Untrained Armored Wizards vs Mage Armor


Classes


3 people marked this as a favorite.

The untrained penalty is only -2.

This means at second level, a wizard or sorcerer wearing full plate armor with 12 dex (17 = 10 base + 6 armor +1 dex + 0 proficiency) has +1 AC over a wizard with 16 dex using mage armor (16 = 10 + 1 + 3 + 2). A wizard with 16 dex in a breastplate would also have 17 AC (17 = 10 + 4 + 3 +0), and has comparable AC to the full plate wizard for all further levels.
If you keep up with property runes these AC values are equivalent at 5th level (full plate: 21 = 10 + 7 + 1 + 3) (mage armor: 21 = 10 + 2 + 4 dex + 5).
Mage armor finally has higher AC than the plate at 15th level (full plate: 33 = 10 + 9 + 1 + 13) (mage armor: 34 = 10 + 4 + 5 + 15).
TAC for full plate is 3 less than mage armor at 2nd level, 4 less at 5th level, and 5 less at 15th level. The breastplate has 2 higher TAC than full plate.

A wizard using one of these armors they're not proficient in can *also* raise a heavy shield to protect themselves for an additional +2 AC, because the untrained penalties don't stack, which is stronger than the shield cantrip and doesn't prevent spellcasting so long as you keep your other hand free.
Now; mage armor is noticeably cheaper than spending the money to keep your full plate or breastplate up to your level, but in exchange you can use your ability score boosts on things other than dex.

All of this seems rather weird and unintuitive to me.

(This unusual case doesn't appear if the untrained penalty is increased to -3, incidentally)


Mage armor gives better TAC, buffing your Dex is good for reflex saves, and heavy armor has some brutal speed and armor check penalties. So heavy armor is an option but not really a better option. Which ultimately I think is good. You can play a heavily armored battle wizard who gets up into the frey and plans to take the fighter archetype to be a battle mage or a more back line wizard. Both seem like good options.


The devs mentioned in their post gencon post that everybody is considered trained in unarmored defense. Which makes sense given the pregen sneak peeks we have seen number wise.

Given that unarmed combat is considered a simple weapon this makes sense that basically everybody can do it at the base trained level. So taking the mage armor stuff makes a lot more sense now.


Why are you not subtracting the -2 for Untrained, it should be 10 + 6 + 1 - 2 = 15.


Vic Ferrari wrote:
Why are you not subtracting the -2 for Untrained, it should be 10 + 6 + 1 - 2 = 15.

I did; its included in the proficiency value (notice how the full plate has +0 there at 2nd level, while mage armor has +2)


Bardarok wrote:
Mage armor gives better TAC, buffing your Dex is good for reflex saves, and heavy armor has some brutal speed and armor check penalties. So heavy armor is an option but not really a better option. Which ultimately I think is good. You can play a heavily armored battle wizard who gets up into the frey and plans to take the fighter archetype to be a battle mage or a more back line wizard. Both seem like good options.

I think its unintuitive and weird if you're not proficient in the armor; grabbing the fighter multiclass feat at 2nd level seems like a cool and reasonable option and I'm in favor of it as a possibility. But it shouldn't compare so closely to mage armor when you're not proficient, and wearing a breastplate shouldn't give better AC before 5th level to the wizard who starts with 16 dex and who plans to use Mage Armor. It seems similar to the "wizards using crossbows" situation from PF1, which they fixed by having cantrips deal comparable damage to the crossbow.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bardarok wrote:
Mage armor gives better TAC, buffing your Dex is good for reflex saves, and heavy armor has some brutal speed and armor check penalties. So heavy armor is an option but not really a better option. Which ultimately I think is good. You can play a heavily armored battle wizard who gets up into the frey and plans to take the fighter archetype to be a battle mage or a more back line wizard. Both seem like good options.

However the thought of me preparing a Mage Armour spell in a level 6+ slot is just crazy. I've so few spells per level now that I simply can't justify using it when I could simply spend money on some armour.

It is even worth a single feat for Fighter Dedication to get the proficiencies.


Eindridi wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Mage armor gives better TAC, buffing your Dex is good for reflex saves, and heavy armor has some brutal speed and armor check penalties. So heavy armor is an option but not really a better option. Which ultimately I think is good. You can play a heavily armored battle wizard who gets up into the frey and plans to take the fighter archetype to be a battle mage or a more back line wizard. Both seem like good options.

However the thought of me preparing a Mage Armour spell in a level 6+ slot is just crazy. I've so few spells per level now that I simply can't justify using it when I could simply spend money on some armour.

It is even worth a single feat for Fighter Dedication to get the proficiencies.

Cantrips don't use spell slots; they heighten to higher spell levels for no additional cost. If you cast Mage Armor as an 11th level wizard, the cantrip heightens to a 6th level spell, and you still have both your regular slots for 6th level spells.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
FaerieLore wrote:


Cantrips don't use spell slots; they heighten to higher spell levels for no additional cost. If you cast Mage Armor as an 11th level wizard, the cantrip heightens to a 6th level spell, and you still have both your regular slots for 6th level spells.

Mage Armor is a 1st level spell, not a Cantrip.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
BretI wrote:
FaerieLore wrote:


Cantrips don't use spell slots; they heighten to higher spell levels for no additional cost. If you cast Mage Armor as an 11th level wizard, the cantrip heightens to a 6th level spell, and you still have both your regular slots for 6th level spells.

Mage Armor is a 1st level spell, not a Cantrip.

Oh wow it *is*. That's... weird. I definitely wouldn't want to spend slots on that nonsense lol. So you have to buy the bracers of armor after all; I figured they were just for the Monk. Apologies for the attempt at correction, Eindridi.


BretI wrote:
FaerieLore wrote:


Cantrips don't use spell slots; they heighten to higher spell levels for no additional cost. If you cast Mage Armor as an 11th level wizard, the cantrip heightens to a 6th level spell, and you still have both your regular slots for 6th level spells.

Mage Armor is a 1st level spell, not a Cantrip.

No one will cast high level mage armor you will use bracers of armor instead.


FaerieLore wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Mage armor gives better TAC, buffing your Dex is good for reflex saves, and heavy armor has some brutal speed and armor check penalties. So heavy armor is an option but not really a better option. Which ultimately I think is good. You can play a heavily armored battle wizard who gets up into the frey and plans to take the fighter archetype to be a battle mage or a more back line wizard. Both seem like good options.
I think its unintuitive and weird if you're not proficient in the armor; grabbing the fighter multiclass feat at 2nd level seems like a cool and reasonable option and I'm in favor of it as a possibility. But it shouldn't compare so closely to mage armor when you're not proficient, and wearing a breastplate shouldn't give better AC before 5th level to the wizard who starts with 16 dex and who plans to use Mage Armor. It seems similar to the "wizards using crossbows" situation from PF1, which they fixed by having cantrips deal comparable damage to the crossbow.

I don't think it compares that closely. It's trading -5 movement speed, -1 TAC, -4 Armor check penalty for +1 AC. Admittedly AC is probably more likely to come up than TAC but it's a pretty steep cost and really only worth it if you plan on getting attacked a lot.

16 Dex wizard in Mage armor
AC 15 =10 +1 Item +3 Dex +1 Trained
TAC 15 =10 +1 Item +3 Dex +1 Trained
mage armor applies to both (p. 16)

16 Dex wizard in Brest plate
AC 16 = 10 +4 Item +3 Dex -1 Untrained
TAC 14 = 10 +2 Item +3 Dex -1 Untrained
Speed - 5ft
Armor Check Penalty -4
Bulk 2


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bardarok wrote:
Mage armor gives better TAC,

Mage Armor (weirdly IMO) doesn't add to Touch AC while Potency Runes do, so chances are your Touch AC will be equal or even better most if not all the time in the Full Plate than it is in Mage Armor. By level 20 a Mage Armor (or Bracers) character with capped out 24 Dex will have TAC 37 while a character in +5 full plate with 12 Dex will have 38.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shinigami02 wrote:
Bardarok wrote:
Mage armor gives better TAC,
Mage Armor (weirdly IMO) doesn't add to Touch AC while Potency Runes do, so chances are your Touch AC will be equal or even better most if not all the time in the Full Plate than it is in Mage Armor. By level 20 a Mage Armor (or Bracers) character with capped out 24 Dex will have TAC 37 while a character in +5 full plate with 12 Dex will have 38.

Nope it does. Page 16 says "Spells or abilities that give your character a bonus or penalty to AC also give an equal bonus or penalty to TAC unless stated otherwise."

It's pretty bad formatting to have that rule hidden in the front and then not mentioned anywhere else but here we are.


...huh. That does make it a lot better, thanks for pointing that out.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

Fifth, there are a few pieces of early errata that we need to get up immediately.

  • All PCs are trained in being unarmored.
  • Both Alchemists and Druids should be trained in 3 skills (+ Int Mod) each (instead of 2 and 4 respectively).
  • Alchemists can use Quick Alchemy for any alchemical item in their formula book.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bardarok wrote:


I don't think it compares that closely. It's trading -5 movement speed, -1 TAC, -4 Armor check penalty for +1 AC. Admittedly AC is probably more likely to come up than TAC but it's a pretty steep cost and really only worth it if you plan on getting attacked a lot.

I don't think most 1st level wizards will expend half their spells on AC.

Let's take it at 5th level instead.

16 Dex Wizard, 1st level Mage Armor
AC 19 = 10 + 1 item +3 Dex +0 Trained +5 level
TAC 19 = same as above

16 Dex Wizard, 2nd level Mage Armor (reasonable, it is only 1/3 their 2nd level spells)
AC 20 = 10 + 2 item +3 Dex +0 Trained +5 Level
TAC 20 = same as above.
Gets +1 to all saves
They could also at this point afford Bracers of Armor (2nd) at that is a 4th level item.

16 Dex Wizard, took Fighter Multiclass, +1 expert Scale Mail
+1 Magic Medium Armor is only a 3rd level item, so not unreasonable at this level.
AC 22 = 10 + 4 item +3 Dex +0 Trained +5 Level
TAC 20 = 10 +2 item +3 Dex +0 Trained +5 Level
Gets +1 to all saves. Bulk 2, -5 foot movement, -0 ACP

A reasonable trade-off.

16 Dex Wizard, took Fighter Multiclass, +1 expert Breastplate
AC 23 = 10 + 5 item +3 Dex +0 Trained +5 level
AC 21 = 10 + 3 item +3 Dex +0 Trained +5 level
Gets +1 to all saves, Bulk 2, -5 movement, -2 ACP (reduced once for Expert armor, again for Potency)

The ACP would make it difficult to balance, climb, swim or sneak.

16 Dex Wizard, non-proficient, +1 expert Breastplate
AC 21 = 10 +5 +3 Dex -2 Untrained +5 level
AC 19 = 10 +3 +3 Dex -2 Untrained +5 level

At that point I think they would be better off with Bracers of Armor. Their AC would be one higher, but TAC one lower. At that point, the bulk and ACP will most likely not be worth it.


Notice that Mage Armor and Shield are not on the Primal spell list, which means a Primal Sorcerer is going to hurt for defense and have to rely on items ...


They lose out on mage armor and shield but gain healing abilities so you get hit more but have better ability to repair that damage. And like monks the magic bracers of defense stuff is going to be most casters go to armor item. The price does not seem unreasonable and is common availability. Primal sorc I believe have the same issue with lacking shield mage armor spells.

Still at least the errata that everybody is trained in unarmored defense helps.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

it's a pretty steep cost and really only worth it if you plan on getting attacked a lot.

1

Plan on getting attacked a lot? Most GM's attack the wizards first, and always having the LOWEST hit points makes them very vulnerable.


UncleG wrote:
Most GM's attack the wizards first

That has not been my experience. Besides having other party members provide positioning such that the wizard is not eaisly attacked is pretty basic gameplay. I don't see how you would have a game where the wizard is getting attacked more often than the fighter unless the GM is doing some shady stuff.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Without AoOs I'm not sure how the wizard wouldn't be attacked honestly.


ErichAD wrote:
Without AoOs I'm not sure how the wizard wouldn't be attacked honestly.

By that same standard though there isn't much stopping a wizard from running away, but movement reduction sure does. And even with armor, they are still among the lowest HP classes, and that difference has grown from now that hit dice are maxed. I feel like a wizard's best bet is still using spells and mobility to stay out of the line of fire.

There's also bulk to consider. If your wizard has 10 strength, they are 60% to encumbered in a breast plate with just their spellbook and all the way there with their spellbook in full plate. If you want to carry a crossbow (and I think you do since cantrip range has hard caps) or a staff or much of anything else you are gonna have problems.

As has been mentioned up thread, it doesn't seem practical unless you are building a beefy battle wizard, at which point armor seems much more practical anyway. Otherwise, dex is still a good stat to invest in for ranged touch attacks and everything else dex is good for. A caster with dex near max can also be quite sneaky, for example.


ErichAD wrote:
Without AoOs I'm not sure how the wizard wouldn't be attacked honestly.

That does make it harder for sure, I was thinking in my PF1 experience (obviously) so it could be a bigger problem in 2e.

Stupid enemies will attack the nearest thing or the most obvious threat. That might be up to a third of total encounters, depending on campaign I guess.

I think the best you could do in 2e is setup a situation where the enemies would need to stride strike then stride or get attacked with flanking penalties. But they are still getting that one strike in.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Man that, "In most cases, you don’t need to worry about Bulk unless you’re carrying numerous substantial items or you have a low Strength score." line from the bulk section doesn't really seem to pan out for many classes, does it.

I imagine cover and difficult terrain could help a bit, wizards spending all their actions hampering movement isn't new exactly, but it's not as reliable as in PF1 where you can create pits for small fractions of your spells.


Yeah I think armor still needs to interfere with spells somewhat. I'm still down with arcane spell failure chance.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
ErichAD wrote:
Man that, "In most cases, you don’t need to worry about Bulk unless you’re carrying numerous substantial items or you have a low Strength score." line from the bulk section doesn't really seem to pan out for many classes, does it.

Rangers need a strength of 16 (!) to carry a snare kit!

(And basically nothing else)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Draco18s wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
Man that, "In most cases, you don’t need to worry about Bulk unless you’re carrying numerous substantial items or you have a low Strength score." line from the bulk section doesn't really seem to pan out for many classes, does it.

Rangers need a strength of 16 (!) to carry a snare kit!

(And basically nothing else)

alchemists can't even carry their daily extracts.

i think bulk, in general, needs a revision.


shroudb wrote:
i think bulk, in general, needs a revision.

Or just drop it and we go back to using real/actual units of measurements. ;)


BretI wrote:


I don't think most 1st level wizards will expend half their spells on AC.

A bit late, but worth pointing out that wizards with a school at level 1 have 4 level 1 spells per day (2 + 1 from school + 1 from arcane focus). Still may not want to spend that slot on a cast of mage armor, but less of a cost if you do.


A point of order on the Fighter multiclass: It takes a 16 Strength to qualify, which means that you either went with a 16, 16, 14, 12, 12, 8 array and thus had to sacrifice their int modifier, or will need to wait until level 5 to qualify.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You can also qualify for the feat with DEX 16 (incidentally the maximun dex bonus for breasplates)


Knight Magenta wrote:
A point of order on the Fighter multiclass: It takes a 16 Strength to qualify, which means that you either went with a 16, 16, 14, 12, 12, 8 array and thus had to sacrifice their int modifier, or will need to wait until level 5 to qualify.

If you are an elf you could get

16 14 10 18 10 10

Or Hunan could get

16 12 12 18 10 10


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd expect most characters to be able to qualify for fighter archetype by level 1. Who wouldn't have either strength or dex at 16 aside from pure RP characters?


ErichAD wrote:
I'd expect most characters to be able to qualify for fighter archetype by level 1. Who wouldn't have either strength or dex at 16 aside from pure RP characters?

I could see a classic wizard opting for 14 Dex to get 14 Con or Wis instead, depending on party composition and stuff. There is also the trained in atheltics prerequisite as well so not every character but a whole lot of them surley.


You totally inspired me to do a heavy armored, towershield-wiedling Wizard.

Grand Lodge

The untrained penalty is 0...

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Player Rules / Classes / Untrained Armored Wizards vs Mage Armor All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.