5E Amulet of Natural Armor

SkidAce

Adventurer
I plan on being careful (what with bounded accuracy and all) but we are converting some of our magical items, in our homebbrew, and an amulet of natural armor is one such item.

I intend on having it set your base (or natural armor) to 11. This should not be any more overpowering or of bounds than a +1 Ring of Protection (which also helps saves).

Any thoughts?
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
I plan on being careful (what with bounded accuracy and all) but we are converting some of our magical items, in our homebbrew, and an amulet of natural armor is one such item.

I intend on having it set your base (or natural armor) to 11. This should not be any more overpowering or of bounds than a +1 Ring of Protection (which also helps saves).

Any thoughts?
It won't work as you think it will!

The Base AC for characters isn't actually 10. It's a calculation, typically 10 + Dexterity Modifier for unarmoured characters, and AC 16 for someone wearing chainmail. A unarmoured barbarian has a Base AC of 10 + Dexterity modifier + Constitution modifier. The 10 that you start with? It isn't the base AC!

Personally, I'd create the amulet as giving a +1 AC to anyone not wearing heavy armour, and requiring attunement.

Cheers!
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
At a quick glance, it seems good (11+DEX instead of 10+DEX), especially since it would be cancelled by Mage Armor, dragon-srocs, barbs, monks, etc.
 

Paraxis

Villager
I would probably have it replicate a barkskin spell.
+1

The spell might be odd, but a flat 16 AC all the time is still nice.

Good for most light armor wearers if dex is not primary, and great for heavy armor wearers for those moments when you get caught without your armor.
 
I plan on being careful (what with bounded accuracy and all) but we are converting some of our magical items, in our homebbrew, and an amulet of natural armor is one such item.

I intend on having it set your base (or natural armor) to 11. This should not be any more overpowering or of bounds than a +1 Ring of Protection (which also helps saves).

Any thoughts?
I did it a little differently. All of my characters had just gotten amulets from a king for saving his valley, and they were all +1 AC. Instead for this edition though, I changed them to amulets of resistance, all of them of a different type. I like your idea, but it seems that most people that wear armor would get rid of it. Might I suggest having the amulets contain gems that can be used for certain spell components? For instance, maybe a fighter doesn't care about the amulet, but the Druid might want the gem inside to use awaken.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
I would probably have it replicate a barkskin spell.
+1

The spell might be odd, but a flat 16 AC all the time is still nice.

Good for most light armor wearers if dex is not primary, and great for heavy armor wearers for those moments when you get caught without your armor.
Ack! No no no!

a. Barkskin is terribly worded, and currently no one really knows what is intended or how the spell is supposed to work. Even if there was a clear sense, though,

b. Barkskin the spell requires concentration -- it's the only curb on the spell that exists. An amulet, which doesn't require concentration? That's an always on concentration spell -- much much better than the spell itself.
 

the Jester

Legend
Barkskin is terribly worded, and currently no one really knows what is intended or how the spell is supposed to work.
What? I think "Your AC can't be less than 16" is pretty simple and clear. I wasn't aware that there was any confusion there at all.


Barkskin the spell requires concentration -- it's the only curb on the spell that exists. An amulet, which doesn't require concentration? That's an always on concentration spell -- much much better than the spell itself.
I agree with this. I'd have an amulet of natural armor be like barkskin, but slightly different- no concentration required, AC never less than 13. While I recognize that it isn't great, you can't just stack +1s to AC in 5e like you could in 3e, and I just wouldn't.
 

Paraxis

Villager
Ack! No no no!

a. Barkskin is terribly worded, and currently no one really knows what is intended or how the spell is supposed to work. Even if there was a clear sense, though,

b. Barkskin the spell requires concentration -- it's the only curb on the spell that exists. An amulet, which doesn't require concentration? That's an always on concentration spell -- much much better than the spell itself.
A concentration spell constantly up is powerful, but it depends on the spell.

Barkskin seems to be clearly worded to me, your AC can't be less than 16 no matter what armor you are wearing.

It doesn't give you a bonus to AC, it doesn't stack with anything, it just ensures that your AC is at least 16. This is not all that useful honestly but as an amulet it could be.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
Most replies do not seem to be geared to making it like a ring of protection, +1 AC.

I have to admit, my initial thoughts were about something that would work for a monk or sorcerer. Hence the idea about changing the "base".

Meaning all those calculations would be 11 + etc ,etc, .

How would that be any more OP than a ring?
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
What? I think "Your AC can't be less than 16" is pretty simple and clear. I wasn't aware that there was any confusion there at all.
A concentration spell constantly up is powerful, but it depends on the spell.

Barkskin seems to be clearly worded to me, your AC can't be less than 16 no matter what armor you are wearing.
Many of the ambiguities are discussed in this thread, which has been active for the past 9 days.

To give a sample of the issues:
imagine a Dex 18 fighter +Barkskin. AC= 16 or 20?
Dex 18 fighter + leather armour and shield +Barkskin. AC= 18, 20 or 22?

Mearls tweeted barkskin + shield = 18. Figure that one out
Then there is cover...
 
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the Jester

Legend
Many of the ambiguities are discussed in this thread, which has been active for the past 9 days.

To give a sample of the issues:
imagine a Dex 18 fighter +Barkskin. AC= 16 or 20?
Dex 18 fighter + leather armour and shield. AC= 18, 20 or 22?

Then there is cover...
Hmm, I see your point.

I still think it's easy to answer, though; your AC is whatever you would have without barkskin or 16, whichever is higher. At least, without reading that thread, that's my take.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
Hmm, I see your point.

I still think it's easy to answer, though; your AC is whatever you would have without barkskin or 16, whichever is higher. At least, without reading that thread, that's my take.
I agree with you that that's what the spell says, but we are in a minority.

Mearls's tweet disagrees, obviously, and it's not clear to me that in this form it's powerful enough for a concentration spell.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
b. Barkskin the spell requires concentration -- it's the only curb on the spell that exists. An amulet, which doesn't require concentration? That's an always on concentration spell -- much much better than the spell itself.
Two words: requires attunement
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
Most replies do not seem to be geared to making it like a ring of protection, +1 AC.
That's because it's natural armor, and natural armor in 5E works by giving you a new formula for calculating AC rather than modifying any existing formula. It only ever works if the value of the natural armor is better than what you would get from some other formula.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I didn't find a better thread on how to implement natural armor in 5E than this, so I'm resuming the discussion.

Please do not bring up Barkskin in this thread. Some of you like it - fine. Some of us hates it - okay. Either way, it's off topic. Besides, most if not all arguments have already been made since september 2014.

I plan on being careful (what with bounded accuracy and all) but we are converting some of our magical items, in our homebbrew, and an amulet of natural armor is one such item.

I intend on having it set your base (or natural armor) to 11. This should not be any more overpowering or of bounds than a +1 Ring of Protection (which also helps saves).

Any thoughts?
That's because it's natural armor, and natural armor in 5E works by giving you a new formula for calculating AC rather than modifying any existing formula. It only ever works if the value of the natural armor is better than what you would get from some other formula.
Conceptually, natural armor is simple. It is a type of armor: much like leather or chain, you've got "natural".

So, having natural armor would give you a new way to calculate your AC. It stands to reason it would work simply as a kind of light armor (that doesn't limit Dex), and this is exactly how the DMG treats it for monsters.

Your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your natural armor bonus

Let's take a few examples:

Humanoid (default): your natural armor bonus is zero (0)
Lizardfolk: +3 natural armor bonus to AC
Animated Armor: per the Monster Manual, an Animated Armor uses the natural armor AC calculation. Its AC is 18 and its Dexterity modifier is 0. So its natural armor bonus must be +8, which makes sense, because it's a walking and not talking full Plate mail, which has an AC of 18!

This can be done for any monster, say an...
Aboleth: it too uses the natural armor AC calculation. It's AC is 18 and its Dexterity modifier is -1. So its natural armor bonus must be +9. But 5th edition isn't exact in the way 3rd edition was, so if you don't like a natural armor bonus that high (considering Aboleths aren't described as wearing heavy plate armor) you would be free to assuming it's got protective magicks going on to account for some of that high AC.

What 5th Edition doesn't do, however, is allow natural armor to stack with regular armor. (See DMG page 276: a creature can wear armor, but would then lose the "add your natural armor bonus" part of the equation).

So, the first attempt at implementing an +1 Amulet of Natural Armor would be:

You can calculate your base AC as 11 + your Dexterity modifier when wearing no armor.

Now, how useful is that for an adventurer? Pretty useless, that's what. Why would anyone bother creating something that's functionally identical to wearing simple leather armor (you do get rid of 10 lbs of gear, but that's hardly worth the effort).

A more useful implementation that tries to replicate the intention behind the d20 amulet would be:

Your Dexterity modifier counts as one higher for the purposes of calculating AC.

Now, you benefit equally if you wear no armor or leather armor. You benefit if you're a monk using Unarmored Defense or a Wizard using Mage Armor.

However, to benefit if you're using medium armor (such as a Breastplate) you need to have a middling Dexterity score. And you wouldn't benefit at all if you wear heavy armor.

This makes the item consistent with how 5E treats natural armor.

(Of course, you could say it favors lightly armored characters compared to 3E. But this is solved best by also adding magical armors (and shields) to favor the tin cans in your campaign.)

Of course, the basic solve is to skip on natural armor altogether and simply hand out rings of protection that give +1 AC no questions asked. But that wasn't what the OP wanted.
 

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