop the replace craft arms and armor for scribe scroll. The concept is an armored mage...not an armored mage that swings a greatsword around. And giving the craft arms and armor once again start to fall into too much of a customization of abilities for the EK.

Do NOT give armor training. That is a major class feature of the fighter and you should not transplant that here. Not so much a balance issue as don't step on the poor fighter's toes issue.

Grand Lodge

I think its a balance issue as well. :)

Armouring up at the cost of a focus/familar just doesn't seem balanced when compared to other archetypes which give up 4 opposition schools for benefits outside their standard for class.


Tiberius Kardem wrote:

Gustavo Inglesias: We had considered Eldritch Knight, however it simply is horrible. It's only real ability is the capstone, which, while nice, simply cannot make up for the lack of everything else. They don't get any abilities to reduce ASF. Perhaps a modified Eldritch Knight would be a better choice than a Wizard Archetype though, Thanks for the suggestions.

To reduce ASF you can get the feats. Or give the EK those feats as bonus feats.

I don't think Magus is a good choice, however. Magus is a different thing. You want a *wizard that wear armor -and fight-* while the magus is a *fighter who can cast spells*. From your description, you look for a class that can primarily cast spells, but with armor. Magus isn't that, their spell selection is limited, and he isn't "full caster" as he does not cast 7, 8 and 9th level spells.

Imho a modified EK is closer to what you are looking for.


Tiberius Kardem wrote:

Indagare: I share your opinion, though I respect the reasoning behind the mechanics of it. Can't completely outshine the non-magical classes, that would be...tacky.

Really the Archetype is more about flavor than power, yeah one could just use a Hat of Disguise...but to me that just feels...sad.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I will be rewriting this Archetype, incorporating some of your ideas. Please continue the suggestions though.

As to the mechanics, this really isn't the first time the idea of a fighting or armored Wizard has come up. Obviously classes like the Magus are simply not scratching the metaphysical itch when it comes to a fighter/wizard combo.

I look forward to what else you might do with this.


Armor Bond
• At 1st level an Armored Mystic bonds with a single suit of armor gaining a connection with this specific piece of armor. At 1st level he may bond with light armor, at 5th level he may bond with medium armor, and at 10th level he may bond with heavy armor. The Armored Mystic is considered proficient with his bonded armor and reduces Arcane Spell Failure of his bonded armor by 5% per two levels (to a maximum of 20% at 7th level). The Bonded Armor does not allow the Armored Mystic to cast an additional spell as normal arcane bonds do. This ability otherwise works as Arcane Bond. This ability replaces Arcane Bond.

Arcane Armor
• At 5th level an Armored Mystic gains Arcane Armor Training as a bonus feat. This replaces the 5th level Bonus feat.
• At 10th level an Armored Mystic gains Arcane Armor Mastery as a bonus feat. This replaces the 10th level bonus feat.

This method instead simply reduces the ASF while still limiting the class of armor. at 5% per 2 levels means that at 3rd level he (or she) ignores 10% of the ASF. But wait Tiberius! that can stack with the Arcane Armor Training feat! Which is why it is a bonus feat for 5th level, meaning at 5th level (just when medium armor is available) the ASF they can ignore is 15%, if they spend a swift action it is 25% (the ASF on a Breastplate). Now they could take the feat early so as to ignore more ASF earlier but would ultimately be giving up a free feat limiting themselves in the long run. Why is does the reduction on ASF go up so high? because there are other items (dwarven boulder-helm) which increase ASF.

At 10th level they would reduce the ASF by 20%, and with the Arcane Armor mastery feat they could reduce it to 40% with a swift action.

The advantage with this version is in order to make full use of the best armor, you still have to spend a swift action, but can wear lesser armor easily. The bonded armor must still be worn, and only one bond at a time, as well as still not getting the option for better armor till higher levels.

What do you think of replacing the 15th level bonus feat with Arcane Shield and Arcane Insight?

Grand Lodge

5 is still too early for medium armor however. The EK remember is entered at 1 fi/5 wiz for pretty much all EK builds. You want to make medium 7 so they have to either delay EK entry for medium Or they skip on it til much later levels where it won't make much of a difference.

Grand Lodge

Yes.


That is assuming a wizard would want to take EK. It's only interesting bonus is the spell critical at 16th level, true the d10 HD are nice but there are better classes.
As I have said, my group plays low-level games exclusively, it is less of an issue for me or my group than it would be for another. I do however acknowledge and respect your thoughts. I will consider the medium to 7th (and heavy to higher level)and confer with my group. Do you think the reduction of ASF mechanics are conceptually sound?

Apologies Helaman, Yes to the Archetype or to the 15th level bonus feat replacement?

Taldor

Within my own group, myself and a player of mine that wanted to play a wizard in full plate solved the issue by borrowing the Twilight armor property from 3.5. It's a +1 armor property that reduces spell failure chances by 10%. Right now he's level 7, with +1 Mithril Twilight Full Plate, Arcane Armor Training & Mastery, and has a 0% spell fail chance.

As for the actual archetype, well... I'd probably allow it if a player really wanted it, but it doesn't seem all that great. Also, I question the specific logic in trading out Scribe Scroll for Craft Magic Arms & Armor; a wizard can enchant their Arcane Bond item as though they already had the appropriate feat, so this isn't really necessary for anything, it looks like just a straight trade up for something better.

Grand Lodge

Tiberius Kardem wrote:

That is assuming a wizard would want to take EK. It's only interesting bonus is the spell critical at 16th level, true the d10 HD are nice but there are better classes.

As I have said, my group plays low-level games exclusively, it is less of an issue for me or my group than it would be for another. I do however acknowledge and respect your thoughts. I will consider the medium to 7th (and heavy to higher level)and confer with my group. Do you think the reduction of ASF mechanics are conceptually sound?

Your assuming that a wizard would NEVER take EK. You need to balance things to everything else in the rules. That is why it got so out of hand with the rules bloat of 3.5. Too many rules to balance things with...so they just didn't bother and we got some pretty broken things that way.

The ASF reduction is good...but you may wanna slow it down a tad...every 3 levels maybe? Do 1st level is 5%, 4th is 10%, 7 is 15% and 10 is 20% and then make the cap 25% at level 13 (what mithril full plate is). So if you do 7 and 13 for the medium and heavy, you can do mithril breast plate and full plate without using AAT and those can be used if you want a shield or other armor bits that raise ASF...or want adamantium or other special material.

The 15th level for two abilities seem kinda high...but arcane shield is pretty meh anyways with the burning of spells so not a big deal to give it something else...but arcane insight? You mean arcane accuracy of the magus arcana? Because this ability seems kinda not in line with the whole theme...

Arcane Insight (Ex): At 2nd level, a detective can find and disable magical traps, like a rogue's trapfinding ability. In addition, he gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made against illusions and a +4 bonus on caster level checks and saving throws to see through disguises and protections against divination (such as magic aura, misdirection, and nondetection). This ability replaces well-versed.


Cold Napalm wrote:
Tiberius Kardem wrote:

That is assuming a wizard would want to take EK. It's only interesting bonus is the spell critical at 16th level, true the d10 HD are nice but there are better classes.

As I have said, my group plays low-level games exclusively, it is less of an issue for me or my group than it would be for another. I do however acknowledge and respect your thoughts. I will consider the medium to 7th (and heavy to higher level)and confer with my group. Do you think the reduction of ASF mechanics are conceptually sound?

Your assuming that a wizard would NEVER take EK. You need to balance things to everything else in the rules. That is why it got so out of hand with the rules bloat of 3.5. Too many rules to balance things with...so they just didn't bother and we got some pretty broken things that way.

The ASF reduction is good...but you may wanna slow it down a tad...every 3 levels maybe? Do 1st level is 5%, 4th is 10%, 7 is 15% and 10 is 20% and then make the cap 25% at level 13 (what mithril full plate is). So if you do 7 and 13 for the medium and heavy, you can do mithril breast plate and full plate without using AAT and those can be used if you want a shield or other armor bits that raise ASF...or want adamantium or other special material.

The 15th level for two abilities seem kinda high...but arcane shield is pretty meh anyways with the burning of spells so not a big deal to give it something else...but arcane insight? You mean arcane accuracy of the magus arcana? Because this ability seems kinda not in line with the whole theme...

Arcane Insight (Ex): At 2nd level, a detective can find and disable magical traps, like a rogue's trapfinding ability. In addition, he gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made against illusions and a +4 bonus on caster level checks and saving throws to see through disguises and protections against divination (such as magic aura, misdirection, and nondetection). This ability replaces well-versed.

I understand the 3.5 issue, my group did discuss that but we came to the conclusion that EK was simply sub-par, the Magus fills the role better. And if one were to convince the GM to let them use this archetype and then go into EK, they would still only ignore 15% ASF (25% with a swift action) and are still limited by the armor bond, not really a game-breaker (though a clever player can do diabolical things with even commoners). This of course all relies on the GM. I totally understand your point, however.

Hmmm...that seems workable, but that limits them to padded armor at lower levels, ANY mage can stack an armored kilt with ceremonial silk armor for +2 AC no ASF. As to the Arcane Insight: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/arcane-insight

Arcane Insight
Prerequisites: Worshiper of Nethys, Arcane Shield.
Benefit: Whenever you use the Arcane Shield feat, you also gain a +1 insight bonus to your Armor Class for 1 round.

There is the requirement to worship Nethys, but I think Arcane casters shouldn't have to rely on divine permission for arcane feats...but if one disagrees that is their right.
Again, thanks for the input.

Grand Lodge

Actually, mithril (or darkweave) studded leather is 5% ASF. Darkweave says studded leather can be made from it in it's description and gamemastery guide has studded leather as being able to take metal special materials (which makes sense as studded leather historically speaking would have been small plate brigindine where the protection came from the small thin plates and not really the studs...have enough studs to make soft leather into armor would have made the bloody thing weight more then plate armor). It's what my EK uses alot.

With the slowed down ASF, the EK would have 10% ASF...20% with the swift. If you make medium at 7th level, they can not use mithril breast plate and so they have to use mithrial chain shirt or get some other material and spend a swift. Which is balanced. I play a lot of EKs. They aren't the same as a magus actually. The way you play an EK is quite different in fact.

Ah...that feat seems to be from an accessory. Not sure you wanna put an accessory feat for an archetype...but I don't really see a balance issue with it.


Skeeve Plowse wrote:

Within my own group, myself and a player of mine that wanted to play a wizard in full plate solved the issue by borrowing the Twilight armor property from 3.5. It's a +1 armor property that reduces spell failure chances by 10%. Right now he's level 7, with +1 Mithril Twilight Full Plate, Arcane Armor Training & Mastery, and has a 0% spell fail chance.

As for the actual archetype, well... I'd probably allow it if a player really wanted it, but it doesn't seem all that great. Also, I question the specific logic in trading out Scribe Scroll for Craft Magic Arms & Armor; a wizard can enchant their Arcane Bond item as though they already had the appropriate feat, so this isn't really necessary for anything, it looks like just a straight trade up for something better.

An interesting concept, though I believe that build and this Archetype equal out at similar levels, though with one sacrificing money while the other sacrifices class abilities. I shall look into this "twilight" enchantment, Thank you.

The build isn't meant to be "great", that is what the Wizard Spells are for. It is meant to diversify options and provide a means for alternate concepts. Which is just a long-winded way of saying that it would be cool to play Dr. Doom or other such armored sorcerers. As to the Feat switch, it was NOT intended to be a trade for something better, simply something that would fit the concept (And note that they wouldn't have gotten it until 5th level, thus losing out on an early free feat). Cold Napalm pointed out that it didn't really fit and I agree with both of you.

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