So, one of the players in my pathfinder campaign wants some armor for his gorilla companion.

Since he is wealthy, getting a armorsmith to craft such suit is not out of reach.

Can it be crafted? Probably yes.

Would the animal wear it? Would it give AC bonus just like the humanoid armor?


Yes, animal companions can wear armor. It is usually called barding but the only difference is that armor for unusual creatures is more expensive.

As long as the armor has no armor check penalty the companion doesn't even need the proficiency.

Nonproficient with Armor Worn: A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he is not proficient takes the armor’s (and/or shield’s) armor check penalty on attack rolls as well as on all Dex– and Str-based ability and skill checks.

That means masterwork studded leather can be worn by companions without proficiency.

One thing to note is:

Flying mounts can’t fly in medium or heavy barding.

I guess that would apply to other flying companions, too. It's from the section about barding for horses and the like directly above the armor for unusual creatures section I linked.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Mithral armor is also another option. Though i would never suggest you should expend money on that. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jul 4 '17 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had thought about adding mithral armor but didn't for just that reason. \$\endgroup\$ – Umbranus Jul 5 '17 at 6:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Medium and Heavy armors might also limit brachiation like it limits flying. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadoCat Jul 5 '17 at 23:24

Yes, an animal companion can and should wear armour (but it will want to invest feats in armour proficiency)

Pretty much anything can wear armour (often referred to as barding when meant for animals), and it gains the benefit of the armour as usual, whatever kind of armour that is. It's generally a good idea to invest in armour for animal companions because it improves their survivability on the front line - I would expect a high-level druid or ranger's companion to be wearing magical armour, in fact. However, in order to avoid suffering the armour check penalty on attacks, the creature needs to have proficiency with the class of armour in question:

Nonproficient with Armor Worn: A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he is not proficient takes the armor’s (and/or shield’s) armor check penalty on attack rolls as well as on all Dex– and Str-based ability and skill checks.

To avoid the penalty, the gorilla will need the Armor Proficiency feat for the armour category in question. Animal companions gain feats as they gain HD, as listed in the progression table for animal companions, and the Armor Proficiency feats are even on the list of recommended animal companion feats. However, even without the proficiency, the gorilla can still wear the armour - it'll just suffer a penalty on attack rolls while it does. Some armours may not actually have an armour check penalty, like masterwork studded leather, so a creature without proficiency could still wear that without any penalty.

The Armor for Unusual Creatures table gives a method for calculating the price of making armour for differently sized creatures. Armour for animals is often called "barding" rather than "armour", but in game terms barding is just another word for armour for a non-humanoid creature - a gorilla is probably sufficiently non-humanoid (with drastically different proportions to normal humanoid-type creatures) that the more expensive version is needed, but that's your jurisdiction. You should keep in mind that most animal companions increase a size category at some point in their progression (for the "Ape" companion you're probably using to represent a gorilla, that's at 4th level); armour made for the companion before it increases in size will no longer fit on the larger creature and a new set would have to be made.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It could help to add that any animal companion can wear armors without any armor check penalty without needing to take a feat. That is masterwork studded leather, for example, always works without drawbacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Umbranus Jul 4 '17 at 9:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Umbranus comments are not or answering, and though short, your comment IS an answer in itself. Post it as an answer, i got an upvote for ya. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 4 '17 at 13:39

As animals, primates can be equipped with barding (basically a suit of armor adapted to animal morphology).

Primates such as gorillas aren't close enough to a humanoid shape to wear normal armor. The price calculation of barding is simple : take any suit of armor available to a humanoid and double its base price since it's destined to a non-humanoid (the additional cost for a masterwork armor is still 150 gp and adding magic properties costs the same as for a standard armor). The gorilla will get the exact same amount of AC as what the standard armor gives and suffer the same penalties for wearing armor (including penalties to attack rolls if it doesn't have the required armor proficiency).


Probably no classical armor without being awakened.

There is a precedent among the official NPCS with the Eater of Elves, who is an awakened dire ape wearing a full plate.

Note that this guy is awakened, and as an editor's note to the Awaken spell you can read:

If you cast awaken, an animal’s type changes to magical beast. (...) If the animal was trained to wear barding, does it retain this ability once it is awakened? If the animal wasn’t trained to wear barding, how can the awakened creature learn how to wear armor?

(...) An animal trained to wear barding can continue to do so without penalty once it is awakened. Once it’s awakened, it can either spend a feat on armor proficiency or take class levels in a class that grants armor proficiency, just like any intelligent creature.

which implies that it's the awakening of a creatures that makes it able to wear armor.

It seems like the intended version of the rules is that animals (including gorillas) wear barding (which is a bit more expensive), and not classical armor, even if it works the same.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Barding is just a type of armour for non-humanoid creatures, specifically the word used to describe armour for mounts/quadrupeds; the entry in the animal gear section is a functional duplicate of the "armor for unusual creatures" table in the armour section. Barding IS armour and is governed by the same rules about proficiency. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jul 4 '17 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Source for what @Carcer said. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jul 4 '17 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer: are you happier with this edit? \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Jul 5 '17 at 8:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a side note: Barding and armor for unusually-shaped creatures are the same price. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Jul 5 '17 at 12:46

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