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Armor items are protective items worn by characters to improve their defenses. Armor items are classified as light armor, heavy armor, or shield. Equipping light armor or heavy armor, other than unenchanted cloth armor, improves a character's armor class. Equipping a shield improves a character's armor class and Reflex defense, if the character is proficient with the shield.

Armor comparison chartEdit

This chart lists the basic, unenchanted items. Enhancement bonuses are listed in a separate chart on this page.

Light
NameSourceArmor BonusCheckSpeedPrice(gp)Weight
Cloth armor (basic clothing) PHB +0 - - 1 4 lb.
Leather Armor PHB +2 - - 25 15 lb.
Hide armor PHB +3 -1 - 30 25 lb.
Heavy
Chainmail PHB +6 -1 -1 30 40 lb.
Scale armor PHB +7 - -1 45 45 lb.
Plate armor PHB +8 -2 -1 50 50 lb.
Shields
NameSourceShield BonusCheckSpeedPrice(gp)Weight
Light shield PHB +1 - - 5 6 lb.
Heavy shield PHB +2 -2 - 10 15 lb.

Magic armor Edit

At higher levels, magic armor provides a better armor bonus than the base armor. [HotFL:344] This replaces but does not supersede the masterwork armor originally described in other books.

Magic Cloth Armor
Enhancement Bonus Armor Bonus Total
+1 +0 +1
+2 +0 +2
+3 +0 +3
+4 +1 +5
+5 +1 +6
+6 +2 +8
Magic Leather Armor
Enhancement Bonus Armor Bonus Total
+1 +2 +3
+2 +2 +4
+3 +2 +5
+4 +3 +7
+5 +3 +8
+6 +4 +10
Magic Hide Armor
Enhancement Bonus Armor Bonus Total
+1 +3 +4
+2 +3 +5
+3 +3 +6
+4 +4 +8
+5 +4 +9
+6 +5 +11
Magic Chainmail Armor
Enhancement Bonus Armor Bonus Total
+1 +6 +7
+2 +7 +9
+3 +8 +11
+4 +9 +13
+5 +10 +15
+6 +12 +18
Magic Scale Armor
Enhancement Bonus Armor Bonus Total
+1 +7 +8
+2 +8 +10
+3 +9 +12
+4 +10 +14
+5 +11 +16
+6 +13 +19
Magic Plate Armor
Enhancement Bonus Armor Bonus Total
+1 +8 +9
+2 +9 +11
+3 +10 +13
+4 +11 +15
+5 +12 +17
+6 +14 +20

Masterwork armorEdit

Masterwork armor originally appeared for experienced adventurers, providing better protection than the comparable armor. Such armor was crafted from specific materials. Starting with Essentials, magic armor no longer requires esoteric materials, and can be reinforced during the enchantment of the armor in question.

Masterwork armor is based on an existing armor type. If you're proficient with the regular version of the armor, you can use the masterwork armor.

Masterwork armor costs the exact same amount as the magic ability it's enchanted with.  However, such armor has a minimum enhancement bonus required for the magic item.

If masterwork armor is manually chosen, note that it might not provide as much protection should the enchantment on the armor be upgraded. However, certain armors (such as those listed outside the PHB) may provide boosts to secondary defenses. These armors include the following:


Non-standard masterwork armor
NameBaseSourceArmor BonusMinimum EnhancementCheckSpeedWeight
Githweave armor Cloth AV +0
+1 Will[AV:7]
+3 - - 2lb
Mindweave armor Cloth AV +0
+2 Will[AV:7]
+4 - - 2lb
Efreetweave armor Cloth AV +1
+1 Will[AV:7]
+5 - - 2lb
Mindpatterned armor Cloth AV +1
+2 Will[AV:7]
+6 - - 2lb
Drowmesh Leather AV +2
+1 Reflex[AV:7]
+3 - - 10lb
Mindweave armor Leather AV +2
+2 Reflex[AV:7]
+4 - - 10lb
Anathema armor Leather AV +3
+1 Reflex[AV:7]
+5 - - 10lb
Swordwing armor Leather AV +3
+2 Reflex[AV:7]
+6 - - 10lb
Earthhide armor Hide AV +3
+1 Fortitude[AV:7]
+3 -1 - 25 lb.
Feyhide armor Hide AV +3
+2 Fortitude[AV:7]
+4 -1 - 25 lb.
Stalkerhide armor Hide AV +4
+1 Fortitude[AV:7]
+5 -1 - 25 lb.
Voidhide armor Hide AV +4
+2 Fortitude[AV:7]
+6 -1 - 25 lb.
Crysteel armor Chain AV 7 +8
+2 Will
+4 -1 -1 40 lb.
Weavemail armor Chain AV 7 +10
+1 Will
+5 -1 -1 40 lb.
Pitmail armor Chain AV 7 +11
+2 Will
+6 -1 -1 40 lb.
Stormscale armor Scale AV +9
+2 Fortitude
+4 - -1 45 lb.
Nagascale armor Scale AV +11
+1 Fortitude
+5 - -1 45 lb.
Titanscale armor Scale AV +12
+2 Fortitude
+6 - -1 45 lb.
Rimfire plate armor Plate AV +8
Resist 1 all
+2 -2 -1 50 lb.
Specter plate armor Plate AV +10
Resist 2 all
+4 -2 -1 50 lb.
Tarrasque plate armor Plate AV +12
Resist 5 all
+6 -2 -1 50 lb.

If you can choose magic items (as with Living Forgotten Realms), try to get one of the green-colored rows (Githweave, Efreetweave, Earthhide, Stalkerhide, Weavemail, Nagascale, or Rimfire plate) as they're always superior options. Other rows mat be of benefit, but have no official rules for rescaling.

These obsolete masterwork armors provide practically no change over regular armor:

NameBaseSourceArmor BonusMinimum EnhancementCheckSpeedWeight
Feyweave armor Cloth PHB +1 +4 - - 5 lb.
Starweave armor Cloth PHB +2 +6 - - 3 lb.
Feyleather armor Leather PHB +3 +4 - - 15 lb.
Starleather armor Leather PHB +4 +6 - - 15 lb.
Darkhide armor Hide PHB +4 +4 -1 - 25 lb.
Elderhide armor Hide PHB +5 +6 -1 - 25 lb.
Finemail armor Chain AV +7 +2 -1 -1 40 lb.
Braidmail armor Chain AV +8 +3 -1 -1 40 lb.
Forgemail Chain PHB +9 +4 -1 -1 40 lb.
Spiritmail Chain PHB +12 +6 -1 -1 40 lb.
Drakescale armor Scale AV +8 +2 - -1 45 lb.
Wyvernscale armor Scale AV +9 +3 - -1 45 lb.
Wyrmscale armor Scale PHB +10 +4 - -1 45 lb.
Elderscale armor Scale PHB +13 +6 - -1 45 lb.
Layered plate armor Plate AV +9 +2 -2 -1 50 lb.
Gith plate armor Plate AV +10 +3 -2 -1 50 lb.
Warplate armor Plate PHB +11 +4 -2 -1 50 lb.
Legion plate armor Plate AV +12 +5 -2 -1 50 lb.
Godplate armor Plate PHB +14 +6 -2 -1 50 lb.

Armor proficiencyEdit

Main article: Armor Proficiency

A character must be proficient, or trained, with armor and shields to avoid penalties when wearing them.

There are eight armor proficiencies corresponding to the eight types of armor and shields:

Light armor Heavy armor Shields
  • Cloth armor
  • Leather armor
  • Hide armor
  • Chainmail
  • Scale armor
  • Plate armor
  • Light shield
  • Heavy shield

All published classes include cloth armor proficiency as a class trait, but other proficiencies must be granted as a class trait or by a feat. Wearing light armor or heavy armor without the corresponding proficiency incurs a -2 penalty to attack rolls and Reflex defense. Wearing a shield without the corresponding proficiency negates the shield's armor class and Reflex defense bonuses.

Armor actionsEdit

Equipping light armor or heavy armor takes at least 5 minutes, for example, during a short rest.

Equipping or stowing a shield is a standard action.

See alsoEdit

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