Enough benefits from heavy armor?


Rules Discussion


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Do you feel the difference between plate mail and lighter armor needed to be bigger in PF2?

What I mean is that armor generally grants you AC 15 before proficiency. Heavy armor grants you 16, a single point more.

What you pay for being able to dump Dexterity is:
+1 AC
-5 Speed
Check penalty (meaning your Acrobatics is doubly shot)
Worse Dex-related abilities (Reflex save, Dex skills... at least your Initiative doesn't depend on Dex).

(The trend in recent games is to enable people playing heroes that essentially act like anime heroes - lithe acrobatic ninjas. The pendulum has decisively shifted away from big strong hulking heroes. This is most apparent in D&D 5E, of course.)

What do you say?


"The pendulum has decisively shifted away from big strong hulking heroes"

Started with 3e sadly, not my favourite roleplay genre but it is popular.

Regarding heavy armour, remember that plate gives you bulwark, and heavy armour has improved specialisation bonuses. Although there is no heavy chain option yet which would be the most desirable imo.


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Zapp wrote:

Do you feel the difference between plate mail and lighter armor needed to be bigger in PF2?

What I mean is that armor generally grants you AC 15 before proficiency. Heavy armor grants you 16, a single point more.

What you pay for being able to dump Dexterity is:
+1 AC
-5 Speed
Check penalty (meaning your Acrobatics is doubly shot)
Worse Dex-related abilities (Reflex save, Dex skills... at least your Initiative doesn't depend on Dex).

(The trend in recent games is to enable people playing heroes that essentially act like anime heroes - lithe acrobatic ninjas. The pendulum has decisively shifted away from big strong hulking heroes. This is most apparent in D&D 5E, of course.)

What do you say?

Absolutely, but the trade isn't as bad as you make it.

The -5 speed penalty is true, but with appropriate Strength, there is no armor check penalty. The worse dex-related abilities is usually made up for by being better in other abilities, like Wisdom for Will saves, skills, plus Initiative and Perception, which in my book, wins out over the Reflex Saves, especially since Full Plate offers Bulwark, a +3 Circumstance bonus to area-based Reflex Saves, some of the most common Reflex Saves to make.

That being said, a lot of the other benefits (such as armor specialization, AC, and traits) could have been much more expanded. I feel the reason they didn't is because it would ruin the tight math they put on the game, plus then make combat overly complex. After all, we commonly forget the critical specialization effects of our weapons, imagine throwing armor specializations in there, or even more traits.


Remember that part of the malus you see are because you still don't have a mithril armor, and with that you are totally good with it.

Apart from that, they are perfect.

- 1 extra AC.
- full use only for for 2 classes.
- possibility for expert users to benefit from them without any issues for other classes ( you also have to trade 2 class feats ).
- bulwark with full plate, if no dex user, or better saves with other heavy armors if dex users.

I love them.


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Check penalty goes away if you meet the strength requirement. Worse Dex-related abilities is a player choice, not a feature of the armor so it seems goofy to list that as a downside.

As it stands heavy armor is just flat out better than other armors if you can meet the requirements, with the speed penalty serving as a small counterbalance.


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Squiggit wrote:

Check penalty goes away if you meet the strength requirement. Worse Dex-related abilities is a player choice, not a feature of the armor so it seems goofy to list that as a downside.

As it stands heavy armor is just flat out better than other armors if you can meet the requirements, with the speed penalty serving as a small counterbalance.

Yup. It's hella strong. And with armor specialization it is even better.


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I thought that if you meet the str req you could remove only 5feet speed penalty.

Not 10 feet.

For the 10 feet you would need then both str and mithril.


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Yup, with STR there is no skill check penalty, so it doesn't per se penalize DEX skills. Archer Fighters are probably wearing Heavy Armor as soon as they meet STR requirement (if not before, they care less about speed), and probably have max DEX. Anybody else can boost DEX to be -1 behind a max DEX build (starting or Level 5), not really different if they wore Light/Medium armor it's just that DEX isn't helping their AC but they have higher AC anyways.

The speed penalty exists unless/until you get Mithril, but just Fleet negates it, as does Elven speed or Nimble (Half-Elf accessible), and of course Dwarven Unburdened Iron ignores it regardless.

Another unmentioned benefit is Fortification Runes albeit shared with Medium, which IMHO is worth more than +1 AC.
Also, Heavy Armor yields higher amount of Resistance from Armor Training ability.


The removal of touch attacks makes heavy armor relevant again IMO, and the speed penalty is certainly much less crippling than it used to be in 1E, above all for higher base speeds.

And just by looking at the numbers, it's obvious that for players who want the most AC, heavy armor is a no-brainer unless they dump strength for some reason.

Sovereign Court

I do feel that the Medium, and especially Heavy armor is far weaker than it used to be, so I've created some house rules to try to help fix it. Each increase in Armor proficiency reduces the armor check penalty by 1 and raises the max Dex by 1. I feel this change is a good one rather than just increasing the Item bonus because it forces the player to work for it rather than just saying "I'm a Champion, I can dump Dex!" You can, but at higher levels, you could now be adding at least a point or 2 to your AC by having some Dex bonus, not to mention the ranged attack bonus.


The fact that you can doesn't mean that you would.

Leaving apart that dumping dex with low reflex saves is not the best choice ( mostly because of trip dc ) even a medium armor user could dump dex and be ok with 12 dex, so your reasoning doesn't stand.

Heavy armors have the right advantage, and characters doesn't need necessarily to waste points in dex.

A champion mostly rely on str and char.
Const is also a nice 3rd stat because of extra HP and Fortitude dc.

You also want to put dex as mandatory?
Good luck with customization.

Sovereign Court

HumbleGamer wrote:

The fact that you can doesn't mean that you would.

Leaving apart that dumping dex with low reflex saves is not the best choice ( mostly because of trip dc ) even a medium armor user could dump dex and be ok with 12 dex, so your reasoning doesn't stand.

Heavy armors have the right advantage, and characters doesn't need necessarily to waste points in dex.

A champion mostly rely on str and char.
Const is also a nice 3rd stat because of extra HP and Fortitude dc.

You also want to put dex as mandatory?
Good luck with customization.

Dex is not "mandatory" even with my change. If they want to focus on Chr and Str along with some Con, that is a viable build too. And the bonuses only come in at higher levels anyway. The Champion needs Expert in order to get any bonuses at all, which they get at 5th level. They need Master to get the second point, and that is at 13th level, and they'll need Legendary to get the 3rd point, which happens at 17th level. So most of their career they use the rules as written, and they get 4 boosts in stats in or around the levels when they might want it. So they can start with a 10 Dex, boost it to a 12 at 5th level, a 14 at 10th level, and a 16 at 15th level and they can still keep boosting their Str, Chr, and Con as well. Or just leave Dex at 10 and boost something else, he'll probably still have one of the higherst AC's in the group!


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Everybody will put points in dex because of that rule, so nothing will change in terms of AC.

The balance is already set.

- Champions / monks

- fighters

- Any other combatant

- Heavy armored caster

- casters

...

Shortly:

- being forced to invest in dex even if you don’t want to, just because of AC ( while now you can play with or without dex, even with heavy armors ).

- modify all enemy attacks because with that modify even Normal combatants will be almost immune to critical hits.

- 3 increments per 5 lvl ( 1 out of 4 will be your main stat ) Vs 2 per 5 lvl ( main stat and dex ) would mean less diversity. This leaving apart the fact that to take dedications you need +2 in a specific ability score, and limitino diversity will also affect the dedication systems.

You simply stated that every level players will have to invest in both main stat and dex, while now they only have to care about their main stat.

To me, if you feel the need to improve medium/heavy armors, you don't get the huge benefits given by them both.

The rogue str version compared to the dex one should help you understanding the balance better ( why the str rogue has medium armors, and why all str combatants are able to use medium armors )


Samurai wrote:
I do feel that the Medium, and especially Heavy armor is far weaker than it used to be, so I've created some house rules to try to help fix it. Each increase in Armor proficiency reduces the armor check penalty by 1 and raises the max Dex by 1. I feel this change is a good one rather than just increasing the Item bonus because it forces the player to work for it rather than just saying "I'm a Champion, I can dump Dex!" You can, but at higher levels, you could now be adding at least a point or 2 to your AC by having some Dex bonus, not to mention the ranged attack bonus.

ACP already goes away if you got the str cap... And bulwark can cover for your lack in dex.


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Yeah, there isn't a lack of benefits for DEX even if it doesn't impact AC with Heavy Armor.
Real Reflex Saves, for everything including Trip and falling off edges not just damage (which Bulwark only achieves +3 in anyways)
Acrobatics and Stealth checks (possibly Init), and Ranged weapon attacks because refusing to do ranged combat gets you laughed at.
Most characters will be boosting DEX if they can, it easily fits into standard martial array with +STR/DEX/CON/WIS.
The fact even somebody starting behind quickly can catch up to -1 or at most -2 behind helps alot to make it "worth it".
Even without AC relevance, DEX is still stronger than CHA for people who don't even specially invest in usages of it,
and as core Save stat is something that WON'T let you ignore it even if you would prefer to. Really the only characters who dump DEX
are probably trying to pull of some marginal archetype build that doesn't match well with their Ancestral bonus/flaws,
so all this change would really do is make those builds even less viable because they had the audacity to DREAM!!! /s OK... some hyperbole on last one.


Heavy armor, at the moment, is a trade-off of +1 AC for -5 speed for most characters.

Then, Champions and Fighters get Armor Specialization at 7th and 11th.

Perhaps future books will expand on the benefits of wearing heavy armor?

At the moment - to answer the OPs question - I think that it is "worth it" if you can comfortably de-prioritize DX below other stats, or, can reap the benefit of the aforementioned abilities of the Champion and Fighter.

Other than that, armor is pretty cosmetic in this edition.


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Yeah, I think heavy armor is actually probably a better choice where it's an option (Fighters and Champions primarily). An additional +1 AC and the ability to never boost your dexterity and still get a +3 on all damage-related reflex saves seems well worth the -5 movement speed.


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We also have to remember that fighters excell in reflex saves.

- they get master proficiency
- they get a critical success on a success.

So, while it is true that they can forgo dex because of full plates

- no dex allowed
- bulwark bonus

They will probably consider Investing into Dex because of their class bonuses.

With bravery they already have an excellent defense against the frightening effect, while other classes don't

- a champion has to spend a feat for aura of courage. By lvl 11 he will have a critical success on successful will saves, but it is either a long way to go and there is thr possibility to fai you would like to avoid.

- a barbarian has to take a feat and expend 1 action while raging

And so on.

All of this just to say that because of their high attack ratio and the balancing class features, they would probably rely and invest into reflex saves too ( eventually, at some point, renouncing to a full plate for another heavy armor which allows them to gain better reflex saves ).

A champion could also go full dex, but since his dc will be charisma based ( as for social skills, which are also part of a champion setup ) he will have harder time setting up a good template.

Dark Archive

Just a reminder that penalty is only on skill checks, so archer heavy armor martial with low strength wouldn't get any ranged attack penalties.

It'd be nasty for skills and bulk yeah, but +4 dex modifier with -3 ACP penalty is still positive dex skill.


CorvusMask wrote:
Just a reminder that penalty is only on skill checks, so archer heavy armor martial with low strength wouldn't get any ranged attack penalties.

Yeah, but he will move 10 feet less.

10 feet out of 25 ( unless elf ) could be something to consider.

Also, talking about archers, I wouldn't rely on a heavy armor. An extra AC point for a character who stays in the back is not worth the malus given.

- speed penalty
- skills penalty
- massive bulk ( eventually the encumbered status )

Dark Archive

HumbleGamer wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Just a reminder that penalty is only on skill checks, so archer heavy armor martial with low strength wouldn't get any ranged attack penalties.

Yeah, but he will move 10 feet less.

10 feet out of 25 ( unless elf ) could be something to consider.

Also, talking about archers, I wouldn't rely on a heavy armor. An extra AC point for a character who stays in the back is not worth the malus given.

- speed penalty
- skills penalty
- massive bulk ( eventually the encumbered status )

I was thinking in terms of archer character not minding that ten feet penalty due to not needing to move much in first place.

Though true that archer doesn't benefit from heavy armor that much anyway due to being in back of the group, though depends on how common ranged enemies are in the campaign I guess.


CorvusMask wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Just a reminder that penalty is only on skill checks, so archer heavy armor martial with low strength wouldn't get any ranged attack penalties.

Yeah, but he will move 10 feet less.

10 feet out of 25 ( unless elf ) could be something to consider.

Also, talking about archers, I wouldn't rely on a heavy armor. An extra AC point for a character who stays in the back is not worth the malus given.

- speed penalty
- skills penalty
- massive bulk ( eventually the encumbered status )

I was thinking in terms of archer character not minding that ten feet penalty due to not needing to move much in first place.

Though true that archer doesn't benefit from heavy armor that much anyway due to being in back of the group, though depends on how common ranged enemies are in the campaign I guess.

Indeed the number of ranged enemies matters, but what then?

Will you be carrying around 2 armors not knowing what could you face?

"We have to assault a castle, so there will be many archers. I am going to swap from leather armor to a full plate. And I have to swap runes too, so I will require a crafter and some downtime. I hope there won't be too many melee inside, or I will have hard time gettinh away from them with a reduced speed".

To me, you simply have to decide if the extra AC is worth the malus, or it is better to wear a leather ( and by lvl 10 Explorer outfit ).

But if you have 14 str it is all about Early levels until you can afford a mithril armor ( 14 str requirements and 5 speed penalty less ).


HumbleGamer wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Just a reminder that penalty is only on skill checks, so archer heavy armor martial with low strength wouldn't get any ranged attack penalties.

Yeah, but he will move 10 feet less.

10 feet out of 25 ( unless elf ) could be something to consider.

Also, talking about archers, I wouldn't rely on a heavy armor. An extra AC point for a character who stays in the back is not worth the malus given.

- speed penalty
- skills penalty
- massive bulk ( eventually the encumbered status )

This is why Dwarven archers are clearly the best... no speed penalty. No pesky bubbling personality.

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