Renderrs' DnD Resource

Armor is a protective covering that is used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an individual, creature, or vehicle by direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or activity. Personal armor is used to protect soldiers and war animals. Vehicle armour is used on warships and armoured fighting vehicles.

Armor Qualities

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.

Armor Qualities


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 doesn’t stack with other effects or items that grant an armor bonus. Similarly, the shield bonus from a shield doesn’t 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 wearer’s ability to dodge blows. This restriction doesn’t affect any other Dexterity-related abilities.

Even if a character’s Dexterity bonus to AC drops to 0 because of armor, this situation does not count as losing a Dexterity bonus to AC.

Your character’s 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 do not affect a character’s maximum Dexterity bonus.

Armor Check Penalty

Any armor heavier than leather hurts a character’s 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 character’s 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.
  • Non-proficient with Armor Worn: A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he or she is not proficient takes the armor’s (and/or shield’s) armor check penalty on attack rolls and on all Strength-based and Dexterity-based ability and skill checks. The penalty for non-proficiency with armor stacks with the penalty for non-proficiency 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 -2 penalty on Strength and Dexterity and can’t 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 they’re 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 entry 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.


Medium or heavy armor slows the wearer down. Most medium-sized bipedal creatures have an unencumbered speed of 30 feet, while most small-sized bipedal creatures have an unencumbered speed of 20 feet. Use the (30 ft.) and (20 ft.) sections as appropriate.

  • Shields: Shields do not affect a character’s speed.
  • Weight: This information 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.

Armor For Unusual Creatures

Armor and shields for unusually big creatures, unusually little creatures, and non-humanoid creatures have different costs and weights from those given in the armor descriptions. Refer to the appropriate line on the table below and apply the multipliers to cost and weight for the armor type in question.

Armor for Unusual Creatures Table.png

Getting Into And Out Of Armor

The time required to don armor depends on its type; see below.

Donning Armor
  • Don: This column tells how long it takes a character to put the armor on. (One minute is 10 rounds.) Readying (strapping on) a shield is only a move action.
  • Don Hastily: This column tells how long it takes to put the armor on in a hurry. The armor check penalty and armor bonus for hastily donned armor are each 1 point worse than normal.
  • Remove: This column tells how long it takes to get the armor off. Loosing a shield (removing it from the arm and dropping it) is only a move action.
Donning Armor Table.png

All items (20)