Bracers of Armor


Rules Discussion


PAGE 556, BROWN HIGHLIGHT TIP

ARMOR ALTERNATIVES
If you don’t want to wear armor, or you’re trained in
only unarmored defense, you can wear either explorer’s
clothing or bracers of armor. Explorer’s clothing can be
etched with runes just like armor can, so it can provide
item bonuses to AC or saves.
Bracers of armor give a +1 item bonus to AC with no Dex
modifier cap
, and also grant a bonus to saves. This item
can be found on page 607.

PAGE 607

BRACERS OF ARMOR ITEM 8+
ABJURATION INVESTED MAGICAL
Usage worn bracers; Bulk L
These stiff leather armguards grant you a +1 item bonus
to AC and saving throws, and a maximum Dexterity
modifier of +5
.

So... wich one is official statement? Does the bracer caps Dex or not?


They probably do, considering that the other unarmored item bonuses to AC (Explorer's Clothing and Mage Armor) also have a max Dex of +5.


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"Probably" is not the answer i was hoping for my friend :( ... i could argue that Cloth is "armor", so its ok to have Dex cap but Bracer is a Worn item (Worn Items category) ... so, why Dex Cap?

Again, two statements. I wish a Dev could come here and clarify please, or someone who actually saw this answer somewhere else.

@Red Metal thanks thou.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's going to be very, very difficult to have more than a +5 DEX mod without magical assistance. I'm curious how you can get there before level 20.

For all intents and purposes, having a cap at +5 DEX is the same as saying there is no max dex cap.


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This is almost certainly an editing error from the playtest; Bracers used to have no dex cap, in the final version of PF2 the design is that unarmored, light, and medium all have the same total AC when factoring both armor bonus and dexterity cap. Play them as having a +5 cap.


Wheldrake wrote:

It's going to be very, very difficult to have more than a +5 DEX mod without magical assistance. I'm curious how you can get there before level 20.

For all intents and purposes, having a cap at +5 DEX is the same as saying there is no max dex cap.

That's not actually true - Crane Stance can use 24 Dex perfectly well at level 20, and hits 22 at around level 17 if fully invested.

I'd probably say Dex cap is intended. Explanatory text has proven to have some errors - see the focus pool one for another example.

From my understanding of bracers, it lets you use talismans, but not property runes. However, the explorer's clothes let you use property runes, but not talismans. That's the value difference between them, making it a choice as to which is valuable to you.


If you start with 18 dex at level 1 you can end up with a +7 modifier by level 20, though it does require the magic item to boost you up from 22 to 24.

At +7 dex modifier it will see you be at only a -1 compared to the max AC you could otherwise achieve with anything but heavy armor, while not spending any money. However, you lose access to the resilient runes to increase your saves, which is kind of a big loss.

The other interesting thing is bracers of armor cost 60000 gp, while the runes for +3 to AC and saves for armor actually cost more than 60000 gp. So if you hit +5 dex, and aren't interested in property runes bracers of armor are the best deal.

If bracers didn't have a dex cap, or had a dex cap of 6 they would actually tie for most AC or be the best AC option. And dex based characters be too strong (at least probably in Paizo's opinion).

However, it does feel off that if you want to benefit from your high dex score you can't also benefit from boost to your saves.


I think the idea is to make sure that all forms of non-heavy armor give you +5 AC (plus runes) when you optimize your dex for the armor. Heavy Armor gets you to +6 because there needs to be a reason for Heavy Armor.


It's supposed to cap DEX.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If it did not cap we would end up seeing all sorts of anti-thematic things like Archers and Rogues going after bracers instead of armor. I would prefer Bracers of Armor being much more a Wizard, Sorcerer, and Monk thing generally.

Paizo Employee Designer

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The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.

Thanks for confirming! I also find it amusing that a Dex 22 character can dodge so fast that the magic forcefield can't keep up.


Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.

Any chance the "+1 AC, +1-3 save bonus, no dex cap" item sees print eventually? Incredibly dextrous people would probably want that. At most this would put Dex Monks on par with Heavy Armor champions in the late game, and the Champion would pull ahead again with a shield.

Paizo Employee Designer

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lordcirth wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.
Thanks for confirming! I also find it amusing that a Dex 22 character can dodge so fast that the magic forcefield can't keep up.

That's actually why we used to have the old version until very late in the process. But is that a good reason to make the item worse for everyone else? Ultimately, we decided no.


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Campbell wrote:
If it did not cap we would end up seeing all sorts of anti-thematic things like Archers and Rogues going after bracers instead of armor. I would prefer Bracers of Armor being much more a Wizard, Sorcerer, and Monk thing generally.

I think that's already going to happen.

If you have a +5 dex, bracers of armor are you best choice unless you have a property rune you want to use. It's cheaper than buying the resilient and potency runes of the same category.

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.
Any chance the "+1 AC, +1-3 save bonus, no dex cap" item sees print eventually? Incredibly dextrous people would probably want that. At most this would put Dex Monks on par with Heavy Armor champions in the late game, and the Champion would pull ahead again with a shield.

I believe that wouldn't be any better for the dex monk than the current, right? +3 AC with max Dex +5 and +1 AC with Dex +7 are the same.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.
Any chance the "+1 AC, +1-3 save bonus, no dex cap" item sees print eventually? Incredibly dextrous people would probably want that. At most this would put Dex Monks on par with Heavy Armor champions in the late game, and the Champion would pull ahead again with a shield.
I believe that wouldn't be any better for the dex monk than the current, right? +3 AC with max Dex +5 and +1 AC with Dex +7 are the same.

I think it's purely psychological. Like "I'm going to put more points into dexterity, because dexterity is what I do" but not getting the maximum benefit from increasing your dex even more feels bad. Or rather, +7 Dex/+1 AC from the item feels more rewarding from maximizing dex than +5 Dex/+3 AC does.

I guess I could always homebrew some high level monk item that has another benefit aside from the above. I'm imagining those "Iron Rings" you see in like "36th Chamber", "Crippled Avengers" (also "Kung Fu Hustle") where you can block attacks with them, maybe with a 1/day activity to refocus in combat or something.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.
Any chance the "+1 AC, +1-3 save bonus, no dex cap" item sees print eventually? Incredibly dextrous people would probably want that. At most this would put Dex Monks on par with Heavy Armor champions in the late game, and the Champion would pull ahead again with a shield.
I believe that wouldn't be any better for the dex monk than the current, right? +3 AC with max Dex +5 and +1 AC with Dex +7 are the same.
I think it's purely psychological. Like "I'm going to put more points into dexterity, because dexterity is what I do" but not getting the maximum benefit from increasing your dex even more feels bad. Or rather, +7 Dex/+1 AC from the item feels more rewarding from maximizing dex than +5 Dex/+3 AC does.

I agree. The archer ranger I just built felt very weird when I was like..."Okay so none of these options lets me take full advantage of my dex. That sucks". I would have even accepted something that provided no armor bonus at all, but would have allowed me to get the +3 to saves. Armored vs unarmored AC on my character is just 1 point difference, but losing the save bonus was too much.

Of course, I would expect the thing that only provided the save bonus to be a bit cheaper than the bracers though.


Cyouni wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

It's going to be very, very difficult to have more than a +5 DEX mod without magical assistance. I'm curious how you can get there before level 20.

For all intents and purposes, having a cap at +5 DEX is the same as saying there is no max dex cap.

That's not actually true - Crane Stance can use 24 Dex perfectly well at level 20, and hits 22 at around level 17 if fully invested.

I'd probably say Dex cap is intended. Explanatory text has proven to have some errors - see the focus pool one for another example.

From my understanding of bracers, it lets you use talismans, but not property runes. However, the explorer's clothes let you use property runes, but not talismans. That's the value difference between them, making it a choice as to which is valuable to you.

Where does it say that Explorer's clothes don't allow talismans? Furthermore, would it even matter (i.e., can't you just have Explorer's clothes with all the runes, and then buy the cheapest Bracers of Armor, just to let them house your talismans)?

Paizo Employee Designer

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.
Any chance the "+1 AC, +1-3 save bonus, no dex cap" item sees print eventually? Incredibly dextrous people would probably want that. At most this would put Dex Monks on par with Heavy Armor champions in the late game, and the Champion would pull ahead again with a shield.
I believe that wouldn't be any better for the dex monk than the current, right? +3 AC with max Dex +5 and +1 AC with Dex +7 are the same.
I think it's purely psychological. Like "I'm going to put more points into dexterity, because dexterity is what I do" but not getting the maximum benefit from increasing your dex even more feels bad. Or rather, +7 Dex/+1 AC from the item feels more rewarding from maximizing dex than +5 Dex/+3 AC does.

I agree with that; the psychology is actually why we had the original version to begin with. But the fact that the item becomes only for those characters and can't serve well for mages or dex-secondary characters wound up being too strong to ignore.


I think just reminding yourself how ridiculous Celestial Armor was in PF1 helps a lot. Dex characters could get pretty egregious with their AC bonuses when they were running around with effectively no dex cap.


Tectorman wrote:


Where does it say that Explorer's clothes don't allow talismans? Furthermore, would it even matter (i.e., can't you just have Explorer's clothes with all the runes, and then buy the cheapest Bracers of Armor, just to let them house your talismans)?

Well, it specifically notes that Explorer's Clothes aren't armour. Talismans note "affixed to armour".


Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
The option was for it to have +1 AC at all three item levels (with just the save bonus going up) and not cap Dex or go +1/+2/+3 to both and cap Dex. We switched to the latter, as currently printed in the item itself, late in the process on the grounds that it is always more effective or equal for all characters and is otherwise just a worse choice for mages and the like than wearing robes/adventure's clothing.
Any chance the "+1 AC, +1-3 save bonus, no dex cap" item sees print eventually? Incredibly dextrous people would probably want that. At most this would put Dex Monks on par with Heavy Armor champions in the late game, and the Champion would pull ahead again with a shield.
I believe that wouldn't be any better for the dex monk than the current, right? +3 AC with max Dex +5 and +1 AC with Dex +7 are the same.
I think it's purely psychological. Like "I'm going to put more points into dexterity, because dexterity is what I do" but not getting the maximum benefit from increasing your dex even more feels bad. Or rather, +7 Dex/+1 AC from the item feels more rewarding from maximizing dex than +5 Dex/+3 AC does.
I agree with that; the psychology is actually why we had the original version to begin with. But the fact that the item becomes only for those characters and can't serve well for mages or dex-secondary characters wound up being too strong to ignore.

You could always put the +1AC/+3 save(dex cap 7?) version in later as a cheaper alternative. That will probably make some dex builds happy even if it is just cutting down their armor budget by 10k or whatever. I am happy that strong boys in full plate armor get to be the hardest to damage, but I think it would be a good concession to dex boys.


Potentially the upside for a +3 Saves, +1 Armor, +7 Dex Cap (or +3 saves, +2 Armor, +6 Dex Cap if you want it to be in play at before level 20, or work for people who pick a different apex item) would be if it allowed both property runes and talismans.

Plus, since this will exist on a specific space (It only matters when your Dex is 22+) it can be a specific magic item and not a category.


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Cyouni wrote:
Tectorman wrote:


Where does it say that Explorer's clothes don't allow talismans? Furthermore, would it even matter (i.e., can't you just have Explorer's clothes with all the runes, and then buy the cheapest Bracers of Armor, just to let them house your talismans)?
Well, it specifically notes that Explorer's Clothes aren't armour. Talismans note "affixed to armour".

I don't think that's the whole story.

Look at what the section on Runes says. It makes no mention of "runes can be etched onto armor and also Explorer's clothes" or even "fundamental runes can be etched onto armor and also Explorer's clothes". And then look at the description for Explorer's clothes. It doesn't say "despite not being armor, Explorer's clothes can be etched with armor runes" or even just armor fundamental runes.

The specific text is "it still has a Dex Cap and can grant an item bonus to AC if etched with potency runes". So either we take that to mean that Explorer's clothes can only receive one kind of upgrade (armor potency runes) and that's it (no talismans, no property runes, not even Resilient fundamental runes).

Or we accept that Explorer's clothes ARE supposed to qualify as armor for the purposes of being upgradeable. And if they are implicitly allowed to have Resilient fundamental runes and armor property runes, why would they not also implicitly be allowed to have talismans?

In the latter case, the text "though it's not armor and uses your unarmored defense proficiency" would only apply to what it does without taking the upgrades into account (not inherently provide a bonus to AC on its own and fall under the unarmored category, rather than light, medium, or heavy).

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