Is natural armour a "bonus type"?


Rules Questions

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2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Question: Is natural armour its own type of bonus?

I ask because it always seemed to me that the answer was "yes", but recently I found that both a rules-knowledgeable friend and the developers of Hero Lab believe the answer is "no". The terminology is fairly inconsistent, with many texts stating "+X bonus to natural armour" and others stating "+X natural armour bonus to AC".

The Hero Lab developers and my friend both believe that natural armour is some sort of abstract component of a character's AC that is usually modified in the form of untyped bonuses, and sometimes enhancement bonuses. My own understanding was that enhancement bonuses are a weird type of bonus that sometimes modify other types of bonuses. Why this matters? Because if I'm wrong, then most natural armour bonuses stack with one another. That isn't likely to come up very often, but it seems worth knowing.

d20pfsrd.com is pretty clear in its glossary that natural armour is a type of bonus and that it doesn't stack with itself, but there's no citation in that glossary and I honestly haven't been able to find much to support either position in any rulebook, let alone the Core Rulebook. The only thing I found was on page 134 of Ultimate Magic where natural armour appears on the bonus types chart. Enhancement also appears on that chart, though, and enhancement bonuses are weird, so the chart in and of itself doesn't preclude natural armour also being weird, I guess.

Any thoughts?

Liberty's Edge

Natural Armor is a bonus type as the chart says:
http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateMagic/magic/designingSpells.html #bonus-types

But your question then sounds more like it is related to stacking than whether natural armor would be a bonus type, yes?


I think it's treated as any other AC increase - you have the base ("Natural Armor Bonus") and the enhancement ("Enhancement Bonus to Natural Armor"), which stack with each other but not themselves unless otherwise specified. Only difference is, there's a lot of "otherwise specified" as it's partially treated as an armor alternative that increases in level - for example, Druid Animal Companions, which can get 3 stacking increases to "Natural Armor Bonus" (base companion, druid level advancements, and 4th/7th/?th advancement) that are specified as such.

Shadow Lodge

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Natural armour is its own bonus type.

However Barkskin and an Amulet of Natural Armour both grant an enhancement bonus to natural armour. This works just like an enhancement bonus on your armour (eg Magic Vestment) and stacks with any natural armour a character has (eg a wildshaped druid).

Half Brick In a Sock wrote:
Druid Animal Companions, which can get 3 stacking increases to "Natural Armor Bonus" (base companion, druid level advancements, and 4th/7th/?th advancement) that are specified as such.

That's not a natural armour bonus stacking, that's a natural armour bonus increase. It's like upgrading your +1 sword to +2.


Natural armor is an explicit bonus type. In addition, enhancement bonus to natural armor is also a normal bonus. It increases the natural armor bonus (creatures by default have a natural armor bonus of +0).

The d20pfsrd has a good table.

If "natural armor" is just part of AC, does that also include "deflection" and "dodge"? They both only work on AC.


You have an AC value. There can be bonuses applied to the AC value; armor bonus, natural armor bonus, dodge bonus, etc. Then, you can have bonuses applied to the bonuses. Enhancement bonus to armor, enhancement bonus to natural armor, etc. So lets say your armor bonus (base value of your armor) is +5. You can enchant your armor to +2 which is a +2 enhancement bonus to your armor bonus (+5) to AC. So your +5 base armor is now (5+2) before being added to AC. Now, lets say you have 0 natural armor. You put on an Amulet of Natural Armor which gives an enhancement bonus to natural armor. Lets say it grants +2 for this example. So your base 0 natural armor is now (0+2) before being added to AC. Now, lets say you gain a Sacred bonus to AC as well as a Sacred bonus to Armor. The Sacred bonus to AC applies directly to your AC. So your AC is now 10 + [Dex] + (5+2) + (0+2) + [sacred]. Then, the Sacred bonus to Armor applies to the (5+2) armor bonus. So your AC is now 10 + [Dex] + (5+2+sacred) + (0+2) + [sacred]. You can do this because one sacred bonus is directly to AC while the other is to the Armor bonus. You dawg, I heard you like bonuses.

Dark Archive

It sounds like you guys all agree with my understanding of the rules, but what I really need is citation from books about this (or a FAQ entry) so I can take it to the Hero Lab guys to get them to fix it. Where is any of this actually said in a book? I know about the chart in magic armour, but that isn't terribly explicit. Thanks, regardless!


Benn Roe wrote:
It sounds like you guys all agree with my understanding of the rules, but what I really need is citation from books about this (or a FAQ entry) so I can take it to the Hero Lab guys to get them to fix it. Where is any of this actually said in a book? I know about the chart in magic armour, but that isn't terribly explicit. Thanks, regardless!

Perhaps you can give an in-game example of how your interpretation differs from theirs? At the moment it seems to me more like an issue of semantics.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It really is semantics, but it matters.

Natural armour bonus does not stack with natural armour bonus.
Enhancement bonus to natural armour bonus stacks with natural armour bonus but does not stack with enhancement bonus to natural armour bonus.
Increase to natural armour bonus stacks with enhancement bonus to natural armour bonus and with natural armour bonus, and probably stacks with increase to natural armour bonus, too.

It's that last point that's in question. If I have two feats that "increase natural armour bonus" do they stack with each other? Lone Wolf Development believe that an increase to natural armour bonus is an untyped bonus that therefore stacks with all others. (I happen to agree.) But it might be wrong.


Could you list the two specific feats that increase natural armor bonus?


Benn Roe wrote:
It sounds like you guys all agree with my understanding of the rules, but what I really need is citation from books about this (or a FAQ entry) so I can take it to the Hero Lab guys to get them to fix it. Where is any of this actually said in a book? I know about the chart in magic armour, but that isn't terribly explicit. Thanks, regardless!

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html#ac-natural-armor

Natural armor provides a bonus to ac explicitly, and therefore doesn't stack with other natural armor bonuses.


But he is asking whether increases to natural armor bonus stack. I can think of one example where they do. Dragon Disciple grants a +1 NA increase at 1st, 4th, and 7th level, and those three do stack with each other.

Though there are feats that grant a natural armor bonus (e.g. Armor of the Pit), I'm not aware of any feats that increase NA bonus. Hence my request for clarification.


Gisher wrote:
Could you list the two specific feats that increase natural armor bonus?

These can all give Natural Armor.With a little work you could gain 3 of them but it's kind of pointless since Improved Natural Armor can be taken multiple times.

Armor of the Pit (Tiefling)
Improved Natural Armor
Ironhide
Mother's Gift
Angelic Flesh


Okay.

Armor of the Pit, Ironhide, and Angelic Flesh all grant NA Bonuses rather than increase your NA Bonus. They would not stack with each other. Mother's Gift and Improved Natural Armor specifically state that they increase your NA Bonus, so they would stack with each other as well as any one of the other three.


Benn Roe wrote:
It sounds like you guys all agree with my understanding of the rules, but what I really need is citation from books about this (or a FAQ entry) so I can take it to the Hero Lab guys to get them to fix it. Where is any of this actually said in a book? I know about the chart in magic armour, but that isn't terribly explicit. Thanks, regardless!

Give us the specific example. Every time I disagree with their rulings I also tend to break it down and explain why. Rather than saying this overall ruling is wrong you might need to say why a specific combo in herolab is wrong.

Dark Archive

Blakmane wrote:
Perhaps you can give an in-game example of how your interpretation differs from theirs? At the moment it seems to me more like an issue of semantics.

The example the Hero Lab developer gave was a bugbear with three levels of draconic sorcerer. Bugbears have a +3 natural armour bonus to AC. At 3rd level, a draconic sorcerer gets a +1 natural armour bonus to AC. The developer believes the bugbear sorcerer now has a "+4 untyped bonus to natural armour" and I believe it still has a +3 total natural armour bonus to AC.

Chemlak wrote:

Increase to natural armour bonus stacks with enhancement bonus to natural armour bonus and with natural armour bonus, and probably stacks with increase to natural armour bonus, too.

It's that last point that's in question. If I have two feats that "increase natural armour bonus" do they stack with each other? Lone Wolf Development believe that an increase to natural armour bonus is an untyped bonus that therefore stacks with all others. (I happen to agree.) But it might be wrong.

This actually isn't the issue. I don't dispute that an effect that grants an "increase to natural armour" effectively stacks with natural armour. That's the only way I can even think to read that. I'm talking about actual natural armour bonuses. Here are some quotes from the developer in question:

"Almost all bonuses to natural armor that I can think of are untyped (and should be stacking already), with the exception of amulets of natural armor and the barkskin spell (both of which are enhancement bonuses and normally don't stack)."

"I'm not aware of any rules saying untyped natural armor bonuses don't stack with each other, could you give me a citation where you saw that?"

"I can't find a corresponding entry in the core rulebook that states natural armor is a bonus. I realize it is referred to as the "natural armor bonus" throughout, but I thought Natural armor was a secondary attribute (like the "initiative bonus"), because it can accrue bonuses of various types of its own. On a quick review I see things granting both enhancement bonuses to natural armor and racial bonuses, but there may be more. Under the interpretation you advance, we'd need to make a distinction between things which grant natural armor and things which improve it."

Gisher wrote:
Could you list the two specific feats that increase natural armor bonus?

I'm not worried about any particular feat or ability, nor am I worried about increases. This is just about the basic concept of whether "natural armour" is a type of bonus or an abstract component of AC.

Calth wrote:
http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/combat.html#ac-natural-armor

That link doesn't seem to support your position or mine. It doesn't call natural armour a bonus, even though it explicitly calls out dodge, enhancement, etc. as bonuses. And then it just says "If your race has a tough hide, scales, or thick skin you receive a bonus to your AC" which actually seems to support Lone Wolf's abstract untyped bonus to AC stance. I suspect it's just imprecise writing, and I appreciate your finding it for me, but it doesn't seem to draw the conclusion that either you or I want it to.

wraithstrike wrote:
Give us the specific example. Every time I disagree with their rulings I also tend to break it down and explain why. Rather than saying this overall ruling is wrong you might need to say why a specific combo in herolab is wrong.

There actually isn't a specific example in this case. I'm programming a class of my own design into Hero Lab and I asked if anyone had thoughts on how to break the system-wide rule of natural armour bonuses not stacking since the class has an ability that allows natural armour bonuses to stack with one another. I was told that Hero Lab already breaks that rule because natural armour bonuses already stack with one another. See the above quotes for the exact wording.

Sorry if I'm coming across as obstinate. (: The problem I have just isn't any more complicated than the question I posed in the OP. I can't find strong supporting evidence for or against my opinion in any books, so I've yet again come to the internet for help.


The link I gave you is all there is, and it is sufficient. The text says bonus, so its a bonus, and therefore a type.

Dark Archive

Calth wrote:
The link I gave you is all there is, and it is sufficient. The text says bonus, so its a bonus, and therefore a type.

It does say bonus, but it doesn't say type. And type does not necessarily follow from bonus. I agree with your reading, but untyped bonuses do exist and the absence of the word "type" is fundamental to the difference of opinion you and I have with Lone Wolf.


If the words come before bonus, its a type, that's how pathfinder typing works in pathfinder. Take the sacred type, its not listed in that section but still exists. If the effect is phrased +X words bonus, the words define a type, always, zero exception.

Heres a FAQ confirming multiple natural armor bonuses don't stack:

Summoner: Can a synthesist (page 80) use the aspect ability to apply the improved natural armor evolution to himself? Will this stack with the improved natural armor of the eidolon-suit?

A synthesist can use aspect to increase his own natural armor. However, when fused, he gains the eidolon's natural armor bonus, so this doesn't stack with his own natural armor bonus.

(Using the ability in this way is still useful for times when the eidolon is banished, dead, or dismissed.)


Benn Roe wrote:
Calth wrote:
The link I gave you is all there is, and it is sufficient. The text says bonus, so its a bonus, and therefore a type.
It does say bonus, but it doesn't say type. And type does not necessarily follow from bonus. I agree with your reading, but untyped bonuses do exist and the absence of the word "type" is fundamental to the difference of opinion you and I have with Lone Wolf.

Not exactly in the rulebook, but the official Pathfinder character sheet lists Natural armor as a bonus in the AC add up.

If it were an untyped bonus, it'd belong in the misc modifier section.

But just in case, here's undeniable proof that natural armor is a bonus type.

It's from the PRD.


Benn Roe wrote:
Blakmane wrote:
Perhaps you can give an in-game example of how your interpretation differs from theirs? At the moment it seems to me more like an issue of semantics.
The example the Hero Lab developer gave was a bugbear with three levels of draconic sorcerer. Bugbears have a +3 natural armour bonus to AC. At 3rd level, a draconic sorcerer gets a +1 natural armour bonus to AC. The developer believes the bugbear sorcerer now has a "+4 untyped bonus to natural armour" and I believe it still has a +3 total natural armour bonus to AC.

You are correct about the Bugbear.


Gisher wrote:

Okay.

Armor of the Pit, Ironhide, and Angelic Flesh all grant NA Bonuses rather than increase your NA Bonus. They would not stack with each other. Mother's Gift and Improved Natural Armor specifically state that they increase your NA Bonus, so they would stack with each other as well as any one of the other three.

Natural armor bonuses often stack in the rules. Look at Improved Natural Armor eidolon: it a +2 bonus to its natural armor, can be taken multiple times AND adds to the base natural armor all eidolon have.

Also "Armor Class: A juju zombie gains a +3 bonus to its natural armor over the base creature's natural armor bonus."

Interestingly, the examples of natural armor types in the books actually aren't natural armor bonuses. They are both enhancement bonuses. I have to wonder if the intent was for natural armor bonuses to stack or not when they make abilities that seem to assume they stack.

Shadow Lodge

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Scavion wrote:

But just in case, here's undeniable proof that natural armor is a bonus type.

It's from the PRD.

This really should settle the issue.

graystone wrote:

Natural armor bonuses often stack in the rules. Look at Improved Natural Armor eidolon: it a +2 bonus to its natural armor, can be taken multiple times AND adds to the base natural armor all eidolon have.

Also "Armor Class: A juju zombie gains a +3 bonus to its natural armor over the base creature's natural armor bonus."

Interestingly, the examples of natural armor types in the books actually aren't natural armor bonuses. They are both enhancement bonuses. I have to wonder if the intent was for natural armor bonuses to stack or not when they make abilities that seem to assume they stack.

Those are not natural armour bonuses. They are bonuses to natural armour. As much of a pain as the similar wording is, the only interpretation that makes any kind of common sense is that "bonus to natural armour" = "increase your natural armour bonus" =/= "natural armour bonus." Because natural armour is a bonus type that does not stack.

Benn Roe wrote:

I don't dispute that an effect that grants an "increase to natural armour" effectively stacks with natural armour. That's the only way I can even think to read that. I'm talking about actual natural armour bonuses. Here are some quotes from the developer in question:

"Almost all bonuses to natural armor that I can think of are untyped (and should be stacking already), with the exception of amulets of natural armor and the barkskin spell (both of which are enhancement bonuses and normally don't stack)."

"I'm not aware of any rules saying untyped natural armor bonuses don't stack with each other, could you give me a citation where you saw that?"

"I can't find a corresponding entry in the core rulebook that states natural armor is a bonus. I realize it is referred to as the "natural armor bonus" throughout, but I thought Natural armor was a secondary attribute (like the "initiative bonus"), because it can accrue bonuses of various types of its own. On a quick review I see things granting both enhancement bonuses to natural armor and racial bonuses, but there may be more."

A natural armour bonus is not untyped. Its type is natural armour.

An enhancement bonus to your natural armour is like an enhancement bonus on your armour. It stacks with the nat ac, but not other enhancement bonuses. I don't see any arguments that armour bonuses should stack or you'd have paladins throwing Mage Armour on top of their plate.

A bonus to your natural armour (or increase of your natural armour) appears to be an untyped bonus to your natural armour, which stacks with other such bonuses.

I'm really not sure how the developer missed the fact that natural armour is a bonus type. I could see some confusion over whether a "bonus to natural armour" is intended to stack given that natural armour is a bonus type, except that the examples greystone gave (Eidolon Improved Natural Armour and the Juju zombie) are clearly intended to stack, one explicitly and the other because why else take it twice? Comparing it to the initiative bonus is really odd - it's called that because it's a bonus to a d20 roll, like a skill bonus or an attack bonus. Natural armour is used in a completely different way.

Benn Roe wrote:
"Under the interpretation you advance, we'd need to make a distinction between things which grant natural armor and things which improve it."

Yes, that's exactly what you need to do. It's a bit messy but them's the rules.


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Here is how this works and it confused me at one time also. A +3 natural armor bonus, and a +3 bonus to natural armor are not the same thing.

A +__ natural armor bonus is not adding anything. It is setting a number as the actual natural armor bonus so you would take whichever is higher.

A +__ bonus to natural armor is an actual increase to the existing natural armor bonus.

As an example Form of the Dragon:

Quote:
You become a Medium chromatic or metallic dragon. You gain a +4 size bonus to Strength, a +2 size bonus to Constitution, a +4 natural armor bonus

.

This sets your natural armor bonus at +4.

Now look at the ability evolution that improves your natural armor bonus.

Quote:
Improved Natural Armor (Ex): An eidolon's hide grows thick fur, rigid scales, or bony plates, giving it a +2 bonus to its natural armor. This evolution can be taken once for every five levels the summoner possesses.

This one is an increase to what you already have.


I'm going to point out the main distinctions.

1. Natural Armor Bonus ala a monster(or Eidolon's) base Natural armor or gained through a template. These do not stack.
2. An enhancement bonus to natural armor ala Amulet of Natural Armor. These do not stack.
3. An increase to preexisting natural armor ala an Eidolon's Improved Natural Armor or the feat Improved Natural Armor. These stack as they are untyped. See spoiler for details.

Improved Natural Armor(Eidolon Version) text:
"An eidolon’s hide grows thick fur, rigid scales, or bony plates, giving it a +2 bonus to its natural armor."

Note the distinction between a "+2 bonus to it's natural armor" and a "+2 Natural Armor Bonus." I know it seems like semantics, but it's literally how it's written to function that way.

Also, the hero lab guys get things wrong all the time. Do not use them as a valid source for rules clarification.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Benn Roe wrote:
The example the Hero Lab developer gave was a bugbear with three levels of draconic sorcerer. Bugbears have a +3 natural armour bonus to AC. At 3rd level, a draconic sorcerer gets a +1 natural armour bonus to AC. The developer believes the bugbear sorcerer now has a "+4 untyped bonus to natural armour" and I believe it still has a +3 total natural armour bonus to AC.

Monster Races cause a lot of needless rules arguments and this whole thread is why they aren't good choices for people who get hung up with rules coherency.

The Bugbear has a natural racial ability that gives it natural armor. So the draconic sorcerer level is a class enhancement to it's natural armor. What won't stack with the class effect, is an an amulet that gives the same type of enhancement, or would the spell barkskin.


LazarX wrote:
Benn Roe wrote:
The example the Hero Lab developer gave was a bugbear with three levels of draconic sorcerer. Bugbears have a +3 natural armour bonus to AC. At 3rd level, a draconic sorcerer gets a +1 natural armour bonus to AC. The developer believes the bugbear sorcerer now has a "+4 untyped bonus to natural armour" and I believe it still has a +3 total natural armour bonus to AC.

Monster Races cause a lot of needless rules arguments and this whole thread is why they aren't good choices for people who get hung up with rules coherency.

The Bugbear has a natural racial ability that gives it natural armor. So the draconic sorcerer level is a class enhancement to it's natural armor. What won't stack with the class effect, is an an amulet that gives the same type of enhancement, or would the spell barkskin.

Uh, draconic sorcerers don't get a "class enhancement" they just get a straight natural armor bonus that doesn't stack with other natural armor bonuses. Its why draconic is a poor choice for races that get energy resistances and/or natural armor, since you have redundant features.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Calth wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Benn Roe wrote:
The example the Hero Lab developer gave was a bugbear with three levels of draconic sorcerer. Bugbears have a +3 natural armour bonus to AC. At 3rd level, a draconic sorcerer gets a +1 natural armour bonus to AC. The developer believes the bugbear sorcerer now has a "+4 untyped bonus to natural armour" and I believe it still has a +3 total natural armour bonus to AC.

Monster Races cause a lot of needless rules arguments and this whole thread is why they aren't good choices for people who get hung up with rules coherency.

The Bugbear has a natural racial ability that gives it natural armor. So the draconic sorcerer level is a class enhancement to it's natural armor. What won't stack with the class effect, is an an amulet that gives the same type of enhancement, or would the spell barkskin.

Uh, draconic sorcerers don't get a "class enhancement" they just get a straight natural armor bonus that doesn't stack with other natural armor bonuses. Its why draconic is a poor choice for races that get energy resistances and/or natural armor, since you have redundant features.

The draconic bloodline gives you a natural armor bonus by toughening up your skin. Humans have a natural armor bonus of +0. Bugbears just happen to have one at +3.

Now I'd never make a Bugbear draconic sorcerer simply because I don't think the bugbear is a good thematic theme match. Kobolds, yes, bugbears, nah.


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The Draconic Bloodline Natural Armor Bonus would not stack with a Bugbear's Natural Armor Bonus.

Natural Armor Bonuses do not stack. You take the better.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Scavion wrote:

The Draconic Bloodline Natural Armor Bonus would not stack with a Bugbear's Natural Armor Bonus.

Natural Armor Bonuses do not stack. You take the better.

Only that it does as it's an increase:

PRD wrote:
Natural Armor Increase (Ex): As his skin thickens, a dragon disciple takes on more and more of his progenitor's physical aspect. At 1st, 4th, and 7th level, a dragon disciple gains an increase to the character's existing natural armor (if any), as indicated on Table: Dragon Disciple. These armor bonuses stack.

Emphasis mine.

Ruyan.


RuyanVe wrote:
Scavion wrote:

The Draconic Bloodline Natural Armor Bonus would not stack with a Bugbear's Natural Armor Bonus.

Natural Armor Bonuses do not stack. You take the better.

Only that it does as it's an increase:

PRD wrote:
Natural Armor Increase (Ex): As his skin thickens, a dragon disciple takes on more and more of his progenitor's physical aspect. At 1st, 4th, and 7th level, a dragon disciple gains an increase to the character's existing natural armor (if any), as indicated on Table: Dragon Disciple. These armor bonuses stack.

Emphasis mine.

Ruyan.

Yes. The Dragon Disciple boost does stack. However, the Sorcerer Draconic Bloodline ability does not stack with another Natural Armor Bonus.


Quite frankly, we've adequately explained how the system works correctly. At this point, if Hero Labs refuses to correct their system based on their incorrect analysis, that's a failing on their part and their part alone.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Scavion wrote:
RuyanVe wrote:
Scavion wrote:

The Draconic Bloodline Natural Armor Bonus would not stack with a Bugbear's Natural Armor Bonus.

Natural Armor Bonuses do not stack. You take the better.

Only that it does as it's an increase:

PRD wrote:
Natural Armor Increase (Ex): As his skin thickens, a dragon disciple takes on more and more of his progenitor's physical aspect. At 1st, 4th, and 7th level, a dragon disciple gains an increase to the character's existing natural armor (if any), as indicated on Table: Dragon Disciple. These armor bonuses stack.

Emphasis mine.

Ruyan.

Yes. The Dragon Disciple boost does stack. However, the Sorcerer Draconic Bloodline ability does not stack with another Natural Armor Bonus.

My mistake. Sorry for the misreading.

Ruyan.

Dark Archive

I will point the developers to this thread. Thanks for all the help, guys! Almost all of you are reading natural armour the way I already understood it. I just want Hero Lab to be as accurate as possible because it's a great program, despite its bugs.


What I've been wondering about is: are increases to natural armor considered form-dependent? I've got a list of the major ones:

1) Mother's Gift: Racial (Changeling) feat, increases natural armor by 1.
2) Demonic Obedience: If they're obedient to Goguntula, the second boon is an increase by 3 natural armor.
3) Dragon Disciple: 1-3 bonus to natural armor, granted through prestige class levels.
4) Improved Natural Armor: Monster feat that increases natural armor by 1.

For the sake of keeping the area grey, let's assume it's a high-level druid with Beast of the Society, which can increase the duration of wild shape to greater than 24 hours.

Scarab Sages

Abilities that increase the base value instead of replacing it do stack.


Saint_Yin wrote:

What I've been wondering about is: are increases to natural armor considered form-dependent? I've got a list of the major ones:

1) Mother's Gift: Racial (Changeling) feat, increases natural armor by 1.
2) Demonic Obedience: If they're obedient to Goguntula, the second boon is an increase by 3 natural armor.
3) Dragon Disciple: 1-3 bonus to natural armor, granted through prestige class levels.
4) Improved Natural Armor: Monster feat that increases natural armor by 1.

For the sake of keeping the area grey, let's assume it's a high-level druid with Beast of the Society, which can increase the duration of wild shape to greater than 24 hours.

Expect a lot of table variation on this, but I would say:

1.) Yes, its a racial feat
2.) No, supernaturalish effect
3.) No, but this is a pretty grey area
4.) No, again a grey area

Scarab Sages

Calth wrote:

Expect a lot of table variation on this, but I would say:

1.) Yes, its a racial feat
2.) No, supernaturalish effect
3.) No, but this is a pretty grey area
4.) No, again a grey area

All of those abilities are increasing the base value, not applying an enhancement bonus or replacing the existing ability.

All will apply and stack.


Artanthos wrote:
Calth wrote:

Expect a lot of table variation on this, but I would say:

1.) Yes, its a racial feat
2.) No, supernaturalish effect
3.) No, but this is a pretty grey area
4.) No, again a grey area

All of those abilities are increasing the base value, not applying an enhancement bonus or replacing the existing ability.

All will apply and stack.

Hes asking an entirely different question, if they are form-dependent or not, thus if they still apply while under a polymorph. Most will, but the changeling racial feat should not.


Calth was correct: I am trying to get a general consensus of how "increase" effects interact with polymorph, which strips extraordinary/supernatural effects that are "form-dependent." Since form-dependence is not defined anywhere, getting a vote on what is or is not is generally the next best thing.

wraithstrike wrote:

Here is how this works and it confused me at one time also. A +3 natural armor bonus, and a +3 bonus to natural armor are not the same thing.

A +__ natural armor bonus is not adding anything. It is setting a number as the actual natural armor bonus so you would take whichever is higher.

A +__ bonus to natural armor is an actual increase to the existing natural armor bonus.

Quoted the above due to the extreme similarity in wording, and since it has not been denied (natural armor bonus != bonus to natural armor; bonus to natural armor == increase to natural armor), I'd like further clarification since it opens quite a few more venues of stacking exploitation. Specifically, all of the following have "bonus to natural armor" instead of natural armor bonus:

5) Ragechemist's Sturdy Rage: It provides a +4 bonus to natural armor, which makes some sense, what with the associated costs of ragechemist.

6) Serpentine Bloodline: As opposed to an earlier post discrediting it, Serpentine uses the same wording for Snakeskin.

7) Verdant Bloodline: The 15th level Rooting effect would be the case here.

8) Enhancement subschool: A wizard may choose a bonus to natural armor.

9) Skinwalker's Change Shape: This is actually a tough one for me to figure out. It's a supernatural effect that does not state it is a polymorph or related to any spell. Ruleswise, this makes it school-less and can be used at any time, since it clearly isn't form-dependent (you're changing it from whatever you are). It provides a "+1 racial bonus to natural armor." As intended, it'd be a bit easier to figure out.

10) Oread's Granite Skin: This alternate racial trait has the same wording as point 9, but is passively attached instead of gained through changing one's shape. Would a racial bonus to natural armor stack with natural armor bonuses?

After looking over each, I believe the ruling is most likely accurate, but would urge the use of "increase existing" instead of "bonus to" so it can more easily be navigated in the future. It helps that several of the sources also include that it does stack.

If possible, I'd also like a ruling on the form-dependency of each of the above, which is why they were numbered 5-10.


Saint_Yin wrote:

Calth was correct: I am trying to get a general consensus of how "increase" effects interact with polymorph, which strips extraordinary/supernatural effects that are "form-dependent." Since form-dependence is not defined anywhere, getting a vote on what is or is not is generally the next best thing.

wraithstrike wrote:

Here is how this works and it confused me at one time also. A +3 natural armor bonus, and a +3 bonus to natural armor are not the same thing.

A +__ natural armor bonus is not adding anything. It is setting a number as the actual natural armor bonus so you would take whichever is higher.

A +__ bonus to natural armor is an actual increase to the existing natural armor bonus.

Quoted the above due to the extreme similarity in wording, and since it has not been denied (natural armor bonus != bonus to natural armor; bonus to natural armor == increase to natural armor), I'd like further clarification since it opens quite a few more venues of stacking exploitation. Specifically, all of the following have "bonus to natural armor" instead of natural armor bonus:

5) Ragechemist's Sturdy Rage: It provides a +4 bonus to natural armor, which makes some sense, what with the associated costs of ragechemist.

6) Serpentine Bloodline: As opposed to an earlier post discrediting it, Serpentine uses the same wording for Snakeskin.

7) Verdant Bloodline: The 15th level Rooting effect would be the case here.

8) Enhancement subschool: A wizard may choose a bonus to natural armor.

9) Skinwalker's Change Shape: This is actually a tough one for me to...

From the recent ability score bonus FAQ we do indeed know that +x bonus to y is untyped, so they would stack with all +z natural armor bonuses. Some of these, like Snakeskin probably shouldn't be worded that way, but as written they stack.

For polymorph eligibility:
1.) Racial, form-dependent
2.) Not a class feature, nor racial, not form-dependent
3.) Passive class feature, probably form-dependent (Change from above after re-reading)
4.) Not a class feature, nor racial, not form-dependent
5.) Not form-dependent
6.) Not form-dependent
7.) Passive Class feature, Form-dependent
8.) Not form-dependent
9.) Racial, form-dependent
10.) Racial, form-dependent

Here's the relevant rule blurb:

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.

I am reading this to mean any racial bonus is form-dependent, which is pretty obvious. I also take the class feature to read that any passive class features that are always on would also be removed.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Saint_Yin wrote:

Calth was correct: I am trying to get a general consensus of how "increase" effects interact with polymorph, which strips extraordinary/supernatural effects that are "form-dependent." Since form-dependence is not defined anywhere, getting a vote on what is or is not is generally the next best thing.

wraithstrike wrote:

Here is how this works and it confused me at one time also. A +3 natural armor bonus, and a +3 bonus to natural armor are not the same thing.

A +__ natural armor bonus is not adding anything. It is setting a number as the actual natural armor bonus so you would take whichever is higher.

A +__ bonus to natural armor is an actual increase to the existing natural armor bonus.

It's the same wording as all bonuses. As best I can tell, the syntax is "+(value) (type(if any)) bonus to (score)"

So a "+x natural armor bonus to AC" is a typed bonus to AC, whereas a "+x (untyped) bonus to natural armor" is an untyped bonus to the natural armor bonus. The extra word "bonus" at the end is omitted to avoid confusion. Just as bonuses to "attack bonus" are called "bonuses to attack" or "bonuses to hit."


The real problem is that bonuses are assigned to bonuses which make the wording very confusing. Sometimes it is called "Natural Armor" and other times it is called "Natural Armor Bonus" but officially it is always a "Natural Armor Bonus".

It gets even more confusing because you can stack things that you can't stack. You can have a lot of enhancement bonuses to your AC, even though enhancement bonuses don't stack.

You could have +1 Enhancement Bonus to the physical armor.
You could have +1 Enhancement Bonus to the physical shield.
You could have +1 Enhancement Bonus to natural armor.
You could have +2 Enhancement Bonus to dexterity.

So therefore you have added four enhancement bonuses to Armor Class, even though enhancement bonuses don't stack.

To make matters worse, each "bonus" part of the armor class can have any number of types assigned to it. Enhancement, luck, sacred, and untyped could all be added to any of the above examples.

All parts of the armor class are considered to be base +0, not null. As Mighty Khan stated, it is about the syntax.

Natural Armor, shield and armor bonuses work exactly the same way.

+2 Armor Bonus and +3 Armor Bonus do not stack.
+2 Bonus to Armor Bonus and +3 Bonus to Armor Bonus do stack.

+2 Natural Armor Bonus and +3 Natural Armor Bonus do not stack.
+2 Bonus to Natural Armor Bonus and +3 Bonus to Natural Armor Bonus do stack.

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