Full Plate is just mechanically bad - Can we get a Dev response?


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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So let us talk about Full Plate.

Full Plate is just... Bad.

First, let us be honest, by level 5 virtually every Heavy Armor wearer is going to have Dex 14. It ain't hard to do, it requires virtually no resources with how Ability Boosts are given and it is just a better option.

Half Plate is just... Once you have Dex 14... Better in every possible way.

Half Plate: AC Bonus +5, TAC +2, Check Pen -4, Level 1 Item, 3 Bulk, Max Dex 2
Full Plate: AC Bonus +6, TAC +2, Check Pen -5, Level 2 Item, 4 Bulk, Max Dex 1

Assuming you have max dex for each:

Half Plate = AC +7, TAC +4, Check Pen -4, Level 1, 3 Bulk
Full Plate = AC +7, TAC +3, Check Pen -5, Level 2, 4 Bulk

Full plate is also Clumsy, Half Plate is not.

It is worse in every possible way. It is more expensive, a higher item level, weighs more, and has a higher check penalty. In a game where getting to 14 Dex was difficult... Sure, but a Human Paladin can easily start with an array of:

01: 18/12/10/10/12/16

to jump to:

05: 19/14/12/10/12/18
10: 20/14/14/10/14/19
15: 21/14/16/10/16/20
20: 22/16/18/10/18/20

And even here they are going over the max dex for any heavy armor. I guess they could toss it in Int. Either way... There is virtually no reason anyone would want Full Plate.

Please, this is just odd, Full Plate should be one of the best, if not the best, Heavy Armor. It should never be mechanically the worst.


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Only example character I could think of that would want full plate is a frontlining cleric (multiclass fighter) who can't afford dex because they want Str for hurting, Wis for casting, Cha for healing, and Con for not-dying.

I guess you could afford to go for 14 dex to use the better armor, but you're a d8 class to begin with.

But for most people the only time you'd want full plate is when you can't afford it.


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I don't mind the clumsy trait, you usually won't have more Dex than your armor either way.

But I agree that full plate is pretty terrible atm.

As a higher level item, more expensive, higher skill penalty, lower TAC, I believe it's OK to give it +1 AC above all others even if it breaks the strict "max AC from dex+armor" formula.


shroudb wrote:

I don't mind the clumsy trait, you usually won't have more Dex than your armor either way.

But I agree that full plate is pretty terrible atm.

As a higher level item, more expensive, higher skill penalty, lower TAC, I believe it's OK to give it +1 AC above all others even if it breaks the strict "max AC from dex+armor" formula.

Because it is as higher level item it should be better.

I'd set it up like this:

AC: +8
TAC: +3
Max Dex: +1
Check Pen: -5
Move: -10 ft
Bulk: 4
Level: 2
Traits: Clumsy

This way, with a +1 Dex, it is granting: +9 AC, +4 TAC

The best protection silver can buy, but guts Reflex and is a higher level item (messes with item aquisition)

Grand Lodge

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Id have to agree with this thread but take it further than just fixing Fullplate. Id go so far to change the progression to something like this. (increased armors are in bold)

Light Armor
Padded +1 (drop fragile)
Leather 15 sp +2

Studded leather +2
Chain shirt +3

Medium Armor
Hide +3
Scale mail +4
Chain mail +4
Breastplate +5

Heavy Armor
Splint mail +6
Half plate +7
Full plate +8


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Quijenoth wrote:

Id have to agree with this thread but take it further than just fixing Fullplate. Id go so far to change the progression to something like this. (increased armors are in bold)

Light Armor
Padded +1 (drop fragile)
Leather 15 sp +2

Studded leather +2
Chain shirt +3

Medium Armor
Hide +3
Scale mail +4
Chain mail +4
Breastplate +5

Heavy Armor
Splint mail +6
Half plate +7
Full plate +8

To do that you would have to change the math of the entire game. It was built around armor+dex=7. This way they have nice predictable ACs for the monsters to hit and crit. If you make something that can hit full plate then it crits anything else.


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Then change the math. This is a playtest and that excuse is getting old.

Grand Lodge

Grimcleaver wrote:
Then change the math. This is a playtest and that excuse is getting old.

Agreed. while the math may need some work, the concept of the OP is still founded. Quite simply the current benefit of heavy armors isn't worth its cost. Players are going to need a bit more bang for their buck.

Perhaps something else like damage mitigation but I personally wouldn't go that far. or critical resistance maybe... the floors open for more ideas.


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I agree the Max Dex + Item bonus being 7 across the board doesn't makes sense when heavy armor has such high armor check and speed penalties. Either lower the penalties or at least make item bonus+ max dex equal 8 for heavy armor.


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It feels like the way we can make heavy armor more viable is to give strength (a stat which currently doesn't do much) some ability to mitigate ACP.

But it generally seems that people are generally going to want to put a good portion of their stat ups into the three stats which correspond to saves, so the only real advantage to heavy armor is if you're a class which gets better heavy armor proficiency (fighters and paladins) than any other kind, at which point you're going to want half-plate or scale mail.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

It feels like the way we can make heavy armor more viable is to give strength (a stat which currently doesn't do much) some ability to mitigate ACP.

But it generally seems that people are generally going to want to put a good portion of their stat ups into the three stats which correspond to saves, so the only real advantage to heavy armor is if you're a class which gets better heavy armor proficiency (fighters and paladins) than any other kind, at which point you're going to want half-plate or scale mail.

Easier way:

Remove the ACP and Movement Penalties on armor, and instead have it correspond if you don't have enough strength to wear it.

So, for example:

Padded Armor - Strength 10
Leather Armor - Strength 10
Studded Leather - Strength 12
Chain Shirt - Strength 12
Hide - Strength 16
Scale Mail - Strength 14
Chain Mail - Strength 16
Breastplate - Strength 18
Splint - Strength 16
Half Plate - Strength 18
Full Plate - Strength 20

That would be a good start.


HWalsh wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It feels like the way we can make heavy armor more viable is to give strength (a stat which currently doesn't do much) some ability to mitigate ACP.

But it generally seems that people are generally going to want to put a good portion of their stat ups into the three stats which correspond to saves, so the only real advantage to heavy armor is if you're a class which gets better heavy armor proficiency (fighters and paladins) than any other kind, at which point you're going to want half-plate or scale mail.

Easier way:

Remove the ACP and Movement Penalties on armor, and instead have it correspond if you don't have enough strength to wear it.

So, for example:

Padded Armor - Strength 10
Leather Armor - Strength 10
Studded Leather - Strength 12
Chain Shirt - Strength 12
Hide - Strength 16
Scale Mail - Strength 14
Chain Mail - Strength 16
Breastplate - Strength 18
Splint - Strength 16
Half Plate - Strength 18
Full Plate - Strength 20

That would be a good start.

Good idea, I'd lower those by two each though. Would feel weird to need investment for Padded/Leather and need to wait until level 10 to wear plate effectively.

Also why are hide and breastplate randomly so high?


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thorin001 wrote:
Quijenoth wrote:

Id have to agree with this thread but take it further than just fixing Fullplate. Id go so far to change the progression to something like this. (increased armors are in bold)

Light Armor
Padded +1 (drop fragile)
Leather 15 sp +2

Studded leather +2
Chain shirt +3

Medium Armor
Hide +3
Scale mail +4
Chain mail +4
Breastplate +5

Heavy Armor
Splint mail +6
Half plate +7
Full plate +8

To do that you would have to change the math of the entire game. It was built around armor+dex=7. This way they have nice predictable ACs for the monsters to hit and crit. If you make something that can hit full plate then it crits anything else.

In the other hand, the ACP doesn't skew the math. The Fighter having -5 to Athletism (and Athletism DC) doesn't change anything, since the characters are supposed to fail everything anyway.


CommanderCoyler wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It feels like the way we can make heavy armor more viable is to give strength (a stat which currently doesn't do much) some ability to mitigate ACP.

But it generally seems that people are generally going to want to put a good portion of their stat ups into the three stats which correspond to saves, so the only real advantage to heavy armor is if you're a class which gets better heavy armor proficiency (fighters and paladins) than any other kind, at which point you're going to want half-plate or scale mail.

Easier way:

Remove the ACP and Movement Penalties on armor, and instead have it correspond if you don't have enough strength to wear it.

So, for example:

Padded Armor - Strength 10
Leather Armor - Strength 10
Studded Leather - Strength 12
Chain Shirt - Strength 12
Hide - Strength 16
Scale Mail - Strength 14
Chain Mail - Strength 16
Breastplate - Strength 18
Splint - Strength 16
Half Plate - Strength 18
Full Plate - Strength 20

That would be a good start.

Good idea, I'd lower those by two each though. Would feel weird to need investment for Padded/Leather and need to wait until level 10 to wear plate effectively.

Also why are hide and breastplate randomly so high?

I based it on the ACP of the item.


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Comparing Heavy armor in PF2 to PF 1 it has certainly become worse relative to light armor

PF1
Chain Shirt +4 Armor +4 Max Dex -2 ACP
Brestplate +6 Armor +3 Max Dex -4 ACP -10ft
Full Plate +9 Armor +1 Max Dex -6 ACP -10ft

Note that in PF1 the Armor bonus + Max dex increases with each tier of armor 8 ->9->10 whic his balanced by the increasing ACP and speed penalty

PF2
Chain Shirt +2 Item +5 Max Dex -1 ACP
Brestplate +4 Item +3 Max Dex -4 ACP -5 ft
Full Plate +6 Item +1 Max Dex -5 ACP -10 ft

With constant item + max dex heavy armor provides worse protection relative to light armor than it did in PF1. On top of that the armor check penalties stayed about the same numerically which. Due to the tighter math and crit system of PF2 this means that if there is a critical failure effect (which seems pretty common on athletics and acrobatics checks) than the penalties are effectivly worse in PF2 and the corresponding benefit has been lessened.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
thorin001 wrote:
To do that you would have to change the math of the entire game. It was built around armor+dex=7. This way they have nice predictable ACs for the monsters to hit and crit. If you make something that can hit full plate then it crits anything else.

This isn't directed at you specifically, but more at the idea that this represents.

It really, really irks me that the math being so tight is used as a selling point. I think the math is way too tight, in a way that makes the game less fun to actually play. This game isn't supposed to be a work of art for us to all admire its execution. There should be fewer treadmills, and by golly the default expectations of the system should be slightly under the optimization ceiling, not at it.

You gotta give players the wiggle room to feel excellent, or it's just a boring slog.

Here's how this relates to armor and AC specifically. I'm totally fine with the system assuming that AC + DEX = +7. It's great to know where the expectations are.

So you make it possible to be slightly better than that. Give light armor 1 higher max dex. If you're really dexy, you now get hit and crit 5% less than the expectation. You get to be excellent.

Now give heavy armor +1 AC. If you earned (or bought) the proficiency in it, you now get hit and crit 5% less than the expectation. You get to be excellent.

Now leave medium armor where it is. Make medium armor the default assumption. It's easier to become proficient in it than heavy armor (and cheaper!), it's easier to fill out the max dex through level-up ability boosts than light armor. It's the good ol' standby, you get what you pay for.

Why does this system think that any amount of player excellence is unacceptable? These are the heroes, dangit!


Leedwashere wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
To do that you would have to change the math of the entire game. It was built around armor+dex=7. This way they have nice predictable ACs for the monsters to hit and crit. If you make something that can hit full plate then it crits anything else.

This isn't directed at you specifically, but more at the idea that this represents.

It really, really irks me that the math being so tight is used as a selling point. I think the math is way too tight, in a way that makes the game less fun to actually play. This game isn't supposed to be a work of art for us to all admire its execution. There should be fewer treadmills, and by golly the default expectations of the system should be slightly under the optimization ceiling, not at it.

You gotta give players the wiggle room to feel excellent, or it's just a boring slog.

Here's how this relates to armor and AC specifically. I'm totally fine with the system assuming that AC + DEX = +7. It's great to know where the expectations are.

So you make it possible to be slightly better than that. Give light armor 1 higher max dex. If you're really dexy, you now get hit and crit 5% less than the expectation. You get to be excellent.

Now give heavy armor +1 AC. If you earned (or bought) the proficiency in it, you now get hit and crit 5% less than the expectation. You get to be excellent.

Now leave medium armor where it is. Make medium armor the default assumption. It's easier to become proficient in it than heavy armor (and cheaper!), it's easier to fill out the max dex through level-up ability boosts than light armor. It's the good ol' standby, you get what you pay for.

Why does this system think that any amount of player excellence is unacceptable?

That's kind of how it is now. Bracers of armor has no max dex which means +7 if you fully invest so basic bracers + dex =8. On the other hand if you are a fighter or Paladin you can get higher AC by wearing heavy armor since they get master proficiency. the problem with both of theese options is that they don't come online until pretty high levels so it's not really helpful.


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It should be noted that for realism, much of what is suggested here is crazy (as is the original values in PF2, and even PF1). There is a reason that full plate armor evolved as the pinnacle of the armorer's art. Leaving aside the penetrating capabilities of something like guns, on the field of combat, it's just better; which the current rules model horribly. A suit of full plate is a personalized item like a bespoke suit, fitted to you individually. Because of the internal harnessing and weight distribution, you actually are more maneuverable (lower ACP) than a chain hauberk...

Of course, this does not fit with the game math at all.


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pad300 wrote:

It should be noted that for realism, much of what is suggested here is crazy (as is the original values in PF2, and even PF1). There is a reason that full plate armor evolved as the pinnacle of the armorer's art. Leaving aside the penetrating capabilities of something like guns, on the field of combat, it's just better; which the current rules model horribly. A suit of full plate is a personalized item like a bespoke suit, fitted to you individually. Because of the internal harnessing and weight distribution, you actually are more maneuverable (lower ACP) than a chain hauberk...

Of course, this does not fit with the game math at all.

The game math and lore on armor is a complete mess due to sacred cows leftover from 3e.

The original armor list only had 3 armors (Leather Armor (AC 7), Chain Mail (AC 5) and Plate Armor (AC 3)) and Shields (reduce AC by 1) and each new type was an upgrade over the previous type.

The 1e armor list made Leather weaker and added several armors as alternatives and in between options. Padded was added as a slightly cheaper alternative (with a penalty to thief skills) to Leather, Studded Leather (thief option) and Ring Mail were added as a 'better than Leather' options, Scale Mail was added as a 'between (Studded) Leather and Chain Mail' option, and Splint Mail and Banded Mail were added as 'between Chain Mail and Plate Mail' options.

The 2e armor list expanded by adding Brigandine and Hide Armor as alternatives to Scale Mail and Bronze Plate Mail as an alternative to Splint/Banded Mail. It also added two high priced fitted suits (Field Plate Armor and Full Plate Armor) that gave better ACs at the cost of needing an armorer to resize them in order to wear the armor (Full Plate had only a 20% chance to be resizable).

Every one of these editions had armor as a simple worst to best upgrade path (with Thieves, Bards and Rangers having Thief Special abilities penalized for wearing better than Leather) with class limits on the best armor you could use. Wearing better armor didn't penalize you unless you were a class with Thief skills or were a Wizard.

3e tried to make all armors viable instead of having there be a bunch of temporary place holders until a character got the good armor. They did this by adding Max Dex Bonus, Armor Check Penalties and Speed Penalties. PF1e inherited these things and they were further ported in PF2e without thinking.


Bardarok wrote:
Leedwashere wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
To do that you would have to change the math of the entire game. It was built around armor+dex=7. This way they have nice predictable ACs for the monsters to hit and crit. If you make something that can hit full plate then it crits anything else.

This isn't directed at you specifically, but more at the idea that this represents.

It really, really irks me that the math being so tight is used as a selling point. I think the math is way too tight, in a way that makes the game less fun to actually play. This game isn't supposed to be a work of art for us to all admire its execution. There should be fewer treadmills, and by golly the default expectations of the system should be slightly under the optimization ceiling, not at it.

You gotta give players the wiggle room to feel excellent, or it's just a boring slog.

Here's how this relates to armor and AC specifically. I'm totally fine with the system assuming that AC + DEX = +7. It's great to know where the expectations are.

So you make it possible to be slightly better than that. Give light armor 1 higher max dex. If you're really dexy, you now get hit and crit 5% less than the expectation. You get to be excellent.

Now give heavy armor +1 AC. If you earned (or bought) the proficiency in it, you now get hit and crit 5% less than the expectation. You get to be excellent.

Now leave medium armor where it is. Make medium armor the default assumption. It's easier to become proficient in it than heavy armor (and cheaper!), it's easier to fill out the max dex through level-up ability boosts than light armor. It's the good ol' standby, you get what you pay for.

Why does this system think that any amount of player excellence is unacceptable?

That's kind of how it is now. Bracers of armor has no max dex which means +7 if you fully invest so basic bracers + dex =8. On the other hand if you are a fighter or Paladin you can get higher AC by wearing heavy armor since they get...

Actually Bracers go up to +6 armor bonus, so bracers + dex =13. +5 full plate + dex =12.


Yes I was ignoring the potency bonus since that is the same for all armors as well as for bracers of armor.


CommanderCoyler wrote:

Good idea, I'd lower those by two each though. Would feel weird to need investment for Padded/Leather and need to wait until level 10 to wear plate effectively.

Also why are hide and breastplate randomly so high?

One classic way of dealing with this sort of thing is to base the penalty on how much you are short of the minimum.

So someone with 18 Str might get a penalty when wearing full plate, but it isn't as bad as the penalty his 16 Str friend is dealing with.


Guess we aren't getting a dev response. They're too focused on other things than armor I guess.


Chakat Firepaw wrote:
CommanderCoyler wrote:

Good idea, I'd lower those by two each though. Would feel weird to need investment for Padded/Leather and need to wait until level 10 to wear plate effectively.

Also why are hide and breastplate randomly so high?

One classic way of dealing with this sort of thing is to base the penalty on how much you are short of the minimum.

So someone with 18 Str might get a penalty when wearing full plate, but it isn't as bad as the penalty his 16 Str friend is dealing with.

This would be simple enough to implement. Just have str directly offset the ACP of all armors directly.


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HWalsh wrote:
Guess we aren't getting a dev response. They're too focused on other things than armor I guess.

You were never going to get a developer response as soon as you put it in the subject line, for much the same reason the US government says it doesn't negotiate with terrorists - it doesn't want to encourage others to make demands.

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