New spell "Greater Mage Armor"; Opinions / criticism needed

Homebrew and House Rules

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Mage Armor, Greater wrote:

Mage Armor, Greater

School: conjuration (creation) [force]
Level: bloodrager 3, psychic 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, summoner/unchained summoner 3, witch 3
Casting Time: 1 round
Components: V, S, F (a miniature adamantine suit of armor worth 2000 gp)
Range: touch
Target: creature touched
Duration: 1 minute/level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance: no
An invisible but tangible field of force surrounds the subject of a greater mage armor spell, providing a +5 armor bonus to AC, +1 more for every 3 caster levels past 7th (maximum +8 at CL 16).

Unlike mundane armor, greater mage armor entails no armor check penalty, arcane spell failure chance, or speed reduction. Since greater mage armor is made of force, incorporeal creatures can’t bypass it the way they do normal armor.

I tried to make it not completely outclass bracers of armor (hence the +8 cap), and gave it a longer casting time, shorter duration, and an expensive focus compared to the original. It's dispellable compared to bracers, too.

I'm, personally, not willing to burn 2000gp every encounter for armor I could otherwise just wear with a feat.

It has been said to never spend a feat, when you can spend gold... but at 2000gp a pop, I would invest in Arcane Armor Training and enchanted armor.

If your spellcaster is squishy, it's because spellcasters are squishy.

There are feats you can take to mitigate your squishiness...

Inventing a new spell, that requires that you burn/use 2000gp of Adamantine every time, just means that you should probably burn/use a feat to be able to wear Adamantine armor of some sort, in the first place.

At least REAL Adamantine armor gives you damage reduction... which this new spell does not.

Sovereign Court

VoodistMonk wrote:

I'm, personally, not willing to burn 2000gp every encounter for armor I could otherwise just wear with a feat.

You misread F for Focus as M for Material. The adamantine suit is not used up.

In 3.5 there was a greater mage armor spell that was just a straight +6 as a 3rd level spell if I remember correctly. Otherwise the same as regular mage armor, ie hour/level. Also something something luminous armor which was higher, but had other requirements as well (exalted spell?).

Edit: upon research, 3.5 Greater Mage Armor is a +6 at hour/level, but it has a material component cost of 25gp.
Luminous Armor and Greater for reverence. Normal version is +5 armor, with another -4 vs melee attacks. Greater is +8. However, you have to sacrifice some strength damage and they are santified spells, for whatever that means.

VoodistMonk wrote:
I'm, personally, not willing to burn 2000gp every encounter for armor I could otherwise just wear with a feat.

It' a focus component, so it's a one-off expense, not once per cast.

I don't really have a problem with this feat. It's probably slightly powering up casters, but by the time they get this they usually have something better (mirror image/displacement/etc).

I can't imagine this feat spell being chose by a bloodrager - by the time this is mor3 cost effec5ive than a breastplate you're level 16, and by that point your breastplate (while more expensive) will already have a higher AC bonus, and probably some other nice abilities to boot.

How would its usability change if its level were raised to 4 or 5 but the cost is just 1,000 gp?

The cost is immaterial, it's a one-off cost, so it just changes when you get access to it (and at 1-2k it's not that high a level). The real cost is that it's a 3rd level spell, and only lasts 1 minute per level, so you have to wait till level 3 spells are common enough to be worth spending them on a slightly-enhanced 1-hour-per-level first level spell.

As I said, I don't see this as a problem, but it seems like it's trying to solve a problem that does 't exist - casters tend to have other (better) defences.

Sovereign Court

As far as power level goes... Apsu's Shining Scales is similar to what you are looking for as a 3rd level spell. Duration min/level starts out as a +5 Armor bonus, however it is not a force effect. And the material component is an unlisted price, so free. Throw on a focus and trade out the breath weapon stuff for scaling by caster level that you mentioned before and it would be reasonable in my mind.

Ironskin is essentially Barkskin but +2 higher and 1 min/level instead of 10 min/level. Also a race sourced spell, but that doesn't matter to some people. It scales a little slower at 1/4 levels after 4th to a max of +7. And obviously an enhancement bonus to natural armor as opposed to armor bonus (and not force).

So I would say a 3rd level spell is probably in the right ballpark, but the focus is probably a bit expensive compared to other focus requiring spells.

Stoneskin gives you damage reduction.
Buy, make, or loot some stone salve.

It feels like you are trying too hard to be conservative with this spell. It has a casting time of 1 round instead of 1 standard action, a duration measured in minutes instead of hours, and an expensive focus. On top that, a +5 bonus to armor is barely an improvement over the +4 bonus that mage armor gives. This spell feels nerfed.

Since this is 3rd level spell, the earliest this spell can be used is at level 5, which has a WBL of 10500 gp. So a 2000 gp focus is going to use up nearly 1/5 of the wealth the character has. Maybe you should reduce it to 200 gp. That'll be 1/50th of the characters wealth. Or maybe 400 gp, so it costs more than the best scroll you could make at that level (375 gp).

I don't think you should make the focus be made out of adamantine. You might have trouble finding some depending on the campaign. A miniature fancy suit of armor should suffice (as long as it is worth whatever price you set).

I don't have a good answer about what to do with bracers of armor. I'll give it some thought. I like having new spells, but you're right that it will conflict with bracers of armor.

I'm with OmniMage here, it feels too conservative.

For me, Bracers of Armor go up to +10, are considered Light armor for enchantments, and can be improved by enchantments that just cost GP.

Doing something like that still allows the Bracers to come out ahead and gives a reason to eventually get them over using this spell.

I thought it over. I still think its too conservative. Its a spell with a combination of too hard to use, and not enough effect to justify using it (its barely stronger than mage armor). Unless fixed, I would rather use other spells.

Bracers of armor already has to deal with mage armor. Having a new mage armor spell wouldn't be a whole lot different. Some people might consider it more worth while to buy the wizard a pearl of power 1 over a bracers of armor +4. (1,000 gp vs 16,000 gp). Getting bracers of armor +5 is 9,000 gp more, so they might still rather go with mage armor.

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