Armors...

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Am new to the forums, so I hope this is the right place.

Anyways, what exactly are the rules for non-base armors. By this i mean Rimefire-, Layared-, Baazrag plate, or Mekillot Shell Armors. Are the considered common, as long as the enchantment is common, or are there special rules for when they are allowed for character creation?
Basically, when you have armor of a certain enhancement bonus, it's assumed that it will also be masterwork armor of the appropriate type. No additional costs need be paid to make it masterwork. The rarity of an item is wholly dependent on the enchantment, so which variety of masterwork armor you choose doesn't change that.
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Whatever enchantment is on the armor determines its commonality.  The masterwork type doesn't enter into it.  For example, Magic Armor +X would be Common whether it's regular Platemail or Godplate or Terrasqueplate.  Fortified Armor +X is always Uncommon whether it's Plate or Godplate or Terrasqueplate.

As far as when they are allowed in character creation, characters typically don't start out with any magic items at all unless they start at higher level than 1.  They will get whatever magic items the DM rewards and they can use any level magic item at any time, though typically (with the old treasure parcel system, I don't know about the new random treasure tables) a character will never be rewarded a magic item higher than his level +4.

All magic armors use the armor bonus tables described in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdroms and Heroes of the Fallen lands, regardless of armor type, mastework or not.  For the masterwork armors from PH, this just means they have a higher armor bonus than normal armor of the same enchantment level.  For the masterwork armors from AV (and some other sources?) they may actually have a lower armor bonus than other masterwork armors of the same enchantment level, but in exchange for that they will grant a NAD bonus or damage resistence.

These rules really aren't found anywhere in the Compendium or character builder, they're really only described in detail in the "Heroes Of .." books.  The character builder does calculate the AC correctly in all cases though (as far as we know there are no bugs in it).

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

If you can check out Adventurers Vault or Players handbook 2.
Those books explain the masterwork armor rules 10 times better then the playershand book did.
The description of the master work says what the minimum enhancment bounus is.
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
Thank you for the replies! With this i could finally convince our DM to allow us to use Masterwork armors :3
Thank you for the replies! With this i could finally convince our DM to allow us to use Masterwork armors :3



Why would he not?  He's just shortchanging heavy armor characters.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
The only reason to have +4 armor and not have it be masterwork is to hurt the players and make them weaker the the system assumes that they will be.
The sea looks at the stabillity of the mountian and sighs. The mountian watches the freedom of the sea and cries.
Masterwork and non-masterwork give the same armor bonus now so there's no difference.  As a matter of fact, you could hold the opinion that certain types of masterwork armor DO hurt you, if you value a higher AC over a NAD bonus or damage reduction.  Not having masterwork is no longer a liability since Essentials.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Masterwork and non-masterwork give the same armor bonus now so there's no difference.  As a matter of fact, you could hold the opinion that certain types of masterwork armor DO hurt you, if you value a higher AC over a NAD bonus or damage reduction.  Not having masterwork is no longer a liability since Essentials.

Well, only if you use the CB. If you do it by hand then you're still being short-changed unless you're aware of all the rules.
Masterwork and non-masterwork give the same armor bonus now so there's no difference.  As a matter of fact, you could hold the opinion that certain types of masterwork armor DO hurt you, if you value a higher AC over a NAD bonus or damage reduction.  Not having masterwork is no longer a liability since Essentials.

Well, only if you use the CB. If you do it by hand then you're still being short-changed unless you're aware of all the rules.



True enough, but the rules is the rules whether you're using CB or not.  And they only explain this in the Heroes of books, which kinda sucks for people who don't have DDi and don't own those books!  IMO they should have explained this in RC, but magic items aren't really the jurisdiction of that book I guess, though I think explaining how magic items work should have been in that book.

Get the feeling WoTC wants us to buy DDi and Essentials at all? 

On the other hand, masterwork costs the same as regular +X armor, so unless your DM is being a jerk like Sea-Envy said, the DM should let you get masterwork.  So yeah, pretty much.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Get the feeling WoTC wants us to buy DDi and Essentials at all? 


That, or read the books. Masterwork armor hasn't changed since 4E was first published. The rules in the PHB and the DMG are still perfectly valid.
Ever feel like people on these forums can't possibly understand how wrong they are? Feeling trolled? Don't get mad. Report Post.
Get the feeling WoTC wants us to buy DDi and Essentials at all? 


That, or read the books. Masterwork armor hasn't changed since 4E was first published. The rules in the PHB and the DMG are still perfectly valid.



Kind of.  Regular magic armor and masterwork armor are two different things in the PH.  Masterwork armors got the higher armor bonus, regular magic armor didn't.  Only the cost was the same.  Only in AV (I think, maybe it was first clarified in an FAQ) did they imply that +X armor was automatically masterwork and since they cost the same, you might as well just buy or get rewarded masterwork.  AV is also where they introduced masterwork that does not adhere to the new armor bonus scaling rules.  They finally only made it official that all magic armors will automatically get the same bonuses as masterwork when the Heroes of books were printed.  Before that it was possible to have regular magic armor that had a lower armor bonus than masterwork magic armor of the same enhancement level.

So if someone only owns the PH and doesn't know any of the other rules he might not think that +6 plate is automatically Godplate.  Though the DM might as well just reward it since the cost is the same.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

What it all comes down to is masterwork was implemented kind of stupidly, imo.  If they wanted it to be different from regular armor they should have increased the cost for masterwork.  If they wanted everyone to assume all enhanced armor was masterwork they should have just wrote those extra armor bonus tables right from the beginning and explicitly stated that.  It led to a lot of confusion but it's all irrelevent now.  The rules from armor bonus scaling are in the Heroes Of books (I think they should have put it in the RC if you ask me).

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

We just always assume masterwork applies. We even implemented a quick and dirty houserule for it.


Heavy Armors gain a Masterwork Bonus equal to their Enhancement Bonus.


Light Armors gain a Masterwork Bonus equal to 1/3 their Enhancement Bonus (always round down).


You gain the first +1 a little early, but it balances at my table because nobody's really looking into the feats that improve attacks and defenses.


Also, we know that doesn't address the alternate masterwork armors that grant defense bonuses or Resist, but we're not high enough for those to come into play, yet, so we're going to cross that bridge when we get there.

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