Crafting Magic Armor

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Manabane Breastplate

Calculating Cost

To determine the cost of a magic armor, you must add up the following:

  • The cost of the non-magical base armor.
  • The cost of any Dweomermetals or Reforging used in the armor's construction.
  • The cost of the total enhancement bonus, from the table below.
  • The cost of the sum of plusses of all magic properties on the armor, also from the table below (Yes, you consult this table twice if you have magic properties.)

Enhancement Bonus or Magic Properties Cost
+1 1,150
+2 5,000
+3 12,500
+4 28,000
+5 90,000
+6 (epic) 377,500
+7 (epic) 1,150,000
+8 (epic) 3,600,000
+9 (epic) 11,025,000

To magically enchant armor, a character needs a good heavy workshop. There must be a powerful heat source such as a blown forge or magical fire. There must be a strong anvil and a wide variety of high-quality tools. There must be adequate room to work, with benches and tables. Finally, there should be a supply of materials, the most obvious being the armor or the pieces of the armor to be assembled. A good forge can be a cozy affair, or a massive workshop that sprawls and rambles through many rooms of a castle. In no case is any workspace ever portable.

Creating magic armor has a special prerequisite: The creator's effective creator level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus of the armor. If an item has both an enhancement bonus and one or more magic armor properties, the highest of the listed creator level requirements must be met. Magic armor may be enchanted with either an enhancement bonus, or a magic property, or both, as long as the costs are all paid in a cumulative fashion.

Enchanting magic armor may entail other prerequisites beyond just spells or substituted materials. See the individual descriptions for details.

Note that the Armor and Body magic item slots are the same slot, so a character cannot wear both armor and a body slot item at the same time.

  • Time Required: Crafting magic armor uses the Between Adventures rules, and requires one or several days of concentrated work. In all cases, the minimum time required to create an item is determined by the rules of the Creator (Feat).
  • Feat(s) Required: Creator.
  • Skill(s) Required: Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spellcraft, Spycraft or Warfare

Allowed Enchantments

Magic armors have two types of magical improvements that may be applied to them, and may make use of the properties of Dweomermetals:

Armor Enhancement Bonus

Characters from level 1 to level 20 can wear armor with an enhancement bonus up to +5, and can have up to +5 pluses worth of Magic Armor properties applied to their armor.

Characters level 21 to level 35 can wear armor with an enhancement bonus up to +9, and can have a total of up to +9 pluses-worth of Magic Armor properties applied to their armor.

Any attempt to wear armor more magically enchanted than your level allows results in the character taking a non-proficiency penalty with the armor (-4 to attack rolls), and the possibility of even more dire consequences (such as insanity, or being controlled by the armor).

At level 36 and higher (apotheosis) all restrictions on enhancement bonuses and the magic item properties are lifted, at which point the armor may be enchanted in any way the characters can afford.

Magic Armor Properties

Magic Armor Properties are additional traits, bonuses or effects that magic armors grant or perform on top of the normal functionality of that armor. The limit to the total value of all armor properties that may be added to a suit of armor is +5 pluses worth of properties for characters level 20 or below, or +9 pluses-worth of properties for characters levels 21 to 35. At level 36 and higher all restrictions are lifted, and armor may be enchanted in any way the characters can afford and the referee will allow.

No item may ever have the same property twice.

Upgrading and Changing Enchantments

Enhancement bonuses cannot be removed from magic armor once applied, but the enhancement bonus can be increased. The cost to do so is the difference in cost between the old enhancement bonus and the new one.

Magic armor properties can be removed from a suit of magic armor, replaced with altogether new properties, or upgraded to a higher version of the existing magic armor property (when applicable). The cost to do so is the difference between the cost of the sum of plusses of the old properties and cost for the sum of plusses of the new properties. However, if the sum of plusses of the properties goes down, there is no refund of money unless you can convince the craftsman performing the alterations why he should actually pay you for the privilege of doing that work. Performing magic armor property swaps and upgrades takes one full day of work per change in the plus sum, with a minimum of 1 full day. Even if this work isn't performed by a player, the player must wait for the alterations to be performed, and they cannot make use of the armor while the craftsman is working on it. Some craftsmen might offer to lend or rent out a suit of armor while their customers wait, though they would expect the loaner armor to return to them in good condition.

Magic Armor which is altered in such a way as to violate the limitations of the campaign level will inflict a non-proficiency penalty on the wearer, or worse.

Dweomermetals and Reforging

Mundane armor is assumed to be made of forged iron. Fragile armor is usually made of crude iron, bronze, or bone. Armor made from fantastic materials are possible as well, such as the classic mithril and adamantine. These fantastic materials are collectively called "dweomermetals".

Note that special materials can be added to an existing suit of armor, but doing so requires a special process. If a character already has a +3 breastplate, and wants it to be a +3 mithril breastplate, he would have to buy the reforging service. He cannot simply upgrade it himself. (This rule can be broken, at GM discretion, in cases where the armor is a family heirloom, an artifact, or any sort of magic item that is meant to grow with the player, where replacing it with a new armor would disrupt the story continuity for the character. In these cases, the item may have always been made from the special material, but only exhibits its qualities when the character reaches a high enough level to appreciate it, or perhaps it acquires the special materials qualities after some event transpires (like the character gets splashed with molten mithril).)

Only ONE special material may be used in the construction of a single suit of armor, even after the Apotheosis at level 36. Armor cannot be made of both ambergold and paramount alloy.

Other Magic Armor Considerations

Full Suits

Armor is always created so that if the type of armor comes with a pair of boots, a helm, or a set of gauntlets, these pieces can be exchanged for other magic boots, helms, or gauntlets. It even looks good! Isn't magic great?

Creator Level for Armor

The creator level of magic armor with a special ability is given in the item description. For an item with only an enhancement bonus, the creator level is three times the enhancement bonus. If an item has both an enhancement bonus and a special ability, the higher of the two creator level requirements must be met. As always, creator level is gained from having the Creator feat and ranks in either Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spellcraft, Spycraft or Warfare. Note that even spell casters have to have the Creator feat to make magic items.

Hardness and Hit Points

Armor does not have hardness or hit points. This has been replaced with the Sunder combat maneuver. Instead, armor can be Broken if a sunder attempt successfully equals or exceeds the wielder's Maneuver Defense. See the Sunder maneuver and the Broken condition pages for more details.

Magical enhancement bonuses on armor do not increase the wielder's Maneuver Defense versus sunder attempts, though some Dweomermetals do.

Interaction between Shields and Armor

You can stack (i.e. add together) an Armor Bonus, an Armor Enhancement Bonus, a Shield Bonus, and a Shield Enhancement Bonus. However, two bonuses of the same type (e.g. two Armor Bonuses) do not stack with each other; instead, you may only use the highest available value. See also the Character Creation rules for additional details on the various bonuses that can be added to your total Armor Class value.

Activation of Armor

Usually a character benefits from magic armor in exactly the way a character benefits from non-magical armor: by wearing them. If armor has a special ability that the user needs to activate, then the user usually needs to utter the command word (a standard action).

Armor for Unusual Creatures

The cost of armor for non-humanoid creatures, as well as for creatures who are neither Small nor Medium, varies. The cost to enchant a size large suit of armor is unchanged, however, nor does the armor's size increase the time required for enchantment.