Looking for Build Advice: Best Armor to use for a Fighter Archer


Advice


Hi all. I'm trying to figure out what armor to buy/target for my lvl 6 Human Fighter Archer while staying aware of the max-dex penalty. A couple of notes:

1. Current Stats:
lvl: 6 Human Vanilla Fighter Archer (not archetype)
Str: 14
Dex: 19/21 (Belt of Dex +2)
Con: 13
Int: 7
Wis: 14
Cha: 7

2. Relevant Current Equipment:
- +1 Mithril Breastplate
- Belt of Incredible Dexterity +2

3. As far as I know, the main reliable permanent ability score boosts I can get (that will stack) at this point (excluding things like permanency reduce person) are:
- +4 more dex from leveling up
- +4 more dex from upgrading belt of dex
- +5 from buying Manuals of Quickness
Total=Current_dex(21) + 13 = 34 dex
Let me know if I'm missing any points here.

I've put together a quick spreadsheet, and it seems that Celestial Armor is coming out on top as the best. Since my max feasible DEX is 34 (not including temporary spell boosts), it seems like Celestial Armor (bottom right table) only struggles to have a high enough max-DEX from Fighter levels 4-6, before Armor Training 2 kicks in. Mithril breastplate starts to be limited when the DEX bonus from items is 6 or higher. Once DEX from items is > 7, then the AC gained from DEX is limited. Even when enchanting a MBP, at +5 (or upgrading from my +1) it's still more expensive than Celestial Armor, while having the same, or less (If > 10 Dex from Items) AC.

Is there anything I'm missing, or should I go ahead and focus on celestial armor as my target armor for this character? Also do note that I CAN'T enchant the celestial armor, as per-DM rules. So, that might be a point against it, if there's a good spell to put on some other armor.


Celestial Armor.

No seriously, for any Dex build it's literally the best armor in the game.

Just out of curiosity though, why doesn't your DM let you enchant the Celestial Armor? Can you enchant other specific magic items?


When picking the basic armor for my character, I just add the armor bonus and the dex bonus, bearing in mind the maximum Dex bonus, and with with the one that gives me the biggest number.

Your character's Dex is 21, so you get a +5. That's high, so I'm thinking you be wearing light armor. or Mithril Medium Armor.

I think the Mithral Agile Breastplate is for you. It gives +6 Armor Bonus, and making it out of Mithral increases the Max Dex Bouns from +3 to +5, just enough for you.

As a Fighter, your Armor Training will increase the maxiumemb dex benefit for your armor when you reach level 8 and give yourself a +1 Dex.

I see your character already has a Mithral Breasplate, and you are already thinking about Celestial Armor, so I don't think you are missing anything.

I guess you could consider wearing an Armored Kilt? I don't think so: It lowers the Max Dex Bonus by 1, and if you wore a Mithral Armored Kilt, that might make a difference. I don't know: ask your GM.


Celestial Armor is a +6 to AC from Armor +3 from enhancement and a +8 to AC from dex, for a total of +17.

Your dex bonus at Dex = 34 is +12. You have alternatives.

A haramaki or Silken Ceremonial armor has an unlimited max dex... They can be enchanted to a +5 enhancement bonus. +1 Armor +5 enhancement + 12 Dex = +18.

Varisian dancing scarves offer a +2 AC if you move 10' every round, so they would max out at +19 (+2 Armor, +5 enhancement, +12 dex). However, as an archer, it is unlikely that you will be moving 10' every round, and their armor and enhancement bonuses doesn't apply if you don't move 10' every round - in particular, they don't apply if you're surprised/get beaten on initiative...

Also, You could use bracers of armor, if you didn't mind using up your wrist slot, but you probably do...Bracer of Armor can give you a +8 Armor bonus and a +12 Dexterity = +20.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

A mithral breastplate works for now. You may want look at switching to mithral kikko (+5 armor, +6 max. Dex, counting mithral) by 8th level, but the overall AC will stay the same (with a slightly better touch AC).

Celestial armor (+9 total armor bonus, +8 max. Dex) is probably a good option from total Dex 24 to 27. Once your Dex hits 28+, you should look at bracers of armor +8 (+8 armor bonus, no max. Dex).

Also, note that an archer can "use a bow or crossbow without penalty" while using a buckler. Don't forget to invest in a buckler to boost AC (arrow deflection, mirrored, and/or reflecting may be worth looking at, in addition to straight plusses).


Lady Asharah wrote:
Just out of curiosity though, why doesn't your DM let you enchant the Celestial Armor? Can you enchant other specific magic items?

No, he doesn't allow enchantment of ANY specific magic items. He said this because specific magic items already have weird pricing structure (i.e. cheaper than a permenancied item that has the same effect), so he doesn't want to bother with it. Also because HeroLab doesn't explicitly allow it, and that's what he uses to manager the campaign.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I see your character already has a Mithral Breasplate, and you are already thinking about Celestial Armor, so I don't think you are missing anything.

Sounds good! I'll have to look into armored Kilt, but like you said it's probably not the way to go. Though, ill ask GM about it.

pad300 wrote:
Your dex bonus at Dex = 34 is +12. You have alternatives.

That's the thing right though? Since it's a Fighter Archer, I have armor training. Which, by the time my Dex is +12, I'll have the max Dex on Celestial Armor be +12 instead of +8 (due to Armor Training 4). So actually @34 Dex, Celestial Armor will be: 6AC + 3AC + 12AC (from dex) for a total of 21. That seems to be it above both the haramaki and bracers of armor. Though I believe the benefit of these would be that they can be enchanted with special abilities, while the Celestial Armor cannot.

Dragonchess Player wrote:
Celestial armor (+9 total armor bonus, +8 max. Dex) is probably a good option from total Dex 24 to 27. Once your Dex hits 28+, you should look at bracers of armor +8 (+8 armor bonus, no max. Dex).

Same question that I'm asking to the guy above. Since Fighter's have Armor Training like mentioned in the post, woudln't Celestial Armor be better than Bracer's of armor assuming my max possible dex is 34 (+12 mod)? I attached some spreadsheets in the first post detailing this.. but see the last table here (Best Armor Calculations). You'll see that the red boxes are where my AC is being limited due to Max Dex not being high enough...which only happens with Celestial Armor for levels 4-6 (due to not having Armor Training 2 yet, even when getting the max possible stacking permanent DEX from items (+11 Dex) as described in #3 in the OP post.

So it seems like Celestial Armor is probably the best bet due to Armor training allowing it to be effectively 9 Armor AC + 12 Max_dex = 21 Total AC..at least from the answers I see here? That is of course not counting the fact that I cant put special enchantments on Celestial Armor, but I can on things like Bracer's of Armor... so that may be a point against it. Anything else I'm missing here?


Are you aware that Fighters can trade in their Armour Training upgrades for Advanced Armour training?

Source: Pathfinder Player Companion: Armor Master’s Handbook.

For example, if you are really looking into maximising AC, instead of getting a +1 M-Dex on an armour, how about this:

"Armor Specialization (Ex): The fighter selects one specific type of armor with which he is proficient, such as chain shirts or scale mail. While wearing the selected type of armor, the fighter adds one-quarter of his fighter level to the armor’s armor bonus, up to a maximum bonus of +3 for light armor, +4 for medium armor, or +5 for heavy armor. ..."


Lycar wrote:

Are you aware that Fighters can trade in their Armour Training upgrades for Advanced Armour training?

"Armor Specialization (Ex): The fighter selects one specific type of armor with which he is proficient, such as chain shirts or scale mail. While wearing the selected type of armor, the fighter adds one-quarter of his fighter level to the armor’s armor bonus, up to a maximum bonus of +3 for light armor, +4 for medium armor, or +5 for heavy armor. ..."

So I have looked into this, and it might be the best way to go. Though that would only benefit things that are treated as armor, so it wouldn't boost Bracers of Armor. Though it may be good. Taking Armor Specialization once means I still get Armor Training +3. And checking with HeroLab, even for armor that is "treated" as lower type (light/medium/heavy), you still get the Armor Specialization bonus for the Armor's original type. And if I take Advanced Armor Training as a feat, then I get the full base Armor Training Bonus (+4 to MaxDex) (again, assuming max of +12 DEX Bonus @34 DEX):

Without Advanced Armor Training:
Armor Training Celestial Armor (22,400gp): +9 AC +12 Dex = 21 AC
Bracers of Armor +8 (64,000 gp): +8 AC +12 Dex = 20 AC
+5 Haramaki (25,153gp): +6 AC +12 Dex = 18 AC

With Advanced Armor Training Armor Specialization (AAT:AS) as a Feat:
BaseArmorAC + AAT:AS AC + Enchant AC + MaxDex + ArmorTrainingDex = Bonus AC
AAT:AS Celestial Armor(22,400gp): 9 + 4 + 0 + 8 + 4 = +25 AC
AAT:AS +5 Haramaki(25,153gp): 1 + 3 + 5 + 12 = 21 AC
AAT:AS +5 Mithral Tatami-do(35,000gp): 7 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 4 = +26 AC
AAT:AS +5 Mithral Full plate(35,500gp): 9 + 5 + 5 + 3 + 4 = +26 AC

If I instead took Advanced Armor Training as a class feature instead of a feat, would just need to decrease the above AC's by 1... so not sure if a feat is worth 1 AC, probably not.

So, assuming this all makes sense, I have 3 options:
1) AAT:AS Celestial Armor:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +25/12/13 AC
- 22,400 gp
- 20 lbs
- Fly 1/day
2) AAT:AS +5 Mithral Full plate:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +26/7/19
- 35,500 gp
- 25 lbs
- Can be enchanted with "Special Abilities"
3) AAT:AS +5 Mithral Tatami-do:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +26/9/17
- 35,000 gp
- 22.5 lbs
- Can be enchanted with "Special Abilities"

So assuming these 3 options above are probably the best options (correct me if I'm wrong), what's best? I believe Touch AC is probably more important that Flat AC at higher levels, so I figure Option 3 > Option 2 (higher Touch, less gold, less weight). However, when comparing Option 1 and Option 3, what's better? Balanced Flat/Touch AC, 13,100 gp less, and Fly 1/day... OR Higher Flat but Lower Touch, 13,100 gp more, but can still be changed with +5 of "Special Abilities"? Thoughts?


Which armor is best is going to change based on your level, and how much you want to spend on AC. Right now a mithral breastplate is probably your best choice, and will probably remain so for a while. When you get to higher level consider going for celestial plate armor instead of celestial armor. While the max DEX bonus is two lower the AC is 3 higher. That means the max AC is actually higher even if have a higher. At that level the extra 6,200 gold is nothing.

Your armor training is going to allow you to use heavy armor and still get the benefit from your higher DEX. Pick up Swift Iron Style from the armor master’s handbook for an addition for an extra point of DEX that stacks with armor training. Don’t bother with the +5 Tome as it is way too expensive. It costs about 16% of a 20th level character’s WBL. The most I would go is a +3, unless of course you find one as treasure.

If your character did not have armor training then you would probably need to stick with light armor. But the fact is that you do have armor training and should make use of it.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Which armor is best is going to change based on your level, and how much you want to spend on AC. Right now a mithral breastplate is probably your best choice, and will probably remain so for a while. When you get to higher level consider going for celestial plate armor instead of celestial armor. While the max DEX bonus is two lower the AC is 3 higher. That means the max AC is actually higher even if have a higher. At that level the extra 6,200 gold is nothing.

Right that's why i posted the spreadsheet per/lvl numbers in the first post, to try and visualize that a bit. As I mentioned I do currently have a +1 Mithril Breastplate, and as you mentioned, ill probably stick with that armor for awhile. I'd like to look into the Celestial Plate Armor (CPA) (as I think that would do well with AAT:AS as I mentioned in the post above yours), but since it's 3.5E, my GM said I'm not able to use it.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Pick up Swift Iron Style from the armor master’s handbook for an addition for an extra point of DEX that stacks with armor training.

This is a useful feat that I wasn't aware of. But, same as I mentioned above in regards to picking up AAT:AS as a feat, "so not sure if a feat is worth 1 AC". It may, but ill need to think on my higher level feats. I'll also need to pick an armor that can take advantage of the additional DEX... so assuming no CPA due to GM, and 34 Dex (+12 MOD), basic Celestial Armor is exactly at that bonus. So adding 1 from this feat to max dex won't help in that case (assuming I'm still using Manual +5 to reach +12 DEX MOD). But for Options 2 and 3 I listed in the post above yours, this feat would definitely allow the +1 to AC from the higher max_dex.

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Don’t bother with the +5 Tome as it is way too expensive. It costs about 16% of a 20th level character’s WBL. The most I would go is a +3, unless of course you find one as treasure.

Ideally my goal is to be efficient. So while I may not get the +5 Tome (was just tracking the max_item dex possible as it helped with doing some calcs), I want to avoid buying the "wrong" armor (e.g. that doesn't take full advantage of my stats) and then needing to sell it at half price just to upgrade. So even with +3 Tome, it seems that the best would be Option 3 listed in the post above yours. Not just because of the reasons I gave, but also because I can apply the "Swift Iron Style (SIS)" feat you mentioned, to gain more AC, but I can't do that with the Celestial Armor (due to Max-Dex already being high enough). So the options to compare would now be:

BaseArmorAC + AAT:AS AC + Enchant AC + MaxDex + ArmorTrainingDex - (DEX Mod is 11 now) = Bonus AC
AAT:AS SIS Celestial Armor(22,400gp): 9 + 4 + 0 + 8 + 4 - 1= +24 AC
AAT:AS SIS +5 Mithral Tatami-do(35,000gp): 7 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 4 - 0 = +27 AC
1) AAT:AS SIS Celestial Armor:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +24/12/12 AC
- 22,400 gp
- 20 lbs
- Fly 1/day
3) AAT:AS SIS +5 Mithral Tatami-do:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +27/10/17
- 35,000 gp
- 22.5 lbs
- Can be enchanted with "Special Abilities"

If I grabbed the "Swift Iron Style (SIS)" Feat and had Manual +3 instead of +5, that would seem to make Celestial Armor less worth it (since it cant take advantage of it's total MaxDex of +12 from Armor Training), and the Mithral Tatami-do to pull ahead. And with this, the extra $$$ the Tatami-do costs (12,600) would come out of the extra money that's not being spent to go from +3 to +5 Tome. Though I wonder how much value there is to being able to Fly 1/day. Right now I'm leaning toward the Option #3 (Mithral Tatami-do) Any thoughts?


Celestial Plate Armor is from Curse of the Crimson Throne. It shows up in HeroLabs listing that as the source. That may be a very early adventure path, but it is still Pathfinder, not 3.5. Paizo republished it in hardcover so that is definitely not 3.5.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Celestial Plate Armor is from Curse of the Crimson Throne. It shows up in HeroLabs listing that as the source. That may be a very early adventure path, but it is still Pathfinder, not 3.5. Paizo republished it in hardcover so that is definitely not 3.5.

Like I said, that's what he told me... so I can appeal to him, but knowing him... I doubt he will budge once he's made a decision. In case he doesn't, then I want to evaluate.what are the best possible options I have..which seems between options 1 and 3 above. Unless anyone knows of something better (again, besides Celestial Plate Armor until GM decides on it)?


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Celestial Plate Armor is from Curse of the Crimson Throne. It shows up in HeroLabs listing that as the source. That may be a very early adventure path, but it is still Pathfinder, not 3.5. Paizo republished it in hardcover so that is definitely not 3.5.

Actually, you're wrong on both counts. The original AP was written for 3.5. Paizo did release the entire AP as a hardcover book for Pathfinder in 2016, but in that version, they changed the armor to be found at one point from "celestial plate armor" to "celestial armor", with the sidebar containing its stats being gone.


Derklord wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Celestial Plate Armor is from Curse of the Crimson Throne. It shows up in HeroLabs listing that as the source. That may be a very early adventure path, but it is still Pathfinder, not 3.5. Paizo republished it in hardcover so that is definitely not 3.5.
Actually, you're wrong on both counts. The original AP was written for 3.5. Paizo did release the entire AP as a hardcover book for Pathfinder in 2016, but in that version, they changed the armor to be found at one point from "celestial plate armor" to "celestial armor", with the sidebar containing its stats being gone.

So they effectively removed it and replaced it with Celestial Armor? Was it a balancing thing?


grayson773 wrote:
Derklord wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Celestial Plate Armor is from Curse of the Crimson Throne. It shows up in HeroLabs listing that as the source. That may be a very early adventure path, but it is still Pathfinder, not 3.5. Paizo republished it in hardcover so that is definitely not 3.5.
Actually, you're wrong on both counts. The original AP was written for 3.5. Paizo did release the entire AP as a hardcover book for Pathfinder in 2016, but in that version, they changed the armor to be found at one point from "celestial plate armor" to "celestial armor", with the sidebar containing its stats being gone.
So they effectively removed it and replaced it with Celestial Armor? Was it a balancing thing?

probably, there's sposed to be SOME tradeoff to heavy armor after all


Ok so finally...

Dex Assumed:
BaseDex + Race + lvlUp + Inherent + Enchantment = TotalDex
16 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 6 = 34 Dex (+12 MOD)
(Ideally want to work up to 34 Dex, but probably won't be there till lvls 16+)

Feats Assumed:
- Advanced Armor Training: Armor Specialization (AAT:AS) (+3/4/5 AC for light/medium/heavy armor)
----- Taken as Feat instead of Class Feature to keep full ArmorTraining Max Dex bonus

BaseArmorAC + AAT:AS AC + EnchantAC + MIN(ArmorMaxDex + ArmorTrainingDex + SISMaxDex, DEX MOD) = Bonus AC
Celestial Armor: 9 + 4 + 0 + MIN(8 + 4, 12) = +25 AC
+5 Mithral Tatami-do: 7 + 5 + 5 + MIN(5 + 4, 12) = +26 AC

1) Celestial Armor:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +25/12/13 AC
- 22,400 gp
- 20 lbs
- Fly 1/day
2) +5 Mithral Tatami-do:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +26/9/17
- 35,000 gp
- 22.5 lbs
- Can be enchanted with "Special Abilities"

So which assuming Celestial Plate Armor isn't a thing I can use (GM said no already), what's better... Option #1 or Option #2? It seems to be the only benefits of the Mithral Tatami-do are that it has 1 more AC, and can be chanted past +5 with Special Abilities. I could take feats like Swift Iron Style to boost its MaxDex, but then that raises it's "cost" by a feat. On the other hand, Celestial Armor gives Fly 1/day, costs 12,600 less, and has a balanced touch/flat AC bonus.

Anything I'm missing? Again, not exactly trying to min-max AC, but just get the best AC possible while still not wasting crazy resources into it. Am I correct to think that Celestial Armor with the above setup is my best bet for end-game Armor with the above assumptions?

Thanks guys


Just let me drop this here and see if it helps OP make up his mind.

Mind Buttressing


Meirril wrote:

Just let me drop this here and see if it helps OP make up his mind.

Mind Buttressing

Lol that makes the choice harder! That's a really cool enchant that I wasn't aware of. Option 1 (Celestial Armor) can't be enchanted as per my DM and herolab, but putting this on Option 2 (+5 Mithril Tatami-do) puts its cost up to 59,000 gp around (36,600 gp over Celestial Armor). So I'm still not sure what's worth more..but having the option to enchant as opposed to no option at all is pretty good.


O.K. So GM Approved Celestial Plate Armor rules-wise, assuming I can make the required Diplomacy check to find it. So we ended up with this:

Character:
Human Fighter Archer (not the archetype)

Dex Assumed:
BaseDex + Race + lvlUp + Inherent + Enchantment = TotalDex
16 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 6 = 34 Dex (+12 MOD)
(Ideally want to work up to 34 Dex, but probably won't be there till lvls 16+)

Feats Assumed:
- Advanced Armor Training: Armor Specialization (AAT:AS) (+3/4/5 AC for light/medium/heavy armor)
----- Taken as Feat instead of Class Feature to keep full ArmorTraining Max Dex bonus

BaseArmorAC + AAT:AS AC + EnchantAC + MIN(ArmorMaxDex + ArmorTrainingDex, DEX MOD) = Bonus AC
>Celestial Armor: 9 + 4 + 0 + MIN(8 + 4, 12) = +25 AC
>Celestial Plate Armor: 12 + 5 + 0 + MIN(6 + 4, 12) = +27 AC
>+5 Mithral Tatami-do: 7 + 5 + 5 + MIN(5 + 4, 12) = +26 AC

1) Celestial Armor:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +25/12/13 AC
- 22,400 gp
- 20 lbs
- Fly 1/day
2) Celestial Plate Armor:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +27/10/17
- 28,650 gp
- 25 lbs
- Fly 1/day
3) +5 Mithral Tatami-do:
- AC/Touch/Flat: +26/9/17
- 35,000 gp
- 22.5 lbs
- Can be enchanted with "Special Abilities"

With Celestial Plate Armor (Option 2) added in, I think that really comes out to be the best option. I'm not sure how to value the "Fly 1/day", but I believe the lower cost, higher AC, and ability to Fly 1/day comes out better than the ability to enchant the armor with special abilities (Option 3). Even if some of those special abilities are really good. Unless I'm missing something (let me know), I think Option 2 is the best possible armor for my Archer.

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