Arcane Spell Failure - Still a thing?


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells

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Does wearing armor mess with spells these days? Is that gone?


David Silver - Ponyfinder wrote:
Does wearing armor mess with spells these days? Is that gone?

I don't think it does, but for a caster that is not proficient with armor, you take the Untrained penalty to your AC and TAC, so it is less helpful for them.


It is totally gone.


They removed it for the playtest to see how things go, depending on how the populace responds they might leave it out of the end product or they might add it back in.


My son has created a sorcerer who uses a bastard sword and breastplate. He has +2 higher AC than an unarmored version of a sorcerer with only an armor check penalty to dex and strength based skills. By the time he reaches later levels, he'll have better quality armor like expert Full Plate and have +5 to AC and -4 check penalty. This seems like an issue. Mage Armor is effectively a worthless spell since he doesn't have to spend a spell slot on it (nor have to cast it). The ONLY draw back is an armor check penalty which armor quality can negate eventually. And if he takes the Fighter Dedication at 2nd level, he immediately gets proficiency in the armor and weapon to give him +2 to hit and +2 to AC.

This seems like a big problem.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
SqueezeBox wrote:

My son has created a sorcerer who uses a bastard sword and breastplate. He has +2 higher AC than an unarmored version of a sorcerer with only an armor check penalty to dex and strength based skills. By the time he reaches later levels, he'll have better quality armor like expert Full Plate and have +5 to AC and -4 check penalty. This seems like an issue. Mage Armor is effectively a worthless spell since he doesn't have to spend a spell slot on it (nor have to cast it). The ONLY draw back is an armor check penalty which armor quality can negate eventually. And if he takes the Fighter Dedication at 2nd level, he immediately gets proficiency in the armor and weapon to give him +2 to hit and +2 to AC.

This seems like a big problem.

You forgot some things.

Breastplate lowers his CON/DEX/STR checks by 4, his speed by 5ft, and makes him

Clumsy

This armor’s Dexterity modifier cap also applies to Reflex
saves and to all Dexterity-based skill and ability checks that
don’t have the attack trait.

So he can't add more than +3 to any Dex check or Reflex save. Which with the -4 penalty effectively makes his Dex Mod -1 when not applying to attacks.

Also has a Bulk of 2 which may or may not matter depending on his Str.

Those check penalties with the lowered speed will make everything that isn't walking more difficult while adventuring. Jumping gaps/climbing/swimming and with how critical failures work now (10 less than the DC = crit fail) may come up more than you think.


I went with a slightly different route to avoid the high ACP's. Built a human abjuration school wizard. Picked up light armor proficiency with my ancestor feat. Made sure to train in athletics & acrobatics to decrease issues with the various adventuring checks.

16 Dex + light armor prof + chain shirt + shield spell gives a solid AC for a level 1 wizard.


Just don't take Breastplate. Take scale armor and eventually get that armor in master quality. The only penalty you get is the -5 movement. Nothing more. Even without being trained that is better than mage armor, especially since you can put runes on it.

Mage armor would be great if it was actually heightening like a cantrip. Without using up a higher level spell slot. Which is the problem overall with spells in this edition. You can heighten low level spells but in 99% it's not worth it to replace a naturally high level spell.


Bracers of Armor are pretty cheap once you need to think about magic item bonuses to saves.


I'm still going to recommend that all casters of all kinds (wizard, cleric, everyone) have spell failure, but only in armor with which they are not proficient. Wearing half plate and not proficient? You roll that flat check, probably DC 5 + the absolute of the ACP. But if you DO invest in armor proficiency feats, you don't have to roll for spell failure, regardless of class or tradition. :)


Having no spell failure just compensates that casters in this edition have no way to increase their spell attack and DC with items.


Asuet wrote:
Having no spell failure just compensates that casters in this edition have no way to increase their spell attack and DC with items.

Wrong on spell attack, check out the Spell Duelist's Gloves and Spell Duelist's Wand on pg 407. Since you also get spell proficiency to spell attack rolls a high level caster can actually get some nice reliable crits (combine with True Strike for extra fun) on ranged touch spells.


Xenocrat wrote:
Asuet wrote:
Having no spell failure just compensates that casters in this edition have no way to increase their spell attack and DC with items.
Wrong on spell attack, check out the Spell Duelist's Gloves and Spell Duelist's Wand on pg 407. Since you also get spell proficiency to spell attack rolls a high level caster can actually get some nice reliable crits (combine with True Strike for extra fun) on ranged touch spells.

I completely missed that. Thanks a lot!

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