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For context: A DM in this multi-DM run D&D 5e campaign I'm in said she would be doing very difficult sessions with very high level loot if we succeed in said sessions. Well, disregarding the fact that we faced a CR 9 encounter as level 3 characters, I managed to pull some shenanigans off regarding cover and disadvantage and actually beat this encounter as the last one standing with 2 hp, and dragged my fellow party members back home after this hard-won battle.

The elves that we fought were wearing these enchanted vests that granted +7 AC, no attunement required. That's right, not armor with 17 AC, but an additive +7 AC that was designed to be worn under or along with armor, which would presumably allow one to add their dexterity bonus to their AC along with it.

As far as I can tell, this totally breaks bounded accuracy. Slapping +7 AC on literally any character that can wear clothes without it counting as armor means that if I am a fighter with adamantine plate armor (20 AC), a +1 shield from my artificer buddy, and this +7 AC vest, my AC is 30. For reference, the Tarrasque (in fifth edition) has an AC of 25.

Needless to say, this is ridiculous. But the question stands: how much would such an item be worth, in gp? ...if such a thing could even be calculated.

I've taken to calling it the "Harm-Proof Vest" in character.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I know this isn't a good comparison or completely relevant as this is a 5e question, but in 3.5, which actually allowed for items with a +7 armor or enhancement bonus, such an item would have cost at least 490k gp and require a 20th level caster with Epic magic item crafting to create. And with it applying a bonus that somehow stacks with all other bonuses to armor class (as 3.5 didn't allow stacking the same type of bonus), it's value would be significantly higher. If we make that property equivalent to another +3, then the value is over 1M gp. \$\endgroup\$
    – RisingZan
    Dec 29, 2022 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RisingZan not necessarily. Example: an amulet of +2 natural armor, +2 deflection, +2 sacred, +1 luck would be around 38K (by guidelines) and would probably require a caster level less than 10. And dodge bonuses stack just fine. 3.5 was much more granular, so is likely a poor model here. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Dec 29, 2022 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fectin - Dodge bonuses stacked, but they also couldn't be granted by spells or magic items, which is the reason they got that stacking exception. I agree its not a great model due to the unbounded accuracy/DCs and the reliance on stacking bonuses, but it was the last version of D&D that had actual +7 items. \$\endgroup\$
    – RisingZan
    Dec 29, 2022 at 23:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any chance I could join this campaign? \$\endgroup\$
    – User 23415
    Jan 9, 2023 at 1:12

1 Answer 1

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The item is completely gamebreaking and cannot have a value applied.

As you correctly identified, this item totally breaks the system mechanics, making it very easy for the wearer to achieve an AC high enough to be nigh-untouchable.

There are a couple of artifacts that grant a flat +3 to armor, among other powers. +7 is off the charts and ridiculous. Artifact items are already beyond price, and this is stronger than an artifact.

You can't calculate a gold value on an item like that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's like asking what the monetary value of a kevlar vest would be in medieval Europe. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2022 at 0:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I’m biased, you might reference my highest scoring answer as evidence. There I show that even a +2 to AC is a very powerful buff. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2022 at 0:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! and yes @Ryan C. Thompson, I believe it was actually implied to be a Kevlar vest or something like it, so that's a very apt comparison ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – pestival
    Dec 27, 2022 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson: Well, if it's got hard plates to make it a stab vest as well. If it's just soft woven Kevlar, it's pretty useless in medieval Europe; it won't stop blades or fast moving sharp arrows much better than thick clothes (it's strictly for low mass, high velocity projectiles, so it's going the other way, making it useless, not the best thing ever). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 27, 2022 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson nah, Kevlar would be a +3 AC artefact at best. This is basically power-armor in medieval times \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:49

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