Pathfinder Player Companion: Armor Master's Handbook (PFRPG)

***( )( ) (based on 13 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Armor Master's Handbook (PFRPG)
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Test Your Metal!

The most experienced combatants know the best offense is a good defense—and the best defenders get the most from their armor with Pathfinder Player Companion: Armor Master's Handbook! From methods of scribing spells onto pieces of armor to a plethora of different ways to use a shield, this guide has new options for every iron-clad hero, giving steely nerved adventurers all the tools they need to escape any scrap unscathed.

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • Durable new archetypes to help combatants survive any assault, including the armored battlemage, the shieldbearer, the yojimbo, and more!
  • Magic armor and shields of every shape and size, from the sprightly arachnid harness to the unstoppable clockwork armor.
  • New methods to get the most out of your armor, from fighter armor training to combat style feats that emphasize your chosen type of protection.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-829-8

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Lots of good stuff

*****

The low reviews had me worried, but after buying and reading this book, I really like it. This book provides a solid selection of new feats and styles that most martial classes will be interested in at least looking at. My favorite is the Feat Unhindering Shield, which lets you use and keep your buckler AC bonus while fighting with a 2 handed weapon. My Greatsword fighter loves it.

The armory mastery system makes the fighter armor training class feature a lot better, providing several good options. My favorite here is Armored Juggernaut, which gives the fighter damage reduction that stacks with adamantine armor DR, which is awesome.


Another person who loves this book ...

*****

After reading the early reviews for this product, my expectation for this product was middling to low. Perhaps this is why I find myself loving this book! (And contrasting that to the very high expectation of the early reviewers expecting another Weapon Master's Handbook and then feeling let down).

I find a ton of options that make a previously niche build much more usable.

Want to use the cover feature of a tower shield more economically (and generally make the tower shield a very usable option)? Get Mobile Bulwark Style and Tower Shield Specialist. This is looking very good for the Castellan Cavalier Archetype

Want to get Spring Attack without Dodge and Mobility? Get Defended Movement

Want access to improved combat maneuver feats without Power Attack at STR 13 (for all those swashbucklers out there)? Get Guarded Charge

Want to make Overrun a cool ability that you might actually use and specialize in? Get Bulette Charge Style

And my personal favourite I've been waiting years for ... Want to be the Greek Phalanx Fighter from antiquity without need one niche fighter archetype? Get Shield Brace.

I also love the Advanced Armor Training options. Not as powerful as Advanced Weapon Training, but armor training was not as good as weapon training, so it balances.

And finally, continuing to add stamina options to other combat feats outside the core rule book line is magnificent. I'll keep hope that this continues and one day I'll see a stamina option for Phalanx Formation.


It's no Weapon Master's Handbook

**( )( )( )

After the excellent and fun to read Weapon Master's Handbook I had high hopes for the Armor Master's Handbook. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near the level of crunch as was in the previous. Where Weapon Master's set a very high bar I don't expect in every product, I was hoping for something better than what was presented, both content-wise, and visually. It's almost as if the entire product was hastily pulled together with far less consideration.

In terms of specific examples, feats generally offer little in the way of bonuses, or seem to be just "missing it" when it comes to final content. While this is my subjective opinion and very generally, objectively I found the errors more annoying/present than in previous products. In particular there's a style feat mid book (please forgive me not having the book with me). In this style chain, just like every style chain, the first feat is required for the second feat, is required for the third feat. The desk-meet-head moment though was seeing that feat 1 had a 13 Dex requirement, feat 2 had a 15 dex requirement, and feat 3 was back down to a 13 dex requirement. There are little inconsistencies all over this book.

Lastly, and this requires special commentary and a section all on its own. The art is bad. Not just "huh, this isn't good" bad but atrociously bad. Not bad in that subjective way that art can be bad, but in a way where the artist clearly doesn't understand perspective (a group of four different people I know independently said this as their first comment when I showed them the particularly awful elf picture from later in the book). So while there are some of the typical quality Pathfinder artwork images we see in a lot of their products, a good chunk of it in this book doesn't even evoke the feelings that it was intended to.


Sorry Paizo

*( )( )( )( )

But until you nerf Shield Brace and Unhindering Shield (2 feats that just kill sword & shield combat style, cause they basically allow you to fight with your trusted Power Attack buffed two-handed weapon and still have a nice shield bonus) I will not give this book more than 1 star.

If new content just devalues a huge junk of old content - it's bad, horrible game design.


Nothing useful...

*( )( )( )( )

Unless you've got three or more feats lying around looking to facilitate a highly situational minor bonus, this book is useless. It's like they had a bunch of flavour ideas they wanted to express, then had the crunch added to the flavour after the fact by someone who's never played the game.


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Community Manager

Announced! Cover image is a mockup and subject to change.

Scarab Sages

Shield Style Feats? Is it April yet?


Intriguing! I can't wait to see what Owen packs into this one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Interesting.


Oh fun, always like playing Hellkinghts so anything that helps out with heavy armor is good. Also be interested to see if there are any stats for Serren's armor they talk about briefly in Knights of the Inner Sea.

Dark Archive

YEAH!!!
I've been waiting to see feats or options to have shields not be used for attacking
please throw in a hoplite


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I would still like to see unarmored options for every class that uses armor.

Contributor

Dragon78 wrote:
I would still like to see unarmored options for every class that uses armor.

I've been hoping for an "Unarmored Bloodrager" archetype myself, but I don't know how appropriate that is for a product like this.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
I would still like to see unarmored options for every class that uses armor.

I second that , I understand that this may not be the book for "no armor" options but there are of classes/archetypes that have cool features when they do not have armor. But these features really don't even out when compared to people having armor or the scale of people upgrading armor.

I understand that there are some feats, shield of swings or expertise, that allow you to gain dodge bonuses but I'd like to see more. Maybe some that allow gaining a dodge bonus without paying with your offense. May be requiring a move action, or allowing one stat to be added when not wearing armor, or just the feat slot alone being enough.

Again, I understand that this may not be the book for "no armor" options, I'm just throwing that out.

Scarab Sages

If we can put in wishes, I'd like an archetype for an armored monk, or at least one that uses a shield.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If it is not too late to make requests/suggestions I would like a feat or some such that lets you get the AC bonuses from 2 shields.


Yea! Armor gets a book! I would love to see more bard-friendly armor or armor special abilities...or armor for bloodragers! That would be nice.

Dark Archive

Requests/suggestion...
Living armor -- organically changes
Crystal Armor -- mage friendly armor,
Hoplite -- Round Tower Shield
Armor that has effects when you take a crit
Oversized Armor -- Your CMD goes up as if you were a category larger, just for combat maneuvers

Traits
Once per day ignore armor speed restrictions for one round
Once per days brace your armor to gain x armor bonus

Feats
Use a shield to avoid one aoo
Instead of taking damage, have armor break (might already exist)
(Unarmored options)- not likely

Paizo Employee Developer

Imbicatus wrote:
Shield Style Feats? Is it April yet?

Do you not LIKE the idea of shield style feats?

Paizo Employee Developer

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I would still like to see unarmored options for every class that uses armor.
I've been hoping for an "Unarmored Bloodrager" archetype myself, but I don't know how appropriate that is for a product like this.

"Unarmored" options are unlike to appear in "Armor Master's Handbook"

Now if I do an Unarmed Tactics Toolbox later down the line, that might see a lot of both unarmed and unarmored options.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Shield Style Feats? Is it April yet?
Do you not LIKE the idea of shield style feats?

Owen,

I think quite the reverse. Given the book is slated to come out in April, Imbacatus is likely wishing it were April now so they could purchase it. Rather than saying "Is this an April Foll's gag in November" as you seem to be interpreting them.

Scarab Sages

Paul Watson wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Shield Style Feats? Is it April yet?
Do you not LIKE the idea of shield style feats?

Owen,

I think quite the reverse. Given the book is slated to come out in April, Imbacatus is likely wishing it were April now so they could purchase it. Rather than saying "Is this an April Foll's gag in November" as you seem to be interpreting them.

Yes, this was it exactly. I am very excited to get my hands on this book, and I love the idea of shield style feats.

Dark Archive

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


Now if I do an Unarmed Tactics Toolbox later down the line, that might see a lot of both unarmed and unarmored options.

That I would love to see

--- I'm cool with being armed just need support for "no armor" class features.

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Souphin wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


Now if I do an Unarmed Tactics Toolbox later down the line, that might see a lot of both unarmed and unarmored options.
That I would love to see

A book focused on fighting with fists, improvised weapons, and natural attacks could certainly be cool! ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I really want to see a Master halfling companion! :)

After all, halflings are the secret masters of Golarion.

Paizo Employee Developer

Imbicatus wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Shield Style Feats? Is it April yet?
Do you not LIKE the idea of shield style feats?

Owen,

I think quite the reverse. Given the book is slated to come out in April, Imbacatus is likely wishing it were April now so they could purchase it. Rather than saying "Is this an April Foll's gag in November" as you seem to be interpreting them.
Yes, this was it exactly. I am very excited to get my hands on this book, and I love the idea of shield style feats.

Ah!

Good to know.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Souphin wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


Now if I do an Unarmed Tactics Toolbox later down the line, that might see a lot of both unarmed and unarmored options.

That I would love to see

--- I'm cool with being armed just need support for "no armor" class features.

If third party works for you, you might consider checking out Unarmored and Dangerous, a recent product from Purple Duck Games.

Not that I wouldn't like to have an official Paizo book that covered unarmored rules that work for more classes...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I have a vested interest in Paizo products, since very few third-party items have Hero Lab support.

Unfortunate, I know. ^_^


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Here a few things from 3.5 Pathfinder that I would love to see get updated to Pathfinder and are material appropriate.

Special Material
Bulette Armor (Dungeon Denizens Revisited)

Spells
Armor of Darkness (Pathfinder Campaign Setting)
Hardening (Pathfinder Campaign Setting)
Shield Speech (Taldor Echoes of Glory)
Shield Speech, Greater (Taldor Echoes of Glory)
Water Shield (The Final Wish)
Shield of the Imentesh Wanderer (Kobold Quarterly 10: Chaos Magic of the Proteans)

Weapons
Thorn Bracer (Pathfinder Campaign Setting)

Magic Armor
Spelunker's Mail (Second Darkness Player's Guide)
Celestial Plate Armor (Skeletons of Scarwall)
Bracers of Law (Liberation of Prince Thorgrim, Card 6)

Wondrous Magic Items
Fetish of Natural Armor +1 (River into Darkness)
Fetish of Natural Armor +2 (River into Darkness)
Fetish of Natural Armor +3 (River into Darkness)
Shoanti War Paint: Green, Blue, Orange, Red, Silver, Yellow, Black, White ( A History of Ashes)

Dark Archive

Luthorne wrote:


If third party works for you, you might consider checking out Unarmored and Dangerous, a recent product from Purple Duck Games.

Not that I wouldn't like to have an official Paizo book that covered unarmored rules that work for more classes...

If it were of legal it would be perfect


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Actually, Brinebeast reminded me that my group would love to see something along the lines of using different creature hides as armors and shields. Not necessarily an exhaustive list but maybe a framework for DMs to extrapolate a fair and balanced way to adjudicate these different hide armors and shields.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I would still like to see unarmored options for every class that uses armor.
I've been hoping for an "Unarmored Bloodrager" archetype myself, but I don't know how appropriate that is for a product like this.

"Unarmored" options are unlike to appear in "Armor Master's Handbook"

Now if I do an Unarmed Tactics Toolbox later down the line, that might see a lot of both unarmed and unarmored options.

Blood of the Unslain. Mandatory Ostog cover.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I really miss ring mail... just saying.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Wow, I almost forgot ring mail existed, how long has been since it has been used?


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You know, originally I planned to take the Mutation Warrior archetype for my Fighter to trade out armour training for something worthwhile. If this book goes well I might just end up revisiting that decision!

Contributor

Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I would still like to see unarmored options for every class that uses armor.
I've been hoping for an "Unarmored Bloodrager" archetype myself, but I don't know how appropriate that is for a product like this.

"Unarmored" options are unlike to appear in "Armor Master's Handbook"

Now if I do an Unarmed Tactics Toolbox later down the line, that might see a lot of both unarmed and unarmored options.

Blood of the Unslain. Mandatory Ostog cover.

Ostog and Hakon WOULD make for a pretty killer cover....

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Great! Is "Cloak Master Handbook" far behind, because I've been waiting for one for ages...

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Great! Is "Cloak Master Handbook" far behind, because I've been waiting for one for ages...

You're going to have to wait for "Potion Master Handbook" and "Immovable Rod Master Handbook" first.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I can see "potion master" or "scroll master" but not "immovable rod master" not so much. Though could put it in a "rod master" book but I think people might get the wrong idea for about one;)


3 people marked this as a favorite.

More archetypes with armor training!

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragon78 wrote:
Though could put it in a "rod master" book but I think people might get the wrong idea for about one;)

It can't be any worse than determining which knob to twist to make a rod of lordly might extend.

Contributor

donato wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Great! Is "Cloak Master Handbook" far behind, because I've been waiting for one for ages...
You're going to have to wait for "Potion Master Handbook" and "Immovable Rod Master Handbook" first.

Hopefully that's after the Emeri Piercer Master's Handbook.


So, can I be Iron Man now? :)

Incidentally, immovable rod fighting style is something that is real and has already happened in d20.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
RJGrady wrote:
So, can I be Iron Man now? :)

You already can, if you like third party stuff. Classes of NeoExodus - Machinesmith from Louis Porter jr. Design has the character class, and in the expansion NeoExodus Chronicles - Cutting Edge Machinesmith you can find the mobius suit greatwork, which basically makes you Iron Man. :)


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
So, can I be Iron Man now? :)
You already can, if you like third party stuff. Classes of NeoExodus - Machinesmith from Louis Porter jr. Design has the character class, and in the expansion NeoExodus Chronicles - Cutting Edge Machinesmith you can find the mobius suit greatwork, which basically makes you Iron Man. :)

Don't forget the ironclad archetype for the tinker. Though there's going to be a Tinker/Gadgeteer compilation/expansion coming up in the future as I understand it...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Luthorne wrote:
Zaister wrote:
RJGrady wrote:
So, can I be Iron Man now? :)
You already can, if you like third party stuff. Classes of NeoExodus - Machinesmith from Louis Porter jr. Design has the character class, and in the expansion NeoExodus Chronicles - Cutting Edge Machinesmith you can find the mobius suit greatwork, which basically makes you Iron Man. :)
Don't forget the ironclad archetype for the tinker. Though there's going to be a Tinker/Gadgeteer compilation/expansion coming up in the future as I understand it...

You could use those, especially in conjunction with a certain armor from the PRD...


Perhaps a way for Cavaliers and Fighters to effectively use shield bash without having to make the Dex 15 perquisite for Two-Weapon Fighting.

Paizo Employee Developer

Dragon78 wrote:
I can see "potion master" or "scroll master" but not "immovable rod master" not so much. Though could put it in a "rod master" book but I think people might get the wrong idea for about one;)

I've actually pitched Player Companion: Rod, Staff, and Wand.

I'm NOT going to reveal how that meeting went anytime soon, though. :)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love heavy armor characters.

Will it have fighting styles that rely on wearing armor?
An option to don full plate without help and avoid the don hasty penalty? I just seems sad to be reliant on others to get dressed.(not that it has ever come up in play)
What Golarian organizations are being supported?

Thanks for making these, I'm very excited for the weapon masters handbook and this.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GeneticDrift wrote:
An option to don full plate without help and avoid the don hasty penalty? I just seems sad to be reliant on others to get dressed.(not that it has ever come up in play)

You might consider checking out the armor truss from Melee Tactics Toolbox.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I can see "potion master" or "scroll master" but not "immovable rod master" not so much. Though could put it in a "rod master" book but I think people might get the wrong idea for about one;)

I've actually pitched Player Companion: Rod, Staff, and Wand.

I'm NOT going to reveal how that meeting went anytime soon, though. :)

So about that Heroes of the Streets followup...


Dragon78 wrote:
Wow, I almost forgot ring mail existed, how long has been since it has been used?

The last time I saw it was in the 3.0 Arms And Equipment Guide, but it never really got much traction. I also believe they just called it Ring armor in there.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I hope we get a feat that allows us to treat our size as one size category larger for the purpose of determining if we can affect or be affected by certain combat maneuvers while wearing medium or heavy armour (mostly want this because mithril full plate is treated as medium but I'm sure brawlers would love it too). I don't think we have anything like that already but if we do please point it out!


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I can see "potion master" or "scroll master" but not "immovable rod master" not so much. Though could put it in a "rod master" book but I think people might get the wrong idea for about one;)

I've actually pitched Player Companion: Rod, Staff, and Wand.

I'm NOT going to reveal how that meeting went anytime soon, though. :)

I soooooooo want that Player Companion! Gimme! Please?! I love having my bard play with those!

Liberty's Edge

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Hopefully this won't be full of overly complicated and/or overly specific feats. There's a distinct lack of simple feats that let you improve on core mechanics, like:

* treat armor or shield as one category lighter
* reduce Armor Check Penalty
* reduce Arcane Spell Failure
* increase Max Dex
* increase armored speed

Obvious, simple, uncomplicated gimmes that the game needs. Instead we'll probably get stuff like "you gain +2 to hit with shield bash when you are staggered and your target is prone", and "you can sleep in armor without penalty and if you do so in a forest you gain +1 AC for fifteen minutes".

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