So, what it says in the title. Mithral medium armor counts as light for 'the purpose of movement and other limitations.' Note that it doesn't simultaneously count as medium for those things, otherwise a ranger in mithral heavy armor would be wearing medium and heavy armor for the purpose of his combat style, and it would cease to function while he's wearing it. Obviously this is not the case. Mithral heavy counts as medium, and only medium for the purpose of 'movement and other limitations'. Thus, if an ability has limitations on what sort of armor it can be used with, the armor counts only as the lighter category.
Defender of the Society is clearly limited to function only in medium or heavy armor. This is a limitation of the trait, and thus sorts under the 'other limitations' clause. This, of course, means that mithral breastplate counts as light armor for the purpose of the trait, so it doesn't function.
Yet I've had multiple players who insist that this works, and that it is officially allowed in PFS, even. They failed to dig up somewhere that verified it, but they seemed to believe pretty ardently that they were right, and they're not stupid people.
Could someone explain to me why I'm wrong?
It's a game, for starters. I'm of the opinion that the cost of mithral should not in any way penalize the character. Defender of the Society's AC bonus is a result of the training you've received from the society on how to maximize the effectiveness of your armor. It is NOT a result of the weight of the armor, so why would the armor being lighter have any impact on that training?
Contrary to the RAW hard-liners opinions here, flavor text DOES matter, and it's in situations like this, where multiple rules interact, that the flavor text can be used to help determine the proper result of that interaction.
I recall, at one point, either JB or SKR mentioned that if you have two options available to you, and you aren't otherwise obligated to choose one over the other, you may take the option that is circumstantially more beneficial to your character. As such, you can "parse out" the Mithral medium armor's benefit as applying as light armor for the purpose of movement and some limitations, but retaining its functionality as medium armor for the purpose of DotS and similar rules elements.
This means that mithral armor allows its wearer to use it when her own class features or special abilities demand her to wear lighter armor; in other words, the character wearing the armor is less limited. For example, a bard can cast spells in mithral breastplate without arcane spell failure, a barbarian can use her fast movement in mithral fullplate, a ranger can use his combat style in mithral fullplate, brawlers, swashbucklers, and gunslingers can keep their nimble bonus in mithral breastplate, rogues keep evasion in mithral breastplate, a brawler can flurry in mithral breastplate, characters without Endurance can sleep in mithral breastplate without becoming fatigued, and so on. It does not change the armor’s actual category, which means that you can still store a creature one size category larger in a hosteling mithral fullplate, and you can’t enhance a mithral breastplate with special abilities that require it to be light armor, like brawling (though you could enhance it with special abilities that require it to be medium armor), and so on.
The operative word here is "allows". The character is less limited. So, wearing a Mithral Heavy Armor, when Ranger combat style asks, "Are you wearing Medium or lighter armor?" you can answer "yes" and, simultaneously, if another rules element asks, "Are you wearing Heavy armor?" you can also answer, "Yes". The same applies to the Mithral Medium Armor and DotS; "Are you wearing Light or No armor?" Yes. "Are you wearing Medium or Heavy armor?" Also, yes.
I think the key line there is, "It does not change the armor’s actual category" So despite moving faster and having different armor check penalties than the norm, the armor is still a medium armor and qualifies for the trait.
Think of it this way, the trait does a check against your equipped armor, if the check comes up with the category of medium or heavy than it activates. The fact that the Mithral special property alters things after that category check is not relevant to the trait.
It still counts as medium for what you can wear, it seems to count as light only for negative limitations on you. It implies movement-related limitations such as armor check and encumbrance.
No doubt there are other edge cases, such as Defender of the Society, where it is not clear.
I usually default to PFS if I am not sure.
There was a thread about adding an armor special ability that is only allowed on light armor to a mithral breastplate. Was that ever resolved with a FAQ ? If so, it might shed some light on this case too.
EDIT: I found this thread. Someone asks about Defender of the Society in it.
EDIT2: Further edits Ninja'd by Nefreet
Yes, Defender of the Society works while wearing a Mithral Breastplate.
It (Mithral) does not change the armor’s actual category, which means that you can still store a creature one size category larger in a hosteling mithral fullplate, and you can’t enhance a mithral breastplate with special abilities that require it to be light armor, like brawling (though you could enhance it with special abilities that require it to be medium armor), and so on.
Also, HERE is Mark Seifter's "personal opinion" in the thread that ultimately resulted in this FAQ.
Hm. I figured it would not count as medium for the trait, just like it does not count as medium for a light-armor-only class feature.
Still... I may have been wrong about this, but I was right about one thing.
Even smart people can be wrong about things. ^_^
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One other important point, since the original poster mentioned PFS:
The PFS legal version of that trait (from the Faction Guide) has a requirement of "fighter". So paladins, clerics, cavaliers, etc. can't take it.
(The version of the trait from the Shattered Star player's guide does not have that limitation so if it's a home game I'd probably allow it.)
Well, you made a bunch of statements then asked someone to explain why you are wrong. I do not think that you are wrong. Per the FAQ it sounds pretty much in line with how the other effects are said to work.
...sorry if I didn't post what you were looking for.
I was going to get a Mithril, Brawling, Breastplate. Too bad, but now I know.
Scott: I know how you feel. I had it hit one of my concepts pretty hard. But think about it positively: now you can get a Mithral Chain Shirt earlier instead because it is cheaper.
For me it wasn't so easy. My concept was also a Maneuver Master Monk and he was going to wear a Mithral Brawling Breastplate. Not only can that not exist but even if he wore a Mithral Chain Shirt he still loses his Flurry of Maneuvers now due to the errata. :(
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Lune wrote:Both turn off flurry of maneuvers. :(Actually, they don't. FoM isn't contingent on wearing no armor (nor using Monk weapons) like FoB is.
Considering I played one and almost every GM said "you are limited" but since it didn't say I was limited, they relented. Now I see after errata it says so. I was wrong all those years and didn't know it.