Druids, Wildshape, and Bracers of Armor


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Although I could have put this in another thread, I feel this could be its own discussion.

So, let's say I'm a Druid who took a dip in Monk for Wisdom to AC, which applies when I'm Wildshaped. That's cool and powerful, and means I'm not bogged down by movement, versus the alternative: to wear Stoneplate.

Now, one item I've considered purchasing is Bracers of Armor, which provides a flat Armor Bonus to AC, and doesn't count as Armor (meaning no issues with the Monk benefits). However, I re-evaluated the Polymorph rules, and here's what the entry says:

Polymorph 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). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form.

If I'm correct, this means that if I Wildshape while wearing Bracers of Armor, the Bracers of Armor do not function? So does this mean that in order for me to acquire an Armor Bonus when Wildshaped, I need to cast a Mage Armor spell?


I think you could also give the bracers the wild armor property but that's going to be a really expensive way to do it.

Shadow Lodge

Correct. It's not armour that stops functioning, it's items providing armour bonuses, which includes the bracers.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Although I could have put this in another thread, I feel this could be its own discussion.

So, let's say I'm a Druid who took a dip in Monk for Wisdom to AC, which applies when I'm Wildshaped. That's cool and powerful, and means I'm not bogged down by movement, versus the alternative: to wear Stoneplate.

Now, one item I've considered purchasing is Bracers of Armor, which provides a flat Armor Bonus to AC, and doesn't count as Armor (meaning no issues with the Monk benefits). However, I re-evaluated the Polymorph rules, and here's what the entry says:

Polymorph 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). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form.
If I'm correct, this means that if I Wildshape while wearing Bracers of Armor, the Bracers of Armor do not function? So does this mean that in order for me to acquire an Armor Bonus when Wildshaped, I need to cast a Mage Armor spell?

Or you put on the wilding property on your bracers... or just chuck the affair and use the Barkskin spell.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Weirdo wrote:
Correct. It's not armour that stops functioning, it's items providing armour bonuses, which includes the bracers.

+1

This is the way I've always seen it work.

You keep the armor bonus, because it is a continuous bonus from an item.

In other words: one rule says "continuous effects work" and another says "armor bonuses don't work". Since for Stoneplate, there is no rule saying it is a continuous bonus or that it works. So the "armor bonus don't work" is the only rule.


Ian Bell wrote:
I think you could also give the bracers the wild armor property but that's going to be a really expensive way to do it.

Bah! Just take them off, wildshape, and have your buddies put them on the new form.

Liberty's Edge

Assuming the new form has arm slots that is. Mage armor is still going to be the better option for quite some time though, unless you plan on using specific armor enchantments instead of the standard enhancement bonus. And it doesn't work with monk levels, but if you're looking for a decent low level answer to the wild enchantment that isn't 4-5 different sets of barding, ice armor can be a really good use of a first level spell slot. Not quite the +9 AC that stone plate gives, but a solid +6 AC from a spell you can cast yourself. Just turn into whatever form is going to be useful, spam create water until you can flop around in it (or at least shape ice out of it), and instant armor for whatever shape you need it to be in.


Not that i ever find bracers to be cost effective, but...

you keep the armor.

That rule is there to account for the fact that your armor isn't there anymore because it merged into you. Your armor is still there and the spell still functions. Its a magical effect that gives you a bonus, not a suit of hide that has gone off into hammer space or formed your shiny new coat of fur.

Grand Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Not that i ever find bracers to be cost effective, but...

you keep the armor.

That rule is there to account for the fact that your armor isn't there anymore because it merged into you. Your armor is still there and the spell still functions. Its a magical effect that gives you a bonus, not a suit of hide that has gone off into hammer space or formed your shiny new coat of fur.

I agree that is likely the RAI, but it isn't the RAW. You lose armor bonuses, not bonuses from armors.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Le Petite Mort wrote:
I Agree that is likely the RAI, but it isn't the RAW. You lose armor bonuses, not bonuses from armors.

The cool thing is that thee is no "One True RAW".

So you are free to read "lose armor bonuses" as losing armor bonuses from armor.
Retaining armor bonuses from continuous magic items.


Is there someone in the party who can cast Mage Armor? If so just buy a wand and have them use it on you when you go beast mode.

Grand Lodge

James Risner wrote:
Le Petite Mort wrote:
I Agree that is likely the RAI, but it isn't the RAW. You lose armor bonuses, not bonuses from armors.

The cool thing is that thee is no "One True RAW".

So you are free to read "lose armor bonuses" as losing armor bonuses from armor.
Retaining armor bonuses from continuous magic items.

For a lot of rules in Pathfinder, I agree with you. Rule interactions can be so ambiguous that the ruling is essentially up to each GM. I don't think the language here is ambiguous.

It says you lose armor and shield bonuses. So, if I have a +3 mithral shadow chain shirt I lose all 7 of my armor bonus, and keep my +5 competence bonus to Stealth checks.

Any armor or shield bonuses granted by continuously active magical gear cease to function. It's the bonus type, not the source to which the text refers.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Le Petite Mort wrote:
I don't think the language here is ambiguous.

I can provide you a link to a post for every FAQ where someone said the language wasn't ambiguous for all previous FAQ answers.

Grand Lodge

James Risner wrote:
Le Petite Mort wrote:
I don't think the language here is ambiguous.
I can provide you a link to a post for every FAQ where someone said the language wasn't ambiguous for all previous FAQ answers.

The construction of this sentence is clear. I'm not sure if its what the author's meant to say, but it's what they said. This isn't a rhetorical argument, it's a lexical one.


Yeah it's not ambiguous. It's really easy to misread as you skim by, certainly I did that before this last druid I played, but it isn't ambiguous.


Ian Bell wrote:
Yeah it's not ambiguous. It's really easy to misread as you skim by, certainly I did that before this last druid I played, but it isn't ambiguous.

Fine. Take bracers off, wildshape, apply bracers.


Which is fine, until you have to switch to a new form mid-combat. Bracers are just a really awkward option here. A friend with a wand or saving for wild armor appropriate to your dex is the better option.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Note none of the armor suggestions work since he mentioned a level of Monk.

Part of the problem is what was intended by the author and what was actually written are often not the same thing. Editing for word count or just tightened up language can actually lead to a totally different meaning and this has come up before in Pathfinder.

I understand that the intention was to mean mundane armor bonus not all armor bonus. So you don't get the enhancement bonus from magic armor because it enhances the mundane armor itself, same with shield and their enhancement bonus. Instead is was written in simpler language which can easily argues that all armor bonuses don't work.


thorin001 wrote:
Ian Bell wrote:
I think you could also give the bracers the wild armor property but that's going to be a really expensive way to do it.
Bah! Just take them off, wildshape, and have your buddies put them on the new form.

Then you have the issue of the bracers not fitting.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Ian Bell wrote:
I think you could also give the bracers the wild armor property but that's going to be a really expensive way to do it.
Bah! Just take them off, wildshape, and have your buddies put them on the new form.
Then you have the issue of the bracers not fitting.

Nah, they resize, and the inside front cover of Animal Archive has guidance on which animal shapes have wrist slots to use (most of them.)

It works OK, especially if you stick almost entirely to a single form.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Then you have the issue of the bracers not fitting.

Nope, it resizes.

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