Better Characters through Accessorizing: Armor

2007 September 7
by Stupid Ranger

Continuing in the spirit of creating better characters, I think it’s important to remember that what you character wears can be very important, and not just from a fashion perspective. Selecting the proper protective gear is be one of the most important steps to ensuring your character’s survival.

Armor & Shields

Armor: the protector of the combatants, the bane of spellcasters. You should endeavor to find and wear the best armor and other protective equipment available to you. Investigate your options before making your decision; your options may be restricted by your class, so make sure that what you want to wear is permitted. You should also keep in mind that the heaviest available armor may not be your best option; if you have a high Dex, lighter armor may allow for a higher Dex bonus, so make sure you do the math to see which avenue presents the best level of protection.

Shields can also give you that much needed feeling of security when facing that mob of ogres. Again, depending on your class, you may be able to use a shield in your off-hand to boost your armor class. However, you will not be able to wield your two-handed weapons or fight with two weapons. There are also some feats whose benefits are negated if you use a shield. Make sure you’ve done your research so you can make an informed decision.

Other Protective Items

If you can’t wear armor due to class restrictions (or you just need that extra feeling of security), you can protect yourself with other protective items. Amulets of Natural Armor, Rings of Protection, and Bracers of Armor are all fairly common (if somewhat expensive) options that will help you feel more secure. Gloves of Dexterity can also help make you are harder target to hit.

Non-Armor Options

While this conversation on armor and protective accessories is all well and good, you might need a few options that can help keep you alive long enough to find some gold for your shopping spree. If you’re a spellcaster without the funds to purchase magical items, you may have some spells in your repertoire that can improve your AC. There are also a handful of feats that will boost your AC. Combat Expertise will allow you to swap attack bonus for armor bonus. Dodge grants you a +1 to a named opponent. If you’re using a double weapon or two-weapon fighting, you can take the Two-Weapon Defense feat to add an armor bonus. You might also want to check out the Combat chapter of your PHB for other combat-based actions that can help you, such as Fighting Defensively/Casting Defensively, as well as rules for cover and concealment.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Robert permalink
    September 8, 2007

    Check out with his screeds on Armour Class, and Hit Points and many other gems for creating and customising characters. I’ve found his stuff to be very useful, and his comic is funny too.

  2. Stupid Ranger permalink
    September 9, 2007

    Thanks, Robert! I’ll have to check that out!

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