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Piecemeal Armor

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 198
All armor in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is constructed of pieces and parts that are carefully (or hastily) donned each time the armor is used. While a full suit of armor is always more protective than wearing pieces of armor, sometimes a character does not have time to don an entire suit of armor before jumping into the fray. Other times characters may not have access to an entire suit of armor; in dire situations, they may need to find pieces or parts of armor among lower-level treasure hoards, or they have to scavenge from the bodies of fallen foes in order to protect themselves.

The following rules allow you to introduce piecemeal armor into your campaign. All of the armors presented in this book, the Core Rulebook, and the Advanced Player’s Guide are separated into three different and distinct sections or pieces: arms, legs, and torso.

Armor Pieces and Armor Suits

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 198
The piecemeal armor system splits up armor into three general types of armor pieces. An armor piece is a small group of armor parts, rather than simply being any discrete part of the armor. A single armor piece comprises the armor parts one needs to protect its corresponding area—either the arms, the legs, or the torso (including the head); a single arm or leg armor piece provides armor for both arms or both legs, respectively. A plate arm armor piece typically consists of pairs of pauldrons, gardbraces, rerebraces, vambraces, and gauntlets along with bits of chainmail and padded armor, while a chain lamellar arm armor piece consists of two chain sleeves, gauntlets, and perhaps pairs of pauldrons and couters. Both protect the arms, though they have a different number of specific parts and types of overall components.

The protective qualities of each individual piece of armor are listed in Table 5–7: Arm Armor Pieces, Table 5–8: Leg Armor Pieces, and Table 5–9: Torso Armor Pieces. If a character has only one armor piece, that piece is considered the totality of her armor, and she uses the statistics of that piece as her armor. If a character is wearing more than one armor piece, she add the armor costs, armor bonuses, and weights of the armor pieces, and takes the worst maximum Dexterity bonus, arcane spell failure chance, and speed limitations from among the various armor pieces to determine the full statistics and qualities of the armor she is wearing. As long as she is wearing a single armor piece, she is considered to be wearing armor for any effects that rely on wearing armor (such as the fighter class’s armor training and armor mastery).

If a character is wearing all three categories of armor pieces, she is wearing a suit of armor. Suits of armor can have all armor pieces of the same type (all three plate pieces make a suit of full plate), or a mixture of armor pieces (a plate arm armor piece and torso armor piece combined with a chainmail leg armor piece creates a suit of half-plate).

Wearing an entire suit, whether its pieces are mixed or the same type, grants a +1 armor bonus on top of the protection the combination of pieces already grants the wearer. Wearing a mixed suit of armor increases the arcane spell failure chance by 5% because of the awkwardness of the design. Wearing less than a full suit of mixed armor does not increase the wearer’s arcane spell failure chance. For example, if you wear a breastplate with a plate arm armor piece and a chain leg armor piece, you should consult Table 5–5: Half-Plate Suit Pieces for your armor’s statistics. The top line lists the cost, bonuses, penalties, and so on for the half-plate suit as a whole, and the lines below list the statistics for the component pieces, as well as the benefits that result from the pieces constituting a suit.

Table 5-5: Half-Plate Suit Pieces

Armor TypeCostArmor BonusMaximum Dex BonusArmor Check PenaltyArcane Spell Failure Chance30 ft.20 ft.Weight
Half-plate600 gp+8+0-740%20 ft.15 ft.50 lbs.
(plate arm armor piece)375 gp+1+0-735%30 ft.20 ft.10 lbs.
(chain leg armor piece)25 gp+0+2-215%30 ft.20 ft.10 lbs.
(plate torso armor piece)200 gp+6+3-435%20 ft.15 ft.30 lbs.

Armor Pieces and Proficiency

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 198
If you are proficient with an armor category, you are also proficient with the armor pieces of that category. For example, if you are proficient with light armor, you are proficient with all light armor pieces. Some torso armor pieces (such as chain, plate, and agile plate torso armor pieces) are a category lighter if worn alone (treat as a chain shirt, breastplate, and agile breastplate, respectively).

When a character is wearing at least one armor piece of a type with which he is not proficient, he takes the armor check penalty of that piece on attack rolls and on all skill checks that involve moving. If he is wearing more than one armor piece of a type with which he is not proficient, he takes the worst armor check penalty from among the pieces he is not proficient with on attack rolls and on all skill checks that involve moving.

Masterwork, Special Material, and Magic Armor

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 199
Any individual armor piece can be of masterwork construction or constructed of special materials, or, if it is of masterwork construction, it can be magically enchanted at the standard cost listed in the Core Rulebook. In this manner, each armor piece is treated as its own type of armor, but most armorers and magic item crafters know that this is an inefficient way of making and enchanting armor.

The most efficient way to create masterwork armor or to enchant magical armor is to create or enchant the same suit. In order to do this, the suit’s pieces need not all be of the same type, but they must be constructed and then enchanted together. The drawback is that none of the individual pieces are considered masterwork or magical on their own (though if magic, they do detect as magic, and can be identified as part of an armor suit). When used as piecemeal armor, they function like normal pieces of nonmagical and non-masterwork pieces of armor of their type.

If a character is wearing pieces of separately created or enchanted armor, the armor only takes the benefits provided by the masterwork quality and the magic of the most protective piece—typically the torso armor piece. If a character does not wear a torso armor piece, the most protective piece is the leg armor piece (the second most protective category of armor pieces), followed by the arm armor piece (the third most protective category).

For instance, if a character does not wear a torso or leg armor piece, but wears a +1 chain arm armor piece, she gains the benefit of wearing magic armor (the piece acts as masterwork and has a +1 enhancement bonus due to the enchantment). If that character then puts on a normal chain torso armor piece, she loses the +1 bonus due to magic and the reduction of armor check penalties for being masterwork, as the most protective armor piece no longer has either of these qualities.

In order for the armor to gain the benefits of a special material, all armor pieces worn must be made of the same special material. Because of this, armor pieces constructed of special materials can be constructed at a decreased cost based on which pieces are made of the special material. Constructing a whole suit of armor with the same special materials uses the standard costs detailed in the Core Rulebook.

In the case of chain shirts, breastplates, agile breastplates, and any other armor pieces that are treated as a category lighter when worn alone, to determine the cost of creating that piece of armor from a special material, use the base armor category (medium in the case of a chain torso armor piece, and heavy in the case of a plate torso armor piece) when pricing the item, but in the case of adamantine and similar armors, the item gains the material benefit of the lighter category (damage reduction 1/— in the case of the chain torso armor piece worn as a chain shirt, or damage reduction 2/— in the case of plate torso armor piece worn as a breastplate).

Getting Into and Out of Armor Pieces

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 200
The time required to don an armor piece is based on its type and the area it protects; see Table 5–6. Don: This column tells how long it takes a character to put on the armor piece. (One minute is 10 rounds.) Don Hastily: This column tells how long it takes a character to put on the armor piece in a hurry. The armor check penalty and armor bonus for hastily donned armor are each 1 point worse than normal (minimum 0 in the case of armor bonus). Remove: This column tells how long it takes a character to remove the armor piece.

Table 5-6: Donning Armor Pieces

Armor Piece Type and Protective AreaDonDon HastilyRemove
Light arm armor piece2 rounds1 round2 rounds1
Light leg armor piece3 rounds2 rounds2 rounds1
Light torso armor piece5 rounds2 rounds5 rounds1
Medium arm armor piece1 minute12 rounds2 rounds rounds1
Medium leg armor piece1 minute13 rounds2 rounds1
Medium torso armor piece1 minute15 rounds3 rounds1
Heavy arm armor piece1 minute21 minute11 minute1
Heavy leg armor piece1 minute21 minute11 minute1
Heavy torso armor piece2 minutes21 minute12 minutes1
1 If the character has some help, this time is halved. A single character doing nothing else can help one or two adjacent creatures. Two characters can't help each other don or remove armor pieces at the same time.
2 The wearer must have help to don this armor piece. Without help, it can only be donned hastily.

Armor Pieces for Unusual Creatures

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 200
Armor pieces for unusually big creatures, unusually little creatures, and non-humanoid creatures (such as horses) have different costs and weights from those given in Tables 5–7, 5–8, and 5–9. Refer to the appropriate line in Table 6–8 in the Core Rulebook and apply the multipliers to cost and weight. For animals with four or more legs, the armor for half of the legs counts as the leg armor piece, and the armor for the other half counts as the arm armor piece.

Armor and Armor Piece Hit Points and Hardness

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 200
To determine the hit points and hardness of your armor, use the hardness for the weakest material, and to determine hit points, add the total armor bonus (including the +1 for wearing a complete suit of armor) and multiply that value by 5. If you need to determine the hardness and hit points for a single armor piece, it has the hardness of its main material and hit points equal to its armor bonus (treat as +1 for armor pieces with a +0 armor bonus) × 5. Hardness for substances can be found in Table 7–13 in the Core Rulebook.

Armor Piece Descriptions

Source Ultimate Combat pg. 200
The following pieces of armor make up the piecemeal armor system, and are split into three armor groups.