If I were playing a Monk wearing Mage Armor, would I still lose my Fast Movement, Flurry of Blows, and other abilities I normally lose when wearing normal armor?


2 Answers 2


A monk can use abilities that require no armor if protected by mage armor

While the spell mage armor grants the subject an armor bonus the same way that real armor grants an armor bonus, the subject is not wearing armor and, instead, the subject of the mage armor spell is surrounded by an "invisible but tangible field of force."

While it may seem a technical and pedantic distinction between being enveloped by the invisible field of a mage armor spell and, for example, slapping on a chain shirt, monk class features that are contingent upon a monk not wearing armor like AC bonus, fast movement, and flurry of blows really are unaffected by the spell mage armor even though they would be affected by a chain shirt: a chain shirt is, in game terms, worn and the effect of the mage armor spell isn't. (This is likewise true of the similar class features of the unchained monk.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ A comparison to the bracers of armor might add to this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 25, 2020 at 12:25

A monk retains his class features because having an armor bonus to AC is not the same as wearing armor.

A monk loses access to some of his class features while wearing armor. However, the game has many ways to gain an armor bonus without wearing armor. The mage armor spell, bracers of armor, and the ice armor oracle revelation from the waves mystery are a few examples. The same principle applies to shield bonuses.

Simply having an armor bonus or shield bonus does not count as physically wearing armor or a shield. The mage armor spell simply grants its target an armor bonus. Thus, a monk under the effects of mage armor does not lose access to class features that forbid wearing armor.

You can find numerous official NPC stat blocks of monks with potions of mage armor and bracers of armor, such as these two. In Pathfinder Society, it is common for monk players to carry a wand of mage armor for arcane party members to cast on them.


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