Armor mastery why so specific?


Classes


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Why not just have armor mastery reduce any speed penalty from armor by 5 feet. Why is it just heavy armor? I'd like to see it remove speed penalty from medium too!


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Why not just have armor mastery reduce any speed penalty from armor by 5 feet. Why is it just heavy armor? I'd like to see it remove speed penalty from medium too!

I could get on board with that.

The focus on really dishing out the love to heavy armor seems a bit odd to me.


I am guessing the developer thinking here is that if medium armor can get knocked down to no movement penalty, then it it makes medium armor better for a whole lot of builds than light armor. Light Armor's training is pretty specifically limited to trained or expert for almost all of the classes, because it becomes much better than heavy armor for high Dex builds (which the fighter and the ranger can pull off).

The developers have really made the math tight on armor and AC. Figuring out the maximum AC to maneuverability ratio is something that I think they tried to make difficult to mess up, but that means having it pretty rigidly prescribed. Until the fighter gets Armor Master, heavy armor is probably the worst choice for a fighter unless they have completely tanked Dexterity. For fighters at least, I think medium armor is supposed to be the default armor for low levels if you only have a 14 or 12 Dex and then at higher levels, it fills a very narrow niche between high Dex builds and builds that completely tank Dex. If you had a 16 Dex, your ACin a breast plate is the same as if you had a 20 Dex in a chain shirt and your TAC is only one behind. In exchange for 3-4 attribute increases that could go elsewhere. Even maxed out fighters are not going to have 20 Dex that until level 10.

The current rules do seem like push fighters into either maximizing Dex or never letting it get higher than 14, but I have found that a lot of what seems true about builds in theory don't actually work out that way in practice, so I would recomend building a medium armor fighter with a Dex of 14-16 with an 18 STR and seeing how it compares in actual play.

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The other side of this is that when you want to develop a fighter that wants to stick to lighter armors, you are actually penalized with proficiency with Armor Mastery. My group is not happy that heavy armor seems to be the only option that gains bonuses for fighters.


Hmm thats a good point need a way to reward all armor selections.


Theryon Stormrune wrote:
The other side of this is that when you want to develop a fighter that wants to stick to lighter armors, you are actually penalized with proficiency with Armor Mastery. My group is not happy that heavy armor seems to be the only option that gains bonuses for fighters.

I think it's universally agreed that Fighters should have varying types of Armor Masteries to be picked by choice of build.

Heavy Armor could have the fastest Proficiencies (going from Expert to Master), but other options could include improving Reflex saves, gaining extra speed, etc., things that aren't AC.

Then at higher levels you can get Expert with Light/Medium.


I don't see any reason why the proficiency can't increase for all the armors at the same rate. It's not like people are going to switch between different armors the way they do for weapons, so it's not like it's a huge advantage.

In terms of Armor Class, every armor comes out with an Armor + Dex = 7. What armor best suits you depends on your Dex. If they think they need to offer extra bonuses to make heavy armor worth wearing, then maybe they shouldn't make the penalties for wearing it so brutal?


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Why not just have armor mastery reduce any speed penalty from armor by 5 feet. Why is it just heavy armor? I'd like to see it remove speed penalty from medium too!

Not sure. It almost feels like there will be a future 'medium armor master' class the same way there is currently a crossbow class and heavy armor class.

It's more than a bit heavy handed, especially since heavy armor is so terribly punishing, especially for melee characters.


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The Narration wrote:

I don't see any reason why the proficiency can't increase for all the armors at the same rate. It's not like people are going to switch between different armors the way they do for weapons, so it's not like it's a huge advantage.

In terms of Armor Class, every armor comes out with an Armor + Dex = 7. What armor best suits you depends on your Dex. If they think they need to offer extra bonuses to make heavy armor worth wearing, then maybe they shouldn't make the penalties for wearing it so brutal?

Those are two different approaches. You either have better heavy armor, or you have different scaling proficiencies.

If you have different scaling proficiencies, then at the beginning, your choice of armor is just based on DEX, but no one is particularly AMAZING at defence, so everyone dies at about the same rate, making light/medium armor classes less screwed.

Anyway, I made an analysis about this on another thread, let me repost it below. Long story short, making heavy armor better is screwing Wizards/Monks/Rogues.

What AC 7 for all armor types accomplishes is this:

1. It makes DEX vs. STR relevant. Having 12 DEX means you have as much AC as having 18 DEX, but having less DEX means you have more STR, which means you can use better weapons. It balances itself.

2. It makes Light/Medium armor users not feel extremely fragile in combat early on. Later, when higher proficiencies roll in for Heavy Armor users, they get a boost in defence without making the early levels so disparate.

3. It makes PROFICIENCY more important than armor type, so a Wizard getting Heavy Armor Proficiency is not a big deal because they don't have access to better proficiencies. However, having proficiency in Heavy Armor is still good for the Wizard, because they get to turn 12 DEX into AC 7, so there's still a benefit for anyone who gets Heavy Armor.

4. As a Monk enthusiast, this one is important for me – AC7 keeps unarmored characters from being too far behind armored characters. If your unarmored character needs to race towards AC9 to stand with the frontliners with only a +4 bonus from stats, it can feel pretty hectic.

Now, what are the issues with AC 7?

1. Early levels, when you have to take large ACP penalties feel pretty crummy.

2. Speed penalties are too big in a game with limited movement and no way to maintain engagement (i.e. not everyone will have access to AoO and Step is still an option).

3. There's no incentive for high DEX high STR characters to use heavy armor early on until they get class features that encourage them to do it.

4. There's no incentive to use Full Plate over Splint Mail, because 14 DEX is easy to get and Splint Mail has less Bulk and ACP. (Clumsy is a non-penalty, you can safely ignore it with 14 DEX, it does even less than Noisy.)

Personally, I like the AC7 system and I think the benefits outweight the issues. Perhaps they could make it so heavy armor is more attractive early on than medium armor – for example, giving heavy armor another bonus like a small damage resistance, or even do away with Speed penalties or ACP altogether. They surely need to add options for Fighters/Paladins who don't want to use heavy armor.

But I don't think the numbers NEED to be changed.


The Narration wrote:

I don't see any reason why the proficiency can't increase for all the armors at the same rate. It's not like people are going to switch between different armors the way they do for weapons, so it's not like it's a huge advantage.

In terms of Armor Class, every armor comes out with an Armor + Dex = 7. What armor best suits you depends on your Dex. If they think they need to offer extra bonuses to make heavy armor worth wearing, then maybe they shouldn't make the penalties for wearing it so brutal?

If the point of armor class is for every class to get Armor + Dex to equal 7, then there really would be no point to having different armors at all. They might as well let you just describe your character any way you want and make all characters have static ACs that increase with level.

The design is centered around the best possible item bonus + Dexterity modifier = 7 but the equation for AC also includes proficiency. If all armors got the same proficiency bonus, then dexterity builds become champions because medium and heavy armor have innate penalties.

Some people are advocating for the solution to be to drop those penalties, but if you do that, then the value of dexterity drops again and what you essentially have is every character having the same AC and movement and you might as well go back to not having different armors and having AC be static because it would all be the same anyway.

This proficiency system is a lot more subtle and nuanced than it appears when you first look at it, and in that regard, it was kind of misrepresented in the early blogs. Not all proficiencies work the same.

With Armor, you don't need legendary proficiency in your armor to have a good AC. You do to have the Best AC, but not every character is going to have the best AC. The Paladin is designed to be the best AC character, and that doesn't happen if anyone can get legendary proficiency in light armor. It also becomes silly not to wear light armor if you can get absolute best AC with it, and have no speed penalty what so ever.

But, short of maximum dedication to highest defense, Light Armor and Dex is the much easier way to have really good AC, meaning that most characters that are going to be on the front lines of combat want at least a 14 in STR and a 14 in DEX, no matter what their build is going for otherwise. It is a very different system than PF1 and and even more different system that 5e.

Mobility has a very slight cost in PF2 as far as losing some Defense. Is it worth it? Is it balanced? These are questions that really need to be resolved in play, because they are too subtle to theory craft around.


I've done an analysis on class AC, and it looks like Monks/Paladin/Fighter are the best classes at avoiding being hit, with Rogue following closely, followed by Ranger, then Bard/Druid/Cleric/Alchemist/Barbarian, and finally Sorc/Wizard.

The first 3 classes are good because they get proficiency in armor (or unarmored, in the case of the Monk). If we count the +2 Circumstance bonus to AC always being on (thanks to Shield Paragon/Dueling Dance at Fighter 12, Twin Paragon at Fighter 16 and Shield Champion at Paladin 20), then Paladin ekes out a small advantage vs. the Monk and Fighter catches up.

At the highest level without the +2 bonus from shields etc., the 3 classes have the following AC/TAC (Pally/Fighter in Heavy Armor):

Paladin has 10+level+15 AC and 10+level+12 TAC

Fighter has 10+level+14 AC and 10+level+11 TAC

Monk has 10+level+16 AC/TAC

With a Heavy Shield raised, Paladins take the crown with 10+level+17 AC, but still 2 TAC behind the Monk. Fighters match the Monk's AC but are 3 behind their TAC.

If the Monk somehow acquires a circumstance bonus to AC (via Multiclassing and getting Nimble Dodge or Dueling Parry), they remain the king again.

Rogues and Rangers can get up to 10+level+13 AC/TAC by grabbing a Bracers of Armor and Anklets of Alacrity by level 19. Rogues get the edge due to having access to Deny Advantage and Nimble Dodge. Both these classes have a primary in Dex, giving them reason to not wear light armor at the highest levels.

Next are the medium/light armor classes that can't break the Dex barrier and don't have super good reason to invest heavily into the stat.
They all get to 10+level+12 AC by level 20, except the Barbarian is often at -1 AC due to raging. They stay in this group, however, since they have access to Deny Advantage, making flanking them not an option.

Lastly, we have the poor Sorc/Wizard. They can join the others if they spend a feat on armor proficiency (probably by MCing Fighter), but the most they can strive for is 10+level+12 AC.

So what's the conclusion?

TL;DR: There are 4 AC tiers between classes, with a difference of 4 AC between the highest and lowest tiers (without situational bonuses), but mostly classes stay within 1-2 AC of each other. Monks are the best class that combines AC and mobility together in 1 package, and can MC to boost that AC even higher situationally.


The problem with the Monk calcs is that they need ONE extra item to get there, a +2 DEX item, which is 4,500 GP.

That's extra budget that the Fighters/Paladins get to spend on something else... for example, adding Antimagic on their armors, or getting a Greater Ring of Energy Resistance, etc.


Random idea. Why not just give them +5 feet to movement speed while wearing armor. so their faster in light normal in medium and still not the slowest in heavy.


I'd be fine with light / unarmored armor doing the AC 7 thing, medium doing AC 8 and heavy doing AC 9. Light classes like the monk have other advantages, they don't need the same AC as plate too, especially now that they finally get full BAB.

Or get rid of medium armor finally and just go light AC 7, heavy AC 8.


Eh just light and heavy sounds ok too.


Light and heavy does sound pretty good.


The devs errataed that everybody starts as trained with unarmored defense so wiz and sorc are in the same pile with the bulk of non front line folks. Also note that mages/some sorc/bards can use the shield cantrip so they can use a shield bonus if they feel the need to boost their AC a bit in emergency or if getting heavily focused in melee.

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