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Armor for a PFS barbarian


Advice


So, I've recently leveled my barbarian to 2 in PFS, and I'm thinking it's time to start looking at replacing the scale mail that he began play with. The problem is that I can't seem to find a solution that satisfies me. Breastplates have a higher ACP than I want to end up with, but making it mithril seems to me a waste of money since he doesn't have the DEX to make use of the higher maximum that mithril would allow. Darkleaf cloth hide would be cheaper, but the AC is 2 lower.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should use? I realize that it's completely possible that I'm just being way too much of a perfectionist here, so that would be an equally valid response. Also, keep in mind that I haven't considered any of the specific magic armors simply because there are way too damn many of them, so I'm open to those sorts of suggestions, too.

Thanks.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Mithral Breastplate with the Comfort enchantment.

Andoran

Kikko armor: 5 ac, 4 max dex and -3 armor check pen, 1 less than scale mail. It's only 30 GP and can be found in ultimate equipment and ultimate combat.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

A Mithral Breastplate with the Comfort enchantment has no ACP.


Ya know, I gotta say, after much research into the cost of armor vs. the amount of AC gained...I probably would never advise anyone to invest in anything above light armor (a mithril chain shirt is probably best).

I mean, unless you are REALLY determined to maximize your AC, the amount of gold that you'll need to invest is really not worth it in the long run. For example, getting mithril on medium armor costs 4,000 gp (if I remember correctly). That's a pretty steep price just to get an additional +2 to your AC from medium armor.


do you mind sharing what are the other cheaper options for getting +2 AC?
4000 gold is chump change in 'the long run'.

Taldor

Duskblade wrote:
That's a pretty steep price just to get an additional +2 to your AC from medium armor.

Not to mention full movement, full run speed, ability to use powers normally restricted to light armour, etc. etc.


unless you're in a campaign were gold can be found in abundance, your average gold by level 5 is just over 10,000 gp.

By 10th level, it jumps to around 60,000 gp.

So when we consider the 'long run' (in this example, half of your character levels), your gold abundance really isn't as high as you might think (though I imagine there are exceptions of course, when you consider the 'treasure' you can find along the way). Spending 4,000 gp for an extra +2 to your AC seems somewhat inefficient when you can buy other magic items that have a much more versatile or well-rounded use.

Now, when considering a Barbarian, all you really need to do is invest in armor that can hold your Dex modifier. In that instance, Haramaki and Leather Armor can both do the trick fairly well for just a fraction of the cost.

If you want a little more AC though, Mithril Chain Shirt is a fairly good investment too (with a max dex of +6, it should be able to hold your dex modifier unless you REALLY start to invest heavily in dex).

I've already done a lot of research into AC, and my conclusion is basically this: unless you are a fighter with the 'armor training' ability, a dex based character will typically have a better AC than armor based character.

Of course, if you would rather dump dex entirely, then yes, armor is the way to go.


Best medium armor in the game, IMO:

Masterwork Adamantine Breastplate with the Comfort enhancement. Only -1 to ACP, in return for a decent (and enhancable AC) and DR 2.

You do have to think a bit more about where you're moving - but as a Barbarian, the biggest drawback is countered by your level 1 class ability - you're still covering 30' per round.

For rangers, you want to combine it with Boots of Striding and Springing, or get in the habit of using Longstrider every morning with a Lesser Extend Rod.

Grand Lodge

Armor Coat - when raging your AC is shot to crap anyway, so why not have something you can dump in an emergency?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Duskblade wrote:
For example, getting mithril on medium armor costs 4,000 gp (if I remember correctly). That's a pretty steep price just to get an additional +2 to your AC from medium armor.

If by "pretty steep price" you mean "exactly the same price as adding +2 to a chain shirt to end up with the same AC". Except that with a mithral breastplate, your next 2 points cost 4k again, while the next 2 points on a chain shirt will cost you much, much more.

I thought you said you did some research?


AdAstraGames wrote:

Best medium armor in the game, IMO:

Masterwork Adamantine Breastplate with the Comfort enhancement. Only -1 to ACP, in return for a decent (and enhancable AC) and DR 2.

You do have to think a bit more about where you're moving - but as a Barbarian, the biggest drawback is countered by your level 1 class ability - you're still covering 30' per round.

For rangers, you want to combine it with Boots of Striding and Springing, or get in the habit of using Longstrider every morning with a Lesser Extend Rod.

Comfort Adamantine Breastplate has a -2 ACP.


Duskblade wrote:

Ya know, I gotta say, after much research into the cost of armor vs. the amount of AC gained...I probably would never advise anyone to invest in anything above light armor (a mithril chain shirt is probably best).

I mean, unless you are REALLY determined to maximize your AC, the amount of gold that you'll need to invest is really not worth it in the long run. For example, getting mithril on medium armor costs 4,000 gp (if I remember correctly). That's a pretty steep price just to get an additional +2 to your AC from medium armor.

I've actually done a lot of AC calculations on a fighter using best possible scenario stats, and unless I missed something somewhere, the maximum amount of AC you can get is no different between Light and Medium armor, the difference being that Light armor needs a much higher DEX score to get the most AC out of it. Heavy armor beats out both, but not by much, although you need hardly any DEX to hit the highest levels of AC.

If the character has a really high DEX score, I'd recommend Light armor (Mithral Chain Shirt and Darkleaf Cloth Hide Shirt end up being equally the best of the Light armor, having +4 AC, +6 Max DEX, and 0 ACP). If not, I recommend a Mithral Breastplate of Comfort.


Well, my PFS barbarian just doesn't bother to wear armor, but that's an RP thing and not, obviously, optimal :)

Certainly, either mithril kikko armor or the more costly mithril comfort breastplate are "best" (and really, it's kind of a toss-up which is "better"). Naturally, you'll also want other AC bonuses from other items (natural, deflection, insight) and spells (buy some scrolls of barkskin and the like for others to use on you for those special occasions).

I'd argue against an adamantine comfort breastplate for a barbarian simply because he'll eventually have better DR than the armor, and DR doesn't stack, so the very high cost of adamantine is wasted in the long term.

Grand Lodge

When it comes down to it, AC for a barbarian, while nice, isn't as necessary as it is for some other front liners. Also, what kind of Dex are you having on your barbarian to be so focused on it instead of the base armor bonus? Short run, any armor will do fairly well. I prefer mobility for my barbarian, and think the Mithril is worth it. However, in the end my personal favorite armor is celestial armor. It's expensive now, but should be your target armor by tenth. To follow up on the 4000 for a +2 being a lot, look at this: +2 enhancement bonus to that chain shirt, 4000.+1 amulet and +1 ring, 4000. A Mithril breastplate gives you the +2 and allows you to still get all those other bonuses.


unforgivn wrote:
AdAstraGames wrote:

Best medium armor in the game, IMO:

Masterwork Adamantine Breastplate with the Comfort enhancement. Only -1 to ACP, in return for a decent (and enhancable AC) and DR 2.

You do have to think a bit more about where you're moving - but as a Barbarian, the biggest drawback is countered by your level 1 class ability - you're still covering 30' per round.

For rangers, you want to combine it with Boots of Striding and Springing, or get in the habit of using Longstrider every morning with a Lesser Extend Rod.

Comfort Adamantine Breastplate has a -2 ACP.

Ah, right. Meant to include "agile" in that. -1 ACP for a good chunk of things.

Silver Crusade

If I have nothing better to do with my traits I often take the Armor Expert Trait. Combine that with an agile breastplate and you have +6 AC with very low ACP. Only when I get to significantly higher levels will I worry about things like a mithril breastplate or mithril plate.

Toss in a darkwood shield for more AC with no ACP.

I always try hard to get my speed up to 30 with that breastplate (getting to 30 is WAY more important in my experience than getting to 40). A normal barbarian obviously qualifies but I've also got an urban barbarian/ranger who uses a wand of longstrider to good effect.


Jiggy wrote:
Duskblade wrote:
For example, getting mithril on medium armor costs 4,000 gp (if I remember correctly). That's a pretty steep price just to get an additional +2 to your AC from medium armor.

If by "pretty steep price" you mean "exactly the same price as adding +2 to a chain shirt to end up with the same AC". Except that with a mithral breastplate, your next 2 points cost 4k again, while the next 2 points on a chain shirt will cost you much, much more.

I thought you said you did some research?

I get the impression from the above post that your one of those people who put a heavy value upon a character's AC (otherwise your argument is completely moot).

So in your example, lets say I wanted to get a +2 enhancement on my light armor. This costs me 4,000 gp. If I optimize correctly, I should have around +6 AC from my armor (for the sake of argument, I will assume that AC has some sort 'special value', even though it is statistically weak in the long run).

Now, in your example, if you're wanting to get medium armor at the highest value (with mithril and all), it would cost you 8,000 gp to get a +8 AC.

So, as I said before, you are simply spending an extra 4,000 gp to get an additional +2 to your AC.

Which essentially brings me back to my point - is that price really worth the additional AC?

Given that the value of AC (especially for a barbarian who incurs penalties to AC while raging), attempting to invest in it is actually more expensive and less useful than most people might imagine. The simple truth of the matter is this: as you level up, a lot of stuff is going to hit you. The 'to hit' ratios FAR exceed a character's ability to enhance their AC unless they invest HEAVILY into making an AC character.

I will grant you that TOUCH AC can be VERY valuable, and that you probably should attempt to invest in that instead. Otherwise, 4,000 gp can simply be better spent elsewhere.

Here are a few good examples of other magic items that would be much more valuable than a simple +2 to your AC:

Ring of Sustenance
Feather Step Slippers
Handy Haversack
Any +2 stat enhancing item
Cloak of Resistance +2
Eyes of the Eagle
Hat of Disguise
Quick Runner's Shirt
Getting a +1 weapon

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I said nothing of the value of AC in general. I was only replying to your statement that 4k for +2 AC was too steep to justify mithral. I just pointed out it's exactly the same as getting the same AC boost from light armor.

If someone wants less than +6 to AC from armor, then yeah, don't bother with a breastplate (mithral or otherwise). Duh.

I'm just saying that if you want +6 or more, you should always be using a mithral breastplate instead of a chain shirt. At any given armor bonus from +6 onward, the mithral breastplate is giving you that AC for less money - and with a higher capacity for DEX, too.

I never said that armor was always worth investing in, just that "medium mithral isn't worth it" is only true if you NEVER want more than +5 to your AC from armor. That will be the case for some PCs, but not for the majority (most PCs need to survive the low levels where AC does matter before getting high enough for it to stop mattering).


For my PFS barbarian (Invulnerable rager) I went mithril agile breastplate as a base. Very low ACP and lets me keep my speed. I then gave it an enhancment bonus +1 and the followed that up with the fortification line of enchantments. AC is not all that important for a barbarian considering that rage, charging, enlarge person, and reckless abandon all add up to dump your AC. However, crits and precision damage can put a hurt to your bucket of HP regardless of your DR if you don't watch out. Thus I think crit/sneak attack mitigation is probably the best thing for a barbarian. I would like to add in a % miss chance too but I don't want to give up my cloak of resistance to get it (no crafting in PFS). Basically try to get as much damage mitigation that is not AC based.

Grand Lodge

Duskblade wrote:

I get the impression from the above post that your one of those people who put a heavy value upon a character's AC (otherwise your argument is completely moot).

So in your example, lets say I wanted to get a +2 enhancement on my light armor. This costs me 4,000 gp. If I optimize correctly, I should have around +6 AC from my armor (for the sake of argument, I will assume that AC has some sort 'special value', even though it is statistically weak in the long run)....

I think what the previous poster was saying (impolitely) is that a light armor like a chain shirt +2 costs 4,000gp and a Mithril BP also costs 4,000gp. The only difference is that if you wish to further upgrade your AC by +2 a Chain Shirt +4 is insanely expensive in comparison to a Mithril BP +2.

So, it does make sense to save you nickles and dimes to get the Mithril BP vs. the Chain Shirt +2, since it opens your future options.

As for AC is it worth it. If I told you you can avoid being hurt by 10% in each fight, I'd imagine you'd say sign me up. Imagine going into a fight and the enemy having a 50% chance of hurting you or a 40% chance of hurting you, wouldn't you prefer to get hurt less? Rage can quickly kill you, so having better AC, might keep you alive long enough for your Cleric to heal you, so that your PC doesn't suddenly expire, when he leaves his "RAGE."


I can tell you this: after many years of experience, the wisest PC warrior types blow their moolah on fancy armor first, not weaponry.

Think of it this way: The crappier your AC, the more often the Cleric has to blow all his spells etc on healing your butt. Investing in fancy armor is a better idea than fancy doohickies. But then, I am used to lethal old school dungeon crawls, where life is cheap no matter what level you are.

If you are currently a level 2 Barbarian, your best bet is to buy a crappy shield and suck up the ACP. Get a breastplate. Doesn't have to be masterwork. You are looking for a higher AC, not low ACP. If you are using a 2handed weapon, get the breastplate and take Dodge. Do NOT take Weapon Focus this early in the game, especially with some peculiar or rare weapon type.

Later on, your choice of armor material depends on your stats and goals. Those goals should be based on what the DM is throwing at you, not some uber combo of feats. Build to survive, minimize your weaknesses. As a Barbarian, your Reflex and Will saves suck rocks. Take the two feats to up them. If you find yourself continually sucking fumes on hit points, take Toughness.

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