Druid penalties when using Ice Armor

Rules Questions

If my Druid casts ice armor or uses a scroll to cast ice armor, does he receive any penalties to movement?

I know it doesn't receive any penalties for ACP but I'm unsure about movement. Does a Human druid keep his 30 ft movement or does it move down to 20 ft when using ice armor?

Ice Armor wrote:
It offers the same protection as a breastplate

As it is described as giving the same protection as a breastplate, a Medium Armor. Unless you are a Dwarf, or have some other way to bypass the movement reduction, you move 20’.

Dr Styx wrote:
Ice Armor wrote:
It offers the same protection as a breastplate
As it is described as giving the same protection as a breastplate, a Medium Armor. Unless you are a Dwarf, or have some other way to bypass the movement reduction, you move 20’.

The description states it offers the same protection as a breastplate, not that it counts as a breastplate. While it sounds reasonable to count it as a breastplate RAW there is no indication that is how the spell works. Unless there is a FAQ or other clarification, this falls squarely in the realm of ask your GM.

I find the description of ice armor ambiguous: You can interpret "same protection as a breastplate" literally as +5 armor AC or read an implied "it acts like a breastplate".

There is the Ice Armor revelation of the Waves mystery, but it also doesn't state anything about slowing you down. And there is the instant armor spell, which says it works in all aspect like the normal armor, but doesn't list the slowed movement at the examples.

From a balance perspective: The classes who can cast the spell can wear medium armor anyway. The spell has a limited duration (hours per level, but still) and the created armor is vulnerable to both sundering and heat. If this armor would limit your speed, the only benefit would be the meager +2 circumstance bonus to Swim checks and the option to summon armor out of nowhere. Hence I'd give the druid full speed.

Lantern Lodge

Inner Sea Gods pg. 236, Pathfinder #38: Racing to Ruin pg. 71 wrote:

Ice Armor

School transmutation [cold, water]; Level bloodrager 1, cleric/oracle 1, druid 1, hunter 1, warpriest 1 (Gozreh)
Casting Time 1 minute
Components V, S, F (5 gallons of water)

Range 0 ft.; see text
Effect a suit of armor made of ice
Duration 1 hour/level or until destroyed
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

You create a suit of armor made of ice. While cold to the touch, it does not harm the wearer, especially if worn over normal clothing (though it can hasten the effects of exposure in cold environments). It offers the same protection as a breastplate, except it has hardness 0 and 30 hit points. If the intended wearer is immersed in water when you cast this spell, you may form the armor around the wearer (who may be you); otherwise the wearer must don the armor normally. Attacks against the wearer that create heat or fire degrade the armor, reducing its armor bonus by 1 for every 5 points of fire damage the wearer takes; when the armor’s bonus to AC reaches 0, the armor is destroyed and the spell ends. Because the ice is slightly buoyant, the wearer gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Swim checks, except when swimming downward. Druids can wear ice armor without penalty.

Ice armor does have some ambiguity to it. The line that most strongly suggests it will behave like normal breastplate armor is "otherwise the wearer must don the armor normally". Which gives the assumption that it means the same as donning a normal breastplate.

If this is for PFS, it may be best to take the least positive view and go with it will reduce your speed.
If you are using this in a homebrew or private games, then ask your GM.

In the long run, it may be better to just pick up a dragonhide armor or go with a steelwood spell. Using Ant Haul to carry the weight if required.

While ice armor is ambiguous, Instant Armor is not.

"Instant armor acts in all ways as armor typical of its type (armor bonus, maximum Dexterity bonus, arcane spell failure chance, and so on)"

Instant Armor does cover the slowed movement, by stating the armor is "in all ways" like normal armor and ended the examples with "and so on", therefore covering all possible effects of wearing armor, including any speed penalties.

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Also why would you think you don't suffer any Armor Check Penalty? If your meaning the last line in the spell that just means that a druid can wear this armor without losing spells even though it's a breastplate since it's non-metal.

Dark Archive

Seems pretty obvious that your druid can use ice armor without penalty by the line of the spell that says, "Druids can wear ice armor without penalty."

Limited movement, spell failure chance, etc... are all penalties.

I'm sorry but no that's not what that line means unless you also think that for some reason one level of druid would let you wear Dragonhide full plate without all those penalties. That line is attached to armors that are normally made of metal to indicate that these are safe for use.

Hmm, seems like RAW it only "provides the same protection" as a breastplate; that would seem to indicate that it would not provide the same penalties, unless they are specified (like donning time is).

Fluff-wise (RAI), I think, though, it is pretty clear that they intended it to have weight and be encumbering, with the magic only a) creating it and b) making it suitable to wear. So I would imagine most GMs will rule that it does have the penalties. I have no idea about PFS.

Some GMs, however, may be swayed by the very argument made above; this is, in most ways, inferior to a normal breastplate. It can be melted, it is inherently of temporary duration, it even states (though provides no mechanic for) that it could hasten the onset of hypothermia.

On the other hand, it is only a 1st level spell, with no expense at all. A breastplate that could be worn by a Druid, ordinarily, would be rather expensive; either ironwood or dragonhide; ironwood is inherently temporary and requires a 6th level spell, and dragonhide is a bit expensive (twice as much as masterwork armor of the same type), at least for a 1st level character.

I'm pretty sure that "removes all penalties, not just lack of casting" is a valid reading of the rules text. If it wasn't, Shield Master wouldn't have needed to get FAQ'd so that it only applies to TWF penalties.

Just because the PDT had to rule on something doesn't mean the other side had a valid point.

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It's an actual suit of armor, just made of ice. You have to don it normally, and it restricts your movement normally.

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