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In Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, there are a bunch of new armor and armor types. It says that to wear these armors, you need to take special feats.

What happens if a PC finds this armor as a reward, but has not yet taken the feat? Is there just a penalty to AC, or are they also unable to use the special property? (like barbed)

Also, what happens if a level 5 character stumbles upon a level 10 magic item, or finds a store that sells a level 10 magic item and has the gold to purchase it. Does the magic item not work? Are they not allowed to buy it?

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"What happens if you wear armor that you don't have a feat for?" You get into a debate about realism vs gamism and probably won't return to just playing the damn game for several more hours. –  valadil Oct 27 '11 at 13:23
    
What is there to debate in this case? –  GMNoob Oct 27 '11 at 13:44

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

You are definitely allowed to use the magic item if you find it, regardless of level. The level mostly indicates the approximate power level of the object, not a limitation for wielding it.

On the armor question magic armors have 3 things that we need to concern ourselves with:

  1. AC Bonus (+2 for Leather, +3 for Hide, +8 for Plate etc)

  2. Enhancement Bonus (+Level)

  3. Magical Powers and Properties

Best I can tell you get all of these things at the cost of a -2 penalty to all attack rolls and a -2 penalty to reflex (RC 265).

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The book says: Although these new kinds of armor and shields are useful, they demand specialized training to utilize them. The feats presented on page 11 allow characters to use these items without restriction. So that "restriction" is just -2 attack and -2 to reflex? –  GMNoob Oct 27 '11 at 12:42
    
Based on the wording of the feat I'd say yes. Its phrased as proficiency. –  wax eagle Oct 27 '11 at 12:45

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