Is there any reason a Psychic or really anyone shouldn't wear armor? (Excluding monks)


Advice


+2 Hide Shirt 4,170GP: +5 armor 0 armor check from masterwork AKA no proficiency penalty.
+2 Buckler 4,160GP: +3 armor 0 armor check from masterwork AKA no proficiency penalty.
For arcane caster w/ arcane armor training
+2 Leather 4,160GP: +4 armor 0 armor check.

Alternatively
+3 bracers of armor 9000GP?
How does this balance out?

Grand Lodge

obviously when it comes to proficiency, being able to find armor you're able to wear is fairly easy. Any character can, for example, take the Armor Expert trait and wear a mithral breastplate at no penalty. Any masterwork buckler provides a shield bonus at no penalty. You don't need proficiency to wear them.

Certain abilities, like spell failure chance, Monk abilities, brawler's AC bonus and some Swashbuckler's abilities depend on the character wearing a certain type of armor (or no armor at all) but there are of course still ways around that.

To be honest, I think bracers of armor simply didn't withstand the test of time. As new equipment like the Haramaki came out in later publications, they do what the bracers do, only much more cost effective. My PFS wizard has one that's about to get the Spell Storing enchantment. Sure the +1 Haramaki is only +2 AC but I can still use Mage armor to bump up the bonus and still benefit from the spell storing enchantment, unlike with bracers of armor.


Generally speaking? No- unless you have class mechanics that specifically punish you for wearing armor, there is little to no reason to not wear armor.

Shadow Lodge

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Encumbrance is often an issue as well: Leather Armor is 15lbs, the Hide Shirt is 18lbs, and even the buckler is 5lbs. They aren't really heavy, but they take a huge chuck of your carrying capacity if you don't have a strength bonus (light encumbrance for Strength 10 is 33lbs or less).


Why, besides adding secondary properties like spell storing cited above to a Haramaki, wouldn't an arcane caster simply go with the cheap, weightless, and anti-incorporeal Mage Armor spell?


EpicFail wrote:
Why, besides adding secondary properties like spell storing cited above to a Haramaki, wouldn't an arcane caster simply go with the cheap, weightless, and anti-incorporeal Mage Armor spell?

Because they can't (magus, bard), because a buckler stacks with mage armor (they go with mage armor but not simply mage armor), because they're low level and that's a major part of their spells/day, because they didn't get it at low levels and now they're high enough level that mage armor makes no significant difference to their chance of being hit...


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The only good, RAW reasons not to wear armor would be class prohibitions, encumbrance or cost. Everything else can be worked around. That being said, arcane casters might have a reason not to.

Potions are a little expensive to make at low levels, but get easier as you advance; scrolls are cheap and wands (in cost/use) are the cheapest. Certain arcane casters will get either Brew Potion or Scribe Scroll as a free feat and might take Craft Wand as a regular or bonus feat.

Many arcane casters also have the option for a Familiar. With the right build on a Familiar eventually by around 8th level they can help their arcane caster with Use Magic Device, being skilled enough that they can use wands or cast 1st or 2nd level scrolls with only a 5% failure rate.

IF your arcane caster goes in one of these specific routes, and I say if because not everyone builds with a UMD familiar in mind (or a familiar at all for that matter), then for this caster it's about cost.

A single wand charge of Mage Armor costs the arcane caster 7 GP, 5 SP to craft. Ditto for a Shield spell. In one round at level 8 this arcane caster could get to a +8 on their AC for 15 GP. This combo, using the Familiar wielding a wand and the caster using another, takes some setting up but has it's benefits.

Now I mention all of the above because it relates to one of the 3 core reasons I started with for folks to wear, or not wear armor: Cost.

Yes, for some folks at mid to high level a set of magic armor +2 or +3 might not be extremely cost prohibitive, but consider what can be done with 8,330 GP in the hands of an arcane caster with Craft Wand. This amount of cash equates to roughly 1 wand each of a 3rd level, 2nd level and 1st level.

This particular caster may be able to match or exceed the defensive benefits of the armor above with wands while still having a third wand they've crafted so on round 2 of a fight the familiar has a Scorching Ray or something to attack with.

Finally, and I know this is a wall of text and I apologize, consider the old adage: the best defense is a good O-ffense. In other words who cares if the barbarian is still wearing hide armor +1 at 8th level; they also have boots that ignore difficult terrain, a 40' move, and feats so they can full attack at the end of a charge. 1 round of rage, one successful charge where all of their attacks hit, and there are no attacks said barbarian needs to worry about.


Only three reasons to not wear armor that I can think of:
1. Class Abilities (aka Monk)
2. Arcane Spell Failure (aka Sorcerer/Wizard)
3. Insanely High Dex (with Bracers of Armor instead)


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There are ways to get armor with armor check penalty and arcane spell failure values of zero, with a standard haramaki being the best choice at 1st level. After that, I can think of a couple of situations where you might want to ditch the armor:

1) You are high enough level to cast Mage Armor spells that protect you all day and your armor does not yet give you an armor bonus of +4 or greater.

2) You have a haramaki +5 and a lot of money, so your next AC bump would be Bracers of Armor +7.


I'm actually trying to figure out how to get my current playing character's armor to have a higher max dex. I don't want to use the Bracers because I already have an item in that slot and my current armor has a nice selection of energy resistances.

For all my characters as a whole, there are only 3 that don't wear any armor. One is a Monk. One is a Monk/Sorcerer. And the third is a leveled backup that has Create Wondrous Items and could make the bracers for half price.


Heather 540 wrote:
I'm actually trying to figure out how to get my current playing character's armor to have a higher max dex. I don't want to use the Bracers because I already have an item in that slot and my current armor has a nice selection of energy resistances.

Best I can think of is Celestial Armor. This gives a max Dex of +8 rather than +2. For 22,400 gp, you get +9+Dex to AC. Cheaper would be Mithral armor. Mithral chainmail would have max Dex of +4. For 4,150 gp, you get +6+Dex to AC. You have to deal with proficiency, armor check penalties, and arcane spell failure, but the combinations are many and you can get good armor with no ASF or no ACP without too much trouble.

The heavier Celestial Plate Armor also has better Dex than regulat plate armor.

Another entry in this line is Celestial Shield. This does not help with the Dex, but it does give neat perks for having the sets.

You can also add the Nimble enchantment for +2 max Dex, -1 ACP and -1 AC for +1000 gp.

In 3.5, you could get Nimbleness from the Magic Item Compendium for +1 Max Dex and -2 ACP for +1 bonus. You could get Nimbleness from the Magic of Faerun for +2 max Dex and -1 ACP for +1 bonus.

/cevah


Hm, the Nimble enhancement could work even with the lower bonus to the armor itself. I need to get a ring of protection anyway.


The Bracers have the same scaling as adding +1's to magic armor - seems like they exist mainly to be that enhancement bonus for unarmored characters (mostly Monks, but there are a few other niche unarmored archetypes out there like the Warrior Poet). The fact that they are an armor bonus instead of an enhancement bonus is odd, if it was the latter it'd stack with mage armor and see much wider use.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
The Bracers have the same scaling as adding +1's to magic armor - seems like they exist mainly to be that enhancement bonus for unarmored characters (mostly Monks, but there are a few other niche unarmored archetypes out there like the Warrior Poet). The fact that they are an armor bonus instead of an enhancement bonus is odd, if it was the latter it'd stack with mage armor and see much wider use.

There is a good reason that bracers of armor don't stack with the mage armor spell -- guess which spell is in the construction requirements?


If they were an enhancement bonus specifically to AC, would they not just become mandatory for characters who cared about AC?


Lucy_Valentine wrote:
If they were an enhancement bonus specifically to AC, would they not just become mandatory for characters who cared about AC?

...They are mandatory? Have you ever seen a character that doesn't make their armor magic early in their career?


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With arcane casters I generally just ignore my AC, focusing more on things like miss chance/flight/staying at a safe distance

It becomes too expensive monetarily/action economy wise to devote so much to only having meh AC in my experience. Main trouble for me is even after all this work, anything meaningfully scary still has a pretty good chance of hitting you. Then again maybe I’m just not trying hard enough.

The Exchange

Heather 540 wrote:
Hm, the Nimble enhancement could work even with the lower bonus to the armor itself. I need to get a ring of protection anyway.

Bear in mind that nimble is an armor modification, not an enchantment. All armor modifications have a specific set of limitations. You can only add one modification per armor, they cost 50% more when added to magic armor (so 1500 for nimble), and they add weight (5 lbs for nimble). Realistically the weight is the only thing most nimble-users are going to care about.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Lucy_Valentine wrote:
If they were an enhancement bonus specifically to AC, would they not just become mandatory for characters who cared about AC?
...They are mandatory? Have you ever seen a character that doesn't make their armor magic early in their career?

Huh, that's weird. I thought the magic armour was giving an enhancement bonus to the armour bonus, not directly to AC.


Seems like there's confusion. Adding +1 to your masterwork armor DOES enhance the armor bonus. Arachnofiend wasn't answering the question how you thought you were asking it. Pretty much every type of AC enhancement comes in the form of typed bonus, such as armor bonus, shield bonus, deflection bonus, natural armor bonus, etc.

So the point is that in 3.X D&D (or what I can remember of Neverwinter Nights), Bracers of Armor did just add to your AC separately from your armor or Mage Armor spell (though note that Mage Armor did not stack with regular armor), but in Pathfinder Bracers of Armor just provide an armor bonus to AC.


Belafon wrote:
Heather 540 wrote:
Hm, the Nimble enhancement could work even with the lower bonus to the armor itself. I need to get a ring of protection anyway.
Bear in mind that nimble is an armor modification, not an enchantment. All armor modifications have a specific set of limitations. You can only add one modification per armor, they cost 50% more when added to magic armor (so 1500 for nimble), and they add weight (5 lbs for nimble). Realistically the weight is the only thing most nimble-users are going to care about.

Note that this +50% only applies if the Nimble mod is added after making the armor magic. If done before, there is no added cost.

/cevah


It's already magic. That's why I don't want to change it out. It's +5 and has a 50% Acid Resistance from the material (house rule due to being made of dragon skin) as well as Electricity Resistance and Fire Resistance.

And thanks to a Muleback Cords and a Belt of Physical Perfection boosting my Str to 14, I can handle an extra 5 pounds.


Don't forget the Masterwork Backpack for another boost to carrying capacity.
You can also add Burdenless to your armor for even more carrying capacity.
The best weight handling, though, is the Portable Hole, it can hold maybe 100 tonns of stuff with no effective weight. [Assuming metal with a density of 11 filling the 6' diameter 10' deep hole.]
The Bag of Holding is way outclassed by the portable hole.

/cevah


Got a Bag of Holding and all the wearable equipment I'm going to need already. Plus my character has a mount so if a second bag ends up being needed, it can be tied to the saddle.

Although it's kind of funny, this character is one of the few that has to decide between a Masterwork Backpack or animal barding at level one even with max gold.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Encumbrance is often an issue as well: Leather Armor is 15lbs, the Hide Shirt is 18lbs, and even the buckler is 5lbs. They aren't really heavy, but they take a huge chuck of your carrying capacity if you don't have a strength bonus (light encumbrance for Strength 10 is 33lbs or less).

Related to this, if you have to swim often or are often in a situation where you might have to swim with no advance notice, you might not want armor. Although if you can get a deal with someone who makes magic armor, the Buoyant special property is almost ridiculously cheap once you get past the first handful of levels, so then the question becomes one of whether you expect to have to swim in an area having an Antimagic Field or a dead magic zone.


Swim checks aren't a problem with zero-ACP armor unless you're actually encumbered because of that armor, UAE. Common sense does not equal rules.


Yes, but if you're not very strong, you WILL be encumbered from wearing heavy armor . . . they don't call it heavy for no reason.


As with just about anything it's a cost/benefit question...

For an arcane caster there certainly is quite the chance that encumbrance might be a problem and anything that requires a trait, like Armour Expert, or a feat, like Arcane Armour Training, has to contend with competition like spell focus and metamagic feats.

For the price of the items you listed I could also get a Metamagic Rod, lesser with extend spell. So for one use of an item that costs 3k and a 1'st level slot you can get a chainshirt that weighs nothing, has no spell failure chance, doesn't make a sound, is invisible and in case of arcane armour training, doesn't take up your swift actions.

Sure for tons of characters armour makes a lot of sense, both rules-wise and flavour-wise since it's a silly adventurer that ignores it, but for arcane caster's specifically the cost is a bit high... Maybe go for Silken Ceremonial and enchant it if you really want to, but in almost all circumstances there's better things to throw your cash at.

All this said, I'm quite a big fan of the Hellknight Signifier prestige class. Wizards in full-plate is just a cool concept.


Since I discovered inexpensive options for arcane casters to wear armor and have a shield (with no mechanical downside, nor requirements like feats or traits) I've found myself hard pressed not to get them. Mainly it's so I can grab things like determination and spell storing. In some cases since I'm not actually wearing the armor for the AC I will continue to also cast mage armor. What's nice is that If I want a higher AC it's as easy as simply adding more pluses to my armor and shield. A wizard can easily get an ac of 23 though magic armor and a physical magic shield alone. If you don't like the aesthetic then just slap glammer on it and you can make your character's outfit look like whatever you want it to.

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