To wear heavier armor effectively, a character can select the Armor Proficiency feats, but most classes are automatically proficient with the armors that work best for them.
Armor and shields can take damage from some types of attacks.
Here is the format for armor entries (given as column headings on Table: Armor and Shields, below).
Cost: The cost of the armor for Small or Medium humanoid creatures. See Armor for Unusual Creatures, below, for armor prices for other creatures.
Armor/Shield Bonus: Each armor grants an armor bonus to AC, while shields grant a shield bonus to AC. The armor bonus from a suit of armor doesnít stack with other effects or items that grant an armor bonus. Similarly, the shield bonus from a shield doesnít stack with other effects that grant a shield bonus.
Maximum Dex Bonus: This number is the maximum Dexterity bonus to AC that this type of armor allows. Heavier armors limit mobility, reducing the wearerís ability to dodge blows. This restriction doesnít affect any other Dexterity-related abilities.
Even if a characterís Dexterity bonus to AC drops to 0 because of armor, this situation does not count as losing a Dexterity bonus to AC.
Your characterís encumbrance (the amount of gear he or she carries) may also restrict the maximum Dexterity bonus that can be applied to his or her Armor Class.
Shields: Shields do not affect a characterís maximum Dexterity bonus.
Armor Check Penalty: Any armor heavier than leather hurts a characterís ability to use some skills. An armor check penalty number is the penalty that applies to Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand, and Tumble checks by a character wearing a certain kind of armor. Double the normal armor check penalty is applied to Swim checks. A characterís encumbrance (the amount of gear carried, including armor) may also apply an armor check penalty.
Shields: If a character is wearing armor and using a shield, both armor check penalties apply.
Nonproficient with Armor Worn: A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he or she is not proficient takes the armorís (and/or shieldís) armor check penalty on attack rolls and on all Strength-based and Dexterity-based ability and skill checks. The penalty for nonproficiency with armor stacks with the penalty for nonproficiency with shields.
Sleeping in Armor: A character who sleeps in medium or heavy armor is automatically fatigued the next day. He or she takes a Ė2 penalty on Strength and Dexterity and canít charge or run. Sleeping in light armor does not cause fatigue.
Arcane Spell Failure: Armor interferes with the gestures that a spellcaster must make to cast an arcane spell that has a somatic component. Arcane spellcasters face the possibility of arcane spell failure if theyíre wearing armor. Bards can wear light armor without incurring any arcane spell failure chance for their bard spells.
Casting an Arcane Spell in Armor: A character who casts an arcane spell while wearing armor must usually make an arcane spell failure roll. The number in the Arcane Spell Failure Chance column on Table: Armor and Shields is the chance that the spell fails and is ruined. If the spell lacks a somatic component, however, it can be cast with no chance of arcane spell failure.
Shields: If a character is wearing armor and using a shield, add the two numbers together to get a single arcane spell failure chance.
Speed: Medium or heavy armor slows the wearer down. The number on Table: Armor and Shields is the characterís speed while wearing the armor. Humans, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs have an unencumbered speed of 30 feet.
They use the first column. Dwarves, gnomes, and halflings have an unencumbered speed of 20 feet. They use the second column. Remember, however, that a dwarf ís land speed remains 20 feet even in medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load.
Shields: Shields do not affect a characterís speed.
Weight: This column gives the weight of the armor sized for a Medium wearer. Armor fitted for Small characters weighs half as much, and armor for Large characters weighs twice as much.
Any special benefits or accessories to the types of armor found on Table: Armor and Shields are described below.
Adamantine Breastplate: Grants the wearer DR 2/ adamantine.
Armor Spikes: You can have spikes added to your armor, which allow you to deal extra piercing damage (see Table: Weapons) on a successful grapple attack. The spikes count as a martial weapon. If you are not proficient with them, you take a Ė4 penalty on grapple checks when you try to use them. You can also make a regular melee attack (or off-hand attack) with the spikes, and they count as a light weapon in this case. (You canít also make an attack with armor spikes if you have already made an attack with another off-hand weapon, and vice versa.)
An enhancement bonus to a suit of armor does not improve the spikesí effectiveness, but the spikes can be made into magic weapons in their own right.
Banded Mail: The suit includes gauntlets. It is composed of long bands of iron riveted to a leather undercoat.
Battlecloak, Gnome: This is not a shield in the traditional sense but a cloak that can be used to foil an opponentís attack. It grants no Shield bonuses but you can use it to disarm an opponent. You gain a +4 to your opposed attack roll to disarm (including the roll to avoid being disarmed should the attempt fail).
Battle Plate: This exotic heavy armor is composed of reinforced metal plates, a layer of padding and a suit of light chain worn between the twoIt includes gauntlets, metal shod boots, a heavy helm, and carefully wrought joint guards. As with full plate, buckles and straps distribute the weight over the wearers body, so battle plate hampers movement less than heavy plate even though heavy plate is lighter. Battle plate is dwarven armor so a character with dwarven armor proficiency feats is considered proficient in this armor.
Bone: Made from the large bones of thick boned beasts. The bone is shaped into thin layers and lacquered together for strength. It is then attached to a leather undercoat. It covers the chest, back, neck and upper legs.
Breastplate: It comes with a helmet and greaves. Classic Spanish style.
Brigandine: this is a coat of leather plates overlapping the next. Each plate consists of leather with metal strips inside it.
Buckler: This small metal shield is worn strapped to your forearm. You can use a bow or crossbow without penalty while carrying it. You can also use your shield arm to wield a weapon (whether you are using an off-hand weapon or using your off hand to help wield a two-handed weapon), but you take a Ė1 penalty on attack rolls while doing so. This penalty stacks with those that may apply for fighting with your off hand and for fighting with two weapons. In any case, if you use a weapon in your off hand, you donít get the bucklerís AC bonus for the rest of the round.
You canít bash someone with a buckler.
Chain Shirt: A chain shirt comes with a steel cap.
Chainmail: The suit includes gauntlets. Covers the head, chest, arms and legs.
Chitin: This is made from the outer covering of giant insect races. It is heated and formed to the wearer, once this process is done, the armor will fir no one else.
Coral: This armor is grown over the course of a few years. It is created specifically for each wearer.
Darkleaf Armor: Made of carefully cured and beautifully carved Darkwood, supplemented by alchemically treated darkwood leaves. This is of elvish origin. The wood is lighter than metal so heavy style armor is treated as medium and medium is treated as light. Only medium and heavy armors normally made of metal can be made from darkwood. Crafting Darkleaf requires a DC25 Alchemy check as well as a craft arms and armor check.
Darkwood Buckler: It is constructed of darkwood and is lighter than normal bucklers.
Darkwood Shield: It is constructed of darkwood and is lighter than normal shields.
Dastana: Metal bracers that work in conjunction with armor and shield. They can be used with armors that donít come with bracers or gauntlets. The armor bonus stacks.
Dragoncraft Armor and Shield: Masterwork versions of armor and shield made from dragonhide that grant energy resistance also. The wearer gain ER 5 against the energy type associated with the dragon his armor was made from. It is treated as an extraordinary ability. Dragoncraft armor and shield are treated as one category lighter for purposes of movement and other determinations. Armor check penalties are reduced by 2. Dragoncraft armor has the normal max dex bonus and spell failure. Dragoncraft armor can be leather scale, hide armor, Scale mail, half plate or full plate armor. Shields can be heavy or light.
Dragonhide Plate: This full suit of platemail fashioned from the hide of a dragon is a favorite among druids.
Duskwood Breastplate: Duskwood: This tree is named for the eerie appearance of its tightly growing groves. Smooth, with small branches at the top of 60 foot trunks, duskwood trees have black bark and smokey grey wood that is as tough as iron. Duskwood doesn't work well as armor; it can't be shaped into rings and overlapping plates don't flex well. Duskwood breastplates are possible
Dwarven Plate: This is extremely rare, the only suits ever made are for Dwarves. It is composed of an extremely light but extremely strong alloy, the formula of which is only known by a handful of dwarves. It gives the wearer DR 3/ adamantine.
Dwarven Stone: This is more ceremonial than anything else and reserved for dwarven defenders. It is composed of a marble-like stone that has great strength and a moderate lightness.
Elven Chain: Extremely light chainmail made of fine mithral links.
Fast Donning Straps: Armor with fast donning straps has been fitted with a simpler system of straps and buckles, making it easier to don hastily. Whenever you don this armor hastiliy you do not incur the normal armor check penalty.
Forestwarden Shroud: This is a covering for any type of armor and it can be incorporated during the creation process or added at any time afterward. Itís slick surface allow leaves and braches to easily slide off of it, negating the effect that heavy undergrowth has on the wearers tumble and move silently checks.
Full Plate: The suit includes gauntlets, heavy leather boots, a visored helmet, and a thick layer of padding that is worn underneath the armor. Each suit of full plate must be individually fitted to its owner by a master armorsmith, although a captured suit can be resized to fit a new owner at a cost of 200 to 800 (2d4x100) gold pieces.
Gauntlet, Locked: This armored gauntlet has small chains and braces that allow the wearer to attach a weapon to the gauntlet so that it cannot be dropped easily. It provides a +10 bonus on any roll made to keep from being disarmed in combat. Removing a weapon from a locked gauntlet or attaching a weapon to a locked gauntlet is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.
The price given is for a single locked gauntlet. The weight given applies only if youíre wearing a breastplate, light armor, or no armor. Otherwise, the locked gauntlet replaces a gauntlet you already have as part of the armor.
While the gauntlet is locked, you canít use the hand wearing it for casting spells or employing skills. (You can still cast spells with somatic components, provided that your other hand is free.)
Like a normal gauntlet, a locked gauntlet lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with an unarmed strike.
Half-Plate: The suit includes gauntlets. Steel plates attached to a leather undersuit. Chainmail covers the joints.
Heavy Plate Armor: Forged for the strongest of warriors, heavy plate armor is simply a heavily reinforced suit of full platemail.
Impact Armor: This armor appears as normal armor for its type (it is available in studded leather, chain or half-plate), however the metallic parts have a slight lavender sheen. The armor will instantly stiffen any time there is a hit from a weapon (other than piercing), and grant damage reduction per the following: Studded DR1/piercing, Chain DR2/piercing, Half-Plate DR3/piercing. Creating impact armor requires a DC25 craft (alchemy) check in addition to the normal crafting checks.
Interlocking Plate: This specially crafted suit of exotic armor consists of a suit of chainmail with metal plates covering vital areas. The plates are cunningly wrought, so that they offer greater protection when the wearer is relatively still. If you move no more than 5í in a turn while wearing interlocking plate, you gain a +2 AC bonus until the beginning of your next turn.† Interlocking plate is dwarven armor so a character with dwarven armor proficiency feats is considered proficient in this armor.
Interlocking Scale: This specially crafted suit of exotic armor consists of a suit of a long coat and leggings made of leather covered with interlocking pieces of metal. The scales are cunningly wrought, so that they offer greater protection when the wearer is relatively still. If you move no more than 5í in a turn while wearing interlocking plate, you gain a +2 AC bonus until the beginning of your next turn.† Interlocking scale is dwarven armor so a character with dwarven armor proficiency feats is considered proficient in this armor.
Lamellar: Similar to splint and brigandine, it consists of overlapping metal plates sewn onto a leather undercoat.
Leafweave: Made by the Elves, leafweave is made from the leafs of the bronzewood tree and treated alchemically to attain the strength and flexibility of leather. Crafting Leafweave requires a DC25 Alchemy check as well as a craft arms and armor check.
Mammoth Leather: Perfected by Goliath shamans, this thick exotic leather armor is made from mammoth hide. Because of the leathers thickness, the armor is extremely confining to those that do not have the exotic armor proficiency. Wearing mammoth leather does not violate a druidís spiritual oath.
Mithril Shirt: Made from an alloy of Silver and Iron and treated by Elven masters. This chain shirt is exceptionally strong and lightweight.
Mountain Plate: Made of thick metal plates bolted and fused together, this exotic heavy armor is incredibly massive. The suit includes plated gauntlets, metal shod boots, a heavy helm and reinforced joint guards. A character wearing mountain plate cannot run. When wearing mountain plate, a dwarves speed is reduced as if he were not a dwarf. Mountain Plate is dwarven armor so a character with dwarven armor proficiency feats is considered proficient in this armor. Mountain plate constructed of any material that would reduce itís armor category from heavy to medium (such as mithral) gains all of the benefits of the material except for the speed, it always stays the same as if it were normal mountain plate.
Riding Straps: Armor equipped with riding straps allow the wearer maximum maneuverability while riding, and grants a +1 bonus to ride checks. This bonus stacks with the bonus from a military saddle.
Ringmail: Overlapping steel rings sewn onto a leather undercoat.
Scale Mail: The suit includes gauntlets. Steel discs riveted to a leather undercoat.
Shell: This armor is light but fairly sturdy, it is made from the outer shells of giant crustaceans or tortises. It is treated to become more pliable to resist cracking.
Shield, Gauntlet: A favorite of divine spellcasters, this exotic shield is a heavy steel shield built with a special bracing gauntlet. The special gauntlet allows you to carry other items in your shield hand (such as spell components), you cannot use weapons with it, but it is free to perform somatic spell components.
Shield, Heavy, Wooden or Steel: You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand. A heavy shield is so heavy that you canít use your shield hand for anything else.
Wooden or Steel: Wooden and steel shields offer the same basic protection, though they respond differently to special attacks.
Shield Bash Attacks: You can bash an opponent with a heavy shield, using it as an off-hand weapon. See Table: Weapons for the damage dealt by a shield bash. Used this way, a heavy shield is a martial bludgeoning weapon. For the purpose of penalties on attack rolls, treat a heavy shield as a one-handed weapon. If you use your shield as a weapon, you lose its AC bonus until your next action (usually until the next round). An enhancement bonus on a shield does not improve the effectiveness of a shield bash made with it, but the shield can be made into a magic weapon in its own right.
Shield, Light, Wooden or Steel: You strap a shield to your forearm and grip it with your hand. A light shieldís weight lets you carry other items in that hand, although you cannot use weapons with it.
Wooden or Steel: Wooden and steel shields offer the same basic protection, though they respond differently to special attacks.
Shield Bash Attacks: You can bash an opponent with a light shield, using it as an off-hand weapon. See Table: Weapons for the damage dealt by a shield bash. Used this way, a light shield is a martial bludgeoning weapon. For the purpose of penalties on attack rolls, treat a light shield as a light weapon. If you use your shield as a weapon, you lose its AC bonus until your next action (usually until the next round). An enhancement bonus on a shield does not improve the effectiveness of a shield bash made with it, but the shield can be made into a magic weapon in its own right.
Shield, Tower: This massive wooden shield is nearly as tall as you are. In most situations, it provides the indicated shield bonus to your AC. However, you can instead use it as total cover, though you must give up your attacks to do so. The shield does not, however, provide cover against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. You cannot bash with a tower shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.
When employing a tower shield in combat, you take a Ė2 penalty on attack rolls because of the shieldís encumbrance.
Shield Spikes: When added to your shield, these spikes turn it into a martial piercing weapon that increases the damage dealt by a shield bash as if the shield were designed for a creature one size category larger than you. You canít put spikes on a buckler or a tower shield. Otherwise, attacking with a spiked shield is like making a shield bash attack (see above).
An enhancement bonus on a spiked shield does not improve the effectiveness of a shield bash made with it, but a spiked shield can be made into a magic weapon in its own right.
Silk: This is composed of several layers of fine silk overlapped and sewn together.
Splint Mail: The suit includes gauntlets.
Stone Plate: This armor is made from interlocking stone plates, cunningly crafted for strength and thinness. A layer of thin hide underneath prevents the stone from chafing and cushions the impact of blows. Several layers of stone plates usually hang over vital areas, and most of the weight hangs on the bearers shoulders. The suit includes hide gauntlets with small stone plates sewn into them. This armor does not violate a druidís spiritual oath.
Thistledown: This lightweight material gets its name from its soft texture and dove grey color. It weighs only Ĺ as much as normal padded armor and grants a +2 hide bonus in shadowy or poorly lit areas.
Tumblerís Breastplate: This exotic armor resembles a normal breastplate that has been smoothed and polished to perfection. Those skilled in itís use can take advantage of the breastplateís protection while tumbling. The wearer receives a +2 bonus on tumble checks, but the normal armor penalty still applies.
Twist Cloth, Gnome: This unusual exotic armor is made of loose, flowing cloth strips and hung on the wearer. Proficient wearers twist and sway within the armor, causing opponents to strike empty air rather than armor when they miss with an attack. If you have proficiency in this armor the armor bonus also applies to touch attacks.
Wood: Made from dense wood and treated with resins to increase durability and strength. Covers the neck, chest, back and upper arms and legs.
Just as with weapons, you can purchase or craft masterwork versions of armor or shields. Such a well-made item functions like the normal version, except that its armor check penalty is lessened by 1.
A masterwork suit of armor or shield costs an extra 150 gp over and above the normal cost for that type of armor or shield. The masterwork quality of a suit of armor or shield never provides a bonus on attack or damage rolls, even if the armor or shield is used as a weapon.
All magic armors and shields are automatically considered to be of masterwork quality.
You canít add the masterwork quality to armor or a shield after it is created; it must be crafted as a masterwork item.