Permanent Mage Armor


Advice

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Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

One of my players, a sorcerer, has asked about being allowed to cast Permanency on his Mage Armor. I don't see this as particularly game-breaking. It's virtually permanent now, given the duration and number of encounters between rest stops, and would really just free up a first level spell slot.

Am I missing something, or would you allow it? If you did allow it, would you price it per the spell or adjust it?


I'd allow it. I'd make it cost 2,500. It looks several level one spells on the list cost that much to make permanent.

Dark Archive

with a lesser extend rod and level 1 runestone of power my Mage Armor lasts for 26 hours each casting.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'd allow it, and strongly consider a discount since it's practically permanent already. Something like 20% off.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Bracers of armor +4 cost 16.000 gp but can be further enchanted


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Kinda hard to explain to you're (imaginary) wife though.
"Are you taking off your magic armor before coming to bed?"
"No, I made it permanent!"
"Well you better find somewhere else to sleep then."
"Oh."

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thanks, everyone. I'm going to let him do it.

The Raven Black wrote:
Bracers of armor +4 cost 16.000 gp but can be further enchanted

I also looked at that as a comparable thing. I told him he can figure out how to make Mage Armor permanent but I doubled the cost vs. the other first level spells. They're not hurting for gold so everyone will be happy with this arrangement.


Well bracers of armour +4 are pretty terrible if you're actually a wizard with access to mage armour, so as long as you rule it's one of those spells only able to be made permanent on the caster it shouldn't be an issue. The bracers are for if you want armour enchantments or have some weird build where you can't wear armour, yet still care about AC (so monks maybe?)


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I assume he's looking to retrain the spell once he's done with his permanent casting.

Said player should be reminded that the permanency and attached spell aren't immune to a dispel magic.


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Should cost bare minimum 32,000 gp.

If they're cool with that, then go for it.

Grand Lodge

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My sorcerer rocks +3 silken armor and doesn't bother with mage armor. Not really practical, but totally in character.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

yeah I think 2.5 to 5k is about right. Really your sorcerer shouldn't be worrying about AC by the time he's thinking about permanent spells, and since he has 6-7 level 1's a day, just casting it will probably result in it being effectively permanent anyways there are no OP issues. Even with this, his ring of Prot and ANA, his AC is what? 20 max? A CR 10 monster has a to hit of 18, so he's going to get hit almost every time anyways.


j b 200 wrote:
yeah I think 2.5 to 5k is about right. Really your sorcerer shouldn't be worrying about AC by the time he's thinking about permanent spells, and since he has 6-7 level 1's a day, just casting it will probably result in it being effectively permanent anyways there are no OP issues. Even with this, his ring of Prot and ANA, his AC is what? 20 max? A CR 10 monster has a to hit of 18, so he's going to get hit almost every time anyways.

So you're okay with giving him a 16,000gp item for 2,500 that doesn't take up a slot?

As far as permanency goes, I'm fairly certain that one couldn't make permanent any spell that grants a numerical bonus, or that numerical bonus will be subject to pricing based on its value.

True Stike ring et. nauseum.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Magic Fang can be made permanent, so numerical bonuses are allowed. It doesn't even scale the price to bonus.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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The big weakness of permanent mage armor is one dispel magic and your permanent spell is gone forever. Magic items are only suppressed if dispelled.

It's really not the same as a true strike ring or other broken items.


ryric wrote:

The big weakness of permanent mage armor is one dispel magic and your permanent spell is gone forever. Magic items are only suppressed if dispelled.

It's really not the same as a true strike ring or other broken items.

But greater magic fang cannot correct?


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Greater Magic Fang is on the list.

The reason it's ok is because the duration is so long that it is effectively permanent already. As I said above, it doesn't really matter because their AC is still going to be way to low to be much protection anyways. At mid levels a sorcerer should be using miss-chances or other non-AC effects to prevent hits. If he's depending on AC to stay upright he's already in deep sh!t.


master_marshmallow wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
yeah I think 2.5 to 5k is about right. Really your sorcerer shouldn't be worrying about AC by the time he's thinking about permanent spells, and since he has 6-7 level 1's a day, just casting it will probably result in it being effectively permanent anyways there are no OP issues. Even with this, his ring of Prot and ANA, his AC is what? 20 max? A CR 10 monster has a to hit of 18, so he's going to get hit almost every time anyways.

So you're okay with giving him a 16,000gp item for 2,500 that doesn't take up a slot?

As far as permanency goes, I'm fairly certain that one couldn't make permanent any spell that grants a numerical bonus, or that numerical bonus will be subject to pricing based on its value.

True Stike ring et. nauseum.

It's vastly less powerful than Braces of Armor since a single Dispel Magic means they're gone forever.

Scarab Sages

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Just use a wand. One hour durations are fine for adventuring, and if it gets dispelled, you can pop another charge.


master_marshmallow wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
yeah I think 2.5 to 5k is about right. Really your sorcerer shouldn't be worrying about AC by the time he's thinking about permanent spells, and since he has 6-7 level 1's a day, just casting it will probably result in it being effectively permanent anyways there are no OP issues. Even with this, his ring of Prot and ANA, his AC is what? 20 max? A CR 10 monster has a to hit of 18, so he's going to get hit almost every time anyways.
So you're okay with giving him a 16,000gp item for 2,500 that doesn't take up a slot?

The real benefit is freeing up a level 1 spell known slot and one spell used. A 1st level Page of Spell Knowledge to get a new spell is only 1k, and a 1st level Runestone of Power to get your slot back is 2k, so 3k is the real opportunity cost. Unless he's worried about his stuff being stolen that would be a smarter (and more flexible) way to do it than Permanency.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thanks for the extra discussion. It's great to see different opinions on cost. I'm not sure what his reasoning is. It wasn't that long ago that he got access to permanency and I think he's just enjoying it.


Permanent true strike is super expensive because it's a huge bonus that stacks, mage armour is inferior to most actual armour and doesn't stack with armour.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What's wrong with getting a pearl of power or two and recasting it to last all day? They're like 500gp each to craft.


Why not just lesser rod of extend and cast it once a day?


Ravingdork wrote:
What's wrong with getting a pearl of power or two and recasting it to last all day? They're like 500gp each to craft.

Sorcerers technically can't use pearls iirc. Which is a load but explains why the player might be trying to permanency it.

Scarab Sages

Then just use a Runestone of power instead. It's twice as much, but that just makes it 1000 gp to craft instead of 500.


Imbicatus wrote:
Then just use a Runestone of power instead. It's twice as much, but that just makes it 1000 gp to craft instead of 500.

True. Honestly I never saw the Runestones of Power though and maybe the OP hasn't either or they might not be legal since they're in a PFS book. But yeah that plus a rod of extend would do the trick for permanent Mage Armor without a houserule.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Correct, I wasn't aware of the Rhinestones of Power. But really, I'm not looking for alternatives for him. He wants to cast permanency on it, that's fine with me. I'm not sure this is technically a houserule, since the spell already allows for GM permitting additional spells to be covered.


I don't understand people who treat permanent Mage Armour as equivalent to slotless +4 bracers.
The big difference is dispel magic. Magic items survive being dispelled, permanent spells may not.

If you are unlucky your permanent mage armour might get wiped on the first encounter and leave you with nothing.


gnomersy wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Then just use a Runestone of power instead. It's twice as much, but that just makes it 1000 gp to craft instead of 500.
True. Honestly I never saw the Runestones of Power though and maybe the OP hasn't either or they might not be legal since they're in a PFS book. But yeah that plus a rod of extend would do the trick for permanent Mage Armor without a houserule.

They also got printed in the ACG, as well.

Scarab Sages

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Mighty Squash wrote:

I don't understand people who treat permanent Mage Armour as equivalent to slotless +4 bracers.

The big difference is dispel magic. Magic items survive being dispelled, permanent spells may not.

If you are unlucky your permanent mage armour might get wiped on the first encounter and leave you with nothing.

Two reasons: one, the magic item economy is designed on permancy only being available on the spells covered. Two: yes it can be dispelled, but I view dispelling a permenant effect in the same category as sundering a fighter's weapon, a wizard's spell book, or forcing a paladin to kick a puppy. It's a loss of character power at GM whim, and players hate that. I'd rather disallow something up front than allow it and then take it away and make the player deal with the lost resource.


Greater Dispel is just a standard tactic, not GM whim, and can easily take down your permanent spells when a BBEG does it. I agree that a targeted basic dispel just against a typical permanent spell is poor tactics and GM BS if it happens.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
Greater Dispel is just a standard tactic, not GM whim, and can easily take down your permanent spells when a BBEG does it. I agree that a targeted basic dispel just against a typical permanent spell is poor tactics and GM BS if it happens.

In the 20 years of play I've experienced, I've not ever been targeted by that spell.


Regular dispel magic only hits one spell, of the highest levels first.

Mage Armor is a 1st level spell and unless your mage casts literally no other buffs then mage armor will not be hit by dispel magic.

Greater dispel will hit 2-4 usually, so underneath flight, defensive buffs like displacement/mirror image, and/or invisibility chances are mage armor is staying right where it is.

Dispel Magic existing is not the justifying argument. For that matter no magic items should ever be useful because of disjunction. Wait nevermind, Paizo fixed that.

Point remains that is a very weak argument to justify some real munchkinny BS.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It hits the highest caster level, I believe. I don't think it cares about spell level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
QuidEst wrote:
It hits the highest caster level, I believe. I don't think it cares about spell level.

Which is an odd way to go about it, because nearly all the spells one casts on oneself are going to be cast at the same caster level. Even if party members are in the habit of casting spells on each other, their caster levels are likely going to be the same in many groups. It's not really a good determination at all!

It might as well had said "one random spell."


So, how do you break ties between spells with the same caster level (a likely situation if the caster didn't bother changing their caster level for each spell)?


Permanent mage armour is not going to be more of an issue than the guy just casting it every day, if you really think the fact he can retrain the spell and has to spend one less spell per day matters then a level 1 page of spell knowledge is 1000gp and a runestone of power is 2000gp so he could already do that for 3000gp (in fact that would let him recast it if it was dispelled or choose not to cast it and cast some other spell an extra time), if he thinks having it permanent would be more fun then let him and charge him 3000gp, if for some reason you want to charge more an argument could be made for 4000gp (the extra 1000 is equivalent to 1/3 the price of a 3/day extend, which seems a reasonable comparison for having it up all day instead of 1hour/level).


Bracers of Armor were always pointless for anyone capable of casting Mage Armor it takes very little effort to maintain the spell 24/7 by the time you can afford/cast a Permanency.

At most I would not charge more than it takes to maintain with spell without expending other resources already available to the caster.

i.e. a spell slot and a spell usage.

Anything past that is semantics. It has no affect on gameplay.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
In the 20 years of play I've experienced, I've not ever been targeted by that spell.

We got hit with it once in Skull and Shackles. Of course, it took out our water breathing spell rather than my druid and the wizard's mage armor. Just meant we had to hold our breath for the duration of the fight.


Snowlilly wrote:

Bracers of Armor were always pointless for anyone capable of casting Mage Armor it takes very little effort to maintain the spell 24/7 by the time you can afford/cast a Permanency.

At most I would not charge more than it takes to maintain with spell without expending other resources already available to the caster.

i.e. a spell slot and a spell usage.

Anything past that is semantics. It has no affect on gameplay.

Except that other characters have to spend a lot more feats and/or money to have a comparable AC bonus that also blocks incorporeal touch attacks even when the character is sleeping.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
My sorcerer rocks +3 silken armor and doesn't bother with mage armor. Not really practical, but totally in character.

I prefer haramaki myself. ;)

I would rather have actual armor than either Mage Armor or the Bracers because I really like a lot of the flat-priced special abilities like Hosteling and Slick.

Shadow Lodge

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Gisher wrote:
I prefer haramaki myself. ;)

Ugh. So tacky.


master_marshmallow wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:

Bracers of Armor were always pointless for anyone capable of casting Mage Armor it takes very little effort to maintain the spell 24/7 by the time you can afford/cast a Permanency.

At most I would not charge more than it takes to maintain with spell without expending other resources already available to the caster.

i.e. a spell slot and a spell usage.

Anything past that is semantics. It has no affect on gameplay.

Except that other characters have to spend a lot more feats and/or money to have a comparable AC bonus that also blocks incorporeal touch attacks even when the character is sleeping.

Semantics: you can change how say you achieved the result. The result itself is unchanged.

1. Purchase a Runestone + Page of Spell Knowledge = 24/7 Mage Armor.

2. Pay 3,000 for Permanency = 24/7 Mage Armor

Arguing against option #2 is pointless. Option #1 has always been legal. The only difference is thematic; how the character chooses to present himself. It has no affect on gameplay.


Gisher wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
My sorcerer rocks +3 silken armor and doesn't bother with mage armor. Not really practical, but totally in character.

I prefer haramaki myself. ;)

I would rather have actual armor than either Mage Armor or the Bracers because I really like a lot of the flat-priced special abilities like Hosteling and Slick.

As a kensai standing on the front line, the difference vs. incorporeal touch attacks has been life saving on several occasions.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
It hits the highest caster level, I believe. I don't think it cares about spell level.

Which is an odd way to go about it, because nearly all the spells one casts on oneself are going to be cast at the same caster level. Even if party members are in the habit of casting spells on each other, their caster levels are likely going to be the same in many groups. It's not really a good determination at all!

It might as well had said "one random spell."

If you cast Perm Mage Armor on yourself at level 10 and then you level up, all your current spells have CL of 11, where P-MA is still at 10. Where it really comes in is the CL check for Dispel. Your current level is 11 and the guy you are fighting is CL 13, so he has to roll a 9 to dispel a spell you cast today, but only an 8 for the P-MA. This disparity will only grow as you level up, unless you want to repay to recast P-MA every time you level up.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Snowlilly wrote:
The only difference is thematic; how the character chooses to present himself. It has no affect on gameplay.

Well, the runestone and page are vulnerable to theft, whereas the permanency can be dispelled and require another expenditure of funds.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
j b 200 wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
It hits the highest caster level, I believe. I don't think it cares about spell level.

Which is an odd way to go about it, because nearly all the spells one casts on oneself are going to be cast at the same caster level. Even if party members are in the habit of casting spells on each other, their caster levels are likely going to be the same in many groups. It's not really a good determination at all!

It might as well had said "one random spell."

If you cast Perm Mage Armor on yourself at level 10 and then you level up, all your current spells have CL of 11, where P-MA is still at 10. Where it really comes in is the CL check for Dispel. Your current level is 11 and the guy you are fighting is CL 13, so he has to roll a 9 to dispel a spell you cast today, but only an 8 for the P-MA. This disparity will only grow as you level up, unless you want to repay to recast P-MA every time you level up.

I still think it would have made FAR more sense for them to say "spell level" rather than "caster level."

I've even seen official modules and publications say it's spell level, but those are likely wrong (though I hope not).


Snowlilly wrote:
Gisher wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
My sorcerer rocks +3 silken armor and doesn't bother with mage armor. Not really practical, but totally in character.

I prefer haramaki myself. ;)

I would rather have actual armor than either Mage Armor or the Bracers because I really like a lot of the flat-priced special abilities like Hosteling and Slick.

As a kensai standing on the front line, the difference vs. incorporeal touch attacks has been life saving on several occasions.

Yes, that is a big advantage. Of course, you can always wear the haramaki and also have someone cast Mage Armor on you. (In principle, you could just add Ghost Touch to the haramaki, but that would be very expensive.) And Sorcerers don't necessarily have the same issues as a Kensai.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

I still think it would have made FAR more sense for them to say "spell level" rather than "caster level."

I've even seen official modules and publications say it's spell level, but those are likely wrong (though I hope not).

Depends on how it is used.

A targeted greater dispel magic works like dispel magic where it functions against the highest CL first, but then works its way down the list from highest spell level first. If the caster names the spell effect, then that is targeted first. I assume if you can name multiple spells, then you can pick and choose which spells to target, but still must check in order of spell level.

An area greater dispel magic would check against the highest caster level effect on each target in the area. It does not say how to handle tie breaking in that case.

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