Wildshape and Natural Armor


Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

I need to clarify this:
When you wildshape into an animal, you follow the appropriate beastshape spell as well as the universal polymorph rules, which say armor bonuses no not continue working in the new form.

The question is: does this also apply to natural armor bonuses, such as from an Amulet of Natural Armor?


The Amulet of Natural Armor is a magical effect that would continue working even while polymorphed. But Beast Shape grants Natural Armor bonuses, and I don't think they would stack with your ANA.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Barkskin is specifically designed to stack:

Barkskin PRD:

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

Beast shape PRD:

+1 natural armor bonus.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Natural Armor like Armor comes in two flavors:

Natural Armor Bonus

Enhancement Bonus to Natural Armor

Bonuses within these categories don't stack but a bonus from one will stack with a bonus from the other.

When you use beast shape 1 w/Wild Shape and turn into a medium animal you gain:

Natural Attacks of that Form
Landspeed of that Form
Swim or Fly speed of the Form
Certain Senses of the Form
+2 Size Bonus to Strength
+2 Natural Armor Bonus

Gear would not transfer. So if you were wearing leather armor you would lose the +2 Armor Bonus.

If you are wearing an Amulet of Natural Armor +1 this bonus would apply in both your normal form and in your Wild Shape.

If you then cast Barkskin on yourself, which at level 4 gives you a +2 enhancement bonus to Natural Armor, it would override the +1 Enhancement Bonus to Natural Armor from the amulet and replace it with a +2 from Barkskin. In that situation you would get +2 Natural Armor from Wild Shape +2 Enhancement bonus to Natural Armor from Barkskin. When the Barkskin fades you would get +2 Natural Armor from Wild Shape and +1 Enhancement bonus to Natural Armor from the amulet.


Natural Armor = Natural Armor, it does not = Armor.

So, if you wear anything which gives you an Armor bonus (not a Natural Armor bonus) it does not work when merged with you due to a polymorph effect unless you have a different effect that states it does (such as the Wild property).

What you cannot use if it is merged:
Armor and Shield bonuses.

What you can use if it is merged and provides a constant bonus:
Natural Armor, Enhancement to Natural Armor, Deflection, Insight, Luck, Sacred/Profane, and Dodge bonuses.


Taenia wrote:


Gear would not transfer. So if you were wearing leather armor you would lose the +2 Armor Bonus.

This is why any Druid worth mentioning is wearing Wild Dragonhide fullplate (or stoneplate for cost savers) as soon as monetarily possible.


If they're going for combat that is.


There's 0 downside to having more AC regardless of whether they are going for combat or not. And the amount of AC you get for the cost invested is simply to good to pass up for anything else.


If you have any favorite forms, you can have barding armor made for you while in that form. Natural Armor bonuses do stack with regular armor bonuses.

Get a Wand of Swift Girding and either dip into a class that has that on the spell list or prevail upon an ally who does to dress you for battle. as a Standard Action.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

The Ice Armor spell is a nice stop-gap before you get Wild armor.


Anzyr wrote:
And the amount of AC you get for the cost invested is simply to good to pass up for anything else.

I'm not so sure. You're paying 19,000 gp and a feat for 4 AC over Ice Armor.

You can get a Ring of Protection +3 for 18k and pick up Dodge and now I suddenly have the same AC bonus for 1,000gp less. Better, 4 of that also applies against touch attacks! Of course, this is assuming I WANT to spend all of that on AC. Personally I can think of many magic items I would rather have over a +3 Ring, and many feats I would rather take over Dodge.


Sorry but, that isn't RAW. RAW, the feat is not needed, because you are no longer wearing the armor. In fact RAW is very clear that only the armor bonus is retained:

Wild wrote:
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.

And yes I think 19k for +6 AC over mage armor is well worth it. Compare the cost of other ways to get +6 AC. It's ridiculously low.


Anzyr wrote:
Sorry but, that isn't RAW. RAW, the feat is not needed, because you are no longer wearing the armor. And yes I think 19k for +6 AC over mage armor is well worth it. Compare the cost of other ways to get +6 AC. It's ridiculously low.

If you want to ignore developers and argue exclusively RAW then I say the feat is even more important:

Polymorph Subschool wrote:
When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. 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 and shield bonuses, which cease to function).

'Melds' isn't defined as game term outside of this section. According to this section, when gear 'Melds':

1) Armor and shield bonuses cease functioning.
2) Activated items cannot be used.

Nothing in this section states that penalties cease to have any effect when gear melds. As such, by RAW you still have your Armor Check Penalty. Without Heavy Armor Proficiency, you're now taking a -6 penalty on all your attacks. Have fun!


Words still have their English meanings. If something is melded to your body, you are no longer wearing it. If you are no wearing Armor there is no armor check penalty. Full stop. That's how the English language works.

Armor Check Penalty wrote:
Nonproficient with Armor Worn: A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he is not proficient takes the armor's (and/or shield's) armor check penalty on attack rolls as well as on all Dex- and Str-based ability and skill checks. The penalty for non-proficiency with armor stacks with the penalty for shields.

Unless you want to argue people who are not wearing armor should have armor check penalties. I'm going to need some language to support that claim.


Sean H, James is not on the PDT(rules team), and he has said his words are not to be used as rules clarification. <---common knowledge aroudn here.
Only the PDT gets to make rules. James has even said some board members know the rules better than he does. That does not mean he has no understanding of the rules, but his words do not matter any more than ours in a rules debate.

edit: Even PDT members have been countered by official post, so yeah um that James statement has 0 relevance for official purposes.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

You will experience table variance on whether or not you can wear Dragonhide Full plate with Wild ability while wild shaped without applying armor check penalty.

In my games you may do so RAW.

In other games the GM may have alternate versions of RAW that require the armor check penalty to apply.

James Jacobs had in the past made a comment if I remember correctly, that you should apply ACP but you probably should.

Ultimately, ask your GM.

Dark Archive

Polymorph says that if your new form can use the items you are wearing then the items change to fit your new form, Shifting into an elemental will allow you to still use all your items you are wearing. In the elemental entry it says elementals can be proficient in weapons an armor.

From Elementals Entry
Proficient with natural weapons only, unless generally humanoid in form, in which case proficient with all simple weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry.
Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Elementals not indicated as wearing armor are not proficient with armor. Elementals are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.

From Polymorph
Unless the new form is humanoid, all gear merges into the form.


Not exactly Shadowlords, you could polymorph into undead or monstrous humanoids and still keep your gear.

CRB p212 wrote:
When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body.

List of types not listed in the quote: Aberration, Construct, Fey, Monstrous Humanoid, Ooze, Outsider (that is not an elemental), Undead.

Of that list I can think of spells that allows you to change either the Monstrous Humanoid or Undead types. I do not know of any that allow you to become Aberrations, Constructs, Fey, Oozes, or non-Elemental Outsiders.

Summary: you do not have to change into Humanoid to keep your gear. You need to change into a type that is not listed in the quote.

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