Wildshape - armor and shield bonus


Rules Questions


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

So when a Druid Wildshapes his equipment meld into his body, just as they do with a polymorph spell.

Specifically, the description for Polymorph spells is:

Quote:
Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor bonuses, which cease to function).

So if your Druid is wearing Leather Armor (non-magical) it is clear that in Wildshape, he loses the +2 Armor bonus to AC that the leather armor provides.

If the Leather armor is magic, so lets say now the Leather Armor has +1 Enhancement bonus to AC and the Druid Wildshapes - is the +1 enhancement bonus lost as well (it is an "armor"" enhancement bonus)

Clearly, if the "wild" enchantment is added, both the armor bonus and the enhancement bonus are applicable, but the description of "Wild" does not indicate that the enhancement bonus is necessarily not applicable when the "Wild" enchantment is not there.

Finally, a Shield offers a "Shield" bonus, not an "Armor" bonus, and the two are specifically differentiated in the rules. Therefore, it seems a "Shield" bonus would tranlate to a wildshaped form and would not need the "wild" enchantment. Am I missing something there? I double checked the errata, no "shield" bonus restriction has been added to Polymorph spells.


Interesting questions, there.

PRD says "Magic armor bonuses are enhancement bonuses" (emphasis is mine), so these aren't armor bonuses, and should translate to a polymorphed character.

When polymorphed, do the armor and shield penalties translate to the new form? If yes, that's pretty inconvenient for a druid with non-magical armor and shield. If no... well, we'll soon see druid walking around with a raft (er... a tower shield, really) glued to their arm.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They are enhancement bonuses to armor. Your +2 leather armor is giving you a +4 armor bonus. and you lose that in wildshape.


LazarX wrote:
They are enhancement bonuses to armor. Your +2 leather armor is giving you a +4 armor bonus. and you lose that in wildshape.

So... that's an enhancement bonus to an armor bonus to AC. A bonus to a bonus? How are stacking rules for bonuses to bonuses? My head hurts already...


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Louis IX wrote:
LazarX wrote:
They are enhancement bonuses to armor. Your +2 leather armor is giving you a +4 armor bonus. and you lose that in wildshape.
So... that's an enhancement bonus to an armor bonus to AC. A bonus to a bonus? How are stacking rules for bonuses to bonuses? My head hurts already...

This is correct. Otherwise, a +5 buckler would provide a +5 bonus to touch AC, since touch AC ignores shield bonuses but doesn't mention enhancement bonuses.

Stacking for bonuses to bonuses works just like every other stacking. If a cleric casts Magic Vestment (+3) on +2 leather armor, the armor bonus is +2 (leather) +2 (enhancement) +3 (enhancement) = +5 (armor)


Louis IX wrote:
LazarX wrote:
They are enhancement bonuses to armor. Your +2 leather armor is giving you a +4 armor bonus. and you lose that in wildshape.
So... that's an enhancement bonus to an armor bonus to AC. A bonus to a bonus? How are stacking rules for bonuses to bonuses? My head hurts already...

The spell Barkskin (for example) works the same way:

"Barkskin toughens a creature's skin. The effect grants a +2 enhancement bonus to the creature's existing natural armor bonus."

Clunky, but true.


OK, so the enhancement bonus to Armor does not translate to wildshape because the enchantment is an enhancement to the armor bonus. Works for me.

My main concern here is the Shield bonus. I think there is one of 4 scenarios occurring here:

1) Shield bonuses are not translated to Wildshape (which would make sense to me) but I've missed where in the rules it says so.

2) Shield bonuses were intended not to translate to Wildshape, but the designers missed adding "or shield bonuses" to the exceptions under the Polymorph rules. However, they are aware of the issue and intend to errata it when they get the chance.

3) Shield bonuses werre intended not to translate to Wildshape, but the designers missed adding "or shield bonuses" to the exceptions under the Polymorph rules. The Designers are not aware that the rules currently allow Shield bonus to AC to translate to a Wildshaped form.

4) The Designers intentionally decided to make Shield Bonuses translate to Polymorphed forms. Perhaps because they thought Polymorph abilities were nerfed enough already.

If 1 is the case, then point me to the rule I'm missing and everything works the way I figured it should.

If 2 is the case, hopefully a Paizo employee can confirm it is an error and I can let people know it's an error in my upcoming handbook, and warn them that it's going to be changed.

If 3 is the case, hopefully a staff member sees this post and passes it along to Jason to decide if it needs errata or not.

If 4 is the case, then I would sure like confirmation, because Shield bonus to AC in Wildshape is a bit counter-intuitive. I don't think it's a bad idea balance wise, but it seems foolhardy to rely on it, when any of the other 3 scenarios would suggest I shouldn't.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Treantmonk wrote:

+1 enhancement bonus lost as well (it is an "armor"" enhancement bonus)

Finally, a Shield offers a "Shield" bonus, not an "Armor" bonus, and the two are specifically differentiated in the rules.

The enhancement is an enhancement to the armour bonus of the item, so there is no such thing as "enhancement bonus to AC." So all of the AC bonus (the armour + the enhancement bonus to ac on the armour) would be lost.

My reading of the RAW is that the phrase is very open ended. It could be read to say "any bonus to AC" which would include Shield bonuses to AC and more (like deflection bonuses.)

I don't believe the intent is to reject Deflection Bonuses, but I do believe it is intended to block Shield bonuses. So it ultimately depends on the DM's interpretation since the RAW could be more clear and allowing Shield bonus simply doesn't make sense.


James Risner wrote:


My reading of the RAW is that the phrase is very open ended. It could be read to say "any bonus to AC" which would include Shield bonuses to AC and more (like deflection bonuses.)

Could you be interchanging "Armor bonus" and "Armor Class bonus"?

If we say that they mean "AC bonus", then, as you say, deflection bonuses do not convert to Wildshape.

If we say that they mean "Armor bonus" (which is what it says), then only "armor bonuses" do not translate, there's no reason why we would say that it includes shield bonuses but not deflection bonuses. (Other than I'm not sure why shield bonuses would translate. Surely the shield is gone when the Wildshape happens - so how can it defend?)

I'm inclined to believe this is an error in the rules that requires errata. However, I hate to guess the intent of the designers...as written now, I think Shield bonuses do translate to Wildshape.

If this was not the intent of design, hopefully someone (James?) will pop on here and let us know!

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Treantmonk wrote:

If we say that they mean "AC bonus", then, as you say, deflection bonuses do not convert to Wildshape.

If we say that they mean "Armor bonus" (which is what it says), then only "armor bonuses" do not translate

I'm inclined to believe this is an error in the rules that requires errata.

I agree it needs errata, but I don't agree the "Armour Bonus" has only one possible meaning in context.

Yes, "Armour Bonus" typically refers to a type "Armour" bonus to AC. But in this context, I'm not convinced.

What they intended isn't clear either. Without errata or comment from Paizo, I can see this being interpreted several ways by DM's.


hogarth wrote:
Louis IX wrote:
LazarX wrote:
They are enhancement bonuses to armor. Your +2 leather armor is giving you a +4 armor bonus. and you lose that in wildshape.
So... that's an enhancement bonus to an armor bonus to AC. A bonus to a bonus? How are stacking rules for bonuses to bonuses? My head hurts already...

The spell Barkskin (for example) works the same way:

"Barkskin toughens a creature's skin. The effect grants a +2 enhancement bonus to the creature's existing natural armor bonus."

Is "Natural Armor Bonus" another type of bonus to AC, or another type of bonus to "Armor Bonus to AC"? Would a amulet of natural armor still work when wildshaped?

Is there written somewhere in the rules that your druid's armor is completely ineffective when wildshaped? What I read is like "your armor bonus cease to function" but not the armor itself, right?

Follow-up questions:
- Would the armor's special qualities (fortification, shadow, etc) still apply?
- Would that mean that armor penalties to skills still apply?
- Would a monk/druid wearing armor but wildshaped get his Wis bonus to AC since he could be seen as not wearing armor? Could he take advantage of his apparent lack of armor to flurry?

And, after reading Treantmonk's guide to Druids and remembering this thread, my druidic characters will all get a +something tower shield as soon as possible :-)


I think the context of the rules quote

PRD wrote:
Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor bonuses, which cease to function).

applies to things like Int/Wis/Cha Headbands, Str/Con/Dex Belts, rings of protection (deflection bonus to AC), and natural armor amulets (enhancement bonus to natural armor), and so forth. These are essentially magical bonuses that "stick around" while wild shaping.

Armor and shields provide protection by virtue of physically deflecting blows. Enhancement bonuses to them affect the item itself; with no item, the enhancement bonuses don't function. While the quote mentions armor bonuses and not shield bonuses, I'm pretty sure they meant both in that context.

Look at the wild armor property:

PRD wrote:
Wild: The wearer of a suit of armor or a shield with this ability preserves his armor bonus (and any enhancement bonus) while in a wild shape. Armor and shields with this ability usually appear to be covered in leaf patterns. While the wearer is in a wild shape, the armor cannot be seen.

Based on that, it's clear they intend armor and shield bonuses -- and enhancement bonuses to those items -- to disappear when wild shaped.

Furthermore, any properties on the armors/shields *do* function while in wild shape. As long as they're constant bonuses that do not need to be activated, they still work. So armor/shields of heavy fortification are still pretty nice to have. Reflecting shields, however, are kind of blah since they're activated and useless while wild shaped.


Two questions. When wild shaped does the armor check penalty still apply what about max dex bonus, same question only armor has wild enhancement.


Jon Heineman wrote:
Two questions. When wild shaped does the armor check penalty still apply what about max dex bonus, same question only armor has wild enhancement.

The armor is effectively gone when you wild shape. You lose the armor's max Dex bonus and armor check penalty. You keep the AC bonus from the armor if it has the Wild property.


I too would like some clarification on this:
1st: do you keep the shields bonus to AC when you wildshape(it seems odd but some official rules would be nice)

2.nd what about other properties from armor/shield like shadow or silent moves or ademantines DR.

i see this as an isue that will come up since the wild properti is a bit expencive +3 (im gussing to avoid druids becomming AC monsters)


Louis IX wrote:


- Would a monk/druid wearing armor but wildshaped get his Wis bonus to AC since he could be seen as not wearing armor?

I would assume so since that is a class ability.

Quote:
Could he take advantage of his apparent lack of armor to flurry?

Natural Weapons arn't Monk weapons. I swear it says that somewhere...


A monk should be able to flurry... except flurry doesn't use natural weapons. So a monk in bear form would do regular monk unarmed damage (though size changes will affect it).

Of course, a monk in bear form could choose to do natural attacks.

Then you have the issue of natural attacks added to regular attacks. As I understand it, a monk in animal form would get:
full flurry + all natural attacks (though all natural attacks would be treated as secondary attacks, regardless)


William Timmins wrote:

A monk should be able to flurry... except flurry doesn't use natural weapons. So a monk in bear form would do regular monk unarmed damage (though size changes will affect it).

Of course, a monk in bear form could choose to do natural attacks.

Then you have the issue of natural attacks added to regular attacks. As I understand it, a monk in animal form would get:
full flurry + all natural attacks (though all natural attacks would be treated as secondary attacks, regardless)

A monk with natural weapons cannot use such weapons as part of a flurry of blows, nor can he make natural attacks in addition to his flurry of blows attacks.

SRD

So you can turn into a bear and knee some one in the face a few times a round (if your DM lets you), but you can't smack them around with your paw.


Eh?
From the PFSRD:
'Creatures with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a creature must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such creatures attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack's original type.'

Check out creatures with weapons + natural weapons. (minotaur, marilith, centaur, lizardfolk, medusa, etc.)

The marilith can make an attack with six weapons and then do a tail slap. The medusa gets two iterative dagger attacks and then bite.


I just checked monk's flurry... and you're right.

Weird. So a marilith gets six weapon attacks + natural attacks, but no flurry + natural attacks. Heh.

Ah well, so noted!


hmm no official ruling yet.

i think i will go with the option of not alowing shield bonus/armor bonus. but still keep the rest of the item bonuses from neck and rings even bracers of armor since as i see it they make a kind of mage armor effect.


This is correct. Otherwise, a +5 buckler would provide a +5 bonus to touch AC, since touch AC ignores shield bonuses but doesn't mention enhancement bonuses.

Stacking for bonuses to bonuses works just like every other stacking. If a cleric casts Magic Vestment (+3) on +2 leather armor, the armor bonus is +2 (leather) +2 (enhancement) +3 (enhancement) = +5 (armor)

Bonuses would have to come from different sources to stack. Therefore multiple enhancement bonuses do not stack. Your leather armor in the example would keep the higher of the two enhancement bonuses.

And I think that the designers must have unintentionally omitted the part about shield bonuses and polymorph. But I also cannot find it in the RAW.


Louis IX wrote:
LazarX wrote:
They are enhancement bonuses to armor. Your +2 leather armor is giving you a +4 armor bonus. and you lose that in wildshape.
So... that's an enhancement bonus to an armor bonus to AC. A bonus to a bonus? How are stacking rules for bonuses to bonuses? My head hurts already...

It's a meta-bonus.


KaeYoss wrote:
Louis IX wrote:
LazarX wrote:
They are enhancement bonuses to armor. Your +2 leather armor is giving you a +4 armor bonus. and you lose that in wildshape.
So... that's an enhancement bonus to an armor bonus to AC. A bonus to a bonus? How are stacking rules for bonuses to bonuses? My head hurts already...
It's a meta-bonus.

LOL... I love all the meta-references and the corresponding language-related paradoxes.

But my comment about headache was mainly related to game experience, where your character sheet (wether hand-written or automated) rarely display the bonus types next to the AC box (same goes for attack, damage, etc). They should, because applying a bonus in-game can be tricky otherwise.

Fighter: "My AC sucks against this monster."
Mage: "Here you go, Mage Armor."
Fighter: "Thanks. That's +4 to my AC, so, as I had a 17 AC, I now have 21... right?"
DM: "It's an armor bonus so you need to deconstruct your AC first."
Fighter: "Ah. Well, I have a magic leather vest. I need to check its bonuses' type before calculating my new AC. Can you wait a minute while I do the math?"
Cleric: "Is it a good time to ask if you want Magic Vestment cast on you?"
DM: "Decide quickly because your turn should only last 6 seconds."
Fighter: "Aaargh!"

So, idea for you builders of automated character sheet: expand the appropriate sections to display the bonus types related to... everything.

DM: "How is is even possible for you to have a +60 to acrobatics?"
Monk: "I did the math and printed the result."
DM: "Can you do it in front of me?"
Monk: "Well, I needed a spreadsheet, so... not right now."


Yar!

Although I am sure the shield omission was an accident and I hope it will be errata-ed, I do have a different question in a similar vein...

Bracers of Armor and wildshape. They give you an armor bonus to AC, but it is from a continual force effect created by wearing the bracers akin to the deflection bonus gained from a ring of protection. I see it as a continual mage armor spell, and thus would continue to function in wildshape... though the RAW leads me to think otherwise.

Thoughts? Clarifications from a designer? ^_^

*shrugs*


This isn't a legal, RAW argument, but let's take a look at the logic implicit in the polymorph rules.

I think the intent is that anything that functions by virtue of a solid presence, like armor and shields, shouldn't work wildshaped.

By extension, magical enhancements of armor and shields make them better -- which doesn't work wildshaped because, again, the armor and shields aren't doing anything. The +3 armor is enhanced to be stronger and block better... but, wildshaped, it's not THERE.

Stuff that functions from a purely magical power, like rings of deflection and amulet of natural armor, continue to exert magical influence.

Bracers of armor, as I see it, are just a funky variation of 'magical effect.' I mean, clearly the bracers themselves aren't blocking anything.

So, luckstone, bracers of armor, sacred torque, or any other special source of AC bonus should work, as I see it.


William Timmins wrote:
This isn't a legal, RAW argument, but let's take a look at the logic implicit in the polymorph rules. [...]

You seem to discuss RAI, there. As written, rules say [something like] "any armor bonus to AC disappear." I agree it's strange, but this prevents armor bracers from functioning while letting non-armor enchantments to armor (fortification, etc) continue to function.

I'd refer to Rule 0, there, because your argument is logical but contradicts RAW.


Dude. That's why I said it isn't a RAW argument. Right in the bit you quoted!


Now that the holidays are over it would be really cool with an oficcial answer to the question.


Niels wrote:
Now that the holidays are over it would be really cool with an oficcial answer to the question.

Wouldn't be all about a bunch of questions.


William Timmins wrote:

Dude. That's why I said it isn't a RAW argument. Right in the bit you quoted!

Sorry, bit of a misread, there. In fact, I agree with your interpretation and I'll probably include it in my houserules.


Yay! How many XP is that worth??

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